Amazons Attack Prologue
March 3, 2009
The Prologue to my Amazons Attack Review (starting next week)!
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (sighs heavily) Well, folks, we've reached a new low: an epic fail that I doubt even Shawn Foust could report on adequately. I am referring, of course, to the six-part event comic (holds up comic of review) "Amazons Attack".
(Cut to a clip of Wonder Woman on Justice League, the animated series)
Wonder Woman: (looking shocked and depressed) Hera, help us.
Linkara: I'm gonna be breaking one of my own rules here. The thing is, one of the big problems with this comic is continuity. It disregards the vast majority of continuity built up around the Amazons and their culture, and as a result–
(Suddenly, the Continuity Alarm goes off, infuriating Linkara who holds up his magic gun)
Linkara: (aiming his gun at alarm) SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP–
(Cut to a cover reading "Anger-Induced Insanity - Please Stand By", which shows a crazed Fry from Futurama surrounded by Bender and other robots, while pleasant music plays in the background; cut back to Linkara, with the alarm off now)
Linkara: (sighs) So, anyway, because continuity plays such a big part in this, I decided that before we get to the comic itself, I need to talk about Wonder Woman, the Amazons, and the events leading up to "Amazons Attack".
(Cut to a shot of a piece of artwork of Wonder Woman)
Linkara (v/o): She's the most recognizable superheroine throughout the world: Wonder Woman. Now, in popular culture, when people think Wonder Woman, they think this...
(Cut to a clip of the old Wonder Woman TV show, where Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) spins around in a circle, transforming into Wonder Woman; cut to a promo shot of Carter as Wonder Woman)
Linkara (v/o): ...which is all right, but that was a '70s TV show that didn't exactly reflect the nuances of the character. Then again, Wonder Woman's character is something...
(Cut to a shot of a comic version of Wonder Woman)
Linkara (v/o): ...a lot of writers and popular culture don't seem to quite know about. Sure, Superman and Batman, you think of them and the mythology around them, and you've got it down.
Linkara: (dramatically posing) Superman: you will believe that a man can fly! Batman! (as Batman) I'm Batman, and I can breathe in space. (dramatically) Wonder Woman! Uh... Oh! (wraps his arms around himself) Tie me up with your lasso! (droops his head, groaning)
(Cut to a shot of a comic art piece of Wonder Woman holding a sword and shield and wearing a white cape)
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, popular consciousness is not kind to Wonder Woman, though it's easy to see how the ideas about her came about.
(Cut to a shot of Wonder Woman's original creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston)
Linkara (v/o): In the 1940s, a psychologist named William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman. And yes, I'm fully aware of his lifestyle choices; he was in a poly-amorous relationship with two women, so you don't have to inform me about them. In any case, he did note one problem at the time: girls lacked a strong role model they could latch on to.
Linkara: And I don't mean (mocking feminine voice) "let's all be good little homemakers and good little wives" role models, I mean women who punched in Nazis and kicked people's asses if they were jerks.
(Cut to a shot of a classic Wonder Woman comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): And so, he created Wonder Woman. However, he also knew that he needed to get boys on board for the character to survive. So he hit upon the age-old excuse of "sex sells"...
(Cut to a montage of other Wonder Woman comics showing Wonder Woman in some form of bondage)
Linkara (v/o): ...and put out Wonder Woman in bondage. And I mean, a lot of covers of her in bondage.
Linkara: You know, for kids!
(A message appears above him: "Sorry again, Critic.")
Linkara (v/o): And while there was still lots of bondage in the books themselves – Marston had this philosophical idea of loving submission that I don't really quite understand, so I'm not gonna try to talk about it – what they'd also get was a philosophy lesson about not treating women as inferiors. So, what about this character? Well, it does us no good to look at the Golden Age origins, since there have been some changes to that in the last few decades. So let's skip ahead to 1986. Following DC's miniseries "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the DC Universe had the chance to give some of their characters a fresh start with no continuity, and they did so with Wonder Woman. Drawing once more on Greek mythology like Marston had done, it was shown that a group of Greek goddesses realized that someday, people were going to stop worshiping them. So they should create a new race of humans who could always spread their ideals and beliefs. They decided to take the souls of women who died tragically, particularly at the hands of ignorant or hateful men, and gave them new life, thus creating the Amazons, meant to be better than the rest of humanity, who are selfish dicks.
Linkara: Better culture. Yeah, I'm already endearing myself to the (makes "finger quotes") "better culture" already, I can see that.
Linkara (v/o): Jokes aside and long story short – too late – the Amazons make a serious mistake, and as punishment, Athena, goddess of wisdom, sends them to the island of Themyscira to live forever and guard an unspeakable evil.
Linkara: (dramatically) What evil is this? It's... (a dramatic sting is heard as he holds up his index finger) UNSPEAKABLE! (beat) Yeah, I have no clue; I really should actually read the stories.
Linkara (v/o): As symbols of their former lives, they're also given (?) braces to wear.
Linkara: (holding up his arms like Wonder Woman) You know, the bracelets.
Linkara (v/o): So, everything's all hunky-dory for them for a while, but then Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, decides that she wants a daughter. As such, she fashions a baby girl out of clay and prays to the gods to grant her life. Thus, Diana, AKA the future Wonder Woman, is born.
Linkara: There you have it, folks! No metal plates in their heads, no lame football uniforms and once-in-a-lifetime mixtures chemicals, or magic coins with no backstory. (points to camera) Wonder Woman was made by the freaking gods!
Linkara (v/o): In fact, the gods impart gifts to the baby girl, based on their own abilities. Demeter gives her the strength of the Earth itself, Hermes imbues speed and flight, Aphrodite grants beauty and a loving heart, Athena bestows wisdom, Artemis the eye of the hunter and unity with animals!
Linkara: (holding up fist) Yeah! There's your freakin' "heart" right there, Captain Planet!
Linkara (v/o): Hestia gives her "sisterhood with fire--that it may open men's hearts to her!"
Linkara: Ohhh, so the way to a man's heart is with fire! (nods, then becomes confused) Wait, what?
(A cover for another Wonder Woman comic is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Well, okay, it's an overly-dramatic way of saying it, but this is really the precursor to Wonder Woman's real iconography.
(Cut to a shot of another Wonder Woman comic, showing the title "Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth")
Linkara (v/o): Batman is justice, Superman is hope, but Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman is the Spirit of Truth! More on that later. So, there you have it, folks: wisdom, strategy, strength, flight...
(Cut to a later Wonder Woman comic where Diana is unable to pump gas from a car with a credit card)
Linkara (v/o): ...and the inability to use credit cards or pump gas.
Linkara: (burying his face in his hands with a groan) We'll get to that in a minute.
Linkara (v/o): So Diana grows up on the island, but then, the Oracle prophesizes the likely possibility of Ares, god of war, using his power to consume the world in endless conflict. So the gods bestow a mission upon the Amazons: to send their best champion to Man's world to spread a message of peace, and combat evil where it may hide. Once again, long story short, Diana becomes the one to go out in the modern world. The gods grant her another gift: an indestructible lasso that channels truth itself. This could mean revealing a person's true nature, and freeing people from mind control, to letting them see their own soul or even the truth of a mad plan they wish to enact upon the world. At one point, Wonder Woman even died, but was reborn as the goddess of truth.
Linkara: And there you have it, folks: your core concept of the character boiled down to a single statement: Wonder Woman is the Spirit of Truth! (beat) WHY DO SO MANY WRITERS NOT GET THIS?!?!
Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, for the next several years, lots of stuff happens. Wonder Woman holds down several jobs, including working at a taco joint – seriously, she works at a taco joint for a while. She goes into space and topples a galactic empire. But most interesting of all is when Themyscira rejoins the rest of the world.
Linkara: (gasps and covers his mouth in phony shock) A society of warrior women who don't need men while promoting feminism and peace? HIDE THE PLAYBOYS AND MAN THE GUNS, QUICK!!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, yeah, I joke about this, but seriously, diplomatic relations open up between Themyscira and the rest of the world. Diplomats, philosophers, writing, art, and etc., are all exchanged, discussed, and a fun time is had by all. And who better to serve as an ambassador to the United States than Wonder Woman herself? Hell, Themyscira even drops the monarchy. They upgrade themselves technologically so they have a mixture of magic, modern science, and just innovative thinking from a culture that's existed for thousands of years unimpeded. And during this, Diana even writes a book on philosophy, and it becomes a bestseller.
Linkara: She's been in the world for ten years, she's loved by the world, and she loves the world right back. So, in grand comic book tradition, let's find out how we can screw it all up! Enter Geoff Johns.
(Cut to a montage of DC comic artwork by Johns)
Linkara (v/o): Now, an admission here: I love Geoff Johns' work. He was fantastic with the Justice Society, he has original ideas and concepts that I would never have even begun to dream of, and he got me interested in comics outside of the Titans. But the man cannot write "Wonder Woman" to save his life!
Linkara: I don't get what his problem is with her, but he really doesn't understand the character. Every time he writes her, she is espousing nonsense and promotes this idea that (mockingly) Wonder Woman is some perfect individual who thinks she's perfect and needs to get brought down to us ordinary folks. And it's bullcrap!
Linkara (v/o): Diana never claimed to be better than anyone. She was kind, goodhearted, and she did everything in her power to try to make other people's lives better. (sighs) So anyway, the story in question...
(Cut to a shot of the cover for "Infinite Crisis", a sequel to "Crisis on Infinite Earths")
Linkara (v/o): In 2005, Geoff Johns wrote a sequel series to "Crisis on Infinite Earths" called "Infinite Crisis". In the buildup to it, Superman became ineffectual, although I blame that more on Chuck Austen writing it more than anything, though; Batman became a paranoid lunatic, who set up a satellite array to monitor the superheroes of the world; and in order to save Superman's life, Wonder Woman murdered a hero-turned-villain named Maxwell Lord. That image of her killing him was transmitted to the world, and suddenly, everyone was afraid of Wonder Woman and the Amazons. You know how in Marvel, people will turn on their heroes at the drop of a hat? Well, that's what happened here with Diana. To once again make a long story short, the Amazons had to flee from the world, and Wonder Woman would "never be able to be with them again". She went on some bullcrap "find yourself" mission and came out of it deciding to adopt a secret identity. And how did she become a closer part of the world? What profession would she hold that would make her closer to the poor, ordinary human beings that apparently she didn't connect with? A secret agent in a tight, white jumpsuit!
Linkara: (burying his face in his hands) Of course! It makes perfect sense!
Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, DC started off the book, and it made some waves. However, to make matters worse, they made the writer of the book Alan Heinberg, who is a good writer, BUT IT TAKES HIM FOREVER TO WRITE ANYTHING!
(Cut to a shot of a cover for the comic "The Finale of: Who is Wonder Woman?")
Linkara (v/o): And so, the opening storyline for the book, a mere FIVE ISSUES, took over a YEAR to finally be completed! And even then, the storyline wasn't completed in the main book! So, out with Heinberg...
(Cut to yet another cover of yet another Wonder Woman comic: "Wonder Woman: Love and Murder", by Jodi Picoult)
Linkara (v/o): ...and in with famed author Jodi Picoult. She really didn't get Wonder Woman...
(Cut to a panel of the comic, with Linkara describing it in detail)
Linkara (v/o): ...showing her as someone who had just stepped off the boat to America. Wonder Woman couldn't pump gas, didn't know how to use a credit card, and basically was a complete moron.
Linkara: (throwing up his arms in anguish) SHE WROTE A FREAKING BOOK!! SHE WAS AN AMBASSADOR, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!
Linkara (v/o): So, here we are. (sighs) The Amazons are gone, Wonder Woman has been set up as a complete dingbat in her own book, and DC wants to have ANOTHER summer crossover event book with tie-ins, despite the fact that "Infinite Crisis" was barely over a year old.
Linkara: (dramatically holding up "Amazons Attack") And thus, "Amazons Attack" was born. (lightning flashes and thunder crashes)
(Cut to a shot of a comic art piece of Wonder Woman by Gail Simone)
Linkara (v/o): The one good that has come out of this malarkey is that Gail Simone is now writing Wonder Woman. I highly recommend this book as it is now. People want me to recommend a good book? This one! Hunt down any book written by Gail Simone – in particular, her Wonder Woman stuff. Her first storyline is collected and called "Wonder Woman: The Circle".
(Cut to shots of various versions of the cover of the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Get it now! It has gorilla knights in it and Wonder Woman fighting Nazis!
Linkara: Seeing as March is Women's History Month in the United States, I hope this history lesson into the greatest superheroine ever has been helpful, and that the review of the comic itself has helped meet your expectations. And since I'm taking on a whole miniseries of mini-intelligence, I have no choice but to train myself in preparation. Time for a training montage, people!
(A training montage begins, set to the theme from Rocky. It begins with Linkara running out the front door in a sweater and running down the driveway onto the street, where he runs down the street. Next, he is back inside as he is punching a punchbag while wearing boxing gloves. Then he is seen running down the street again. Then, he is seated on the couch, holding up various comics, one at a time)
Linkara: (holding up one comic) (?), stop making up the same character over and over again! (holding up a second comic) Apple Computer lawsuit in five, four, three... (holding up a third comic) (?) Five?! I can think of over five hundred reasons this comic blows!
(Cut to Linkara running down the road again, this time with the camera following from behind him. As he runs past the driveway, he stops to catch his breath before running again. He is then seen again punching the bag, but it rebounds and hits him, knocking him down. Then Linkara is seen running again, the camera again following behind)
Linkara: Crap, it's cold!
(Cut to Linkara sitting on the couch again)
Linkara: (holding up a comic) This comic sucks! (holding up another comic) This comic sucks! (holding up a third comic) This comic sucks! (holding up a fourth comic) This comic sucks! (holding up several comics in each hand) All these comics suck!!
(Then Linkara is aiming his magic gun at the punchbag, but he struggles with shooting it for some reason. Finally, cut to Linkara's door, as he runs up to it, running in place several times on the steps as he does so. Standing on the topmost doorstep in front of the door, he holds up his arms in triumph. Suddenly, he starts to fall forward, but catches himself in time. Now cut to Linkara standing in the living room, looking visibly winded and panting for breath)
Linkara: Okay... Clearly... my unique physique as a... comic book nerd... does not... lend itself well to... Rocky Balboa training montages. (holds up index fingers) But the good thing about being a geek, though... you get creative. Let's go. (holds up index and middle fingers) Take two.
(Linkara puts his magic gun in one pocket and a dagger in the other. Then, with a grim look, he holds up a lightsaber. On his left hand, he attaches a (fake) chainsaw, and extends the dagger a few inches. In his right hand, he puts on a Freddy Krueger-like glove with claws on it)
Linkara: All right, "Amazons Attack". I'm all opened up, and I'm ready for you. Come on, give me your best shot! What can you do, huh? I got all this...
(Cut to a clip of Raiders of the Lost Ark: Indiana Jones, confronted with a master swordsman, simply takes out his gun and shoots him dead. Linkara is stunned. As "Whatcha Say" plays in the background, Linkara very slowly falls to the ground, as though dead, but then he suddenly gets back up again)
Linkara: What, you really think I'm gonna do a "Dear Sister" parody? For crying out loud, I do comic books, not lame Saturday Night Live sketches.
(Linkara falls down again, then cut to him sitting on the couch)
Linkara: Oh, and a very special thank you to Dumpster Tech for the improved lighting.