[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
From as far back as Marston, Wonder Woman's defining short phrase, her version of "Caped Crusader" or "Man of Steel" or "Scarlet Speedster," has been "Amazon Princess." Which is fair, because that's what she is in the most literal sense - the daughter of the amazon queen (well at least until they dissolved the monarchy, but at this point I think I'm going to have to admit I've lost that one) - but for most of her pre-Crisis history, was nevertheless a relatively empty phrase. Diana was a princess because girls like princesses, as any Disney exec can tell you, and that was it. Occasionally the authority was useful, but basically it was a purely meta thing that was merely convenient shorthand for her specialness.

Part of Perez' genius was to actually consider what being a princess means for Diana, especially from the mythical perspective of this very mythical character. Mythic royalty isn't about tiaras and castles, after all. It's about stewardship, struggle, king sacrifice; about servitude and symbiosis and taking your people's burdens for your own. Diana, as Athena's champion and essentially a demigod, is an avatar of the Olympians, yes - but as heir to the throne, she's also the avatar of the amazons, and that responsibility is as integral to her character as her duty to her gods. She bleeds when her people bleed, they win when she wins, their story is hers and hers theirs. And Perez' run was saturated with that understanding, in a constant intertwining of Diana's mission and the activities of the Amazon Nation as a whole. She's not just one of them, she's not even just the best of them; she is them, full stop. That concept underpins the particular awesomeness I've got on offer today - this is the story of Themyscira and how the Amazon Nation reconnected with Man's World. Because Diana did, and so that Diana could. And because it's a damn good story.

Also, Diana v. Lois action. You know you want to see that.




Sliding back down from my literary masturbation to the more practical matter of plot...

As you may recall from our first installment, Diana's mission is to bring Themysciran peace and ideals to the outside world. Naturally, this raises some interesting questions with the amazons - like, "is one person, who has other obligations as well, really enough to carry our message" and "this didn't work last time, has anything really changed" and "does Man's World have anything to offer us" and "can people really believe paradise is possible if they've never seen it."

So the amazons start bandying about the idea of letting foreigners set foot on Themyscira's shores. This being an issue that impacts all of them, they put it to a vote.



The vote passes. But not unanimously.





This is how you can tell Diana's a good leader. She won, the vote went in her favor, and there's really no reason for her to worry about pacifying Hellene at this point. But all the same, her first instinct is to try to make the dissenters comfortable with the decision, to understand all veiwpoints, and ensure that there are no hard feelings or lasting enmities from the disagreement.

So with the approval of the amazons, Diana brings first Julia and Vanessa to the island with her, and then later, Steve and Etta.







A fine time is had by all, and the amazons warm a bit to the idea of cultural exchange. But Hellene is still not entirely satisfied.



Iphthime makes some very good points here, particularly when you view them through a feminist lens. Heracles and Steve were both genuinely repentant and genuinely good people when the amazons forgave them, and taken on a case-by-case basis it was a perfectly reasonable decision each time. But as a general trend, there's something disturbing about it, the way men get to continually hurt them and they get to continually accept and forgive that abuse. Which is usually the case with social issues of that kind.

Also, it's pretty cool that the amazons are not a hive mind, and that people can disagree intelligently with our hero and still be considered good guys and her friends. Hell, forget comic books, that's hard to come by in real life, and this page right here is where Themyscira lives up to the hype, for me.

Anyway, Diana's friends are so well received that the amazons opt for a wider outreach, and agree to bring a larger, more international group to the island. And Diana finally comes up with a halfway decent counterargument for Hellene's concerns.





Back in Man's World, preparations proceed apace. Diana picks a group of twelve from the outside world to visit the island, and seems to base her choices on exposing her sisters to as much new stuff as possible, basically - religious leaders, activists, disabled people and a Tiananmen Square survivor - but they're also a decent ambassadorial group to bring as observers, being mostly speakers and thinkers from multiple cultures who will be able to ask lots of questions and intelligently and respectfully tell the world about their visit.

She only asks one actual reporter, though, who she originally intended to be Clark...



... but he sticks her with his girlfriend instead. Lois gets all the good superhero scoops.

So off to the island they go! Diana uses the lasso and some Hermes chicanery to carry them safely through the mystical storm, and Lois begins her Pulitzer-winning report on Paradise Island.







Tragically, every Eden has its snake.





It's a little hard to tell here, but Menalippe just had a nightmare, flipped out really hard, and knocked Penelope (the amazons' oracle) across the room and into a wall with glowy pink mojo. And is now being totally sanguine about quite possibly having just killed her lover. (Another thing I love about Perez - it's clear from the first time we meet Penelope and Menalippe that they are, in fact, lovers. And at no point are they ever portrayed even the tiniest bit differently than, say, a male minister and his wife would be in a different comic. ♥ Perez.)

Menalippe then proceeds to spike the punch, as it were.



Students of mythology will recognize the golden apples there as a bad sign. (Apparently that doesn't include the amazons, but I suppose we must accept some things for the sake of the plot.)

And over on the Island of Healing, Penelope wakes up and immediately begins acting strange and creepy as well.



Meanwhile, the guests are attending passion plays, and learning about Amazon culture.


Best. Page. Ever.



I don't know if Polly dissolving the monarchy was ever part of Perez' plan for the book (I kind of seriously doubt it), but the fact that she eventually does gives a really cool weight to this scene. Also, Tibet's complaint there makes me think it's a good thing Diana didn't bring Babs instead.





Heh.

But just when Lois and Diana are getting along, the real trouble starts.



Diana, clever woman that she is, realizes something is going on here and goes looking for Menalippe, on the theory that she was the first one to start acting weird. Her search leads her through Doom's Doorway, where she gets attacked by a tree.





For the mythologically uninitiated, Eris = Discord, daughter of Ares and the punkass jerk responsible for the Trojan War. The golden apples belong to her. Menalippe's line about being sisters to Eris references the realworld mythological portrayal of the amazons as servants and worshippers of Ares, and of Hippolyte as explicitly his daughter. (Which, when recast under the Wondy paradigm as greek propaganda against the deliberately-designed-to-oppose-Ares amazons, becomes kind of hilarious.)

Back at the feast, a fake Diana has shown up, and as soon as Lois catches her eyes, she knows something is up.



Then the rabbi declares the food is trafe and things rapidly implode.







Pod!Diana chases after Lois' party, and violence naturally ensues.



I hope that, even with the excitement, Lois is making careful note of this moment; hitting pod!Diana over the head with a rock is the most satisfaction she'll ever get in years and years of tabloid-fueled jealousy over Supes and Wondy's relationship.

Fortunately the real Diana, even though she's currently part of a tree, is sort of aware of all this, and manages, through sheer force of will, to melt the pod!Diana before it can kill Lois. Its victims decide the best course of action in response is to stand around the puddle and sniff.



Heh. Belligerent Lin Koo cracks me up.

So they go running off to save Diana. They are not altogether successful; basically they run blindly into the dark and fall off a cliff. Except for Rovo, who Lois sends for help after the rest of them land on Eris' tree.





Like all great villains, Eris loves to pontificate. And notice that the spell of the apple is broken as soon as Lin Koo knows who she's fighting. Cuz hate and strife are a product of ignorance, and so truth is the ultimate tool for peace, and all. And oh, hey, guess who's the living avatar of truth? Huh. Funny how that works out.

Speaking of Diana. With the assistance of Hermes, Diana manages to make contact with Rovo, and send him back into the fray.



Fortunately Rovo is too busy freaking out and trying to save everybody's lives to be insulted by the fact that Diana seems to think he's a puppy. "Good boy! Now fetch!"

Rovo makes it through the wrasslin' guests and amazons, all the way to the temple, when Menalippe sees him.



See what I was saying about Hellene? She's not just some stock designated antagonist. She's a fully realized character who can disagree with Diana and still be a heroic, nuanced good guy who helps save the day. The world needs more writers like Perez.





Again, the plot's not totally clear from the scans, but what happened is Rovo channeled Hermes for a minute (presumably something Hermes could only manage in the temple, the seat of his power), and told off the amazons. Anyway, between a direct order from their god to snap the hell out of it, and the natural Amazon inclination to not, y'know, kill children (Pfeifer), Eris' spell on the amazons breaks.



Diana manages to bust loose of the tree, and turns on Eris - but decides not to fight her.



Eris, in a rage, blasts away at her, but Diana just deflects it all and refuses to get angry. Then Polly and the other amazons show up with her lasso, and Diana fights hatred with truth.





... I should find this really hokey, but I just can't, dammit. Diana makes for such bloody moving, inspiring stories.

Anyway, after Eris' defeat, things wind down on Themyscira.





Note that Hippolyte promises to visit the United Nations soon. This is not an idle statement, as preparations soon begin for the amazons to walk on the shores of Man's World just as men have walked on their own.





I love this little Supes interlude, because not only is it sweet, it also shows how much Diana really doesn't quite get secret identities. Like, intellectually, she can understand why her friends use them, but she just can't internalize that kind of duplicity.

The actual ceremony happens on the waterfront, with everybody and their mother watching as Diana announces her people.







I love Diana's cape. I wish we saw it more often.







(Minor quibble: Dinah should be at the ceremony, not watching it on TV; about ten pages earlier we actually see her telling the JLI they're invited and wondering why the hell they aren't all there already. That's one of the saddest long-term failures of the Wondy title; we occasionally get told, but are never actually shown, that Diana is pretty tight with Canary.)

And that's how Themyscira re-entered the modern world.

Naturally, it all goes to hell in the next issue, when Circe manipulates the Bana into attacking museums and police all over the world and people jump to blame the amazons and the War of the Gods begins. BUT all the same, as far as Amazon-Patriarch relations go, it's a fairly auspicious beginning.

Scans from Wondy v2 #22-50, again uncollected.

Next time: Perez attempts to pre-empt strawfeminist portrayals of the Themyscirans with some strawfeminists of his own for Diana to oppose. And because he is Perez, they end up completely fascinating anyway.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
There is definitely something to be said for getting these installments every night. It's good to be getting the series back up so quickly. Thank you.

Does anybody know why Perez stopped drawing the book?

Potential colourist error alert: is it just me, or does Hellene go back and forth from being blond to being a redhead?

Also: am I going crazy, or is this installment a little shorter than its s_d counterpart? I specifically remember one scene that isn't here, namely the scene where eleven of the twelve delegates were announced. You commented on s_d that the mix was good for its time period, but it could have been more diverse than it was.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scottyquick.insanejournal.com
Supes' Emblem is miscolored blue in the scan of him and Di talking together alone.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
Yes, yes it is. Huh.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
And as for the page count, I've had to crop some chapters a bit to account for the new, more restrictive posting rules.

Ah. That's what I thought it probably was, but I wanted to be sure.

Damn shame, though. That's going to wreak havoc, especially on the Rucka installments. I have no doubt that you'll find the right scans to convey the gist of the very intricate plot, but getting the explanation isn't going to have the impact that actually reading it would.

Then again, most of the Rucka run has actually been collected, so... Hello, Amazon.com? May I place an order?

(Now that I think about it, I wonder what the DCU version of Amazon would be called, seeing as how Diana would have snapped up the rights to that name as soon as she learned about the internet...)

Date: 2009-03-09 10:05 pm (UTC)
ext_396464: (Helena Cain and Gina Inviere)
From: [identity profile] xdoop.insanejournal.com
Can we do that? I was working on a series of Mr. Bones posts before s_d got nuked, and I was wondering if I could just post the entries in my own journal instead of cutting them down and posting them here. :/

Date: 2009-03-09 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scottyquick.insanejournal.com
DO IT. Seriously, I love Bones but the only times I've seen him were in Titans and Manhunter.

Date: 2009-03-09 10:26 pm (UTC)
ext_396464: ("Now you can't have any of my pot pie.")
From: [identity profile] xdoop.insanejournal.com
nm, I missed the "Depending how the rules fall out between now and then" bit.

Date: 2009-03-09 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aaron_bourque.insanejournal.com
I wonder what the DCU version of Amazon would be called

Maybe they call it Camelot?

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; or maybe there's an agreement in place. Although, I would love to see some mythological or planet-threatening villain trying to attack Amazon.com rather than Themyscira . . . again.

Date: 2009-03-09 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
I wonder what the DCU version of Amazon would be called, seeing as how Diana would have snapped up the rights to that name as soon as she learned about the internet...

She wouldn't be able to, since Amazon is named for the South American river

Date: 2009-03-09 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arrlaari.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
Almost every post is going to be shortened, as the 1/2 limit has been reduced to 1/3.

Date: 2009-03-09 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
Yeah, that's what I figured. Thanks.
From: [identity profile] scottyquick.insanejournal.com
Perez manages to use her supporting cast in a fresh way, no matter what the story. Polly's still queen, but instead of just being a mother and leader to Di she also represents her nation at the frigging UN. That's so awesome and makes me incredibly grateful that he was on WW for the relaunch.

I never get tired of that pose where they stand with their bracelets above their heads, wrists crossed. It's so Wondy-ish! All hopeful and powerful and open.

I just watched the Wonder Woman movie. Is comic Artemis like the movie one? Cause movie Artemis, aside from being smokin' hot, was a lot more interesting then Diana, I gotta say.
From: [identity profile] scottyquick.insanejournal.com
Also, add the "I'm tired and crabby and don't care if this comment doesn't make sense" line to the end of my post.

Re: NO SLEEP FOR YOU!

Date: 2009-03-09 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
It puts a slightly different spin on the fact that she's a hypercompetitive battle-lusty arrogant prat who'd as soon castrate a man as let him be an ass to Diana when you realize that that's her culture's version of nice.

This shouldn't make me giggle so much. It's just so very TRUE!

Also, speaking of giggling... *points at your icon* Now I'm going to hear Wash's voice whenever Circe speaks.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seriousfic.insanejournal.com
I can't look at Steve Trevor and not think "a WORLD where APES evolved from MAN?" He looks like he's about to become a galley slave, be freed, then race chariots with his ex-boyfriend.

Date: 2009-03-09 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sailorlibra.insanejournal.com
The only thing I don't like about this story is the portrayal of the Unitarian minister. I'm not sure what they were like twenty years ago, but their motto nowadays is pretty much "everyone is welcome." (Except longer and more complicated.) I found their apparent shock at the Amazon's lesbianness particularly bothersome, because the current reverend at the Unitarian church in my town is lesbian and nobody gives a damn. It's not really a huge deal, I guess, just one of those little details that really bother me.

I really love the Lois/Diana interactions, though. They need to interact more.

Date: 2009-03-09 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ebailey140.insanejournal.com

20 years ago, homosexuality wasn't as accepted as it is, today. So, I could see even a Unitarian minister from a couple of decades back not being comfortable with it.

This was, to give you an idea of the times, the first superhero comic series to use the word "gay" to describe sexual orientation. Before, there had been characters who were gay, but it was never said in the text. In one of Byrne's Superman issues, we even had Clark thinking about wrong it is that Maggie Sawyer's being harassed "because she's..," then being distracted before he can finish the thought.

Then, in Perez's first WW Annual, we had Mindi's brother say "She was the only one in the family who didn't hate me for being gay." It was like "WHOA! They actually used the G word!" It really was that big a deal.

Date: 2009-03-09 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bariman1987.insanejournal.com
Steve Trevor: Wearing a dress, because really men don't need pants. Also, I love that lots of color is the standard for clothing on Themyscira. (Note to self: Memorize the spelling of "Themyscira" ASAP.)

"Way of Narcissus." I just love that phrase, and not just because of all the jokes one could make. "They don't call is Paradise Island for nothing."

Lois remarks about Diana's blue eyes. Aren't they supposed to be grey? I'm confused now.

It's little moments like those between Clark and Diana that make any Clark/Diana seem odd to me. They work too well as near-siblings to get together.

Thanks yet again for (re)posting this!

Date: 2009-03-09 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
(Note to self: Memorize the spelling of "Themyscira" ASAP.)

It is a little tricky, isn't it? For a while I kept transposing the y and the i.

Lois remarks about Diana's blue eyes. Aren't they supposed to be grey? I'm confused now.

Diana's eyes were originally blue. They became grey once Athena "bound her sight to Diana's," after Diana blinded herself to defeat Medousa. Now, they're apparently back to blue for no apparent reason.

It's little moments like those between Clark and Diana that make any Clark/Diana seem odd to me. They work too well as near-siblings to get together.

Thank Perez and Byrne for getting the possibility of official Clark/Diana out of the way pretty quickly.

Date: 2009-03-09 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bariman1987.insanejournal.com
It is a little tricky, isn't it? For a while I kept transposing the y and the i.

Same here.

They became grey once Athena "bound her sight to Diana's,"

Ah, okay, so that's what happened. What exactly did Athena Vision do? Let her see through illusions and stuff? That would be very useful.

Thank Perez and Byrne for getting the possibility of official Clark/Diana out of the way pretty quickly.

Thank you Perez and Byrne!

Date: 2009-03-09 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bariman1987.insanejournal.com
It upgraded her mind control resistance to straight up apparent immunity

Ah, okay. I read Teen Titans Year One, and I was a little confused as to why the JLA, including Diana, were all mind-controlled when I thought she had immunity. That just came later. (Though why Batman could break out of it and not her...)

The Athena Vision seems incredibly useful. I wish it had lasted longer.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unknownscribler.insanejournal.com
Eh, it always bugs me when I see folks comparing Steve and Hrc as equals in dickery. He may have been about to drop a nuke, but the upshot was that he didn't, was under the control of a god at the time, and immediately sorry eventhoughhe didn't ultimately do anything wrong so all up he's actually not a dicl at all, merely the unfortunate pawn of a thwarted fate.

Herc on the otherhand did his shit completely compus mentis -- he planed the deceitful peace, the mass poisoning, imprisonment and rape of the amazons, had a whole damn army at his beck and call with which to do it, stole a girdle he could easy have asked to borrow (the task was simply to bring it back to the king, not allow him o keep it...) and repented only because he'd ben stuck in hell beneath Themyscria for 3 millennia ( areformation that never seems to last particularly long).

On another note, how long before we saw the Amazons wearing the bracers again?

Date: 2009-03-09 01:46 pm (UTC)
ext_396464: ("Now you can't have any of my pot pie.")
From: [identity profile] xdoop.insanejournal.com
Herc on the otherhand did his shit completely compus mentis

I thought Ares was influencing his actions?

Date: 2009-03-09 10:01 pm (UTC)
ext_396464: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xdoop.insanejournal.com
How come those two never got punished for their involvement in what happened?

Date: 2009-03-18 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ebailey140.insanejournal.com
There was that curse of madness Athena had given him that he mentions, too.

Date: 2009-03-09 12:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oddpuppets.insanejournal.com
You know things have gone wrong when a superhero comic from 20 years ago does a better job at confronting racism and faith-issues with nuance and skill than most superhero comics today. I mean, what the fuck. I was particularly tickled with Lin Koo's biting comment. So fucking true, and goddamn if that stereotype still doesn't damn well persist. The only thing I found questionable was "Good Boy". I mean, yes, something that a mother figure might say to a child, especially in encouragement...but the racial history involved makes me wish that Perez had found another way to phrase that line.

Best. Page. Ever.

Totally agree.

Date: 2009-03-09 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aaron_bourque.insanejournal.com
What a disparity of art, there.

And Jill Thompson's Wonder Woman does not look like she could bench press a phone book, much less out-punch a god. I mean, look at that page with Supes and Diana. Superman's all puff and bulging. Diana's even almost flatchested, and her arms have no definition. I don't want her to look like some bodybuilder, but a few years ago there was a minor fad among celebrity ladies of muscle definition, sort of started by the Alias TV show. It was sadly shortlived, but hot all the same. And it's not like she can't do it, either. Look at who I'm presuming is Phillipus, on the page where the Amazons walk through the air into New York. Those arms could knock you flat.

Also, how did the "triad" react to the Amazons going to Man's World? I don't recognize them in any of the shots of the Amazons, there. Or did that little political movement sort of fade away?

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