Greg Rucka’s current run on Wonder Woman as part of DC’s Rebirth has been the subject of lots of conversation. From fights with artists to declaring Diana canonically queer, Rucka has been a lightening rod for media attention. He’s also created what most comics fans believe is an instant classic in the long (75 years) and convoluted mythos of Wonder Woman.
I am an unabashed Greg Rucka fan. His work in DC’s Bat Universe is part of what pulled me into comics in the first place. From Renee Montoya to Black Widow, he has been writing women who kick ass for the better part of twenty years. So, if you like what he’s doing on Wonder Woman, check out my personal Rucka top ten.
10. Batman: No Man’s Land Vol. 1-5 by Bob Gale, Greg Rucka, Devin Grayson, Chuck Dixon, Kelley Puckett, and various others
NML was one of the first “event” story arcs I read. Luckily I read it years after the actual comics came out, so it was neatly compiled in trade paperback form. Two huge things happened as the story unfolded: the introduction of Cassandra Cain (my favorite Batgirl) and Harley Quinn joining the official DC comic universe. Along the way, we are given closer glimpses of Huntress, Oracle, and even Batman himself. Additionally, Rucka also wrote the straight prose novelization Batman: No Man’s Land, which is excellent.
9. Queen & Country, Operation: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka and Steve Rolston
I’ve seen Tara Chace, the main character of Q&C, often compared to James Bond. I can see why. They’re both British, work as Intelligence operatives, and from time to time kill people in the name of national and global security. But I have this to say – Tara Chace would kick James Bond’s martini swilling ass in a hot second.
8. Black Widow: The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Devin Grayson, Greg Rucka, J.G. Jones, and Scott Hampton
This collection originally hit shelves years before Scarlet Johansson waltzed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and made Black Widow a household name. It serves as a great overview as to why Nat is smarter, craftier, and just all out better than anyone who tries to take her on. Itsy Bitsy Spider focuses on the new Black Widow, Yelena Belova, who wants to forcibly “retire” Natasha. It’s an awesome take on the concept of Spy vs. Spy.
7. Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood by Greg Rucka, Rick Burchett, and Terry Beatty
Directly following the events of No Man’s Land, Cry For Blood is Helena Bertinelli’s origin story. I’m a fan of Huntress in any incarnation, but Rucka’s take on Helena is one of my favorites. It’s a story of revenge and redemption, with Mob ties and cameos by Barbara Gordon and Vic Sage.
6. Gotham Central Omnibus by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark
I have an affinity for television procedurals like Bones, Criminal Minds, and the godfather of them all Law & Order. That being said, it’s no surprise that I love Gotham Central, DC’s look at the Gotham City Police Department. What I never expected was a ground breaking LGBTQ+ story line. Half a Life, focuses on Detective Renee Montoya as she is outed, harassed, and ostracized by her fellow police officers. GC won both a Harvey and Eisner award and eventually set up Renee as one of the main characters for DC’s 52.
5. Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett
There are steampunk cowboys and pirates! I feel like this alone should be enough to get you to immediately go and read Lady Sabre. Also, the entire series is available online as a webcomic. That’s right, five years worth of archives just waiting for you to jump in with Chapter 1. This world is incredibly rich and intricate. I mean, there’s an attached almanac for goodness sake.
4. Black Magick by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott
I wasn’t looking for a supernatural cop drama. Believe it or not, that category is already filled by quite a few titles. But when the first issue of Black Magick came out I just couldn’t say no to it. This comic is punctuated by plot twists and some outright creepiness. There’s an overarching mystery to be solved and a nice blend of arcane/police procedural. I really dig the art too, which also adds to the creepiness factor through limited use of color.
3. Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka, J.G. Jones, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Dave Stewart
The Hiketeia was my favorite comic for almost a decade. I even wrote a paper on it while I was in grad school. It’s not an origin story, but functions much like a parable. One in which Diana learns a terrible and heartbreaking lesson – she can’t save everyone. She also gets to beat up Batman. Twice.
2. Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
This comic changed my life. Before Batwoman I was a casual comic book reader. I liked comics fine, and every so often I would pick up a stack of issues or a collected trade. Batwoman made me a comic book store regular. I set up my first pull list just to make sure I would never miss an issue. Kate Kane was a lesbian, incredibly capable, but also a bit of a mess. I loved her immediately. Batwoman was the perfect storm for me. Tie in with characters I already loved (Batman, Renee Montoya), amazing art, and a lead character I saw myself reflected in. I’m not the only super fan either. Political rock star, Rachel Maddow not only wrote the introduction to Elegy, but geeks out about all things Rucka pretty regularly.
1. Lazarus by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, and Santi Arcas
We made it! Yes, Lazarus is my favorite Greg Rucka comic. Honestly I wasn’t sure whether it would be this or Batwoman, but I reread both before writing this and Lazarus just barely nudged Batwoman out of first place. Things you should know: Lazarus is a dystopian take on what happens in the not so distant future (next 20 years or so), and it’s super violent (something I’m not usually a big fan of, but in this particular instance it works). Lazarus is the story of Forever Carlyle, a near indestructible warrior tasked with protecting her “family.” Both innocent and deadly, Forever is one of the most charismatic characters I’ve ever encountered. The more we learn about Forever (and she learns about herself) the more questions emerge. Rucka has managed to create a story that is part mystery, part social critique, and part kick ass warrior woman on a mission.