Friday, July 23, 2010

Wonder Woman #600, or, the goddess within us all

I finally got my hands on Wondy #600, and the first printing no less!

There's a whole lot to talk about in here.

The cover - I must be the only person in the world who doesn't like George Perez.  He's given her a rictus grin for gods' sake:

Lynda Carter provides the introduction, which is where the goddess part of the title is taken from.  Carter clearly has a lot of love the character.  Or, she's good at acting like she's got a lot of love for the character.  I'm such a cynic.

There are so many great full pages of art within this book.  All are pretty incredible.  Like this one.  And this one.  These special pieces and all the differing stories really make this issue feel like a true celebration of the character, in a way that Superman 700 didn't.

First story is a team up between Wonder Woman and every other important woman in the DCU.  She called them, they came.  Supergirl and misfit come out with some great dialogue.

Next up is an Amanda Connor written and drawn piece, with Peej and Cass Cain.  And cats!  My favourite thing for Amanda Connor to draw.  This story has a similar cat centric ending as the Wednesday Comics Supergirl strip had.

Louise Simonson's story - a WW/Supes team up - is oh so playful.

And then we have the final story.  Cause of many an outraged squeal.  OK, here's my viewpoint.

This Diana isn't in the same position as she was a few pages before.  She's no longer an experienced fighter, no longer in the trinity and no longer has thousands of years of Greek heritage behind her to support her sense of self.

She is still a warrior.
She is still confident.
She is stills elf sufficient.
She is proud, she is haughty.
She knows her own mind.
She is still regal (even if the outfit isn't).
She is not ordinary.

She is not fragile, incompetent or completely without experience.  She is not soft or trembling, or nervous (which from the Internet outrage I feared she may have been).  She has a change of costume because there if no longer a Themscyria on which she can battle to win the armour.

She doesn't hold all the titles and status she once had, but I have a feeling this Diana will earn them all back, and maybe some more on top of them.

The oracle said ' see what you are fighting to avenge..".  The story ends with the oracle showing Di what has become of Paradise Island.  This has all happened due to a fuckup in time.

Now, here's what I think will happen.

Over the next 12 issues Di will investigate what has happened to her history and her people.  Heads will be cracked.  At the end of the arc the timeline will be restored (hopefully without the Amazons being victims of a mass rape), Diana will have memories of this past year, as will the other DCU heroes (if they interact) and it will weave into part of her backstory, easy as pie.
The costume will at some point revert back to the old familiar one.

I am happy with this option.  I think there is room in the mythos for this story and I think I will enjoy it.  I cannot see this Diana deferring to anyone, so i think it won't be long before she retakes her place in the trinity.

The afterword helps in making things a little clearer.  I wasn't of the opinion that Diana needed a new direction, but then again I didn't buy Simone's run.  Strazynski seems to want to address the tendency among writers to leave WW to stagnate or note use her, because they don't really understand her.  Now, every WW fan will have their own interpretation of the character.  Personally I love Rucka's and Jiminez's run.  Other think Simone's is the best.

Stracynski tackles (albeit obliquely) the sexism surrounding WW, but at the same time displays similar feelings to those he is criticising.  This is unfortunate but sadly not uncommon.

As much as I would never have suggested that Wonder Woman needs a new direction, if they are going to proceed with one, this will hopefully be alright.

I've even forgiven them the jacket.

I shall leave you with this sketch of Wonder Woman, by Nicola Scott (not included in issue 600, but found on the wonderful DCwomenkickingass tumblr.  Her current background art is from WW600).

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