As I’ve mentioned before, Wonder Woman is one of MY 10 FAVORITE SUPERHEROES. Recently, writer J. Michael Straczynski, has been hired by DC comics to take over the monthly comic-book series, and he has announced a new origin story, as well as a new costume.
First, let me start with the costume. It’s not bad. It would be better with a few tweaks. I get the idea that it’s supposed to be more “practical,” but she is still a superhero, and she needs to look like one, with an iconic, easily recognizable image, just like Superman and Batman. I’d ditch the jacket, and the leggings should be blue with stars. The golden bracelets work, but remove the part that comes up over her fingers, since it makes it look like she’s wearing a pair of carpal tunnel braces. Maybe give her a proper pair of red boots, too.
Now, for the new origin:
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.
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.
This all sounds like a very interesting concept…for an entirely new character. But it’s not Wonder Woman. I’m sorry, but this just seems cheap to me. I admit that Wonder Woman can be a difficult character to “get,” even accomplished writers like John Byrne, Allan Heinberg, and Jodi Picult have struggled on the book in the past, but Straczynski is taking the easy way out, in my opinion. He says:
My goal is to get more people reading the book, and to reinvigorate the character by making her modern while remaining a role model. I’d like her to be accessible to a wider range of people, because she’s a great character and deserves it.
That’s certainly an admirable goal, and one which I agree with. But, to me, the way to do that isn’t to just scrap virtually everything about the character and start over completely. Even if she’s not as popular as her contemporaries, she has existed for about 60 years, and remains a worldwide icon. There is a reason for that. The core concept remains strong, it doesn’t need to be jettisoned with a stunt like this.
So I will be skipping this story initially. If I hear good things about it as the months go on, I will check out the trades, but I’m not optimistic about this.