Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm still complaining about this one.

Even today, I can't get over the number of people who want to see Wonder Woman end up with Superman or Batman. I mean, I can handle a little flirting, a story with a date now and then, but I think that pushing either one as the major romance in her life minimizes Wonder Woman as an independent character. It reduces her to a prize for one of the DCU's great Alpha Males, and hurts her standing as a franchise. She becomes an accessory to one of them.

So it really irks me, not just to see so many fans who love this, but to see how often it seeps into the comics and their media tie-ins. In particular, it pisses me off when it becomes a focus in her own book, as her crush on Superman in the Perez run or even Rucka pulling that shit with Batman in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman. She is her own character, she deserves her own love interest but writers can't seem to get them to stick.

And this is DC's fault, because they aged and married off the guy who was meant to be her Lois Lane. Rather than rehabilitate him like they did Lois, and modernize him for the new era it seems they decided just not to use him anymore. The logic was that it was sexist for her to fall for the first man she ever saw. So they made the first man she ever saw into a fatherly mentor, and decided it would be better if her first romantic interest in a man was to be attracted to Superman. Because being attracted to a man that DC will never allow her to outshine is somehow less sexist than the original dynamic of her being attracted to a normal man who is equally turned on by her saving his ass all the time.

It's the dumbest thing they did when they rebooted Wonder Woman, and potentially the dumbest thing they've done in her history. (Even when they killed him off it was better because he had still existed, and they could always bring him back.) They simply haven't been able to recover. Every love interest they've introduced (Micah, Michael, Rama, Trevor, Io, Nemesis) that survives the writer who introduced them gets ignored by the next writer. None of them seem to take. In the meantime, tons of fans argue over whether Batman or Superman suit her better because so few people have seen that she was originally created with a love interest as part of her supporting cast.

Honestly, if they can get anything out of this Flashpoint and JMS reboot shit, it should be that they can bring back Steve Trevor revamped to suit her modern trappings, as a viable love interest. He lasted 45 years, after all. No one else can seem to stick around beyond the next writer.


  1. I never understood the Superman and Wonder Woman thing. To me, Supes belongs with Lois Lane and no one else has ever come close in my mind to being his soulmate.

    My favorite for Wonder Woman has been Nemesis. I was really disappointed when that didn't work out. He has enough personality to not be overshadowed by her, is competent on his own, and she isn't overshadowed by him and his abilities. Perfect!

  2. People don't know about Steve Trevor?


    I totally agree: hooking up Wonder Woman with Superman or Batman makes no sense at all. (It does make sense to me that people in the DC Universe *assume* they're together, but that's just a running gag.)

  3. Jesse -- People know he existed like, trivia-wise, but it's akin to the way everyone assumes that there weren't any kickass heroines in the Silver Age or that Lois Lane wasn't pushy and career-oriented until the 70s. Anyone who picks up the old books has seen that Jean and Wanda were AWESOME, and anyone who's seen Golden Age Lois knows that being obsessed with getting marriage from Superman was a Silver Age oddity but most fans just know what they've heard and what they read now.

    It's received wisdom that Steve Trevor was a useless, sexist jerk and he sucked, because so few people read any of the Silver or Golden Age comics except for occasional funny panel scans of him talking down to Diana Prince. They know about him, but they've never SEEN him as a real love interest. I really think if fan saw her with her intended love interest in a modern context, fewer of them would be so quick to play matchmaker.

  4. I liked the pairing of Batman and Wonder the animated Justice League. And the reasons I liked it there is because A. it seemed less like matchmaking or "Destiny" than Wonder Woman going "He's handsome, competent, and respects me. That's a good start." And B. It never actually turned into a romantic relationship, no matter how strongly the idea was hinted at.

    In the comics, I agree that it doesn't make much sense. Wonder Woman and Superman in a relationship just seems like someone went "Hey, she's like a female version of Superman. That'll work great!" And Batman...honestly, it's hard to see Batman in a permanent romantic relationship with anyone. Flings, flirtations, even on-and-off ones work, but he'd have to stop being Batman if he wanted to pick a woman and stay with her for the rest of his life. I don't know Wonder Woman well enough to say if she'd be okay with him giving up Batman. However, I suspect that if she's supposed to be attracted to Batman because of his crimefighting skills and virtues, she's going to be perceptive enough to realize how they'd be detrimental to actually dating him.

  5. I really liked that story where they showed a ~possible future~ in which wonder woman was married to batman, who was now an old dude in a wheelchair, and she looked the same, and there was this whole tragedy of the mortal/immortal thing going. that was cool. it doesn't really work in an ongoing-series context though.

  6. The other reason why the JLU flirtation worked was because we got to see Bruce -- and not just any Bruce, but KEVIN CONROY Bruce -- sound a little uncertain, and a little less than Absolutely Confident.

    "If any of my enemies found out ... "
    *Diana crushes a brick in her hands*

  7. I think it also worked in JLU because pretty much all of the characters were stripped of their native supporting casts. I don't recall seeing much of Lois or Alfred.

    That said, I think Nemesis made a pretty good modernized Steve Trevor. Competent in his own right, willing to try to pitch in against Diana's foes, but ultimately not in her league – and okay with that. I have low hopes for the JMS butchery, and am just sheltering 'til it's over.

    -- Jack of Spades

  8. I actually liked Nemesis, and I'm sorry that they split them up. But yes, she needs somebody...just not Clark or Bruce who have love interests of their own, for Pete's sake!

    Sometimes I still think about how Beau Smith wanted to pair her up with Guy Gardner, and although I love Ice, I do sigh for what might have been.

  9. I always thought John Henry Irons would have been a good choice. She's still his physical superior, especially sans armor, but he's far from a pushover or "damsel in distress" (although he could be the latter in some circumstances). And his brains make a good counterpoint to her brawn. In fact, interacting with John Henry could actually HIGHLIGHT her brainier side.

  10. I too get really irritated at this whole mess. Setting Wonder Woman up to be a prize for Batman or Superman is really denying her her own identity. She's not some fangirl who swoons over the big alpha male; she's a feminist icon and an awesome heroine for all the young girls interested in comic books and science fiction in general. Also, does anyone else think that a relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman or Batman just wouldn't work anyway? Isn't that just a little too much heroism for one bed?

  11. I dunno, for me the dumbest thing was making Hippolyta the WWII Wonder Woman and thus implicity turning Diana into WW Jr., at least in the eyes of the world. But the Steve Trevor thing is right up there. I had a lot of problems with the Perez reboot, though, not least the part where they made Diana the new kid on the block with much less superheroing experience than, say, Donna Troy. Glad they got eventually re-retconned away that part, anyway.

  12. Oh, I LOVED WWII Hippolyta. That was such a great idea, it turned Wonder Woman into a legacy character and re-emphasized the influence her mother had on her, plus it let us have a Wonder Woman in WWII and the JSA rather than having it retconned away like Superman and Batman. Also, gave us Wildcat as a love interest for Hippolyta who was NOT HERCULES. It was probably the best thing Byrne did.

    The WAY he did it was kinda screwy, but I ADORE JSA Hippolyta.

  13. (That said, I've done entire rants on that making Diana the youngest of the trinity, and taking away her JLA founder status bullshit)