With the recent hardcover release of Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood, I’ve been thinking about Diana’s persona as it has changed over time. Until this newest incarnation of my favorite superhero, there was and still is a lot of whining and complaining about the character, her personality, and whether or not she can wear pants. (I won’t even go into my thoughts on that subject right now. Let’s just say that I’m of the opinion that Diana is a big girl and can dress herself, thank you very much. The only women I know who wear their panties in public are—well, I don’t really know any of those women—but they aren’t superheroes.) Arguments aside, there has been a lack of consistency in Wonder Woman’s personality over the years. She has ranged from raging warrior to missionary of peace to frustrated teenager and most recently an orphaned demi-god.
In the first two issues of the Ame-Comi Wonder Woman, Diana is angsty, bloodthirsty, and a little too angry teenager for my taste (though that’s not to say Ame-Comi isn’t worth a read; it’s actually enjoyable.) But here’s the thing, I’m okay with Diana sometimes being a bitch. It’s necessary, but don’t go overboard. This actually might be part of the ongoing problem trying to solidify Diana’s character: she is either too much of a hard-ass that people find her unrelatable, or she is so kind-hearted that she’s not taken seriously as a superhero. So, what is the right balance? What would make her a more realistic woman who just happens to be a superhero?
Mother’s protecting their children have historically been allowed to go on rampages without being judged too harshly. As soon as a single, childless woman does it, however, she instantly becomes the new lesbian icon (i.e. Xena, pre-season-five). I wonder if society accepts violence from women if it appears to be a manifestation of the maternal instinct to protect one’s young? Even when a woman picks up a sword to defend her lover, is that not a projection of that same instinct? In an age when certain women’s rights are in question in political arenas, the role of woman falls under examination. Are we meant to be nothing but caregivers who defer to the protection of our mates? Is that not ultimately the ideal that makes our society the most comfortable? Perhaps this is why the female superhero struggles to find consistency and popularity. There are many of us who have no issue creating a character as strong as her male counterparts, who is completely self-reliant. The sad part is that there are likely just as many who find the concept innately wrong. This is why I believe it is important for our heroines to find that appropriate balance. Maybe our society as a whole isn’t ready for a woman who can take charge as well as a man in the world’s larger arenas (just ask Hillary). I’ve heard before that art precedes change in society, and maybe that’s what our next step should be. Give me the hero I’ve been waiting for, the woman who feels the way I feel but is strong enough and powerful enough to fight for the change in the world that I so desperately seek. It wouldn’t hurt if she could also move mountains with a shrug of her shoulders.
Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website.
He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.