Written by Andrew Fontana
Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp bring the underlying themes of their run into full prominence in the third chapter of The Lies story arc. After two issues of build up, Chapter Three of The Lies unveils Urzkartaga, Barbara Ann’s monstrous husband, who is ultimately defeated by the very women he uses and despises.
Rucka is less focused on the action than he is the exploration of female agency he began in issue #3. Liam Sharp and Laura Martin are still given plenty to work with, however. Martin’s subdued colors give each scene a sense of malign atmosphere that is only heightened by the intricate detail of Sharp’s pencils. Sharp’s Urzkartaga is especially well drawn. Cheetah’s husband and tormentor is drawn like a Swamp Thing that woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and the fight between him and Diana is fun to see, however brief.
But the heart of the issue still lies in the character moments on display from both Wonder Woman and Cheetah. Rucka showcases Wonder woman’s compassion as her greatest strength. I felt the urge to fist pump the moment Diana tosses the Lasso of Truth to Cheetah and the village girls. Rucka explored the ideas of male entitlement and female agency in the dialogue Barbara Ann and Diana shared in Chapter Two, and concludes those themes here when Cheetah and the village girls use the Lasso of Truth and learn their true relationship to the jungle god they worshipped in fear. Urzkartaga is afraid of those village girls, and his fear is a stand- in for the disdain and hostility many men feel towards feminism and women asserting their own autonomy. Its perhaps a bit heavy handed, but is still refreshing after the pure eye candy that was the Finch’s run on the title.
Having Wonder Woman win the day through empowerment of victims rather than straight up fisticuffs is a welcome return of form for the character. Rucka, despite his tendency towards decompressed storylines, shows that he understands Diana and her world like no other at DC, and this issue is proof of that fact.