The "Big Three" at DC Comics — Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — are getting new looks in June. But it's the Amazing Amazon who's getting all the attention.
Before the inevitable jokes about how women like to change their outfits, let's look at the boys first:
In this month's Superman books, the Metropolis Marvel is losing his superpowers for reasons unknown. He travels to his Arctic fortress for help, but the A.I. that runs the place doesn't recognize him anymore — and reclaims the Kryptonian super-suit. Left with few other options, the not-so-Superman begins fighting bad guys in jeans and a T-shirt.
That's quite a comedown. But don't worry — it's inevitable that the Man of Steel's powers will return, at least before the next movie. In the meantime, though, what's really off-putting isn't the outfit, it's the haircut. Supes has lopped off his spit curl and adopted a buzz cut. What, is he a Marine now?
Plus, it just doesn't look like Superman.
Meanwhile, over in Gotham, Batman and the Joker disappeared in final combat in May in the caves that honeycomb the city's foundation. With the Dark Knight presumed dead, the city has created its own Batman: former Police Commissioner James Gordon, sporting a high-tech battle suit.
Again, we know that at some point Bruce Wayne will return. This is comics; the status quo never changes for long. But again, it's not the idea that's bad — it's the execution. Gordon's armor makes him look like a big, shiny, blue rabbit.
Plus, it just doesn't look like Batman.
Wonder Woman's new ensemble isn't terribly different from her old one. The biggest change is that it shows a lot less; there's a black bodysuit that covers her from shoulders to boots, with a variation of her usual outfit over it, so that everywhere you used to see skin is covered in black.
Naturally, fanboys went berserk on the Web, calling it everything from a crime against tradition to a personal insult. That's to be expected; there's a reason why "troll" has returned to the modern vocabulary.
After all, tradition really can't apply when Wonder Woman has gone through so many outfits in her 70-plus years of existence. Her first costume made little sense; a girl from an ancient Greek culture appeared on our shores decked out in essentially a red-white-and-blue swimsuit instead of, say, a toga or Spartan armor. The in-story reason was that she wanted to appear friendly by adopting our colors, but the real reason was that her debut was in the fall of 1941, and within months the U.S. would be embroiled in World War II. Patriotism was a must in comics in those days, no matter where you were from.
The star-spangled culottes in that initial outfit became shorts, short-shorts, bike-riding shorts, superhero briefs, hot pants and more over the years, while her boots and red bodice went through similar mutations. And in 1968 the Amazon Princess lost her powers, chucked the uniform altogether and went through a "Diana Peel" phase, dressing mostly in white jumpsuits.
Personally, I don't care for the new outfit. Plus, it just doesn't look like Wonder Woman.
Still, no worries. Like with Batman and Superman, this too shall pass. Someday Wonder Woman will once again be squeezed back into the star-spangled swimsuit. But at least for a little while, she gets to wear pants.