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The New Wonder Woman

June 30, 2010

J. Michael Straczynski and Don Kramer’s brand new direction of Wonder Woman has already become rather famous across the internet.  The Newsarama.com interviews with Straczynski and Kramer can be seen here:

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/jms-talks-wonder-woman-100629.html (J.M.S.), and

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/wonder-woman-artist-changes-100630.html (Kramer),

plus the original one, http://www.newsarama.com/comics/new-wonder-woman-costume-100629.html.

One might even say that it’s the latest comic book controversy in the vein of Spider-Man’s One More Day/Brand New Day.  As someone who’s read this whole volume of Wonder Woman (started during One Year Later), and someone who considers himself a proponent of strong female characters, I thought I’d also weigh in on the issue.  Quite frankly, I find it funny that the same man who afterward attacked One More Day as a story is essentially doing the same thing to another book.  I can understand the general need for a reinvention of Wonder Woman.  For being one of the iconic “Big Three” of DC Comics, she has remained the most static of them, minus that ridiculous period when she was a secret agent/martial artist.  However, the idea that a reinvention should always come from completely redoing a character’s past is silly.  Superman’s already had five different origin stories (Golden Age, Silver Age, Man of Steel, Birthright, Superman: Secret Origin).  Yet unlike Wonder Woman’s new story, most of them didn’t change things so drastically as to completely rewrite her history or change her as a person.

Before, the impetus for rewriting origins in DC Comics came from the various Crises (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis), since they often changed vital parts of the DC Universe’s history through the merging or alteration of whole universes.  That was a strange and awkward mechanism, but at least it provided a bit of in-story reasoning for the change that made a tiny, and I mean tiny, bit of sense.  Unlike the “magic can do anything,” “deal with the devil” change of Spider-Man, which basically eliminated one of the most important events in his life.  Again, I believe in redoing stuff, so long as it’s very careful and doesn’t fiddle too much with pre-established events.  This basically throws Wonder Woman’s entire involvement with the DC Universe into question.  And why?  Because everyone thinks that Wonder Woman is in a rut.  They don’t know what to do with her next, and they think she needs to be reinvented.  Rather than make something new happen, something to change her in the present time, they change who she is as a character.  Okay, so J.M.S. has made it clear that the original timeline will come back in some form later.  But changes like this that aren’t alternate timelines completely separate from the main ones are lazy writing.  No matter how interesting they are.  They indicate that the writer can’t think of what to do next, so he or she is just going to pretend that all that troublesome continuity never even happened.  So no, I don’t like that at all.

As for the costume, I would have to agree with the general consensus that it looks like a 90s comic book relic.  While I like the breastplate, that’s about it.  The jacket is definitely something out of the 90s, especially with the shoulderpads.  The 90s were when everyone had ridiculous shoulderpads.  And the bracelets… well, they’re just ugly.  I always liked her classic bracelets, and I see no reason to mess with those.  Even if you want a new design for them, why do they have to go around her finger?  Plus, what’s with her nails?  Why would a more bad-ass Wonder Woman look like she just had a manicure?  Not sure I understand that.  I’ve never been a fan of chokers, partially because they remind me of choking, and partially because they look like dog collars.  No collars on women please.  That’s just demeaning.  And the pants and shoe… things look like something a futuristic superhero would wear.  I mean, lines on the pants outlining her muscles and kneecaps?  Really?  In conclusion, although I may like the story itself, I don’t like the method of how it got there.  And I certainly don’t like the new costume, even though Wonder Woman (the real one) could use something new.  I’ll stay on the series to try it out, but I’m very cautious.  That’s still better than all the people raving about how they’re dropping this faster than you can say “Goodbye Gail Simone.”

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