Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman?

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Do I expect way too much out of a Wonder Woman comic, or do I just not really love the character?  Wonder Woman is a fascinating idea for a character, and yet I feel like most writers fall short in their interpretations of her. Whether she comes across as one-dimensional or just plain boring, there’s something about most Wonder Woman comics that leaves me feeling unfulfilled. I had high hopes after Infinite Crisis.  So many other heroes seemed to be going through pretty major overhauls, so I thought maybe Diana would get similar treatment.  After reading her new introduction, it seems like writer Allan Heinberg at least tried to take her in a new direction, but ultimately she’s right back where she was.

The big twist at the beginning of the story is that Diana has given up the mantle of Wonder Woman.  Donna Troy has taken over that role, while Diana has adopted the secret identity of Diana Prince and taken a job at the Department of Metahuman affairs.  Okay, I can get behind this. I like the idea of Diana returning to her “secret identity” roots, allowing her to take some time out from being the Amazon Princess for a while.  So far, so good.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the good ends. There’s a rather weak storyline involving Circe and Hercules, but to be quite honest I was never invested in that story.  The majority of the comic leads up to a massive fight, in which virtually every well-known hero joins Diana in fighting every one of her top villains.  It’s all supposed to lead up to answering the question, “Who is Wonder Woman?”.  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly revealing:

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Diana has changed very little in these pages, with the exception that Circe grants her a “gift” of sorts: she is human when she is Diana Prince, and only becomes invulnerable when she turns into Wonder Woman.  I suppose I can see where Heinberg was trying to go with this change, giving Diana a human side and all that; still, it doesn’t feel very exciting. I’m hoping that the story continues in such a way that Diana finds herself in new, unique situations where she will find a new type of strength within herself, but within the pages of this comic that simply hasn’t happened yet.

On an unrelated (yet more frustrating) note, I have to address a certain…artistic choice noticed in this comic.  I don’t generally comment on small issues, or a single poorly drawn panel, but occasionally something stands out to me so much that I can’t help but comment.

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Can we talk about what, exactly, is going on with Wonder Woman’s butt?  I can’t tell if she’s meant to be leaning forward (which makes no sense in the scene) or if he butt is just suddenly incredibly bulbous.  Either way, it leapt out from the page and distracted me from the rest of what was going on in the comic.  Had it just been a single instance, I might have overlooked it. Nope, instead this disproportionately big butt pops up in the comic again and again. I get that artists emphasize certain parts of the female body for their male readers, but this is just ridiculous.

Overall I was unimpressed with Diana’s “new” direction. I’m hoping as her story unfolds new twists pop up to freshen her story, but right now there’s little to hold my interest. I don’t know what it is about her character that always leaves me feeling unsatisfied. Maybe I expect too much, but is that really so wrong? She’s been around almost as long as Batman and Superman, yet it feels like her history isn’t nearly as tightly written, and her legacy isn’t as strong.  I keep waiting for that to change, but maybe I’m waiting in vain.  I’m hoping the future comics on “the shelf” prove me wrong.

-Jess

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