So David Goyer, writer on Christopher Nolans Batman trilogy and the upcoming Man of Steel answered a question about the possibility of a Wonder Woman film which was seized upon by several comic sites and which spurned many discussions. Through very little of these comments has there been a discussion regarding the fact that Wonder Woman has very little foundation from comic book to comic book.
While its not necessary for superhero comic book adaptations to take a lot from their source material, it does seem to help if there is a lot of top quality material to comb through. Batman has it, Superman has it, X-Men and Spider-Man and so forth. Wonder Woman? Not so much. Now-before anyone says “YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT DIANA” give me a moment to explain. Diana, has a rich history and many tools to produce quality stories but very rarely have those been put together in a multi-year, well received definitive run that has a climax. Think about all the Wonder Woman comics through the decades. Think of how many are considered the best, then realize how many of those have suffered from various flaws. Such as anti-climatic endings and left over plotlines that never get dealt with. There is no modern Wonder Woman run that is close to flawless. There are barely any Wonder Woman runs throughout her history that are considered timeless. How many critics and historians online have said that William Marstons run is the one definitive? How many keep going back to George Perez? Or even Ruckas? Yet each of these runs-as well as almost every run-show a difference in four fundamental aspects of popular superheroes.
The first is a definitive origin. Wonder Womans origin has been tweaked, retconned, rebooted and so forth. In Marston’s Wonder Woman her patron is Aphrodite, as is all Amazons. In George Perez era she has a pantheon of Gods but Athena above all else. Lets remember the overly complex element of all the Amazons being women who died at the hands of men in pre-history. Which is better than the silver age of Amazons being immortal widows of warriors. Between George Perez and Greg Rucka how many creators have tried adding little nuggets and tidbits? How many changes done after. Currently Diana has a father (though technically in the silver age she had a father, possibly Prince Theno who I know nothing about. Maybe I should read my Showcase Wonder Woman volumes) doing away with her classic clay origin. Wonder Woman needs a strong, definitive origin. One that will stand the test of time.
Base of locations. This may sound trivial but aks yourself-which of DC’s classic League line up doesn’t have a home base? You probably land on Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter, but even Manhunter has some connections to Gotham City and Middleton. Wonder Womans lived in DC, Boston, Gateway City, New York, London, and how many other places? Wonder Woman’s only home is Themyscira. When it comes to a base of operations-she does not have one worth mentioning.
The third is supporting cast. Diana’s cast is in flux between creators. traditionally it is suppose to be Steve Trevor as the love interest, Etta Candy as the friend, and her mother Hippolyta as well as the Amazons. Steve Trevor, while his meeting with Diana remains about the same, in the 80s reboot he was aged so that he appeared to be at least 15 years older than Diana who felt very much like she was around the age of twenty. He was no longer her love interest and eventually married Etta candy who was re-imagined at the time as a military woman. Steve Trevor is back to being not too much older than Diana, and a former flame. Etta is now a black woman, thinner than her last incarnation who was more in shape than her original incarnation. While Steve and Etta are showing up in Justice League books they have yet to appear in Wonder Womans current book. Hmmm…. Hippolyta luckily has almost stayed the same, minus hair colors. Plus an occasional bout with death. Now, just because those characters keep showing up does not mean they are always around like Alfred is for Batman or Lois Lane and the Daily Planet is for Superman. Diana has had supporting cast members who show up for a run and then disappear-maybe they even get to return like the Kaptelis from Perez’s run who made appearances through out that era of Wonder Woman comics. The point is, Diana needs a supporting cast that stays firm through out.
Lastly-secret identity or no secret identity. Diana Prince ho works for the military as a nurse or secretary. Diana Prince who works for the UN in New York. Hip Diana Prince who runs a boutique. or there is Wonder Woman with no secret identity, working at an Embassy for Paradise Island. Diana’s identity is in flux.
I’m sure a lot of this has to be put on DC’s step for bad company directive and editorial interference. These decisions have hurt the Wonder Woman brand. Its divided Wonder Woman fans to some degree. Every WW fan has an era or an identity or cast they prefer. Its not hard to assume that these reasons translates to why writers say she is hard character to crack.
I want a Wonder Woman movie. I want a Wonder Woman TV series (looking at you CW). I also want a great Wonder Woman comic. I think if we can improve the overall quality of Wonder Woman in comics, it will make it so much easier to see more of Diana in other media.