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Wonder Woman: A confused icon

LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Graphic Violence
I've been thinking about making this thread for a while, and I have some free time right now so I decided I'd throw this together.

The idea behind this thread was inspired by discussion that came up in the thread titled "Final Crisis and also how to fix DC Comics" which can be found here: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=81523 Specifically, the discussion about the confused state of the Wonder Woman mythos begins on page 21 of that thread.


DC has built up 3 characters as the Trinity of DC comics: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The first two are very obvious as to why they are included. They are both iconic powerhouses that have been around for a really long time and have saturated almost every facet of our culture.

But the inclusion of Wonder Woman confuses a lot of people. Her presence in the DC continuity is not so clearly defined. As I titled this thread, Wonder Woman is some what of a confused cultural icon, and I would like to discuss this confusion in more depth in this thread, as well as hopefully discuss some reasonable solutions to fixing her mythos.

So who is Wonder Woman? This is a question that even DC seems to be trying to answer. The opening story arc in the 2007 Wonder Woman relaunch is actually titled "Who is Wonder Woman"

WonderWoman1.jpg

Wonder Woman is an Amazonian Princess. She comes from the mythical island of Themyscira. She is the daughter of Queen Hyppolyta. She was trained as a warrior princess and possesses the physical attributes of the Greek pantheon. She has the speed of Hermes, the wisdom of Athena, the grace of Artemis, and a few other things.

But her powers are not very clearly defined. Her power level is largely dependent on the writer. Some writers depict her as being as fast as the Flash, or as strong as Superman, yet other writers have her tossed around like a rag doll. She lacks a clear consistency on how fast, strong, smart, she really is.

Another aspect is that her costume does not in any way, shape, or form indicate her Greek mythology herritage.

WonderWoman3.jpg

What part of a Red, White, and Blue bathing suit indicates that she's an Amazon Princess? Her costume is a relic of World War 2 when she was created. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Spoiler:
Spoiler:

So she's a feminist, Nazi fighting Greek that wields a lasso, which is traditionally a part of the American Western cowboy genre.

WonderWoman2.jpg

Her history, origin, costume, powers, tools, and purpose are so muddled and confused that its no doubt she isn't as popular as her two counterparts in the trinity. That being said, I think she has the potential to be awesome. What DC needs to do is bring in a writer with a clear vision and purpose and completely rebuild Wonder Woman from the ground up. If she's going to be Greek, then her costume and abilities need to reflect this. If she's going to be an American patriotic hero, then maybe she needs to fight some Nazis every now and again. Its 2009 and Captain America still fights Nazis so there's no reason Wonder Woman can't also.

Most of all, I think they really need to work to differentiate her from Superman. Most writers tend to just write her as a female version of him. They both fly, they both are strong, they are both fast, etc. For her to ever stand alone as the hero that she could be, she needs to become her own woman and not just a girl Superman.


Yes, there are some very good stories regarding Wonder Woman. Gail Simone, the current writer of the book has put together some great stories recently. But even under Simone, Wonder Woman is still as confused as ever. In fact, in some ways, Simone has made the mythos even more confused than it already was. Under Simone, Wonder Woman now has her own posse of white gorilla warriors. She abandoned her Greek gods and pledged a vow of loyalty to some other guy, who recently had his heart ripped out by Zeus.

The whole thing is just a giant mess of confusion. This is one iconic character in desperate need of some focus.

Lucascraft on
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Posts

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Oh yeah, I'd forgotten that. I only follow Wonder Woman intermittently through summaries to see if anything interesting is going on.

    I will definitely check out that Manazons event, though.

  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Also, I'd like someone to give her pants, or maybe the skirt again. The bathing suit is pretty ridiculous.

    The best outfit I've seen is a full suit of battle armor she wore in this most recent arc

    Pic spoilered due to size.
    Spoiler:

    Also, in New Frontier, she's pretty hot in a toga:
    Spoiler:

    BN_Sig3.jpg
  • spookymuffinspookymuffin ( ° ʖ ° ) Speicher, GermanyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    When did she pick up the sword? I'm not a huge DC fan, but I've noticed it more and more in promo images.

    XBL: Mega Spooky // 3DS: 3797-6276-7138
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  • TachTach Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I think a great opportunity for a reboot/retooling of the character was presented during Final Crisis. Wonder Woman was the first superhuman to be infected with Darkseid's virus, and was enslaved as a monsterous Hunter/Killer. Who knows what that could have done to her, psychologically? We saw no repurcussions of FC in any mainstream DC titles ('cept Flash:Rebirth coming soon), but what an opportunity there- tell the tale of Diana coming to grips with what she'd been forced to become and did under Darkseid's command. Tell it over a 3-4 issue arc, have her reinvent herself in the aftermath. New costume, new mission, new direction (and a simplified and thought-out powerset wouldn't hurt either). Wonder Woman has been both a family and a legacy character- the others in the trinity are the same way. That could be pulled tighter as well.

    But, hey- she's still selling, so it's not like there's a pressing need, is there?

    BNsig.jpg
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    There was a Project Rooftop contest for her.

    One problem I see is that it's hard to reference her Amazon-ness without making her outfit seem too trapped in the past. Outfits that are neither outdated nor swimsuits just don't feel like her, though.

    And for anyone who's wondering, this is what she looks like as a cowboy.
    Spoiler:

  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    In one of Simone's previous arcs, the one in which she pals around with Beowulf, there are a couple different alternate costumes that are used. Obviously they are more suited to the time period she's visiting. But for example, in Beowulf's time, she wears a hardened leather tunic and a pretty cool fur cloak. I thought that was one of the best costume designs I've ever seen for her. Too bad it only got used in like one issue.

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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    There was a Project Rooftop contest for her.

    One problem I see is that it's hard to reference her Amazon-ness without making her outfit seem too trapped in the past. Outfits that are neither outdated nor swimsuits just don't feel like her, though.

    And for anyone who's wondering, this is what she looks like as a cowboy.
    Spoiler:

    Once again, Project Rooftop continues to underwhelm.

    Didn't a poster here come up with a bunch of awesome Wonder Woman designs? They might have even been for that contest. Those designs were awesome.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • IrohIroh Registered User
    edited March 2009
    That battle armor is hugely excessive, and I don't see that translating really well into a full-time thing. The current costume, if nothing else, is iconic. In fact, I think it's one of the character's strengths since it's been the one constant over who knows how much time.

    As for the rest, Gail seems to be breaking her down just to create an opportunity to rebuild, so I'd hang on for awhile before making any claims about how much work Wonder Woman needs.

    Edit: DMAC participated in that contest. He usually runs his stuff through here before choosing one to submit.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
  • TeaSpoonTeaSpoon Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm conflicted about the movie.
    Spoiler:

  • IrohIroh Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Snip

    Wasn't this the design he submitted?
    Yeah, that's the one.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You know, I actually really dig this Project: Rooftop costume for some reason:

    Joel-Carroll.jpg

    “Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”
    Site | The Miami Grindstone | Twitter | Dropbox | Picture by Galen Dara
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I thought that one was one of the stronger entries. It definitely has a much stronger Greek vibe. But the problem is in the coloration. Its still way too patriotic. She's an American Spartan. And that's just silly.

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  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    TeaSpoon wrote: »
    I'm conflicted about the movie.
    Spoiler:

    We aren't supposed to view Amazonian society as perfect or Wonder Woman's judgment as infallible. Hell, if the fact that there was a rebellion in the first place wasn't proof enough that the Amazonian philosophy is a flawed one, the main female villain's last words pretty clearly indicate that a society free from men is doomed to fail because a partnership between the sexes is essential.

    That said, Diana and her people aren't all wrong either, and they both present a great vehicle for social commentary. You just can't let it get too heavy-handed or derogatory, because nobody wants to be lectured about things they already know.

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    How about this, wow:

    donna+in+wonder+woman+v3n1.png

    “Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”
    Site | The Miami Grindstone | Twitter | Dropbox | Picture by Galen Dara
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, that's a good one. But I think that particular picture is actually of Donna when she tried to fill in for Diana for like 2 issues.

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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Yeah, that's a good one. But I think that particular picture is actually of Donna when she tried to fill in for Diana for like 2 issues.

    It is, but I think the costume is good.

    “Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”
    Site | The Miami Grindstone | Twitter | Dropbox | Picture by Galen Dara
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    All you need to do to remove the strangely patriotic element is get rid of the white stars on the blue background. So long as you have white stars, gold stars, or red stars elsewhere, it's still recognizably Wonder Woman.

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Yeah, that's a good one. But I think that particular picture is actually of Donna when she tried to fill in for Diana for like 2 issues.

    Yeah... if we're bringing in costumes from the Wonder family, then the clear winner is...

    wgpic.gif

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Sentry wrote: »
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Yeah, that's a good one. But I think that particular picture is actually of Donna when she tried to fill in for Diana for like 2 issues.

    Yeah... if we're bringing in costumes from the Wonder family, then the clear winner is...

    wgpic.gif

    I cannot say I agree.

    “Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”
    Site | The Miami Grindstone | Twitter | Dropbox | Picture by Galen Dara
  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sentry wrote: »
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Yeah, that's a good one. But I think that particular picture is actually of Donna when she tried to fill in for Diana for like 2 issues.

    Yeah... if we're bringing in costumes from the Wonder family, then the clear winner is...

    wgpic.gif

    I cannot say I agree.

    You sir have no taste. But, to be fair, you can't see the kneepads in that picture. The kneepads bring the whole look together.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • TeaSpoonTeaSpoon Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Also, I'd like someone to give her pants, or maybe the skirt again. The bathing suit is pretty ridiculous.

    The best outfit I've seen is a full suit of battle armor she wore in this most recent arc

    Pic spoilered due to size.
    Spoiler:

    Also, in New Frontier, she's pretty hot in a toga:
    Spoiler:

    Isn't the first one just the same battle armor as from Kingdom Come?

  • WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Somewhat, but KC has more Hoplite-inspired weaponry:

    3236afullbq6.jpg

  • IrohIroh Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I'm still not getting a sense that changing the costume is going to contribute anything substantial to the character.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Iroh wrote: »
    I'm still not getting a sense that changing the costume is going to contribute anything substantial to the character.

    It won't, but I do think people are right to say that the costume exemplifies some of the core problems about the character, namely her conflicting character traits. She's a diplomat from a foreign country, but she's a patriotic symbol for ours. She's a warrior and a female role model, but her costume is impractical for a warrior and does exactly command respect.

    Furthermore, changing her costume is the first step towards changing our perception of her. After all, Luke Cage wouldn't be where he is today if he hadn't ditched his tiara.

  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Wonder Woman could be improved with something as simple as keeping that Gladiator leather skirt thing she had in Final Crisis, and ditching the boots for sandals. Bam. Already WORLDS better.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Wonder Woman and Batman totally should have hooked up for a longer period of time, such a wasted potential there. Bruce and possibly Carter are the only heroes who could really be good in a relationship with her.

    Hawkman + WW = probably doing it in the blood of slain monsters because they just love killing things

    Batman + WW = the only human good enough to schtupp a Goddess

    corel309-Copy_zps0390a6cc.jpg
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Wonder Woman and Batman never struck me as compatible. She's flexible and he's almost completely inflexible, and more importantly deeply judgmental of anyone who doesn't adhere to his moral code.

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Frankly, after the way she was treated after the Max Lord incident, I'm surprised she didn't just say screw it and go back to Themescara.

    Superman and Batman were such complete judgemental pricks.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • TexiKenTexiKen Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Joe Kelly did a good job with the Batman/WW relationship (this was before the forced in Max Lord killing), and took it from this angle:

    Both are stubborn, but are completely fine with the way they do stuff and realizing that they can bring their strengths to the table. Batman never told WW who to punch, just gave a plan that would best use her talents. And she never questioned it because that's all Batman does, is plan. Neither one was the superior one in the relationship, for all 5 issues it was (if that).

    And they were funny together, you had this flirting that worked, because Diana isn't scared of Batman and he knows she's just as quick witted as he is.

    corel309-Copy_zps0390a6cc.jpg
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Yeah, their reactions don't make sense unless there was another way out of that situation, and I don't think even Batman was able to come up with one.

    Are we really supposed to believe that he wouldn't have killed Lord?

  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    That's one thing that actually bothers me about the dynamics of the JLA. Batman is just so damn awesome at everything that it doesn't leave a lot of room for anyone else.

    Wonder Woman was raised as a warrior. She has just as good of a mind for tactics and planning as Batman does, but WW rarely sets the plans for the team. I think they out to make her the strategist for the JLA.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Batman never kills, to the point where he becomes an enabler for all the psychos who continue to murder innocent people who keep escaping after he caught them for the 50th time.

    Superman only killed once, and that's been retconned out, it seems, with Zod coming back.

    corel309-Copy_zps0390a6cc.jpg
  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I personally don't buy the whole "Batman should just start killing" thing,

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I wouldn't call Batman an enabler anymore than the GCPD, Arkham Staff, and government of whatever state Gotham is in are enablers. Ultimately, he's right about it not being his place to decide who lives or dies.

    That said, there are times when it's necessary to kill as a matter of public safety, and in those moments any sane person would be morally required to take a life. Frankly, the only difference between Wonder Woman and most heroes is that she's been placed in one of those situations and the other characters haven't. I don't know why DC Editorial made things happen that way, but in any case I don't think they were right to have the other characters hold WW's decision against her.

  • TexiKenTexiKen Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    He shouldn't kill, but shit, at some point the Joker constantly escaping Arkham should result in putting him somewhere else in the country/world, in a glass box like Magneto in the X-Men movie.

    Superman skirts that issue by being fast enough to respond to most things.

    Wonder Woman kills the one guy who can control Superman, and she was ruined over it. And I wonder if that was more Rucka or Johns, really. Because it was stupid.

    corel309-Copy_zps0390a6cc.jpg
  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    The movie explained the outfit well, and I think to remove the Patriotic elements would also remove the Wonder Woman elements. I'm fine with the bikini, I find the metal and armor and stuff fairly retarded. "only magic hurts me (sometimes again, depending on writer), i'll cover myself in bulky armor for the hell of it.'

    I do agree that she needs a definitive powerset. And I totally see why she was chosen as part of the Trinity, because despite the lack of feature films, she is instantly recognizable to even non-comic fans from like the last 3-4 generations.

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I thought Lord's death was an editorial mandate thing.

  • Calamity JaneCalamity Jane That Wrong Love Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    wonder woman is the creation of a very sheltered man heavily into bondage

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I thought Lord's death was an editorial mandate thing.
    It was. That whole Omac thing was the event that year.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
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