As we move to the semi-finals of the 2012 DC Woman kick ass tournament I’m running essays for each of the four contenders - Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, Dinah Lance and Wonder Woman - to convince you to vote for them. Earlier today I ran an essay on the case for Stephanie Brown. Here we have an essay by another one of my favorite guest bloggers Tim Hanley. He, unsurprisingly, makes the case for Wonder Woman. His thoughts follow:
All of the women in this tournament are great, but there’s only one character who is the definitive kick ass DC woman. Wonder Woman has been continuously awesome for more than seventy years, weathering every crisis, relaunch, and creative shift thrown at her for well over six hundred issues. She was the first female superhero at DC Comics, and she’s been the standard bearer for female superheroes ever since, kicking ass the entire time.
In the 1940s, when most female characters were trapped in the bonds of a hapless damsel in distress role, Wonder Woman fought in World War Two, taking down the Japanese and the Nazis with ease. Remember how the Japanese set up a base in Mexico during the war? Of course you don’t, because Wonder Woman beat them up and kicked them out. An entire platoon was no match for Wonder Woman:
Superhero comics got goofier than usual when the Silver Age began in the 1950s, and although she was fighting pterodactyls and giants instead of armies, Wonder Woman was still a force to be reckoned with. Even when a nefarious fiend shot her with a shrink ray, Wonder Woman just hopped on a firefly and took him down:
Wonder Woman gave up her Amazon powers in the 1960s, but even as a normal human she was unstoppable. She learned several forms of martial arts and became a one-woman globetrotting vigilante. No one could stand in her way:
In the 1970s, Wonder Woman returned to her Amazon roots and became a feminist symbol of the women’s liberation movement when she appeared on the first cover of Ms. magazine. That’s a whole different kind of kick ass:
Wonder Woman died saving the universe during Crisis on Infinite Earths in the 1980s, but she soon returned in a much acclaimed relaunch. Caught in the middle of the constant conflicts of the Greek gods, Wonder Woman defeated every mythological creature George Perez threw at her (and he threw damn near everything at her!!):
Although Wonder Woman had a rough time of it in the 1990s, she remained as formidable as ever. She died briefly, had to work at a fast food taco restaurant, and endured one of the worst costumes known to man for a little while, but still she fought on, even when an upstart Amazon challenged her for her title:
In the 2000s, Wonder Woman made the hard choices that no one else wanted to, and took a lot of flak for it. The universe was literally falling apart at the seams in the lead up to Infinite Crisis, and when Max Lord took control of Superman, Wonder Woman did what had to be done:
Lately, Wonder Woman hasn’t had the best time of it. The 2010s brought a bungled revamp, followed by the New 52 relaunch. The new series has had some great moments, but it’s also been tough for Wonder Woman. Her mom was turned into a statue, she was betrayed by a close friend and has generally been played at every turn, and she learned that her Amazon sisters were rapists and murderers. Plus now she’s hooking up with Superman, so she’s got the world’s biggest square for a boyfriend. Nonetheless, she’s still epicly kick ass, and knows that sometimes you just have to headbutt a centaur:
Wonder Woman has kicked a lot of ass, literally, but she’s also impressive for what she’s overcome while doing so. Not only was Wonder Woman one of the only ongoing series for a female superhero in the 1940s, it was one of the very few books that survived the collapse of the genre after World War Two. When comic books were tied to juvenile delinquency in the 1950s, Wonder Woman was called out by name in Dr. Fredric Wertham’s famed screed against comics, Seduction of the Innocent. Wonder Woman made it through a widely panned revamp in the 1960s, kept on trucking when DC imploded in the 1970s, and came back to life in the 1980s to be a huge leadoff book for the post-Crisis era. Flip through any 1990s issues of Wonder Woman after Perez left and you’ll see what kind of art the poor woman had to endure in that decade. She saved Superman, and probably the world, in the 2000s, but was villified for doing so. The odds are always stacked against Wonder Woman, and she always overcomes them.
This is because Wonder Woman is extremely versatile. She’s a wise diplomat, but she’s also a fierce warrior. She’s a princess from a mythical world, but she also has a human identity with the mundanity that entails. She’s the most kind and loving person on the planet, but she will also destroy you if she has to. She regularly saves the entire universe, but she’ll also take the time to help out a tearful child. In the realm of superheroes, no matter the scope of the problem, whether it requires the utmost delicacy or the most brutal ferocity, whether it’s an advanced society or a creature of pure savagery, whether it’s better to talk or it’s better to fight, Wonder Woman is ALWAYS the best person for the job.
Wonder Woman is the most kick ass DC woman because she will kick ass in any way, in any situation, and she’s been doing so for seven decades. That’s exactly why she’s been around for seven decades: You just can’t stop her. She’s been there since the beginning, and she’ll be there until the end. Wonder Woman is THE kick ass DC woman.