Posts Tagged ‘Amazons’

Wonder Woman #64 Review: Angry Neighbourhood Spider-God

February 13, 2019

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This run of Wonder Woman has been excellent so far, bringing back some old divine favourites while asking interesting questions about the nature of heroism in the modern world. Plus it’s been all sorts of entertaining, with high drama, cool action, and comic relief from a crew of mythological creatures. There’s also been a mystery running through these issues, the question of where did the gods come from, and what happened to Olympus? And, more importantly for our heroine, what happened to Themyscira? We get some answers this week, but I don’t know that I trust the source. If I’ve learned anything in my decades of reading superhero comics, it’s to never believe what a villain tells you. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you haven’t read this issue yet!

We are about to discuss its revelations!

In great detail!

I’ll be honest with you, gang, this is the weakest issue of the current run thus far. Now, this run has been super good, so it’s a high bar, but even setting aside that comparison, this issue is okay at best. A lot of it is due to the art. What I’d feared a few weeks back has come to pass. Fill-in artists are a hit or miss game, and Jesus Merino and Andy Owens have missed with this one. The entire issue falls flat visually, with bland design choices that left me feeling like I was reading a comic from the mid-90s. Wonder Woman was drawn inconsistently, the design for Nemesis was uninspired (she’s a spider, I guess?), and everything just seemed out of sync with the rest of the run.

So many little things were noticeably off. Veronica Cale’s hair, for example. It’s a small, insignificant matter, really, but she didn’t have bangs two weeks ago and now she does. It’s a continuity failing that’s exacerbated by the fact that Merino and Owens are not particularly good at drawing bangs, either. Her hair looked terrible, and there was nothing else in the book to counter the many poor artistic choices.

I wish the editors would put more effort into the book’s art, especially with G. Willow Wilson writing such a good run. Double shipping has been the bane of the artistic world for years now at DC, with so many books looking subpar because of the breakneck schedule. But DC makes it work for some titles! Batman always looks good. If it’s not Mikel Janin, it’s Joelle Jones, or Tony Daniel, or Clay Mann, or Lee Weeks. They find artists who fit each step of the story, and clearly plan things out well.

There doesn’t seem to be that level of planning with Wonder Woman. Cary Nord obviously got overwhelmed by the schedule quickly, and we haven’t seen him in a while now. Xermanico was a great fill in, and Emanuela Lupacchino’s issue was a delight, but this outing has some bad art that just doesn’t match the caliber of what we’ve seen before, nor does it feel like it’s part of the same story.

The writing this week wasn’t as enjoyable either. It was better than the art made it look, certainly, but the story felt a bit repetitive. We’ve got Wonder Woman fighting a god, again. We’ve got a villain trying to make her feel bad for being a superhero while making some interesting points, again. As much as I love the interrogation of heroism we’ve seen in this run so far, Veronica Cale’s angle was less compelling than Ares’ approach earlier on. Also, we know how angry Cale is. With Ares, there was a bit of mystery. We didn’t know why he was there or what his angle was. Cale’s just super mad at Wonder Woman, and trying to tear her down because of the powerful grudge she’s held since her daughter was taken from her. Knowing all of that, it’s hard to put much stock in her critique.

Nemesis reveals that the realm of the gods has been destroyed as well, which is why Cale is extra upset. No gods means no Amazons means no daughter, so she’s understandably angry. Both Nemesis and Cale tell Wonder Woman that the Amazons are gone, and for some reason she just accepts it? I know we need to end the issue on a dramatic moment, and Diana flying off with tears streaming down her face offers us that, but I feel like our gal is smarter than this. Wonder Woman’s all about hope and, more importantly, the truth. I don’t think she’d just take the word of two villains at face value, even if one was wrapped up in the lasso of truth. What Nemesis believes to be true isn’t necessarily what happened, and Wonder Woman should be wise enough to know that. Instead, she seems to be shaken to her core.

I’m no Wonder Woman, but I do know that if Veronica Cale told me anything, I’d automatically believe the opposite to be true. So from my perspective, the goods news here is that the Amazons must still be around. Themyscira might be in trouble, but the Amazons are resilient. I think they’re somewhere, if not in Themyscira than elsewhere, with Veronica’s daughter, too. If Wonder Woman won’t have hope, then I will!

The story continues in two weeks’ time, with Jesus Merino and Andy Owens on art again. I’m not terribly excited for that after seeing this issue, but Cary Nord is set to be back in March. After a couple months off, I’m optimistic that he’ll return with some high quality art. And I’m confident that Diana will shake off her sadness and resume her search for the Amazons. Veronica Cale can’t be right! They’re somewhere, and Wonder Woman will find them, I’m sure.

Wonder Woman #23: The Truth is Finally Revealed

May 24, 2017

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With Greg Rucka’s time writing Wonder Woman nearing its end, all of the threads are starting to come together now. This week was the finale of “The Truth,” then we’ve got an annual next week, the finale of “Godwatch” two weeks later, and then one last issue that wraps everything up in Wonder Woman #25 two weeks after that. So basically, we’re a month away from the conclusion of one of the best Wonder Woman runs ever. It’s sad, but at the same time it’s always felt like a story that has a definite end. There were questions to be answered, and now that we’re getting the answers it’s clear that things will wrap up in a satisfying way that adds fascinating new dimensions to the Wonder Woman mythos. We’ll dig into the finale of “The Truth” momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to discuss EVERYTHING that happens in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Wonder Woman #21 left us somewhat puzzled. The issue ended with Wonder Woman and Veronica Cale finding Ares, but he didn’t at all seem like the Ares we’d encountered in “Year One.” That first Ares was all angry bluster, decked out in armor while talking in fiery proclamations and demanding respect and obedience. This new Ares just looked like a pretty chill, friendly dude, so what was up? That mystery, and several others, were solved with this issue.

We quickly learned that the first Ares was Phobos and Deimos impersonating their father, and that the second Ares was the true Ares, who’d been imprisoned beneath Themyscira all along. After he was consumed by war and driven mad, Aphrodite had locked up Ares in chains forged by Hephaestus and tasked the Amazons with watching over his prison. This was the first step in what became “The Lies,” or Diana’s false memories of her home after she left Themyscira; the location of Ares’ prison was such an important secret that the gods not only wiped away all memories of her true home but also created a false reality lest she seek to understand the hole in her memory. Ensuring that Ares was never freed again was paramount, and keeping the location of Themyscira hidden was key to that, thus the deception.

But Wonder Woman isn’t a normal mortal, so of course she eventually realized that something was up. I like that despite all of the gods working together to create this elaborate ruse, Wonder Woman still found the truth. The gods feared her strength of purpose from the beginning and did their damnedest to keep her in the dark, and even against these odds she figured it out. Or, in short, nevertheless she persisted. Sounds like Diana to me.

The revelations in this issue brought everything from the past year of Wonder Woman together tremendously well, and looking back we can see Rucka’s full plan unfolding. The truth behind the lies was a clever, intricately plotted mystery, and I can appreciate why it took so long to finally get the answers we were so hungry for when the book began. All four arcs weave together to get us to this point where finally everything makes sense. It was very well executed and smartly done, but beyond all of that it’s a conclusion that pays respect to Wonder Woman’s history and sets her on a new path that embraces key elements of her past.

With Ares’s imprisonment and Wonder Woman’s handling of Phobos and Deimos, we see the Marston era’s focus on love and submission. Ares didn’t find peace through the binding of some magical chains; he found it through Aphrodite and her ability to see through his madness and love his true self. So too did love help Wonder Woman, as her compassion and forgiveness allowed her to overpower Phobos and Deimos, the embodiments of terror and panic. They came expecting a fight, and instead found an acceptance that they’d never known, which overwhelmed them and eventually freed them. And, just like their father wearing Aphrodite’s chains, this freedom came through binding, via the lasso in this instance.

Meanwhile, the notion of Themyscira as a gateway and the Amazons as its guardians dates back to the Perez era. Liam Sharp underscored this reference when he drew the Amazons coming out of the water, just as they were created in the second Wonder Woman #1 way back in 1987. Both Nicola Scott’s and Sharp’s take on Ares were clearly inspired by Perez’s designs as well, and we can see similar touchstones with both of their takes on the Amazons.

So we can see the Marston and see the Perez, yet at the same time this take on Wonder Woman is something new as well. Rucka’s borrowed old elements and reshaped them into a new status quo for Wonder Woman, the Amazons, and the mythos as a whole. We’ve still got a few issues to go, but at present it looks like the Amazons will remain separate and hidden from the outside world to keep Ares at bay. Phobos and Deimos may be defeated, but there is no shortage of fools who wish to unleash war upon the world. If the interaction between Diana and Hippolyta at the end of the issue is the last we see of them together for some time, it’s a heartbreaking and powerful moment to close on.

And yet, there is hope. Because she was split between our world and Ares’ prison, Veronica’s daughter Izzy can’t re-enter the world. But since Themyscira is connected to Ares’ prison, she can live there among the Amazons. The daughter of Wonder Woman’s greatest enemy living with her family when she can’t is a brilliant stroke on several levels: On the one hand, she has what Wonder Woman desires most, but on the other hand she’ll be away from her mother and raised by her mother’s nemesis’ family. It’s a move that stings both Wonder Woman and Veronica, yet at the same time one they seem to know is for the best. Wonder Woman knows that Themyscira must stay hidden, and it seems that Veronica knows that perhaps she’s not the best influence. Furthermore, having a human girl among the Amazons maintains a link to the outside world, one that could conceivably lead to a larger reconnection some day.

Overall, Rucka and Sharp have wrapped up “The Truth” very well and explained the major mysteries behind their run on Wonder Woman in an excellent fashion. There’s still a lot of story left to tell here, but the core question of the run has been solved in a clever, satisfying manner. I’m curious to see how everything shakes out over the next few issues before this run concludes. If this issue is any indication, Rucka and his fine artists will stick the landing nicely.

DC Announces New Miniseries, The Odyssey of the Amazons

October 13, 2016

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Wonder Woman has been one of the bigger hits of DC’s “Rebirth” initiative, and now the world of the Amazons is set to be explored further in a new mini-series, The Odyssey of the Amazons. Written by Kevin Grevioux with art by Ryan Benjamin, the book will debut this January. Here’s the official description:

THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1 is a brand-new miniseries set in the world of Wonder Woman from writer and actor Kevin Grevioux (New Warriors, Underworld) and artist Ryan Benjamin (BATMAN BEYOND). Years before the birth of Princess Diana, a group of Amazons set out on a globe-spanning quest to find others of their kind, encountering legendary creatures and beings along the way. But their journey soon turns into a rescue mission as two of their own are captured by the legendary Storm Giants of Norse mythology. It’s up to their leader, the stalwart Hessia, to keep them together through the many trials that lie ahead. The series will run for six issues.

I’m very excited that the world of Wonder Woman is finally expanding beyond her one core book. Characters like Batman and Superman have had entire families of comics for decades that follow both the main heroes and their many allies and partners. Wonder Woman’s only had Wonder Woman since the early 1950s, and while this is just a mini-series, hopefully it’s an exploratory step towards a larger presence for Wonder Woman down the line.

Now, at the same time, this seems like a bit of a weird book. It could definitely be cool; some Amazons going off on adventures sounds like a lot of fun. But I find it a bit curious that Hessia is in the mix, given that she was a part of the New 52 incarnation of the Amazons which seems to be in the process of being replaced with Greg Rucka’s run. It’s not like Hessia had much of a presence either, apart from a handful of appearances. Someone classic like Phillippus or another of the new Amazons Rucka has introduced might make more sense. The blank slate-ness of the character could be interesting, though, allowing Grevioux and Benjamin to make something new and cool.

Also, we’ve only got the cover art, but it feels very different than the Amazons Nicola Scott is drawing in “Year One” right now. The style is different, and their long legs and high cut briefs remind me more of Mike Deodato’s time on Wonder Woman than the Amazons current look. Benjamin’s a good artist and I’ve enjoyed some of his past work. The cover just feels a bit at odds with where the Amazons are now.

I’m hoping that this mini-series is being done in consultation with everyone who’s working on the main Wonder Woman book, lest we get anymore Amazon confusion. With “The Lies” still unfolding, everything is up in the air, and something that at first glance appears very disconnected from the current run might further muddy the water. So long as everything stays under Mark Doyle’s editorial auspices like the current Wonder Woman run, everything should be fine, but the gods help us all if this is somehow an Eddie Berganza book. Folks would FLIP. OUT.

The Odyssey of the Amazons is set to debut on January 18, 2017, and I look forward to checking it out! Here’s hoping it’s a fun expansion of the world of the Amazons!

Wonder Woman #2 Review: A New Yet Iconic Origin

July 14, 2016

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Sometimes a comic book just feels right. It taps into what you love about a character and captures a sense of her and her world in a way that fits perfectly with your view of both. We’ve gotten lots of different versions of Wonder Woman over years in lots of different continuities and, like most fans, my vision of the character isn’t connected to any particular incarnation but is rather an amalgam of aspects of many of them; a little Marston, a little Perez, a hint of Simone and Jimenez. A bit of Lynda Carter and a bit of Susan Eisenberg. It all adds up in my mind to something that doesn’t exist in full form in the real world, yet is THE Wonder Woman in my head. Wonder Woman #2 captured a lot of that for me. This felt like Paradise Island, the women captured who I think the Amazons are, and Diana was who I always want her to be. It was a great start to this “Year One” story that I’ve been very much looking forward too, and we’ll discuss it all momentarily but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal many of the major plot elements in this comic book!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

And go buy it; it’s great!

This isn’t like the old days when Wonder Woman sucked and it was easier to just read a review than subject yourself to a crappy comic each month!

Go read it and enjoy it!

I liked Wonder Woman #1, but it was good not great for me. It got the ball rolling on a bunch of things, but it was a pretty laid back, spacious first issue. While Wonder Woman #2 isn’t particularly jam packed either, there’s a lot more going on even if it a lot of it might not be particularly plot based. What happened can be summed up pretty quickly: Diana’s a princess of the Amazons, she wants to see the outside world, and one night Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island. It’s all fairly standard Wonder Woman origin stuff. But the world building and character building behind it all is what makes this comic great.

Let’s start with Steve Trevor, for a change. I always find it hard to give a hoot about Steve Trevor, but Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott make him an instantly likeable character with just a few pages that flash through moments in the years leading up to his arrival on Paradise Island. The scenes go through Steve’s military training and his friendship with a fellow soldier named Nick, who actually gets a fuller arc; we see him on his first date with his future wife, then his wedding, then the birth of his first child, then his tragic death in the plane crash that brings Steve to Diana. Through Nick’s story, we get a sense of the man Steve is, a good friend, a good soldier, and an all around good man. He’s still not the most exciting guy in the world; I don’t think he ever could be, really. The man is doomed to be overshadowed by Wonder Woman, after all. But the story establishes that Steve is a guy worth rooting for.

With Diana, Rucka and Scott establish several of the hallmarks of the character. She’s kind and funny, a great warrior, and a wonderful daughter. She also wants to get the hell out of paradise, though not in a petulant, brooding way. Her entire existence has been confined to this island, while all of her sisters have spent time in the outside world before the Amazons departed it. She’s curious, and while she clearly loves her home and her sisters, she wants more.

We also get canonical acknowledgement of same-sex relationships on Paradise Island, particularly some involving Diana herself. It seems that she’s had a variety of paramours over the years, and that many of her fellow Amazons are interested in her; she’s the cool girl that everyone has a crush on. We’ve seen same-sex relationships among the Amazons before, most recently in Wonder Woman: Earth One and The Legend of Wonder Woman, but it’s good to see Diana in the mix too. And in a way that comes off well. There’s not much in the way of jealousy and strife among her would-be suitors, just earnest longing. It stands in stark contrast to Wonder Woman: Earth One, in which her relationship with Mala was a rather toxic and uncaring.

The most intriguing part of the issue for me was the mysterious snake that bites Diana and renders her ill, seemingly for some time. The snake appears in a bizarre tree that Diana has never seen before, and has glowing red eyes. Its bite knocks Diana unconscious, and her recovery takes a while. The snake and the tree aren’t discussed much, but it’s clear that they’ll play a role moving forward. Perhaps this may be one of the connections to the story in the odd-numbered issues that Rucka has hinted at, some sort of link to the lies that plague Diana in the present day.

But back in the past, she’s just a curious gal who wants to see the world. It’s understandable, even though Scott has built a spectacularly gorgeous world around her. Her rendering of the island feels like the platonic ideal of Paradise Island to me; it’s classic but unique, with a beautiful city area and lush surroundings. It’s everything I think of when I imagine the home of the Amazons.

Scott also does a phenomenal job with the island’s residents. While Scott has drawn Wonder Woman before, and did an excellent job when she did, her work is even better now. She’s definitely grown as an artist over the years, and I think it shows most in the clear yet subtle emotion she brings to her characters. Diana’s interactions with her mother demonstrate this particularly well; even without the dialogue, you can see the warmth and love they have for each other as clear as day, and the characters are expressive but not overly so. It feels natural and real, something that’s tricky to achieve in artwork.

The colors enhance the beauty of the book as well, and I’m so glad to see Romulo Fajardo Jr. will be coloring this half of the series. His work on Wonder Woman ’77 was phenomenal, and often brought the book to live, even when he didn’t have the best art to work with. Paired with Scott’s fantastic linework, Fajardo’s colors make the book sing. It’s a gorgeous issue from start to finish, and while I very much wanted to devour it to see what happens next, the artwork drew my attention and kept me poring over each page.

All together, this first issue of “Year One” was a great start. It could perhaps be called slow or even “decompressed”, but it was so in a way that I think it needed to be to establish a new tone for Paradise Island and the Amazons. The New 52 run diminished both considerably, degrading them and turning this noble group of women into a bunch of hateful rapists and murderers. Rucka and Scott bring joy and peace and kindness back to the Amazons here, and establish a new status quo that overwrites the errors of the past. We still don’t have much insight into how Wonder Woman remembers two pasts or who is behind “The Lies” that are being pursued in the odd-numbered arc, but we do have the classic Amazons back and that’s what I was hoping for above all else in this run.

First Image of the Amazons in the Wonder Woman Movie Debuts

March 24, 2016

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting theaters tomorrow, Warner Bros. is already ramping up the excitement for their next major superhero feature, Patty Jenkins’ upcoming Wonder Woman film. We’ve seen only small teases of the film, due out in theaters in June 2017, and most of them have been set in England during World War One rather than on Diana’s mythological home. But that ends today! Entertainment Weekly has premiered a picture of four Amazons, including some familiar characters:

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From left to right, we’ve got Lisa Loven Kongsli as Menalippe, Gal Gadot as Diana, Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as Antiope. Diana was raised by the three women who surround her, a triumvirate of mothers with different focuses ranging from the military to ruling.

My first reaction to the image is a bit of a shrug, to be honest. Which isn’t a good sign, seeing as that’s how I’ve met every Wonder Woman-related reveal thus far, dating back to her first Batman v Superman image; they’re just not releasing exciting pictures for some reason. But at the same time, despite the ho-hum first pic, Wonder Woman looks AMAZING in the Batman v Superman trailer and is poised to be the film’s breakout star, so first impressions aren’t necessarily all that important.

I’m more excited in theory than in practice. It’s so cool that a Wonder Woman film is on the way and that we’re going to get Amazons on the big screen, and they all look suitably bad ass. However, while the photo is slightly brighter than Batman v Superman‘s dark, muted palette, it’s still pretty flat. There’s not a lot of colour here. Not that it needs to be bright and garish or anything, but all of these costumes are crying out for a pop of something to liven them up and give each outfit a little character rather than this sort of blah brownness.

Along the same lines, this armor isn’t particularly unique or special or “Amazonian” to me. It’s fine and all, but it’s all stuff I’ve seen before, a sort of mash up of Vikings and Thor and maybe a bit of the Immortals. It lacks any sort of origin in fun versions from the comics, but in going in a new direction it’s actually not all that different or cool. These are women who have been separated from the outside world for thousands of years; they should have a rad, awesome look that is totally their own.

Also, these are some dour looking gals. I get that they’re going for tough, warrior women, but Amazons who aren’t smiling just aren’t Amazons to me. Being an Amazon should be a blast: You’re awesome at everything, you’ve got no bros cramping your style, and your society is advanced and pretty much utopian. I’d like to see a little more joy in the photo, or a little more fun. Just something other than this stare down.

This photo is really white, too, which is a bad call for a few reasons. First, where is Phillipus? She’s been a key part of the Wonder Woman mythos for decades now as Hippolyta’s general (and lady friend), and is a fan favourite. Her military role seems to have been taken over by Antiope here, though hopefully Phillipus is just off to the side and we’ll see her in the actual film. But for the four main Amazons that Warner Bros. decided to debut, it’s all white women, despite the fact that the Amazons have been portrayed as a multi-ethnic group in the comics for some time. Moreover, if you want to get all “historical” about it, the Amazons shouldn’t be white at all, nor have any Greek trappings; in the ancient stories, the Amazons are defined by their lack of Greekness and are usually depicted as originating in Northern Africa or the Middle East. So yeah, all white ladies is dumb on multiple fronts.

Patty Jenkins also makes a comment in the Entertainment Weekly article about the Amazons having heels which is too silly to bother to discuss. Just, no.

So I’m generally underwhelmed by this first look at the Amazons, though I’m still very excited that this picture exists and that a Wonder Woman movie is happening. I still have a lot of faith in Patty Jenkins as well, regardless of the high heels goofiness. That’s the only thing she’s said about the film thus far that struck me as odd; she’s been encouragingly on point in everything else I’ve seen. The picture also checks some important boxes, in that these are great actresses who totally look like warrior women. That’s what we’re looking for. It’s just that, like with everything in the DC cinematic universe thus far, I’d like to see a little bit more joy and colour in the mix.

“Sexuality is Part of her Power”: The 5,000 Year Old Movie Wonder Woman

January 27, 2016

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This month’s Empire magazine has a look inside Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and some new details about the film are starting to make the internet rounds. One new Wonder Woman fact is particularly odd: Apparently in the DC Cinematic Universe, Wonder Woman is 5,000 years old. This makes very little sense to me, since it doesn’t fit into any Wonder Woman origin we’ve ever seen before.

In Wonder Woman’s first origin, Diana was born after the Amazons left the world of men, which is quite a large window. The Amazons left after the betrayal of Hercules, and if we do the math on when Hercules would have been “alive”, it would have been around 1300 BC (I got this number by using the traditional dating for the Trojan War, ca. 1200 BC, and going back a bit because mythologically speaking, Hercules was active a couple of generations before the war). So if Diana was born soon after the Amazons left, at most she would be a little over 3,000 years old, but she could also have been born at any point in time within that 3,000 year span.

In the Silver Age, the origin changed and Diana was alive before the Amazons left BUT Hercules was still a part of it, and in his divine form so it would have been after his mortal life, thus the timing would have been about the same. There’d just be no window, because Diana was already alive; she’d be 3,000 years old.

The Perez relaunch in 1987 used a variation on the Golden Age, Hercules origin, so we’ve got the same window there. The New 52 relaunch has been vague about the Amazons’ origins for the most part, but Wonder Woman Annual #1 revealed that the Amazons left the world of men after an unpleasant meeting with King Kleomenes of Sparta, who reigned around 500 BC. Diana was born sometime after that, when Hippolyta hooked up with Zeus, so we’ve got a 2,500 year window there.

And usually, Diana is portrayed as young. When there’s a window, the timing is always vague but it often seems that she was born near the tail end of that window. So when she becomes Wonder Woman, she’s actually the young woman she resembles and not a perpetually youthful woman who’s centuries old.

So 5,000 years old is new. And REALLY old. Like, around the dawn of civilization old. The city states of Mesopotamia go back more than 5,000 years, but a unified Egyptian kingdom and the very beginnings of civilization in Greece date to around 3000 BC, when Diana would have been born. That’s an interesting connection, in that it lets Diana and the Amazons see the rise of human civilization from the beginning, become unimpressed with it, and separate themselves from the rest of the world; Empire quotes Gal Gadot saying, “Because she’s seen it all, she has seen what humans can do, so it was very hard for her to come back and fight.” So it sounds like we’ve got a Wonder Woman who was active in the early centuries of human civilization, left it, and is now coming back.

Between this and the World War I setting for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, I’m concerned that Wonder Woman isn’t going to feel modern or relevant for fans, especially young girls. The kids aren’t much into the suffrage movement these days, much less ancient history. I’ll admit I’m intrigued by the idea a 5,000 year old Wonder Woman who’s seen it all; that’s a comic I’d definitely read. But I’m not yet sold on this as THE cinematic Wonder Woman. I just don’t know if young fans will be into it.

However, Gal Gadot doesn’t look like she’s 5,000 years old, which brings us to the other interesting part of the Empire article. Executive producer Deborah Snyder said of Wonder Woman:

Her sexuality is part of her power, but she is also a feminist icon. Gender has been a hot topic, so it is very timely to bring her back. The way we have approached it, especially in the stand alone movie, that is definitely there. Looking back and doing an origin story – and it is a period piece – see the role of women through history. There is a great source of humour in that now. It is so unbelievable you can’t even fathom it. You are still making a statement, but having some fun with it.

First, let’s start with that sexuality bit. No one ever talks about Batman or Superman’s sexuality, yet here it is front and center with Wonder Woman. And yeah, if you go back to the Golden Age there’s definitely some sexual stuff with Marston and his complicated bondage fetishism/feminist metaphor scene. For about six years, sexuality played a key role for Wonder Woman. In the seventy years since then? Not so much. It’s just not part of who the character is anymore, nor has it been for decades. The only caveat there is when artists objectify her with hyper-sexualized art, and that’s hardly something worth imbuing the character with.

Also, opening with her sexuality before mentioning that she’s a feminist icon? Not so cool. It feels like Snyder is saying, “Don’t worry, she’s still sexy!” Furthermore, her discussion of feminism here is poor. I know it’s just one paragraph, but “gender has been a hot topic” is hardly insightful, and the idea that “there is a great source of humour” in the World War I era is troubling. Yes, today it seems ridiculous that women had to fight for the right to vote. But positioning Wonder Woman in that era to have her counter an antiquated, straw man form of patriarchy is hardly relevant or impactful. Why isn’t she in the present day, tackling the inequality that women still face today? If they have Wonder Woman being all “rah rah suffrage movement” in the 1910s and then saying little to nothing about the state of women’s rights in modern society, they’ll have missed the point of the character entirely.

So, not a lot of great takeaways from that article. We did get that cool picture of Wonder Woman at the top, so that’s something. Also, this may well just be a thousand word over reaction to internet reports about one article, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I just don’t want them to screw up Wonder Woman like they screwed up Superman in Man of Steel, so when people involved say dumb things I get concerned. We’ll find out more when Batman v Superman comes out in March, and then it’s the long wait for Wonder Woman in June 2017.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #6 Review: Betrayal Most Foul!

December 17, 2015

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Things are getting dark on Themyscira! Some of the Amazons are in league with Hades, including immortals like Antiope and Melanippe, Alcippe is down for the count, and Hippolyta is on the verge of being overthrown. The times are surely perilous for the Amazons. If only they had some kind of champion who could save them from their troubles, but they’re not there quite yet; that will probably be a few issues down the road. Their future champion is still a rogue princess, hanging out with Pegasus and hiding dudes she finds on the island. She does know Antiope and Melannippe’s fiendish plan, however, so things should end up going very badly for them in the near future.

To be honest, I’m usually not a fan of the Amazons fighting with each other, especially these days. That’s all we’ve gotten from the Amazons since the New 52 relaunch four years ago, and it’s been pretty terrible. The Amazons comprise one of the only women-centric corners of any major superhero universe and there’s a wonderful power in that, as well as a great importance. To reduce them to squabbling and betrayal, with them constantly pitted against each other, erodes their legacy, undoing what has been great about the Amazons for almost 75 years.

That being said, Antiope and Melanippe trying to overthrow Hippolyta doesn’t yet concern me. This is because in the issues leading up to today’s big reveal of their Hades-assisted plot, Renae De Liz has crafted a rich, layered version of the Amazons that is very much rooted in the classic values of love and sisterhood. She’s taken the time to build up who the Amazons are and what they mean, which adds extra sting to this betrayal but gives me optimism about how things will play.

The New 52 takes on the Amazons didn’t do this at all. Not to pit the comics or creators against each other, but they’ve displayed markedly different approaches to how they’ve portrayed the Amazons. In Brian Azzarello’s initial run, the Amazons were jerks from the get-go, making fun of Diana and fighting amongst themselves. Soon after, they were revealed to be liars, rapists, and murderers. When the Finches took over the book, Meredith Finch immediately introduced a rebellion, with a group of Amazons teaming with a sorceress to create Donna Troy and all of the Amazons subsequently rallying around her as their new queen. In short, these Amazons suck. They’re mean and violent and weak-minded, and have been from the get-go. They don’t resemble their past incarnations in the slightest, and there’s not a lot of hope that they’ll change and get back to their roots because this is a whole new universe; there are no utopian roots to return too.

Here in The Legend of Wonder Woman, these roots have been on full display. This rebellion is cast as something that’s shockingly against the norm and an appalling betrayal. The standard of what the Amazons’ values are has been set, and Antiope and Melanippe’s behavior is clearly contrary to that. This gives me faith that the Amazons’ values will win out in the end; I think we’re already seeing that with Melaniippe, in her reaction to Antiope taking out Alcippe and in her insistence that no one be killed. Even as the villain of the story, she doesn’t want people to get hurt. She seems scared more than anything, swayed by years in the temple of Hades. Antiope appears to be the real bad egg, and I don’t think she’ll win. We know who the Amazons are, and in this universe they’re clearly strong enough to defeat whatever evil comes at them.

So yeah, this book continues to be a great take on the Wonder Woman mythos and, as always, I can’t recommend it highly enough. As a programming note, the next issue is currently scheduled to come out on Christmas Eve, and posts here will probably be spotty at best around the holidays so I doubt I’ll have a review the day of. I might do a two-in-one review when the following issue comes out or some such; we’ll see how everything shakes out.


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