Morrison's graphic novel seems more promising than most recent Wonder Woman projects — for example, the panned 2011 television pilot by David E. Kelley or the 2007 feature film by Avengers director Joss Whedon. It just might be the break Wonder Woman needs. (It is not clear yet when the graphic novel will be released.)
The real question is why this is happening to Wonder Woman. Part of the reason may be that comic books remain a sexist industry dominated by older white men. As DC's most iconic feminist, Wonder Woman is an outlier, and not always a beloved one.
"She [Wonder Woman] stands as an unapologetically feminist super heroine in an industry that often relegates women to sidekicks, damsels, and girlfriends," Shoshana Kessock writes for Tor.com.
Wonder Woman did not need a man to succeed. She isn't like Hawkgirl, Batgirl, or Zatanna—she wasn't brought in as a daughter or sidekick to a main character. "And while many things about the character have changed since her reinvention in 1987...her foundation as a powerful female character with staunchly feminist views has not changed," Kessock adds.
And therein lies the difficulty for writers.
Because Wonder Woman is an indelible icon of feminism, writers are more reluctant to experiment with her. It's easier to write a more ambivalent, ambiguous character like Batman, whose only real imperative is to fight crime in Gotham. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, stands for so much—feminism, strength, hope, humanity, etc.— and there's a pressure for her to live up to these expectations at every turn. "Why isn't she representative of this or this or this?" Morrison complained, mimicking potential critics. And Kessock points out, "Nobody wants to be the one to do the film incorrectly—whatever that means—and present the studio with a flop starring one of its major characters."
Morrison — the man who reignited the fiercely catty, feminist, twisty character of Emma Frost — is taking a refreshing approach to Wonder Woman by surrounding her with other female characters.
I wanted to get in as many relationships between women as possible – there's Wonder Woman and her teacher, Wonder Woman and her mother, Wonder Woman and the girl she kind of fancies at school. I wanted lots of different female relationships to show that there's not just one type of woman and she's not representative of all women.
That's promising. But the other big concern with Wonder Woman is explaining her wacky creation myth. Some people don't even know what her origins may be. As Nelson told The Hollywood Reporter, "She doesn't have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes."
"And the bondage/feminism problem is only the beginning of the character’s idiosyncrasies," wrote Wired's Noah Berlatsky. "Wonder Woman is explicitly supposed to be bringing peace — but she comes from an Amazon warrior culture and spends most of her time fighting,"