Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's Missing From Wonder Woman's Origin--The Wisdom!!

You know, there's always been something that has bothered me about Wonder Woman's origin story.

And that's about how she's supposed to be an "Ambassador Of Peace."

Don't get me wrong--I don't mind that role. And I don't find it contradictory with being a warrior. As Kurt Busiek said in an interview, Diana is about...
...peace through strength, in offering the hand of friendship to any who’ll take it, because she’s tough enough to back up that open hand with the strength, skill and grit to make sure that she won’t get trampled. Non-violence is the goal, in that she wants a world that’s peaceful, but until the world is like that, she’s willing to knock heads together as much as they need knocking. She’s an Amazon, not Ghandi.
 But...her origin doesn't really quite back that up. At all.

Let's go back to the original, in All-Star Comics #8 (1941). Yes, I know it's been retconned, rebooted, debooted, massaged, and Elseworlded 150 times over the years. But let's go with a classic.

Aphrodite and Athena have come to Hippolyte, telling her she has to send Steve Trevor back to the world, and send someone to help beat the Nazis:

Pay special attention to what Athena says...

"Strongest AND wisest"! And when the goddess Athena is talking about wisdom, you'd better listen!

Hippolyte seems to get the message...

All the contestant are gathered...but perhaps we're already skimping on the wisdom portion, because the queen can't seem to recognize her own daughter in the skimpiest domino mask ever...

Now...to choose our representative!

OK, you can outrace a deer. That's not usually on a list of an ambassador's qualifications, is it?

But surely some tests of wisdom are coming up!

Wait a minute--tests of "strength and agility"?!? What the hell happened to the "strength and wisdom"?!?

Granted, we didn't see 19 of the tests. Maybe we has a chess tournament, or Sudoku, or a "tell me which man is lying" puzzle...surely all 20 of your tests can't be just strength and agility! Certainly the tie-breaker test will be some form of wisdom test!

Man, the crowd sure seems eager for "Bullets And Bracelets"!

Really, this is your ultimate test of who will represent you in the world?

I know this is a only comic book, and you have to make allowances for our hero being sent into the world to kick Nazi ass.

But Athena's got to be pretty pissed, because the wisdom component of her command was entirely ignored!

I mean, really, when it's time to choose a new envoy to the Middle East, does the president say, "We'll choose our ambassador based on the results of a decathlon"? To chose the Secretary of State, did Obama say, "Hillary Clinton, John Kerry--it's Bullets And Bracelets time!!"??

This is the type of process that would result in Bruce Jenner or The Rock being appointed ambassador to the United Nations! (And it probably explains the casting of Katherine Heigl as Secretary Of State in that new NBC show...)

All I'm saying is, when we finally get our Wonder Woman movie, I hope at least a few of those 21 tests of skill will devoted to intellect and temperament, a little bit less "World's Greatest Athlete" and a little bit more Jedi, if you know what I mean.

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