Saturday, February 26, 2005

WONDER WOMAN #213

Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman is a marvelously complex character. Rucka tends toward protagonists who are fundamentally good but profoundly flawed -- Tara Chace, Carrie Stetko, Brigid Logan, Elektra Natchios, Helena Bertinelli, Renee Montoya, etc. -- and Diana of Themyscira is really no different, albeit her virtues and flaws are of a different scale.

Diana is a proud and skilled warrior, a defender of the weak, a leader of women (and men, when they get over it), eager -- overeager -- to sacrifice herself for others, and bound by a strict code of ethics. And Rucka is subtly turning these qualities from virtue to flaw -- Diana is simply too proud to play politics, but in a world where both humanity and godfolk subsist on it, she is ultimately a very well-armed idealist in a universe full of pragmatists.

Diana has the intelligence to be cunning in battles that are not physical, but she usually doesn't apply her wisdom in that way -- backroom dealings and compromises with the lesser moral ground don't interest her, not when she is sure she can win decisive victory in a more literal sort of fight. And she is sure of her ability to win, just as she is absolutely convinced of the rightness of her cause and the eventual realization of others that she is correct. It's why she wrote her book and why the tension between her and Veronica Cale is what it is and why it isn't going away cleanly. It's also why she would rather damn herself (and possibly everything she cares about) rather than accept less than what she wants out of Athena when the new lord of Olympus would give her a boon.

Athena warns Diana of her folly and we, the reader, see the many avenues that could lead to regret. Throw in the fact that Rucka is one of the Countdown writers and Diana is part of that Event... her blindness may be more than literal now, but it may also soon be the least of her trouble.

Next month: crossover with The Flash, the first part of which is out this week over in Wallyworld.

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