Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Invisible

I need to clear my head about Wonder Woman #7. I'm going to divide this up into "facts," "analysis/opinions" and "what I'm gonna do." Because this is an issue that ought to be dealt with as precisely as possible.

A bit of a thing, I'm trying to draw a distinction between the characters owned by DC Comics and what our collective imagination of a race of warrior women is. Amazons (TM) is the trademarked, Amazons is the cultural imaginary.

Okay. Go.


The most current issue of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang's Wonder Woman Hephaestus tells Diana that the Amazons (TM) have produced children by seducing sailors and then murdering those sailors after the lustful men had fertilized the women. After they were pregnant, the Amazons (TM) sold the male children to Hephaestus to make weapons.

Whatever the imaginary was for Amazons, it was based in a culture that hated and feared them and so their stories about them would necessarily be bigoted and prejudiced against them.

The Amazons (TM) (as in the trademarked intellectual property of DC Comics, "created" by Marston) are meant to be something empowering for women, according to their creator.


This issue is the first in a multi-issue arc.

Diana is the only female character descending into Hell.

In issue #4, the implication was that the entire population of Paradise Island was turned into goddamned snakes and Wonder Woman's mother was turned into a statue, begging for mercy from Athena.

This issue is the first in a multi-issue arc.


I'd quote Too Busy Thinking About Comics writing about this, but it should be read in its whole. Smart and well thought out. Also, probably right. What he's saying specifically is that Azzarello turned the Amazons (TM) into two of the most pernicious lies about women, not just that they'll seduce good honest men, but also kill them afterwards. Basically: The Amazons (TM) as honey-traps! That's the DCU in 2012! Women as psycho killers!

Worth mentioning, quickly, that men are also psycho killers in Wonder Woman. They're enabling child soldiers in Africa, murdering three women in the first issue and cheating on their wife. If Azzarello's point is also everybody sucks, it's unclear, so far, that he needs to go to the extent of murder rape to make his point.

Though, given that the difference in truths learned between issues 2-4 piled uncomfortable revelation on top of uncomfortable revelation, there is value in saying "let's wait till the arc is over."

I hope this is a fake out.

Maybe, by having the Amazons (TM) doing the things that men are known to do throughout history, Azzarello is saying, not subtly, that this happens in the real world, to women and not by them? Hopefully? Probably as unlikely as two waltzing mice, but hope springs eternal.

This topic sucks the air out of my love for comics. I'll passionately talk about them with my friends, I'm a fucking evangelical for the medium, but, just thinking about this storyline too long leaves me angry and exhausted. At bottom, I'm disappointed and I didn't think Azzarello would be the one to disappoint me.

What I'm Gonna Do:

Azzarello has enough good faith stored up with me that I'll finish the arc. 100 Bullets earned him at least that much. When you add Joker and Luthor to that mix, I'll give him another half of a Wonder Woman arc. That good faith is being spent.

To try to wring some good out of this, when I go next week to pick up my comic books, I'll pre-order Kelly Sue DeConnick's Ms. Marvel relaunch. That seems like one of the better ways to signal my support for female heroes that are written by good writers. Yes. And, with next week, hopefully comes the long delayed next issue of Casanova.

This feels apropos, of course, because Casanova's writer, Mr. Matt Fraction, is married to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

The origin of the title is hard to pin down but in my mind it comes from the Rocket From The Crypt song "I'm Not Invisible." I don't even know right now. But, man, after looking at Wonder Woman #7, in the DCU, women are being made invisible real quick.

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