Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Infinite Possibilities! (Spoilers for 52 #52)

Warning for spoilers for the end of 52...




Okay, that should be enough warning. :-)

I'm very happy with the end of 52. We get the nearly endless storyline potential of the multiverse plus the legacy stuff with the JSA and JLA on one planet that I like so much. (I also like that the main DCU we read is apparently Earth-52 rather than Earth-1, if we go by Rip Hunter anyway. I just find that strangely amusing.)

We've seen glimpses of Earths 2, 3, 4, 5 (S), 10 (X), 17, 22, and 50. That still leaves a LOT of Earths to play around with! (I presume there's an Earth 8 with Kyle, Jason and Helena as mentioned before). I'm hoping that the majority of the storylines stay on Earth-52, but the occasional crossover could be fun...hopefully not quite as many as we used to see in the old pre-crisis days, though. But I digress.

I've decided that this is the perfect time to talk about the alternate universe that I've always wanted to see. The gender-swapped DCU. In which "Clara Kent" is the refugee from Krypton that ends up constantly rescuing the fiery, ambitious "Lloyd Lane". Where socialite "Briana Wayne" dresses up like a bat and adopts little girls to be brightly colored decoys. I know the concept's shown up before, it HAS to have, but I think it'd be really fun to play with from a modern perspective. A really neat way to explore assumed gender roles and character traits.

Let's call it Earth-25! :-)

Now Wonder Woman is an interesting conundrum. It could be a straight gender swap, a male warrior from an all male island, but that lacks the same connotations. If the world is arranged with the traditional roles of men and women swapped, then really, there's no point to it. "Clara" and "Briana" would simply be Clark and Bruce with boobs. I'm more interested in a world that would really explore what it'd be like if there was a Woman of Steel, period.

Actually, what I'd like to see is Themyscira still portrayed as a nation of women. With Hippolyta remaining as their Queen, but with the twist that when the gods granted her a child, they gave her a son. How would she react? How would the rest of Themyscira? What would life be like for the prince of a society of women. Would that factor into why he left?

And how would a man raised in a society of women percieve the "Patriarch's World"? Would it impact how he relates to the primarily (in this world) female-dominated Justice League? How would the world see him, a man grown up in a place where the usual sociological pressures regarding men didn't exist at all. No culturally imposed machismo, no "suck it up and act like a man". He's raised in a Warrior culture, but it's not a Man's culture.

Certainly it would make things even more awkward with the Bana.

I think it'd be pretty interesting. (Besides, you can't tell me a gender-swapped Green Lantern Corps wouldn't be hilarious in and of itself. It's comedy gold.)


  • At May 03, 2007 9:25 AM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    Lloyd Lane? Not Louis?

    I vaguely recall an Elseworlds where Kal-El died as a child and Bruce Wayne's parents never died, and Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon ended up filling their niches as Superwoman and Batwoman. It's not quite the same, though.

    I think a male Wonder Woman -- Wonder Warrior? -- would be tough to pull off, since WW is defined by her gender more than Supes or Bats. Your idea sounds pretty good, though. It would be tough adapting her costume -- maybe a circlet, sandals, and a revealing toga? (And let us not forget Stevie Trevor...)

  • At May 03, 2007 10:27 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I find the idea of a male Wonder Woman to be strangely intriguing, raised on an island with only women and such. In fact, that's a really good concept.

    Oh, and a female Hal? Magnificent! Guy's done it of course, but it would still be fun. Although Kyle probably wouldn't change a whole lot.

  • At May 03, 2007 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Elseworlds' Finest" is the issue where Kara is Superwoman and Barbara is Batwoman. I've read bits and pieces on Scans Daily.

    And Babs as the original Bat? Is very, very hardcore/paranoid/semi-facist. More so than Bruce at the height of his Bat-god phase.


  • At May 03, 2007 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Interesting idea, and while it could be incredibly fun and interesting to explore the gender/heroics intersection, I have one problem that I can't shake with your scenario.

    Wonder Woman->male.

    Remember, Diana only gained her title after a massive contest to determine the greatest warrior on the island.

    If 'Dan' were male, than it is no longer the triumph of a daughter surpassing her elders, mentors, and sisters/aunts. It is instead a slap in the face saying that women can train in the martial arts for thousands of years, hone their minds and bodies to their pinnacle, and there will STILL be a man stronger than them. The gods will ENSURE that there is a man stronger than them.

    What, then, was the point of Paradise Island? Wasn't it meant to a refuge from the overpowering patriarchy that dominated the rest of the world? You've already stated that traditional gender dynamics and expectations would still be in play.

    To have all that, and then to have a MAN as *the* messenger from an island of warrior women, trying to convince the world that women are just as strong and capable as men...honestly the entire premise undermines itself.

    It could be very interesting to see a boy raised on Themyscira, and trained in their philosophy and martial arts. But he absolutely cannot be the strongest on the island and he sure as hell can't be their primary spokesperson. He could travel to Patriarch's world in *addition to* WW, but SHE (whether her role is played by Diana, Donna, Artemis, Hippolyta, etc...) needs to be clearly the stronger warrior.

  • At May 03, 2007 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Or a world where Jimmy Olsen isn't an annoying twit?


  • At May 03, 2007 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I personally have always liked no matter how many alternate worlds there are, there are always a few things that never seem to change.

    I personally think Wonder Woman should be one of those things, across all of space-time no matter what changes happen to the timeline, she exists as she is, simply because she was destined to happen.

    If you really want you could give her a twin brother who adores her and follows her everywhere. He'd be naturally subservient to her probably despite her wishes sometimes (Amazonian raising after all), and naturally shorter than her, but other than that I think it'd be alot of fun to throw on an adoring little brother who chases after her because he misses his sister. He'd be perfect side-kick material.


  • At May 03, 2007 3:31 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Wonder Woman as a man (and I do think it's important that there be only a male Wonder Woman. It's a cheat of the concept to send a Diana with him) would be the key to the scenario.

    However, I think the reasons for leaving Paradise Island would be different. He wouldn't be the strongest and leaving as a glorious messenger. He'd be someone who's constantly raised by people who mean well but never truly understand him and in some sense may even be afraid of him and what he represents. (Remember, the whole reason Hippolyta staged the tournaments was to try to keep Diana from leaving. I think she would be more sympathetic though to her son's very difficult situation and not attempt to impede his departure)

    His role as an ambassador in the Patriarch's world would be something more indirect. He wouldn't be preaching or making first contact, (though I can imagine him perhaps bringing Clara Kent or Stephanie Trevor to the Amazon Island to meet mother, so THEY ultimately take the role of direct link between the worlds.) He'd be more of a Superman figure. He treats women with respect because he is raised to and others ultimately emulate his example.

  • At May 03, 2007 3:58 PM, Blogger David C said…

    "Or a world where Jimmy Olsen isn't an annoying twit?"

    Actually, I'd kind of like to see a world where the female Julie Olsen is just as much of an annoying twit as our Jimmy. You don't really get many female characters like that....

  • At May 03, 2007 5:29 PM, Blogger Erich said…

    I just hope that the 52 realities include the "hippieverse" glimpsed in Grant Morrison's Animal Man #23 (with Sunshine Superman, Speed Freak, and Magic Lantern of The Love Syndicate of Dreamworld).

  • At May 07, 2007 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ah, Julie Olsen, the potential is mind-boggling.

    Who could forget her role as Legion member Elastic Lass? What about her rampage as the giant Turtle-Girl? Or that disturbing story where she had to cross-dress as a *man* to find stolen diamonds? And of course there were all those horrible "Chasing Larry Lane" tales, where poor Julie is humiliated and mocked by that heartless little bastard...

    Yeah, that's good comics.

  • At May 30, 2007 3:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a vague idea of gender-switched Wondie. He's Apollos the Amazing, Ambassador of the Gagars (all-male opposite number of the Amazons) to a world where the dominant culture puts women in charge & sees men as big stupid oafs.

    A response to those women I've met who think men are stupid.


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