Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Rebirth of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is iconic. She's the most popular female character in the history of comics, maybe in popular media. Hate to say it though, but she's kinda boring. Most major character have stories that are essential to any reader's mythology. Like Batman, with Year One, and The Dark Knight Returns. And Superman in his All-Star imprint written by Grant Morrison. Those are just a few of their classic tales, as we could probably name dozens. Yet when I think of Wonder Woman, not much comes to mind. The popular theory is that it has something to do with her being so perfect, that her purity is her worst enemy. No one wants to be known for tainting Wonder Woman. So how do you write a good story about a classic character, and bring her into the 21st century? J. Michael Straczynski thinks he has the answer.

Starting next month, he will take over as the regular writer of the series, which is very exciting. He's not afraid to make changes as he tinkered with Spider-Man's universe in the controversial One More Day. And he's been writing the fan-favorite Brave and the Bold, most likely one of the best, and most fun team books around. Today though, we got a peek of what he has in store for Diana, in her milestone 600th issue.

One of the first changes we heard about, the costume. Even though the costume is iconic, it's not very practical. Who goes into battle half-naked? So after many different designs and ideas, Jim Lee and Straczynski settled on a new look to represent her new direction.

The new direction by the way, changes almost everything about Wonder Woman's continuity, yet keeping everything the same. I know that statement doesn't make much sense, but bear with me. The origins or Wonder Woman and rooted deep within Greek Mythology. She was formed out of clay by Zeus, and given to Queen Hyppolyta, ruler of the Amazons on their home of Paradise Island.

Diana grew up under the protection of the gods, the whole island being watched carefully. She also grew up sheltered, with no other men around the island of warriors. Eventually, Paradise Island needed an ambassador to the rest of the world, so they held a battle to determined who is the most capable Amazon. Diana was not allowed to participate, yet under a disguise she entered the competition and won. Im sure you know the rest.

With this new background though, the Gods have altered the timeline. The have gone back, and removed their protection from Paradise Island, allowing it's destruction when Diana was only three. Diana was then adopted and raised in the city, and twenty years later, she has questions. She realizes that she is different, and feels like she doesn't really know her real identity. So she's gonna find out.

This new street friendly Diana, has a costume to reflect the changes, keeping elements of the classic design, yet adding new ones, such as pants. Didn't see that one coming.

So for new readers, it's been said that now is a good time to jump on board, to appreciate a very underused character. Hopefully years from now, we can add this to the greats. Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman, Wonder Woman: Odyssey.

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