Last week, Wonder Woman #12 concluded her first year of New 52 adventures and capped off a critically acclaimed run with dark fantasy, action-oriented overtones.
The series, created by writer Brian Azzarello and artists Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins, has been lauded by critics for its reimagining of Wonder Woman’s mythos. It has a Vertigo / Elseworlds feel, and the Greek gods have been presented as a sinister, creepy, backstabbing crime family with Wonder Woman caught in the middle.
We’ve watched our heroine survive horrible ordeals and win tough battles (most of the time) against powerful enemies with a warrior’s seasoned grit and cunning. It’s been great.
But it hasn’t been perfect. I’d like future Wonder Woman issues to give us what the past 12 haven’t given much of… an insight into her personality and idiosyncrasies. We’ve seen the superhero portion of her, the “wonder” part, but the human, “woman” part of her hasn’t been in focus.
Who IS the Woman Behind the Tiara?
Wonder Woman’s personality shined through during the crime fighting she’s done, but those glimpses into her psyche weren’t as long as they could have been.
Evidence so far suggests Wonder Woman has:
- A strong determination to help and protect those who need her,
- The ability to persevere despite great personal hardship, and
- A unique philosophical view of life and humanity.
She spent 12 issues protecting Zola and the girl’s unborn baby, which indicates she’ll go incredibly far to safeguard others, and she had the inner strength to keep fighting even after she discovered that her mother and entire nation had been turned into stone, soon after she’d been told she had a father she’d never known about before, a situation that might cripple most other people emotionally to the point of giving up.
In issue #10, she tells Hades, a man she should hate, that she “loves everyone.” This is a more difficult character trait to make sense of, but I think it means that she has compassion for everyone she meets, even despicable people. She loves humanity in a high-minded way.
These are great things, and Azzarello will likely continue these features in the future, but here’s what he could do more of:
- Show Wonder Woman out-of-costume as Diana during downtime, doing some hobby or pastime that she’d do if she wasn’t being a superhero. We saw in issue #4 that she was at some bar or club dressed in leather, unwinding. That was a brief snippet of the “woman” side of Wonder Woman. But what else is there? Does she like theater? Comedy movies? Extreme sports? What’s her favorite color? Does she like techno or metal? That sort of thing.
- Show who Diana’s (not necessarily Wonder Woman’s) friends are. Does she hang out with any folks who aren’t gods or supernatural beings? If she does, who? And what are they doing when she hangs out with them?
- Does Diana have a job or source of income? In issue #1, we see her sleeping in an apartment (or loft, or whatever it’s called) at night. How’d she pay for it? Do the Amazons give her gold and precious items to exchange for money whenever she leaves Themyscira? Or does she earn money some other way? and…
- Original or crisp — oh, well… you know what I’m getting at by now, don’t you?
Azzarello’s take on Wonder Woman has been interesting and surprisingly insightful, but there’s room for improvement where his main character is concerned. I’m eager to see what he comes up with in order to give us a clearer picture of the woman behind the costume.