The Comic Book Rack: Wonder Woman is changing… again?
Wonder Woman is going thru yet another change and this one includes shelving the iconic costume for a Jim Lee created homage to the 1990s. But, we’re not here to speak on the fashion disaster that has befallen the warrior princess, but what brings about this new fashion statement and with it a new Diana.
From an interview over at Comic Book Resources, here’s new Wonder Woman scribe, J. Michael Straczynski dropping the 411 on his vision for Diana.
“When the Destruction of Paradise Island aspect was announced, everybody assumed it would go the way we’ve seen before…old hat, and it doesn’t really change the character because with or without Paradise Island, she’s still the same Wonder Woman. Unless you move the destruction back far enough into the past that Diana was around three, because then it affects how she grows up, who she is, and what she fights for.
So that’s what I went for. The timeline has changed in the blink of an eye. The gods – (for reasons of their own, which we will gradually discover, and which may involve both their survival and the survival of Earth itself – altered the past. So we literally have Wonder Woman turning a corner in the story right before mine in 600…and when she finishes turning the corner, the timeline has shifted, and she’s now in her new iteration.
We learn that Paradise Island fell when Diana was just a child, when the gods withdrew their protection. Hippolyta and many of the other Amazons died in a last-ditch defense against an army with weapons that could kill even them, while some of her guards and handmaids smuggled a young Diana off the island. She was thus raised in an urban setting, but with a foot in both worlds, courtesy of her guardians and teachers from Paradise Island. They expect her to retake Paradise Island, defeat the army that’s still hunting for the escaped Amazons (and Diana in particular), and restore all her people to their previous glory. This is a lot to ask of someone who has no recollection of that world, and obviously has no idea about the timeline shift. (Some of the other Amazons do know about the shift, as we see in #600, and there are others in the DCU who also can sense what happened.)
The result is a Diana who has her more urban aspects, but still carries on the traditions of her people. She’s fighting for their survival, as well as her own. She has to be tough, smart, and resourceful, especially since (for various reasons) she hasn’t come into her full powers, something that will happen as we go.”
Uh huh. Yeah.
Here’s why this won’t work: History. And this is also why iconic DC characters such as Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Aquaman, etc., all have ultimately failed. Here’s the blueprint: company uses character in a bunch of team ups and super teams and public interest gains. Maybe they kill the character off and there’s an outcry. Maybe an anniversary of some sort is approaching and they want to “re-boot” the character or at least use this 15-minutes of fame to pimp some dollars out of said character. The character gets a new writer and they get a “fresh new outlook” on said character and into the looking glass we go. Sigh.
This has only worked once in recent memory and that’s because the writer was Peter David and he always has a plan. A good plan. Then TIIC (The Idiots In Charge) over at DC Comics say we can improve upon this and the die is cast. At least with Wonder Woman, the powers that be have already clued us in that this change will, in all likelihood, be temporary. And that’s the whole point. If that’s the case, if you’re not going to pull the trigger, than why take out the gun?
The most this will do will further muddy the waters to an already murky history. Diana’s history is one of the most confusing in comics today. Not just her history, but her mission statement and how that translates. She’s an Amazonian princess who is a warrior goddess while she promotes peace and tranquility. She’s a walking contradiction. She’s also the baddest superheroine on the block and can go toe to toe with Superman and Batman, hence her standing as a member of DC Comics “Holy Trinity”. And, according to who’s writing her at the time, she either has a major crush/love thang for Steve Trevor, Kal-El, or Bruce Wayne with occassional brief romances thrown in to keep us interested. Really?
Here’s a thought: come up with a definitive plan and stick to it. If you gotta totally change her history than remember you got Wonder Girl and Troia out there and act accordingly. But, I don’t believe one has to tank Wonder Woman’s history. Her history is really not the problem. Tweak it, like you have with Superman and Batman. You haven’t changed the fundementals of their histories or basic mission statements but you have no problem doing this to Wonder Woman?
And that’s the whole problem in a nutshell. J. Michael Straczynski is attacking the mission statement and rightfully so. But will DC Comics give him the carte blance he needs to make this a total success? What do you think?