What do Wonder Woman and Heracles have in common?

Wonder Woman #5 cover drawn by Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman #5 cover drawn by Cliff Chiang

Daddy issues, apparently. And a jealous wife to contend with.

So DC announced changes to Wonder Woman's origin story that initially comes across as more radical than previous reboots. Here's my initial take on the news:

- I've said before that it's DC's prerogative to make changes to their intellectual properties, especially if it helps sell more comics. And Wonder Woman has been a character that the publisher has struggled with to make appealing to readers. If this new version sells, then it will justify the move in DC's eyes. And if it doesn't, expect to see some previously laid out plot points being exploited to retcon it away. If DC has taught its readers anything, it's that permanent change is an illusion.

- Having said that, I can't help but feel that this new origin spells out a larger compromise about the character. It's frankly a rather conventional and less interesting take. On paper, it sounds like an imitation of Marvel's approach to their mythically-based properties. Which is why I find writer Brian Azzarello's statements about returning to the family squabbling of ancient Greek mythology fairly uninspired. It's been done already. And it seems calculated to appeal to DC's core readership more than anyone else. The classic WW origin contained pretty strong proto-feminist elements mixed in with quixotic inventiveness, and a dollop of male fantasy, fermented in the heady atmosphere of World War II. It's a unique blend that has proven to be an ill fit to an increasingly grim DC Universe. While I won't go so far as to say they're a complete repudiation of a fundamental aspect of the character, the changes come across as a bit of a retrenchment, or a top-down marketing initiative.

- The "daddy's girl" description of WW, not to mention the title of the New York Post article that broke the story, was pretty groan-inducing. Still, there's something to be said about how DC has successfully gotten the press to act as their mouthpiece during the entire September relaunch. It stands in contrast to the usual grumbling voiced online.

- On an unrelated note, I'm still rockin' to Cliff Chiang's art.