Friday, April 08, 2011

This again?

Today's Flashpoint Friday at the the Source, and they've been releasing solicits all day. Naturally, we've been watching them in anticipation.

Remember how I said I was leery of this crossover from the Wonder Woman solicit? Well... about the time they solicited the second Aquaman issue with him holding a dead woman, I started to worry again. A quick glance at the covers up until then revealed a wide-eyed love interest, a villainess, and a banner referencing "Angry Amazons Unleashed!" along with the dead woman. And then more confirmation the Amazons were the Big Bad. I started, of course, to get irked.

Then they released the Lois Lane solicit.

FLASH QUESTION: Lois Lane meets the mysterious leader of the Resistance – but will she survive?

On sale JULY 27 • 2 of 3, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

So, we have a woman of action balanced out by an injured woman on her knees. There is also a shadowed man, meant to represent the leader of the resistence. This is where I really started to worry, because this guy is a surprise reveal. And yes, he could be anyone, but we've had a male character teased recently that has ties to the Wonder Woman franchise and a very specific connection to Themiscyra.

Granted, I have been complaining that DC should bring Steve Trevor back. Thing is, my brain's been going. On Twitter we discussed the horrible option this crossover would end with Wonder Woman marrying Aquaman, or at least confirming an arranged marriage to Aquaman could be happy and successful. That led to the worst possible things they could do with Wonder Woman.

In the meantime, we're seeing solicits that imply horribly evil Amazons, and the solicit for the first Wonder Woman issue says she wants to take over the world. As this is very un-Diana-like behavior, I'm thinking a shapeshifting/illusionist imposter or some form of mind control is behind it. And that leads me to DC's remarkable ability to do things that I've been wanting them to but nonetheless piss me off in the execution.

I've already outlined how making Steve Trevor a jackass would piss me off, but I hadn't realized there's another option. If he were to show up for the first time specifically to save her, I think I'd be quite pissed actually. Now, I'm not AGAINST Steve in the spotlight or pulling his weight and saving her at times. Marston had him save her butt every few issues it seems, and even Kanigher gave him some pivotal moments (though they were love interest coded), and one of my favorite things is a fight between him and Eros in 322. But it's one thing when he's been around and she saved him in the origin and regularly does the heavy fighting while he helps out and saves her once in a while. It's another thing entirely when the character in this form has been off the board for a full 25 years, and we haven't even seen the origin where she rescues him from the plane crash. It would be establishing this character in the opposite way for modern readers, from the start. And I can see them doing it because the most common complaints from fanboys who hate Steve, along with their suggested alternatives of Batman and Superman, seem to go back to the idea he's not man enough for Wonder Woman. As he has a masculine job, a masculine personality, was a war hero before he met her, and can hold his own in a fist fight it's not a stretch to gather they get this idea from how he relates to Diana. He accepts her help, he doesn't try to boss her around, and he gets his ass saved a lot by her. Introducing him sa her savior would change that dynamic for modern readers.

Of course, I hate this little idea I've conjured up, because I think it's fundamental that she save him first not only in his experience but in ours as readers. There are too few male characters who have this role in a romantic relationship, and the point of Steve Trevor was to PUT a male character in that role and still have him be masculine and attractive.

On the bright side, I could be jumping to conclusions and that could be Sgt Steel, Nemesis or Max Lord.

My fingers are crossed for Max Lord. Why? Because look what the second Wonder Woman issue's solicit is:

FLASH QUESTION: How many must die to avenge Queen Hippolyta’s death and satiate Diana’s fury?

Cover by ED BENES
On sale JULY 20 • 2 of 3, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

That's right. "How many must die to avenge Queen Hippolyta’s death and satiate Diana’s fury?"

The implication, of course, is that Hippolyta is dead for Dian a's run amok. Because we know from past experience that the death of her mother unhinges her and makes her lash out against... wait a minute. She didn't do this after her mother died in Our Worlds at War. And she isn't doing this in the Odyssey storyline where her mother's dead again. So where the fuck did this idea come from?

Not only that, what is with this Vicious Bloodthirsty Amazon obsession? Don't they know we don't like that? That it runs contrary to the Wonder Woman concept? That it completely shits on eveyrthing established as far back as Marston? That it just pisses off Wonder Woman fans? That even if this is an imposter Diana, we're still saying that the Amazons are bloodthirsty and horrible and she's the only GOOD one? That this is just reactionary panic that if women were allowed to take a leadership position they'd automatically run roughshod over men? Do they really want to tell us that all-female organizations like the Amazons and the Star Sapphires are inherently unbalanced and liable to explode violently while male-dominated organizations are perfectly fine? And is Wonder Woman really the appropriate vehicle for that message?

Abenett and Lanning are good. They are good good writers. I have no doubt there's some sort of twist coming, but I have a lot of doubt it'll be worth it. And if Odyssey was leading into this, it certainly wasn't worth it. There's a strain of fandom that loves this idea, and several of them are comics writers. They don't like our compassionate, balanced, thinking Diana who knows when to use force and when to use mercy. They want the daughters of Ares. They want a violent, unrestrained woman who kicks men in the crotch even though she has superstrength and she can easily put them in a hold without causing any damage, and uses lethal force after saying "Don't call me Baby." They want bloodthirsty Amazons carrying spears, impaling male soldiers and ranting about the Patriarchy as they do so. I don't see the appeal at all, but it's THERE and people demand it. Everyone knows someone who only liked Wonder Woman when they read Kingdom Come and really wish she'd be edgier and they'd "play up the warrior aspect."

And whatever the twist is... Circe, Dr. Psycho, Diana's really Lyta or Donna, Dark Angel, possession by Eris or Belladonna (I forget her Greek name) or one of the furies, Max Lord, White Martians, soemthing to emphasize the wrongness of this timeline (which would still imply this is in Diana's heart somewhere), whatever... this desire is being fed. We'll have a crop of fanboys going "I preferred that, I want to write Wonder Woman that way again" after all this is over. We'll have reinforced the hard-edged manhating Amazon stereotype in people's mind, especially if the twist only applies to the female-led books and the Amazons are running amok everywhere else. And really, it's just not worth it. It's not worth going back to this idea that hacks away at the foundation of what makes Diana Diana.

And that's probably why so many people don't "get" her, or have trouble writing her. If you don't faithfully read her series, and all you see is her appearing as the humorless Amazon warrior who is the one person from her culture who doesn't kill everyuone, or is the person who goes bad in every alternate timeline, you have no fucking clue who Wonder Woman is or why she endures as a hero. That's why people don't realize she has a distinctive and enduring personality, because they never showcase it and when she DOES get a big part it's because they are completely tearing down the foundations of her franchise, and the basis of her personality. They're sabotaging themselves.

And at the end, there's three ways this can go. Fans who already read her book are pissed off, and would drop it if she were changed. Fans who like her in the crossover don't see what they want in her book. And fans who would like her but see her in the crossover and get the wrong idea never pick up her book. And then they can't figure out why featuring Wonder Woman in a crossover didn't help her sales.

As I've said before with Amazons Attack. This will not ruin Wonder Woman. She has too much appeal in the mainstream community. She's an American Icon, and the franchise is strong enough to take Robert Kanigher, Denny O'Neil, John Byrne, Jodi Piccoult, Will Pfiefer, and J Michael Straczynski. She can weather the end of World War II, the death of the main love interest, the white suit era, losing the most iconic features, dating Superman and dating Batman. She can live through three different variations on the bracelets-based weakness. She can survive Millenium, War of the Gods, Our Worlds at War, Infinite Crisis, Amazons Attack, Blackest Night and certainly Flashpoint. She's survived constant supporting cast changes, 2 hard reboots and countless soft reboots. She's gotten through every fucking writer feeling the need to cast off the previous writer and rebuild her franchise from the ground up. This is far from the end.

But it is a stupid, stupid idea nonetheless.


  1. I've been thinking about this. My current working theory is that Men Are the Enemy Diana is popular because she pays "proper" respect to patriarchy in that she treats it as incredibly scary and menacing. Whereas, to Regular Diana, it's just kind of misguided and almost irrelevant. Regular Wonder Woman does not let herself be defined by the conduct of others. She fights injustice because injustice is wrong. Men Are the Enemy Wonder Woman is constantly reacting to male behavior- "see what you've driven me to!"

  2. It'll be Morgan Tracy.

  3. Flashpoint represents an large-scale Elseworlds, with these books hooked together by the spine of the Flashpoint comic (I think it is six issues). So I don't think much of this will affect regular continuity. There has been talk about some of the things from the Flashpoint Alt World coming back into the regular books, but I doubt this represents a new direction for the standard WW series. I could be wrong, though.

  4. I was rather intrigued by all of this at first, but man, if they're going to do the whole Amazons-Are-Evil routine again, I will be quite disappointed. Not to mention killing off Hippolyta...again.

    You know what I'd like to see? The whole story with Hippolyta instead of Diana...just for giggles.

  5. Jesse -- Wow. That makes sense, actually. The Amazons as Marston wrote them are perfectly happy with no men around. Even after that, Diana's periodic loneliness when Steve dies or breaks up with her, and her stress under the secret identity, is because she's MET him and has specifically gotten hooked by him. Prior to that, she's perfectly happy. When they get along but he's not around, she's perfectly happy to go on with her life without dedicating every waking thought to him. Paradise Island is PARADISE without any men at all.

    The angry Amazons are unhappy without men. And usually, the fix is to make peace with men and have some of them hook up. I've bet this crossover ends with Diana calmed and romantically involved with a man.

    notintheface -- Oh hush.

    Lowell -- I don't think it's coming either, but the crossover is probably the impetus for the post-Odyssey WW status quo. Any WW elements introduced are important.

    Not only that, the solicits imply Diana fails in Odyssey, which annoys the crap out of me. Surely she's failed enough since the Perez reboot? Hell, since the O'NEIL reboot. She eats, drinks and breathes failure it seems.

    Also, this is the Diana as anyone who doesn't read WW sees her. It cements her weird characterization by suggesting to other writers that she's naturally warlike rather than balanced, and worse, makes them think it's cool.

    Yeah, not worried this is the new status quo, but I see no reason to be happy.

    SallyP -- Now THAT might just work.

  6. At this point I have zero faith in DC. There seems to be an increasing "WW must be evil and/or violent" mode there. I know that it all boils down to: "she's a strong-charactered chick who can't be used as a purely sexual element." With the current craze of "kick-ass heroines" who come in all character flavors, it seems crazy to me to shove an iconic KAH like Wondie into the "violent hater" corner. When DC does this it means to me that that character is no longer Wonder Woman because she had no connection with any WW concept or theme. You know, the concept/theme that has made her popular enough to have been published and licensed for seventy years.

  7. Carol -- I have a horrible suspicion none of these writers and editors have ever read her outside crossovers, so they don't have any idea what her concept and theme are.

    And I do blame the editors, because Rucka put a lot of thought into Sacrifice. Morrison has always had a complex and thoughtful portrayal of her, that you saw even as he put her under the Anti-Life Equation in FC and had her come up with the strange solution in ROBW. But in addition to that we have her home culture going violent in Countdown and Amazons Attack, and now this and not to mention some stuff in Odyssey Hester is trying desperately to save. I'm pretty sure the editors are the ones who keep putting this forward and piling this on, leaving us with a toss-up between writers who have an idea what she's about and writers who only see her like the editors do.

  8. Actually, there's a fourth way things can go.

    And that is, the decision makers say "Hmmm, we give you chicks "Happy Diana" and the sales suck, we give you chicks "Angry Diana" and the sales suck. We give you JMS the sales suck, we give you Picoult and Simone the sales suck. What to do, what to do. How bout we just let the writers do whatever the fuck they want to do and continue to take the losses and write it off as advertising for an iconic character with a tv show coming out and continue to make the comics even though we would be totally justified in cancelling the damn book based on historically shitty sales no matter who's writing it. Yeah! That's it! Meeting adjourned!"

    Also..what about the fangirls that did like Amazons Attack? Or that like the WW flashpoint cover? Every comic is someones first comic. I guess they don't matter. Yeah, screw them! Bunch of self loathing females with no taste who don't get Wonder Woman. They're part of the problem is what they are! Go read Tarot bitches!

  9. Wow. Anonymous criticism. Why not call it what it is? "Chicken Shit Misogynist" was probably still available as a user name and it fits. Apparently you don't like women having an opinion and voicing it. Of course, if he'd ever seen a real woman besides his mother, he probably wouldn't be so misogynistic. Anonymous, get out of mommy's basement and interact with real people. Personally, if a woman doesn't have opinions or isn't willing to share them, I lose all interest.

  10. Delicious. The traditional go-to remarks when confronted by universal truths that can easily be backed up by indisputable evidence. Sales numbers are easily accessed on various sites on a regular basis, genius. I guess in you're world Wonder Woman is at the top of the charts though. Just like in the femfans world their pov isn't considered completely ridiculous by the majority of people in the industry. Gosh, I do so love the predictability.

    But hey, I gotta hand it to a site that's been denounced by several female bloggers as being headed by psycho fringe loons who are terminally marginalized, one of which was president of an organization to promote women in comics (sorry, have to take a break to laugh heartily at that irony.....okay, I'm back).

    But I do enjoy this site. At least there's a half hearted attempt at intellectualism, granted it's of the pseudo variety and often peppered with poor grammar and spelling. But it beats dcwomenkickingass where all you get is evil sexist conspiracy theories, kind of like the Glenn Beck of the angry fangirl blog world.

    And for the record, the name is John Vargas, Raleigh NC, formerly of San Diego CA. Look me up sometime. Mocking perpetually ineffectual, angry femfans and the faux men who pretend to agree with them in the hope it will get them laid is much more enjoyable in person. By the way, didn’t catch your name. Chicken Shit, thy name is “Comics”.

    PS. My mom passed away unfortunately. But her last words were "remember John..don't take angry fangirls seriously, no one else"

  11. Johnny baby, I didn't recognize you under that all that silliness. Really, if you want to be distinctive, you should try something to distinguish yourself from the other ineffectual cowards. This sort of half-assed intellectual masturbation isn't really anything new around here. I mistook you for a regular drive-by commenter. Nice of you to drop by though, dearie, and I appreciate the attention. My comment section's been so small compared to the good old days.

    Remember my little pet, if you keep working at it, you'll be good enough that we can finally have a long, involved, productive fight on this blog again.

  12. Hey, I'm trying. But it's hard to maintain a consistant level of misogyny, even for those so deserving like yourself.

    Plus I'm not as bitter and angry as you are (comics are catered to me and always will be,life is good). So matching your blind hatred of the most innocuous and meaningless things (such as the wonderfully effective degradation of women in comics) is a challenge. that I think I'm up for.

    Back soon. Kisses.

    John V

  13. See, there's your problem. You're looking in the wrong place. You'll never be vicious enough, pet. I'm a military maintainer. I've worked on the flightline and on tactical equipment. I hear more vulgar things from my coworkers as friendly banter.

    You're out of your league, darling. My only problem with you so far is that you don't seem able to offer a coherent argument to engage. In the old days we had Meeley and Highlander, true showmen. Today, we have you and your rather sad attempts to talk shit. At least put some effort.

    Kids these days, I tell ya.

  14. Ah yes, the internet tough guy. That's fun, isn't it?

    So, if I understand your "argument", it's that Wonder Woman's sales suck, so they should keep on doing exactly what they're doing. Interesting. Also really fucking stupid.

    Sorry to intrude. Carry on.

  15. It'll be Mike Bailey.

  16. But seriously, what if just once they went in the opposite end and initially made the Amazons reluctant warriors (albeit still combat-trained) and/or made Diana a pacifist guru (albeit know).

  17. notintheface -- It'd be a take on things unseen by people who don't already read Wonder Woman. And as we know, the solution to failing sales is to generate interest by trying the same thing over and over again. Something new wouldn't make sense.