Thursday, September 22, 2005

Harsh! Hated Female Characters #10: Byrne-Era Wonder Girl

WW 113
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

When John Byrne wrote Wonder Woman from issues #101 to #136, there were several things apparent, but nothing more glaring then the fact that his control freak tendencies demanded he create a new Wonder Girl. From minute one, I cringed.

Cassie Sandsmark, the daughter of Wonder Woman's curator friend Helena Sandsmark, displayed impish qualities that were reminiscent to me of Golden Age Wonder Woman pest Susie. I never in a million years dreamed that Byrne would make her a super hero.

Originally, Cassie used Wonder Woman's winged sandals and a strength enhancing bracelet. There were some close calls, but she kept coming back to super heroing. Donning an unattractive black wig and a Wonder Woman symbol shirt, Cassie definitely did not look the part.

My big problem with Cassie is that I swear that Byrne went out of his way to make her more unattractive and boyish then she needed to be. To me, Cassie looked like a younger cookie cutter version of Julia Kapatelis, a fate I would wish on no child. I also didn't like the goofiness that Cassie displayed, and wondered why Wonder Woman would allow her to ever have access to her instruments again.

When Cassie talked Zeus into letting her have powers, I sighed resignedly. She was here to stay, and I couldn't do anything about it.

The good news is that after Byrne's tenure on the book, Cassie was able to join Young Justice and adopt a more normal teenage girl persona. Writer Peter David and penciler Todd Nauck didn't sex her up, they simply made her look like a girl. Eventually, Cassie even got a more professional outfit. She has had growing pains, but has found some lasting friendships.

Cassie is now featured in both the Wonder Woman and Teen Titans titles, and it has been divulged that Zeus is her father. I am happy with her evolution, and even more glad that her roots are further behind her now.

I hated and still despise the Byrne-era Cassie/Wonder Girl. I am glad to see her nowadays, but still think that her original persona needs to be called on the carpet. Thank Peter David and the crew on Young Justice for treating Cassie with the care she so deserved.

(Pictured is the cover of Wonder Woman #113)


Carl said...

I always saw her (until the Titans) as an Elseworlds character.

"What if a female Urikel became Wonder Girl?!!!"

Ick. Now that she is fairly normal I can take her or leave her...

Heidi Meeley said...

That is so funny, but scarily true, Carl. She was definitely a female Urkel to the nth degree.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Cassie now that Donna Troy is coming back.

Take care!