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Wonder Woman Wednesday: ‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ and the Origin of the Species

The bad news is that the excellent digital-first series, Sensation Conics, starring Wonder Woman has come to an end. The good news is that last week saw the release of the new, digital-first mini series, The Legend of Wonder Woman, by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon.

The series promises to be a re-imagining of Wonder Woman’s origin. Here we go again. It seems as if fans are still reeling from the bastardization of Wonder Woman’s origin for the New 52. I, for one, liked Brian Azzarello’s take on WW but looked at it as more of an “Elseworlds” tale that just happened to take place in the character’s monthly continuity.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Don’t get me wrong, the new series is well done. The art is beautiful. The story is well written and engaging enough with a good pace. I think we’re getting a little origin whiplash, though.

It seems like every time we turn around, we have to throw away our latest perception of our favorite characters to make way for a new version and/or retelling of their origin.

Maybe I’m being stodgy and crotchety in my thinking, but it just seems to get in the way of telling new stories and tends to disrupt the flow of everything.

Wonder Woman is part of the holy trinity, after all. She, Superman, and Batman are iconic, modern-day legends. Part of that legendary status includes origins tantamount to folklore.

Everyone knows that Superman is the last son of a doomed planet, rocketed to Earth by his parents. Everyone knows that Batman’s parents were murdered in front of him, and he grew up to fight crime in an endless quest to avenge their deaths. And, everyone knows the Greek gods gave Wonder Woman to the queen of the Amazons who longed for a child. Or do they?

I think the simplicity of the origins is what makes them so great. When you get in there and start mucking around, it tends to water it down.

Look at the X-Men’s Wolverine: The character was far more interesting when you didn’t know his origin. While his origin story wasn’t bad per se, it certainly didn’t live up to the level of interest surrounding the mystery of it. There was always something so cool about him suddenly speaking Japanese or something and not knowing where that came from.

It, in a way, seems like apologizing for the origin by retelling it every two years or so. Undoing what had been done, like you aren’t standing behind it. It’s also a slap in the audience’s face. The character has been around for 70 years. We know what she’s about. We get it. I understand that there are constantly new readers who may appreciate these explanations; however, I think it just complicates things further.

The devil’s in the details.

Some spoilers to follow.

So, Hippolyta betrays her people by sleeping with Theseus, and this sets forth a war that brings the downfall of the Amazons and even the death of her own sister. (That must have been one hell of a screw!) If she were a man, I’m sure she would have been applauded for scoring such a hit lay.

Hippolyta returns to the Amazons a day late and a dollar short and offers her life in atonement for her actions. (Perhaps Donna Troy’s apple didn’t fall far from a certain tree?) Luckily, the Amazons miss their queen and put her back on her perch, no questions asked. Bygones, I suppose? Hippolyta certainly does have a pretty wretched history. This isn’t going to make it better.

The gods decide to dole out a kid to the Amazons every ten years to keep everything fresh and exciting. After torturing Hippolyta with baby lust for a few thousand years, she is finally granted her daughter, Diana. Wow.

I don’t really see how this is a better origin. I think it takes away something from the character by having her grow up with other children. Especially since she is thus far portrayed as moody and withdrawn. I always felt the character’s sense of wonder stemmed from the innocence of growing up the only child amongst a group of peace-loving warrior woman. The way they all protected and nurtured her was such a touching part of the way she grew up. Now, she has bratty, little Amazons teasing her for being the queen’s daughter. Bullying on Paradise Island? Ugh.

But, who the hell am I to say? And, what difference does it make? I’m sure by the time the Wonder Woman movie hits the big screen, we’ll be treated to another twist on the tale. That said, I’m going to give The Legend of Wonder Woman a chance, and you should, too.

I’m not completely against origin retelling or updates when necessary. I just think comic publishers need to give their audiences a little more credit and consideration when it comes to the subject.

Michael Fitzgerald Troy, Fanbase Press Contributor



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