Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Original Miss America

So with the release of Wonder Woman 600, let's back away from all the noise over her new costume (which looks like a bad 90's costume) and talk about somthing people seem to be ignoring...

The apparent destruction of Paradise Island...

While it sort of smacks of Event Level storytelling to seemingly eliminate Paradise Island and all of the Amazons, it makes for an interesting mystery to start the new run with. I've only seen Heidi MacDonald reference this plot point. As Heidi suggests, this may lend itself to being seen as a Women in Refrigerator moment by some commentators, but I don't really think that's where this story is going to end up. More than likely, by the time the arc is all through, the Amazons will have been saved in some manner whereupon they will unite in a quest to rebuild Paradise Island.

If I had any reservations with the plot, it's that after everything is restored, how exactly will this new Wonder Woman be any different than the one that's bored us to tears over the past 40 years?

I say 40 years, because I'm pretty sure the Silver Age is the last time Wonder Woman was really interesting...

Back to my point - if you are going to push the reality reset button, why not give ANOTHER woman Wonder Woman's powers? Yeah, I know we would eventually have to go back to the original character, cause that's how things always go, but for at least one story arc you would get a new perspective on the character. Tell the readers from the get go that this new character is going to help restore the old one, then it feels less like a usurping of the old character - you get some buy in from the readers that way. At the end of the tale, you might even end up with a new character people like as well as the old one.

Me, I'd love to see a neurotic New Yorker like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock bestowed with the powers of the gods...

And yeah, I know that makes my version sound more like a romantic comedy or chick flick than a Summer blockbuster, but that might not be a bad direction to go with the least a while.

Anyway, on the whole, I think JMS may succeed in giving us an interesting story as he seems to be trying to inject some modern takes on the mythos - like the Oracle of Delphi as a gothy runaway...but what's up with all the leather jackets in this revisioned Wonder Woman world?

Anyway, on this July 4th, let's enjoy the adventures of another heroine from the Golden Age, Miss America!

Miss America is originally Joan Dale, a courageous reporter who had a dream in which the Statue of Liberty appeared to her and, giving her the power to transmute elements, instructed her to battle evil.

Joan awakes to find that she now has these powers. Adopting a patriotically-themed costume, she begins fighting evil as Miss America.

She appeared in Military Comics 1 - 7 (a comic I've not featured here before despite the fact that it has some amazing Blackhawk stories in it...I think I had some fears about the copyright on these comics.)

[ Military Comics 01 ]

[ Military Comics 07 ]
- Enjoy


Reno said...

You forgot to mention the chokers. Do they really need to wear those? :)

Trey said...

I think the reason we didn't get the "another woman gets the mantle" particularly the "another woman who appears totally unsuitable gets the mantle" is that: (1) fans tend to bitch even more about replacements than costume changes or the (temporary) loss of Paradise Island; and (2) its been done before, particularly in the Wonder Womanish Promethea.

MattComix said...

I liked it when they brought back the Diana Prince identity but then they botched it by giving her a Tomb Raider jumpsuit.

There's no sense of transformation (an element that I think is important for superheroes) if she already is a costumed action-heroine before she even becomes Wonder Woman. There's also no sense of transformation if she's Wonder Woman all the time as she was in post-Crisis.

I think building a better Diana Prince is the key to building a better Wonder Woman.

In the series, all obvious flaws aside I like in the non-WWII seasons where she's kind of a regular gal and capable agent so she could be relatable as well as being clearly independent. Then she would summon forth her true power.

Also even though the show handled it stupidly the idea of her summoning variations of her costume for different needs is something my wife pointed out that she liked. She has no hate for the classic costume at all, she just doesn't like that it's the only thing she wears regardless of the mission.

Jim Shelley said...

@Reno - Good point! It makes you wonder how much Jim Lee (he designed that didn't he?) gets out!

Jim Shelley said...

@Trey - Promethea handled that well, didn't it. And with that, the readers weren't so invested in one version or another of Promethea, so that helped.

I wonder if there is a way around the fan-bitching problem - like how we got a new Robin by graduating Dick Grayson into Nightwing.

Jim Shelley said...

@MattComix - good point about the various outfits the TV Wonder Woman wore! I remember being flummoxed when she appeared in horse riding gear in one show! :D

I also think you have a point about making the Diana Prince character more interesting.


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