NO GODS. NO QUEENS. ONLY WOMAN. WONDER-WOMAN.
This is a concept I cooked up over at YABS following a thread about how posters would recreate Wonder Woman.
(It´s also the reason why there wasn´t new Lady of the Horde pages in the last couple days. ^_^)
The pitch: Anastasia with super-powers
At the beginning of Bioshock, you can read the words "No Gods. No Kings. Only Man."
I like that concept, because it´s exactly what i think of when I think of one of the ways I´d recreate Wonder Woman.
Step 1, I´d get rid of the mythological greek gods.
I always thought that they steal too much protagonism from the ones who should be the real heroes of the story, the Themiscirian amazons.Why would a race of highly advanced, highly evolved immortal women worship a 3,000 years old,dead religion that revolved around adoring a bunch of self-indulging creeps?
By getting rid of them, you can attribute far more merit to the amazons who acchieved the point they are not due to some divine gift, but to the fruit of their labour, their efforts, rsilience and constant thrive to evolve.
They gained immortality on their own, through their own perserverance, science or magic.
It also bears a much more empowering message than the original.
"The gods granted me immortality" VS "I gained mmortality on my own."
Step 2. I´d get rid of the queen.
I don´t like monarchies, the idea that someone is destined to rule over others because some god said so. Democracy is not perfect, but I´d choose being a citizen over being a subdict any day of the year.
My amazons are a meritocracy, a society where you advance on the strenght of your worth, not due to which family you were born in.
Which brings us to the story I had in mind.
The amazons instituted this meritocracy centuries ago, throwing the queen off her pedestal. I imagine there was likely a gruesome civil war (otherwise it would be boring) and queen Hippolyta was believed killed.
Centuries after, today, she resurfaces.
In the patriarch world.
Living with a mortal man who gave her a child, an all-american girl.
Makiing Diana an all-american girl solves one of the problems I´ve always had with Wonder Woman: her custume. She´s not american, she´s an amazon princess and ambassador representing the proud nation of Themiscira, so why does she wear an american flag? Because she likes america? So does french president Nicholas Sarkozy, but you don´t see him drapping himself in the american flag when addressing the UN, do you?
No, my Diana was brought up by her mom, Queen Hippolyta and some yet-unnamed guy (I thought of calling him Steve Trevor, but that would be just too icky). She learned much of the amazon ways but like any other girl, she salivated at Billy O´malley´s broad shoulders in high school.
This gives us readers an "in". It´s hard to empathise with perfect princess from paradise land, born with a golden spoon in her mouth. But a princess fallen from grace? That´s GOLD!
It has drama, and most important it has the sense of loss that WW´s origin lacks.
A good superhero origin tale has a degree of tragedy to it.
Superman lost his homeworld. Batman lost his parents. Peter Parker could have stopped the man who killed his uncle.
And now, Diana ha lost her crown.
I really like the idea of a fallen princess struggling to regain her place in the world.
Of course she´ll eventualy return to Themiscira and there shall be much @$$tkickery.
She´ll have to face her "sisters" in the arena just like she originaly did under Marston and Perez´pen, but this time she´s not The Special One, with powers given to her by the goddesses.
It´s another Wonder Woman pet peeve of mine.
"All amazons are special but one is more special than others."
The Contest of Champions where she faces the best of the best of the best always felt so fake to me because there is no valor in it.
Sure, an amazons can lift a car in her best day, but WW can benchpress aircraft carriers!
Where´s the fun, the challenge in that?
This way, you can finaly give the Contest of Champions the unsurmountable odds it always lacked, piting a NYPD rookie who moonlights as a superhero against seasoned, immortal amazons warriors with 3,000 years worth of combat under their belts. I salivate at the mere thought.
Now of course I can already hear the DC boys groaning. "-Noooo, we can´t have a race of wimminz as powerful as Superman walking around.
Superman -> smash.
Wimminz -> kitchen."
I´m sure one or two or twelve could occasionaly visit earth, but the vast majority of "dem wimminz" would be confined to whatever dimention Themiscira exists in, where I imagine they´d spend eternity fighting off demon creatures bent on invading earth. How´s that sound? ^_^
This also solves the issue of technological advancement.
Themiscira is supposed to be a highly advanced society (unless this is Amazons Attack, where they´re basicaly a bunch of idiots who spent 3,000 years riding horses because inventing flying cars was too much for their little heads) but I could never buy the idea of paradise island as an advanced society. Sorry, but if I spent my days walking at the beach at sunsets, chewing grapes and drooling at half naked women, I would have had zero incentives to develop Purple Ray emmiters.
But fighting demons for all eternity? Now there´s an incentive to evolve. ^_^
Now this advanced society doesn´t have to have excelled only in science. Magic exists in the DCU, so they could just be really good craftswomen. Wonder Woman´s weapons (inherited from her mother when she fled the amazon nation), the golden lasso of truth, the unbreakable bracelets,the razor tiara, would have been forged by them. They would be weapons of war, not cute trinkets to dazzle Superman during late hours.
I dislike the lasso of truth as a weapon. But a whip that can cut through metal like butter?
There´s an endless number of things you could do with this weapon, it doesn´t have to be just a whip. It´s magic, remember?
I confess I may have stretched it a bit with the lasso changing from bracelet to whip, it´s just that I never liked the way that rope hangs on her belt, there´s gotta be better ways to carry your weapon around.
Plus I like the idea of her losing one of her defenses when she summons her primary weapon.
Step 9 . Civil War
"As long as there are two men around, there will be conflict."
Same goes for women. I don´t buy the whole "there would be world peace if women were in charge". My amazons are not a homogenous group, they are divided in factions that cohexist peacefuly. Wonder Woman would be the catalist for the rift. The extremists VS the moderates, the monarchists VS the democratis, the amazons who hate the patriarch world VS the ones who wouldn´t mind paying a visit every now and again. Some of Wonder Woman´s archenemies would in fact be amazons, following her to the patriarch world to kill her and, in the process, becoming supervillains themselves.
Point is, the amazons are a rich, untapped pool of great story material if you give them the protagonism and prominence that Zeus and Hera and Athena and Aphrodite and Hermes have enjoyed so far.
In the end, of course she wouldn´t regain her crown as the Princess of Themiscira. I hate monarchies, remember? No, in my book, they would do what Wonder Woman comics do best, the ole "come together in mutual understanding".with lots of hugs and xoxo.
the amazons would welcome her in Themiscira during summer vacations or 2 weekend per month or whatever terms of custody allowed her to dump mom and crash at aunt Kleio´s place every once in a while to learn how not to get her derričre kicked by Artemis at the arena.