Wonder Woman finally gets some pants

Wonder Woman wears pants. I am going to give you a second to let the magnitude of this statement sink in. After 69 years of wearing star-spangled hot pants and a red-hot bustier, the Amazon Princess finally got a makeover. And it means considerably less shaving for our heroine.

First, let’s get the giggly stuff out of the way. She hits 69 and then puts on pants? Dude, backwards.

But, seriously, I am of two minds about this very new, very different look. There is a big part of my brain that catches fire at the thought of change. This is history. This is an icon. This is Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman doesn’t wear pants.

But then there is another, less prone to burst into flames part of my brain that says about damn time. Why shouldn’t Wonder Woman wear pants? Crime fighting is serious business. It requires strength. It requires smarts. It requires pants. Pants are key.

The changes are part of a re-imagining of the DC Comic superstar’s origin story. The look launched yesterday for her 600th issue penned by new series writer J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Changeling) and designed by DC co-publisher and artist Jim Lee. Straczynski told The New York Times:

“She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941. If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility…. What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?”

In this new timeline, Diana no longer grows up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, but instead is spirited away before the island and most of its inhabitants are destroyed. She grows up in an urban setting instead. In its DC Source blog, her style is described as “more of a street-fighter” look.

It’s a look designed to be taken seriously as a warrior, in partial answer to the many female fans over the years who’ve asked, “how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?”) She can close it up to pass unnoticed…open it for the freedom to fight…lose the jacket or keep it on…it has pockets (the other fan question, “where does she carry anything in that outfit?”, it can be accessorized…it’s a Wonder Woman look designed for the 21st century.

Whoa, whoa, whoa — pants and pockets? I might need to sit down. Also, we might want to introduce this new Wonder Woman to Batwoman. Because, you know, I hear she knows a thing or two about pants and pockets. You know what I mean? Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. They’re both lesbians now. (Just kidding — mostly.)

Now, there are several ways to dissect Wonder Woman’s new duds. From a feminist perspective, those pants are a sartorial ERA. Equal fabric for equal crime fighting. From a Project Runway perspective, I’m not exactly sure she is making it work. That jacket is a little ‘90s street urchin goth for my taste. Also, while she is now wearing pants (or leggings, if we want to get all Lindsay Lohan), the new design has in no way disaugmented her bustline. Those girls are still quite, um, wonderful.

Reactions to the new Wonder Woman have been swift and somewhere between appalled, accepting and utterly amused.

Wonder Woman herself, actress Lynda Carter told ABC News:

“I think it will take time for people to get over not seeing a lot of leg. I think it’s going to be very sexy and it’s new and I love the little cap sleeve. You know, she’s a hip girl. […] I think Wonder Woman has a mind of her own. And I think she was just kind of ready for something new. She’s got an attitude and if this is the new thing that she wants to wear, well, by God, she’s going to wear it. And I like that. And I hope that in the story someone mentions, where’s the old one? And she says, get over it!”

Actress and geekgirl extraordinaire Felicia Day asked the famously fashion forward Fug Girls to weigh in on the matter.

Felicia agreed, but noted the new look’s other benefits.

Of course, others were slightly more forceful with their criticism. Deadline Hollywood entertainment blogger ran a huge headline reading: “DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!” Don’t be shy, tell me how you really feel.

Still, for every fangirl and fanboy who is outraged by the new look, there is solace in the wise words of comic book artist Dean Trippe from the Project: Rooftop superhero redesign blog.

“I don’t really care for it, but remember, it’s a temporary situation. Like Batman or Superman, Wonder Woman’s costume’s never going to stray too far from her iconic look for too long….This fashion backwards trend is incredibly common in superheroine redesign, as we saw in the last big Supergirl update, which included the already-ten-years-late belly shirt for no reason….

Like a lot of things in superhero books these days, this new Wonder Woman smacks of attempting to make the character more film-ready, paradoxically, by making them less iconic, less recognizable to the public. Female costume redesigns are the area I’m the most nit-picky about, though, so let’s see how long this look lasts before worrying about it too much.”

You know, as much as the look has its faults, I think it is still a move forward. It’s a lot less iconic, but a little more practical. She looks tough, if a little Hot Topic. And really, if you think about it, you can never go wrong with a nice pair of pants.