And the other thing that bothered me about JLA Origins– (#SFWApro)

Aside from the absence of super-hero comics, there’s Wonder Woman.
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When Wonder Woman first appeared more than 70 years ago, she’s very clearly presented as someone who’s out to end war (World War II, that is) rather than someone who wants to fight. The Amazons themselves are shown fighting only when they need to defend their freedom (I’m inclined to say it’s very much the image America had of itself). She doesn’t kill people and she’s just as concerned with women’s rights as with winning the war (I’m aware Moulton’s politics and views of gender relations were way more complicated than that, but I think it’s a reasonable assertion).
Even as she became a more conventional, less feminist superhero in the 1950s, she still shows the same sense of compassion because back then, even conventional superheroes showed it. There’s a good seen in the Phantom Zone miniseries of the 1980s where she confronts a deformed Kryptonian and to his confusion, treats him courteously instead of flinching away.
Then in the 1990s Kingdom Come miniseries, we got a Diana who came across much more warlike and ruthless dealing with her adversaries. Which didn’t bother me, because the whole point of the series is that super-heroes losing their Silver Age ideals is a Very Bad Thing.
Unfortunately, like a great many other elements in that series’ dystopian future, it carried over. Kingdom Come co-creator Mark Waid showed Diana as being an Amazon warrior first and foremost, during his stint on Justice League. In Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontiers, Diana celebrates a group of Vietnamese women killing their rapists.
And in Origins, set right after she arrives in the US, she’s walking around with a sword and becoming jubilant whenever she finds something to fight and kill. Diana’s not the voice of peace or mercy, she sounds more like the voice of her old enemy, Ares (the book War, Politics and Super-heroes by Marc DiPaolo discusses the transition at length).
That’s depressing. It’s not like not being an Amazon first and foremost made her a wimp. And joke all you want about the incongruity of fighting for peace, but it’s not that daft (as TH White puts it in The Once and Future King, it’s about might-for-right rather than might-makes-right).
TV-Wonder Woman Lynda Carter has a much better sense of what Diana ought to be:”You look at any society that suppresses women, and it’s violent. Look around the world. … There’s a humanity that they’re missing. There’s got to be a sweetness, a kindness, a goodness in the character. The rest takes care of itself.”

2 Comments

Filed under Comics, Reading

2 responses to “And the other thing that bothered me about JLA Origins– (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: The female audience (and other sexism-related links) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Heroes and badasses (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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