I just don't get Wonder Woman. I don't understand her character. I don't get her appeal.
I get Superman. I get Batman. I get Catwoman, Batgirl, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Supergirl, Power Girl, Big Barda, Manhunter. I understand these characters. I understand what attracts me to these characters (or other fans to these characters). I feel that I have a good idea of what they would and would not do, say and would not say.
But Wonder Woman? Clueless.
Which is to say, I have no idea how to write her, what her reactions to the world are. How would she react to criminal, a dictator, a monster, a killer, in a way that is noticeably different from Superman, or Batman, or any other member of the Justice League?
Even the usually awesome Justice League cartoon couldn't quite get a handle on her, as her character slides from naive teenager in season one (worrying what she is going to say to her mother after running away from home) to angry warrior woman in the first season of Justice League Unlimited to Ambassador and inspirational Leader in the last season.
Who is this woman?
I understand her appeal as an icon, a symbol of women's power. I understand the appeal of a wonder woman, a being who steps out of myths in the "real" world, bringing a era of gods and monsters with her.
But who IS Diana, clay golem, Amazon princess, ambassador for peace, warrior for Justice? What does she like? What does she fear? What amuses her? What angers her? Gods, I don't even know her favorite cookie!
I've heard this complaint before, and people have said the problem is that Wonder Woman doesn't have a civilian identity, a place she can go to be human (arguably, this is what the new Wonder Woman series is about, but it's hard to tell). But I call shenanigans on that! There are plenty of superheroes with negligible civilian identities, but that doesn't mean they lack character!
Take the late Superboy. From 1993 to 1998, he had no name other than Superboy! A clone of Superman, a superhero literally since conception, no part of his background has anything civilian or human to it... but that didn't mean his character couldn't be defined, or his strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and tragedies couldn't be relatable.
Similarly, J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is a shape shifting telepath, FROM MARS, who witnessed the death of his entire planet. We shouldn't come close to understanding him, but we do. We understand his loss, his alienation, his anger, his wry humor, his love for Chocos.
So what the hell is wrong with Wonder Woman? Why can't I know her, why can't I get her? Is there just too much there? Too many writers over too many years imposing their unique visions of a strong woman onto one character, until the original is lost? What is her core, her essence? What the heck is going on?