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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Default Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed: Review and spoilers

    On the third page, Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed made me sit up and take notice, as Diana's Amazon companion said:

    May the Five Mothers help us.
    And I wasn't disappointed when I turned the page, as the Five Mothers turned out to be Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter, Artemis, and Hestia (last but apparently the most important of them all), in a clear return to Pérez.

    There is a lot to like in Laurie Halse Anderson's script and Leila del Duca's art (and correct me on this, but is this the first time we have had an all-women creative team for a Wonder Woman title, as they are joined by Kelly Fitzpatrick on colours and Saida Temofonte on letters?). Themyscira and the Amazons are treated respectfully and with love. Diana ends up in Man's World out of compassion and a desire to help, though in an entirely different way than is common in most of her origin stories. Throughout, Diana's compassion and desire to help is portrayed as a strength and a virtue, never as naďveté or as weakness. Through Diana, we get a lot of commentary on refugees, racism, poverty, and homelessness.

    Art-wise, it connects with a lot of the earlier DC Ink titles, with a limited colour palette and a more stylised aesthetic, and it generally supports the emotional beats on the story very well, though it doesn't do as well on the action elements. I like how del Duca manages to draw Diana as very tall without making her seem disproportionate.

    On characters, Diana again gets some new companions in Man's World: Steve Chang and his husband Trevor; Henke Cykierek and her granddaughter Riassa. In this too, it feels like a return to Pérez. It's not that they are bad characters, but I think there is a strength in the recurring stable of supporting characters.

    As plots goes, this is rather simple: Diana rescues some refugees from Man's World about to be shipwrecked on Themyscira, and as a result ends up in a refugee camp in Greece. She is found by Steve and Trevor, and they manage to get her a scholarship in the USA. There she is hosted by Henke, befriends Riassa (with some snags on the way), learns about our world, and investigates the kidnapping of children. As plots goes, it's not too complex, but the real strength lies in how Diana interacts with people around her.

    Is it all good? Sadly, no. I already mentioned how the art doesn't manage to sell the action, and there isn't much action in the book. The plot is fine as it goes, but doesn't feel very Wonder Woman-y: more suited to a character like Batgirl, Catwoman, or Black Canary (indeed, The Oracle Code had a plot that wasn't too dissimilar). It also feels like the book pulls its political and social punches. It never managed to pick up one issue and really dig into it, like Under the Moon did with domestic abuse and youth homelessness, or The Oracle Code did with disability, or Breaking Glass reveled in its queerness.

    But perhaps the greatest problem with the story is that Diana is fundamentally unchanged through the book. This makes it feel more static and less interesting than the other titles from DC Young, like the earlier Diana: Princess of the Amazons.

    Verdict: a good but not great introduction to Wonder Woman.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  2. #2
    Moderator Nyssane's Avatar
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    A few years ago, I would've gobbled this up rull fast. But there's so much Wonder Woman being pumped out now that I have to be a bit picky with my selections. So I'll pass on this. It sounds like it's a great young adult read, though, and I hope lots of younger readers have a great time with this one.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Seen a few of these books at the schools I work at. Hopefully they do well with their target audiences.

  4. #4
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    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.

    Let me first explain that I'm a German, i.e. European, so that Greco-Roman mythology is much more part of my culture than for the US-based readers. I got to read the Odyssey (in a child-friendly version) as a child already. However, I feel it wrong to give children (who seem to be the target audience) the idea that Aphrodite is, was, or could be, black. For better or worse, the Greeks imagined that their gods looked like them, and you should know and respect that. To depict Aphrodite as black, for reasons of diversity (I can't imagine any other reason), is IMHO a case of cultural appropriation. While the comparison is not entirely fair, I'd like to ask the US readers how they would feel if Uncle Sam was depicted as black?

    I am aware that the Greek gods are in the public domain, and DC can (legally) do to them whatever they want. But I'd like to tell DC: You have enough myths and characters of your own. Please respect the myths of others when you use them. If you feel a need for diversity, make Diana black. Or make this story not about Diana, but about Nubia, who may be the sister of Diana, or the daughter of Philippus. I'm OK with all that - but not with messing with the Gods.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgzip View Post
    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.
    I'm Swedish, and had no trouble with Aphrodite being depicted as a black woman here.

    On one hand, the original Greek were likely not racists as we think of it. From what I know (admittedly limited) they were plenty prejudiced against non-Greeks, but it had far more to do with language and culture rather than skin tone or looks.

    On another hand, I think Wonder Woman is at its strongest in dealing with mythology when it brings a subversive and feminist element to it. The in-book Amazon mythology isn't inspired by the Greeks, but rather the Greeks were inspired by them. Why wouldn't the Greeks re-imagine a black Aphrodite into someone more like them?

    On a third hand, depictions of gods and goddesses has always been based on the prevailing ideals. The tall and fair Jesus with long flowing hair is as much a historical aberration as a black Aphrodite.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  6. #6
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    I don't think that Mythological accuracy is super important to Wondie's mythos.

    If it were, there would be much bigger issues at play. Namely the fact that Mythologically, the Amazons weren't greek, they were foreigners.

  7. #7
    The Comixeur Mel Dyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgzip View Post
    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.

    Let me first explain that I'm a German, i.e. European, so that Greco-Roman mythology is much more part of my culture than for the US-based readers. I got to read the Odyssey (in a child-friendly version) as a child already. However, I feel it wrong to give children (who seem to be the target audience) the idea that Aphrodite is, was, or could be, black. For better or worse, the Greeks imagined that their gods looked like them, and you should know and respect that. To depict Aphrodite as black, for reasons of diversity (I can't imagine any other reason), is IMHO a case of cultural appropriation. While the comparison is not entirely fair, I'd like to ask the US readers how they would feel if Uncle Sam was depicted as black?

    I am aware that the Greek gods are in the public domain, and DC can (legally) do to them whatever they want. But I'd like to tell DC: You have enough myths and characters of your own. Please respect the myths of others when you use them. If you feel a need for diversity, make Diana black. Or make this story not about Diana, but about Nubia, who may be the sister of Diana, or the daughter of Philippus. I'm OK with all that - but not with messing with the Gods.
    While I liked the film, VERY much*, ..seeing anything, but, a tall, blond Scandinavian playing Valkyrie in Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok ..seems wrong to me. The Scandinavian people (Vikings, Normans, etc) saw the Valkyrie, as angels, who comforted the slain. It is highly unlikely that, on their death-beds, they would imagine such beings looking like anything, but Scandinavians.

    I really do sympathize.

    Being a life-long student of Greek and other European mythology, I am no stranger to Aphrodite and her many stories. I know that Aphrodite was called 'the Cyprian', by the classical Mediterranean civilizations, who worshiped and revered her, ..as commonly as Judeo-Christian Mary is called 'the Virgin'. While European art and Western media (movies, TV, etc) has depicted Aphrodite alternately, as a pale redhead or Nordic blond, the ancient world, as early as Homer, saw her as a dark, voluptuous beauty, ..before it saw her as anything else. Pale or dark, she is the same beloved European deity.

    Don't see a need to portray a Euro goddess, as black or African, ..who is already historically celebrated, as dark.
    Last edited by Mel Dyer; 06-09-2020 at 08:20 AM.
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  8. #8
    Chad Jar Jar Pinsir's Avatar
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    I've never heard of this product before. Its crazy how many WW media is out there today.
    Want to read Wonder Woman stories, but don't know where to start? Check out my top 10 lists for Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Modern Age Wonder Woman tales!

  9. #9
    Deadly Bee Weapon coveredinbees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgzip View Post
    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.

    Let me first explain that I'm a German, i.e. European, so that Greco-Roman mythology is much more part of my culture than for the US-based readers. I got to read the Odyssey (in a child-friendly version) as a child already. However, I feel it wrong to give children (who seem to be the target audience) the idea that Aphrodite is, was, or could be, black. For better or worse, the Greeks imagined that their gods looked like them, and you should know and respect that. To depict Aphrodite as black, for reasons of diversity (I can't imagine any other reason), is IMHO a case of cultural appropriation. While the comparison is not entirely fair, I'd like to ask the US readers how they would feel if Uncle Sam was depicted as black?
    They're fake and they have magic powers. This is ridiculous.

    I shouldn't need to say either that American culture and government was heavily influenced by ancient greek ideals and the ancient Greeks traded in Africa. IIRC, the gods also go to Africa in the Odyssey.

    It would be appropriate for the US to have a black Uncle Sam.

    I am now looking forward to reading this.
    Last edited by coveredinbees; 06-09-2020 at 03:55 PM.

  10. #10
    Chad Jar Jar Pinsir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgzip View Post
    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.

    Let me first explain that I'm a German, i.e. European, so that Greco-Roman mythology is much more part of my culture than for the US-based readers. I got to read the Odyssey (in a child-friendly version) as a child already. However, I feel it wrong to give children (who seem to be the target audience) the idea that Aphrodite is, was, or could be, black. For better or worse, the Greeks imagined that their gods looked like them, and you should know and respect that. To depict Aphrodite as black, for reasons of diversity (I can't imagine any other reason), is IMHO a case of cultural appropriation. While the comparison is not entirely fair, I'd like to ask the US readers how they would feel if Uncle Sam was depicted as black?

    I am aware that the Greek gods are in the public domain, and DC can (legally) do to them whatever they want. But I'd like to tell DC: You have enough myths and characters of your own. Please respect the myths of others when you use them. If you feel a need for diversity, make Diana black. Or make this story not about Diana, but about Nubia, who may be the sister of Diana, or the daughter of Philippus. I'm OK with all that - but not with messing with the Gods.
    Cultural appropriation doesn't come into play here. Cultural appropriation is only an issue between colonizer and colonized people. Maybe if the author/Aphrodite was Turkish we'd have a problem here (or Roman).
    Last edited by Pinsir; 06-09-2020 at 05:14 PM.
    Want to read Wonder Woman stories, but don't know where to start? Check out my top 10 lists for Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Modern Age Wonder Woman tales!

  11. #11
    Fantastic Member Psy-lock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgzip View Post
    Although the reviews were not too great, I bought that book (boredom due to quarantine will do that...) On the page showing the Five Mothers, I noticed that Aphrodite is drawn as a black woman, and I found that disturbing.

    Let me first explain that I'm a German, i.e. European, so that Greco-Roman mythology is much more part of my culture than for the US-based readers. I got to read the Odyssey (in a child-friendly version) as a child already. However, I feel it wrong to give children (who seem to be the target audience) the idea that Aphrodite is, was, or could be, black. For better or worse, the Greeks imagined that their gods looked like them, and you should know and respect that. To depict Aphrodite as black, for reasons of diversity (I can't imagine any other reason), is IMHO a case of cultural appropriation. While the comparison is not entirely fair, I'd like to ask the US readers how they would feel if Uncle Sam was depicted as black?

    I am aware that the Greek gods are in the public domain, and DC can (legally) do to them whatever they want. But I'd like to tell DC: You have enough myths and characters of your own. Please respect the myths of others when you use them. If you feel a need for diversity, make Diana black. Or make this story not about Diana, but about Nubia, who may be the sister of Diana, or the daughter of Philippus. I'm OK with all that - but not with messing with the Gods.
    After black Achilles and Zeus in the Troy TV show nothing would shock me at this point, but yeah, this trend of "diversifying" other cultures by American and British writers is annoying and smacks of cultural appropriation (or perhaps cultural insensitivity would be a more appropriate word).

  12. #12
    The Comixeur Mel Dyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinsir View Post
    Cultural appropriation doesn't come into play here. Cultural appropriation is only an issue between colonizer and colonized people. Maybe if the author/Aphrodite was Turkish we'd have a problem here (or Roman).
    When Aphrodite and Greek mythology are presented to us, as classic, I think Western civilization is offering it up to be celebrated, consumed, traded and appropriated (fancy for 'adopted'), ..by everyone. Seriously...the West (US, Germany, France, UK, etc) presents its music, art, literature and media, as a gold standard of expression - classic. It's a little too late to tell us we can't have a Chinese or Cameroonian actress playing Aphrodite or gender-bending, ..as lesbian Ares. When you're working with the classics in modern and popular art, that is the price or consequence of artistic license.

    I like to see gods and mythological figures, presented in popular media, in a way that reflects the cultures that created them. As someone belonging to two or three cultures, who rarely see any depictions of our ancestral gods and heroes, I sympathize with that simple, whimsical desire. I don't care how many decades of blond Romans and painted Navajos, we've had on film; if ancient Nubian Sudan gave us Isis, I want a brown or African-looking Isis. If Norway gave us Valkyries, I think movie Valkyries ought to look...Nordic?

    Is that evil?

    I have to disagree with your colonizer/colonized POV on cultural appropriation. That sounds, to me, like thinly veiled social privilege, requiring the appropriator belonging to a group that someone (anyone) in the appropriated culture favors, over other groups. It's like..."You (X) can wear my Kente cloth and perform my music, but, you (Y) and others from your group, whom I do not favor, ..cannot." What I find particularly distasteful about it is that the discriminating individual - granting or refusing access - who may not be speaking for his entire group, ..typically presents himself, as if he does. While I don't think for a second that this was your intention, ..sounds like social privilege, weaponized to hurt and exclude, to me...!

    What I'm saying is that i do not agree that cultural appropriation should be reserved for exchanges, between historically colonized or disenfranchised people. Let's all wear each others' hair-styles, wear each others' clothes, share and inspire each other, with our art and music ..and learn from one another. We might accidentally make the world, a better place, ..and I think Diana would approve.
    Last edited by Mel Dyer; 06-09-2020 at 08:46 PM.
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  13. #13
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Dyer View Post
    While I liked the film, VERY much*, ..seeing anything, but, a tall, blond Scandinavian playing Valkyrie in Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok ..seems wrong to me. The Scandinavian people (Vikings, Normans, etc) saw the Valkyrie, as angels, who comforted the slain. It is highly unlikely that, on their death-beds, they would imagine such beings looking like anything, but Scandinavians.
    I recommend you read up on your history. The valkyries were the choosers of the slain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Dyer View Post
    Being a life-long student of Greek and other European mythology, I am no stranger to Aphrodite and her many stories. I know that Aphrodite was called 'the Cyprian', by the classical Mediterranean civilizations, who worshiped and revered her, ..as commonly as Judeo-Christian Mary is called 'the Virgin'. While European art and Western media (movies, TV, etc) has depicted Aphrodite alternately, as a pale redhead or Nordic blond, the ancient world, as early as Homer, saw her as a dark, voluptuous beauty, ..before it saw her as anything else. Pale or dark, she is the same beloved European deity.

    Don't see a need to portray a Euro goddess, as black or African, ..who is already historically celebrated, as dark.
    I see a lot of fancy (and sometimes misused) terminology here to justify what is basically afrophobia.

    Especially since the ancient Greeks most assuredly did not see themselves as Europeans.

    I'm all for diverse Amazons with connections all over the world, and their origin story should reflect that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pinsir View Post
    Cultural appropriation doesn't come into play here. Cultural appropriation is only an issue between colonizer and colonized people. Maybe if the author/Aphrodite was Turkish we'd have a problem here (or Roman).
    This seems like an attempt to define the term cultural appropriation into something with far reduced applicability.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by coveredinbees View Post
    I am now looking forward to reading this.
    Before you run out and buy it - Aphrodite (and the other goddesses) only appear in two panels...

    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    I'm all for diverse Amazons with connections all over the world, and their origin story should reflect that.
    I'm all for that. My issue was with the portrayal of the gods.

  15. #15
    The Comixeur Mel Dyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    I recommend you read up on your history. The valkyries were the choosers of the slain.

    I see a lot of fancy (and sometimes misused) terminology here to justify what is basically afrophobia...

    This seems like an attempt to define the term cultural appropriation into something with far reduced applicability.
    I just expressed my preference, in another post, to see a Sudanese-looking Isis in a movie. I don't see the Afrophobia.

    The Valkyries chose the slain, spirited them to Asgard and served them mead, in Valhalla...comforted them, when they got there. I'm no stranger to Norse mythology.

    As for cultural appropriation, the second we welcome one group to wear our hairs-styles, but chide another, ..we're discriminating. We're being selective. We're offering cultural access to one group, over another. We can try to justify it, all we like; it is still discrimination.
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