"What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?" asks DC Comics writer J. Michael Straczynski who was tasked with giving the aging superhero Wonder Woman a new, darker back story to shake up sales — plus her first big wardrobe upgrade since 1941. Gone is the skimpily patriotic bustier-and-hot-pants look. In its place: A stripeless combo of "urban-hip" black leggings, low heels, and a dark blue jacket with "I mean business" sleeve-rolling. (See a slideshow of Wonder Woman through the years.) Comic aficionados are split on the sensible new look:
The revamp is a "super bummer": I know superhero makeovers always trigger a backlash, says Lauren Beckham Falcone in the Boston Herald, but come on: This evolution into a "waif with implants and a credit card at Forever 21" isn't progress. "When Wonder Woman goes from brazen superpower to Bratz doll in one brushstroke, the bad guys win."
"Wonder Woman's new look a super bummer"
DC had to take some action: Wonder Woman occupies a curious position as "the most popular superhero no one seems to like very much," says Stephen Totilo in Kotaku, so it's not surprising DC's trying to shake her up. Though this look is "nobly," less trashy, unpopular costume changes don't tend to last very long. "Electrified Blue Superman" was gone in a year.
"Wonder Woman costume modified so that it makes sense?"
This is exactly what Wonder Woman needed: It's way past time for Wonder Woman to get a pair of pants, says Robin Givhan in The Washington Post. Now she's "a glamorous athlete" with authority instead of "an unusually muscular Miss America who happens to fight crime." Bonus: By shedding her flag themes, "she has shrugged off parochialism to become an international sophisticate."
"From star-spangled briefs to skintight pants, Wonder Woman is still a wonder"
Making her "dowdy" doesn't make her stronger: Wonder Woman's new outfit has "a certain admirable practicality," says Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon, but that's not the point. "It's never just about saving the world — it's about looking fabulous doing it," and trading Wonder Woman's "unabashed flashiness" for a less revealing getup is a step backward. "What's super about a jacket? Nothing."
"Wonder Woman's dowdy fashion makeover"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- California's epic drought
- The girl who wouldn't die
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
Subscribe to the Week