This wonderful post is making the rounds, and it got me reflecting on Wonder Woman’s most recent runs—specifically, Greg Rucka’s, which is my favorite, and Azzarello and Chiang’s current one. Rucka wrote Wondy as an ambassador, an outspoken political figure who starts the run by publishing a book of essays packed with controversial opinions on animal rights, war, prison reform, and feminism. Over the following 20-odd issues, she goes to hell, beheads Medusa and handles the duties of being Athena’s champion, but her most pernicious enemies are ideological. Interest groups spring up, condemning her as political poison, a screeching feminist, an unAmerican influence, a terrible role model, etc etc etc. She deals with people screaming at her in the streets, publishers that want to sex up her book cover, business interests, and angry congressmen.

So, in part this is me urging you to read Rucka’s run because it is so so so good (though it never had a true ending—Infinite Crisis kind of put all his well-laid plans to shit, but that’s another post). So then I was thinking about Azzarello and Chiang’s new 52 series. And y’know, I actually really like their take. I think it’s the most solid new 52 entry out, honestly—there were others that started out of the gate as good, but WW is the only one to remain so. A lot of people I know really hate the changes Azzarello has made to the Amazons and Diana’s origin, and I totally get that, but they honestly don’t bother me too much because, shrug, it’s comics, it’s pretty choose-your-own-interpretation anyway (just look at Selina’s 200 origin stories). But I love Rucka’s run more, and I couldn’t really articulate why until I saw that post today.

Wonder Woman should always be written as an explicit feminist. Her stories can be good, even great without that message, but I don’t think they can be truly superb. Women’s rights are in her DNA as a character, the most cursory overview of Marston’s ideals reveal that. I mean, yeah, his opinions were pretty weird in a lot of places (and pretty essentialist in the light of 2014), but the bedrock of her character is bringing women’s liberation to man’s world and inspiring young girls into action. Throwing that out is like throwing out Batman’s desire for vengeance, Superman’s idealism, Catwoman’s decadence. It is the soul of the character

But, yknow, it makes fans and creators uncomfortable and pissy so it’s tossed out. No one would say, “hey, I think maybe Wolverine is too angry, and like, Captain America doesn’t really need to be so patriotic, yknow? Let’s rethink it,” but, hey, no big when it comes to something like women’s rights because lol feminist bitches lol!! And then everyone throws up their hands and says OH MY GOD WONDER WOMAN IS JUST SO COMPLICATED AS A CHARACTER!!! She’s so weird and like, what’s essential about her, she’s so ill-defined, let’s reboot her AGAIN. Wonder Woman is only “confusing” because the industry likes to ignore the feminist core of her characters.

I swear to god, I don’t need them to have her yelling Audre Lorde quotes as she lassoes the Cheetah or whatever. She doesn’t need to be delivering speeches on the wage gap every other page. But this needs to be a top priority of hers. This needs to be present in her stories. She is an explicit challenge to “man’s world.” She uses phrases like “man’s world” for god’s sake, stop pretending this is a facet of her character that can be tossed out

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