Here's an issue from Eric Luke's run as writer on Wonder Woman. Luke, who previously worked on Dark Horse's Ghost, had a mixed run on the book. He introduced the "Wonder Dome" (where I think there's going to be an Amazon Monster Truck Rally this weekend), had a mini-epic called GodWar! or something like that, and created this issue's villain, Devastation. Sequart.com refers to this era of Wonder Woman comics as the "Pre-Jimenez Era," because artist/writer Phil Jimenez soon took over the book for a run that I guess you would have to call the "Jimenez Era." I just think that's funny: Pre-Jimenez Era. Using that standard, my life right now could be summed up as the post-Jamie Farr*, pre-Monica Belucci stage.
I appreciated Eric Luke's run on this book because darn it, he tried. Luke created Devastation, the arch-enemy that never quite became the classic villain Luke intended her to be. Made by the evil titan Chronus (I think) as a dark counterpart to Wonder Woman, she was as powerful as our heroine and also had strange mind-voodoo powers, and she usually appeared as an evil 12-year old girl. This issue sets Devastation up as a major threat, spreading hatred and violence through Smalltown, USA. When Wonder Woman shows up she gets her ass handed to her by Devastation, and retreats back to the Wonder Dome with a gunshot wound.
And that's where they lose me. Wonder Woman - with a gunshot wound? From like, a 9mm pistol? That is bullshit.
Let's examine this issue in greater detail. Below are the panels (with art by Yannick Paquette) where Devastation shoots Wonder Woman. She aims at our heroine's head, and when Wonder Woman moves to block the shot - psych! - Devastation moves the gun at the last nano-second and shoots her in the side. In the next issue she has the bullet taken out in the Wonder Dome.
I ask you: should you be able to a) psych out Wonder Woman by moving the gun right before you fire, and b) actually break her skin with a bullet? I'll answer for you: no.
Let's tackle the bulletproof issue. I think this is an issue of the writer just not understanding what the hell Wonder Woman's powers are and confusing the classic, pre-Crisis, and post-Crisis versions of the character. I submit to you, gentle reader, this thesis:
Wonder Woman is bulletproof.
Why does she have those bracelets, then?
The original 1940's Wonder Woman, as created by William Marston, was, like Superman, not nearly as poweful as their modern-day incarnations. Superman couldn't even fly back in the day; he hopped around and ran on telephone wires and whatnot. The classic Wonder Woman was strong, but only lift-a-car kind of strong, and she deflected bullets with her magic bracelets. Classic version of Wonder Woman: not bulletproof.
The modern version of the character is a different story. DC is always saying that Wonder Woman is part of the Big Three, she's the greatest heroine on Earth, she's second only to Superman in power, et cetera. She is now lift-a-train strong, can fly, and is super-tough. How tough? She's fought Superman, Darkseid, and Doomsday. An average fight for her might mean getting thrown through a skyscraper or getting a car thrown at her.
Why does she have the bracelets? Those are for lasers and deathrays and deflecting shrapnel and shit.
Wonder Woman can withstand blunt trauma, but a gunshot is different. A bullet is a lot of force focused in a very small area; it would pierce her skin. It wouldn't do as much dam--
Shut up, you don't know what you're talking about. Listen: she has fought Superman. If you're tough enough to take a full-on punch in the face from Superman, the Strongest Guy Ever, that to me would indicate that your entire body - your bones, your muscles, your skin -- is superhumanly tough. Wonder Woman flies at supersonic speed in a swimsuit, for Chrissakes. Her skin would have to be super resilient. I'm sorry, but if Superman can punch you through a skyscraper without killing you - you're bulletproof. It's the new rule.
Okay, how come we never see bullets bouncing off Wonder Woman, then?
Because Wonder Woman isn't slack. If you had bracelets and you were bad-ass enough to be able to deflect bullets, wouldn't it be sort of a point of pride to always deflect stuff? If she let a bullet get through, it might hurt her reputation. People would start to talk about how Wonder Woman's getting slow. No, if you could block bullets, you'd do it every time. Next question.
You've convinced me, Dave. I see know that Wonder Woman really IS bulletproof.
I'm glad you understand now.
*I met Jamie Farr in 1997; fabulous guy, gay as a whistle.