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Wonder Woman: Facing Reality Is Overrated

Wonder Woman: Facing Reality Is Overrated

By Amy Ratcliffe Thursday, May 11th, 2017

WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2: YEAR ONE retells Diana’s origin in a way that sheds exciting new light on the 75-year-old character. But it’s Barbara Ann Minerva’s youthful challenges that fascinate writer Amy Ratcliffe, as she shares in this exclusive post.

When are you "too old" for a hobby? When should you put away certain fascinations and studies simply because of your age? The answer is never, obviously. As long as what you're doing isn't hurting anyone, then focus on what fills your life with joy. Barbara Ann Minerva's father doesn't give her such courtesy in WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2: YEAR ONE, written by Greg Rucka with art by Nicola Scott and Bilquis Evely. A parent's insistence on giving up what they deem as an unworthy pursuit would stop some people from chasing it. Some people are not Barbara Ann.

Maybe it's odd to focus on Doctor Minerva in a title with Wonder Woman in the name, but I was moved by the interlude with her background. Over the course of the main story, we see Barbara Ann in a key position. No one could understand or communicate with Wonder Woman when she first arrived to the human world from Themyscira until Barbara Ann came along. Her specific area of knowledge allowed her to speak with the Amazon. She's likely one of a few people, if not the only person, on the planet capable of stepping in to translate for Wonder Woman and to join the mission.

But if her father would have had his way, Barbara Ann would have stopped escaping into fantasy and started facing reality long ago—well, his version of reality. As a young girl, she was into Greek mythology. Her teacher pointed out the subject was an important foundation for classical studies, but Barbara Ann's father did not care. Maybe he was distraught and not thinking actions through because of the loss of his wife and Barbara Ann's mother. Maybe. It's not the best excuse for trying to put a stop to his child's imagination.

He viewed his daughter's actions as hiding from reality. He has no use for any information that isn't a fact. For holding such a narrow belief about the world and what's important, I pity him. Fantasy is tied to reality, and even if the connection is only tenuous, you can have a foot in both worlds without fully stepping out of either of them. On the other hand, for the act of throwing Barbara Ann's makeshift shield and sword into the fire in front of her eyes, I have a few choice words for him. Probably more than a few.

It's not as if Barbara Ann needs me to defend her. While her father's harsh words and actions would have been enough to stop some children in her tracks, she fought forward. I don't know if she kept reading about mythology in secret, maybe devouring stories and texts provided by her teacher under the covers at night with a flashlight, or in open defiance. She didn't give up. Her resilience is as impressive as any of Wonder Woman's gifts. She received two PhDs by the age of 26, for the love of Hera.

Her tenacity didn't diminish as she continued into adulthood. The interlude demonstrates Barbara Ann has some unconventional goals in comparison to her colleagues. They try to talk her out of her mission. She doesn't care. She focuses on the Amazons. She doesn't relent. She doesn't stop.

I'm not saying being stubborn is an overall quality to strive for. There are some things one shouldn't be stubborn about, like following medical advice or getting car problems taken care of (I'm definitely not speaking from experience), but if you have beliefs and goals, don't let others diminish them. Don't stop following your path because another person tells you it's silly. You do you. Being determined is no bad thing.

Though I was particularly taken by the development of Barbara Ann, I'd be remiss not to bring up the rest of Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One. The origin stories for our favorite super heroes change time and time again. Change is one of the few constants you can depend upon in comics. Sometimes only a few points from the original history are blurred and manipulated to fit a new tale. Other times the past is erased with a different coat of paint and a new beginning.

The evolution of Diana to Wonder Woman in Year One pulls together key elements from the past 75 years into a familiar web without coming across as a regurgitated story. Rucka and Scott revisit known quantities about the character but do so with a fresh, upbeat perspective and memorable vivaciousness. More than a few pieces of the plot tie to what we'll be seeing in the Wonder Woman movie in June, so if new-to-DC moviegoers are here looking for more of the Amazonian princess, this is an ideal title.

And in the Easter egg department, please note the name Doctor Perez. The professor shares his name and a resemblance with George Perez, the iconic Wonder Woman writer and artist who defined Diana for a new, modern generation.
 

Amy Ratcliffe writes about Rebirth and DC Super Hero Girls for DCComics.com and covers Supergirl for the #DCTV Couch Club. Look for her on Twitter at @amy_geek. To read her article on WONDER WOMAN VOL. 1: THE LIES, click here.

WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2: YEAR ONE  is now available in print and as a digital download.

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