Wonder Woman redesign

For the first time in almost fifty years, Wonder Woman is getting a major makeover courtesy of J. Michael Straczynski:

And of course, it happens on Bad Costume Wednesday. Fate? I think so. Of the rationale behind the new costume, in aninterview with CBR's Kiel Phegley, he explained:

Form follows function. She has to exist a great deal in an urban setting. So I wanted her to have an outfit that she can close up and pass more or less without notice, or open when she's in a fight to reveal her full appearance. I wanted the outfit to express her own situation, in that she lives in two worlds, which is also in a way the trap in which she's found herself.

I also wanted it functional. As so many female fans have said over the years, "How does she fight in that without all her parts popping out? Where does she keep stuff?" She can keep or shed the jacket, there are pockets, it's tough and serious looking while still attractive. It's a Wonder Woman designed for the 21st century. Not to get all "Project Runway" on this, but what woman wears the same outfit for 60 years without at least accessorizing?

They're also retconning her origin, via the time-honored "Gods can do whatever the heck they want, including destroying and rewriting the timeline" hook. They've destroyed Paradise Island, leaving Diana the baby to be smuggled off the island and to gritty urban America to be raised. I suppose the Kents were busy.

I doubt I'll be reading the book since so far I haven't been able to find a comics shop here, but I'm not overwhelmed by this look. I immediately thought "Black Canary" when I saw it, or any one of a dozen X-Men or X-Factor female characters from the Nineties. It's just kind of boring and Madonna-ish for me.

I also don't really see Wonder Woman as a street-level, down-and-dirty, gritty urban fighter. She's like Superman, someone who ought to be in the sky, duking it out with gods and aliens and giant monsters threatening whole cities, not drug pushers and gangbangers.

But hey, he's JMS and he knows what he's doing. Although, he did come up with the whole Spider-Man Mephisto concept allegedly, so ...

Anyway, what do you think?

(Wonder Woman and image ©2010, DC Comics.)

47 Responses to Wonder Woman redesign

  1. Ben Trafford says:

    I think JMS ought to be taken out back and hit repeatedly with a large bat, frankly. This is the worst idea I’ve heard in -years-.

    Nothing will ever rival the Perez run and take on Wonder Woman. Nothing.

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    Perez was and always will be The Man when it comes to Wonder Woman, absolutely.

  3. Me, Myself & I says:

    The costume doesn’t bother me as much as the story ret-con. A person can change their close but its awful hard to change what happened in the past.

  4. Mr. Q says:

    Wasn’t it you that complained that Wonder Woman’s old look was terrible and wanted a change?

    Careful what you wish for. X_X

    A rule of thumb when it comes to certain costumes, like Superman or Wonder Woman, is that drastic changes will do more harm than good. Minor changes will pass among the fans, like the yellow bat oval that came in the 60s and eventually it was retired when the original bat silhouette came back in style (I believe Bruce Timm had something to do with it when the final season of Batman the Animated Series hit). But full blown overhauls just veer off course and end up pissing off the majority of fans.

    Now, I will grant you that some drastic changes in look have worked (black Spider-Man costume, Silver Centurion Iron Man) but those are few and far apart. And if you think I’m talking out of my butt, allow me to take you back to the ghost of failed costumes past.

    Iron Spider-Man: http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/2532/151666-75967-civil-war_large.jpg

    Electric Superman: http://www.intuitivewebdesigns.com/comics/graphics/superman/NewSuperman.jpg

    Invisible Woman’s MILF era: http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/229/611588-1_large.jpg

    Now, we find ourselves with a “new direction and new outfit” for the amazon princess. I trust JMS to an extent, but this is rather pushing it. Hopefully, this mess ends fast and soon. btw, if you want to go with a costume redesign, I would highly suggest someone on the likes of Alex Ross when it comes to handling a classic character. Case in point…

    Bucky Barnes Captain America: http://www.comicsbulletin.com/soapbox/images/0801/bucky.jpg

    To me, the last person I would ask to do a redesign of a costume is Jim Lee. OK, let me revise, Jim Lee would be the second to last person. The actual last would be Rob Liefeld. ^^;

    And yes, I truly believe that NO ONE can rival Perez on Wonder Woman. Some come close but none can top him.

    Mr. Q

  5. Jake says:

    Looks like I’ll go from not reading WW to not reading WW. Big change.

  6. cavalier says:

    I like the costume. It is much more functional than before, while retaining the earlier motifs. I would like a more classical-looking dress, but this design fits an ‘Americanized’ Wonder Woman.

    The reboot sound silly, but they generally do. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of the story lines. Too many authors with too little concern/knowledge of continuity.

  7. X-stacy says:

    I dunno, I could grow to like the look. It is kind of generic, but I’ve seen worse. At least she’s not fighting universal threats in butt-floss and a breastplate anymore.

    The retcon, though, seems pretty hard to swallow. What little personality Wonder Woman’s got is pretty wrapped up in the whole Amazon different worlds/different values concept. Turning her into an urban American makes her far more bland than her generic costume alone could achieve.

  8. Owl_Poop says:

    Just in time for the Wonder Woman movie to be seriously considered by Ms. Fitness America rejects everywhere.

    Wonder Woman’s an amazon brawler like her UFC crew and next to a goddess like her mommy in the ageless toga.

    Either we in the least get a star-spangled Xena wannabe or we let the bad guys further demean our legends.

    (lose the useless jacket, the silly pants, and keep the wrestling go-go boots) πŸ™

  9. Owl_Poop says:

    Plus, the promo pic implies the caption, “Great Hera! I broke a nail!”

  10. Worf says:

    I don’t know why, and you can cuss me out all you want, but for some reason I thought I could do better…


  11. The Doomed Pixel says:

    I’m a huge fan of the redesign. I’ve never been wild about the “old” look, just as I’m not a big fan of Superman’s look, or any of those other big icons. What I am a fan of is reality, or at least making things look a little bit more…well, believable, I guess. Like Batman’s costume in the most recent movie. Keeps the old look and feel, but it was far improved from the original black spandex. And believe it or not, that made all the difference for me. Not to mention, this new concept, just at face value, with or without the Wonder Woman connection, is a well-designed, believable, and aesthetically pleasing design. Kudos, Straczynski.

  12. Danny Beaty says:

    It sucks.

  13. remy says:

    What is it with the Wonder family and retcons? I mean, how many times did we have to go through this with Donna Troy? And at least her major retcon was done by Wolfman and PerΓ©z!

  14. PCFDPGrey says:

    I like the blade-tentacles on this:

    I’d like to see them added to HM.

  15. Laridian says:

    I like it. The colors work well together, her hair looks sorta like Lois Lane’s from the Superman cartoons. I think the hand greaves are going to be trouble (I’ve worn similar while cosplaying and it’s very hard to, say, use a pen or do other fine work in them). But she doesn’t look so old-fashioned now.

    I’ve never read any of the WW books so I feel I can’t make an opinion one way or the other on the retcon.

  16. Me, Myself & I says:

    I was thinking the same about the greaves Laridian. How is she going to bend her wrists? Kind of impotant in a fight.

    Trying to be objective here; if I had no idea who Wonder Woman was I would probably prefer the new costume (jacket optional). Our pre-conceived notions often get the better of us though.

    Mr. Q, I would have been just as happy if I went the rest of my life WITHOUT seeing Electic Superman. That’s is totally wrong! πŸ™‚

  17. TopHat says:

    Hey. Don’t bad mouth the J Man. He had no choice in the whole One More Dat matter, and he has done epic things like The Other, Back in Black and his run on Thor.

    Speaking of Thor, his JMS redesign was alot better then this.

  18. Niall Mor says:

    I’m not a big fan of Wonder Woman generally, but I don’t think I’m a fan of this makeover in particular. It seems to me that with any female superhero you’ve got two points or principles to keep in mind that may seem mutually exclusive:

    1)She’s got to be recognizably feminine and sexy and attractive AND

    2)She’s still got to look plausibly tough enough to kick bad guy butt when the occasion requires.

    I think the old look emphasized #1 too much, but IMHO, this makeover emphasizes #2 so much that it more or less ignores or sacrifices #1.

  19. Niall Mor says:

    Jeff, did you once suggest that if there was going to be a redesign of Wonder Woman’s look, it should play up the whole classical Greek/Themyscira angle? A plain white, toga-like garment, golden belt and lasso, and sandals or leggings? I think that would be a good way to go.

  20. Afrodude says:

    an excellent design for what was described as what was wanted… but what was wanted is apparently an unnecessarily drastic and inappropriate retcon. I really don’t think turning the female analogue of superman into an urban punk is the kind of ‘modernization’ that should be done to Wonder Woman. Change the colors and this looks like a great design for black cat or someone similar… but for an amazonian goddess? What’s next, Superman in a hoodie and skinny jeans? The whole shtick of these kinds of characters is that they’re leagues better than any normal person… “Pass without notice”? Wonder Woman’s outfit should be making passerby fall to their knees in wonder and awe. What im seeing is the outfit Diana would wear to a rave, not to a fight with Hades, lord of the underworld.

  21. Denise Adams says:

    I love reading the comments here, and I have to agree with the post about completely changing a character’s past. Agree with not being able to bend the wrists, and the top still shows a lot of cleavage. Funny how guy superheroes usually have most of their chests covered…

  22. The Imp says:

    I’d go with Worf’s (post #10) redesign any day of the week over the one we’re actually getting…

  23. Worf says:

    Thanks Imp. I feel honored with a comment like that form such a distinguished character creator such as yourself.

    I think we should all submit to Marvel AND DC that the next time they want to redesign a character, just ask Jeff to post a contest here and we’ll all be happier. πŸ˜‰ Even if we can’t agree 100% on the winner, I’m sure we’d come up with WAY better stuff.

  24. Me, Myself & I says:

    That would be a great idea Worf. Unfortunately I doubt they’d go for it but it never hurts to ask. πŸ˜‰

  25. spidercow2010 says:

    Ya think maybe this was done in consultation with Hollywood? Execs there wanted an X-Men leather look, like the urban setting (location shooting cheaper than building Paradise Island), hate Steve Trevor, don’t want a WW2 backstory? Maybe?

  26. TopHat says:

    I mean, look at it this way, she looks less sexualised, which is a lot better then the natty old stripper attire whe used to go around in.

  27. thejay says:

    It’s a whole lot different, so the story which supports it oughta be VERY good, or it’s gonna fail. JMS tried to do a very brave thing here, and I for one am curious as to how it turns out storywise.
    Though I haven’t read wonder woman in years.

  28. War Wizardess says:

    I like it a lot, but that much change was a daring thing to do, so many will hate it.

    Perhaps it’s a “girl thing”, but outfits that look much more sexy than functional strain my suspension of disbelief, distracting me from the action and plot while reading comics (or playing some games, for that matter). I often find myself thinking if “keep your boobies from tumbling out in the middle of a stunt/battle” is part of the superpower package. πŸ˜›

    The retcon doesn’t grip me, but I’ll reserve judgment for when I’ve read more. Since I wasn’t that invested in WW before, perhaps it’ll work for me.

  29. Jeff Hebert says:

    Actually Project Rooftop had a Wonder Woman costume redesign a while back and I liked at least half the entries way more than this one.

    The best points I’ve seen so far are that a) the jacket and fingerless gloves are so Nineties, I fear Michael Jackson’s zombie shade will arise and demand their return, and b) the pants should be blue to match the jacket color.

    A day later, I stand by my original assessment that it’s boring. I don’t hate it, it’s just completely blah.

  30. Vadlika, Prague says:

    I like the new look, but i still dont care for wonder woman. i think shes too blah. Then again, i think J M S is great so he could give her more depth.

  31. Fabien says:

    About street level or not street level:
    The only Wonder Woman story arc i was read (its during my military service, there is plenty of trade paper of comics translations) she was working for the Witness Protection Service and teaming up with Animal Man. It was very street level.
    I think these episodes might be just before Crisis on Infinite Earth or just after.

  32. Jeff Hebert says:

    Fabien, this is actually a current-year deal, the gods basically go back and rewrite history so that Paradise Island was destroyed, with baby Diana the only survivor, smuggled to the USA. It’s going to be a one-year-long story arc, apparently, with Diana figuring out what happened and trying to correct it.

  33. Owl_Poop says:

    Ugh… The unique “amnesia” plot. She’d better clash with some Titans even if she’s in a burlap bag for a dress. Then lasso the bad guy, and yo-yo-slam him through a mountain. This is Superman’s real woman anyway. Whatever.

  34. redvector says:

    If it flops the arc won’t last the whole year. It’ll get a bump in sales then nose dive.

    This look doesn’t say Wonder Woman it says Whatever Woman.

  35. Steve M. says:

    Dollars to donuts, that’s the whole plan with this. I’d lose the jacket, but I’ve always thought that an immortal Amazon warrior shouldn’t fight in what is essentially lingerie, so I’m behind the concept of this new costume, at least. But from a storytelling and marketing standpoint, my best guess is that DC hired JMS to basically craft a story for Wonder Woman to “find herself” and are using the costume update to garner attention. As the story progresses, we’ll see a shift towards the traditional Wonder Woman mythology, with a return to status quo at the end of the year. This is just to drum up interest/scandal/fanboy outrage, and get people talking.

  36. P.F. Bruns says:

    @Owl_Poop: This is more of a “reverse amnesia” plot, to my understanding: She’s the only one who knews how the story originally went, and she’s decided to try to remap reality back to that. Pretty empowering, if y’ask me, and I know you didn’t.

    That said, I don’t like some elements of the new costume. First, the boots–are they built into the Peg Bundy pants? If so, that never ever works. She’d have to have some way to disassemble them, or every time her pants got ripped–say, by a nuclear missile or death ray or something–she’d have to throw away the boots too. I’m not sure what her new source of income is (I started to say “visible means of support,” but WW has always pretty much defied gravity, if you know what I mean, and I think you do), but that has to get expensive.

    Next, the pants. Black? Really? Granted, at least she’s no longer the Star Spangled American Cheerleader, but still. Black. Pants. Boooooooring, and not at all Themysciran. Yes, I know that there (temporarily) isn’t a Themyscira, but she’s descended from–okay, sculpted by descendants of–Greek gods. Give that woman an armor skirt made of dyed leather strips–probably cream or muted gold.

    The belt, by contrast (!) absolutely works for me. It’s well-shaped, and nowhere near as potentially painful looking as the old stabby-looking diamond-shaped girdle she used to wear. Plus, the metalwork eagle is a wonderful detail–now the eagle and the “WW” are both back, and they’ve switched places.

    The top is the element I would most like her to keep when reality is reset. The darker red, the “WW” at the neckline, the overall shape similar too but distinct from the armored bustier, the sleek and simple overall cut, the practical but still sexy spaghetti straps (not shown here) and even the “sun rays” radiating down from the “WW” logo, all combined for an outstanding look.

    The jacket should go back to the Madonna-themed costume shop where she got it. End of line there.

    The gauntlets–I don’t hate these. I figure she could easily do fine work in them largely because She Is Wonder Woman, and can therefore get gauntlets in which her wrists can flex when necessary.

    The tiara–It worked before, and works now, as it has undergone only minor changes.

    I would not have picked Jim Lee to draw out the redesign, because I don’t believe his art style fits the character, but he is co-publisher, and obviously can pull rank whenever he wants.

    So yeah, I’ve thought about all this just a bit. In order to placate the greeting card and coffee mug manufacturers, though, few if any changes will survive the end of this story arc. I would like to see the top, belt, and gauntlets stay, though.

  37. P.F. Bruns says:

    Oh, and I almost forgot: replace any and all boots with knee-high cross-laced sandals. The bright red F%^&-me boots never really worked.

  38. Niall Mor says:

    OK, gang. Here’s my entry in the WW makeover derby. I was going for something very simple, very neoclassical, that plays up the whole “Amazon princess” angle and the character’s ties to Greco-Roman mythology. Lemme know what you think. Do you (a) like it, (b) love it, (c) hate it, or (d) just don’t frickin’ care? Inquiring minds want to know.

  39. Jeff Hebert says:

    Nice job Niall!

  40. haydnc95 says:

    Ew no. They should not mess with an Iconic heroine.
    Get rid of the cheesey 90’s jacket and jeggins. Really dosn’t look right
    I perfer this look: http://fanartexhibit.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/wonder_woman_new.jpg
    Kinda movieish, but I like it πŸ™‚

  41. Jack Colby says:

    I don’t think it’s a good look for her, and does not really suggest Wonder Woman. There’s a reason the classic outfit has remained as long as it has, despite it being impractical, silly, or whatever. This costume doesn’t have a mythological character feel to it at all, and now, I guess, neither does the character’s background.

    I think it’s a bad move and will be met with a lot of resistance, however, I think this was perhaps partially (or largely) motivated by the desire to get a film version of the character moving, and the old outfit just would not adapt to live-action in a way that was deemed serious enough by the studio folks.

    That’s my theory. They want to claim the movie look is based off the current comic incarnation, so they changed it first. Taking away her mythological aspects, or at least paring them down, would make for a lower budget film, too.

  42. The Imp says:

    If they’re gonna retcon WW, they ought to go with something similar to what Stan Lee did in his one-off reimagining of WW. Now THAT was a retcon!

  43. The new look sucks. She doesn’t look unique anymore; she looks like Jubilee of the X-Men (one of the top 10 lamest superheroes of all time, IMO). She even looks shorter than she used to be, or is it just me?

    Frankly, I think they redesigned her, to make her more marketable for the film industry. One of the big problems they’ve been having is finding an actress tall enough, pretty enough & a good enough actress to play her; it would be easier to cast her, if WW was only 5’6″.

    Put her back the way she was & give her back her invisible plane (or better yet, an invisible stealth bomber).

  44. Here’s my rendition of a new Wonder Woman design:
    Her belt is actually the Lasso of Truth. The flagpole is actually a spear; when she hits the butt of it on the ground, the flag rolls up into it (it’s a little hokey, but what the hell). Plus, she has a bow & arrows.

    I know you would’ve preferred a more contemporary design, but damn it, superheroes are supposed to look like superheroes. Period.

  45. Wesley Belk says:

    I never really got into Wonder Woman, but I understand what she represents and also why her costume has lasted this long. I actually prefer her look in the Justice League Unlimited animated series, and also Niall’s is very good redesign! They should go with it than the this new ordinary housewife look they’ve got going… What does she need pockets for?? She has a lasso … and what else? A cell phone? nail clippers?? She’s friggin’ superhero for cryin’ out loud. What they dress is usually all they need!

  46. Jigglypuff says:

    I disagree with some of you. I believe that the old classic looks doesn’t work any more. What Wonder woman desperately needed was both a retcon and a costume update. One retcon I had envisoned is that Wonder woman is a recarnation of a far more ancient warrior heroine from one of the 3 ancient tribes of Amazons before they became one entity. The particular heroine that is currently the Amazon champion banished a corrupted primal god from the mortal realm to the Hellfire section of Tartarus. 3,500 years passed by and the seal begun to weaken 200 years ago, around the time Diana was born or created. When the seal breaks, that’s when she must remember her previous life so she can re-seal the god-turned-demon.