Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman: Rebirth is rewriting all kinds of rules, starting with Wonder Woman’s classic rival, the Cheetah.
In the comics, Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva is a vain and arrogant heiress-turned-archaeologist who ends up becoming possessed by an ancient cheetah spirit after her research team are killed by marauders. Later, after becoming her villain alter-ego, she encounters Wonder Woman for the first time. Her jealousy of Amazonian treasures like Wonder Woman’s lasso eventually lead her to become one of Wonder Woman’s most famous rivals throughout her comic history.
Rucka changes some of Minerva’s origins in Rebirth, where it’s revealed that Minerva was one of Wonder Woman’s earliest friends after the Amazonian princess left Thymescira. Splicing together stories from before and after Minerva became the Cheetah, Rucka appears to be greatly expanding their shared history, culminating in Minerva’s very own origin story in this exclusive preview for Wonder Woman #8.
Year One Interlude: Young Barbara Ann Minerva is thrust on a quest for answers to the Amazons’ most ancient secrets.
After losing her mother, Barbara Ann Minerva used to lose herself in old myths and legends like the Amazons. Unfortunately for her, her father didn’t appreciate her flights of fancy.
This direction for the character ties Minerva’s fascination with Wonder Woman to her childhood, which makes their eventual rivalry that much more meaningful. It also helps that Rucka and Co. shift away from Minerva’s background as an heiress and turn her into an Indiana Jones-type, archaeological badass.
Wonder Woman: Rebirth is currently one of my favorite stories out of the main trio of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, partly because the series feels like such a bold affirmation for the Wonder Woman character and her history. Including the origin story of the Cheetah also fleshes out Wonder Woman’s relationship to her human compatriots, which have felt a little underutilized since the using mythical gods more prominently in her story.
Wonder Woman #8 hits comic store shelves and online retail October 12, 2016.
Photos via DC Comics, Bilquis Evely, Jenny Frison