Like a prayer

I came across an interesting comic today while reviewing some Wonder Woman issues.  It was issue 218 of volume 2 and is not a very old comic (just about six years old).  This issue basically serves to wrap up some storylines before pushing Wonder Woman off on the Infinite Crisis tie-in stories.  One of the stories involves Ares, recently appointed as the ruler of the underworld, who goes to Themyscira to retrieve his daughter.  This is kind of a complex story, as Ares at the time was sort of inhabiting the body of Ares Buchanan, who had a child with Donna Milton, who was the secret version of Circe (secret even to herself).  The child, Lyta, went through various years of almost being ignored until eventually Circe was trapped on Themyscira with Lyta, where the two would learn Amazon ideals.  This concept is not that foreign to the title either.  Also in volume 2, Cassie (Wonder Girl) would undergo training in order to become an Amazon (though this is not the same as she actively sought out the training.)  In the first volume, villains were often taking to Paradise Island for reprogramming as model citizens.  In contemporary Flashpoint issues, Wonder Woman is the ruler over the British Isles, where others are taken to be reprogrammed in a sort of dystopian society.   
 

Once this question was raised in the issue that I read it got me to thinking though - is this actually a reasonable behaviour?   Compared to recent items in the news headlines about the reprogramming of homosexuals into straight people, it appears not.  After all the goal of prisons is not inherently to change people's belief systems.   An impartation of morals is not supposed to take place at all in prisons, though of course there is religious help available (though increasingly prisoners in the United States are finding faith in Islam.)   Prisons are really only supposed to impart some respect for the law, while also serving as a punishment for criminal activity.  Prisoners who go to prisons are not expected to convert to different religions or change their life philosophy (other than changing their understanding of crime.)   Prisoners on Paradise Island (at least by golden age standards) were essentially expected to become Amazons. 
 
There are of course some deeper concerns.  The idea of having Lyta on Themyscira was so that  she could be taught some belief system other than what she would learn from her father or mother (both pretty evil people.)  This is akin to removing children from parents who espouse hatred of other groups of people and putting them into foster care.  In this issue Athena tells Diana not to interfere as it is a matter of the gods (Circe being more of a god than a mortal).  The interesting thing though is that Circe was always shown as a good parent and for all of Ares' treachery to get himself in a position where he could take her back, he seems to have done it in her best interest (it is impossible to tell, her last appearance was in this issue.)  Therefore the Amazons sort of judged the child and the parents before any had a chance to prove themselves.   
 
As always I am not a very big fan of some aspects of Wonder Woman, and the politics of Themyscira is one of them.  In light of coming changes to Wonder Woman then, maybe this is on aspect of the character and the island that could be left behind.   
4 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by azza04

I'm excited to see what the new Wonder Woman after Flashpoint is like. I'm not sure what path would be better for her stories to take though, set in Greek mythology and monsters, or a more real world setting? Maybe a bit of both.

And about the criminals being taken back to Themyscira, is it just female criminals exclusively? Or do they allow male criminals to live among them as well? The hole thing sounds out of order really, I mean do they inform the countries government that they are kidnapping one of their citizens and forcing them to undergo Amazonian reprogramming?

Posted by SC

For me personally, it depends you know? One is dealing with real life serous and ethical questions, and like most serious and ethical subjects, I am not fond when comics lays a heavy hand into the matter with all its bluntness and often over simplicity. Then it also depends on how flawed or perfect you wish the Amazons to appeared, and whether that be ambiguously so, or more specific, and as a reader who would rather them be written with a touch of idealism I am not sure any writer could easily incorporate such issue into their culture successfully, and so ambiguously ideal it is.  
 
Then again, I also like such topics and questions and discussion and I'd think a good writer could really create a multitude of great stories paying closer attention to this idea/plot. Cool blog by the way as well. 

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Posted by RazzaTazz
@azza04: Yes it was only females that were taken back (as it is now mostly with Flashpoint.)
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Posted by Timandm

It's hard to imagine that DC would actually have Wonder Woman ruling a dystopian society in anything but an alternate reality or timeline.  It's interesting to see, but it definitely doesn't belong in the main DC storyline.