Wither Wonder Woman?

As part 2 of my sister’s Wonder Woman story comes out, and in light of the earlier post, what would *I* do with Wonder Woman if I had free reign

The Powers: Like many of the oldest DC characters, Wonder Woman’s powers have varied wildly over time. I’d actually want to move away from the “magic from the gods” origin, and return a bit to Marston’s early conception that her powers are part of Amazonian training. Basically, the mental and physical training of the Amazonians lets them channel mental energy and perform miraculous feats. I’d make her the best at this, and probably at top focus and form let her still be able to keep up with the powerhouses, but I would probably overall shave the power level down a bit.

  • Super strength and toughness would still be there.
  • I’d bring back the limited telepathy and empathic connection to the world.
  • Multi-lingual, to the point of learning at an unearthly rate.
  • I’m torn on flight, I’d probably get rid of it.
  • The lasso would still be able to elicit truth, but would also enable control. I’m good with it being magic.
  • The bracelets would be the ultimate defense.

Paradise Island. I’d draw from the idea of the Amazons originally being Scythian-Smartian or otherwise Indo-European north of Greece.  They would be a mix of groups who lived this alternative, Amazonian lifestyle. I’d keep the basics of the story where they seclude themselves off from. the world by way of magic of the gods. I’d go with a classical approach to their gods, using a hodge-podge mix of Indo-European forms, where they accept anyone’s gods, honoring some as most important to their civic life, but basically accepting them all as having a place, and combining some who they feel are different aspects of the same core truth.Effectively this lets me put together a unique pantheon, vaguely recreating a proto-Indo-European mythology but drawing on the later traditions, and even going beyond just that root stock.

A key part of the Paradise Island mythos is that it is magically cut off the world, and was a haven only accessible to the oppressed. That means it isn’t exactly limited to women born of women. Also, now, thousands of years later, it isn’t going to be just the original ethnic stock. People will have been finding their way to Paradise Island over the years, only ever a few at a time. Some people just fall out of the world. They bring news of the World of Men, they bring new gods and new ways. Some stay. Some go back. (Yes, this makes Paradise Island a bit like Shangri-La.)

Unless I set the stories back in WWII, I can’t use the Steve Trevor story as written, but “someone washes up with a story that makes the Amazons decide they need to send a champion and ambassador” is still the way I would send Wonder Woman to the world.

Feminism.  Which feminism? I’d shy away from a specific modern political form of feminism, as I actually think her role as outsider critiquing the world is more important than pushing a specific agenda. It’s sort of a banality devoid of political teeth, but for story purposes the whole “Feminism is the radical notion women are people,” works as a guide. I wouldn’t go with the female superiority angle Marston originally wrote, but I would (if allowed to start from the beginning) have her simply work from the quiet assumption that women are competent and probably in charge. Basically flip the marked and unmarked class; Wonder Woman simply defaults to women as baseline human in everything.  I’d also build from this out as a basic sense of being anti-oppression in her focus. I don’t want her defending the law and the status quo nearly so much as defending people from injustice. She needs to want the system to change. (Knowing she isn’t going to wage a war to overthrow the system, but is rather going to serve as example and ambassador.)

The Enemies: Wonder Woman has never had a great rogue’s gallery. Probably the closest to an iconic foe is Cheetah, although you can make a case for Doctor Psycho and Circe. None has had the kind of punch of Joker or Luthor, however.  I suspect I would overhaul a number of the villains she had, although I would move away from the “directly fighting with the gods” side of things, as I would be moving away from Greek mythology God power as her core origin. I would seriously consider bringing back The Duke of Deception as a new character to take over some of the role Ares has played in the past, as sower of war and discord.