Comics’ most iconic female superhero is stripped of her asexual origin story in the latest issue of Wonder Woman, which introduces her father, Zeus — a god who shows up sans toga.
Welcome to the weird “New 52” mythos crafted by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang. Their Wonder Woman No. 3, in stores Wednesday and previewed in the gallery above, marks the much-hyped debut of Princess Diana’s daddy, Zeus, the divine male paragon who also happens to be a serial rapist with a wicked tendency to make and break homes.
Zeus is the axis upon which the fractured psychodrama of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman reboot revolves. Scan the series and you’ll find a roll call of females — including Diana, sinister sister Strife, Amazon queen Hippolyta and Zeus’ latest rape victim, Zora — grappling with the god’s epic wreckage. And that’s before you even get to Hera, whose addition to the domestic madness might hone Wonder Woman’s humane appeal, according to Azzarello.
“These myths have to be really, really quickly relatable to people,” he told USA Today. “And I don’t think that Wonder Woman is one, not like Batman or Superman. Those origins, people know them and they understand them right away, and it gets to the core of that character. That’s what we’re trying to hopefully establish.”
Sorting out the character’s ever-changing mythos proves harder than it sounds. Wonder Woman, created in 1941 by polyamorous psychologist and feminist theorist William Moulton Marston, has been tough to translate even in comics, where her New 52 reboot has failed two months running to leapfrog lessers like Green Lantern and crack the top 10 best-selling comics, according to Diamond Comic Distributors.
David E. Kelley’s discarded Wonder Woman television pilot was so terribly off the mark that it’s achieved a kind of profane infamy along the lines of Battlefield Earth. And let’s not even get started on the perennially aborted live-action movie, which would have enjoyed a dream hook should it have opened in December in time for Wonder Woman’s 70th birthday.
Even DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio’s original New 52 reboot of Wonder Woman was a hot mess, said Azzarello, who took on the job to save the superhero from a fate worse than Zeus.
“It was so huge of a mistake that I was like, ‘You can’t do that to that character. You will hurt her,’” he told USA Today, recounting a dinner meeting with DiDio. “I said, ‘What do you think of these ideas? If you try this, you’ll get her to a really great place and she’ll be a lot stronger for it.’ By the end of the dinner, I’m writing Wonder Woman.”
But does Azzarello and Chiang’s rebooted origin story outdistance the one found in Lauren Montgomery’s excellent animated feature Wonder Woman, wherein Diana is created out of earth by Hippolyta? What do you think it’s going to take to break Wonder Woman in television and live-action film? Click through the gallery above and let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy DC Comics