Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New Look Wonder Woman

By now, just about every comic fan has seen the image on the left there: the new look for Wonder Woman as designed by Jim Lee, lifted from the article over at DC's The Source blog.

New costumes are the staple of superheroes; I'm struggling to think of one character that hasn't had a different costume at some point, by which I mean a completely new look, not just tweaks of the costume due to the styles of different artists.  The differences between one costume and the next are usually fairly minor but when major changes occur, it's not long before the character returns to their classic, usually early, look. Power Girl went through a couple of costume changes when she was with the Justice League but the white costume/red cape ensemble she's wearing now is roughly the same as when she debuted back in the 70's; while Zatanna may have started off in a dress, it's the top hat and fishnets that became her regular look and to which she's returned (though I've always been a fan of the JLA satellite-era look with those big red earrings!)

According to this Newsarama article, Wonder Woman's old costume was "effectively a one-piece swimsuit - often considered either sexist or simply impractical" which, I suppose, is fair enough. However, it is what not only comic readers but also the public recognise. Wonder Woman is one of those characters that has broken out of the comic book audience and into mainstream, probably due in large part to the 70's Wonder Woman series starring Lynda Carter. Should the oft-talked about Wonder Woman movie ever get off the ground, it's a fair bet that she will be appearing in something closer to her classic outfit than the new one pictured above.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against costume changes. Characters grow and alter (well, mostly) and there's no reason why a fresh approach can't be taken from time to time. But I don't think this change will last very long, maybe a year at most. If anything will reverse the decision, it sounds like it'll be the storyline itself which involves a new timeline and Diana's fight to get back to the real one. There will be struggles along the way but, at the end of it, the main timeline will be resolved, though I'm sure there will be consequences that carry over, and things will largely return to what they were a month or so ago . . . including the costume.

Fan reaction has, perhaps predictably, been vociferous and largely negative. From the Source article's comments:
disconnectedsmile says on June 29th, 2010 at 6:37 pm :
she didn’t need to be redesigned for the modern era.
Wonder Woman is a global icon. you can’t change her look anymore than you can change Batman’s or Superman’s.

i don’t know who that’s supposed to be in that costume, but it sure isn’t Wonder Woman.

thebigburton says on June 29th, 2010 at 6:45 pm :
This has to be a joke. I am literally sick to my stomach right now. This is a joke. You CANNOT destroy my reason for loving comics and superheroes like this. Not even for a single issue. Please stop this NOW!

ipstenu says on June 29th, 2010 at 6:51 pm :
This had BETTER freakin’ end with Steve Trevor stepping out of the shower and it’s all a dream.

I was willing to lay the One More Day Spider-Man fiasco on Marvel, but now this?

No. I’m sorry, JMS, I love you for B5, but this is ... this is horrific and wrong.




thebigburton says on June 29th, 2010 at 7:01 pm :
I actually just threw up... how dare you do this. THIS IS DISGRACEFUL. I hope you lose the rights to WW. I am now done collecting comics. GOOD JOB!
I love the way thebigburton feels sick at 6:45, goes and throws up and then comes back to tell us at 7:01!

The poll at the bottom of the Newsarama article has (at the time of writing this) results of
5 Stars: Fantastic! Best look for Diana yet! 12% (304 votes)
4 Stars: Like it more than the old one 15% (394 votes)
3 Stars: Like it about the same as the old one 12% (306 votes)
2 Stars: Like it less than the old one 20% (518 votes)
1 Star: Hate it! Why Mess With A Classic? 41% (1,054 votes)
Change isn't always welcomed - not being a big Wonder Woman fan, I don't have any strong feelings either way, particularly as I don't think the change will last. All I'll say to those currently wailing and gnashing their teeth is remember this:


  1. I'm far less irritated by the costume change (which is different enough from her classic costume that it will be gone eventually) than the proposed changes to her origin. Which basically turns Themyscira into Krypton and has Hippolyta rocket a young Diana off to "Man's World" as the island is destroyed. I can see tinkering with the origin again (Perez's origin change actually hasn't aged well and is really kind of dark and kid-unfriendly what with it being all extra-rapey), but taking Wonder Woman and turning her even more into "Superman, but less" is really not the way to go about it.

    She's a princess for Grod's sake - A PRINCESS!! Emphasize that. She's from a world of magic and myth - her mother sculpted her out of clay and her powers come from the Greek Gods. Emphasize that! Don't strip away everything that makes her different from Superman and turn her into a low-rent Superman - emphasize the things that make her unique as a character and turn them up to 11.

  2. I think the origin will disappear or revert back to the genuine one once the alternate timeline story runs it's course.

    Agree with you about emphasising her powers and origin, though.


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