It’s the big buzz in the comics world. Not only do some of my favorite blogs discuss it, but so does the national news. Wonder Woman has a new wardrobe.

The responses?

Slay, Monstrobot: “But here’s the key, I think–it’s not a DC costume. It’s a Marvel costume.”

Trusty Plinko Stick: “(T)his is the deal for now, and I’m sure that if we ever do see a Wonder Woman movie come out of Hollywood, this (or something inspired by this) is what she’ll end up wearing. Hell, I’d be shocked if that wasn’t the impetus for the change in the first place.”

Four Color: (In response to a comment made in an interview) “Umm, JMS, Diana did change her costume design at least once before, when Denny O’Neil was writing the series in 1969-73. And what man wears pretty much the same outfit since his debut in 1938? Superman! The one time he really changed his costume was in 1997, and nobody cared for that either.”

BW Media Spotlight: “Meh.”

Those are just some of my favored blogs. I may hear more about it at ConnectiCon, but apparently the response isn’t all that positive in comics community. Gary at Crisis On Earth’s Prime makes the same case I would, that this is a temporary situation. DC and Marvel head honchos for decades have been against permanent change. It’s more surprising when it goes through. And from what I read, this seems more like a story arc than the “new direction” I’ve heard it referred as.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some issues with J. Michael’s reasoning. Linkara sums that up better than I can. In essence, JMS wants to tone down Wonder Woman. I think he just wants to write an origin story or something akin to “Ultimate Wonder Woman”, to swipe a concept from Marvel. I personally wouldn’t mind if this was an actual “Elseworlds” title, but why do it in the regular title? Then there’s this notation:

In Wonder Woman’s recent history in the past four or five years:
-Paradise Island was transported away during the events of Infinite Crisis.
-Wonder Woman got a secret identity and became a DEO agent.
-The Greek Gods were captured in Countdown for reasons that are still confusing and stupid.
-Paradise Island returned and lead to Amazons Attack, and I think we all know how I feel about that one.
-At the end of Amazons attack, Diana was forbidden from returning to Themyscira and all the Amazons’ memories were erased.
-The Amazons’ memories were returned and they returned to the island at the behest of a freed Zeus, who planned to strip them of their immortality as a reward for their faithful service. Zeus also set up a tribe of men as a counterpoint to the Amazons to try to finish the task they started in changing the world.
-Zeus expelled Diana from the island when she refused to follow this path and Diana renounced the Greek pantheon, pledging her fealty to the Hawaiian Gods (it’s complicated – read the trades)
-The DEO’s operations center where Diana worked was destroyed and she abandoned her secret identity.
-The whole thing turned out to be a plot by Ares and Zeus apologized for his stubborn ways and declared that Diana was right, allowing her to be loyal to her Gods again.

Where in all of that is a status quo that has lasted enough years for there to be something that needs to be “shaken up?” The problem with a lot of writers is that they DON’T read the books that came before, so they have a preconceived notion of who a character is and what the stories have been like.

There hasn’t been a status quo in most comics from the big two. Events sell well, so they decided that EVERYTHING is going to be an event, so they can sell the stories again in trades. It’s like when professional wrestling started going hardcore because of ECW, or even ECW itself. People like cage matches, no holds barred matches, etc. So why not give them nothing but that?

Simple, because it is the rarity that interest people. You know all those stories about kids wishing it was Christmas every day, getting their wish, and then finding it boring? Christmas comes once a year. That makes it special. If you have something every day, it’s just a normal thing. It’s why most people have a variety in clothing or what they have for breakfast (like I’m one to talk there, but my diet is weird). Variety is good, but in the entertainment industry, if something looks good, everyone wants to have their version. Heck, in a forum post today I referred to Jake & Leon as Comic Critics meets You Can’t Do That On Television.

There are those who would call her usual outfit sexist, and JMS himself points out that people wonder why she doesn’t pop out of her outfit. (You know, while flying around, either by herself or using an invisible jet, and punching monsters and stuff. We have to have our realism, after all.) Someone else pointed out…

…that we’re still getting our gratuitous cleavage shots in just fine. So we have a powerless Wonder Woman with a low-key costume. Again. This happened in the 70’s until the feminists protested. Why repeat the same mistake? Although in this version she’ll slowly regain her powers and try to restore the original reality that she know nothing about, it still sounds like it would be better suited as an Elseworlds title.

As for the outfit itself, it’s not that bad an outfit, were it on a different character.. She still has the tiara, although she gives up the star-studded blue shorts. I don’t understand why JMS and the costume’s designer, Jim Lee seem to think that’s a bad idea. Also, the updated bracelets ignore the history that they have to the Amazons as set by other writers, but still look pretty cool.

The part that gets me most from the Newsarama interview everyone’s using is where JMS comments on the use of supporting cast:

Finally, there’s the problem of her being overwhelmed by her mythology and her supporting characters. When writers don’t know what to do with a character, they build up the supporting cast and universe to kind of hide that fact. After a while, you can no longer see the character for the underbrush. When that happens, you need to bring out the weed-whacker to clear some of that away so you can focus on the main character.

Fine, but considering the supporting cast is rare to gone in the mainline comics these days, the metaphoric lawn looks horrible. Wonder Woman’s supporting cast has been mistreated with every new writer, even turning one of her friends under one writer into a supervillain under another while writers in between just wrote her out.

As for “being overwhelmed by her mythology”, I can’t understand that, especially from a guy whose biggest success was a mythology he created while he was in the shower.

JMS wants the readers to give the new Wonder Woman a chance (for however long it takes to restore what passes for a status quo), but between this and the equally low-key take on Superman, he’s not inspiring a lot of confidence. And considering his “cred”, that’s pretty bad.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. snell says:

    Given JMS’s recent Marvel history (The Twelve, Supreme Power), it’s not inconceivable that he’ll bail out and leave Superman and Wonder Woman with his arcs only half finished…if we’re lucky.

    The phrase “overwhelmed by the mythology” is just codeword for “F@#$ every writer who came before me.” Seriously, it’s not like Wonder Woman was X-Men or something. If you can’t explain the concept of Wonder Woman in 20 words, that’s your fault, not the fault of Gail Simone et al.


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