An unsubtle feminist lesson is followed by a beautiful twist in Wonder Woman #29
Wonder Woman #29: Heart of the Amazon (Part 4)
Oh, Wonder Woman writers, you can do better than this, surely! Heart of the Amazon opens with a bit of feminist preaching that makes a sledgehammer seem subtle. The arc has been about others wanting to use Diana, or specifically, her DNA, for their own purposes and that does have something to say about entitlement and choice. Neither do I have any problem with feminism; I am far more likely to be found complaining that Wonder Woman isn’t feminist enough. But I am a big believer in “show don’t tell” and this issue smashes that rule to smithereens. Over a panel showing Wonder Woman battling multiple foes, we get the following narrative:
Ever since I came to he world of humanity, my flesh has been the subject of intense speculation. They dissect my body with their gaze. The comments sections rage about the circumference of my waist, the curl of my biceps, the curve of my thighs. Many have long talked as if my body were theirs to own, a prize to be won, a Golden Fleece to be captured, expended and discarded. But this is the first time a price has been put on my flesh. The theft has gone beyond eyes and minds to a deed of their hands.
And even for me, that’s a bit much. Oh, it’s accurate, but show it. So far the arc has done that well, from the doctor so consumed by her quest to cure herself she felt fully justified in drugging Diana to steal her blood, to the contrast provided by the stalwart Etta, fully prepared to fight at her friend’s side even though she is still in recovery. Spelling it out with that clumsy comparison to social media is just too preachy. No one gets the message that way.
The fight against a variety of super-powered bounty hunters takes up the largest portion of the issue. Once Steve Trevor shows up – too late to help with the fighting – Diana interrogates a captured hunter and gets a lead to whomever is offering the bounty via the hunter’s phone. Our heroes retreat to the Picket (Etta’s black ops division) to regroup.
This is where the writer makes up for that clunky beginning. Learning that news of Doctor Crawford’s attempt to use Diana’s DNA has leaked to other pharmaceutical companies, one of which is presumably behind the bounty hunters, Diana’s response is uniquely appropriate. If it’s true that her DNA could be used to save lives, she reasons, then perhaps she should give it freely. After all, that’s her mission: to make the world a better place. So, even recognising the ruthlessness of the man who wants her, and despite the obvious misgivings of her friends, Wonder Woman decides to go to the man hunting her and at least hear his pitch.
Naïve? Yes. But exactly the loving generosity we know is the heart of Wonder Woman.
Though I suspect this won’t turn out so well. Wait and see…