GUEST OPINION: A Wonder Woman Fan Speaks Out About the New Costume, New Direction, and J. Michael Straczynski

In the wake of the news about the new direction for Wonder Woman in the new run by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Don Kramer (which begins today with Wonder Woman #600), we asked Wonder Woman superfan Ali Colluccio to weigh in with her thoughts.


 

Wonder WomanI have a long history with Wonder Woman. Like most girls my age, most of my early exposure to the Amazon Princess came from Super Friends and the Wonder Woman TV show starring Lynda Carter. On top of that my mom was also a big Wonder Woman fan (she read old Wonder Woman comics as a kid). So there were plenty of times I pretended a jump rope was the Lasso of Truth or that I was zipping around in the Invisible Jet.

I did the Lynda Carter spin a lot.

I spent most of college and after watching the Bruce Timm Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. A few years ago I decided to move into reading comics and being relatively new to this whole scene, some of my first comics in issues were the Allan Heinberg Wonder Woman run dug out from a back issue bin

Long story short (too late) I'm a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Wonder Woman.

Over the last few months I've been watching the news about Wonder Woman unfold from DC Comics. When it was announced back in March that writer J. Michael Straczynski would be taking over the title as of issue #601, I was cautiously optimistic. I haven't really read of the comics the infamous JMS had written and I'm not familiar with Babylon 5. I was willing to give him a shot despite his polarizing reputation.

When I got home from work last night, I saw a few scattered tweets about a "new costume" for Wonder Woman and how it was bound to break the internet in half. I took a quick glance at the The Source blog on DC's website and felt the fangirl rage start to boil (if you saw a Red Lantern ring zip by last night it was probably looking for me). After a series of angry tweets about the news, I settled down and started to really think about how this new direction for Wonder Woman could/would work as a comic.

According to his statement over on The Source, Mr. Straczynski's plan for Wonder Woman is this: for reasons unknown, the Greek Gods have tampered with Wonder Woman's timeline so that instead of being raised by the Amazons as their princess, Diana grew up in Man's World on the mean streets of a yet-to-be-determined city. Hence a newly designed more street-level costume designed by DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee.

Let's talk about the costume first. I may have initially made a comment about it looking like something out of World of Warcraft or the scribbles that Conor Kilpatrick used to make in The Super Dictionary. But, given the outline of this new story I have to say, I kinda dig the new costume.

If you're doing a street level reimagining of the character, it makes sense to have a darker, more functional costume. She's still got her signature red and gold "chest plate". The jacket incorporates the white stars – even if it is a bit reminiscent of the BeDazzler. And she's wearing pants! Form-fitting yet functional pants!

I'm very happy that she's still carrying the Lasso, and the tiara is toned down but still there.

New Wonder WomanAt first I did not like the gauntlets. I've always loved the bracers. (I mean, how cool is that scene back when she's fighting with Max Lord and she breaks her wrists, so she slides up her bracer so she can keep fighting?!) But the more I look at them, the more bad-ass the gauntlets get. This may not be the costume I grew up on, but for the story that JMS is planning to tell I think this new costume works beautifully.

Now, back to the story plan.

I'm not going to lie. Personally, I'm kind of over the whole gritty, street level hero thing. I feel like it's a trend that has permeated into a lot of different media lately and honestly I think its run its course. That said, it still think this could be an interesting story. I like time travel and time manipulation when it's done well. And this story has the potential for a lot of wibby-wobbly, timey-whimey goodness.  

But I really feel like this could, and maybe should, be an Elseworlds tale. I know that it may sound like I'm saying that the story isn't good enough for a main title, but that's not it. I wish there were more (or any) alternate timeline/out-of-continuity stories for Wonder Woman. Superman and Batman are getting their own OGNs this year, and I feel like every other month there's a new Batman mini-series being written. But, right now, Wonder Woman is the only title in DC's line of comics that features Wonder Woman. There's no Wonder Woman OGN this year, no Secret Origin or Next Wave or All-Star mini-series with a superstar creative team in the works (yeah, I know about All-Star Wonder Woman, but get back to me when that actually comes out), and I don't think Sensation Comics is coming back anytime soon. I guess what I'm saying is there should be more Wonder Woman stories out there in the DCU and JMS' tale should be one of just a couple stories out there, not the one in the flagship title.

I'm also very concerned about what this means for the rest of the DCU. Wonder Woman played a decent role in Blackest Night, and before all the upheaval she was a pillar of the Justice League. So now what happens with this new timeline? Is Wonder Woman wiped from the shared consciousness of the DC Universe? We just got Superman back, don't take Wonder Woman away! If this was a Bat-book or a Superman title, Donna Troy would be starring in Wonder Woman and this JMS storyline would be happening in something like Wonder Woman: Rebirth or a newly resurrected Sensation Comics.

There's also the rather large elephant in the room. This whole thing feels a bit too much like One More Day. And we all know how well that was received. But once JMS was done pushing the Spider-Man Mystical Reset Button, we got some fantastic stories out of Brand New Day. Despite the initial backlash, Amazing Spider-Man has been a solid, consistently good title ever since. So maybe there will be a silver lining to this "new direction" for Wonder Woman.

It's comics. They're like a snow globe, every once and while someone comes along and shakes things up. But when the flakes are done falling and everything settles down, Wonder Woman will still be Wonder Woman (I hope). At the end of the day, she is and will always be strong and smart and beautiful and graceful and kind. That's who Wonder Woman is and that's what matters most.
 

Comments

  1. I don’t particularly care about the continuity, I just want a good Wonder Woman story.  Her Blackest Night mini was decent, but I want more.  She needs a popular (if polarizing) run that sells well and gets us talking about her.

    I have no opinion on JMS. I’ve never been burned by him, so I will give him a chance. 

    I like the gauntlets, too. 

    I’m buying #600 and #601 

    @WonderAli – This is a well written and well reasoned post.  Good job. 

  2. Thats the first i heard of her potential new origin, and i’m not digging it. But I’m pertty sure this will be temporary just like the red and blue Superman, or Azreal as Batman.

  3. Fantastic article, Ali.  I love that your response is open-minded and looks at the issue from a lot of different angles, even though your initial emotional response was "nooo!!!"

     

  4. As I get older, I care less and less about continuity.  I actually thank Joey Q for really making me face this.  Tell me what is going on when the story starts or explain to me why it is different and I will accept the story on its face from there.

    I like the idea behind this.  Integrating her more into the DCU has not worked, so I am all for the idea of isolating her and showing what makes her special.  

    I really like the new design.  I would much rather have all women in comics wearing pants over cheesecake attire.  All that said, CHANGE THE JACKET!!  We do not need to see Cyndi Lauper, Pointer Sister, and early Madonna inspired fashion.  It was bad then, and it is bad now.   But it is far superior to wearing a swimsuit.

  5. All I’m interested in doing right now is tracking down Greg Rucka’s run on the book.

     

  6. They put her in pants! Now all we have to do is get some shorts on Supergirl and we’ll be in business!

    Great article, Ali! I, for one, am giving this a chance to be awesome. Lord knows that Diana needs… something, and who knows? Maybe this is the thing that will make her a relevant and interesting character again. I’m certainly in to find out.

  7. Other than Blackest Night Wonder Woman (which, ngl, I picked up after someone told me it had a Bruce/Diana panel for me and is the only Blackest Night title I read), I haven’t read her in years. I didn’t find any of the stories engaging. So, I am actually excited to give this new direction a try. Because, like you, I love Wonder Woman from way back and I’ve missed reading her.

  8. The new costume totally looks like something from the early 90s. I don’t know, it’s nice that she’s wearing pants but really? Street Level Wonder Woman?

  9. I didn’t have the initial "NOT LIKE THIS!!" moment that you had, but your opinion pretty much mirrors my own, in that not only do I dig the costume, but I’m also keeping an open mind about the new direction of the series. As long as it’s a series that features a well written Wonder Woman who possesses all the traits that we like about her, isn’t that all we’re really asking for?

  10. I just don’t see what the big deal is with slightly changing her origin. If it gets people to read her comic again then go for broke and give this a shot. The OMD comparison is interesting and I never thought about that. However the big difference is that Wonder Woman could use a bit of a reboot while Spider-Man never (ever) needed one at all in the first place.

    But great article Ali, at least even with some reservations you’re willing to give this run a try. Unlike others who might run the site.

  11. Totally agree. The rebooted origin is even more stupid than the costume. 

  12. @TNC  — How is this ‘slightly’? 

    I’m kind of assuming the new origin has an expiration date — that it’s effectively going to be an elseworlds told in the main title — but it’s hardly a minor change.

  13. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I may have giggled at "wibbly-wobbly, timey whimey" for obvious reasons. 

    Wonderful, thoughtful piece, Ali. When I first saw the design, I was instantly curious as to your own reaction. Thanks for writing this.  

  14. @PaulMontgomery – Thanks Paul!!

  15. @ohcaroline Let me ask you this….Did you like it when WW turned into a super spy (ala James Bond) in the 70s? If so, then what’s the big change here?

    Clearly she is still going to have Greek mythology roots if her big baddies are the same people who did the change in the first place.

  16.  @TNC  That WAS a big change.  I’m not assuming that change is a bad thing, but it’s silly to say that this isn’t a change.

  17. @TNC – If you read the post carefully, you’ll see that WW’s childhood is no longer going to have been on the island.  It will be in a modern city.  That is the equivalent of having Bruce Wayne grow up in Essex County rather than Gotham.

  18. @TNC-I love how you say ‘I don’t see what the big deal is with slightly changing her origin,’ but refuse to purchase Spidey stories when they didn’t even change his origin, but just said that they didn’t walk the aisle together.  Bravo to you sir for being able to write that without a hint of irony. 

  19. @ohcaroline I did say it was a change but again, she still have to have Greek routes if she still is WW and her main villains are God who changed her origin ‘slightly’.

  20. I went on a wonder woman tear about a year ago, i looked up every "good" and "meaningful" story that i could find about her. Why? because she is part of the trinity and i have no idea who she is. I understand Batman, I understand Superman, and to be fair there are certain writers who have understood them well enough to write those defining stories. Wonder Woman has lacked that. And i thought to myself, maybe it is the chessecake costume, maybe it’s her origins with one hell of a creepy guy as her creator, maybe it’s she’s a woman in a "man’s" world, both of readers and of storytellers.

     But then again maybe she still just lacks that golden story to send her over the top,  JMS has told really good stories in the past, and his thor told a story that really understood the history of the myth along with the recent history of the character. So yeah, this might work.

     

  21. Holy crap they stole that costume design from Conor!

  22. This will of course be temporary. The thing here is that unfortunately, Wonder Woman isn’t as popular a character in comics as she is in pop culture. The writer of this piece even says she came to WW from the TV show and Super Friends. Anything that could possibly get some attention on the COMICS of Wonder Woman is a good thing. 

     I just don’t understand comic fans and their ability to freak out when something changes. We’ve all read comics for years, nothing "new" ever stays. It eventually goes back. Dead Superman, Clone Spidey, Dead Cap, Crazy Hal Jordan…I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. 

    JMS is hit or miss with me, but I have liked a lot of what he’s done, including the early Spider-Man stuff he did, (yeah I said it, I liked Ezekial). I wasn’t going to get his run on Wonder Woman but with all of this, I might just pick it up. I would love to read good Wonder Woman stories.

    And let’s just admit, any costume for Wonder Woman not in a bathing suit gives us male fans reading the book a little credibility.  

  23. I think it’s worth noting that this is not a change to the character’s origin or negating everything that came before. All that stuff still happened. This is an alternate timeline, like Age of Apocalypse for all those X-nerds out there. JMS expressed that very clearly in his IGN interview (which you should all read!) That doesn’t mean people can’t have concerns about what he is doing with the character, but I think people are getting upset and jumping to conclusions about his plan without having all the information.

    More importantly–great article, Ali! Glad to see the site offer up the opportunity for a super fan to weigh in and voice their opinion on a larger scale.

  24. Nice commentary…its cool to read what a passionate fan thinks of this major change. I hadn’t considered the DCU implications, and i really agree with the writer on that point. 

    @TNC–As far as the big deal with her origin change. She’s one of DC’s iconic characters created in 1941. She’s older than almost every character on the comic shelf save for maybe a dozen. Its a real tough sell to just take a character like that, wipe the slate clean and basically create a new character with the same name. I personally don’t think its very respectful for a writer to just decide all that history is worthless and throw it all away on a whim.

    One of the great things about the DCU is that so many of its characters were born in the gold and silver ages, and are still going strong. I think its something worth respecting. 

  25. To me, the pitch doesn’t sound like OMD but rather "Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne".

    I don’t get why "WW’s timeline changes" seems to get more bad vibes than "Batman fights pirates" (could just be me).

  26. @JJ-I think that it is because in Batman, the stuff is happening ‘now’ and in WW, the stuff is happening ‘then’.  It is the difference (to use Back to the Future terms) of what was happening to Marty versus what was happening to Biff.  Marty was going on an adventure, while Biff had his whole backstory changed.  (I love Biff!!)

  27. I think George Perez’s run on WW was the best.  It was rich with mythologically inspired stories and it portrayed Diana as a fierce warrior with a strong sense of responsibility. Rucka’s run was similar to Perez’s, where the mythology was a main focus to the character — he wrote some of the best WW stories in the past decade. Don’t get me wrong, the mythology was fun – but it was the powerful fighter that both writers portrayed that made their stories work for Wonder Woman.

    To me, there was nothing more exciting, than when WW killed Maxwell Lord – finally we saw the true warrior. That amazon warrior persona is what DC MUST stay with if anyone is going to read or care about WW. DC needs to stop revamping the character, making her the peaceful diplomat or super agent . . .

    DC: JUST GIVE US A FEMALE VERSION OF THOR & CONAN . . . GIVE US A ZENA!

  28. storywise I’m willing to give this story a chance, if it gives us new material that can be followed easily which can later be folded into her character to give her more depth then all the better for us  no? I’m more curious what this reboot means for wonder girl and donna troy

  29. Wonder Woman is #1 trending topic on Yahoo.

  30. @JesTr – That should make DC happy.

  31. So JMS got people to actually talk about Wonder Woman again?  Even a full article of press here?  Wow, that man is gifted. 

  32. Actually now that I think of it…

    I keep agreeing with folks who say there are no character defining stories written for WW but really I can’t think of many for Supes and Bats anyway.

    Supes = Death of… and?
    Bats = DKR and Year 1? Killing Joke?
    WW = Killing of Max Lord

  33. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Nice thoughts here, Ali. It’s great that iFanboy allows the occasional guest column. Cool!

    For me, Wonder Woman has many of the same problems as Superman. You can’t do much with either character as they’re both too tied down to the corporate mandated status quo to allow much shake-up. Still, you can get great stories out of both of them. For instance, Rucka’s run on WW was really solid stuff. And if someone wants to come in and is given the opportunity to try something new for a while? That’s fine with me. It is a bit weird that it’s happening in WONDER WOMAN proper and not in some spin-off mini, as Ali points out. Still, I’m cautiously optimistic for it.

    Oh, and CNN.com has a mini-story about this change. DC has to be pretty happy with that. 

  34. @WonderAli  –  Great article 

     btw if you do happen to become disappointed JMS run highly recommend reading Greg Rucka Wonder Women

  35. The more I think about this the more excited I get.  Also, I realize how much I dislike Wonder Woman’s costume.  I know it’s iconic and I know you could say this about any superhero custome but Wonder Woman’s outfit just looks stupid to me.  Maybe it’s the star covered underwear that makes it so visually unappealing?  Regardless, I like the new design particularly as drawn by Don Kramer.

  36. Great article Ali! I don’t have a problem that this is in the flagship title. I guess that is because 1) I normally don’t read Wonder Woman and 2) there are no other Wonder Woman titles. Maybe that is the problem. Batman and Supes get many titles, minis, and OGNs and Diana doesn’t. Maybe this change will generate interest in the flagship title.  We know that sales for Wonder Woman isn’t great.  If this can generate interest then maybe more stories and titles will follow. Hell several years ago I wouldn’t think there would be more than one Green Lantern title and now there are three!

    @ohcaroline & @drakedangerz: Well said! This isn’t a change in orgin but an alternate time line or "elseword " in the main title. I’ll go one step further and say it could be a part of the multiverse (but maybe that is way too far fetched).  The Age of Apocalypse were some of my favorite all time X-Men stories, so this could be interesting.  I wonder how the story here will effect the rest of the DCU? It will be interesting to see how this could effect other titles or characters.

  37. Great piece, Ali. I think you do well in illustrating the various thoughts, questions, potential problems, etc.

    @drakedangerz – I totally get the "Age of Apocalypse" comparison, and I don’t have problems with time travel and alternate reality stories. But imagine if they made AoA stick as the permanent continuity. That’s my only concern with any of this.

    @anybody concerned with trends/buzz – it’s really EASY to get buzz. You issue a press release that shows a change for a major icon, and everyone will talk. I remember them covering "Electric Blue" Superman all over the media. I’m sure this will spike sales, too.

    But, for me,  the question is: is it better for the brand in the long run? Is this "urban streetfighter" origin of Diana a STRONGER, more RELEVANT origin for Wonder Woman? Or is this just change for the sake of change?  Change for the sake of a good story is pretty noble, but when the story is over? Have you weakened the icon by giving her a weaker origin story? I think you’ve got to think in the long term when you’re dealing with modern myths like WW.

  38. Just finished reading the JMS interview over at CBR and, I gotta tell ya, I’m excited for this now. He brings up some good points about Diana’s waning popularity and that this really is a way to present people with a WW story that they haven’t seen before. Sounds good to me, as almost everything I’ve ever read about WW feels exactly the same as the last thing. Hooray for change!

  39. @daccampo-Well this isn’t going to be the permanent continuity. JMS states in his IGN interview that this timeline and the mainstream DCU will come to a head later on in his run as WW begins to see that something altered reality. Whether or not any of what he does here is reflected or incorporated into WW’s history after JMS leaves is anybodies guess.

  40. You know what? I read the comic at my LCS (yes I know that is frowned upon on here but I don’t care) and I’ve come to this conclusion….

    It’s not even a reboot! It’s like….it’s like….putting a blindfold on Wonder Woman and telling her previous life didn’t exist! It clearly did and this prologue (and I’m going to assume #601) will discuss why Diana can’t see her old world for what it truly is.

    So there. It’s not a reboot, it’s not a new status quo, it’s just some magic thingy to make her believe it never happened…..Can we enjoy comics now!!??

  41. @Dacampo: I get what you say about branding. I’m in the field. But As Drake pointed out, this does not not aappear to be an erasing of what was there.I don’t see this damaging the brand. It has a lot of potential to strengthen it by showing other facets of it and sifting through it. Every brand needs a refresher once in a while.

  42. I think we’re all forgetting the real issue. How will Geoff Johns fix Donna Troy this time?

  43. @drake and JJ — Well, if that’s the case, then I’m relieved. I don’t read IGN (the web’s a big place, guys). I’ve said this since yesterday: "if it’s just a story, then COOL. I’m down with it."

  44. @daccampo-I don’t have time to read everything either. But when it comes to topics that I am interested in, or feel like contributing to discussions about, I make a conscientious effort to get as much information as possible.

  45. Alright, read the IGN interview, and JMS definitely paints an intriguing picture. He’s, of course, very vague on what happens at the point in the story where the two timelines might meet, but that’s as it should be. We wouldn’t want that given away. It sounds like he’s got a authoritative plan, and I do like that.

    Again, I was never trying to be some slavish fanboy — hope it doesn’t come off that way. I don’t care about specific continuity. I just think that some icons have a base origin that shouldn’t be muddied up. It’s not necessary to make the character relevant. That said, a MYSTERY and a time travel/alt. reality story? These things are compelling. Just as long as Diana still gets to be Diana, y’know? I’ve always liked her character, but she’s a tricky one to get right.

     

  46. Wow! That’s was a great read. I’ve never read a solo Wonder Woman comic, but I’m going to give this a shot. I like JMS and after reading his take on Wonder Woman, Zantanna, and Barbra Gordon in Brave and the Bold, I think I’m going to see where this goes.

  47. @drake: Maybe they will have something similar to AoA. After the timeline was fixed Bishop retained some of the memories from the AoA time.

  48. @drake — it’s not about not wanting to — it’s about knowing what’s out there. I read the initial press release right from DC, as reported here, and based my thoughts around that. Which seems appropriate. All of my comments all along have been "This could be good, this could be bad" — all very aware that it’s just speculative. I’m just thinking about the different possiblities.

  49. WW is never, and in my lifetime, never has been a top seller.  Every time they reboot the book, I try it.  I gave Perez a shot, as well as Loeb, Rucka, and Simone.  While none of those runs are bad, none are classic, or even memorable to me.  I just think a lot of men (AKA, nearly the entire comics audience) are a little afraid to buy WW comics.  Sometimes I think she is included in the "Trinity" for two reasons 1. she has been around forever and 2. it’s good for DC to have a woman in there.  I have enjoyed her in JLA over the years, as well as on the JLU series and her animated movie.  I guess my point is, she can’t really carry a decent monthly series, why not try something new and radical?  Not sure this is the answer, but I will give it a shot.

  50. I feel compelled to point this out regarding the origin treatment: When Kurt Busiek took over on Avengers in the late ’90s, the story of his first arc could have been summed up similarly to what JMS is doing with Wonder Woman. By the end of the story the Avengers had defeated the time-meddling Morgan Le Fay and returned everything to the normal status quo. This sort of thing happens all the time in comics. All this hyperventillating is likely for nothing.

  51. reserved judgement until i read it today.

  52. I’m not sure about this.  On one hand, I’m glad that DC is taking steps to make a drastic change in WW to bring to take her to the top, but I’m worried about how this will screw up her already confusing continuity.  I just don’t want WW to suffer from all of the reboots that Legion of Super Heroes has been saddled with.  

    Aesthetically, I like it.  Now I wonder what Donna’s new costume that Diana is supposed to give her will look like or has that changed now? 

  53. Great article, Ali.

    Totally agree with you on the ‘Elseworlds’ nature of this book. It’s got a ‘Red Son’ sort of feel to it and I think I’d much rather this story take place in the new universe they’re creating for their OGNs. 

  54. I read the little teaser in this week’s WW. I like the tone and I like the mystery. I think, as reg5000 said above, this would be a great Earth-1 OGN type thing. I mean, it gives Diana a sort of Harry Potter/Percy Jackson danger and urgency that’s pretty cool. I think this could have some YA literary cross-over appeal — a young woman who is the last champion of her kind, must battle her foes and reclaim her mantle as the princess of her destroyed island home.

    So, I stand by what I said. The story seems cool. But… the new reality is different enough that if they were to attempt to keep it as the new status quo, I think it would be a mistake. And, in fact, this version does seem like a finite story, which is good. It honestly seems like something that could be done over a span of 6-10 OGNs, culminating with Diana discovering what happened to her mother and then rising up and reclaiming her home.

    I think Ali hits the nail on the head with her point about there really being only ONE playground for Wonder Woman. That’s a shame. I’d like to see multiple interpretations exist, as they do with Batman and Superman. But… that’s the market, and them’s the breaks. Still, at the very least, we’re getting some buzz for Diana, and we’re getting what looks to be a focused, uninterrupted-by-events mystery story — and that’s a good thing.

  55. JMS ruined Spidey to me…and now he’ll do it again with WW…i pass!

  56. Is there a Wonder Woman/JMS religion? After reading that intro, I want to join.

  57. droped.

  58. Picked up.

  59. Loved the book. Agree with JMS wholeheartedly regarding the character stagnating, and a general lack of interest towards the character. WW needed this reboot to spark the interest in the character. Opinions of JMS aside, he has at the very least created a buzz around WW, one of which I cannot remember in my 5 years of reading comics.

     I’m excited for 601, and excited that DC was willing to take the character in a desperately needed new direction.

     To make a comparison for comparison’s sake, DC did to WW, what Marvel needs to do with FF. While I appreciate, and acknowledge FF’s importance in comics, I really don’t care for the book. 

  60. I’m a big fan of Rucka’s and Simone’s.  And I like the costume…..  Yes, it is a huge change.  But if there ever was a movie, I really don’t believe the bikini bottoms would work.  For a live-version rendering, it’s going to require a costume modification, along the lines of above.