Hello, dear readers, and welcome to “What’s New, 52?” Here I plan to discuss recent comic book releases and news in the DC universe with a focus on female heroes and supporting characters.This week, we start with a review of Wonder Woman #25, then a few bullet reviews, and wrap it up with comic book news and opinion on some of the more recent teasers and previews.
Review: Wonder Woman #25: Entre the Goddess of War
The New 52 incarnation of Wonder Woman is a significant departure from Classic Diana Prince. In her previous origin, Diana of Themiscrya is daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, an immortal race of warrior women living on an Island Paradise, protected by Hera from the world of man. She has no father, instead having been sculpted by her mother out of clay from the island and breathed into live by the queen of the gods. In the New 52, the gods of Olympus are warped, keeping more in touch with the gods of Greek mythology, but Wonder Woman’s origin has been changed to align more with a well known cliche. Diana is now simply another bastard child of Zeus.
But let’s simply gloss over the defeminization of the character by taking a totally independent female character and reworking her origin story to make it dependent on a man (and a womanizing chauvinist of a man at that).
A prophecy had been foretold that one of Zeus’s children would die at the hand of another, and Wonder Woman seems to have been the instrument of this prophecy. Per the events of Wonder Woman #24, Diana is now the Goddess of War, holding a seat on Olympus under the new King of the Gods, a to-date highly duplicitous Apollo.
You see, last issue, Wonder Woman was made to kill Ares, the god of war, and so now, because the transitive properties of “The Santa Clause” apparently work in all aspects of the divine, she is now expected to become him.
The old War is dead, she killed him, and is now the new War. In comics past, she and Ares have always been at odds because, even though the Amazons are a warriour people, they don’t revel in it; they do it out of duty and honour, and often enough just to stop some bad shit from going down. Apollo expects her to sit with them at Olympic board meetings and such so that they can vote on the colour of the paper for the new newsletter or something. She, because her senses of justice and compassion and her respect of the value of life, wants nothing to do with the position of “War.”
Meanwhile, a mortal Hera is sharing as apartment Odd-Couple Style with Zeus’s latest booty (whose name I forget but who named the baby Zeke in case we weren’t sure that she was white trash after we initially meet her soliciting sex at a truck stop).
As Diana tells Apollo off and Apollo coolly tells Diana that she’s got no choice, the traitorous Hermes, who feels bad about what he did but is more visibly hurt by the women’s rejection of him, takes Diana home. The comic closes back on Olympus, where Strife, despite her major c-word attitude this whole time, apparently took it personally and is planning to take Diana da fuck out. Bitch is all over the place.
So, next month, it looks like Strife is going to be battling Wonder Woman for the seat of War on Olympus. Wonder Woman will probably defeat her, because losing would mean death and the series is going to keep going, so… I also don’t see Wonder Woman straight up killing another god, so she’ll probably remain War for a while while Strife pulls back and tries to make her life hell.
I will admit, I am actually a little intrigued by the idea of Wonder Woman, one of DC’s most compassionate characters, having to deal. Will she suddenly start gaining power when people fight amongst themselves? Will she kinda like it? Or will she instill aggression in those around her, even without being conscious of it? Brian Azzarello is a good writer, and hopefully he does the premise justice.
On the other hand, I hope to editor at DC don’t use this as an opportunity to sully yet another one of their most iconic characters, and really the only female character who isn’t just becoming an awful person on the brink. I think she’s going to get a little darker, at least for a little while.
Time will tell.
Alright. A brief summary and my opinion in a paragraph and a picture or less. Remember, this is only for books with strong female protagonists (not too many team books).
Batgirl #24 – Babs’ dad done just shot her boyfriend. She’s understandably upset, but to stop her father from being murdered by a group of super-powered hitmen hired by a crazy heriess, she is forced to put the costume on one more time… Which we, of course, know won’t actually be one more time.
Batwoman #24 – Batman cameo. Lots of classic Batman rogues. Lots of action. I can’t get past Batwoman’s white white skin.
Bird of Prey #24 – Batgirl and some chick I’ve never heard of have to rescue Black Canary and some other characters who don’t really matter… And here I thought that the whole purpose of the reboot was so that every book could line up their timelines properly. Silly me.
Catwoman #24 – WHY ARE PEOPLE PASSING AROUND THE JOKER’S FACE! I still don’t get the reasoning for him having it cut off in the first place, let alone bitches wearing rotting skin pinned to their own faces.
Earth 2 #17 – Lois Lane’s consciousness has been downloaded into a lady-version of the Red Tornado robot. She was dead in this universe, but now she’s a hollow shell of the strong woman she once was, and the man she loves is a brainwashed mass murderer. The New 52 ain’t doin’ my girl Lois right. She’s been resurrected with the sole purpose of talking down the marauding Man of Steel. And then her dad dies in her arms. Hm.
Supergirl #24 – Daddy issues.
Superman/Wonder Woman #1 – Let’s talk about our relationship, intercut with scenes of a really anticlimactic battle/rescue operation. Oh, and even thought you’re going to approach our date with an awkward, boyish charm, I’mma totally pull a sword on you because that’s the basis for a healthy relationship that seems stable and should continue. I can’t even.
World’s Finest #16 – Power Girl’s powers are going haywaire like Karen Starr circa 1997, so recycled ideas = angry Patty. I do like the book, though. I’m just really waiting for something big to happen here. A lot of this comic seems like filler, but I know that next year, they’re actually going to meet Batman and Superman in the most uncomfortable pseudo-family reunion since… Well, any of my family functions.
NEWS OF THE WEEK: Sorry, Supergirl; Red’s Really Not Your Colour
The big news this the past few days for female DC superheroines seems to be that Supergirl is going to be inducted into the ranks of the Red Lanterns.
That’s right. Supergirl is going to barf up acid blood, her shiny red ring is going to cut out her heart, and she’s going to be a Kryptonian powerhouse with unstoppable, irrational rage.
Except… Oh, wait. No, it’s not. It’s just more of the same “gritty” bullshit that DC has homogenized their
Universe UNIVERSES into for the past two years.
The New DCU seems to just me mired in negativity. And, while I realise that heroes are more realistically going to have more bad days than particularly stellar ones, it’s just not something that I want to read. I can see it in the Bat-Books; Barbara Gordon’s personal life and crime-fighting persona taking hit after hit jives with the whole of Gotham City. Gotham is an admittedly terrible place to live and has been so for pretty much all of it’s written history. The criminals are always looking to up the stakes and even the lowliest thug would love the chance to try and take out a member of the Bat Family. That’s established. And that’s going to take a huge toll on a person who’s not as balls out crazy as Bruce Wayne’s night-time alter-ego, so Batgirl’s losing it I can see.
But this isn’t the case with the Super Books. At least, pre New 52, Metropolis was a decent place to live. Clean, high-tech, prone to supervillains, and sporting a neighbourhood called Suicide Slum, sure, but the murder rate is way below that of Gotham. Plus, over it all, Metropolis has their golden boy, the Big Blue Boyscout. His little-cousin-who-is-actually-older-than-him also lives there and is struggling to find her place on this strange new planet and discover the hero within– Except that none of that is true any more, either, is it? Superman’s either a superpowered douchebag (which of course we need in the world) in “Action Comics” or he’s standoffish and dating Wonder Woman for no good reason.
And Superboy is being replaced by his murderer, the biological child of Lois and Clark from an apparently alternate future who happens to be completely batshit crazy and no one is going to know the difference. BeeTeeDubs, Marvel did the same fucking thing a couple of months ago with the “Superiour Spider-Man” title, and I dropped the book after two insufferable issues.
But I digress.
According to Wikipedia, a Red Lantern’s rage is specific to the rage felt after a significant loss. What more, though, can she lose at this point? Is this going to be like The Walking Dead, where every time there’s a new character, I’m going to have to be prepared for them to be killed off unceremoniously? If it turns out that this sense of loss that fuels her transition into a RL is the loss of Krypton, I’m gonna barf. Why is she mired in this? I mean, I understand. She lost her home, her family, she’s an even more petulant version of Katie Kaboom, etc.
But does the editorial staff at DC really think that it’s good writing for your character to be stunted for MONTHS? Oh, no, wait. TWO YEARS! My personal experience with comics is that my favourites have been series which establish a good selection of supporting characters for their protagonists, and when said protagonists display signs of steady growth as a character. Hell, that’s why Spider-Man was such a great success from it’s launch way back into the before time. Peter Parker was the draw! He was a person that the fanboys could se into the life of, that wasn’t this hyper powerful, unattainable figure but rather someone with whom they could relate. The character becomes that much more compelling, and that’s why I’m stalwart in my opinion that Peter David’s Supergirl run from ’96 through ’01 was the best iteration of the character since pre-Crisis Kara moved to Chicago and got an apartment and went to college LIKE A PERSON in the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (1982-1984).
“But Patty,” you gasp, “Surely this is only a temporary gimmick, anyways! Why are you getting so upset?”
Well, see, I do figure that it’s going to be a temporary situation, what with her having her own series to star in and all. My issue is that Red Lanterns… Are mindless. This either means that the story will be unintelligent, full of mindless destruction and shock for the sake of shock value (whoopee), or it means that someone will be manipulating her and her rampage.
And I’m getting upset because I’m a fangirl. We’re either panicking, swooning, glomping, or raging.
We know that love isn’t the answer (sorry Harry Potter), as feeling love will kill a Red Lantern (because SCIENCE). Also, removal of the Red Lantern ring causes instant death for the (former) wearer, unless there’s a Blue Lantern there to slip a Blue Lantern ring onto their finger first. Are there any really cool Blue Lanterns left? I can’t think of any. And I also doubt that almost anybody would be able to get in close enough to a rage-a-holic Kryptonian with a power ring to slip a second ring daintily on their finger. Even if somebody does turn her into a Blue Lantern, it’s going to be such a hard 180 that I’ll have a hard time buying it, personally. Plus there’s the fact that nobody’s been de-Red-Lantern-ed without at least having some lingering effects from their own incredible toxic and corrosive blood substitute…
So, y’know, assholes with anger issues are always great. Oh! Hey, since we’ve run out of ideas anyways, remember the 90s? Remember how much everybody loved Guy Gardner before they found a way to rationalize his irrationality?
I’m better now.
The point is, I’m going to read it. I’m just worried about having to read through something that’ll make me so mad that I’ll suddenly find myself with a red ring of doom stuck on my ring finger…
Thanks for reading through my ramblings, and be sure to come back mid-December for another installment of “What’s New, 52?” in which we’ll (probably) be focusing on the upcoming release “Harely Quinn” #0.