There has been a lot of talk around the internet this past week on the subject of Wonder Woman and how lame she is. This is thanks to Hollywood it-girl Megan Fox's recent dismissal of rumours that she will be cast as the Amazon Princess. Her response:
“Wonder Woman is a lame superhero… She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role but I don’t want to do it.”
What weaponry do you have, Megan Fox? And what colour is your jet?
I sincerely hope that no one in Hollywood offered the role to Ms. Fox. As nicely as I am sure she could fill out the costume, I don't think she has the acting abilities to pull off a lead role, let alone a character as iconic as Wonder Woman.
"She only does two things: hit people or tie people up."
"Frank Miller found some spark recently by depicting her as a ball-busting bitch who secretly wants to be taken, preferably by Superman (since he’s the only one strong enough to be able to beat her up)"
"So for more than half a century, DC Comics has been marketing a scantily-clad dominatrix to children. She’s a heroic dominatrix, and she does it for free, so I guess that’s all right."
Most of the post seems to be arguing that, because Wonder Woman was created by a man with a bondage fetish, she is not capable of being developed past that point. Much like fans don't hold Superman's silver age dickery against him now (because it was the god damn 1950s and 60s), I think we can look beyond the flaws of Wonder Woman's early comics. When I say we need to overlook the bad Wonder Woman comics, I realize that this means overlooking a lot of comics, but that's ok because by doing so we'll discover the delicious centre of this character. With regard to her costume being silly...is it? Really? Is it more ridiculous than any other super hero costume? Is that really an obstacle to enjoying the character or taking her seriously?
Like ANY character, Wonder Woman is as good as the person writing her. When she is written well, she is a compelling and inspiring heroine.
Wonder Woman is a lot of things, but she is certainly not lame. Here's a run-down:
Wonder Woman is Royalty
She is Princess of the Amazons, carved from clay by her mother and given life by the gods. Joining her in this category are non-lame heroes such as Namor the Sub-Mariner, Aquaman, Orion and Black Panther. Not only is she royalty, she is on a first-name basis with the gods.
Wonder Woman is a Leader
Like Superman, Batman, or Captain America, Wonder Woman commands awe and respect when people encounter her. She has gotten this reaction from children, the citizens she rescues, the villains she beats up, and fellow super heroes. She can not only lead an army into battle, she can also take on the role of a teacher to her fellow Amazons, and to some of the younger heroes in the DCU.
Wonder Woman is a Warrior
I feel that this, above all others, is Wonder Woman's defining characteristic. Her instinct is to fight, to kill if necessary, and to lead her army into battle. She is not a detective, a scientist, or a mild-mannered reporter. She is the DC Universe's most ruthless warrior and most capable battlefield commander. She makes the hard decisions that Superman and Batman don't want to know about. She has a magic lasso and an invisible jet, and she also has a shield and sword, bullet-deflecting wristbands, and, oh yeah, superstrength, stamina and the ability to fly.
Wonder Woman is a Government Agent
It's easy to forget that Wonder Woman has a pretty impressive day job. Like Sgt. Fury, Mr Terrific, or Iron Man, Diana Prince fights to protect humanity even out of costume. And let me remind you that she is working to protect a world that she doesn't have to care about at all. She could be home on Paradise Island, eating grapes and lounging beside the pool. She is a princess, afterall, but she is a princess with a punch card.
Wonder Woman is an Outcast
Like Superman, Captain America, or Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman is living outside of her comfort zone. She was sent as an ambassador to "man's world," she fought in World War II, she was banished from Paradise Island for making a difficult decision, she was shunned by the Justice League for making a difficult decision more recently. Now she has chosen to isolate herself from her fellow Amazons once again. Wonder Woman has long suffered for her habit ignoring the rules in favour of doing what needs to be done.
Wonder Woman is a Hero
Wonder Woman doesn't have to waste her time at boring Justice League meetings, but she does it anyway. She is often given a third-place standing in the DC Heroes Trinity, but when you really think about it, an Amazonian princess sculpted by the gods clearly outranks an alien who has super powers by fluke chance and a miserable billionaire with too much time on his hands.
I love Wonder Woman because she doesn't brood. There is nothing emo about her. She is, in fact, one of the toughest sumbitches in comic books, yet still manages to have a comforting motherly aura.
Wonder Woman is loved. By me, by her fellow super heroes, by her fellow Amazons, and by the world. Her importance to the DCU cannot be overstated.
We don't need a Wonder Woman movie. I'd love to see one, but not so badly that I would settle for Megan Fox.