THE NEW (& IMPROVED?) WONDER WOMAN

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.

Although, as far as Wonder Woman redesigns go, I’ve long been partial to the Draxhall Jump version that Wizard Magazine commissioned several years ago:

https://i1.wp.com/i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz113/mylivefriendspacebookster/Graphic%20Novels/DC-6.jpg

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.

  21 comments for “THE NEW (& IMPROVED?) WONDER WOMAN

  1. July 4, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    She looks more like Wonder Girl, than Wonder Woman. The second picture looks more badass.

    Like

    • July 4, 2010 at 2:46 PM

      I agree, the Draxall design makes her look more like a warrior. Though it probably fits more for a Xena Warrior Princess type of live action TV show, than for an ongoing superhero comic-book.

      Like

  2. July 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    I’d like to have faith in JMS’ ability to make this work, but he has been very “hit or miss” for me in most of his work.

    Like

    • July 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM

      I think he’s good, I’ve enjoyed a lot of stuff I’ve read from him, but he has his weak spots. Rising Stars, Spider-Man, and Supreme Power/Squadron Supreme all started off strong, but then hit a wall where it started to get boring for me. Never read his acclaimed run on THOR, although I always meant to check it out. But I’m not interested in his SUPERMAN, either.

      Like

      • niko
        July 6, 2010 at 1:14 AM

        Give JMS’ Thor run a try. Felt kind of weird at first, but it builds into a nice large drama with some really nice action pieces.

        Like

      • July 6, 2010 at 6:27 AM

        I’ll get the first trade eventually, to see how that is.

        Like

  3. July 4, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    I’m going to give a try just because it seems obvious to me that this is temporary, JMS even says in the interviews that WW will eventually figure out that her history has been changed, and work to fix it. So, much like with his “Grounded” story, where Superman walks across America for a year, this is all just one big storyline that could be interesting for awhile, before everything goes back to normal.

    Like

    • July 5, 2010 at 11:27 PM

      I’m more disappointed in his plans for Superman, because that’s the one that had me more excited in the first place. He said he’s been waiting most of his life to write Superman, so I would want to see what he can do with Superman’s traditional status quo. I want to see how he writes Clark, Lois, Jimmy, & Perry @ the Daily Planet, and Superman facing both new and classic villains, etc. This Grounded arc he’s doing reminds me too much of Brian Azzarello’s For Tomorrow arc, which was also supposed to be some kind of “mature” story, but just turned out boring.

      Like

  4. July 5, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    So how would you change Wonder Woman to make her sell more?

    Like

    • July 5, 2010 at 11:54 PM

      Good question. I think I’d basically go the “All-Star Superman” route. Establish an easily identifiable status quo, with a small but steady supporting cast (including a love interest). Give her some big new supervillians to fight, new evil Gods, monsters, aliens, etc. All single-issue stories for @ least a year, so that each one is a potential jumping on point. I don’t really have time to go into more detail, but that’s the general idea.

      Like

  5. July 6, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    You summed up my thoughts exactly, J.R. I think the majority of Gail’s run was great. Others not so much. If this is temporary, this could be pretty fun, too, actually. If not, I have to agree that it’s an awesome idea for a new character, but not an icon with such an established history. If she’s stale, find a way to breathe life into her without starting from scratch.

    I do believe this is temporary, though, so I’m not actually up in arms about it. I’ve been reading comics since ’92, and it really is an elastic forum.

    I guess the most confusing thing to me is how Didio (who I very much respect, by the way) says that DC will be going back to their more iconic interpretations of their characters. Then: this? I don’t get it.

    – Ray

    Like

    • July 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM

      Yeah, we have to bring back Hal Jordan, Barry Allen,Ronnie Raymond, and Ray Palmer, just like they were 20 years ago, but Wonder Woman gets completely changed. Makes no sense.

      Like

  6. Karin
    July 6, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    All I can say is booooooo!!! Really?! Why update Wonder Woman?!? I loved that show growing up! I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I guess things are always needing an update…I’ll just pretent it isn’t happening.

    Like

    • July 6, 2010 at 2:40 PM

      The TV show remains the premier version of Wonder Woman in the eyes of most of the general public but, for some reason, the comic-books have tried to stay away from that version for the last couple of decades.

      Like

  7. July 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    I do not like it either. The jacket is stupid.

    Like

  8. July 23, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    I like the new outfit, but it’s not really super-hero-esque. I’d wear it to a night club.

    Like

    • July 23, 2010 at 2:37 PM

      Yes, that’s the biggest problem, I think. It looks fine if she just wants to hit the club for a night (I wonder what kind of music Wonder Woman would like to dance to?), but not when she’s going out with the Justice League to fight supervillains.

      Like

      • Jason Riley
        July 23, 2010 at 5:08 PM

        Wonder Woman is probably into bands like the Goo Good Dolls and Nickelback.

        Like

      • July 23, 2010 at 7:37 PM

        Those are two of my favorite bands.

        Like

  9. August 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Not bad. I could see myself wearing something like this. I think that’s the idea.

    Like

    • August 13, 2010 at 6:22 PM

      Yes, I think that is the idea, for the “costume” to be something that a regular woman would wear in public. But I think Wonder Woman should look like a superhero.

      Like

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