Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tarot Tuesday: The Empress and Emperor

Whoops. I had a nagging suspicion yesterday that I had forgotten something but I just couldn't figure it out.

We're up to the Empress now, who of course is Wonder Woman. Who else could be described as a "daughter of heaven and earth," especially now in the Nu52 where it's been revealed that she's actually Zeus's daughter. I'm not a big fan of that turn of events, by the way, as it takes away one of my favorite aspects of Wonder Woman (that she's essentially a golem) and replaces it with what is pretty much Hercules' backstory. This means we can look forward to a slew of godly daddy issues that were already covered in recent memory by Marvel's Hercules titles. Given that Herc once punched someone into a Hell taken straight from the third panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights to the sound effect 'BOSCH!' I'm not sure Wondy can top that.

Still, in my preferred version, being a clay statue that has had life breathed into it by the gods still satisfies the "daughter of heaven and earth" description. Her outfit even matches - we're talking diadems and stars here, stuff that Wonder Woman has in spades. Despite being the most magical of the Big Three, Wonder Woman traditionally doesn't seem to deal with much magic. Sure, there was Circe, but her magic was pretty much straight out of the "zap you're a pig now" tradition. No real mysteries or mystical understandings, just good old fashioned punching and light bondage.

The Empress is a mother figure, which Wonder Woman, being the First Among Female Superheroes is as well. In post-Silver Age times, Wonder Woman has been an inspirational figure, laying the groundwork for more female superheroes in comics, while her TV version is considered a gay icon. Both the Empress and Wonder Woman are passionate figures, much more prone to action than introspection.

In order to make up for yesterday's slackerdom, let's toss in a bonus card - The Emperor. My iPad woes cost this series its pictorial back-up after all, so why not let loose on the throttle?

The Emperor, the King of the World, is Aquaman.

Aquaman, as ruler of the oceans that cover the majority of the planet, is pretty much the defacto ruler of the world. That he doesn't meddle with surface governments is akin to the USA not meddling with Canada too much. Yeah, we all know you're up there, just keep it down, will ya? Don't make me come up there, Atlantis' Hat. In addition to the sheer size of the oceans, remember also their vital role in the ecology of the Earth. Without the green algae that produce most of our oxygen, we'd be kinda fucked.

The Emperor represents stability. And though we've seen a few different versions of Aquaman over the years, from harpoon-handed-grizzled-warrior to swashbuckling bravo (The Brave and the Bold's version is by far my favorite), there has always been a certain stability to the character:

He's the butt of a lot of jokes.

Aquaman, though he doesn't, will forever suck. Too many standup comedians, animators, and cartoonists have seen to that. Even his recent reboot wasted a lot of time trying to make him look good, which is sort of pathetic in a "yeah, I have a girlfriend. She lives in Canada - you haven't met her" way. Even the Brave and the Bold Aquaman is a comic relief character to a certain extent.

Just as the Empress and Emperor are linked thematically, so are Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Beyond being stuck together in the invisible jet more often than not in Superfriends, both are important members of royal families based in semi-historical (Greek) inspired fantasy monarchies. Even the shambling travesty that was Flashpoint recognized that there was a connection between the two when it promptly set the Atlanteans and Amazons at war. Were I to plan out a Kingdom Come style What-If future of the DC Universe, I'd probably have Diana and Arthur get together long before Diana and Clark. As the other Big Name heroes fade away or leave the planet, it's up to Wonder Woman and Aquaman to take stewardship of the world, to help protect the entire planet even as humanity heads to the stars. Wonder Woman can speak with the animals, Aquaman talks to the fish - who better to watch out for the rest of the Earth that we leave behind?