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Following a major comic event, several origins in the DCU were retold, except not just retold, but completely rebooted. Wonder Woman and Superman were starting from scratch, though Batman's history would only be slightly revamped, and Green Lantern's hardly at all.

But it's not 2011, the year was 1987, and in this case, the title was "Wonder Woman".

Trigger warning for misogyny, violence against women and rape (though that latter is not seen, it's so heavily implied as to be worth mentioning)

(11 pages from a 33 page issue)

Now I should say up front, that I'm almost a little uncomfortable posting this. Given my own nature, I know I'm not qualified to comment on the significance of much of this from a feminist viewpoint, so I won't even try. What I will do is present the relevant (or at least what I thought was interesting) bits here and let those who know such things better make their own comments. If I mess anything up, please let me know.

The Silver Age Wonder Woman was always an odd beast to me growing up, she was a heroine, yes, that was unquestioned, but whilst she could fly (She said she used gliding on air currents, but it always looked like flying to me) she also had the infamous invisible jet. She was a heroine, but she was also a serving military officer (Which never made sense to me even as a kid, as such a disciplined lifestyle does not lend itself to disappearing at random to save the world) she had achieved some degree of popularity through the Lynda Carter TV series (including the introduction of the memorable "Spin-BOOM!" transformation sequence) and so on... but I knew she was from Paradise Island, a place where the women were immortals, provided that no man ever set foot on the island, and where there was an odd mix of ancient weaponry and history, and super-high tech (They had made the invisible plane after all, and had something called "The Purple Ray" which was a super high tech healing device, and yet they were also still practising worshippers of the Greek gods, who also existed for real. It was something of a hodgepodge to young little Icon-UK, but it had it's moments.

However, there was always a part of me, mythology and legend fan that I was, that wanted it to be a bit more like the legends.

These are the first two pages

Interesting that the victim blaming is clear cut from the outset. Everything is told from HIS point of view, and it's HER fault he killed her.

We cut forward to 1200 BC, where on Olympus an argument is raging (Surprise, surprise). Artemis is petitioning Zeus for his approval on a new plan to create a new race of people who will give the gods worship like none ever have before. A race based on the notion of harmony between the sexes, where man and woman can be seen as equals, she wants to make them female to balance the world as it is.

Ares is opposed to this, he feels that the only way to ensure worship it to conquer humanity and use fear to MAKE them worship them. Artemis claims her new race will be immune to Ares aggressive tendencies, which Ares scoffs at as no one resists him.

Zeus dismisses them both and vanishes in a blast of pissed off lightning. Artemis can create the race if she wants to, but he dislikes the implicit suggestion that the gods will ever be forgotten by the races already on Earth, he can't conceive of such a thing.

Hera refuses to take sides, since Zeus is in a really bad mood and she has to live with him.

Ares departs in a cloud of dark energy, swearing that ultimately ALL will fall to him, even Zeus.

Disturbed by his blasphemy, but now more determined to create her new race, Artemis and Athena are ferried by Hermes to a meeting point with other goddesses, he then departs.

(Oddly, I remember there being more obvious appearances by people of colour in this issue, I must have misremembered, and it was remedied in later issues)

And so the first nation of the Amazon's is formed, one based on peace, love and justice. So successful are they that other rulers grow jealous and start a vicious smear campaign, forcing the poets and storytellers to paint the Amazons in a very bad light; inhuman, "other", not to be trusted, but to be FEARED. Guess who is behind it all.

Heracles is manipulated by Ares into attacking the nation of the Amazons, by seducing Hippolyta (whilst his companion Thesues seduces Antiope). Hippolyta's desire for Heracles makes her overlook  Menalippe's warnings about how badly this will end. And so it proves, with Heracles drugging and imprisoning her.

The Amazons are attacked and enslaved, their city destroyed and the use of the word "ravaged" has it's own repellent implications as to what Heracles army do with their captives.

After pleading from her prison cell for assistance from the gods, Athena appears to her and releases her, but warns against vengeance when the time comes for retribution. Hippolyta leads her people against their conquerors.

Thanks to fellow s_d-er [personal profile] thespis for this bit: Hippolyta heeds Athena's warnings against seeking vengeance, but the majority of Amazons don't, with Antiope in particular revelling in the slaughter.

And thus, though the fate of the other tribe of Amazons would not be addressed for a couple of years, were the Amazon's of Bana-Mighdall born.

However, for those left behind things are not plain sailing. The goddesses of are disappointed at how Hippolyta and her people responded. They had a chance to show mercy where none would be expected, to prove that they were indeed better than the norm, but they didn't, and Hippolyta failed to prevent it.

(Just interrupting the flow to note that it's interesting that the Amazon's were not immortal prior to arriving on Themiscriya)

I loved this origin, the use of the souls reborn, and the fact that her extraordinary abilities were gifts of her "godparents" really worked for me (and that she was properly given the power of flight!)

I skip over the rest of the issue, excellent though it is. It trots briskly through Diana's childhood, her training and education, her joining the combat to become Wonder Woman and earning the role. It also stresses that Diana was the FIRST and ONLY child born to an Amazon EVER. As such she was loved not only by her mother, but by every single Amazon on the island, who looked on her as something they had never had before; a niece/little sister and they all wanted to help train and make part of their lives.

Areas were expanded on as time went by, but that's the bare bones of the origin that lasted from 1987 to 2011.

Date: 2012-04-06 09:44 am (UTC)
thespis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thespis
No worries! It was nice to see this posted, it's interesting to take a look back at Wondy's original Post-Crisis origins in light of the reboot. Though also a little depressing, seeing just how much of it's been ditched.


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