This is the third of a multi-part examination of Brian Azzarello’s current run on “Wonder Woman.” It’s recommended that you go back and read the series from the beginning.
SPOILERS for Wonder Woman #0-20 ahead.
Trained in the Ways of War
Wonder Woman #0 introduces another interesting addition to the mythos. In this fun, Silver Age-styled romp set 11 years in the past, War becomes so impressed with the accomplishments of the then 12-year old Diana that he offers to further train her in the art of war. This is presumably to groom her to one day assume his throne.
This revelation has also been loudly condemned by some critics who argue that Diana receiving training from a man diminishes Wonder Woman’s accomplishments and autonomy.
That’s a ridiculous thing to say.
First of all, it greatly inflates the importance of War’s very limited training. The issue clearly states that the instruction only takes place under the full moon for exactly one year, during which time Diana continues her regular Amazonian training that has already succeeded in sculpting her into a badass. Twelve training sessions equates to little more than a bit of tutoring when compared to her entire life spent training with the Amazons.
It also ignores that Diana’s already an accomplished warrior in her own right. In a world literally full of supermen, the fact that War chooses a 12-year old girl trained exclusively by women to be his apprentice doesn’t undermine the notion of powerful women — it reiterates it.
The criticism also relies too heavily on an us versus them mentality. A woman’s accomplishments aren’t lessened by utilizing skills taught by a man. Does having a male instructor make a female firefighter less of a hero?
If Wonder Woman truly is one of the most skilled warriors on Earth, it stands to reason that she would learn her skills from the greatest teachers the world has to offer, regardless of their sex or gender.
Finally, this assessment misses the entire point of the issue.
This issue isn’t about a man teaching a woman how to fight but rather a woman teaching a man mercy. There’s nothing more quintessentially Wonder Woman than that.
Join me next week when I discuss the biggest bombshell of the series in Rape, Murder, Slavery, and Infanticide.