Sisters in Arms: Examining Azzarello’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Part 5

Golden Age Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls art by H. G. Peter

This is the fifth 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.

Women’s Solidarity and Camaraderie

Marston’s Wonder Woman champions for a sense of solidarity among women. Diana’s relationship with the Amazons, Etta Candy, and the Holliday Girls all firmly establish the importance of women’s camaraderie as a central theme of Wonder Woman.

The Holliday Girls Etta Candy, Toy, Little, and Tall

Sadly, this classic theme is largely absent from Azzarello’s run.

Wonder Woman discovers petrified Queen Hippolyta Wonder Woman #4 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff ChiangIssue #3 establishes Diana’s turbulent relationship with her Amazonian sisters and mangles her rapport with Hippolyta. Hera’s revenge in the following issue further separates Diana from her family – this time physically rather than emotionally- by transmuting the Amazons into snakes and Hippolyta to stone.

That’s why I have such a problem with Wonder Woman #7; it serves to even further isolate Diana from other strong women. By alienating Diana from the Amazons without providing a suitable replacement, Azzarello has stripped Woman Wonder of its central themes of women’s camaraderie.

The theme could be salvaged by replacing the Amazons with another group of strong women but unfortunately, female allies are scarce in Azzarello’s Wonder Woman.

Golden Age Wonder Woman and the Holliday ride into battle art by H. G. Peter

Overall, these female allies take a backseat to Diana’s male allies both in sheer numbers and in terms of importance. Aside from the Amazons, Diana only gets Zola, Hera, and a couple issues with Siracca.

Zola is amazing (more on her later), but she’s often reduced to a damsel in distress – especially early on in the series.

As for Hera, she’s proved herself a much more capable adversary than ally. Which would be fine since female villains are important too, but as an antagonist she’s regrettably restricted to stereotypically “feminine” forms of villainy; she’s vain, jealous, and conniving. As a comrade, she spends most of her time being catty and bickering with Zola.

Hera hits Zola with a remote from Wonder Woman #15 art by Cliff Chiang

I’m not saying that they have to be besties (although Hera has been displaying a bit personal growth) but their constant bickering certainly isn’t advancing the theme of women’s camaraderie.

Zola ruins Hera's ice cream in Wonder Woman #13 art by Akins and Green

Aside from those two, Siracca is really Diana’s only other female ally. It’s a shame Siracca doesn’t have a larger role in the story because she’s an interesting character who also adds a bit diversity to the mostly white cast. Not to mention that the two sisters’ interaction provides one of the series’ best example of solidarity and allows Diana to display a bit of personality.

Wonder Woman and Siracca hug in Wonder Woman #14

The paltry presence of Diana’s female allies is clearly one of my criticisms of the series. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to Diana having male allies. It’s rather refreshing to see a woman leading a coed superhero team, which brings us to the subject of the next article series.

Join me next time as I examine male followers and female leadership in A Leader of Men!

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