The god Urzkartaga who gave the Cheetah her powers wants to walk the Earth again and take the body of the rogue Colonel Cadulo. Having captured Steve Trevor, the god seeks to eat him in order to walk free on Earth again and wage war against man and woman, unless Wonder Woman stops him first.
This episode is best read after having read the previous chapters of Rebirth Wonder Woman in one go. That’s what I did. Greg Rucka seems to be a feminist. While he alternates between Wonder Woman Year One and this story about Cheetah, he successfully parallels feminist themes in both stories. In each story, a woman is picked as the champion of gods and sent to battle men. But in the case of Cheetah, because she was not a virgin, she is cursed.
It is interesting that for a woman to become a suitable champion, in the story crafted by Rucka, a woman has to be a virgin. Similar stories about men becoming champions never really require them to be virgins. Here Rucka challenges this premise which has probably had roots in much of Western culture and other places.
Whether Diana, when she was sent to man’s world was a virgin was of no consequences. Her ascension was based on her own merit as a warrior. She was not the mate of a vengeful god. And so, using her lasso of truth, Wonder Woman convinces Cheetah that she was lied to by Urzkartaga. She was not to be his virgin mate. She was to be his captor.
How Rucka tells this tale is marvelous and an important way to reconstruct the Wonder Woman mythos. Wonder Woman has been lucky in the last few years to have important writers share their best ideas. I really enjoy how she is redefined as her own character and not another clone of Superman.
The weak point of the story is he artwork by Liam Sharp. I prefer year one artist Nicola Scott. But a weakness is relative in a story so well crafted. Some shots, like Wonder Woman plunging through Urzkartaga looked like super heroics of a bygone era and so were less satisfying. Yet for such a jungle epic, he is the natural choice.