Full disclosure: I’ve been reading comics for over thirty years now, through the "up" times of the early 90's speculator boom and the "down" times, where comics are always seemingly on their last legs (which someone in the mainstream media proclaims like, every other year or so) and someone is always asking, "Where is our newest Watchmen?"
Personally, I think the better question to ask should be, "Where can I find more of the moral ambiguity in the comics of my angry youth?" Don’t get it twisted, I love and admire The Watchmen mainly for the spotlight it’s shone on the "super-hero." Yes, The Watchmen certainly had and still has something to say about the time in which it was made. But ultimately, its heroes lack something fundamental to the super-hero aesthetic. In the end (and The Watchmen did have an end), these characters took looked upon themselves and realized their greatest sin.
They failed to inspire.
Therein lies the victory of Wonder Woman. Though a warrior, Wonder Woman has no battle cry. When the mission foremost in your mind is to uplift, compel, and inspire, one needs not cry out in battle. Instead, if she must. she cries out for those who cannot. She will stand for dignity.
In Gotham City, a child had to kneel in a pool of his parents’ blood in order to find a purpose. This child would eventually become one with the night, becoming a Dark Knight, the Batman. Years before, a rocket, carrying an infant, slammed into a Kansas cornfield and all anyone could do was hope for the best. That child would later become the greatest of all heroes, a man of steel. He would become Superman. On the fictional Greek island of Themyscira, home to the Amazons, Wonder Woman’s mother, Queen Hippolyta prayed to the Greek gods of old and received one of their greatest gifts, a daughter. Where other heroes lives were born of death, this princess’ was born of life. She was later named Diana, after the goddess of the moon and hunt. This child had the blessing of swiftness bestowed upon her by the god Mercury. She was blessed with a loving heart by Aphrodite. By Athena she was blessed with wisdom. Above all, this was the greatest of her gifts. One, ultimately, defining her in ways lifting a tank over her head never could.
True, I will never know the thrill of holding a tank over my head, yet I still can identify with this character.
I will probably never inherit a vast fortune in order to wage a one-man war on crime.
I have never crash landed in a Kansas cornfield, surviving it in order to discover I have powers beneficial to mankind.
I can identify with Wonder Woman more than any other superhero for two simple reasons.
- Like Wonder Woman was raised by a single mother.
- I was raised with conviction.
- I have been underestimated.