And then there is Wonder Woman #1. And, as a sophisticated consumer of literature, my assessment is that it is REALLY FREAKING AWESOME! The story is compelling, there are terrifying evil centaurs, and Wonder Woman herself is so great I want to follow her around and see if she needs anything. Coffee? Anything?
And here’s the thing: Wonder Woman is sexy. Her first appearance is in bed, naked under just a sheet, and I did not mind one bit. Because she starts kicking ass in the very next panel and then becomes a tower of skills, smarts, and even a moment or two or wry humor. And did I mention the ass-kicking?
Wonder Woman really cares about the stranger who appears in her room in need of help, and I think in the end that’s why Batwoman and Wonder Woman are so engaging and Red Hood and Catwoman suck. (Which I’m sure they will do in a more literal sense within an issue or two.)
If I may jump to another illustrated medium for a moment, I think there’s an analogy in the fact that Warner Brothers writers used to note that Bugs Bunny was much harder to write storylines for than Daffy Duck. It’s because Bugs is so nonchalant. His whole deal is that he doesn’t get scared and doesn’t care about what the other characters do or say to him. If nothing can touch the character it’s tough to get the viewer involved in the story. Sound familiar, Catwoman?
Daffy, on the other hand, cares too much about everything. His stories go zooming off in a thousand directions and, love him or hate him, he’s worth watching.
I guess I’m saying that Catwoman could use a little more spitting.
And, of course, the desire for intriguing characters and a great story crosses gender lines. Every male fan I talked to recommended the new Wonder Woman as a must-read – whether or not they knew I was working on an article about female characters – and most made retching noises when I brought up Red Hood, or immediately brought it up themselves as sexist and annoying.