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Wonder of Wonders – War and Peace: For She So Loved the World

by Robert Jones, Jr.

I. Love Is the Message

Wonder Woman is love, baby; all love and nothing but love, so help her Aphrodite. Or so Geoff Johns insists. Then again, Johns approaches Wonder Woman from a perspective not all “Wonder Woman” readers can appreciate. In his stories, she is the usually the one hero guaranteed to be aimless, nonplussed, diffident, undiscerning, and yet sanctimonious. For this reason, “Wonder Woman” readers were alarmed when they learned that she would play a significant role in DC’s latest big event miniseries, “Blackest Night,” penned by Johns; and they were apprehensive when the spin-off miniseries, “Blackest Night: Wonder Woman,” was announced.

“Blackest Night” is actually a “Green Lantern” storyline. The plot revolves around the idea that every color in the rainbow represents a different emotional power that can be harnessed and channeled through a power ring much like the one worn by the Green Lantern. Black (not really a color) represents evil and death (*eye roll*) and it is up to the other colors (red/rage, orange/avarice, yellow/fear, green/will, blue/hope, indigo/compassion, and violet/love) to join forces and defeat the zombie agents of death, the Black Lanterns. Despite its preschool-esque, Crayola-wars premise, the series does manage to entertain; and the fact that the brilliant Ivan Reis deftly handles the art chores does not hurt one bit.

Wonder Woman did not play a huge role in the series until issues #5 and 6, when well-known DC characters were deputized as Lanterns and given ring assignments based on how closely they embodied each emotion. Green Lantern kept his green ring, of course; the Flash got a blue ring; and the Atom got an indigo one. In a previous interview, Johns indicated that the remaining ring colors represented the more extreme and irrational emotions on the spectrum. The recipients of those rings included: Mera (red), the Scarecrow (yellow), Lex Luthor (orange), and Wonder Woman (violet).

As an aside, not a single man possesses a violet ring. Johns explained that while anyone could join the violet corps, most men were unworthy. (Really? Most men? What about Superman?) That sounds like chivalrous reasoning, but it is actually specious. How could it be that most men in the DC Universe are incapable of representing love? Is that not a defect? Does that not say something very unnerving about the men who populate this fictional place? Could Johns really be that cynical? Or did he simply find a delicate, self-effacing, and completely disingenuous way to say, “Ain’t no way we’re putting one of our guys in some revealing, sissy, pink outfit! So it’s gotta be a girl. And what girl embodies love better than the most beautiful girl in the world?” Does Wonder Woman fit the bill? Whether or not she does, Johns made her a member of the all-female violet corps. It is not as bad as it seems considering the color Johns could have assigned her (yellow might have been more apropos given what some creators and readers actually feel about her).

As questionable as his approach to Wonder Woman may seem to admirers of the character, Johns’s widespread, mainstream appeal is no mystery. He has a great deal in common with the majority of his following, including a penchant for spoon-fed exposition, an almost pathological reverence for a peculiar type of alpha-male hero, and a desire to boil every character down to a one-sentence, or, as with “Blackest Night,” a one-word description. (Perhaps this explains his approach to Wonder Woman, and why that approach is so at odds with her fans’ vision: In many ways, Wonder Woman is a character that defies simplification.) Add to this a knack for returning characters to forms most recognizable to the thirty- and forty-something-year-olds who are currently the majority of comic readers and collectors. In plain terms, Johns’s success can be attributed to the notion that what he writes is essentially fan-fiction. His readers feel, on some level, that if they had the opportunity to write comics, they would write them just like Geoff Johns does. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing, but it’s certainly not a good thing, either—unless “good” is defined in commercial terms rather than artistic ones.

Whatever incompatibility exists between Johns’s writing style and Wonder Woman’s character, Johns did give some “Wonder Woman” readers a gift: He announced, after much speculation, that critically acclaimed, former, and controversial “Wonder Woman” writer Greg Rucka would be writing “Blackest Night: Wonder Woman.” The gesture suggests that there are really no hard feelings between Johns and the Amazon Princess; just a profound misunderstanding.

II. Where Is the Love?

Greg Rucka is undaunted. He wrote “Wonder Woman” with great imagination, wit, seriousness, and aplomb. Legend has it that he was set to explore Wonder Woman’s bisexuality during his run before DC’s parent company, Time-Warner, nixed the idea. It was he who wrote the story in which Wonder Woman was forced to kill Maxwell Lord in order to save Superman and the world; a story that changed (some say damaged) Wonder Woman forever. Rucka was removed from the book just before it was rebooted. He never had the opportunity to explore the consequences of Wonder Woman’s actions—that is, until Geoff Johns asked him to write the “Blackest Night” tie-in.

“Blackest Night: Wonder Woman” serves two purposes: First, it fleshes out ideas, situations, and scenarios that could not be fully explored in Johns’s main miniseries; and second, it allows Rucka to, in some small way, revisit points that he might have left unfinished from his previous run. Both are very tight restraints to place on a three-issue series. The former requires Rucka to stretch scenes that literally last one panel in the main book to twenty-two pages and still keep things interesting. The latter challenges him to make the point without being didactic. Additionally, he must work with the limitation imposed upon Wonder Woman by Johns: She is love—period, the end; make it work like Tim Gunn. Given the parameters, Rucka works wonders. He writes the Amazon Princess with such ease and expertise that it is not only as if he never left, but it is as if he never stopped thinking about her.

The three issues work as a trio of vignettes: 1. Wonder Woman must once again do battle with Maxwell Lord, who has risen from the dead thanks to the power of the Black Lanterns; 2. Wonder Woman must free herself from Black Lantern control before she kills Mera; 3. Wonder Woman understands herself as love and helps to heal Mera. Even in this context, Rucka does not shy away from controversy: The first battle takes place at Arlington National Cemetery and Wonder Woman must fight the reanimated soldiers. Rucka also does his best to distance Wonder Woman from the sillier aspects of the “Blackest Night” premise. “Life is much more,” she says to Lord, “than seven simple colors.”

However, there is one aspect of “Blackest Night: Wonder Woman” that rings incredibly false. According to the series, Wonder Woman is secretly, quietly in love with the Batman. It is this love—not the love she has for her mother or her sisters—that frees her from the black ring’s influence. It ties back to an idea in the main miniseries that suggests Batman is the emotional tether for all of the DC heroes. Okay, understandable. Nevertheless, the revelation is still odd because this love has not ever made itself apparent. There had been some flirting, a stolen kiss or two, but never any indication whatsoever of a deep, abiding love between them. It is even weirder when her romance with Tom Tresser in her own book is taken into consideration.

If ever there was a situation where characters were forced to service a plot, this is it. The scene is clunky, inorganic, and strained. Admittedly, it is better to have Wonder Woman’s sexuality explored than ignored completely. But this is the expressed danger of the oversimplification of “Wonder Woman is love” as Johns has imagined it: Suddenly, she becomes the long-suffering Damsel of Furtive Sighs who yearns for the love of someone who is at once unavailable and incapable of returning it. Only someone who did not understand Wonder Woman in the least could believe such an arrangement to be natural. Only eyes that perceive love as irrational could observe that scenario and suppose it to be true. Turn, O William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman; in your grave, turn.

At least Rucka proves that he has a grasp for Marston’s Wonder Woman texts better than just about everyone else. The common perception is that Marston was a pervert who was into sadomasochism and bondage and Wonder Woman was simply a product of his perversion. To what degree that is accurate is subject to debate, but what is clear to anyone who can move beyond the surface is that what lies beneath is commentary about freedom, sexual and otherwise. Rucka dug deep. Maxwell Lord says to Wonder Woman, “I think I know the answer to this question given what you normally wear, but are you into bondage?” “No,” Wonder Woman replies. “Liberation.” Precisely, Greg. Precisely. So there should be no pining away after dead billionaire playboys; for what is that if not bondage?

III. Redefining the Message

Other than the Batman gaffe, Wonder Woman is confident and effective in this tie-in, which is a wildly unpopular way to portray her. Because Wonder Woman has a reputation for being too perfect, there is a strong desire to knock her down a peg or two. This speaks to a larger phenomenon in the industry. Many of today’s comic book producers and readers have very specific demands of their “superheroes.” Rather than aspire to heights set by hopeful, “perfect” characters like Wonder Woman (and Superman, for that matter), many would prefer a hero of lower standards. Some desire a character that more closely reflects their own failings, fears, and flaws, not a character that merely overcomes obstacles and triumphs in the end. In other words, superheroes who are not super at all, but are Average Joes and Janes (not too average a Jane, though; she must be buxom enough to make even circus freaks raise an eyebrow). It is all quite unimaginative; and the glut of books about psychotic orphans with rodent fetishes, cigar-smoking serial killers in superhero drag, and alien women with breasts the size of Legion Time-Bubbles cluttering the stands makes that all too apparent.

Looking at the stunning artwork in “Blackest Night: Wonder Woman” makes it hard as hell to be so critical. As exciting as it is to have Rucka writing Wonder Woman again, if just briefly, the true draw is the artist, Nicola Scott. Quite frankly, Scott illustrates with a sensibility not seen very often in mainstream comics. There is something very pristine and feminine about the line work, something very considered in the panel placement and splash pages, something very sophisticated about the action. Aesthetically, her designs evoke both the darkness and whimsy of the best childhood fairytales. In short, her work is genius and her rendition of Wonder Woman should be the model for every artist who illustrates the character. Scott’s Diana is stunning in every conceivable way, from her luscious, curly hair, to her gleaming tiara. If there is any real love in this series at all, it is in Scott’s work.

Nevertheless, the “Wonder Woman as Love” paradigm continues to grate. That is, unless it is placed in a context that makes her larger, freer, better respected. Here is one suggestion: Often, Superman is invoked as DC’s resident Christ figure. It is a designation that demands veneration and Superman has held the title ably all these years. However, with Johns’s insistence that Wonder Woman is the DC answer to love, a strong case can be made that the Christ title, and the accompanying reverence, rightfully belongs to her. Think about it: Jesus’ birth was immaculate and so was Wonder Woman’s; Jesus has divine heritage and so does Wonder Woman; Jesus was sent forth to save the world from itself and so was Wonder Woman; Jesus was a rabble-rouser that challenged patriarchal institutions and so is Wonder Woman; Jesus had long, gorgeous, flowing hair and (thanks to Nicola Scott) so does Wonder Woman; Jesus was resurrected from the dead and so was Wonder Woman; Jesus ascended to the heavens and so did Wonder Woman; Jesus is love (at least, according to some Christians) and now, thanks to Johns, so is Wonder Woman.

For Athena so loved the world, she gave her only begotten daughter and all that….

69 Comments

“Black (not really a color) represents evil and death (*eye roll*) and it is up to the other colors (red/rage, orange/avarice, yellow/fear, green/will, blue/hope, indigo/compassion, and violet/love) to join forces and defeat the zombie agents of death, the Black Lanterns. Despite its preschool-esque, Crayola-wars premise, the series does manage to entertain;”

Black wasn’t claimed to be a color; it is the absence of color, and since color has consistently been tied to life in the GL mythos under Johns, it’s hardly an eye rolling premise. (Johns has insisted that Neckon is not evil, but a force of nature, although it’s kind of hard to not see him as evil, considering.)

Honestly, I find Blackest Night to be a refreshing change of pace after the various Crises. But everything I know about Wonder Woman I learned from the DCAU, so that’s about as far as my useful commentary can go.

As an aside, not a single man possesses a violet ring. Johns explained that while anyone could join the violet corps, most men were unworthy.

What utterly sexist crap by Johns!! So glad I don’t read Green Lantern now.

I tend to agree with Johns on the Violet Corps. Men and Women are different emotionally.(IMO)

The article sort of loses credence when the writer misses the target completely on what the Immaculate Conception was. If you’re going to draw love/religious parallels, try to have some actual understanding of the topic before you write about them.

Don’t worry, most Catholics miss that one, too.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

March 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Many of today’s comic book producers and readers have very specific demands of their “superheroes.” Rather than aspire to heights set by hopeful, “perfect” characters like Wonder Woman (and Superman, for that matter), many would prefer a hero of lower standards. Some desire a character that more closely reflects their own failings, fears, and flaws, not a character that merely overcomes obstacles and triumphs in the end. In other words, superheroes who are not super at all, but are Average Joes and Janes (not too average a Jane, though; she must be buxom enough to make even circus freaks raise an eyebrow).

This is so very much of why I’m really not fond of most of Marvel’s books right now. The last several years of their crossovers have been premised on the idea that people don’t overcome obstacles or personal flaws, in essence, that people not only suck but inevitably and always suck.

The upcoming “Heroic Age” will hopefully find something better to do, and books like Incredible Hercules have managed to actually think about — gasp!– heroism, as opposed to tragically flawed non-heroes.

But Wonder Woman, like Superman, really does have to be written as an aspirational figure. (So does Steve Rogers, which may explain why he was booted out of the title role in Captain America.) Writing aspirational figures is tricky, of course; of the reader’s aspirations differ from the writer’s, the comic will likely lose that reader. But at worst, aspirational heroes are interesting — even when we disagree with the writer, we have to put some effort into disagreeing, and clarify our own notions of morality.

Wonder Woman, written well, does this in a more grounded way than most superhero characters. Fantastical as her plots and background elements may be, they’re drawn from older traditions and filtered through modern psychology. Moulton-Marston may have had wacky aspirations, but he expressed them through fairly widespread motifs. Superman, by contrast, draws on such things in a much more indirect fashion: the religious elements some people see in his stories are filtered through early 20th century science fiction, which doesn’t much resemble modern science or classical mythology. Like his strongman’s circus costume, Superman’s source genres are more and more unfamiliar as the years go by.

But Wonder Woman? Sex, truth, and power never go out of style; Greek mythology keeps being referenced; World War II remains a powerful cultural touchstone. (Superman is also surprisingly sexless for most of his existence; while Wonder Woman always has the coded bondage stuff, Superman’s romance with Lois and Lana and etc. becomes chaste very quickly.) She’s a risky character to write because people give a damn about most of the aspects of the character concept, so there’s much more room for disagreement. It makes the character less widely-marketable — people like what’s comfortable and agreeable — but almost always more interesting for anyone willing to put in the effort.

The thing about the flawed, unheroic supers that bother me is this: by abandoning any utopian impulse at all, the relieve the reader of having to make any imaginative effort. If you don’t believe the world can be a better place — if you don’t even believe you can imagine better worlds or better people — you’ve abdicated your responsibility to try. I’d rather have superhero characters who I relate to aspirationally, even if the relation is negative, than characters I relate to because they’re as whiny and useless as I can sometimes apathetically, depressively let myself be.

@Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

Well said.

I’d like to see a powerful and confident Wonder Women is comics and in film. A proper merger of William Moulton Marston’s origin and a personality mixture from the TV show, Morrisons JLA, and Bruce Timm’s Justice League.
I truly believe that Wonder Women could be the “It” things of our culture and market.

I think the idea of Diana having the hots for Bruce is likely drawn straight from the old Justice League tv show on Cartoon Network. There, Diana falls for Bruce who truly and deeply loves her but is unable to set aside his personal neuroses to build the basis for any kind of real relationship. Lots of people (including myself) loved the JL toon. Lots of people came away from it (including one of my best friends, who became a comic book fan partly because of things like the JL toon) with the idea of Diana and Bruce as the ultimate tragic Supercouple (I mean that in the soap opera sense rather than any sense of superheroics) and have never entirely let it go. As a result, it lends itself to crossing metafictive lines. The people who feel they totally grok it will, as a result, always think it is right without any build-up. They’ll see it and immediately get it.

As for the whole ‘Violet Lantern Corps’ thing…

That kind of ‘sexism’ is pretty true to some of the core of what Marston was driving at, even if Johns doesn’t get it in other ways. Marston believed that women were, emotionally at least, superior to men and better equipped to make certain kinds of decisions. Men were better equipped to do things and women were better equipped to understand things. Most of all (here is where Johns is dead on), Marston believed that the shared experience of motherhood gave women a capacity for love that men did not possess. He saw this as a spiritual quality rather than an individual quality.

Marston’s ‘pervyness’ is badly misunderstood. He wasn’t into SM play in the way the modern ‘kinky’ community would see it. He believed that corporal punishment (performed by a loved one) was the best way to drive home that wrong behavior WAS wrong and ultimately correct it. He, his wife, and his girlfriend thus practiced disciplinary spanking as a part of their /family/ relationship and separate from any of their sexual interactions.

Paulina von Gunther, a terrible Nazi villainess, is eventually reformed by a few regular good spankings and goes to work for Diana full-time.

‘I’d like to see a powerful and confident Wonder Women is comics and in film. A proper merger of William Moulton Marston’s origin and a personality mixture from the TV show, Morrisons JLA, and Bruce Timm’s Justice League.I truly believe that Wonder Women could be the “It” things of our culture and market.’

I’ve written on this topic in several places.

Wonder Woman is THE creative property with the ability to bring comic books mainstream again. Marvel doesn’t have a female character to match her. The problem is that the culture of the comic book industry prevents it from happening. I’ll stop there before I just repeat things I’ve said elsewhere.

@ChrisMRich

“I think the idea of Diana having the hots for Bruce is likely drawn straight from the old Justice League tv show on Cartoon Network”

It was drawn straight from continuity. JLA v3 #74 had them kissing, and it was either that issue or a couple later that had the talk about how it wouldn’t work.

The Star Sapphires have a long history which I believe goes back to the Golden Age. While there might be an exception someone could find, they have always been women. Johns could have changed that, of course, but it is not crazy to respect decades of tradition. Yes, I think his answer on the male Sapphires was evasive. I believe the real answer is that like the Amazons, the Sapphires have always been women and he likes it that way, whether that led to emotional complications (can only women love?) or not. I would also note that Blackest Night is the DC equivalent of a gigantic summer blockbuster, with lots of explosions and chase scenes and not a lot of time for deep introspection or quiet, thoughtful moments. So yes, Johns didn’t give WW much more than “She is Love” before moving on, but I assure you she is not he only character in the DC universe that got a shallow characterture in the middle of that event. You can complain about the one line, vast oversimplification summaries for heroes, but most people have described that as one of Johns’s strength: He can bring the reader into any story and give you everything you need to know to appreciate the story with a real economy of words. Maybe not so great for deeply introspective tale, but perfect for universe spanning silliness.

That kind of ‘sexism’ is pretty true to some of the core of what Marston was driving at, even if Johns doesn’t get it in other ways. Marston believed that women were, emotionally at least, superior to men and better equipped to make certain kinds of decisions. Men were better equipped to do things and women were better equipped to understand things. Most of all (here is where Johns is dead on), Marston believed that the shared experience of motherhood gave women a capacity for love that men did not possess. He saw this as a spiritual quality rather than an individual quality.

Believe it or not, I can actually agree with some of this, or at least respectfully agree to disagree on the parts I don’t agree with. Saying that women are different emotionally or more nuanced emotionally than men to me is not so bad. Or saying that men are more openly aggressive and less compromising, even that I can agree with.

But saying that men are unworthy of representing love? Period? That’s really sexist. It’s as bad as saying there’s a ring representing “intelligence” and most women are unworthy of it. Regardless of whether one believes it or not, putting that in a comic would cause outrage. I don’t think men love less, I just think they love differently. Similarly I don’t think women are even that much less aggressive than men, just differently aggressive. While men are more physically aggressive, women are much more adept at covert and passive aggression. If you read any books by Deborah Tannen or the book Queen Bees that the movie Mean Girls was based on or watch shows like Real Housewives, you can see the forms female aggression take.

I think the more subtle ways that women convey aggression combined with the less expressive ways men convey love leads to this stereotype that women are so much better at love than men. What they’re actually better at is nurturing and communication and maintaining friendships. Which in turn makes them express love and aggression differently than men. I think men express love differently than women, but not that they love less. I think women express aggression differently than men, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they love more.

If the ring represented say “nurturing” rather than “love” it wouldn’t bother me so much.

In Johns’ defense, a running theme of his GL work has been focusing on the idea that the various leaders of Corps have just as much say over the parameters of whom the rings choose than the actual emotional requirements of the users. The Guardians have been the ones most under scrutiny, but it’s not a coincidence that Sinestro’s corp were for the most part easily-led psychopaths, or the Red Lanterns specifically have the Sinestro Corp (and later Black Lanterns) as the source of their rage. The Star Sapphires are led by the Zamarons, the female members of the Guardian’s race. (Not quite sure how the biology of that works out, but whatevs.) In light of this, and their antagonistic relationship with their male counterparts, it’s not surprising that they would limit their membership along gender lines.

However, I can’t speak to anything Johns might have said in interviews and such. I tend to avoid creator interviews, and I find it leaves me happier.

Batman gets ladies.

Great article that tackles pretty well how limited Johns writing is (even though he does have a great sense of plotting). As @Dex mentioned, the biggest flaw on your analysis is placing WW as a Christ figure, when clearly Love is (under Catholicism) a “feminine” matter (with the Mother Love as primary example). This way, it is kinda clear that WW is supposed to be Holy Mary, the fighter for all human kind and the woman who represents love and compassion. So Rucka is indeed correct in his assessment. This makes even more sense when considering her role during George Pérez run.

“Think about it: Jesus’ birth was immaculate and so was Wonder Woman’s; Jesus has divine heritage and so does Wonder Woman; Jesus was sent forth to save the world from itself and so was Wonder Woman; ”

This is embarassing, really. It’s comic book characters. How old are you?

“This is embarassing, really. It’s comic book characters. How old are you?”

I don’t really see what’s embarrassing about it, nor do I see what difference it makes that we are discussing comic book characters. Like any artform, comic characters can and do act as metaphors — in fact, comic characters may be uniquely suited for this, as many creators have explored over the years — and the use of Christian imagery in the Superman mythos is a well documented and obvious example. It has been overtly displayed in both comics and film; ‘Superman Returns’ is full of Christian tropes and comparisons between Jesus and Superman.

The author here is simply stating that given the parallels her character also shares to the story of Christ, that metaphor could be just as easily expressed by Wonder Woman as it is by Superman. You may not agree with his conclusion or think that either character should be used as a stand-in for Jesus, but there’s nothing embarrassing about pointing out the connections that are inherent in the works.

In other words, just because you apparently prefer your comic books to be for kids only doesn’t mean that they are or need to be.

but it’s comic book…characters…in garish costumes….with one emotion per ring and person…or somesuch…
surely you can’t tell me with a straight face…..well, I guess you did at that.

And it is your good right to compare Jesus and Superman all day long, if you’re so inclined. But then again, certain people also actively learn to speak KLINGON, if you catch my drift…..

God it’s impossible to make it through these comments.

Yeah, I agree that Johns work is mostly fan fiction (and I say this *as* a fan fiction writer myself.) Much fanfiction is just expressing the writer’s desires, both by favoring some characters or destroying others. Johns’ work is full of both things, as can be seen in his obsession with Silver Age characters, as well his overuse of death and dismemberment. However, there are those of us who actually like to write GOOD stories and not just fanwank, so that description doesn’t apply to all of us.

Similarly, we also want to read GOOD stories, which respect continuity and use logic and good characterization. So it does bother me to see Johns handle all these important elements of the DC Universe in such simplistic manner. I also agree that Wonder Woman isn’t about love (or at least, not more than other characters); in fact I think the only reason she was chosen for the role was precisely because she’s the main “available chick” of the main DC heroes, having been paired with both Superman and Batman (remember that story where Diana and Supes supposedly spent 1000 years together?) not to mention being the subject of fantasies from others such as Captain Marvel. And that is a REALLY pathetic basis to choose her as a Violet Lantern (Btw, why were several heroes and villains roped into such roles if every Corps *already* had a main representative? Again, it just smacks of “doing it because it’s cool, not because it makes sense.”)

Ultimately, I don’t find the whole Blackest Night story to be so bad- these are comics after all, it’s not like they HAVE to be masterpieces… it’s all the unnecessary gore that keeps me away from them (and note: the heart is NOT the part of the body that feels emotions, it’s the brain, so the whole heart-ripping makes no sense at all.)

“This is embarassing, really. It’s comic book characters. How old are you?”

Said the man on the comic blog.

Excellent discussion. Like many people, I find the Batman scene in WW: Darkest Night to be absolutely abhorrent. for many of the reasons that you mention. The idea that Diana’s love for her sisters or her mother were not greater than her love for some emotionally crippled man was a real kick in the pants, and if Rucka really wrote that scene (as opposed to it being editorially mandated) then he should be properly contrite.

And it is your good right to compare Jesus and Superman all day long, if you’re so inclined. But then again, certain people also actively learn to speak KLINGON, if you catch my drift…..

What an idiotic comparison. Do you really think discussing symbolism and allegory in a work of fiction is comparable to slavishly studying and memorizing its minutiae? I’m guessing you got a well-deserved F in lit class: “lol dood, what do you mean its about Stalin and the Soviet Union? They’re just pigs on a farm!” Half the time the symbolism or metaphor – yes, even in those lowly picture books – is the point, the driving idea behind the character or story. If you don’t think so, you’ve been reading with one eye shut your entire life.

“If you don’t believe the world can be a better place — if you don’t even believe you can imagine better worlds or better people — you’ve abdicated your responsibility to try. I’d rather have superhero characters who I relate to aspirationally, even if the relation is negative, than characters I relate to because they’re as whiny and useless as I can sometimes apathetically, depressively let myself be.”

Heh. I love Wonder Woman and I even like Superman, but the problem I have with such characters as figures of aspiration is that good comes too naturally to them. It’s all so effortless for them to do good. I find it more inspiring when a character is more fallible but nonetheless try to do some good.

The second problem is that they have “I am so special” written all over them. Superman is the last of his race and Wonder Woman’s birth has been divinely mandated. Same deal of that Jesus fellow. You know, I find Captain America more inspirational. Steve Rogers was just a poor kid growing up in New York City, no one special, and then he volunteered. It took courage to do that.

In DC, I think I have a preference for Wally West as inspirational figure. He’s tried to fill the boots of a man everybody considered a saint and a more unsullied hero than everyman Wally.

But hey, I love reading about Wonder Woman and Superman, if only for diversity. Everybody else’s character is so flawed, it’s cool to get something different sometimes. And we have so many everymen (-women). But as inspirations? I dunno, not so much.

But saying that men are unworthy of representing love? Period? That’s really sexist. It’s as bad as saying there’s a ring representing “intelligence” and most women are unworthy of it. Regardless of whether one believes it or not, putting that in a comic would cause outrage. I don’t think men love less, I just think they love differently. Similarly I don’t think women are even that much less aggressive than men, just differently aggressive. While men are more physically aggressive, women are much more adept at covert and passive aggression. If you read any books by Deborah Tannen or the book Queen Bees that the movie Mean Girls was based on or watch shows like Real Housewives, you can see the forms female aggression take.

Yep. It is pretty much the dictionary definition of sexism. This is a classic backhanded compliment.

BH: WONDER WOMAN was a massive disappointment. The first issue was awesome, but the Batman stuff was silly. Add a dollup of sexism and it fell apart fast.

“Johns’s success can be attributed to the notion that what he writes is essentially fan-fiction. ”

And this is where you lost me, whenever someone trots out the old “fan-fiction” term to describe a writer that’s when you lose all credibility with me. The idea that people continue to try to trot out this phrase as a backhanded insult to some writers sickens me. I don’t care if you like Johns work or don’t but don’t show ignorance by tossing out terms which have been bastardized by a bunch of elitist fanboys on the internet. The fact is that any writer worth his salt in comics writes “fanfiction” and the one’s that don’t they are the guys who write bullshit like Cry For Justice. There need to be more people who are fans and respect these characters from all comic companies if there were comics wouldn’t be so mediocre or simply bad most of the time.

Only allowing women in the Star Sapphire Corps is sexist, yes, but it doesn’t have to mean men are incapable of representing love. It just means the Zamarons are sexist, which actually fits their character pretty well – after all, they were originally a group of female Guardians who took off on their own because they felt the male Guardians (I’m pretty sure that until relatively recently there weren’t supposed to be any female Guardians who stayed Guardians) were rejecting the importance of love. It makes sense that the Zamarons would think men can’t wear violet rings.

So, yeah, if a writer comes right out and says “men don’t deserve to represent love” that’s kind of messed up, but within the context of the actual stories, the Zamarons not recruiting any males for the Star Sapphire Corps makes as much sense as the Guardians not recruiting villains into the Green Lantern Corps no matter how good Bane or R’as al Ghul would be at representing willpower and overcoming fear, or Ganthet only recruiting people with strong religious beliefs into the Blue Lantern Corps.

It’s been shown that when the rings are allowed to pick their own wearer, they can go after people who don’t fit the usual pattern of their Corps (a yellow ring tried to recruit Batman, a blue ring recruited Barry Allen) so if they ever start a “Tales of the Corps” anthology series, it’s pretty much inevitable that we’ll get the “first male Star Sapphire” story, where a Sapphire gets married then dies and her husband loves her so much that her rings picks him as her successor and the Zamarons freak out and put him through all kinds of hazing to try to get rid of him and so and so forth, but so far we’ve only seen one violet ring actually choose its wearer.

And it is your good right to compare Jesus and Superman all day long, if you’re so inclined.

Well, comparing a non-fictional character with a made-up one wouldn’t make a lot of sense, now would it?

‘Great article that tackles pretty well how limited Johns writing is (even though he does have a great sense of plotting).’
I see you completely missed the point with the writer in question – reread some of his Flash issues.

By the way….HOLY SHIT is that great art by Nikola Scott. It’s almost enough to make me read a Didio DC comic. If she does any non-DC work I’m totally there.

Les Fontenelle

March 11, 2010 at 7:36 am

With all these comments about the idiotic assertion that men are “unworthy” of being avatars of love, it’s strange to see other ring-bearer choices getting away with making no sense. I personally think it would’ve made more sense for Wonder Woman to be an avatar of Compassion – IMO it’s a much more natural fit for her than Love. Especially considering that the chosen avatar of compassion, the Atom, has recently been shown torturing prisoners. Seriously, THAT is the guy who gets the Compassion ring? That indigo ring should’ve gone to Wonder Woman, and the violet/love ring should have gone to someone like Ice or maybe Poison Ivy (her great love for all plantlife is still love, isn’t it?) or Black Canary (whose longtime love for a deeply-flawed man is stronger than diamond).

“The fact is that any writer worth his salt in comics writes “fanfiction” and the one’s that don’t they are the guys who write bullshit like Cry For Justice. There need to be more people who are fans and respect these characters from all comic companies if there were comics wouldn’t be so mediocre or simply bad most of the time.”
I strongly disagree. We need LESS comics creators who are longtime comics fans; we need less reverence to old established characters and more willingness to try new things. Everybody complains Bendis’ tendency to spotlight “personal favorites” like Luke Cage and Spider-Woman, and Johns’ gushing reverence for characters like Hal Jordan – but these gentlemen only do those things because they’re longtime fans, and every fan has his set of preferences. Bringing in diehard fans to write comics naturally leads to those fans imposing their personal preferences on the “canon”, and that leads to complaints from fans whose personal preferences are different.

What makes most comics “mediocre or simply bad” isn’t that the creators aren’t sufficiently in love with the characters, it’s that most creators are mediocre or simply bad. Comics needs better writers period, regardless of how long they’ve been reading comics.

Les Fontenelle

March 11, 2010 at 7:38 am

Of course, the third sentence of the second paragraph in the above post should’ve read “Everybody complains about Bendis’ tendency”.

My bad.

I agree with Brian’s basic critique, but I don’t see anyone taking up the obvious challenge. Namely, which of DC’s male superheroes could be violet ring-bearers?

Someone mentioned Superman. Okay, that’s one possibility. Are there any others? How about the following?

Captain Marvel
Nightwing
Elongated Man
Red Tornado
Beast Boy
Swamp Thing
The Shining Knight

Do these people belong on the list? Does anyone else? Or…?

I trust you see the problem. If you think it’s sexist to leave men out of the “love corps,” it’s incumbent upon you to name which ones belong. Otherwise, you’re implicitly agreeing with Johns. Lack of alternatives => all “love” heroes are women, as Johns claims.

Les Fontenelle

March 11, 2010 at 8:27 am

Rob, Elongated Man would have been a pretty good choice for the violet ring. Swamp Thing too. Beyond your list, Animan Man’s love for his wife/family allowed him to resist the temptation of being stranded on a paradise-planet with Starfire.

Reminds me how lame Wonder Woman is. All the borrowed and watered down ancient greek ties….it’s probably the most unoriginal comic figure ever.

I thought it was odd that there were no male Star Sapphires, but the explanation about the Zamarons kinda clears that up for me.

Now, on another point, I always read how everyone hates writers who are fans of the characters, and thus by definition are writers of ‘fanfiction’ but I get a little confused about this. I mean, how much familiarity and affection for a character is too much – is there a point where the scales are tipped and any talent a writer may have goes out the window? Isn’t it necessary to have some knowledge and respect for a character and their background and personality to write them effectively? How much knowledge and respect is too much? When does it cross over into ‘fanfiction’? It’s so vague to me. Or should every writer just not give a damn about a character’s status quo and just do whatever the hell they want? Is that what ‘good art’ consists of, tearing down instead of building up? I don’t get it. I think it is irrelevant if a writer is a fan. I think it is only a problem when a writer is more interested in nostalgia than progression.

You’re kind of a downer, aren’t ya?

…directed at Mr. McKracken.

@ Joe Mac:

I think it is only a problem when a writer is more interested in nostalgia than progression.

I agreed with everything you said to that point. I think that the expectation of progression on the part of the reader is the problem.

Let’s be honest, there are just so many places that superhero stories can go. The list of potential end-points is both finite and brief. Progressing too far down any one path runs the risk of inadvertently ending the story. I honestly think that is what has happened with DCU Superman stories.

Therefore, there is an obligation on the part of the writer to devise exciting adventures for the character that are both in character and do not progress the story in any major way. It seems to be an exceedingly difficult balance to strike. Couple that with readers screaming “FAN FICTION!” or “NOSTALGIA!” every time the writer errs on one side and “TOO DARK!” or “GRIM & GRITTY!” every time they err on the other and I feel real sympathy.

“Couple that with readers screaming “FAN FICTION!” or “NOSTALGIA!” every time the writer errs on one side and “TOO DARK!” or “GRIM & GRITTY!” every time they err on the other and I feel real sympathy.”

A writer who errs on the side of “changing too much” can also inspire screams of “HE’S WRITING MY HERO OUT-OF-CHARACTER!” (examples: whenever Captain America expresses any political belief that a fan disagrees with, or when Black Canary married Green Arrow and a horde of Birds-of-Prey fans raged against Dinah’s marriage to a scoundrel they loathed) and “HE’S RUINING THE CHARACTER!” (like when Spider-Man got married). Most fans are usually very defensive against any change or development that disagrees with their personal views of what their favorite characters “should” be like.

The thing about the fanfic comparison (As someone who acknowledges they wrote some fanfic when they were a teen or early 20something) is that one must note, a fan writing a character they love isn’t bad.

It’s a fan turning the character into a damned Mary Sue that’s the problem.

It’s one thing to like the character you are writing and have them win fights against their villains in believable ways.
It’s another thing to suddenly have guys like Batman and Superman fawning in awe of said character.

I’m a big fan of Gambit, I do like his ‘ladies man” nature, but if I were writing Gambit over at Marvel, he may be shown flirting with lots of women, but I wouldn’t have other characters commenting on how he just had a 3-way with a couple of female characters he’s barely ever interacted with before.

Even if I were in a position where I were running tons of Marvels big crossovers, Gambit wouldn’t be playing a big role in just about every one of them.

Being a fan of a character and writing them is not a problem.
Infact it can be a bonus because it (ideally) means you don’t want to screw them up and do stuff just for shock value.

Being a “fanboy” and just writing stuff you wanted said character to do, and just ignoring any continuity issues it causes or such, THAT is writing bad (stereotypical) fanfic, and even a cursory look at Geoffs history proves he does that.

(The whole letter as a fan about him being half-Lex, then years later using that origin and not even mentioning all the stuff it contradicted until about 3 years later)

@ Les Fontelle:

Agreed.

I honestly think that it might be a good idea for DC to scrap their shared universe continuity. It was never nearly as strong as the Marvel U. Most of their best stories from the last twenty-five years have come from outside it (i.e. DKR, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, New Frontier, All-Star Superman). The individual takes on the various characters of good writers differ enough that dramatic changes happen with astoundingly frequency already.

I mean, what would really be wrong with a Johns-verse, a Rucka-verse, a Morrsion-verse, a Waid-verse and a Simone-verse? Up-and-coming writers basically apprentice with senior writers anyway. I think the market would probably support six Johns-verse titles penned by Johns, his buddy James Robinson and Sterling Gates. Everybody could stay in their shoes because the various female superheroes churning through the bedrooms of Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne would not necessarily be the characters of the same name that Gail Simone was working on.

Then, let the market decide what it likes.

@Dean:

Here’s my problem with nostalgia – too much of it can be destructive and regressive. If a character has developed and changed into a new status quo over the years that doesn’t fit with a nostalgic writer or editor’s desires, that character invariably suffers – the ultimate example probably being Wally West having to make way for the return of Barry Allen, although the case probably could be made for the post-BND Spider-Man.

Personally, I don’t mind individual stories ending to the benefit of sustaining a concept, particularly in the DCU where legacy and reiteration is pretty firmly established, whether it be Hal Jordan replacing Alan Scott, or Kyle Raynor replacing Hal Jordan. I think retiring a hero and bringing in a new character to fill their shoes allows you to keep the larger story / concept from ending (Green Lantern – wish fulfilment ring, Flash – Fastest Man Alive, etc) while keeping the adventures fresh and new and ongoing.

It may just be my POV, because I felt like I came of age alongside Wally and Peter, from my earlier examples, and just setting aside all that growth in favor of a status quo from 25 years ago just seems to be wasteful to some degree. I can understand it more when it comes to Spider-Man, a flagship character, but I don’t get it at all with Wally (the third favorite DC character by the readers here at CSBG, after all, yet still relatively obscure within the wider world). Why do we need Barry back to keep the Flash story going on?

Do you think there is room for progression? Would Batman not be any fun if Bruce were to stay dead and Dick were to permanently replace him, for example? Or if Bucky stayed Captain America for good? Would these characters no longer be marketable? I mean, why did it work when Hal and Barry replaced Alan and Jay?

Until recently, DC would re-invent itself every 15-20 years, and come up with new concepts. Now, instead, they are re-inventing themself in favor of a bunch of OLD concepts. I don’t see how that could work in the long run. It is entirely too insular, and ultimately seems like the start of a violent downward spiral.

“I strongly disagree. We need LESS comics creators who are longtime comics fans; we need less reverence to old established characters and more willingness to try new things. Everybody complains Bendis’ tendency to spotlight “personal favorites” like Luke Cage and Spider-Woman, and Johns’ gushing reverence for characters like Hal Jordan – but these gentlemen only do those things because they’re longtime fans, and every fan has his set of preferences. Bringing in diehard fans to write comics naturally leads to those fans imposing their personal preferences on the “canon”, and that leads to complaints from fans whose personal preferences are different. ”

And I strongly disagree with this, we actually need more creators who are fans honestly when I read most comics these days it seems that they are done by people who have no grasp as to who these characters are. There needs to be reverence when treating characters that will outlive you and not write what equate to basic hatched jobs to get buzz and sales for a book. Nobody wants to read crap like the fall of Green Arrow and Arsenal its’ been done and it will basically ruin characters that will need to be fixed down the line. People read comics because they are fans of the characters, i’ve never read a comic that I loved that didn’t make me feel like the writer had some respect or affection for the character. On the other hand i’ve read plenty of books that I hate, that make me feel like the writer could care less about who he wrote and was just doing it for money or to be shocking and that is horrible imo.

Well do I really want to see Supes in a skanky pink outfit? Nope. For the clear reason that he is hope. Plus what the heck was Rucka writing with that Batman bs? Huge huge gafe. A great tie in that went down the drain from issue # 2 cause it simply was not WW.

She should have been compassion.

@ JoeMac:

Why do we need Barry back to keep the Flash story going on?

You and I are probably around the same age and I think Wally is awesome, too. The best writer relay ever was Baron-to-Loebs-to-Waid. That said, they had written Wally into a corner by resolving most his issues. The glib, shallow womanizer was long gone.

Geoff Johns and company felt there was more gas left in Barry’s tank. Maybe they are right, although I have not seen much evidence of that yet. My point is that I don’t see why they are mutually exclusive options.

Do you think there is room for progression? Would Batman not be any fun if Bruce were to stay dead and Dick were to permanently replace him, for example?

It depends on what you mean by “progression”.

If you want one shared universe marching ever forward in time, then “no”. DC tried that in the late ’80s and ’90s. Most of their major characters were either re-booted, replaced, or (in the case of Hawkman) both. They told some great stories, but none of it (ultimately) took. They couldn’t abide a Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman aging in real time for 1986 anymore than they could have them progressing continuously from WW2. The Ron Marz GL dipped enough in sales after several years that the folks from H.E.A.T. got what they wanted. Connor Hawke couldn’t take over for his Dad. Even Wally West (the gold standard of replacements) didn’t keep the gig. DC invested everything in progression, it didn’t pay off and the Marvel still owns the sales charts. Neither DC, nor Marvel, will probably ever make that effort again.

That type of progression is fool’s gold. Frankly, I wish they’d drop the pretense and put Dick, Donna, Kory, Vic and the rest back in the TEEN Titans.

On the other hand, I don’t see why DC can’t tell lots of different stories about their characters at different life stages. We have already had a classic series about a fifty-something Batman, a near retirement Justice League, a second-generation Starman, a third-generation Flash and are now reading stories about what happens after Bruce Wayne dies. Why do those stories have to foreclose the possibility of other stories? Isn’t part of the charm of comics their limitless possibilities? Why not just say that every story is an “Elseworld”?

I like the way Dean thinks.

I’m getting two versions of events here, so I’m confused. The writer of the article Scott Harris says in an interview “Johns explained that while anyone could join the violet corps, most men were unworthy.” So the writer of the article says anyone is eligible to join regardless of gender but men didn’t make the cut. This I find sexist.

But now commenters are saying that men could make the cut but the problem is that a sexist character was in charge of making final selection, so there is sexism, but it’s done on purpose and recognized within the story. If it’s indeed an openly sexist character openly rejecting all men out of hand regardless of their qualifications that’s perfectly understandable.

So which is it actually? I haven’t read the book myself.

@ T: The interpretation that claims that the Zamarons themselves are sexist and that’s why no man gets a violet ring is flawed. Zamarons don’t get to choose who gets a violet ring–the ring, itself, chooses the candidate it believes is worthy based on that individual’s capacity for love. Johns is indicating that, for the most part, men don’t have a great capacity for love, so that’s why they don’t get chosen. I think his true motives are revealed in the absurdity of his reasoning. That he’s retconned this absurdity into the story is no defense for his actions. At least, not in my opinion.

Is it too early for “men not welcome in Violet Corps” to be anaylized in “History of Past Mistakes”?

“Zamarons don’t get to choose who gets a violet ring–the ring, itself, chooses the candidate it believes is worthy based on that individual’s capacity for love.”

Again, I don’t know anything about anything Johns may have said in interviews and such, so I can’t comment on that. But in terms of what’s actually in the story, saying the ring itself chooses the candidate and the Zamarons don’t have a say in it is simply wrong.

It’s been strong subtext (and in many instances, simply text) throughout John’s run that the leaders of the various factions have interests other than simply the emotional powers of their potential recruits in mind when making their selections. The best examples of this are Larfleeze and Atrocitus. Larfleeze will take anyone he can manage to kill, period, to be in his corps, regardless of their greed or lack thereof. Atrocitus specifically said (several times) that he didn’t choose his Corps based on rage alone; he choose them based on a rage they had which could be specifically targeted at his enemies.

Again, don’t know/care what Johns said; there’s a very simple and consistent in-story reason for “no male Sapphires”.

@ E. Wilson: Yes. And it’s based on Johns’ own sexist (and perhaps homophobic) limitations.

I don’t get it; The Guardians of the Universe don’t get to choose who’s a Green Lantern. They send the rings out and the rings choose the candidates. Hal Jordan doesn’t get to choose who becomes a Green Lantern. But all the other corps get to choose? To me, that seems a contrivance invented to protect and disguise a peculiar mindset.

Oops, my bad, the writer of the article is Robert Jones, Jr, not Scott Harris.

As much as I’m guilty of being a Johns’ fan, you brought out many aspects that I completely agree with.
This article was a very refreshing take, and it shed some different and new light (oh yeah, pun) on Wonder Woman functioning within the Blackest Night crossover.

I would have gone through and read all of the comments, but that was a rather daunting chore.

[...] For a very refreshing take on Wonder Woman and how she functions within the Blackest Night crossover as well as criticizing Geoff Johns (granted, I am one of those fan boys the author calls out) check out this article. [...]

“The Guardians of the Universe don’t get to choose who’s a Green Lantern. They send the rings out and the rings choose the candidates. Hal Jordan doesn’t get to choose who becomes a Green Lantern. But all the other corps get to choose?”

Considering that one of the other major themes running through Johns’ GL work is that the Guardians are manipulative little d-bags, I wouldn’t be willing to take them entirely at their word when they say Rings select Green Lanterns on willpower alone. Sure, the rings for the GLC in particular have more autonomy than the others (most likely due to the sheer size of the GLC as compared to the other corps, save Sinestro’s), but considering that willpower is morally neutral at best, there simply has to be some other criteria implanted into the Rings that we don’t know about.

@ E Wilson: Please stop moving the goal posts. Either you’re going to use what actually shows up in the printed text to defend Johns’ decision to make the Zamarons sexist, or you’re going to allow for a metatextual analysis that criticizes Johns’s decisions and his defense of them. Because if you’re going to read more deeply into the story to allow for your defense of Johns, then you really don’t have much of a leg to stand on when other do the exact same to call Johns to task.

I just got back from the phone and asked Johns why he won’t allow guys into the violet corps:
“imagine a dude in that outfit – yep, super-tranny.”

So there you have it. Because it would look really, really gay. (omg that was so non-pc sexist, im so sorry)

Now everyone get back to learning Klingon, it’s way more productive!

What is wrong with mckracken? I mean, everyone knows that Klingon is so lame… Elvish is the new old coolness!

“Either you’re going to use what actually shows up in the printed text to defend Johns’ decision to make the Zamarons sexist, or you’re going to allow for a metatextual analysis that criticizes Johns’s decisions and his defense of them. Because if you’re going to read more deeply into the story to allow for your defense of Johns, then you really don’t have much of a leg to stand on when other do the exact same to call Johns to task.”

I’m not moving anything. All I’m saying has simply been that there’s a consistent in-story reason for the decision. That reason is that the faction leaders’ own prejudices play a factor in the selection of their members. That’s it. Whatever implications that decision has regarding Johns as an individual are beyond what I’m pointing out.

The reason Batman and Wonder Woman have a thing isn’t because it makes sense. Its because it satisfies many people’s ten year old fantasy of having their two favorite characters ‘be liek totally in loves!’

And I’m totally ok with it. Batman, in my mind, is the end all be all badass. And I’d love to see him snag the most perfect woman ever. And who does like a little love at the workplace?

I never thought Diana fit the bill as representing ‘Love’ though. Compassion, like others have said, makes perfect sense. So why did Johns choose her as a Violet Lantern? The outfit. He wanted to have Nicola Scott and others draw her in an even more skimpy and revealing purple outfit.

But this is comics, guys. And Blackest night is silly comic book goodness at its best and worst. So I just roll with it. If I want more sophisticated fair I’ll read something else.

“Who doesn’t like a little” is what I meant… stupid typo…

Ironically, Indigo Lanterns actually wear skimpier outfits than Violet ones, but they’re less form-fitting (basically a bib and a loincloth).

To support E. Wilson, I don’t think anyone’s saying that there’s no chance Johns is a big ol’ sexist. We’re just explaining that the decisions he’s made about the Violet rings that have gotten into print so far (and it’s important to understand that we’re making no claims as to how he might go off the tracks in the future) have made sense. It’s comletely in character for the Zamarons to only choose female agents, and we’ve only seen one violet ring choose a bearer completely of its own volition.

And yes, the different Corps have completely different mechanics for choosing their bearers. As of yet, as far as I know, they haven’t explicitly told us all the ins and out of the process, so we can only extrapolate from what we’ve seen (for instance, most of the Corps are currently in the process of being established and some literally have fewer than 10 members – it’s entirely possible that the mechanic for a ring being reassigned when its wearer dies is different from the way the rings are handed out to their first weilder ever or passed on when a wearer retires) and sadly, writers being only human, they haven’t always been 100 percent consistent.

But from what we’ve seen: Atrocitus claims to have hand-picked every Red Lantern, and to have criteria beyond just their capacity for anger. Ganthet and Sayd have an extensive interview process for picking Blue Lanterns. Larfleeze can clearly prevent Orange Rings from seeking out wearers, as he has a pile of the things lying around unassigned in his lair. The Sinestro Corps has been shown to have a hazing process through whith new members prove themselves “worthy.” It’s been explicitly state that Mogo chooses new Green Lanterns – most recently when the Guardians told him to stop reassigning the rings of killed Lanterns until the Black Lanterns are dealt with (because when they killed a Lantern, they followed the ring to its new wearer and killed the freshly recruited rookie too). We have no information on how Indigo Lanterns are Chosen. And the Zamarons have been shown to forcibly induct people into their Corps if they decide they’d be better off as members.

It’s been implied that the rings CAN choose a new wearer on their own (honestly it’s just an assumption on my part that that’s what happened in Blackest Night – it’s explicitly shown that Atrocitus and Larfleeze didn’t choose who got the Red and Orange rings, but Atrocitus has said that Mera was a good choice and for all we know Luthor fits whatever criteria Larfleeze would come up with if he could be persuaded to assign someone else a ring) but it’s also made clear that under normal circumstance they DON’T.

Okay, it would take some doing to convince me that they are a good couple, but I think a Batman/Wonder Woman team-up book could be very, very good. It could be called “World’s Second and Third Finest.”

In Wonder Woman #1, way back in the 1940s, she discovers the “violet healing light”, I believe on page 10. I believe she brings Steve Trevor back to life with it…

Therefore, it makes perfect sense for her to be a star sapphire, as this violet “purple” healing power has been a part of her origin for almost 70 years…

Viva Geoff Johns!

@ShaunN

“The idea that Diana’s love for her sisters or her mother were not greater than her love for some emotionally crippled man was a real kick in the pants, and if Rucka really wrote that scene (as opposed to it being editorially mandated) then he should be properly contrite.”

The scene of warm fuzzies with Bruce represents Diana’s only repressed form of love – romantical. Thus being the key in unlocking her full potential as the utter embodiment of that emotional power and does NOT diminish her motherly and sisterly ties. But then, I am of the opinion that the darkness of Bats and the goodness of Wondie would go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly ever since Matt Wagner’s Trinity miniseries and the Justice League toon (at least in those storylines).

Excellent discussion indeed; I normally don’t chime in, just lurk.

Thanks for pointing that out, soultrain.. Diana was the original inventor of the Purple Healing Ray back in the original volume of her series. It’s a strange coincidence that played out very well into Blackest Night.. Driven by her love for Steve Trevor, she invented the device that not only healed him but brought him back from being dead! It’s all in the original Marsten WW issues. And one of the abilities of the Star Sapphires is to resurrect the recently deceased if there is a strong enough bond of love to bring them back.

Perhaps it should’ve been a vision of making out with Steve Trevor that brought Diana back from zombie Black Lantern state into her Star Sapphire phase?

Um, It seemed pretty well established that the Sapphire’s were sexist. That’s what was there to work with. Yeah, It’s lame…the lamest of the color corps. It would make MUCH more sense if “love” applied to more than romantic attractions and included men, but that’s just what was already established. Hopefully, that changes and stories involving them can gain a bit more depth.

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