Sunday, 24 January 2010

In Darkness, Love must Triumph

Okay. My regular readers will not understand why I branch out to comic book this time, but if you read my first (and the only entry so far) about this topic here, you will begin to understand. Or so I hope. Anyway. Doesn’t matter. For I am ECSTATIC!!! Thank you so much, Greg Rucka! God bless you!

Okay. Ahem. Get back on trail. I’ve been on high like this since yesterday, since I picked up my Wonder Woman #39 and Blackest Night WW#2 from my local comic shop. I belatedly read WW#39 because I was away for a month, but still… I salute thee, Gail Simone, for wrapping the gigantic Warkiller arc magnificently. Thank you.

Enters Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2. I started this arc, superbly written by Greg Rucka and beautifully penciled by Nicola Scott, with no intention to read the main Blackest Night stories, for it just gives me headache. Thank God for Wikipedia. But I was, still am, more than willing to read the WW tie-ins, for… hey, it’s Wonder Woman! Plus, Greg Rucka was a respected WW writer, clearly still in love with Diana, and he’s been communicating with Gail Simone as well, so the characterization fits in. Blackest Night WW#1 – where Diana fought against the resurrected Maxwell Lord whom she killed to save a mind-controlled Superman – was amazing. I don’t have the book with me, but it just reaffirms my belief in Wonder Woman. In Diana, in her faith in Love.

Comes Blackest Night WW#2, just a week or so ago, and it shows Wonder Woman morphed into a Black Lantern after she was infected by that black ring. As the bearer of the black ring, Diana almost killed Mera, Queen of the Atlantis. She also seemed to Wonder Girl, Donna Troy and even Hippolyta, until a Batarang flew and stopped her.

Batman (Bruce Wayne version) stepped in and told her to stop. The Black Diana refused and had another fight with him, but the real Diana within realized that it cannot be... for "Bruce is dead..."

But here’s the fun part. So far I know, the black ring’s power can only be broken by a force more powerful than its own. In Diana’s case, it should be the power of Love, which is represented as a violet ring in the DC term. Violet ring also belongs to the Star Sapphire Corps, which strangely does not include male heroes, for apparently DC thinks that males are incapable of loving (I strongly disagree, of course). Now, in BN WW#1, Diana used her Lasso of Truth to dispel Max Lord’s army. But seems that the lasso did not function when she was infected by the black ring. Diana needs another source of love to break free, and her subconscious chose Bruce Wayne, the Batman.

And the Batman in her mind said the same thing that the real Batman would: “Stop it, Diana. Now. This isn’t you, Princess.”

Diana wrestled him, but then, hands choking each other, she remembered not only that Bruce was dead… but that she loved him as well. Batman and Black Wonder Woman kissed, the Black Diana started to glow into the real Diana, and a strand of violet ray hit her.

It was a violet ring, bearer of the power of Love. And Lady Aphrodite, who had been protecting Diana from her dark self. Story told short, Diana took the violet ring, severed the connection with the black ring, and became a Star Sapphire.

What does the Batman mean here? If one read Comics Alliance’s review, one might agree that it was just the way DC portrays the Batman as the ultimate problem solver. But I don’t see it that way. I’ve been reading Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman since Down to Earth, and I can see how he did not choose to present Batman in BN WW#2 randomly, nor that he sees Batman as the generic DC problem solver (hey, why don’t you ask Batman to stop the rampaging Superman then?).

No. Rucka sees what I and many other Bruce/Diana fans see: that they are truly compatible; that their friendship can actually extend to a beautiful love story. If allowed. Quoting Jane Donovan, my colleague from the Batman WW Arkham: "It is [Diana's] love for him that brings her back. Batman pulls Wonder Woman out of the darkness and into the light. The guy they always say is just too dark and gritty for her." Agree. Batman is actually the light in the dark, not the darkness it self.

And I have records for that. Just from Greg Rucka's WW: Sacrifice arc, where Superman punched Diana so hard, and what she thought was... Bruce. His battered body after nearly being slaughtered by Superman. Bruce and Bruce, until she slammed back to the Earth. And during the Down to Earth arc, Diana asked Batman to investigate the murder of a protester outside her embassy, with full approval from Alfred Pennyworth. (see NoahOz's site for an excellent compilation of BatWondy files throughout the DC publications).

You know what? I begin to really think that Rucka is secretly an admirer of Bat and Wondy! It is not a secret that DC will never let Diana and Bruce together, not in the mainstream universe at least. Even Gail Simone (bless her) has stated that she disagreed with Bruce/Diana pairing, except for elseworld stuffs (and I do respect her opinion). But here we have the first kiss scene after JLA's Obsidian Age, and I forever thank Rucka for that.

BN WW#2 also reminds me of how Rucka really loves Diana. Admittedly, there were times during his run a few years ago that I flinched, for it was very dark and desperate sometimes. But still, Rucka understands that Diana is truly the embodiment of ‘love for all creation’, and that what makes me love this book. It sets a different tone from the rest of the dark Blackest Night stories. I am also grateful for the traditional, loving depiction of Aphrodite. Rucka used to portray this Goddess of Love as a &#^@* with nothing but a roll of tissue covering tiny bits of her parts… but in this book, the Goddess was restored as the doe-eyed Embodiment of Love, pretty much the way George Perez and Phil Jimenez portrayed her. Thank you, Greg Rucka!

One last comment. I disagree with DC’s concept for Emotional Spectrum, which to me undermines the true meaning of those colors. Although I like the interpretation of several spectra (green for willpower, blue for hope, indigo for compassion), it seems to me that DC only sees some colors in terms of negativities. In this case: red for anger, orange for avarice, yellow for fear, violet/purple for unattained love. According to the true chakra system, all colors are beneficial to us, if maintained in balance. Red is about passion (but excessive red leads to anger), orange is for creativity (yet excessive orange leads to lust), yellow for wealth (but too much fire is no good either), green is for love (heart chakra), blue is for communication (throat chakra), indigo (brow chakra) for higher awareness and intuition, and purple (crown chakra) for pure consciousness. In this case, I agree with Comics Alliance that DC needs to have clear distinctions or definitions between compassion (indigo ring) and love (violet ring), for to me those words are interchangeable.

See, to me love is not a mere state of emotion. Love is a state of being. True love is not wobbly, it does not falter. Love is higher than any other emotions, and it can expel fear, for there is no fear when you have love within you. In this case, I can understand why Rucka (or DC) chose Wonder Woman as the bearer of a violet ring. Diana’s ability for universal love can give fresh meaning for the Star Sapphire Corps, from women who were hurt by ‘love’ into women (and men hopefully) who are the embodiment of true unconditional love.

“In darkness, love must survive,” said Aphrodite, encouraging Diana to take the violet ring. Wonder Woman took it; the violet ring shattered the connection of the black ring.

“It must do more…,” replied Diana as she flew to the sky in her new Star Sapphire uniform. “It must triumph.”

I can’t agree more! Thank you, Rucka! Thank you, DC!

All pix by Nicola Scott, ink by Jonathan Glapion, colour by Nei Ruffino (Blackest Night WW#2)
PS 25 January 2010:

I just remembered one thing. I got this scan from NoahOz's site, from BN WW#1 (arts by Nicola Scott). The funny thing about this pic: Batman's death was the ONLY death where Diana was NOT present (Diana was present in both Hippolyta's and Artemis's deaths). Yet Rucka showed it in the panel. Hah! He could've shown Donna Troy's instead... but he chose Batman's death there. Thanks Rucka!

PS 28 Jan 2010:

Check Rokk's Comic Book Revolution for another interesting review for this book, of course with approval for Batwondy pairing ^_^


Anonymous said...

Why are you not writing for DC Comic's Icha??? lol Your explanation is perfect. I was all smiles and giggles when I saw the kiss. It was prefect! Sexy but with such emotions.

Nicola Scott's artwork was great, the fight scenes were awesome. But I still hold the kiss as the ultimate picture. :)

By the way this is Chaosmob. :) I would sign up for your blog but I hate google.

Icha said...

LOL! Thanks a lot Chaosmob! I just re-read your last FFnet PM, I felt guilty for my long absence. Rest assure tho, just 5 min ago I sent chapter 8 to Hepburn for the beta; hopefully we get it in a few days...

I do think the KISS is the ultimate picture so far, tho JLA Obsidian Age kiss is still great, of course, for it was real (real Bats kissed real Wondy)...

Definitely a good New Year gift for us Batwondy fan!

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is rusoluchka from Batman and wondy's best love nest: a taste of paradise. I've been out of the country for awhile, but I had my cup of tea this morning and read BN WW #2, practically bounced around with glee then hopped online to see if anyone was ecstatic like me. lo and behold! I find your very awesome review and just want to say I totally agree!!!!

Love how Diana is portrayed and while I'm not a fan of dream sequences, I feel this one was done right. That kiss makes me weak in the knees, so much passion, who wouldn't want to be kissed like that?

Icha said...

Hi Rusoluchka! Thanks a lot for the comment. Well, I DO want to be kissed like that... tho I don't want to be infiltrated by a black ring power beforehand... too risky! :-D

But yeah, the kiss was just amazing! It was on par with the Obsidian Age kiss, and perhaps can be even better, if only the new one is real... but as we all say, it's good enough for now!

Diana said...

Congratulations Icha! A perfect review! I love this issue! The storyline was very well thougth, the fight with Mera was breathtaking, everything was pretty intriguing. And the revelation that Wonder Woman's love for Batman allowed her to overcome the black ring influence is the best thing here. By far the most significant reveal in any BC tie-in, and who knows where the love connection between Diana and Bruce Wayne might lead in the future...Just wish this issue "happened."

I'm also a big fan of your writings in Keep the good work!

Icha said...

(Just wish this issue "happened.")

Sigh... I understand what you mean, Diana. Some Batwondy fans are worried that DC will just come up with some silly reasons to annul this kiss... or just make Bruce state something stupid...

But I have faith in hope... and in Love...

Thanks a lot for the comment!