Friday, July 30, 2010

The Wonder Woman Who Isn't

And now for something on a lighter tone.
DC Comics has decided to give Wonder Woman a makeover. More specifically, they have completely redesigned her costume so that it no longer even resembles the traditional Wonder Woman costume. According to Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski, the new look is an answer to the question, "how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?" Frankly, while I usually admire Straczynski's writing, anyone who actually believes that question deserves an answer needs to rethink writing for comic books. Comic book costumes, whether male or female, have never been about realism. They are about achieving a certain look and the only look this new costume achieves is, "I'm going to the mall and hopefully I'll be met there by someone with better fashion taste."
If you couldn't tell, I think the new costume stinks. It doesn't stink because it removes the traditional red, white, and blue. While modern comics writers' continued attempts to remove Americanism from their products is annoying and offensive, the American look on a character who is not supposed to be American never made a great deal of sense. It doesn't stink because they put Wonder Woman in pants, though the idea of an Amazon warrior princess wearing spandex pants makes about as much sense as putting Batman in dayglow pink. It stinks because it is a bad design that doesn't even pay homage to the icon of Wonder Woman. And it looks suspiciously like they just copied one of the old Donna Troy costumes and added some "updates".
Wonder Woman does not belong in black pants and a leather jacket any more than does Superman (Anyone remember that lame costume design for Superboy?). It is a ridiculous clash with the character. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess who now looks like a teenager's fashion nightmare.
That jacket? "She can close it up to pass it for the freedom to fight..." Really? A major superhero is just going to close up a jacket to "pass unnoticed"? Closing up the jacket is going to "hide" the striking woman who stands well over 6' tall and is wearing shining bracelets-gloves-things and a glowing lasso? Somehow I don't think so. Besides, I'm looking at your drawing and there is no way she is closing that jacket. Let's just say it wouldn't stretch that far.
The pants? An Amazon Warrior princess in pants? Really? That makes sense to you? Okay, so the old granny panties didn't make much sense either. Then how about we update her look to a Greek-styled armored skirt? That gives freedom of movement and can be sufficiently long enough to keep the squeamish from whining. Also, you might want to take note of the fact that the color black does not belong anywhere near anything worn by Wonder Woman. She is not Catwoman or Batgirl.
The top is fine. It's still red, still has the "W". I am amused by the fact that it is also still low-cut enough that I have to wonder how it answers the "parts falling out" question.
DC does this occasionally. They change an iconic character's look, trying to "update" it and make it fresh, and it always fails. Every time they end up reverting to the iconic look to prevent an army of fans from storming their offices. They've done it with Batman, Superman, Superboy, Flash, and who knows who else. You would think they'd learn eventually.
In short, this is not Wonder Woman. This new design would only barely fly in an Elseworlds or what-if type story, but it becomes official in the mainstream Wonder Woman comics today. Anyone taking bets on how long it lasts?

Let's see if I can attach a few pictures for comparison.

This new thing they're calling Wonder Woman.

I don't care for the muddy colors in this one, but the physical design is nearly perfect and would address their supposed issues.

Classic Wonder Woman, as done by the untouchable Alex Ross.

I won't even go into the stupid redesign of Wonder Woman's origin since no one will pay attention to it anyway. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess from the island of Themyscira, no matter what the geniuses currently in charge try to claim.

Copyright note: The images in this article are used for reporting and comparison purposes only. These images do not belong to me and I make no claim to them. Wonder Woman and all associated imagery belongs to DC Comics.

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