Wonder Woman has a bold new look, one of the most dramatic changes of her 70-year history.
Criticized for years for fighting crime in effectively a one-piece swimsuit — often considered either sexist or simply impractical — the DC Comics icon has a new costume as of this week's Wonder Woman #600, and it's one considerably less revealing, complete with long pants and a jacket. Signature elements such as the character's bracelets, tiara and magic lasso remain. The costume was designed by acclaimed penciler and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee.
DC Comics announced the change Tuesday evening.
"It’s a look designed to be taken seriously as a warrior, in partial answer to the many female fans over the years who’ve asked, 'how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?'" said incoming series writer J. Michael Straczynski.
"It reflects her origins in both the outside world and the world of Amazons: tough, elegant...a street-fighter’s look which also incorporates elements of her classic design," Straczynski said. "It reflects the two sides warring for ultimate victory, and underscores the path she must take."
It's also a versatile outfit, according to Straczynski.
"She can close it up to pass unnoticed ... open it for the freedom to fight ... lose the jacket or keep it on ... it has pockets (the other fan question, “where does she carry anything in that outfit?”), it can be accessorized," Straczynski wrote in DC's official release. "it’s a Wonder Woman look designed for the 21st century."
Straczynski also commented on some of the classic elements that were retained.
"The bracelets are still there, but made more colorful, tied on the inside and over the hand, with a script W on each of them that form WW when she holds them side by side...and if you get hit by one of them, it leaves a W mark. This is a Wonder Woman who signs her work ... letting her enemies know that she’s getting closer."
Straczynski noted to DC Comics that the new outfit is Wonder Woman's "first significant change in her appearance since the character debuted in 1941," with the notable exception of a mod bodysuit briefly sported in the '60s.
With the new costume comes a new direction for the title: Thanks to some time-shifting by the Olympian gods who created Wonder Woman, the superheroine's history has been changed so she grew up in a modern, urban environment, with little memory or conection to her mythical origins.
"The Gods, for reasons of their own but which may have something to with their survival and perhaps the survival of Earth itself, have changed the timeline. In the new timeline, years ago the Gods removed their protection from Paradise Island, and left it vulnerable to attack," Straczynski shared in the press release. "And attacked it was. Led by a dark figure, a veritable army descended upon the Island, equipped with weapons that could kill even the Amazons. Outgunned, doomed, Hippolyta gave over her three-year-old daughter to a handful of guardians who spirited her away as Hippolyta led one last desperate battle against the forces that had come to destroy all she had created. In that final battle, she and most of the Amazons were killed, though some managed to escape."
This new direction will also bring Wonder Woman into opposition with new enemies.
"It’s now nearly twenty years later. Diana has been raised in an urban setting, but with a foot in both worlds. She has little or no memory of the other timeline. She knows only what she’s been told by those who raised her On the run, hunted, she must try to survive, help the other refugee Amazons escape the army that is still after them, discover who destroyed Paradise Island and why ... and if the timeline can be corrected or not," Straczynski wrote in DC's official materials. "She also does not yet have access to her full powers, but will be gaining them as she goes. Along the way, she will face a range of enemies — human and otherwise — who we have not seen before."
Essentially, both the new look and new direction amount to a rebirth, wrote Straczynski.
"This is Wonder Woman reborn, literally and metaphorically: fast, elegant, tough, smart ... the savior of her people, their guardian and protector ... avenging the fall of Paradise Island, searching to discover why Paradise Island was abandoned by the gods," Straczynski told to the publisher. "In the end, what she discovers will change her life and the world forever...and she will come face to face with a decision that will mean life or death for the entire human race."
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