Where the hell is the Amazon Princess? The real one, I mean. Because this chick ain’t it.
I’ve been trying to identify exactly why, after some inspiring moments, the Wonder Woman reboot is beginning to get on my last nerve — why it feels so inauthentic and flimsy. The mythology is there. Her warrior pose and heroism are intact. I’m (mostly) over the costume change, and as someone who loved Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright series, I’m not averse to radical overhauls of iconic characters. If it’s done well and truly game-changing, bring it on.
And yet, as I read Wonder Woman #603, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Diana deserves better than this. My favorite heroine has been reduced to a scowling teen who happens to have extraordinary strength and deity-given gifts. Notice I said “happens to have,” because those things are overshadowed by an off-putting persona and bitchy “Gossip Girl” lines like “Great. Wonderful. Love it. Isn’t anything ever easy?” It’s like Avril Lavigne circa 2003, without the catchy material.
Story-wise, issue #603 is serviceable, if somewhat familiar. Diana is escorting some rogue Amazons through the desert, where paranormal peril awaits. She has to fight some nasty creatures, The Keres, and then lands in Hades’ realm. For some reason, she’s barefoot and dressed in a white slip in the underworld. I do like scrappy, fighter Diana who (Hello, Maxwell Lord) will snap a fool’s neck if she has to. This certainly isn’t the first time Wonder Woman has been put through a trial that involves duking it out with mythological beasts.
The art, a group effort in this issue, is a mixed bag. Diana never looks bad, but in the first half of this comic, her breasts are so enormous that she’s in danger of tipping over. She looks like the recipient of some aggressive plastic surgery.
By the time this issue came to an end, all I could think was, “They took a blowtorch to the previous continuity for this?” I understand that the Wonder Woman comic has a wildly inconsistent track record and that few writers have really known what to do with her. In many cases, she’s been a hard character to get close to. I also realize that sales were low, and you gotta do what you gotta do to get readers’ attention — and that unfortunately includes readers who have problems with a strong, noble female character who doesn’t pander to their sexual fantasies, even while wearing a bathing suit. (At least, not since her early bondage days.)
Diabolu Frank at The New Wonder Woman blog offered a brilliant, concise summation of the character’s situation:
Batman and Superman have appeared in some of the greatest super-hero comic stories ever told, because DC has treated them as their most important properties for three-quarters of a century. There are few comic book heroes who have a ‘Killing Joke’ under their belt. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman has been treated like three day old fish for most of her publishing history, and is still a national treasure recognized the world over.
It’s obvious that this alternate timeline is temporary, and that Diana ultimately will emerge as an approximation of the character I’ve grown to love. We’re only a couple of issues in, but I have a sinking feeling that the reboot phase is a colossal waste of time and will do little to convert the indifferent.