I hope that everyone had a lovely Free Comic Book Day and got loads of great stuff. I had no idea that Drawn and Quarterly was putting out a preview of Kate Beaton’s upcoming Step Aside, Pops, so that was a delightful surprise. Plus I got a Doctor Who comic, some Bob’s Burgers fun, and a peek at some of my favourite characters in Marvel’s All New, All Different Avengers preview. They really need a better name for that, but it looks like it’ll be a fun book. All in all, I picked up a lot of enjoyable comics.
DC’s “Divergence” special is also a comic book. It has words and pictures and things like that. The Batman story was fine, I guess, if you like Batman stories without Batman in them. The Superman story is just straight up ridiculous; don’t even get me started on what DC is doing to Lois Lane right now. It’d be generous to call the final story a Wonder Woman story because she’s only in two panels of it, but it’s definitely an Amazon story. It is also not great.
The New 52 has not been kind to the Amazons. What used to be a feminist utopia in past incarnations is now a cesspool of violence, death, and terrible people. First we learned that the Amazons reproduce by rowing out in their boats and seducing, raping, and murdering male sailors. Also, the made from clay Wonder Woman origin was all a big lie because Hippolyta just hooked up with Zeus. Currently, the Amazons are in the midst of a civil war, with a murderously inclined Donna Troy battling a more peace loving Diana. Paradise Island is in no way living up to its name these days.
“Divergence” gives us another look back at the Amazons past, and it seems that Hippolyta wasn’t the only one to hook up with a god. An Amazon named Myrina apparently had relations with the evil ruler of the New Gods of Apokalips, Darkseid, because on the same night that Diana was born, Myrina gave birth to Darkseid’s daughter. Her birth gave the oracle Menalippe a vision of the future and what the child will bring, specifically the horrors that will visit the Justice League during DC’s upcoming “Darkseid War” event. Myrina is unfazed by Menalippe’s prophecy, and swiftly kills Menalippe and another Amazon named Penelope after they helped her with the birth. She leaves Paradise Island to raise her daughter, Grail:
So, more murdering from the Amazons. Plus more getting it on with bad dudes. Plus more death and violence because of the actions of the Amazons. It’s disheartening to see the Amazons denigrated like this over and over again in this new universe. The Amazons haven’t always been perfect, of course. There have been schisms and fights in the past. But the current Paradise Island is relentlessly bleak. Literally the only good thing to come out of it is Wonder Woman, and even she’s not been so great since the relaunch. It’s frustrating to have the Amazons play a big role in “Divergence”, an important comic that tens if not hundreds of thousands of fans will read because it’s free, and have them be like this.
The new universe is almost four years old now, and a new generation of readers who aren’t familiar with the old DC are going to think that this is who the Amazons are, and that’s just sad. Geoff Johns has said repeatedly that Wonder Woman is set to have a big role in the “Darkseid War” event, which was exciting news initially, but now we know that her increased presence will likely be due to the fact that the offspring of Darkseid is half-Amazon. I’m anticipating a lot of “Oh no, sister, how could you?” when they inevitably clash, and I am not looking forward to it in the slightest. The Amazons deserve so much better than this. Wonder Woman deserves so much better than to be dragged into this poor treatment of the Amazons. During a time when so many female characters are getting such fantastic reboots, it’s frustrating to have Wonder Woman and her mythos be so dark, bleak, and unpleasant.