Posted by : Wendy B Wednesday, 12 October 2011

One of my biggest beefs with the Justice League reboot was that the commentary at the end of the issue #1 that focused entirely on the character design, placing special emphasis on the idea that the re-designs they tried were too "complicated." As a result, we have costumes for our heroes that, well, look the same as they did before, minus some undies.

But while the boys lost their underwear, Wonder Woman ended up getting her's back, despite much debate. Her resulting costume is rather lack luster, even compared to the pants on version Jim Lee designed in 2010.

Poor Wonder Woman was also embroiled in great costume debate when she tried to get back into television in a poorly pieced together outfit that she apparently picked up at Wal-Mart. During discussions here, I suggested that her outfit really did need to be modernized and toned down, much like Jim Lee's version, noting that the X-Men were fine examples of costumes that worked in our hip, modern world. A friend argued that the X-Men are a larger group and it offers more opportunity for them to make changes as a whole, while Wonder Woman and her friends are more iconic. Their costumes and all the symbols that go with them make them who they are.

Maybe I'm biased because I'm a Marvel girl, but, thinking about this, it made me realize something about these characters - specifically DC's finest, who get to hang out in the Justice League:

They will never be allowed to change their clothes.

It took 69 years for Wonder Woman to get out of her stars and panties, only to have them thrown back on a year later. But when you take Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman etc out of their costumes, are they all that identifiable?

Face it. If you put Clark and Bruce in a room together and Bruce was being a real jerk and stole Clark's glasses, could you tell who was who?

Both of them have contrived personalities that I'm sure have become a bit more than the movies give them credit for since they were born, but, other than Bruce angst and Clark goodness and Diana's honourness, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that defines them when they aren't wearing their iconic costumes.

Meanwhile, we have the main characters in books like X-Men, whom you can easily recognize outside of their costumes, not just because of their striking physical features, but because they were each given unique and prominent personalities from the start.

Part of me thinks that this is because the X-Men are part of a larger group, but there are enough Marvel solo characters who function solo and are still fully identifiable outside of their costumes.

What is my point? I'm not sure anymore since I started this post a few days ago and am now just  searching for nice pictures of Hugh Jackman. See? Totally looks like Wolverine even without the costume.


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I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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