This memorable moment is written by Ragnell/Lisa Fortuner who is one of the best bloggers around about women and comics. In addition to her blog, Written World, she was was one of the co-founders of the link blog “When Fangirls Attack” and its new companion, “Dispatches from the Fridge.” Ragnell has a deep love for Golden Age Wonder Woman making her perfect for this moment.
Ragnell is writing about the moment in Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier where Wonder Woman tells Superman off. Here are her thoughts:
I’ve no doubt there are many people who remember DC: The New Frontier #2 for the words and the image of a powerful woman standing up to a powerful man, but what really grabbed me here was overall impression of Wonder Woman herself.
This scene is such a perfect depiction of Wonder Woman. When we first see her she’s larger than life and twice as bright, bursting with wine and song and surrounded by free women. She’s full of vitality, earthly, bold and brash, offering wine to a scandalized Superman. She reveals without shame what she’s done to empower other women, and brokers no illusions about her true priorities: She is for living,breathing people who have been trod upon by evil. She doesn’t judge those who act brutally in response to brutality. She knows the most important act of freedom is individual choice, and the most important way to keep that freedom is to have the skill, knowledge and power to back up those choices.
Even world-weary, she believes in other women. And when her own peers judge her harshly, she sticks to those priorities. Her ideals and her joy boost her from the depths of this wartime hell and let her hold the moral high ground against Superman himself.
Diana’s taller than Kal not just for Golden Age accuracy, but for thematic emphasis. Superman in this scene is the conservative state-sponsored voice, the ethics that come from following the rules set down by an authority and Wonder Woman is the individual conscience, the ethics that require you to evaluate the situation and look at the experiences of real humans. In this situation, a world of war and misery, she had to weigh following the rules and leaving things be, saving others but making them dependent on her by taking care of the men herself, or making the means to stand for themselves available without casting judgment by leaving the weapons out for the inevitable result and then staying to help them rebuild the village. Not everyone can understand or appreciate Wonder Woman’s solution, but the text itself clearly supports her. She’s doing as she’s always done, being true to herself and her mission. Wonder Woman’s a character most writers and readers describe as difficult to pin down because her core essence is tough to define, but moments like these make it obvious. She’s the clear-sighted one. She’s the one who sees both the lofty ideals and the human experience of every situation. She’s the one who keeps her center when everyone else is lost and separated. She’s the unflinching truth of the DC Universe. She’s the only character who can conceivably look down on the flagship character of the DC Universe—a guy who represents the basic idea of a superhero—throw his unreasonable condemnations back in his face and say “There’s the door, Spaceman.”