Sunday, January 27, 2008

Reason why I read comics # 4,374

I just got done reading Gail Simone's Wonder Woman # 16. This is the third issue of her re-boot, and she's really starting to build momentum.

Simone is trying to delve more deeply into Amazonian culture and what it means to be Wonder Woman. And she's pretty darned good at it.

The Golden Rule for writers is always "show, don't tell". Wonder Woman was born into a world where the Gods are very close to the heart (and physical address) at all times. A less gifted writer would simply allow the history of the character to imply this religious relationship. Gail Simone is better than that.

Just before Diana engages in battle, we get to hear her internal prayer, and it goes like this:

"To those above, from those below.

I ask that my enemy surrender, or failing that, that he fall in battle, without further bloodshed and grieving from his loved ones.

I ask that you protect my allies, whose only folly is valuing my life above their own.

Do them no harm, I ask, with everything my heart is or ever will be.

But grant us victory, this above all.

For any other ending means the death of all I hold dear."

Is that not the coolest damn prayer you've ever heard in your life? Those are the words of a nurturing death dealer, my friend. It's flawless.

It's the feminine counter to Conan's wonderfully masculine prayer in the original Schwarzenneger movie - "Crom! I've prayed to you my whole life...if you don't help me now...then go get fucked." (I'm paraphrasing, obviously)

THIS is why I read comics. I know there are lots of reasons to frown and cry and pout - even in this book. I'm not in love with Dodson's art, actually. And yes, the gorilla back-up crew and the Nazi bad guys are a little over-the-top. Fine.

But for one brief moment this evening, I got to listen to what a warrior goddess prayed as she entered combat, and it felt...real. God bless Gail Simone, and to those above from one below - thank you for the comics.

- Ryan

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