Friday, August 19, 2005

Continuity fun with Wonder Girl

I keep finding new things in silver age Wonder Woman that make me do a double take. Okay, writer/editor Robert Kanigher got up to some bizarre stuff that even he couldn't keep track of, like arranging for younger versions of Wonder Woman (Wonder Tot and Wonder Girl) to coexist simultaneously with her adult form (using one of the lamest plot devices ever), but things got really confusing when Bob Haney decided that Wonder Girl would be perfect for this new series he was working on called Teen Titans.

Either he didn't bother checking with Kanigher, or Kanigher himself had lost the plot by this time; he clearly didn't bother actually reading any issues of Wonder Woman. The result is that you end up with Wonder Woman's teenage self joining a team that is firmly rooted in a time when she is an adult, and going on world spanning adventures before she ever left Paradise Island. Interestingly in the early Teen Titan adventures she is never referred to as anything other than Wonder Girl, while other characters get moments when they are referred to as Dick or Wally; it's as if Haney isn't entirely sure what to call her.

If there is one point that really shows the ignorance of the source material he is working with, it's in issue #1 of Teen Titans, where we get shots of the teens' families recieving messages from them and the one for Wonder Girl gives us an image of Queen Hippolyte and Wonder Woman looking on as a man (no men could set foot on Paradise Island) chips out a message on a stone tablet (despite the ancient greek styling, the Amazons of Paradise Island have advanced science, an air force, and thought-wave radio transmitters).

Kanigher further complicates the issue by doing a little retcon all of his own in 1965 with Wonder Woman #158, which entirely removes Wonder Girl from continuity, but somehow this doesn't stretch as far as Teen Titans, which continues to feature her despite her non-existance. In fact it's only four years later in Teen Titans #22 that Marv Wolfman gives Wonder Girl a definitive origin story that establishes a separate identity from Wonder Woman and a name of her own (as far as I know. I haven't read every issue of TT so she may have been named before then).

1 comment:

David Alexander McDonald said...

Of course, Wonder Girl's continuity went on to insane heights of screwedness, matched only by Hawkman. In both cases the reigning solution seems to be to define them both as "eternal champion" types who don't die when deaded but simply develop a new incarnation -- although Wonder Girl/Troia/Donna Troy/Wonder Woman II/Donna Troy/WTF?! gets more of the crack-smokin' woo-woo poured on her (which is not to say that Hawkman/Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman/Hawkgod and all comes free of crack.)