The Week In Ink: January 6, 2009

And thus we get back to the grind, with the first Week In Ink of a new (ordinal) decade. Quite an occasion!

 

 

Yes, comics are back, and that means it’s another Thursday night of the Internet’s Most Time-Wasting Comics Reviews!

Here’s what I picked up on the fifth anniversary of my blog yesterday…

 

 

…and here’s what I thought of ‘em!

 


 

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2: This Wonder Woman stuff. Boy, I don’t know.

I haven’t exactly been quiet about my opinions on Wonder Woman as a character, but for those of you who missed it the first time, here’s the short version: I’m not a fan. I’m in the minority on this, I know, but despite the insistence of her status as an “icon,” the fact–for me anyway–is that in her entire history, she’s only actually been good two, maybe three times. She’s iconic because she’s a surviving Golden Age character, and in comics, once something’s old enough, you can never get rid of it.

Still, even with that opinion and the bristling at DC’s constant assurance that she’s part of some “Trinity” with Batman and Superman, I understand that there’s a value to the character that, if nothing else, is symbolic. For better or worse, she’s the most recognizable female character in comics, and while there’s an overwhelming mediocrity to her history, the two or three good times prove that you can do something great with her. Somewhere in there, there’s a strong character.

And that character is being thoroughly undermined by Blackest Night.

This is not the fault of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott by any means: Scott is a phenomenal artist, and Rucka’s one of the few creators to do a good–a great run on Wonder Woman to begin with, and I’d love to see them do more with the character. But this book’s very nature as a Blackest Night tie-in means they’re at the mercy of the larger story, which, unfortunately, is a story that sends the message that Wonder Woman is incapable of doing things herself.

In the latest issue of Blackest Night–spoiler warning for anyone who still cares–Wonder Woman and a handful of characters are given a bunch of the Rainbow Lantern rings, and while a super-hero getting another super-hero’s toys is every twelve year-old’s idea of awesome, the message is that she can’t contribute to the plot without getting help from another source. The message is that she needs something outside herself, and you know what? Wonder Woman doesn’t need other super-powers. She has super-powers. She’s fucking Wonder Woman. She’s the one who stepped up in Final Crisis and used the powers she already had to save everyone on the planet Earth from slavery, “and no one was hurt.” But according to Johns & Co., she can’t fight zombies without someone else giving her a hand. Superman–who, remember, is Wonder Woman’s male equivalent according to DC and their have-it-both-ways Trinity nonsense–didn’t need help. But Wonder Woman does. And symbolism and feminism aside, from a pure storytelling standpoint that comes from a desire to make a strong character, that is bullshit.

Even so, I’d be willing to just roll my eyes and deal with it–like I said, Hero-Gets-a-Power-Ring is every kid’s #2 desire to see in comics, right after Batman-Throws-Auto-Parts, and at least they’re showing that Wonder Woman’s every bit as good as Aquaman’s Wife or the Scarecrow–except for the fact that Wonder Woman doesn’t get Compassion (which would fit pretty well) or Hope (reflecting her status as an aspiration symbol designed to appeal to young girls), or especially Willpower (which, again, is not an emotion but is one of her defining traits, but it already belongs to someone else, so whatever). No, she’s a girl, so she gets Love. And at this point, sure, that’ll work, and Rucka’s portrayal in #1 of Wonder Woman being entirely motivated by a universal love for everything, even her enemies was something I could certainly get behind, even if we have a word for that kind of love already: Compassion. Which also has a ring. Which is apparently defined more by the Atom than Wonder Woman. The Atom. Who four months ago was–in a fit of Compassion, I’m sure–torturing people on Hal Jordan’s orders. But whatever, “Love” at least allows for a depth that “Compassion” might not, so sure, it works.

Except that in the DC Universe, “Love” means this:

 

 

The other characters who get rings just get color-coded versions of their costumes, but because “Love” means “Desire” in the DC Universe, Wonder Woman gets this. Even more than the bondage jokes about Marston, the “Wonder Woman dresses like a hooker” jokes are the stalest, easiest criticisms of the character, so when she’s put into prominence in a major company storyline, they of course put her in an outfit even more revealing, with thigh-high boots and a Vampirella collar. It’s 2010 and this is what comics’ view of love and strong women is. It’s 2010 and the most prominent female character in comics can’t fight evil without being dressed like Witchblade. It’s a fucking embarrassment.

And again, that’s not on Rucka and Scott. They’re incredibly talented people and do the best they can with what they’re given–and Scott’s version of the Star Sapphire costume is way better than Reis’s–but cast in the light of everything that’s going on around it, it’s almost impossible to enjoy, especially given the implication in this issue that Wonder Woman doesn’t free herself by drawing on her own inner strength, but is saved–much like I often am–by thoughts of kissing Batman. On its own, there’s nothing wrong with this, as the theme of love conquering death, while not exactly a revolutionary idea, is certainly appropriate, not to mention the direct involvement of Aphrodite, which is a trope of Wonder Woman’s entire existence, but everything around it makes it easy to read into it. Why can’t Wonder Woman’s love of her mother, her sisters, the entire planet save her when the love of a man can? Because she’s been cut off at the knees at every opportunity so that she doesn’t even have a chance of standing on her own.

In essence, Blackest Night has proven my earlier point: Despite all their bluster, DC obviously doesn’t think Wonder Woman is a strong character either. And never have I hated being right this much.

 

Well. That’s certainly a hell of a way to start the new year. Let’s move on to happier things, shall we?

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

Love and Capes #12: I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Thom Zahler’s Love and Capes before here on the ISB since I caught up with it in trade a while back, but the short version is that it’s easily one of my favorite comics right now.

The word “cute” isn’t one that I throw around all that often here on the ISB, but even with my well-known love of gorillas and space karate, I actually am a sucker for a well-done romance, and this is about as well-done as they get. The high concept is essentially Zahler’s take on the Superman/Lois Lane dynamic, and while it has a fantastic blending of romance and super-heroics–everything from meeting each other’s parents to setting up their friends on blind dates to time travel and evil twins–what really makes it work is Zahler’s incredibly strong character work. Admittedly, using analogues for characters like Batman and Spider-Man means that a lot of the groundwork has been laid to make them seem familiar, but Zahler never rests on that. Abby and Mark–and Darkblade, Amazonia, and the rest of the supporting cast–are incredibly well rounded, and once you get past the super-powers, they’re more Rob and Laura than Clark and Lois.

And it’s the strong character work that comes through in this issue, which–as the cover suggests–is the wedding the series has been building to. And it’s just great. There’s great super-hero action, great comedy, and even great romance that manages to be genuinely sweet without ever veering into the maudlin or forced that bogs down so many things like it. If it’s not the best Wedding Issue of a comic, I’d be hard pressed to figure out what is.

Of course, the flipside to that is that as good as this issue is, it’s not the one you want to pick up if you’ve never read the series before, as it’s more of a culmination than an introduction–that’ll come in the next issue, which is available for Free Comic Book Day this year–but Zahler’s got a way around that too. In addition to the trade, there’s a good chunk of it (at reduced but readable size) available to read for free on his website, and last year’s FCBD issue is still available to order from Diamond, though as it’s not the first Saturday in May, you might have to offer your local retailer four bits for it. It’s well worth it.

 

Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1: Hey… hey guys. Check it out. You know where this guy’s from?

He’s from Uranus.

His father took him to Uranus as a small child, and then he used a rocket ship to escape the gravitational pull of Uranus, and came to Earth to spread Uranus’s message of peace. But he’s facing a lot of trouble, what with people judging him for coming from Uranus. I guess the government just didn’t trust Uranus in 1950.

Personally, I’m not sure if our culture will ever be able to accept Uranus.

 

Suicide Squad #67: Before anyone starts to think that I’m completely down on Blackest Night–and lord knows where you’d get that idea–allow me to say one thing: I will put up with just about anything if it gets me some John Ostrander Suicide Squad.

Of all the “resurrected” titles, this is the one I’ve been really looking forward to, because it’s the one that really seems to capture the spirit of the series that’s coming back. Most of them lack the creative teams that defined the originals, and while James Robinson’s doing the Starman one, the James Robinson we have today is hardly the same make and model we had back then. This one, though, is fantastic. When Ostrander returned to the Squad a while back with From the Ashes, it was like he never left, and teaming up with Gail Simone–who deserves to be lauded not just for her great work with the obviously Squad-influenced Secret Six, but also for leading the effort to raise money for Ostrander’s eye surgery–it works the same way. It doesn’t miss a beat, and it’s got that pure joy and love of the DC Universe that comes through on every page.

Plus, there’s the fact that the Suicide Squad, a book where someone died in every single story arc, is tailor-made for a book where the dead return to fight their old teammates, and calling them the “Homicide Squad” is just icing on the cake. Plus, it’s given me hope for the future. The immediate future, I mean: Looking up the trade for From the Ashes on Amazon, they’ve got Showcase: Suicide Squad listed for release in June 2010! Here’s hoping it actually happens this time, and that Ostrander’s upcoming Squad-centric art on Secret Six leads to more.

 


 

And that’s the first Week In Ink of the year! As always, if you’ve got a question or concern about something I read, or if you just want to talk about how surprisingly funny and clever Stumptown is, or how enjoyable the dialogue gymnastics the Mass Effect comic has to go through in order to avoid gender-specific pronouns turned out to be, feel free to leave a comment below.

90 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: January 6, 2009

  1. Minor correction: The pic you posted is actually Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire. Not that the Wonder Woman costume is any better.

    I really would have pegged her for Compassion more than ol’ Palmer. But maybe Johns hadn’t read the Cry For Justice issues.

    Lord knows no one else really did.

  2. New Stumptown! I’m excited. Dex is a great new character.

    Except for the women in the Batman Family, I really feel like DC doesn’t know what to do with its female characters (and even in the case of the Bat…er, women…they don’t exactly treat them well).

    Wonder Woman SHOULD be a top tier character. She should be as cool as Bats, as iconic as Superman, and yet…like you said, maybe one or two times. But those few times give me hope.

  3. Wow. First of all, I’m sorry if my “Blackest Night” entry got you in a tizzy. I don’t really know how to defend Diana-As-Star Sapphire, especially when one of my ideas for a future version of my recap would have Clayface whining about having Ray giving him the ol’ Jean Loring treatment. And I’m surprised you didn’t bring up what happened to Cassie, though I’m betting that’ll be undone by March. At least Diana’s still on the side of good, as opposed to Superman (undead/possessed) and Batman (dead, at least in this story). And I’d also have issues in the latest BN about Mera getting the red/rage ring, especially seeing how she kept it together while battling her undead husband. As you can see, “Blackest Night” brings out all sorts of emotions from me.

    Seriously, though . . . let’s say that Atom doesn’t get the Indigo ring and Diana does? Now she’s done up as a tribal tart. And who would get the violet ring? Okay . . . I’m shutting up now.

    And while I’m happy that you’re happy about Suicide Squad, I will say this: if the Secret Six tie-in doesn’t contain a Black Lantern Parademon/Ragdoll dust-up, I’m gonna be dissapointed.

  4. Minor correction: The pic you posted is actually Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire. Not that the Wonder Woman costume is any better.

    Yes, I know what it is. I was illustrating what the Star Sapphire costume looks like.

  5. Oh, here’s the splash page at the end of BL 6 where you see Wonder Sapphire (upper right).

    I completely agree with the WW take, as an aside. She should be a top tier character, but is often treated as rubbish. :(

  6. Ah, okay, sorry for presuming Mr. Sims. Just seemed like from reading your take that was meant to be the WW pic. :)

  7. You’re not wrong about the treatment of WW, though I did enjoy the issue you tore apart on a surface level. That being said, Gail Simone’s run on WW has been very solid and occasionally great; it’s a shame it hasn’t gotten more attention.

    I also found it a little funny that you brought up WW’s role in Final Crisis, given this:

    NRAMA: Regarding the big legends of the DCU: Superman got his mini-event, Batman took on Darkseid, Flash tries to outrun death, Green Lantern overcomes granny . . . but Wonder Woman turns out to be Anti-Life Patient Zero and spends the bulk of the series as a disfigured thrall. Why does Wonder Woman not have a comparable moment in that context?

    Grant Morrison: I wondered about that myself. I love what Gail Simone (especially) and other writers have done to empower the Wonder Woman concept but I must admit I’ve always sensed something slightly bogus and troubling at its heart. When I dug into the roots of the character I found an uneasy melange of girl power, bondage and disturbed sexuality that has never been adequately dealt with or fully processed out to my mind. I’ve always felt there was something oddly artificial about Wonder Woman, something not like a woman at all.

    Having said that, I became quite fascinated by these contradictions and problems and tried to resolve them for what turned into a different project entirely. Partly because I didn’t want to use any of that new material in Final Crisis, I relegated Wonder Woman to a role that best summed up my original negative feelings about the character. My apologies to her fans and I promise to be a little more constructive next time around.

    Wonder Woman gets a ‘moment’ in Final Crisis #7 but by that time, Mandrakk has sucked all the life out of the story!

    Not to say you are wrong or anything, I just thought it was funny that even your example of when she’s “good” is tainted.

  8. The main reason Wonder Woman exists seems to be to provide fodder for good TV adaptations. The Lynda Carter series (the one version of the character I’d call “iconic”), her use in Justice League and her DC Animated movie are all worlds ahead of almost everything DC has done with her in print. Not that that’s saying a whole lot in the case of Justice League.

  9. To be fair, I think of my my example from Final Crisis as being less “tainted” and more Morrison building on a lot of the stuff I cite as reasons why I have a lot of difficulty with the character, and still managing to do something that’s both appropriate and incredible with her.

  10. I’ve come to the conclusion the part of Wonder Woman’s problem is that she is a true outsider. Superman was raised American, Batman is fully human, but Wonder Woman was raised in a fictitious culture and is portrayed as the ambassador from that culture to our own. And if there’s one thing Americans hate it’s a foreigner trying to tell us how to do things. Aquaman and Martian Manhunter have similar problems and neither of them even have a book right now, so the problem’s not unique.

  11. I’m glad you’re reading the Blackest Night tie-ins, so I don’t have to. If you’re ever in San Francisco I’ll stand you a whiskey for the pain.

  12. No no no. See, dude used Batman to create feeling in all the previously dead guys, so he could…whatever it was he did. Because it was that feeling for Batman that forced Wonder Woman to become a Black Lantern, she had to confront and conquer that feeling. Diana fought through all the metaphors for love, but her warrior love for her comrade Batman was bent to something Aphrodite was more familiar with so the Ring of Love could get through. That is totally what happens when a Goddess of Love decides to intervene with their champion. Happened to me in a Dungeons and Dragons game.

  13. The central problem of Wonder Woman is this: Wonder Woman was designed to be a character who advocates a different society than that of the world she is interacting with. Marston’s Amazonian society was freaky to us, but Marston seems to have seriously seen it as a good one and Wonder Woman under Marston (in the Golden Age) could act as an effective advocate for the superiority of the lifestyle she embodies and champions (in Marston’s case, his whole basic advocacy of a society based on ‘loving submission’). The Holiday Girls and Etta Candy and even Steve Trevor basically show the efficacy of what Wonder Woman is offering and basically end up her disciples. Many of her villains are redeemed under Marston by convincing them to adopt the Amazon lifestyle / values.

    Every subsequent version of Wonder Woman has suffered the basic problem that Paradise Island doesn’t offer anything useful to aspire to / adopt in the modern world and is tied to a bunch of giant powerful assholes (the Greek Gods). Paradise Island society is so totally unlike real society and so totally absent of the real problems of women that Wonder Woman no longer has anything to advocate of any use that isn’t already advocated by non-Amazons.

    Further, she lacks disciples and followers who would show the efficacy of her ideas. Some authors have tried to provide something equivalent, but basically, her whole role as ambassador of Paradise Island can’t serve the kind of cultural advocacy role that Marston envisioned.

    Let’s contrast this to Sailor Moon. The central element of Sailor Moon is a group of loners drawn together by a charismatic, hard-trying, kind and loving but not very strong girl. From them she learns strength and they learn friendship and bond together to fight evil. Each of them embodies a female archetype that the reader might identify with (the lonely intellectual, the tomboy, the ‘princess’ (Rei), the flaky socialite and the friendly girl who has a big heart but isn’t too great at anything else) and collectively they are stronger than apart. The Moon Kingdom is romantic and offers a vision of a peaceful time to be aspired to that especially plays to the romantic fantasies of kids and early teens. It’s easy to see why they fight for it and how it offers something you don’t easily get at that age in the real world. Usagi embodies compassion, forgiving even enemies and redeeming some of them and turning them into friends with compassion. The end of the Sailor Moon R movie would send the Indigo lantersn into paroxyms of happiness.

    Just about any American boy can look at Batman and aspire to his skill or look at Superman and aspire to his virtues (if not his powers. But with Superman, what really makes him Superman is his virtues.) How many young American women are going to aspire to a society of no men that bears no resemblance to the world they live in? Especially when often other Amazons are either cyphers or assholes?

    By contrast, Sailor Moon offers an easy dream to latch on to and offers things like friendship, compassion, and love and romance which do easily resonate.

    And that’s the problem with Wonder Woman.

  14. I hope Morrison does a Wonder Woman mini some time in the future…

    Anyway, the Star Sapphire concept is definately a problem–I’m pretty sure there isn’t a male in the club and when you look at their costumes its just lulz, oh comics, you’re almost as backward as the Catholic Church.

    However, to be fair to Johns, in Blackest Night, the whole point was that they need more corps members and they were pretty much limited to Wonder Woman (or Mera, or umm.. Wonder Girl) for Love. Plus, there’s not much difference between it and her regular costume…

    Johns gives minimal if any character development in BN and I think any major problems you have with Wonder Woman’s involvement so far are Rucka’s fault in the mini.

  15. Man, it’s so disappointing that DC are still fucking up Wonder Woman. I’ve just read The Circle and absolutely bloody loved it on pretty much every level.

  16. liked the wonder woman analysis, chris. thanks. you articulated a lot of stuff that i was thinking without realising after i read that issue.

    i’ve hooked into gail simmone’s take on ww of late and have been really enjoying it. i think it overcomes a lot of the problems you’ve outlined. i’ve often thought that the problems with wonder woman – which you captured really well – have had more to do with the failings of the creative teams to capture/find what’s great about the character than they have been failings of the character herself.

    rodafowa, if you like the circle, the rest of simmone’s run is as good if not better.

  17. reading back over that comment, i just want to add that what i said about creative team failings holds for all characters – there are plenty of shite superman, batman and spider-man stories out there too.

    i know that your point is that there are more bad wonder woman stories out there, but i still do love me a good ww story that gets it right as much as i do a good spidey or supey story.

  18. “oh comics, you’re almost as backward as the Catholic Church.”

    I’m a catholic and I find this comment about something I love quite offensive. Stop saying bad things about comics!

  19. God, I hope that Suicide Squad release date is for real.

    Also…I have to join the chorus on Wonder Woman. She’s quite possibly the most well-known character in all of comics to have such consistently bad runs. Which is really kind of something given how frequently, say, Cpt. America or the Hulk kind of stink. There’s always a Wonder Woman comic on the stands and yet you know it’s almost never going to be worth picking up.

    I was going to follow up by saying that I think she’s a fairly dull character — bland powers, one note characterization, weak supporting cast — but some of the things written above make me think there’s maybe more potential there than I originally thought.

    To me, the problem isn’t simply about her being ‘strong’ so much as being well-rounded. The best characters have strengths, weaknesses, personality quirks and all that, but I’ve never gotten that fullness of character from the Wonder Woman stories I’ve read. She’s just…kinda there. Familiar but rather hard to invest in. That’s long been an issue with female comic characters. Too many writers seem unwilling or unable to give them the same depth of personality they would a male character. Women still tend to be goddesses, femme fatales, girlfriends, or rape statistics, none of which are very intriguing to read.

    It also hurts that WW’s never had a very good supporting cast. No Jimmy Olsens, no J. Jonah Jamesons, no Alfred Pennyworths. Etta hardly counts and the Amazons on Paradise Island tend to have even stiffer and duller characterizations than Wonder Woman herself. Plus her villains are rather boring too…

    Does anyone get into comics wanting to write Wonder Woman? Batman, Superman, Spider-Man…of course. Wonder Woman though? I’m guessing not. Wonder Woman’s mostly just what you do while waiting for a better project. And it shows.

  20. Man, I want to start reading “Love and Capes” so badly after reading this review. I refuse to believe it’s a coincidence that it shares the same initials as my favourite superhero show, ever.

  21. Your misleading picture aside, doesn’t Wonder Woman’s Star Saphire costume in fact show less skin then her standard outfit? Yes, it has an exposed midriff, but less leg, ass, and cleavage. It’s not exactly a great costume, but neither is her regular one, especially its more modern interpretations (it’s been a straight up thong recently, or ‘tanga’ butt cleavage enhancer more often than not… sometimes in the same issue).

    Additionally, in the actual Blackest Night comic (which I’ve been flipping through and ignoring the tie-ins) they outright state, on panel (which is a little pandering, admitedly) that no one loves this planet more than Diana, immediately preceeding her reaching out and grabbing the ring, breaking the control of the black ring to do so… Thus, it was in fact the guys you are “not blaming” for this that wrote off that whole thing as her being saved by wanting to kiss Batman. Blackest Night was actually better than this issue of Wonder Woman.

    Further with your misleading review: “Did Superman need help?” Actually, he still does… He’s a a freakin’ zombie. That said, I geeked out a bit at the end of that issue of BN, embracing my inner 12 year old (crap… I’m gonna wind up on To Catch a Predator now…) the way you did with Frankencastle and a number of other silly comics tripe, and was hoping that the final ring would be a copy of Hal’s going to Superman (very JLA 1,000,000), but then remembered Ganthet took it for no reason whatsoever.

    Let us all just be thankful that the one hero I’ve always thought loved Earth more than any other didn’t get the ring instead… I would much rather see Wonder Woman in Huntress’ old costume than see Superman in a purple bodysuit cut to his pelvis in the front.

  22. I left out, and don’t know how to edit: You’re kind of in a tiff about Wonder Woman’s costume… Have you considered that the only reason you are overlooking the garish whore-garb she’s normally in is because it’s “iconic”? That was kind of a running thing when everyone was yakking about Powergirl again recently…

  23. For a well-written Wonder Woman, check out the early issue’s of Kurt Busiek’s Trinity weekly series. I was very impressed with her characterization by Busiek. I’d be interested to hear what other folks who have read it think.

  24. @phyllyradiogeek- I enjoyed Trinity as well. It was similar to the fun of early Batman/Superman (back when Loeb’s work was tolerable). Not sure if Chris would be so into it, given his comments above, but maybe he could not read it and then go on a rant full of misinformation, blaming it for something a completely different creative team dropped the ball on.

  25. “To be fair, I think of my my example from Final Crisis as being less “tainted” and more Morrison building on a lot of the stuff I cite as reasons why I have a lot of difficulty with the character, and still managing to do something that’s both appropriate and incredible with her.”

    Whoops, lol! I forgot to laugh at that “incredible” caption Morrison wrote for her. Love you to death, Chris, but sometimes I have to agree that we can never be friends.

  26. I don’t think there will be serious movement to make wonder woman a character to be taken seriously until she stops wearing stars and stripes panties outside. seriously, an armored, stars and stripes skirt would be a MUCH better step in the right direction.

  27. Is it any surprise that “Blackest Night” is showing Wonder Woman as a weaker character? Geoff Johns has never written a strong female character.

    As for the Star Sapphire costumes, that’s Johns’ problem, too. Star Sapphire had a perfectly good, less revealing Silver Age outfit, but while Green Lantern still gets to wear his Star Sapphire’s had to be updated to something trampy. I’d wonder what a male Star Sapphire suit would look like, but am certain Johns will never show us one. All of those female Green Lanterns must be unloved spinsters.

  28. “This is not the fault of Greg Rucka…”

    Yes it is.

    It’s also the fault of Geoff Johns. And Dan DiDio. And DC editorial.

  29. Thank you for such a detailed breakdown of what DC is doing to Wonder Woman. A great review.

  30. I quite like Wonder Woman’s gold armour in Kingdom Come, maybe people would take her more seriously if she dressed like that more often.

  31. Chris,

    I usually just read along on Google Reader, but that rant about DC and Wonder Woman was the greatest fucking thing I have ever read on this or any other comic blog. Thank you for it.

  32. There’s a lot of kerfluffle on these here internets about Atom, compassion, and Cry for “JUSTICE!!!” All I have to say is that in her first appearance, Indigo-1 killed a GL for reasons we don’t know yet. So I’m hesitant to disqualify Atom for playing hopscotch on someone’s brain, because I don’t know how they’re defining compassion yet, but there definitely seems to be some form of ends justifies means thing going on

    As far as WW, I’ve got the Perez issues, and that keeps me warm at night.

  33. @ArizonaTeach – The Green Lantern was dying in that issue. she put him out of his misery instead of letting him suffer. It’s the same reason she only scared the Sinestro away – she didnt want to kill him, so ended the fight by making him leave.

  34. Since you didn’t do Week in Ink the last comic week of 09 (Holidays I know)

    I have to ask what was your favorite part of Punisher #12

  35. I believe that future WW writers should be forced to watch the recent DVD Wonder Woman cartoon movie multiple times “Clockwork Orange” style. Hollywood too.

    I don’t think this will accomplish anything, I just like to force people to watch things.

    I also don’t get the silly argument that what female super-folk wear affects what future generations of women act or think. The majority of humans do not necessarily get their life cues from comic art.
    I personally don’t know any men that grew up thinking he should wear spandex while doing detective work. Why would anyone think the female mind works any different?
    Most women of my generation grew up reading V.C. Andrews religiously, and as far as I know, not one has bunked up with a sibling.

  36. When I woke up this morning–okay, okay, afternoon–for a brief moment I hoped that there would be 40 comments of Uranus jokes. Oh well, here we go:

    However, to be fair to Johns, in Blackest Night, the whole point was that they need more corps members and they were pretty much limited to Wonder Woman (or Mera, or umm.. Wonder Girl) for Love.

    But they’re only limited to those characters because those are the ones that Johns put in the script. DC owns enough characters that they’re never limited to picking one to feature over another in a book that’s already a guaranteed seller, as evidenced by the fact that Aquaman’s wife is in it.

    I was going to follow up by saying that I think she’s a fairly dull character — bland powers, one note characterization, weak supporting cast — but some of the things written above make me think there’s maybe more potential there than I originally thought.

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with Wonder Woman, any more than there’s anything inherently right with Superman. It all comes down to what you do with it, and how the creators define the character over the years.

    Wonder Woman’s powers are only bland in the context of her having never done anything with them; again: she is the embodiment of Truth, which can be used for just about anything up to and including binding up Darkseid and showing people that giving in to fear and hatred isn’t the way to go. That’s neat.

    I think there’s a lot of potential there, it’s just very rarely ever used.

    Your misleading picture aside, doesn’t Wonder Woman’s Star Saphire costume in fact show less skin then her standard outfit?

    Are you seriously arguing that the Star Sapphire costume is less revealing because it has gloves? And that it shows “less leg” because it has skin-tight thigh-high boots?

    I left out, and don’t know how to edit: You’re kind of in a tiff about Wonder Woman’s costume… Have you considered that the only reason you are overlooking the garish whore-garb she’s normally in is because it’s “iconic”?

    I’m pretty sure I referenced that exact argument in the post itself, which also included the line “in comics, one something’s old enough, you can’t get rid of it.” Wonder Woman’s standard costume might be bad, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be something worse.

    And for the record, I’ve got no problem with Power Girl’s suit.

    Whoops, lol! I forgot to laugh

    If only you’d forgotten to comment, too.

    So I’m hesitant to disqualify Atom for playing hopscotch on someone’s brain, because I don’t know how they’re defining compassion yet

    Well, at least we know they’re not defining compassion as “compassion.”

    I have to ask what was your favorite part of Punisher #12

    The samurai monster-killers are still cracking me up.

  37. Well said, Chris. The sort of things the creators responsible (and responsibility may well lie with DC editorial) would have done well to think about.

    The odd thing about WW is that the character’s treatment has nonetheless gotten a lot better over the years. Silver age (Pre-crisis) WW couldn’t fly and lost her powers whenever a man tied her hands together. So, progress, I guess?

    At least nowadays she’s treated much more as a peer of Supes and Batman. I was a bit shocked the first time I read “For the Man Who Has Everything” to see how weakly she came off compared to Superman, say. That just wouldn’t fly today.

    Progress, I guess, but oh, so slow.

  38. I would like to write out the Wonder Woman essay, wrap it around a car battery, and throw it into the chest of someone at DC who could use the information and pain associated with it.

  39. ” oh comics, you’re almost as backward as the Catholic Church.”

    Not too many nuns wearing frontless swimsuits I think.

  40. I think that we should greet all visitors from Uranus with open arms. And I think it’s nice that Uranus spreads a message of peace.

    We could all learn a lot from Uranus.

    People probably don’t believe him and would be all like; ‘…so is it true Marvel Boy? Do you really come from Uranus?’. He probably gets asked that a lot.

    I personally would like to see more of Uranus in future comics, I don’t think Uranus has been fully explored yet really. Uranus sounds like a pretty interesting place, although I guess you can’t breath the air there.

    (sorry).

  41. Upon further thought, I do know one real life phenomenon in which Wonder Woman’s clothes had a negative impact.

    I used to do work for some transexual prostitutes, all of which were obsessed with our Diana. For all of them, wearing boots instead of pumps “made them feel like a crime-fighter” and it tended to give them a false sense of security when street walking or alone with a client.

    Luckily, none of the “ladies” I knew were victimized physically as a result.
    Also- I do realize that since they were born men, this is technically another case of male fan-boys fetishizing a costume.

  42. “If it’s not the best Wedding Issue of a comic, I’d be hard pressed to figure out what is.”

    Call me unimaginative, but c’mon, Reed and Sue’s wedding is the all-time gold standard.

  43. Eh, Reed and Sue’s wedding is boring.

    I’m confused how Chris could be hard pressed to forget about the time Jimmy Olsen married Lucy Lane though…

  44. “I used to do work for some transexual prostitutes” completes my ISB Comment Bingo.

  45. So… Would you recommend Weird Western Tales, even if it wasn’t quite your bag? I’m on the fence.

  46. **“I used to do work for some transexual prostitutes” completes my ISB Comment Bingo.**

    Seriously. Michael, I was about to try to throw some gasoline on the fire by claiming that Perez’s WW (from which all subsequent WWs are derived) was just a successful attempt to copy and paste Simonson’s Thor formula (like with New Teen Titans and Claremont’s X-Men), and should be viewed as such to really understand post-Crisis Wonder Woman. But your story kind of knocked the wind out of me. I doubt anybody still cares, so instead, I’ll just make a Uranus joke:

    Hey Marvel Boy, is it true that Uranus is four times the size of Earth?

  47. Upon further thought, I do know one real life phenomenon in which Wonder Woman’s clothes had a negative impact.
    *snip*
    Luckily, none of the “ladies” I knew were victimized physically as a result.

    Could you clear up what the negative impact is? From the way I’m reading this, the women were already walking the streets, they made a fashion choice for whatever reason, and then… they weren’t victimized.

  48. Now, I haven’t read the original story where the Star Sapphire concept was introduced, but it seems like it was a sexist thing to start with- the hero’s love interest gets a power of her own, but it’s corrupt and chaotic and evil. It seems they’re being a bit too loyal to that original concept, and having the members not only all be women, but so far be dominated by emotion and not as level-headed as the menfolk. And SEXY!

    It really strikes me as a misstep in the whole color spectrum approach.

    As for Wonder Woman- I’ve been enjoying Simone’s run quite a bit. I would say that if there is a problem with the character, it’s that Marston’s original run was the mad dream of someone with genuinely radical, subversive ideas, and nobody since then has had that kind of visionary zeal. Perez’s reboot always struck me as way too logical and orderly.

  49. Now if only Wonder Woman came from Uranus rather than Paradise Island, we’d have something.

    But anyway, this is a very good analysis of why the character doesn’t work now (and I like Simone’s work on the title, but it’s really like watching a talented crew of firefighters try to save a burning house) and has rarely worked.

    Here’s a start at a thought about what might make her work better: not as ambassador from Utopia but as exile and fugitive from a ruined land, as immigrant to America rather than superior European-like person scolding the world. Maybe make it the fault of the world that her home has been ruined, but have her understand full well that it was an accident (hence her compassion, her desire to rise above). Tie her into history, but dump the Greek gods themselves: they simply don’t work in the DC universe. The Norse gods are a much better choice to make into comic-book characters: their basic character and typical story hooks are more bombastic, brutal, combative. The Greek gods, if you invoke them even a little bit, have all sorts of lechery and rape and perversion and cruelty and family violence and…well, it could make for a pretty good Jason Aaron comic, I guess. But the idea that a basically good, compassionate and fundamentally *modern* person could worship the Greek gods as superior beings whom one should idolize and model oneself after is kind of whacked out. The current run on Marvel’s Hercules gets this in a way that Perez didn’t in his reboot of WW. (Sorry, pagans.)

    So make WW’s whole underlying character arc more resonant by changing the premise of the story. Paradise Island can’t be utopia, she can’t be an ambassador, and there shouldn’t be literal Greek gods whom she worships.

  50. Didn’t Marvel Boy’s parents put him in a rocket because they thought Uranus was gonna explode?

  51. I heard they were going to retcon Marvel Boy’s origin to say he came from Mianus

  52. Jamie asks- “Could you clear up what the negative impact is?”

    The negative impact is the false sense of security “superheroine style” boots can give a street-walking prostitute who should be paying attention to his/her own freedom and mortality.
    For the record, I was a bookkeeper for a program that helped to ensure they were practicing safe sex and not taking drugs. I would see them in the daytime in jeans and t-shirts, and it looked like all of the tees were bought at the local comic shop. The majority of their “working” outfits were straight from the drawings of George Perez. So if you meet a hooker in NY that looks like Wonder Woman, Starfire or 70′s Storm, check the plumbing.

  53. Timothy Burke: Your firefighter metaphor is perfect. It’s exactly how I feel whenever I read what’s supposed to be a “good” Wonder Woman story.

  54. Flash got a blue ring, too.

    GOD DC and Geoff hate the Flash, he can’t do anything without a ring.

    Although I guess cause Flash got the “Hope” ring it’s okay, since Obama was all about hope.

  55. THE MOST EMBARRASSING PLANETS IN THE UNIVERSE:
    - Ursfinckter
    - Assiter (a gas giant…figures)
    - Ars, the Red Planet (gigantic and red)
    - Colonius (never colonized)
    - Rush Limbaugh (may soon explode from a massive buildup of volatile chemicals in its core)

  56. But not before his greatest STD puts its child in a rocket and, in a final act of hope, fires it off to live in a Thai prostitute.

  57. How many times has Marvel Boy gone to Uranus?

    On a serious note, anyone else think that when DC said “love,” someone down the line heard the word “lust” instead and drew that costume? I thought the star insignia on her vag was pretty much the kicker. It can’t be that hard to make a costume that signifies love, and put the insignia somewhere less conspicuous.

  58. Timothy Burke is absolutely right: it’s nuts to think that any good, compassionate, dare I say moral person would think of the Greek gods as worthy of worship and emulation.

    I’m reminded of the scene in “I, Claudius” where Claudius asks his grandmother why she cares if Caligula becomes emperor, since she’ll be dead long before that happens. She responds by asking if it’s true that the gods can do things that mortals would be condemned for and Claudius says it is, noting that Zeus killed his father and married his sister and yet is considered the greatest of the gods. It turns out that Caligula promised her that, as emperor, he’d declare her a goddess, which she needs to get out of hell because the bodycount (mostly her own family) that could be laid at her feet is rather high.

    With the recent return of the Greek gods/Olympian storyline in Wonder Woman lately, I’ve been wishing that at least one character would have the nerve to point out what a bunch of vindictive, sick, twisted, and violent pervs the Greek gods were. And then pull a Brit Hume and suggest that they find Jesus, because saying that to Zeus could add some comic relief to a series that’s been kind of a downer lately (“Find Jesus? You mean that nice Jewish boy who lives a couple of clouds down from us?”)

    For some reason, I suspect I’ve managed to offend both pagans and Christians with that one.

    And, to cue the non sequitur, another matter of some discussion here reminds me of Prof. Farnsworth on Futurama noting that astronomers changed Uranus’ name centuries earlier because they got sick of all the Uranus jokes. The new name? “Urectum.”

  59. Man, DPark, I’ve totally been thinking that. They took a silly idea (“Hal Jordan won’t plausibly be attracted to a beautiful woman unless she’s dressed like a stripper”) and replicated that insane costume across a corps that’s all female and all humanoid. Forget male Star Sapphires for a minute — I’m waiting for a Chaselon-esque crystal ball Star Sapphire or their female version of the F-Sharp Bell in the Obsidian Deeps. (“You will bring love to sightless beings in a lightless void. Here’s your thong.”)

    And forgive me if people are already asking this question, but if compassion is really as rare and precious and hard to find in the DC Universe as they’re making it out to be, then what the hell kind of crappy place is it?

  60. it’s nuts to think that any good, compassionate, dare I say moral person would think of the Greek gods as worthy of worship and emulation.

    I have long thought the same thing of the Jewish & Christian gods, but somehow people still manage. I see no reason why people wouldn’t worship the Greek gods anyway.

  61. I think the Greek gods just need to be written more interestingly, and more heroically. It’s possible. I mean, look at how freakin’ awesome the Asgardians are in Thor’s book. For a hit/miss ratio I think more people have done them right and written them interestingly than not (the “not” usually coming when someone tries a brand new flawed direction).

    The Asgardians in the comics have little similarity to those of the original tales, sure, but that’s the point. When you write Wonder Woman, you don’t have to write about the Amazons, the gods, the olympian heroes as they were in greek mythology. You have to do the fun superhero version. You shouldn’t be afraid to “Simonson-ize” them (maybe I won’t use that word again because of how close it sounds to “Sodomize”, but you get the idea).

    I agree Wonder Woman has potential, but she needs a stylistic change to access it methinks. And, hey, that’s not a bad thing, look at all the stylistic changes Superman and Batman have gone through.

  62. Skemono: “I have long thought the same thing of the Jewish & Christian gods, but somehow people still manage.”

    Yeah, I can’t imagine why anyone would try to be nice to others, turn the other cheek, etc.

  63. To be fair, the original Star Sapphire look is much less Vampirella-ish. It does, in fact, show less skin than the traditional Wonder Woman outfit does, by dint of having sleeves.

    It also looks like clothing instead of body paint, but that’s more of an art issue than a design issue.

  64. Actually, now that I read the article more, I was thinking of the Silver Age (second) Star Sapphire. The GA one was less revealing as well.

  65. Yeah, I can’t imagine why anyone would try to be nice to others, turn the other cheek, etc.

    You forgot “torture everyone on earth for all eternity because of one minor infraction that their ancestors committed at the dawn of time, leave contradictory instructions on how to avoid this fate, if indeed it’s possible to avoid it, etc.”

  66. Oh dear.

    We’re all on here talking about the whority of Diana’s outfit and what appears in Chris’s Amazon sponsor widget?

    A Wonder Woman costume for toddlers.

    That’s what happens when you hire pedobear to do your programming.

  67. Power Girl would have been a better choice. She’s got more relationship-based issues.
    Plus Power Girl in the Star Sapphire costume would just be so bad it would flip back to good. I mean that would be TAROT bad.

  68. It’s funny you mentioned Witchblade in there because I’m pretty sure she wears more than that these days.

  69. ” Superman–who, remember, is Wonder Woman’s male equivalent according to DC and their have-it-both-ways Trinity nonsense–didn’t need help.”

    well yeah, he’s currently dead, but I get your point.

  70. I just wanted to echo NeoKefka… Witchblade is a pretty bad example these days. Witchblade’s actually been pretty reasonably drawn ever since Sejic started with the painting… She’s still wearing form-fitting gear, but it actually looks like armor and not a mutant thongkini.

  71. I just wanted to echo NeoKefka… Witchblade is a pretty bad example these days. Witchblade’s actually been pretty reasonably drawn ever since Sejic started with the painting… She’s still wearing form-fitting gear, but it actually looks like armor and not a mutant thongkini.

    This came out last month. You are wrong.

  72. Is it any surprise that “Blackest Night” is showing Wonder Woman as a weaker character? Geoff Johns has never written a strong female character.

    Somebody never ready Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E.

  73. while a super-hero getting another super-hero’s toys is every twelve year-old’s idea of awesome

    So are jokes about Uranus! Admit it, Sims! Although for the record, I enjoy both.

    You know, I’m going to argue in favor of Wonder Woman using a ring here, at least on a conceptual basis. I haven’t read Blackest Night: Wonder Woman yet, but I have been reading Blackest Night. I agree that yes, she is using a power ring instead of her own abilities, but the ring is powered by one of her own inherent traits. That ring’s not going to work very well unless she has the love to power it.

    And I second the Love and Capes praise! But not so much the bit with Wonder Woman in Final Crisis, which felt like Morrison realized at the last minute that he should probably do something heroic with Wonder Woman before concluding the series. Then again, I didn’t have a problem with his one-panel use of Aquaman. Maybe if Wonder Woman had been riding a giant seahorse…

  74. So while you guys are all “blah, blah, Wonder Woman”, am I the only one who noticed the anus ring on the cover of Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1?