by The Daily Planeteer
Picking up where we left off: I loved it…
…when in Wonder Woman #6 (Rebirth), after rescuing Steve Trevor and returning the bodies of his deceased fellow soldiers to the U.S. from Themyscira, Diana is arrested and processed by the military police. An officer issues a stern directive (but Diana doesn’t speak English) and reaches for her shoulder. On the next page, he’s on his back. Immediately, a pack of cops pull their guns and she strikes her classic cuff-cross pose. She’s been a guest in “man’s world” less than an hour and already the authorities are attempting (and failing) to assert control over her. The face-off only deescalates when Steve convinces the police to stand down and Diana to trust him.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Steve wears a donated Amazonian outfit in this scene—belted blouse, capri-like pants, and sandals—to adorable effect. It’s especially cool in that there’s no trace of the usual guy-in-women’s clothing trope: Oh, the hilarity! The schadenfreude! He’s dressed like a girl! A girl!!! Instead, Steve is unfazed. Comfortable, even. I give props to the writer-artist team, Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott for taking something that could have easily been a cliché and turning it into a subtle, character-defining detail. This version of Steve is not hung-up on any macho silliness (nor does he seem to harbor any anxiety whatsoever over Diana’s abilities). And these details matter. He needs to be this guy if he’s to win the heart of Amazon royalty. Little flourishes like these permeate the book and may account for why it’s my favorite Rebirth title so far.
But as much as I love all the cool understated Steve-isms in this issue, my favorite moment concerns Diana’s mug shot. Mug shots, after all, are emblematic of the aforementioned attempt to assert control. They claim and brand their subjects. They represent cold bureaucracy, stigma, and all the variety of treatments Diana fundamentally negates. In fact, being handled in such a way is so foreign to her, she doesn’t even register an understanding of what’s happening. She’s distracted by all kinds of curiosities, having never seen, for instance, a camera. An officer mimes the act of posing for the shot and she follows suit, offering one of the most endearing smiles ever rendered in a comic book. My response to her expression is twofold. On the one hand, she conveys sweetness and charm. On the other hand, although she’s being arrested, she’s not afraid. Again, props go to Scott. The art delivers a perfect, priceless blend of innocence and badassery. But more importantly, Scott’s art never condescends to or objectifies Wonder Woman. And that is way too rare a thing.
In short, I love you, Steve Trevor’s blouse. I love you, Diana’s mug shot. And Nicola Scott, you’re a boss.
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