The announcement was made that Wonder Woman was shedding her familiar star-spangled outfit and trading it for a more modern look. And, as expected, the outrage is heard all around the world and even to Themyscira (Paradise Island for those not in the know). I find it really amusing that such a cosmetic change can cause such a ruckus especially when the public at large is not privy to why such a decision was made in the first place.

DC Comics, the company the produces the Wonder Woman monthly comic books is a corporation, first and foremost, They know what they are doing by changing the status quo; they are no dummies. Controversy is the key to spotlighting a character that still hasn’t made it on par with Superman and Batman despite her impressive longevity in comic books. Many strides over the years have tried to elevate her status even despite the fact that DC Comics markets these three characters as the “Trinity” of the DC Universe. Keep in mind that this change of clothes won’t last. Not because it’s a bad idea but because it fits within a storyline.

Yes, it’s all about the story. New Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski has stated that the fans saw Diana as a matronly figure rather than young and sexy. I find that statement rather amusing considering she is already running around half naked fighting crime. That’s not sexy enough?

Straczynski is really saying that the story he is writing drives the use of a new costume. Time and space has been slightly altered. As a result, Diana has spent a lot of time raised on the streets instead of Paradise Island. She doesn’t have all her powers as of yet and will need to solve this mystery of her “other life.” Therefore, this outfit, designed by superstar artist Jim Lee, makes sense in the context of the story (there’s that word again). I have no doubt she will return in all her golden tiara, silver deflecting bullet bracelets, magic lasso, stylized golden eagle/”W”, and star-spangled panties glory. After all she has been around for almost 70 years and it’s hard to fool around with tradition (just look at what happened to Classic and New Coke).

I have seen this too often in comic books and am not even jarred by it anymore. It becomes a waiting game now as to when she will return to her traditional costume. After all, other characters have experienced controversial costume changes in the past only to have the status quo returned.

SUPERMAN
In 1998 Superman lost his fabled powers and developed electricity-based abilities. In order to contain his very being, a special containment suit was created that allowed him to use and control his new abilities. Incidentally, when he powered off, he became a normal human being. Many people referred to this as the “Electric Blue Superman.” To add salt to the wound, the creators split this Superman into two creating Superman Blue/Superman Red, homage to the old imaginary tale from the 1960s. This was a commentary stating that Superman’s character would still be the same regardless of the powers he possesses. Throughout that time period, Grant Morrison utilized Superman’s new powers the best and this was all in Morrison’sJLA series.

BATMAN
Take Bruce Wayne out of the picture, replace him with a character named Azrael, and a new Batman is born. The whole familiar costume slowly changed into an armored version of the Dark Knight during the whole “Knightquest” storyline in the Batman titles in 1993. This Batman proved to be violent and a “take no prisoners” type of attitude. In essence if the Punisher became the Batman, is this how he would be? The costume evolved into its own monstrosity and was never a favorite of mine. But again it was a social commentary against the violent heroes in comics at the time and showcasing that Batman’s traditional way made for a better hero.

SPIDER-MAN
Out of all the costume changes I actually liked Spider-Man’s black costume the best. Making its debut in Marvel’s limited series Secret Wars in 1984, Spider-Man tossed away his red-and-blue suit in favor of a black one. Honestly, I loved it. Something about it made him look sleek and streamlined. However, while I love the outfit, it didn’t feel right on him. It gave Spider-Man a darker appearance than he needed.

Awaiting the Return of the “Real” Wonder Woman
I’m not worried about Wonder Woman’s new look. There’s a chance that people will actually embrace and accept it, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up. She will sport her familiar garb before it is all said and done. Like it said, it’s just a matter of when that will happen. In the meantime, Straczynski has a story to tell and I am interested to see where this direction is heading. The bottom line: who’s going to remember this ten years from now?

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