Thursday, June 22, 2006

In Your Satin Tights

Summer School continues to act as my cruel master. I don’t mean that in the fun S&M sort of way, either. I mean this week dragged along at a snail’s pace, yet I also felt incredibly busy. Clearly if my job keeps interfering with my blogging I am going to need to consider a career change. Fortunately, we only have one week left of Summer School.

In the meantime, I have picked up the relaunch of Wonder Woman, though belatedly. Yeah, I went to my local comics store the day after it hit newsstands. Imagine my frustration when I found that it had already sold out. Apparently the owner did not anticipate the obvious demand for the new Amazon Princess. Is nothing right about this town?

I suppose that I could have driven to the other comic book shop, but it is owned by a scary evangelical Christian. I prefer not to patronize the businesses of the evil. So, I had to wait until the first shop ordered more copies.

Now that I and the world have seen the new book, I feel free to talk about it. I don’t tend to do reviews of comics. There are many other bloggers who do a much better job reviewing comics than I could ever do. They simply know more than I know, for starters.

In this case, though, we are not talking about just any old comic. No, no. We are talking about Super Heroine Number One. My chosen avatar.

After reading it, then rereading it, and then sending it to the labs for testing, let me say that I am cautiously optimistic about Wonder Woman’s relaunch. Of course, the fact that she has an openly gay writer (Allan Heinberg) helps, though that did not help that much the first time she had a gay writer. So, here are the 10 things I loved about the new Wonder-Woman comic and the 10 8 things that still make me nervous.

Let's start with the good:

    10. The return of the eagle on her breastplate. I never, ever, liked the “WW” on her costume. Wonder Woman should have an eagle. Period.

    9. Diana Prince as Wonder Woman’s secret identity. Maybe I am just closed-minded stubborn fearful of change a traditionalist, but I never really understood why they dumped the Diana-Prince angle in favor of making her an Ambassador. The ending of this book, though, suggests that perhaps Wonder Woman will again reclaim her dual-identity.

    8. As a gay man and a historian, I am predetermined to love homages to the past. It is my destiny. So you can imagine the squeals of delight that this book created with the ultimate homage of Diana Prince wearing a white jumpsuit in honor of the misguided “Emma Peel” years of Wonder Woman.

    7. The return of the Diana Prince bun. Oh, yeah, we love a powerful woman with a bun of steel, much like first-season Kathryn Janeway.

    6. Wonder Girl gets beat up – a lot. Okay, see, here is the deal with that: I just never liked Wonder Girl. I didn’t like her when Wonder Girl was supposed to be Diana, just younger. I didn’t like her when she became a separate individual as Diana’s adoptive sister. I didn’t like her when she was part of the Teen Titans. I didn’t like her when Debra Winger played her on the t.v. show (who couldn’t master the spin to save her life!).

    I didn’t follow or care about Wonder Girl’s really bizarre death/rebirth/alternate universe story as Donna Troy. Now I am told there is some new Wonder Girl. Chrissy? Kelly? Cassandra? Whatever.

    Much like I didn’t mind seeing Robin die (who everybody thought was Dick Grayson, but was really Jason Todd, but that is another entry entirely), I would be more than happy to see Wonder Girl expunged from the DC universe. Is it any mystery that Diana didn’t bother telling Donna where she spent the past year?

    5. The comic referred to the Amazon home by both Themyscira and Paradise Island.

    4. Oh, how I loved to see classic Wonder Woman characters back in print. Cheetah? Present. Dr. Psycho? Present (I thought he was dead. Fellow comic-book nerds? Help me out here). Giganta? Present. Steve Trevor? Present (well, kind of).

    3. Even though I don’t care for that skank Wonder Girl (see #6), I liked that she used her earring as a weapon. Now that’s the spirit of Wonder Woman! All of her fashion accessories always served multiple purposes.

    2. References/side jokes to just how useless Steve Trevor always turned out in any mission, ever.

    1. The comic is about Wonder Woman. Really, we don’t need more, do we?

Now, though, we must deal with my gravitas. Yes, I am optimistic, but I have fears:

    8. Themyscira is still gone (again). We can’t have Wonder Woman without Paradise Island.

    7. This comic did not include nearly enough boomerang-tiara action.

    6. That skank Wonder Girl says that the magic lasso only compels people to tell the truth. This is in direct violation of the Marston Wonder Woman. Come on people, the lasso compels people to obey any order, including telling the truth. The first season of the t.v. show reduced the lasso to just truth-telling to keep Wonder Woman from being too powerful (but CBS thought better of that idea when they brought the show to the modern era).

    5. What if Diana does not return as Wonder Woman and we are stuck with that skank Donna Troy, whom we all hate? Allan Heinberg has claimed that Donna will be Wonder Woman for at least five issues. This is not good. We don't like anybody being Wonder Woman except Diana, least of all that skank Donna Troy.

    4. Okay, Diana’s breasts were the size of watermelons – again. I understand this to be part of the Dodson style. I know also that she runs around in a modified Playboy bunny costume. Still, do her breasts need to be inhumanly large? Really?

    3. Not much actually happened in this comic. I mean the art looked great. I loved Diana Prince and her white jumpsuit in the end shot. We didn’t really get much of a story, though.

    2. I want to believe, but how can Wonder Woman develop a secret identity as Diana Prince when the whole world knew her as Wonder Woman, the Ambassador of Themyscira?

    1. DC has constantly found ways to screw up Wonder Woman for the past twenty+ years.

Alright, kiddies, you know that I am ready for the next issue. My fears aside, I have hope for the new Wonder Woman.

If you have not yet bought your copy of Wonder Woman #1, get to your local comic book store now. What the hell is wrong with you?


tornwordo said...

Your passion on this topic is bordering on illness, er I mean, impressive.

Seeker Onos said...

Of course Wonder Woman must have giganto-normous boobies.

The comic is marketed toward the young (ostensibly) straight male population, right?

Of course, she has the Wonder-Bustier(TM) to help her keep rack in place. I just fear for her later senescent years, when as "Wonder Granny" she has such terrible back pain from carrying that luggage around for so many years. :)

Larry said...

One of the fundamental reasons I stopped collecting comics all together is because of the blatant merchandising that invariably leads to artistic compromise. Comic book continuity is a lot like a soap opera. After a certain amount of time, everyone has been married to every one else in town, and often to their own relatives. In comics the avatar form of the hero takes precedence over the actual "human being" that founded the character. So if skank-lass ends up as Wonder woman for five issues, that's really no different than when that psycho nut with the cool armored outfit became Batman, or when Rhodey took over for Tony Stark as Iron Man back in the day.

The good news is that every comic series reboots every now and then, reverting to it's roots so that cycle can begin anew. It would appear that you've bought the issue of rebooting.

ladyjax said...

I bought the new WW for my partner (aka She Who is Deeply Into Wonder Woman) and sat down and had a read.

Like you, I'm cautious in my acceptance of it but I'm willing to give it a go if only to see where the story goes this time. As far as the boobage goes, there's the part of me that just sighs and rolls my eyes at this point because the minute folks bring it up over in comics land, fanboys of all stripes weigh in with the "waaaah, men are exploited too, look at them in spandex" argument or the truly lovely, "well, girls don't really read comics, most of the readers are guys and guys like looking at girls' boobies."

Which only wants me to take out my stick and lay about with revolutionary fervor.

However, I take it as a good thing that sites like are popping up like to challenge the status quo as well as point out stellar depictions of women in comics.

In the meantime, here's hoping Agent Diana Prince has some fab adventures.

Lyle said...

I just realized that you might be the one to answer one of my nagging questions... I've heard the arguments about the problems with the "relevant" era of WW and a few attempts to counter those complaints.

Since I hate back issue bins (and DC hasn't collected the era) I'd be very curious to your take on that WW era. Was it the misguided attempt at feminism that it's mostly remembered as?

BTW, I have a similar reaction as yo to this comic... cautious optimism. I do like the NTT-era Donna Troy and her characterization is was very reminiscent of that era for me. There's some cool ideas going on, I didn't love the story, but the cool ideas will keep me around for a little while.

Anonymous said...

White jumpsuit in the end shot? Wonder Woman would not tolerate misplaced modifiers, especially as they refer to her beautiful bee-hind.

Just kidding, prof.

GayProf said...

Oh, Anon, I never claimed to be GrammarProf.

My spelling is even worse!

marlan said...

Sorry, forgot to sign my name to that one. Annoymarlan here/aka a Grammar Prof in real life.

Marlan said...

That should have been anonymarlan here. Duh, guess I can't spell fake words either.

Perspective of Pete said...

But what about Gem? Wasn't she truly (truly, truly) outrageous?

Anonymous said...

hi! the lynda carter series, her little sister, aka wonder girl was actually drew not donna. i don't know that that makes a difference except that i definitely prefer the name drew.

as a huge fan of ww, i bought and read the new comic...which is my first ww comic ever, matter of fact. i also am feeling the cautious optimism. i shall read the next few too. i won't want to read if donna troy is going to remain as ww though. i like diana prince best.

Roger Owen Green said...

Apropos of nothing, there was a question on JEOPARDY! last week about William Moulton Marston, who invented a lie detector test and created a superhero whose lasso served a similar purpose.

I have no idea what the corect reponse was. Can you help me?

Elizabeth McClung said...

I don't have this comic - in fact to respond to your question "what's wrong with me?" - probably the fact that I don't even know where the comic book store is, is a major issue.

BTW: our city is having a gay dog walk tomorrow - am I going? I go to anything which has those three words in it. But I'll be thinking of you.

chiron said...

I want to see Wonder Woman swing through Chicago...
* Doing outreach programs with Chicagoland Gang Girls, including the Latina Queens. [On ongoing subplot would show gangs competing for bragging rights about helping WW on one of her missions.]
* Kicking alderman ass.
* Kicking pimp ass.
* In flashbacks, kicking Betty Loren Maltese ass.
* Defending activist queers and judges.
* On stage at the opening ceremony of the Gay Games!!!
[Is that too much?]

GayProf said...

Chiron: Screw having Wonder Woman do those things in Chicago. GayProf would love to take on all of those roles himself.

Christopher said...

What the hell is wrong with us? I'd answer, but I really don't think you have that kind of time on your hands, GayProf.

Anyway, I have nothing to add to the WW discussion, I just wanted to note your extraordinary good taste in music this week as evidenced by your sidebar featuring Annie Lennox.