Last week, Warner Bros. and Machinima releases three prequel cartoons for the upcoming animated film Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Batman starred in the first one, where he stopped an even more deranged than usual Harley Quinn and then went all vampire on her. Superman got the second one, where he wore a trench coat, sported a goatee, and killed a cute little baby Brainiac who couldn’t control his powers. Wonder Woman is the focus of the third Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles episode, “Big”. Let’s take a look:
I’m on the fence about this short. I like a lot of it. This New Gods-based Wonder Woman is a total bad ass, with a cool sword that comes when she calls it and handy access to a boom tube whenever she needs it. Plus she’s definitely got attitude. Her standing back while Steve Trevor got the crap kicked out of him because he insisted that he could handle Giganta on his own was hilarious and great. I always enjoy a Wonder Woman story where Steve is completely useless and Wonder Woman defeats the bad guys with relative ease. I also liked Tamara Taylor’s take on Wonder Woman. She was aloof and tough in enjoyable ways.
I’m more mixed on the sexual aspects of the short. The costume is a tad too revealing for my taste, treading into defying physics territory in the breast area. I thought that the banter about Wonder Woman hooking up with Steve Trevor the night before was kind of amusing, but when she jumped him after the battle I was less amused. This was partly due to the fact that Steve was a dumb, useless jerk throughout the short. He was rude and arrogant, and just no help whatsoever. I’m not entirely sure what a warrior like this Wonder Woman clearly is sees in him, other than convenience.
There is, I suppose, an interesting angle of dominance that puts a twist on William Moulton Marston’s original vision for Wonder Woman that was rooted in women being in charge. Wonder Woman is in control of all of the various kinds of action in this short, and Steve is just along for the ride. At same time, it’s interesting that neither Batman or Superman’s shorts had anything sexual going on, while it came up a lot in Wonder Woman’s. That’s not a great sign for how they see the characters.
Still, she was super bad ass, and that sword is awesome. I’d happily watch her carve up bad dudes in a feature length animated film. After seeing all of the shorts, though, I’m somewhat less excited for the movie. I’d been looking forward to a new take on the Justice League, but it just looks like they’re going dark and gritty with it. By “new take” I wasn’t hoping for “it’s 1998 and superheroes are wearing trench coats and killing people.”
Justice League: Gods and Monsters will be released on DVD and online on July 28. It might be cool, it might not, but Bruce Timm is behind it all so that makes it worth checking out for me.