Saturday, June 17, 2006
Why Wonder Woman Is Destined To Be Alone
The readers of Wonder Woman are a supremely devoted lot. I know that I include myself among the faithful, and clamor eagerly each month to get my hands on new tales of the Amazon Princess. It has been that way since I was 8 and continues in the same comforting pace to this day.
DC is the supreme editorial being, and according to their dictates, Wonder Woman has customarily been alone since the first series ended. Here are my thoughts about why this is the way it must be in their eyes.
In the original Wonder Woman series, Princess Diana of the Amazons lays her eyes on Steve Trevor, a wounded pilot whose jet has crashed on her island. She is so overcome by him that she disguises herself to win the contest that determines who Wonder Woman will be. This is lore that I am sure we all are aware of.
Throughout the tenure of the book, Steve and Diana/Wonder Woman indulged in a game of cat and mouse. Steve loved Wonder Woman and she him, but there was always the irritation that he thought Diana Prince was kinda blah. This kept things spicy in the fact that readers hoped for eternal love, but were stuck with a woman who had vowed to banish all evil before settling down.
After awhile, this wore pretty thin. Around issue 178, Steve Trevor was killed and Wonder Woman was de-powered and lost her memories. She ran around fighting crime with I-Ching as her mentor. While I enjoyed this run immensely, evidently Gloria Steinem did not. For whatever reason, around issue 210 Wonder Woman was back in her star spangled tights doing 12 trials to get back into the Justice League. This is where the 8 year old in me picked up the title.
When Diana got her memories back and realized that Steve was dead, I figured that was it. DC had other plans. In a visit back to Paradise Island, Diana fought “men” and found that they were really a test of her goddesses with the exception of a Steve Trevor who had been brought back to life.
This relationship was rocky from the start. Steve knew Di’s secret identity, and she had changed. Perhaps DC sensed a bum deal, and once again Steve was killed. Not long after Diana went and became and astronaut and had a fling with some dude named Mike who turned out to be a baddy in the Royal Flush gang. Fed up with the bull crap, Diana went back to Paradise Island and her mother caused her to forget Steve AGAIN.
In another Hera Help Us moment, Steve was returned a third time. This time he came through transdimensionally and DC took him and Diana back to the basics. Etta Candy, General Darnell, and the military were back in the picture. Once again Diana was the ugly duckling, and Wonder Woman was Steve’s “angel”. Things definitely had come full circle. In issue 300, Diana met with her Earth Two counterpart, who in a happy twist of fate had married her Steve Trevor and had a daughter Lita (soon to be known as Fury, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!). Diana decided to kill off her alter ego Diana Prince so she and Steve could get married. Needless to say, it didn’t come off the way the fans had wanted, and Steve and Di remained close, but not man and wife.
The series ended in issue 329 as Crisis on Infinite Earths loomed. In this issue, Diana of Earth One married Steve Trevor and they lived happily ever after. DC had a planned reboot coming up to rejuvenate sales that was certain to shake things up.
It became obvious very soon in the second series that Diana was NOT meant to have a man in her life. Steve Trevor was much older, and was in love with Etta Candy this time. Diana remained virginal with the exception of a school girl crush on Superman.
The whole Superman thing is a great “Elseworlds” vibe. It creates huge sales and a great deal of interest. There is just one problem with the whole equation and her name is Lois Lane. She is the grounding force for Superman and a key element in his mythos so the Wonder Woman/ Superman relationship can never be. Other then the stupid crap about Supes being WW’s best friend, it is a done deal.
Not until writer Eric Luke came along was there a hint of a possible love life for Diana, and this wasn’t until the 140’s and 150’s of the second series. During “Godwar” Luke introduced Rama, a Hindu hero blessed by his gods, much like Diana. The two flirted and god knows what else, since there were only hints, but it never came to fruition after he manifested into some crazed Hindu God/Killer and was too ashamed to stay.
Writer/Artist Phil Jimenez took another stab at it with Trevor Barnes, a humanitarian who got Diana’s blood pumping simply by being smart, philanthropic, and “beautiful”. It got off to a bad start when at the end of their first date; Di and Trevor were whisked off to the Savage Land of all places. This stalled things considerably and then Di had to go rescue Vanessa and fight the Cheetahs. The last issue on Phil’s run was a great set up for the beginning of a great relationship that was not to be. Walt Simonson’s run from #189 to 194 killed Trevor off, albeit heroically.
This led into Greg Rucka’s run on the book which ended this series. Rucka had Diana doing many cool things; it is just that romance was not one of them.
Now we are starting the third series with a new number one. I don’t know where it is going, but I feel relatively certain that it doesn’t include Wonder Woman getting any.
GETTING TO THE POINT HERE:
I don’t think DC will allow Wonder Woman a steady. Based on the history she had, it was hard to keep the magic with Steve Trevor over a forty year time table. Rebooted, she was treated as a virginal warrior, and her crushes stayed pretty much just that- a crush.
I think the reason for this is that readers and DC alike want to keep Diana untouchable. Unlike her male counterparts, a love interest is not used to spur stories. She is portrayed as a perfect woman who recognizes the flaws in the life and constantly fixes them. The fact that she is unattainable is used as a tool to keep interest. Evidently it has worked so far, but I wish they would allow some loving in her life.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE (pipe dream central) is Diana go on multiple dates and get a sense of the type of men that are out there. Let’s see this untouchable goddess cringe a bit, or even swoon a bit. Even if the ultimate decision is made to stay single, I would at least like to see her get her feet wet.
WHAT I WOULDN’T LIKE is for the third reboot to have Steve Trevor be a love interest. In my mind that ship has sailed. Been there, done that so to speak. I will always have a great fondness for their history, but in my mind that is what it is. I also would like to not have to deal with more Superman/Batman crushes. They are the great trinity- can we leave it that way?
If Diana had to date a super hero, have it be out of left field. Have Diana take out Ralph Dibny for the hell of it, to give him some support. Maybe have her sweat Dick Grayson a bit- that would drive Bruce crazy. Heh. OR just to clear the palate, have her go out with Ollie to teach the old lech a lesson.
IN CONCLUSION, it doesn’t seem that the readership or DC wants to give Diana a love life that is steady, so why not have a bit of fun? The girl doesn’t have to go all ‘ho’ or anything, but let her at least have a date. As her own mother Hyppolyta told her “have some fun while you’re at it.
I can always hope.