Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wonder Woman #3 (October, 2006)
Hercules caught Giganta by the foot, and then put her on her butt, allowing him to free the Donna Troy necklace. Cheetah leapt at this “…Wonder Man,” while Diana Prince looked after Donna. Dr. Psycho tried to mesmerize the ladies, but was clipped in the head by Hercules’ thrown headband. Hercules was about to stab Psycho, but Prince stopped him, allowing the Doctor to utter a magic word. All the bad guys plus Donna and Wonder Girl disappeared, and it was once again Diana’s fault. Hercules made sure to rub it in, as he had taken over Wonder Woman’s abdicated mission, and browbeat her for shirking her duties. Members of the JSA helped clean up Giganta’s mess.
Diana Prince briefed Nemesis and fellow agents about Hercules, who had raped and wronged the Amazons in the past. Sentenced to literally carry the weight of Themyscira for eternity by Zeus, his sentence was commuted when Princess Diana offered to help shoulder the burden. Hercules briefly acted as the super-hero Champion before being allowed to live among the gods, but was now back to Earth, giving press conferences regarding his new role.
Agent Prince was part of a Department of Metahuman Affairs team sent to investigate Hercules, but they found that he had been transformed into a minotaur. All the males on Prince’s team followed suit, becoming beastiamorphs through the enchantments of Circe. The sorceress had Donna and Cassie dangling from chains. Diana Prince was also effortlessly captured, and Circe figured that if Diana didn’t want to be Wonder Woman anymore, she just might have an app for that.
“When the gods of Olympus left this earthly plane, they entrusted you, Donna Troy and Wonder Girl with the last of their power. Power you squandered… battling cyborg centurions and psychic despots… when every day, thousands of women are beaten, raped, and murdered, because they have no one to fight for them. Because you were too busy being a superhero to be their champion. And now you’re not even a superhero. You’re pretending to be human. Well guess what? You don’t have to pretend anymore.” Suddenly, Circe was a terrifying new vision of a Wonder Woman…
Part three of “Who is Wonder Woman?” was by Allan Heinberg, Terry & Rachel Dodson. This was the last issue to come out on a proper schedule, and also the point at which I began to turn on the book. There were quite simply too many characters running around fighting without accomplishing anything, and the third straight issue where three of Wonder Woman’s biggest foes popped up screaming to find Diana, got in a fight, and then conveniently disappeared. If that wasn’t repetitive enough, we’ve got more heavy-handed Diana bashing without very convincing rationales, more of Diana vacillating on her decisions, and just plain random crap happening to advance a paper thin plot. When will writers learn that there are characters made to be weak/vulnerable/fallible, and characters that are supposed to be above reproach? People don’t want to read stories where Superman or Wonder Woman whine about how tough it is to be beautiful and perfect, but rather to revel in these extraordinary heroes defeating evils to make the world better for us all.
Worse, Heinberg has all the characters speaking subtext as text, resulting in cringe inducing purple prose and self-important screeds about whether friggin’ Hercules or Circe would make better Wonder Persons. Why would Circe want anything to do with that? We’ve had twenty years of Circe as a soulless vamp governed entirely by self-interest and personal pleasure whose motivation to kill Wonder Woman was the prophesy that Diana would someday take Circe’s immortality. Now we’re supposed to buy her as a defender of the molested and downtrodden, clearly in service to Heinberg’s storytelling agenda? Dude, create a new character for that, because Circe isn’t in that line of work. It just makes Diana look stupid for sweating her role and the readers feel cheated by this nonsense. Further, comics are escapist entertainment with a very precarious suspension of disbelief. Outside of “very special episodes,” you have to avoid “relevance” and pointing out the artifice of super-heroes, because the whole concept falls apart under that kind of scrutiny. That’s like sending Foghorn Leghorn through a Kentucky Fried Chicken processing plant. It’s a thing not to be done.
Brave New World