Sunday, December 02, 2007
Finding Wonder Woman's "Voice" in Her Comic Book
There is much to consider in finding and translating the "bone marrow" of a character and having it find a unique "voice" that can be found throughout continuity. God knows that in this latest run of Wonder Woman, she has been all over the board, which has made it impossible to lay a foundation for the tone of the book. Hopefully writer Gail Simone will stay on the book long enough to make this happen in a meaningful and memorable way that stays true to the character.
Tough order, huh?
What is unusual for me is that I find my feelings for Wonder Woman as a character to be almost sacred. When I see other readers have "pissing contests" to see who the biggest fan is, I want to run the other direction. In my mind it doesn't matter who has read her the longest or who owns the most collectibles. That is besides the point. What matters to me is my perception of the character. I know who I think Wonder Woman is, and it doesn't matter to me if anyone else agrees with me or not.
That being said, when I read the monthly title, I usually find at least one thing a writer has imbued the character with that I relate to. That helps me to establish a focal point that will further my enjoyment of Diana and her supporting characters. When I can find nothing to help me establish that rapport, it is a bit disconcerting to say the least.
My perceptions of Wonder Woman are as follows. I think that Diana is an overachiever who always pushes herself harder and farther then anyone else possibly could. She holds herself up to standards of perfection and tries to live up to them, which has hurt her in the past. Her physical strength and ablities are second to none, and she is a strategist on the battlefield. Wonder Woman doesn't pick a fight but she will not shy away from one. She is firm in her convictions and will not back down unless other lives are in danger. I think that is why it was not a tough choice for her to kill Maxwell Lord. In her mind it was for the greater good, and though she took no joy in it, she did it and was firm in her decision.
Romantically, Wonder Woman has been portrayed so many ways, yet has retained a quality of untouchable purity. Though she may or may not have been a virgin, and certainly was not by the end of the first series when she married Steve Trevor, she maintained a priority of fighting the evils of the world, and keeping her love life a private, almost sacred thing. When I see her in the current series, I am dissappointed by how poorly her personality has shown in respect to a potential relationship with Nemesis.
I want Diana to have a relationship. I just don't want her to be silly about it. I appreciated Phil Jimenez' take on Wonder Woman with regards to Trevor Barnes. At first she was a bit nervous, but when faced with the reality of her existence, she felt comfortable enough to let her guard down and be a bit flirty while maintaining her dignity. The scene in Wonder Woman #7 where she drops a wounded Nemesis for a swarmy comment just didn't work at all for me.
My bottom line on romance, is that I don't mind if she gets down to it behind closed doors, but that I want her to have a relationship that progresses at a realistic pace and I don't want her to be goofy about it. She is royalty, after all? That is one thing that has been lost in the shuffle.
As a princess of Themyscira, Diana isn't neccesarily prissy, but she has a great understanding of protocol. Having her act ditzy isn't within her character at all. Giving Diana a bit of a glamour is alright, as long as she maintains her priority, which is battling evil.
The "voice" I see in Wonder Woman is many faceted. She is dignified, yet calm. She won't back down from her beliefs but she will hear you out first. She is loyal to her friends and decisive with her enemies. When she meets a man she likes, she is womanly, but not goofy. She always remembers her "mission" but knows how to interact with folks from all social stations. That is what a princess does, after all.
What about you? What is the "voice" you see in Wonder Woman?