I’ve been a big fan of the rebooted Wonder Woman. I thought Azzarello did a great job boiling down Wonder Woman to basic qualities - strength, loyalty, determination and giving her a bit of a tough edge. He also brought in a good supporting cast. It was a shake-up that was much needed. Add Cliff Chiang’s bold art and you had a terrific team.
But then the third issue came and we found out that the shake-up included Wonder Woman’s origin being thrown out the window. Clay baby? Nope, born of woman and God getting it on.
At that time I said:
… I am not happy with this change. I giving up a lot and the book needs to deliver a kick ass story to justify it. The fact that the team has already done so much outside of this change for the better (and that they’ve been able to create a breakout character like Strife in two issues) and that they have a very firm grasp on their story makes me believe they can.
Superman and Batman would never have had their basic origin fundamentally changed. The fact that Wonder Woman’s has been encapsulates a lot of the problems with female characters at DC. But I’m willing to step over this line for a story that will elevate Wonder Woman and open the door for more female characters on the A list. A rising tide raises all ships, right? But this is it. Wonder Woman is a great character with a rich history; no more big changes.
But today there was.
The formerly peace loving Amazons were shown to be succubi-like killers seducing sailors to get pregnant. No boy babies welcome. You know, like in some of the myths. But you know, not in like the comic book. Mostly.
Look I understand that the writer wants to tell a horror tale. I know the writer wants to get Wonder Woman closer to mythology.
But here’s the truth. The Amazons in the Wonder Woman comic were designed as a tribe of powerful woman. They and their most famous member are symbols for female empowerment. As my friend Kelly Thompson said just last week the Amazons of Wonder Woman and feminism are closely tied together with one almost being code for the other.
And that’s why it is so damn depressing to see the Amazons turned into war mongers, man haters, killers and/or depending what Earth they are on in the DCU, dead Amazons.
But what’s so doubly damn depressing is this issue, this reinvention of these symbols of female empowerment comes on top of, quite frankly, the most depressing few months of being an American woman I can remember. Birth control users called sluts. Laws restricting birth control to be determined not by the women but by others. Transvaginal probes being legislated before a woman can do what she is LEGALLY allowed to do. Feminazis.
So this may be just a plot twist. And it may change. But it’s there. On the page. The most visible representations of female empowerment in comics shown to really be the worst, darkest nightmarish depiction of women.
For me? Wrong time. Wrong character. Wrong message.
And it really bothers the fuck out of me.
Wonder Woman is the most powerful female character in comics. She is probably one of the most recognizable female characters in fiction. She, like Batman and Superman, are characters that you should idealize. But this decision to portray where she came from in this way is like making Ma and Pa Kent into criminals running a black market baby ring or the Waynes - well imagine if Morrison’s representation of them in his run became canon.
The Amazons were her family. Shaped her ideals. Her role models. And now not only have they been taken away, but their ideals presented as empty and fake.
I am happy that Wonder Woman is selling well. I am happy that Wonder Woman has been returned to the Trinity in marketing by DC.
I am not happy with this. Not at all.
But I’m not angry.
I am just very sad.
What for me was a great comic now has an uncomfortable, depressing plot point.