Thu
Aug 23 2012 11:03am

Superman and Wonder Woman Are Dating Now?

The New 52 has done some interesting remodeling in the DC Comics universe, and one of the places where the renovations have caused the most controversy is, predictably, Wonder Woman's comic. While her series continues to be popular, a few interesting changes to her back story and some odd clarifications have upset some of her most ardent enthusiasts.

And now it appears that DC wants to add more fuel to that fire with the announcement that Superman and Wonder Woman are about to become an item in Justice League. Do we need this? Does it matter? Let's take a look at why—or why not—this should be a big deal.

Let's take a look at the reboot so far to see where we're at:

The biggest offense has already been called out in the altering of Diana and the Amazon's backstories. We were told that Wonder Woman was not a baby made of clay, but the product of an adulterous fling between Zeus (surprised, I know) and Queen Hippolyta. Diana is understandably taken aback when she finds out. Now one of the few female figures in fiction, who existed without the input of the patriarchy, was suddenly set up to have tremendous daddy issues.

Of course, that's nothing compared to the reveal that Amazon women have sex with sailors, murder them when they're done getting pregnant, and then proceed to sell their male children into slavery (to the god Hephaestus) in exchange for some sweet weaponry.

It's hard to blame any fans for being upset over these alterations: while it might be an interesting angle in a purely practical sense, it has very clearly damaged the mythos of Wonder Woman, the heritage that made her the pillar of truth and love that the comics always extolled.

It's also a complete backpedal when remembering the intentions of the man who created her, the late William Moulton Marston, who wrote Wonder Woman to posit the notion that women could use their inherent goodness to make men submit and bring about peace in the world. Obviously, Marston's theories were anything but airtight, but that doesn't change the fact that recreating Amazon society to include such violence and disregard for life is the exact opposite of what he had in mind.

Happily, the characterization of Wonder Woman since the New 52 relaunch is less of a sore spot for most fans. Diana's background may have changed, but Wonder Woman herself remains: her heroism is evident, her abilities are not in question, and her visual depiction seems less objectifying than in comics past. Objectifying or no, it's still worth noting that Diana's attire looks fairly similar to Linda Carter's getup from the 1970s television show, an interesting move after a rumored DC editorial edict that all their superhero ladies would wear pants.

Whether or not that mandate was a step in the right direction isn't really what I'm getting at; it's just pretty amusing that this was made an issue and then (very) quickly taken back. Pants are way too difficult to stick with, everyone. If I can't feel air up to my bikini line, I start to get nervous, and so should Wonder Woman.

In regards to who Diana should be dating, there has always been a contingent of Wonder Woman fans who have wondered at the character's sexuality in the first place. She has relationships with men in the comics, but there has consistently been speculation that perhaps she is bisexual (a fair cop if your entire society is female). The actual question was never addressed officially in canon… until recently. Wonder Woman was featured in a recent issue of Batwoman and she made a point of debunking certain myths about herself, one of them being that she is a “Sister of Sappho.” This being a poetic way of saying “lesbian,” it seems now that the DC Comics has chosen to put their foot down on yet another aspect of Wonder Woman, further containing the persona and pairing her down to a neat set of “what is” and “what isn't.”

Did Wonder Woman so desperately need to be pinned down?

And what does that mean for her upcoming relationship with Superman? Well… it still really comes down to how it's handled. On the one hand, it's pretty aggravating that writers everywhere still feel the need to pair off their female characters with any and all eligible menfolk, unwilling to let them stay single the same way they would allow a male character. That in combination with everything else that has changed in the Wonder Woman canon might add up to one crazy irritant.

On the other hand, this move could be potentially interesting on a character level; let's not forget that Superman is an alien and Wonder Woman comes from a culture that is practically alien to modern day earth. They're both essentially ultimate outsiders, but they care deeply for humanity. They have more in common than is typically examined and their choice to date might be a great way of bringing that to light. In addition, if they can both manage their places on the Justice League team without a hint of inequality, that sends a very good message about the position of men and women in relationships—that both can maintain their own power and autonomy and still love each other and work together.

So should we be upset? The track record has been a little shaky for Wonder Woman's New 52 run, but I like to live in hope. Perhaps this will expand the character to new areas that she has never explored before now. Perhaps she and Clark will form a beautiful team that we can all look up to.

Or this whole thing could go Twilight on us when Diana accidentally develops a crush on Bruce Wayne. You know. At least it would be hilarious.


Emily Asher-Perrin just hopes that they're not planning some epic cat fight issue between Wonder Woman and Lois Lane. Seriously, Clark, what's the deal here? You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

24 comments
Emmet O'Brien
1. EmmetAOBrien
Of course, that's nothing compared to the reveal that Amazon women have
sex with sailors, murder them when they're done getting pregnant, and
then proceed to sell their male children into slavery (to the god
Hephaestus) in exchange for some sweet weaponry.

I've not been keeping up; has this been firmly established as actually happening, rather than as negative propaganda/rumours ?
Michael Walsh
2. MichaelWalsh
Three things:

Marston led a "it's complicated" life, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Moulton_Marston
more here:
http://reason.com/archives/2001/05/01/william-marstons-secret-identi

He was involved in research that was important to the creation of the lie detector, see the wiki link above.

And lastly, Larry Niven wrote about the dangers of sex with Superman in "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"
Court
3. Court
I'm so glad you looked at this from Wonder Woman's point of view. Every site I've looked at has proclaimed her "SUPERMAN'S LEADING LADY!!" which annoys me to no end and completely disregards everything about her as a character.

I'm upset for Lois. It's one thing for DC to eliminate the marriage completely, but it seems like she's just been completely sidelined as a character overall.
James Whitehead
4. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@1EmmetAOBrien, they have hinted that it might be 'bad press' but that you'll have to RAFO (to steal Robert Jordan's favourit cronym when dealing with fans). Will be terribly disappointed if it turns out to be true.

While I do agree with your point Emily regarding DC (& Marvel for that matter) wanting to 'marry/pair off' their female leads at least in this case I don't have much of an issue as they have always been trying to pair off Superman. ;-)

As to the pairing itself I'm all sorts of 'meh' regarding it. 'Course I liked Clark paired with Lois & am not big on the whole focusing on the Kal-El side of Superman. Felt the Justice League pairing, well attempted pairing, of Batman & Wonder Woman was rather interesting.

Glad to hear they've kept Wonder Woman as she should be. Do feel the DC 'edict' to 'pants' their heroines is rather foolish. Wonder Woman's outfit never shocked me - just as Superman's never shocked me. Their creators were inspired by circus acts & went that way.

The issue, to me anyway, isn't that she, or any other heroine, is running around in bikini bottoms it's that the artists try to pose these heroines as if they are the main act at a 'gentlemen's club.' That's where DC (& Marvel) lose their woman readers right off the bat; to my mind at least.

Kato
Court
5. dalgoda
I don't know. I love DC, much more than Marvel, but I do not understand the logic in totally reversing....how many years of continuity? Did they just run out of ideas and say, "Lets just start over and maybe no one will care?" Who are they writing for, new fans only?
Frank Miller came up with Superman and WonderWoman as a couple. And as he wrote it, it was a scary proposition the way I took it. They basically became a couple and said crap on Humanity. I suppose DC is saying the same thing with its long time fans.
Court
7. StrongDreams
visual depiction seems less objectifying

Um, did you look at that cover for JL12? (I assume that is a real cover and not fan art...)
Court
8. wiredog
Did Wonder Woman so desperately need to be pinned down?

I saw what you did there. ;-)
Court
9. wizard clip
I seem to recall that John Byrne addressed--and disposed of--the notion of a Wonder Woman/ Superman romance in the space of about 2 pages during his Superman reboot in 1986.
Natalie Zutter
10. nataliezutter
@MichaelWalsh - Thank you for referencing "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"! I read that ages ago and it never fails to make me giggle.

@Kato - I had no idea about the circus inspiration for the costumes! Very cool.

I really liked the Wonder Woman/Superman romance in Mark Millar's Red Son, but then I guess you can consider that that was more of a nifty plot twist to replace the standard Clark/Lois stuff... Still, there's some nuance to it, and it made the case pretty well imo.
Court
11. Shamrock Jack
I actually think this is a good idea. Emily Asher-Perrin stated, they have a lot in common.

For Clark, Diana is essentially the first woman that he's met who was like him (Excusing, of course, blood relatives.) and it makes sense that he would think "Hey there's a girl who I won't kill if we enjoy a bottle of Romulan Ale together." (Kryptonians are suckers for Romulan Ale.) Also, I've always thought that Clark needs someone who he can see as being as good as person as himself.

For Diana, Clark represents something of a paragon of what the World of Man could be. I imagine she has been raised on tales of the horrors and violence of Men, which is why the Amazons removed themselves from the world.

In many ways they are kindred spirits. Both are aliens. Both strive to protect and save lives. Both, in many ways, embody what is best in humanity.

Sure, I miss Lois. We all do. In the meantime, let's see where this goes.

Cheers,
Shamrock Jack
Court
12. ColN
It bothers me that Wonder Woman is being set up with one of the few characters in the DCU that is more powerful than she is.

It's that same old latent male dominance thing that is so embedded in our culture. To be a good match the man needs to earn more, be physically more, be in charge. Bah. It's 2012 people.
Court
13. Tio Willie
I guess I don't understand what the big deal is (other than making WW a second to Superman, lame). Frank Miller established that WW and Superman hooked up and had a daughter back in 2001/2002 in the "The Dark Knight Strikes Again". 10 years later, it should not be a shock that DC decided to capitalize on this. The only shock is that DC didn't do this sooner.
William Carter
14. wcarter
@12 CoIN
By what measure is Superman actually stronger than Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman is the only member of the Justice League Batman could never devise a reliable plan to defeat.

Why? Because she is a very intelligent super human with no kryptonite factor. There was virtually nothing he could do that would be a legitimate threat to her. Superman? Flash? Martian Manhunter? He had plans for taking out all them in case they ever went rogue...

If anything Wonder Woman is more powerful that Superman when you take his dibilitation weaknesses to glowing green space rocks and magic into account.

And Superman probably isn't the most powerful member of the Justice league even ignoring weaknesses--that title probably goes to Martian Manhunter.

All that aside, if she must be in a relationship, I still like the idea of a Wonder Woman/Batman romance as put forth by the old Justice League cartoon better.
Court
15. Scott Laz
Don't worry about Lois (yet). It's still early days for the reboot, prior to which it took them nearly 60 years from the characters' creation for them to get married...

@dalgoda: To a large extent the New 52 is meant to appeal to new readers, and get rid of the old continuity. It's a gamble that clearly has alienated some long-term fans...
Emmet O'Brien
16. EmmetAOBrien
wcarter@14; the plan of Batman's used to neutralise Wonder Woman in Grant Morrison's JLA: Tower of Babel is pretty effective (as are the ones for the other League members.)
James Henry
17. redraobyek
Whether you like or dislike the changes to the Amazonian mythology, none of it is a reflection on WW herself. She knew nothing about this stuff, after all. Or are we all guilty of the sins of our fathers (or mothers, in this case)?
Court
18. Dark Claw
@Tio Willie

Dark Knight Strikes Again was garbage and should never, ever be referenced again. Nowhere close to Miller's best work.
Court
19. Dark Claw
@wcarter Batman had a contingency plan for Diana involving nanite technology. As for Martian Manhunter being more powerful than Supes, fire is a heck of a lot easier to come by than Kryptonite. Let's be honest, if Supes doesn't have a bane of some sort, then he's basically a god on Earth.

As for Diana's romantic life, I agree that the comics exploring the potential of a Bruce/Diana pairing as hinted at in the old JL cartoon would be infinitely more interesting than pairing her off with Clark.
Court
20. OldTimeComicsFan
As my nick suggests, I have been reading comics (more DC than Marvel) for a long time now. Although it was well before my time, I simply love the Golden Age stories, given how weird and whacky they were! One thing that irritated me no end of course was how Lois was characterized - forever the obstinate damsel in distress who had to be saved by Superman in the end. I always used to feel that WW would be a far better match for Supes (that is, if she was even remotely interested in him) than the simpering Lois. To me, it always seemed as if Superman falling for Lois was just another aspect of his whole "look at me, I grew up here, I'm basically human too!" shtick.

As for those complaining about the degradation of WW from being a strong female character to just Superman's girlfriend, let me remind you that Marston hardly characterized her that way. Being a great fan of bondage and S&M, "hardly an issue went by without a full-body panel of Wonder Woman bound from head to toe. In "Sensation Comics" #35 (November 1944) Wonder Woman even lets slip that rope bondage was a popular pastime back home." (That BTW is a direct quote from this wonderful must-read CBR article.) As mentioned, "her bracelets were reminders of the defeat of the Amazons by Hercules", and by now it doesn't take a genius to figure out just what that lasso represented.

Given her origins, it was fantastic that she went on to become the strong female character we all know and love, and I don't think the simple fact of her being paired with Superman in any way degrades her. A lot depends upon how the relationship is depicted, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
Court
21. Dvaleris
I always liked when they dated "normal" people: it humanized them. Having them date each other just removes another way to relate to them.
Court
22. arthur kerr
I myself like the idea of the pair , the couple they complete each other and for the Loise factor , bean ther edone that so many times I have stock in that and it grew old long ago. I however do not have a comic store close by and I need to catch up on this new take on superman and Wonder Women. Its a story that makes sense. I would have done it the other way around with Lois first and have Lois die of old age and then get the two together but this works good to. Lois never seamed the type to trully love Clark or Superman she is to much into herself to love anybody else. This has been shown through the years and one of the reason most do not like the character. Wonder Women however has always challanged Superman to learn and be more , always by his side and always a good axample. I trully hope it works out and the writing staff is up tot he challange.
Court
23. arthur kerr
There is a part that bothers me on most post these days. Same thing new day. I for one would love to see something good and true as to why a pair such as Womder Women and Superman would work. A story with depth and class and true to form.
Given time I would create a story so deep and meaningfull that when Lois died off of old age and she held the hand of Wonder Women on her death bed she says.
(Diana we have known each other for so long and yet I feal as if I could have known you better. Please take care of my Clark , my Superman for we had a good run at life) The new phaze of life would begin and Clark who has the look of old age and walks with a limp sheds tears for his dying wife but walks away and looks at the stars and you hear bruce saying. Everything changes Clark. I changed when I went to the pit and came out younger....You changed when you decided to put on the illusion of age to make Lois feel better. Life goes on as you know for you have held the hand of many of loved ones as they lowered people they cared for into the cold damp earth. They would burry Lois Kent in the days ahead , the cold damp ground would welcome her. One day she would scream again as the daughter of Wonder Women and Superman and secretly the universe would sigh and say...just part of a bigger picture. Everything is just part of a more grand story waiting to be told. Shale we dance A younger Clark Kent says to Diana... Yes My love she says....for it has been to long.... Do you wonder when it is ok to take a hand in your own and lead them to the dance floor of the cosmos and say. Dance with me , let us dream a bit. To many people refuse to dream yet alone add collor to it and dare to be more alive in the music then ever before. Give pause a bit and enjoy the story. No story last forever.....but the good ones....make you wish they would.
Court
24. arthur kerr
I have to say as a older fan of comics. The paring of Wonder Women and Superman is always or has always been one I rooted for. So to say how about the fans. I know I am not alone in this I love reading fan fics on the subject and Writing some myself for the couple are just that good to create. A team like no other a couple with no place to go but up. The battles alone could be bolder and creatative , the passion off the page and the stories more life then one could imagine if you could imagine that much. How people fear a grand adventure? How why refuse to see possible. If nothing else I ask for a book for just them , a universe that trully says Super and not just another story that says why this would fail. In the fire pits of some far away world a war wages for souls. A battle wages and screams go out and portals open and close and there waiting is Kal-El and Diana......Some times we simply want a good story. To many times people want safe and easy ones that have no soul. They refuse to buy the comic but they are the first to say how the story should go. Spice and life and passion and all those things make a story worth reading. If you know what that stuff is you know Wonder Women is the women for Kal-El. Is the writer up to the task of showing us the potental of the couple. I trully wonder. It should take your breath away and make some people run for a cold cold shower. Passion , adventure and action. I hope you have your seat belt on for this ride is going to get bumpy.

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