Thursday, March 20, 2008

Okay, I'll be the one to say it.

I've been reading a lot of griping about Wonder Woman #18, so I thoguht I'd chime in with my opinion: I liked it.

Not only that, I like Tom Tresser. Sure, he's no Steve, but he's cute. And he can be awesome when used properly. He's clever, funny, and skilled. I liked him under Heinebrg, I like him under Simone. I don't like him when he's written by Piccoult, but I don't like anyone as written by Piccoult. Fortunately, Piccoult's not writing him anymore. Simone is. I'm going to pretend Piccoult's run didn't happen, just like I do for Diana.

Also, does nobody realize what Simone just did? Amazon customs. She is fleshing out Amazon society in a way that's not just rehashed Athens customs. The Amazons had their own city-state in Ancient Greece, which means they had their own festivals and traditions and stories. Simone may be the first writer since Perez to start tossing this in there.

Plus, Wonder Woman has decided to court him. That's cool as shit, and pro-active. Just like Diana should be in a romantic situation. It's not like where she had a little-girl crush on Superman, or was the unwitting object of Ed, Micah or Mike's affections. She's an active participant. She's not dainty flower waiting to be picked. She's pursuing a relationship with a guy she thinks is hot.

It's okay that she made a joke about bowling. I drag my dates to the comic book store, but we also do stuff they like. That's part of dating. You try different things together, see if you can deal with the other person's world.

I like the joke about American courtship rituals, because that proves this is not the lifeless, humorless Diana entering a stiff, awkward romance like in Eric Luke or Phil Jiminez's runs. She's relaxed and playful and comfortable. The piece of personality that Perez took away when he removed Steve Trevor is coming back. The maturity and sensuality of the Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman, modernized to shed the "hard to get" social norms of those bygone decades whil still keeping her playful charm, is slowly returning. The icy distance between Wonder Woman and mortals is disappearing. We're getting Diana back.

Now, I love Steve. I still think we need a way to bring him back as her love interest. But announcing that she's courting Tom doesn't mean she's going to marry this character. Means she's exploring a little. Means she's opening as a person. Sure, not all female characters need romantic interests. But celibacy would make no sense for a follower of Aphrodite, after all. Remember, the warmth and caring in her heart? Not a gift from Demeter or Hestia. That's from Aphrodite, a sex goddess. Diana's connecting with a piece of herself here, and if things work out she'll get to connect with a piece of Tom.

And of course Tom's not good enough for her. She's friggin' Wonder Woman. No man in comics is good enough for her (which is probably why they got rid of Steve to begin with). That's no reason she shouldn't shop around. That's no reason a natural part of her life should be closed off except for a once-every-two-or-three-years short story about sexual tension with Superman, Batman or Aquaman.

Even if the objection is that he's not good enough for her because he's not an A-lister, that's silly. It's good that the most powerful woman in comics isn't spending all her time trying to find a match in status and power. Superman is married to a mortal woman. Diana's being like her male counterparts, and going for a guy she enjoys being around.

I'm sure we'll still have lots of action in the series. Gail Simone is writing her. A little romance does not a sappy love story make. Diana flirting with a guy does not mean she's not a kickass warrior.

And again, I like Nemesis. I enjoyed Wonder Woman #18. I think Gail Simone did a good job. I look forward to the rest of this story. And I am not ashamed!

And I'm sure I'm not alone in this.


  1. I was taken aback when I saw people complain that Tom was not good enough from Wonder Woman.

    Outside of Batman, is anyone really good enough for the character? The only thing that makes Lois a proper love interest for Superman is that she has been set up as the equal to Clark Kent over time.

    I also wonder why people would expect every love interest of a comic character to be substantial. No one does that in real life. You hope for the best, but in reality, you go to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

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  3. Thank you. I thought I was the only person who thought Diana was speaking metaphorically when she was talking about bowling.

    I'll admit to not being as well-versed in the Nemesis lore as some, but I'm not aware if any story that says Tom is an avid bowler.

    The way I read it was that Diana was saying - in a joking manner - that she wanted to get to know Tom and his interests and was willing to do anything. That is, she was using bowling as an example of a stereotypically "guy thing" and something that women have to be forced into learning how to play.

  4. You're definitely not alone - I loved #18, and can't wait to see more.

    I especially love how Simone treats Diana and rituals (like, here, the rituals of Amazon courtship). They're *important* to her, but more for the fundamental truths they represent than as something one does for form's sake.

  5. Yes. Thank you!

    I admit I'm not terribly familiar with Nemesis--I did hear a lot of ranting about him during Piccoult's run, which I refused to read--but I loved the way the whole thing was handled in #18. Anyway, I was too busy being gleeful over the traditions (and the hey, courting rituals from an all-female culture) to be perturbed. I'm willing to give the guy a chance if Diana is, and I trust Gail to do something interesting with the relationship.

  6. I think that the key word here is "playful". I LIKE seeing Diana lighten up a bit. Tom's not so bad, as you say, he's probably not worthy of her, but then who is? And as Kalinara pointed out, he'd probably be a lot more fun as a boyfriend than Batman.

    Of course ANYONE would be more fun as a boyfriend than Batman, but that's mostly just my opinion.

    So, yes there was a lot to like in the latest issue of Wonder Woman. I must say that I LOVED the Khund statue of her, that they had to "pretty up."


  7. I wonder how many of the people complaining about Wonder Woman's (a fictional character, mind you) sex life are simply jealous that Wonder Woman is dating someone and it's not THEM...

  8. I'm both interested and torn about this post for a number of reasons.

    I'm not a fan of the direction DC has taken Diana since Infinite Crisis. Rucka's take on the book was probably my favorite DC title month to month, and his skillful interweaving of mythology and politics was brilliant and engrossing. Basically, I fucking loved that comic.

    Heinberg and Picoult have left me - well, cold is probably an understatement, but I kept reading (if not buying). So I grabbed Wonder Woman #14 with somewhat hesitant expectations, as I found Simone to be usually a bit too "cutesy" or eccentric for the sake of eccentricity. It's been a really solid five issues.

    Simone clearly understands the characters and how they interact, and she's basically won over not only a slight anti-Simone bias but also a huge pro-Rucka bias just by writing a good comic. That's great stuff. But Nemesis? Really?

    I saw in the comments section of Neither Doormat Nor Prostitute that Simone said this, and although the source is unfortunately not specified it really gave me trust in her in that she knows what she's doing. I'll quote:
    "I actually agree with her that Diana, the Diana I believe in, would not fall in love with the Nemesis that has been portrayed recently. And you guys have been amazingly supportive of me and also didn't kill me even after my two issues of Teen Titans came out, when you had every legal and moral right to do so.

    Also, there was no editorial mandate. Not only has DC let me do everything I wanted to do (except use Rucka's great versions of the gods), they are actually modeling her appearances everywhere else to match more closely with my version of Diana. They couldn't be more supportive or less invasive.

    I think you guys are going to be surprised where this story goes, and I think it's going to make a lot of people go, "AHA!"

    I totally agree that the Suicide Squad Nemesis is the shiznit, and for me, that's who the character is. So there must be a reason for his recent behavior, and what that reason is goes to the very fucking core of both Tom and Diana in a way that I think could not BE more truthful and elegant.

    Believe me, I pondered about this a lot, too. I love Nemesis, I love Diana, but on the surface, I couldn't see where that was going for a while. Now, I think I know, and we're going to be seeing the truth of it very soon. It's pretty intense, I think. "

    Looking at that quote, I think -- if you look at Nemesis, the dude's entire career and life is based on lies. Diana is about the truth. I dunno what's been up with Tom's behavior, but just from a literary perspective the avatar of truth getting her bone on with this huge falsehood-spreading superspy is really intriguing, and I'm actually interested in seeing how this develops.

    Great post, especially the mythological points, and I'm glad to know I'm not alone in thinking this might be really cool.

  9. We've had, litterally, NO ONE at the shop even bring this up. It's not we don't have some dedicated Wonder fans either, if this was truely outrageous I would have heard at least a peep from them.

    The result seems to be universally neutral to the people I have talked to.

    So... yeah, some people are crazy.

  10. Also, in retrospect, the "He isn't good enough for her" argument is brought up in Red Sonja this week. Pretty thoughtful story actually, surprisingly so from a book I pick up to see people chopped in half in.

  11. I was underwhelmed by Heinberg's run on the book and Picoult's left me so cold, I've erased it from memory, as best I could. It's a bad dream, never happened.

    I never was a Steve Trevor fan, but I adore Nemesis. I've always liked him. And now he's being written in Wonder Woman as a real person and not a caricature the way Picoult and even Heinberg to a degree, wrote him.

    I love how Gail is fleshing out both the characters and Amazon society. I doubt I could be happier with the book than I am right now.

  12. Hi Ragnell,
    Also, does nobody realize what Simone just did? Amazon customs. She is fleshing out Amazon society in a way that's not just rehashed Athens customs.

    Exactly. This is why I had, as Kalinara said on Newsarama, "mixed feelings." I loved this issue. I love the idea of Diana dating, particularly on her terms with her customs. I love the glimpses we get into Amazon culture and the fact that Themyscira isn't this asexual Paradise of virginal women just *waiting* for a Man. Any Man. In just a few pages, Simone gave a fantastic story that complicated Amazonian culture like *that*.

    I am being Completely Irrational, I know, but I just cannot like Nemesis. I don't know why. I really wish I did. I am enough of a Simone fan to support whatever she does, because I trust her in the way that I trust very few writers. It's nothing she did, nor do I think it's anything Heinberg or Picoult did in the writing of the character. He just feels wrong to me.

    But then, that's me. It's an opinion, one I blogged about in that "I'm conflicted" sort of way. But I loved the issue, totally and completely. I just am not crazy about him. But I want to be! And, well, if Diana likes him, I'll try Very Very Hard to like him, too!

  13. Yus Amy :) That's also how I feel. I rly like what Simone did with showing that Amazonians did date and stuff :D And more reveal into their customs :)

    But also like you Nemesis feels wrong to me too :\

  14. Nemesis from Suicide Squad was great. Smart, confident, capable, slightly mysterious, great fighter. And of course, blond and perfect-looking. So while yes, he's just a human, he's still a pretty great example of a human. That's the Nemesis I think of. Not the goofball comic relief that Heinberg and Picoult reduced him to.
    Is he "good enough" for Diana? I guess not, if you really want to split hairs. But then, I'm not good enough for my lady either, yet she still seems to like me.

  15. Not to just be an echo chamber, but I totally agree. No one is good enough for a woman with the virtues of all the gods, and Nemesis has been kind of cute and funny and I like the idea of Diana fooling around with a regular guy. I'm also not worried that she'll end up barefoot and pregnant, so it's all good.

  16. I'm just thinking (and granted, I could be falling too much into cliche') that a guy like Tresser, who has an extensive history in the espionage business, would be a rather hardened man and perhaps a little emotionally distant because of the type of work and experiences he has had to deal with.
    Then again, perhaps the same could also be said of Wonder Woman to some extent (at least in terms of emotional bonding -- though obviously that isn't true in regards to thoe she considers trusted friends).

  17. Wonder Woman (as written by Simone) + Nightwing (as written by Tomasi). Yes / no / too damn weird?