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Why I Will Not Buy the New Wonder Woman #1

Preamble: this is a total fangirl rant. I make no claims of rationality here–but for however disproportionately outraged I may be, I do feel I have a point. Keeping this in mind, read on.

You have to understand, Wonder Woman has been my hero since I was three years old, when Lynda Carter was fighting for our rights in her satin tights. I have a shrine to chicks who kick a$$ in my living room, basically a collection of action figures and posters of all the superwomen I want to be like when I grow up (I will never grow up, but that's beside the point), and Wonder Woman features prominently in the form of a large Alex Ross poster, a large anniversary box set of a book and action figure, plus two smaller action figures besides. I love Wonder Woman; she is the world's icon of what it means to be strong and a woman, and moreover emphatically demonstrating to us that the two concepts are not and have never been exclusive.

I feel I have a right to be fully indignant therefore at the recent relaunch of DC Comics' Wonder Woman comic, starting it over at #1 when it had been in the hundreds.

No, you don't understand. This happened at a time when DC Comics said, Okay, for a little while, we're going to pull our "Big Three" comics. The "Big Three" are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (always listed in that order, usually with "Wonder Woman" muttered shamefully under the breath by DC Executives, or at least that's how I imagine it to be). DC said, But when we bring them back, it's going to be big! We're gonna bring back Batman and Superman comics RENUMBERED! You know what that means? We're going to fix the numbers so that it retroactively gets rid of any renumbering we did in the past, so that the numbers reflect how many issues of Batman and Superman have actually been published–in the 600s. And I thought, wow, that's really nice, and really respectful to reflect the longevity of these beloved comics.

And then DC said, Oh, and Wonder Woman? Screw her! We're going to start her over from #1–for the second time in her history–because hopefully we'll sell lots of comics that way. No one cares that her comic has also been published since 1939 or so. And she's just a stupid girl anyway, and her fans are also stupid girls.

Okay, I know DC didn't literally say that. But that is what they did: restore to original numbering for Batman and Superman's comics and decide to start Wonder Woman's all over again with #1. And so maybe they didn't say, "Screw Wonder Woman and her fans," but to me, I sure as hell feel like they implied it.

And it makes me MAD. Mad mad mad mad mad. Especially since Batman and Superman get lots of comics and Wonder Woman gets one. And you know what? I understand that Batman and Superman are more popular and sell more comics. I don't need three Wonder Woman comics. But it would have been nice if THE ONE would carry the weight of history that it damn well deserves.

I realize it's just a little thing, that little number on the top corner of the cover of the comic. But well, I'm a comic geek. And you know how some comic geeks obsess over a little number–and honestly, far more than I usually do; most comic geeks would freak out to see how poorly I treat my comics, no bags'n'boards or anything. But this is something that is important to me, and it is especially important to my inner three-year-old, running around in star-spangled underoos singing, "WON-DA WO-MAAAAAAAAN!!!!" I feel like my beloved Diana just never gets the props she deserves.

And you know, I don't mind the changes. I liked her as an ambassador and as an undercover army nurse, and I liked the new ambassodor idea better. I was glad when the Invisible Jet died, because it was cheesy. Even Lynda Carty thinks it's cheesy. I liked older iterations of her in other "comic ages," and I liked her through the recent run written by Greg Rucka. It's not change within the story I don't like, as a rule. It's just the way the book has been marketed and handled (or the lack thereof).

BUT: before you say, "Why don't you at least look at it before you say you're not going to buy it?" I just want you to know, I did. Even though I specifically canceled my subscription to it, the local comic store folks dropped #1 in my box this week. By mistake, or trying to be thoughtful, I don't know. And since I was standing there, with comic in hand, I gave it a good flip through. The first thing I saw was Donna Freaking Wannabe Jean Grey Troy in WW's uniform. Blech, I thought. I KNEW of course, that this would be temporary, but I just don't like the idea. Maybe because it is utterly predictable that this is just a temporary thing. I saw some melodramatic fighting and dialogue. And then, on the last page, we see our Diana, undercover as "Diana Prince," in a really fugly white jumpsuit and Cyclops' sunglasses from the last X-Men movie.

A whole new comic, a "landmark #1" and the hero doesn't show up until the very end, posing for the camera and not saying a word, in a really ugly outfit.

And then I flipped through it again, trying not to be negative, trying to pick up the nuances of the script, get a sense of the history, etc.

But no, I just didn't like it. The writing didn't grab me. And I realized what I really wanted was Diana flying around like usual, being the eagle-emblazoned heroine she always has been to me, and she wasn't.

So I decided firmly, no, DC was not going to get my $3 on this. I realize they won't even notice. I realize they won't care when millions of people will buy this comic, if for no other reason that it has a #1 on the cover and obsessive comic fans always buy a comic with a #1 on the cover (by the way, if I ever publish a comic, all issues will be #1). But there's one less $3.00 they'd otherwise be getting if they hadn't rebooted the series and treated my hero with just a touch more respect. And I realize they will certainly feel like they are being respectful and will rave on and on about their "Big Plans" for the series, and they'll think that I'm just stupid girl, but as much as they won't care about what I feel, I won't care about their Big Plans either.

And when you've managed to convince someone who's idolized this iconic figure for 27 years to stop caring, that's pretty sad.

Maybe someday I will find they are doing something so wonderful to the comic, I'll want to pick it up again. But not now, and not, I imagine, for a very long time.

I just pray to the gods and Joss Whedon that at least the movie won't suck.


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All original materials © 2006 R. Pickard