Saturday, March 05, 2011

They should play up the princess angle in Wonder Woman more often.

As long as I'm on about the supporting cast of Wonder Woman, there's one female character I really wish they'd add to it.

Ystina from Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight.

Can you imagine the effect Diana would have on someone like her? She's a young woman from an ancient Celtic society who hid her gender in order to become a warrior. (I believe the Queen's shown in armor in a flashback, but with Ystina's actions I think that's a strangeness.) Diana is female warrior of incredible prowess from a society of female warriors.

Not only that, Diana is an honest-to-gods Princess (with really impressive gold armor) and Ystina's a knight without a liege. There's no reason someone of Arthurian values and virtues wouldn't imprint on Wonder Woman and pledge their sword to her forever. Can you imagine Ystina exclaiming that she sees the light of Camelot in Diana's words and actions, then dramatically kneeling and holding her sword up to Diana to offer it in her service? This is a scene just waiting to happen.

On Diana's side, she would certainly understand coming from a warrior culture and finding yourself adjusting to the 21st Century USA. She's experienced this sort of culture shock before. As a warrior from an idealistic monarchy she'd understand many of Ystina's expectations. (But not so many that we wouldn't have some interesting confusion and disagreement between the two.) She'd be a fine mentor in addition to a liegelady, and she'd be that much needed emotional support for Ystina.

Of course, that might just be my fixation on Arthurian legends imprinting on Wonder Woman. Hippolyta, to me, seems very much a King Arthur figure. She's a great warrior in a leadership position, and she varies in her morality and alignment according to whatever point the writer wants to make. Phillipus is clearly Sir Kay the Seneschal, but the badass one of the early Welsh stories rather than the guy who got unhorsed by everyone in the Mallory books. Diana's our questing prince/princess/knight. She's out righting wrongs and spreading the Queen's justice in the wild lawless lands.

Really, the pre-Crisis adventures read a bit like those old romances. (And not just with the strange attitude towards characterization and logic.) You have the Knight and the lady who needs his help in those. They travel for a while and he solves her problem, having adventures along the way. Steve Trevor's like the lady who starts the quest. His career in military intelligence makes him the center of all sorts of problems, especially during the war when he was in constant danger of spies seeking information, and he will either seek out help from the Princess of the Amazons or by lucky coincidence be found and rescued by her. He's not just someone who tags along to be protected, he's either the initiator or the object of the quest. Just like the damsel in the old stories, who often accompanied the questing knight like Steve accompanies Diana.

Hell, the Amazons actually had a tournament to decide who would get the honor to escort him home. And that's the one time I absolutely want them to establish he's awake on the island (I wasn't too happy with movie-Steve being so active on Themiscyra, it seemed off to me), during the Tournament. I want someone to do that scene with Steve sitting in a little chair (with his feet on that gold rug they used Pre-Crisis to avoid activating the curse) by Hippolyta's side, anxiously watching the tournament.

That's right, just like Guinevere.

Not only that, I want him to give Diana a scrap of parachute material or his tie to carry during the tournament like ladies gave knights their scarves or sleeves. Any writer who did this I would love forever.

Since they aged and put Steve aside, Diana's been kind of like Gawain. She often has an opposite-sex companion on her quests, and it's a different person every writer. The Knight errant impression is still very strong to me post-Crisis. That's probably the nature of superheroes, though. They're a modern continuation of the same idea as the old Arthurian romances.

Except I think it's a bit stronger with Diana than fully modern-world heroes, because she's a traveling princess from an enchanted land over the sea. A traveling princess who rescues dudes in distress. From an enchanted land where they have tournaments over who can escort a man home.

Yeah. Ystina could be comfortable in this franchise.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The casting continues

They went ahead and cast the first male, Pedro Pascal as Ed Indelicato. So far, I don't know ANY of these actors but I like the characters they've chosen.

I'm always glad to see more Ed, actually. We don't get to see him too often because the Wonder Woman franchise has Rooster Syndrome. You have a lot of female characters usually only get one male character that's notable and active. And that character will be pushed to the side when they bring in another male character. Since they took Steve (still my all-time favorite rooster) off the board as the main love interest we've had a rotating Rooster chair. A lot of these guys (Mike Schorr, Trevor Barnes) didn't work for me. Others like older Steve, Micah, and Nemesis were pretty enjoyable. (Achilles I thought had the most potential, but they erased his timeline.)

So far my favorite post-Crisis rooster has been Ed. He's cynical, cranky, macho, and nurses a crush on Diana that will never develop into anything substantial between them. As a foil for Diana, he's got a lot of potential and I think he's been underused so that writers can focus on their own pet roosters. When Byrne moved them out of Boston, Ed got put on the shelf.

I actually saw him the the Ghost Annual (Annual #7) before I ever saw him in the Perez run. He was the viewpoint character. I liked his voice, it was that hardboiled down-on-his-luck cop stereotype. The narration underscored the effect she has on people, to hear this sort of guy go on about her idealism and energy. There was a moment when he gave her good news so she picked him up and twirled him around.

It freaks him out. I've kind of loved Ed ever since.

ETA: This show won't have rooster syndrome. They just cast a familiar face as another of the male characters. Still waiting on the Steve pick, though.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More Wonder Woman Casting

And we have a Veronica Cale. This is really happening.

ETA: And an Etta Candy. Watch the Steve casting choice leak while I'm asleep tonight.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

You can always go home, but you can never go back.

My current obsession with Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman hasn't shifted my buying habits back to DC it seems. I have Avengers Academy, Heroes for Hire, and Captain America and the Falcon on my order this week.

That's pretty much the problem with DC's supposed Silver Age nostalgia. As much as they attempt to bring back the past setting, they're missing the spark. Here I am, a genuine Silver Age lover in the middle of a full-blown Silver Age Wonder Woman obsession and I have all Marvel on my list. For all their resurrections and realignments... I'm reading the reprints.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yeah, it's unnecessary.

DC Women Kicking Ass:
I am opposed to a new costume being part of the “Something is wrong with Wonder Woman” theme that I heard last year. As I said a few weeks ago on the 3 Chicks cast, “the only thing wrong with Wonder Woman is that they keep trying to fix her.”

You might be surprised to hear this, because I rant about the Perez reboot and fervently wish they'd bring back her pre-Crisis male love interest, but DCW is right. There is nothing wrong with Wonder Woman. There is no reason we can't read great stories with the setup Perez gave her. I rave more about Marston and Kanigher reprints but I enjoyed the hell out of the Rucka and Simone runs. And as cheesy as the Byrne run was, it was still a blast. I liked reading Perez's stuff. I liked the William Messner-Loebs stuff. I.. Phil Jimenez had some okay moments.

And you know when I had the most fun with these writers? Not when they were tearing up the mythos (I am still super-pissed at Jiminez for offing Hippolyta and Perez for offing Hermes and removing so many pre-Crisis elements that worked), but when they were building the mythos. She does not need to be redefined all the time. There's plenty to write with there (Hell, I've got three different ways off the top of my head to bring back Steve and not change a damned thing about Diana's current setting--Yes, that's right, we can bring back love interest Steve and keep older Steve too if they get their heads out of their asses for once and remember they're writing a comic book) and plenty to work with. The strength of the stories relies on the skill of the writer, not something that's broken in her setup. If all your writer can do is raze the setting and start from scratch, find a new fucking writer.

"But it doesn't SELL" they whine. Yeah, because they don't ever push it like they do the crap that does. Because they don't aim it at women, the original intended audience for Wonder Woman.

Oh the bright side, it looks like they've wised up a bit. I don't know if I fully trust a variant, but it looks promising, doesn't it?

Monday, February 28, 2011

They must've thought he was crazy.

Between stuff like that, stuff like this and stuff like this, I really wish we'd seen what Steve wrote in his mission reports.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This is a bit much even in the Silver Age.

I understand that in order for genre fiction to work, the characters must have incredible timing and we will see many amazing coincidences and danger-prone people. That's why the smarter writers put their characters in jobs that help them find trouble, and their love interests incareers that get them into danger. (Lois Lane at the paper, Betty Ross in the FBI, Betty Dean on the police force...etc...)

Thing is, I always figured Steve Trevor had the amazing experience of landing on the secret island nation of Amazons and then a few weeks of recovery passed, and he got back to work before his next terrifying experience. His job was a brilliant pick, a military intelligence operative in the middle of World War II. There's no end to the amount of shit that he could get into and really the most unlikely thing was landing on that island. I just didn't realize, until I picked up my archives to read through them today, that he managed to get into trouble while recovering in the hospital.

Seriously, he doesn't get discharged until Sensation Comics #3. The three stories prior to that all center around Diana saving his life, though.

In All-Star Comics #8 she fishes him out of the ocean and nurses him until he's well enough to leave the island.

In Sensation Comics #1, they pick right up where they left off (and it's cute, because it has them talking in the plane, and her carrying him to the hospital) and he leaves the hospital because he gets some news about some threat to national security that only he can stop. (Some gas thing that I guess had something to do with info he already had.) Diana follows him, saves his ass, and is kinda surprised when he can't jump out of the way of danger as fast as she can so he gets even more hurt than before.

And in Sensation Comics #2, he's still in the hospital. Safe and sound, right? Nope, he gets kidnapped.

At least with Lois, we can kind of think that there's a gap between dangerous situations. This guy? He will be lying sick in the hospital and STILL find himself in trouble. No WONDER he was set on marrying Diana. It's for survival.

There's even a Silver Age story (Wonder Woman #101) where he bets her that if she saves his life three times in 24 hours she has to marry him. He's expecting to do dangerous test flights all day, and is disappointed when Gen. Darnell grounds him.

So he's pouting and she's giggling at first, then at lunch he sits in the sun for a quick nap. And...

That's right. A piece of a rocket falls from the sky and nearly kills him. Even Diana has an "Are you kidding me?" face at this.

This is a guy who (in both the Golden Age and the Silver Age) can nearly get himself killed in his sleep.

And then a gang of armed gunmen try to shoot him. Oh, and then he nearly drowns but Diana manages to keep her independence by saving him twenty minutes past the deadline.

So far, I can't find a Steve Trevor and Lois Lane team-up, but it must be a hell of a thing. Like sending the Scarlet Witch and Longshot into a casino.