Well, as we all pretty much know by now, Wonder Woman got redesigned, both costume-wise, and origin-wise. I don't know if this is some alternate timeline thing, but I'm suspecting it is.
Here's a nice article about the subject courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, in case you're not too familiar with the whole thing.
Well, my first though was "groan." Then I came up with a whole bunch of other more articulate thoughts which I then forgot and am trying to recreate.
I have mixed feelings about Wonder Woman. I never actually have read an actual Wonder Woman comic--the only exposure I've had to her stories have been in the 90's JLA run and the original 1960's JLA, plus the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. There's several reasons I never really sought out the character, first and foremost being that she doesn't really interest me all that much. I didn't know much about her, honestly, and I didn't find her intriguing enough to research. Secondly, it's because I find her costume rather absurd, but not for the reason most people find her costume absurd. I remember somewhere online I read that Wonder Woman was an "Amazon," which I thought meant she was just tall. You know--when someone sees a tall woman, they often refer to her as an Amazon. Later I learned she was Greek, but still didn't quite understand how the whole "Amazon" thing fit in. (Shame on me for not knowing Greek history, I guess.) Later still I found out, as one internet poster said, she was "blessed by the gods," and then learned a bit about the classical Greek influences on her character.
And that's where it all kind of unhinged for me. Hang on: why is this Greek woman running around in the Stars and Stripes? Greek women wear white togas. Or battle armor or something. So right off the bat, there's a disconnect with Wonder Woman's premise and her appearance: superpowered Greek princess wearing something obviously crafted in America, by a man. That's where I gave up on ever being a fan of hers.
Don't get me wrong--I don't dislike her. It's just that that is too big a chasm of logic for my brain to jump, and I don't want to go through a lengthy rationalization process just to enjoy a character.
The other thing that bugged me about Wonder Woman was that I really don't know what she's about, except that on first glance I think something patriotic. I think she's somewhat anachronistic, and very much a product of a 1940's flag-rallying, Nazi-fighting, women-can-punch-people-too sentiment. It's what our country needed during WWII, and after the war ended, I have this feeling that comics creators didn't know what to do with her because her purpose had been fulfilled.
I guess you could say Wonder Woman is a representation--albeit a generic one--of the ideal of a strong woman capable of not only going toe-to-toe with men but besting them, just as Superman is the ideal for a superhero. But in a post-feminist world, again, is that necessary? Do women need a liberator? Do they need on in the comics universe, as represented by Wonder Woman?
I honestly question why anyone is a Wonder Woman fan. I don't mean that in a harsh way. I just wish to understand why people like her. There are other strong women out there in the DCU. For example, why would one like Wonder Woman more than, say, Black Canary? What is it in particular that makes her fascinating? My best guess is that it's the Greek angle, because that seems like a wealth of interesting back story. But from what I can gather, not much was done with Greek mythology in her stories, and making her an Amazon was just a plot convenience to have her come from a world populated only by women. (Feel free to prove me wrong, since I know very little about her.)
Bearing all this in mind, let's look at the new costume and the new origin. Saranga said it best by saying that the costume is no longer iconic. It would be like Superman losing the "S" symbol. But that begs the question--what was Wonder Woman's original costume representative of? The new costume on the whole is very anticlimactic because it's so mundane. I admit: I think the bodice is really cool and "regal"-looking. But why minimize the tiara so much? She is a princess after all. The jacket is downright ridiculous, I think, and very 90's. The wrist gauntlets are clumsy--her originals were leagues better. Her costume isn't hideous, just rather average. I will say this in defense of the new costume, however: the old was was getting impractically revealing, especially since Wonder Woman's cleavage kept on growing over the years proportions ridiculous enough to render her into a parody of herself. At least she's a bit more realistic here, though a bit too thin...she's not really projecting any sense of strength or power.
But the real mistake of the revamp is not the costume, but the origin story. The biggest mistake they could've made was getting rid of the "born of the clay" birth of Wonder Woman. Why? Well, not only is a character literally born of the clay via Greek gods a literal child of Mother Earth--overtones of feminity which could be a treasure trove of story elements--the fact that she was born of parthenogenesis--reproduction without the need for a male--was (or could have been) an important part of her character's identity and metaphor. Wonder Woman, as I see it, comes from a world where men are not needed--not even to have children--and you'll hear her refer to our world as "Man's World" in the cartoon, and probably the comics. How is Man's World different than Paradise Island? What can Wonder Woman teach us about these differences? Is a matriarchial society "ideal" when compared to our current society? What kind of hope, if any, could Wonder Woman's world view offer us? This isn't to say that neither is better than the other, but wouldn't that make for a great philosophical discussion? What's with that lasso of truth, and how does that play into all that Greek mythology and Amazonian culture?
From what I can tell, Wonder Woman's current representation just seems to be a man's personality in a woman's body, who stands for nothing other than killing bad guys, in a comics world where a "strong woman" is tantamount to a woman who can crack someone's head open and enjoys doing so. There are many kinds of strength, and many kinds of "strong women," and DC really needs to get that last bit through their head: a woman doesn't have to kick ass to be strong or to be accepted. She does, however, need to stand for something to be a well-written superhero, and she needs to show strength of mind along with strength in her fists. If ass-kicking is the only requirement for a well-written female heroine, well, then I think something's wrong.
The story-behind-the-story, though, is that both the origin story and the costume were created by men. That is a real tragedy, I think, because when the female hero of the DCU, who stands for the power of the feminine, is both created and revamped by men, then something's a little off, and I can only think of Wonder Woman as just another commodity created to sell comics to (primarily) men, with a few touches thrown in to keep me interested (Ooooo! Cute new outfit, Wondy!), and in the end is now nothing more than a shadow of an ideal from decades past.