Wonder Woman Vol 5 #4

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Release: October 2016
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils & Inks: Nicola Scott

Here we get to the meat of the Wonder Woman origin story, as the Amazons deliberate on how to deal with Steve Trevor and the threat he imposes to their island. One of the things I really like about the Amazons in this version of Wonder Woman is that they’re presented as a really effective society. They get shit done. They’re open and honest with each other. They’re problem solvers and quick thinkers, without steamrolling each other. They’re also deeply suspicious of Steve and what he represents.

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While the leadership of Themyscira wonders what to do about Trevor, Diana is mostly concerned with the health of the man himself. She attends to his care, sitting at his bedside and wondering what exactly he represents and what his world could mean. Diana’s frank curiosity and sympathy is one of her best traits, and it is shown as something very innate to her.

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I don’t have any big preamble to this next image, but I just want to point out that underscoring my earlier point on Themyscira being a gay paradise: Hippolyta is also very, very gay.

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One of the things about the open affection of the Amazons is that it extends into the family unit, also. I’m not sure if this version of Themyscira allows for any more Amazon children aside from Diana, but the relationship between Hippoylyta and Diana is really open compared to other versions where Hippolyta is portrayed as forbidding towards Diana’s more independent tendencies. Here they treat each other with a respect that acknowledges their strange power relationship, but doesn’t prevent it from seeing each other as two individuals with unique agency.

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One of the more interesting (if marginal) bits of plot fallout from this change of dynamic is that Diana doesn’t have to disguise herself when she competes to be the champion of the Amazons that goes to man’s world. It’s such a key part of what I perceive as Diana’s origin, her defiance overriding her fealty, but honestly I think this version much more suits a version of Diana that we already know and whose drama exists mostly not on this island but in what comes after. She’s leaving home, possibly never to return, and that’s drama enough. Doing it against her mother’s wishes casts a weird cloud that doesn’t seem necessary given the richness of Paradise Island’s world.

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The scene of testing the finalists of the champion games is greatly extended from the half dozen panels it took in the Vol 2 version, but the three pages in which Hippolyta stands firm and fires upon her friends and lovers and her own daughter is one of the most striking images in this book. Guns loom larger in the public consciousness in 2016, at least to me, and their out-of-place nature in the now truly idyllic Paradise Island is stressed further as their queen calmly shoots each of them over Steve’s panicked protests. It’s a really unsettling scene.

Diana is the only one to successfully block the attack, as she was in prior versions, and thus is given all the gifts and uniform due the champion of the Amazons. In this version her outfit is constructed based on the patches of Steve’s uniform, explaining the eagle breastplate and the stars on the skirt. Also, the Amazons set to repairing Steve Trevor’s plane, and in doing so their magical technology renders the plane invisible, in order to get them there as safe as possible.

Of note, Steve recognizes that they’ve gone out of their way to respect him and his dead comrades, loading them on the plane in order to get them back home for proper burial. In fact, most of Steve’s time on the island is spent gaping in awe at the Amazons, talking to himself because nobody can understand him. His humility in the face of what could be seen as capture by a different kind of person is his most likable trait to date.

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