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There’s very few love interests that people are more or less unanimously in agreement on when it comes to whether or not they are worth the time. You have your Lois Lanes, your Mary Janes, your Catwomans or even Talias. Yet there is one who almost never gets the respect or fans that they might deserve. This the only and only, imitatable, Steve Trevor – Wonder Woman’s long underused counterpart.
The thing about Steve Trevor is that he is in this increasingly weird gray area where he’s a part of the Wonder Woman story, but that has seemingly become the only reason he is still around. That if it weren’t for that aspect, his involvement, then he’d be forgotten altogether – and people would actually push for that. Would anyone right now even care? The answer would be no, and this is due to him not really being utilied to his fullest potential.
This is a trend that started way back when, but it’s easy to say the 70’s during Denny O’Neil’s “New Wonder Woman” phase. In that status quo Steve Trevor was unceremoniously taken out of the equation, and it has become the norm when it comes to just getting rid of him. George Perez’s iconic Wonder Woman run, for all the good it did, made the infamous mistake of aging up Steve and effectively removing him from the main cast altogether. It has never quite recovered.
Why the defense of a character that not even the writers like to use then? It’s easy – much like Scott Free and Big Barda, another seminal comic book couple – Steve Trevor fulfills a great niche and purpose that others might not ever get close to. He is one of the best examples of eschewing normal gender roles without feeling forced about the dynamic. The simplicity in Steve is that he is an ace, a competent soldier, but that doesn’t mean he is unable to be saved.
There’s someone stronger than him, and has to save his “mansel-in-distress” keister, but he’s okay with that. It’s not something that prays on his mind, and to Wonder Woman herself, especially in the Marston days, she didn’t care either. They were the bee’s knees to each other: a demonstration in how, no matter the reality, we see the best in the ones we care for. Other Wonder Woman love interests play up an annoying amount of irony and cynicism into the deal.
It’s a balance that so few have gotten right, and only compounded when they try to create new characters that fit that mold but get the mindset all wrong. Steve is like Geoff Johns’ Hal Jordan, a bit brash, a bit tenacious, but a good heart. There’s something in there that is great side character material, and its no wonder that several Wonder Woman runs have felt the need to rehash and recreate all manner of supporting cast, creating an uneven and temporary tone.
There’s also the undertow of this general sentiment that Steve Trevor is worthless as a character, which is just a vicious cycle where he’s never really had the chance to come into his own. That era of characterization passed him by. There was never really anyone willing to give him that chance, and to work on him like other characters. Only recently, such as in “The New 52” and Convergence: Wonder Woman have readers been exposed to what he could be.
It’s sad when people decry the lack of a love interest for Wonder Woman. Not only because who says she even needs one, but that a great one already exists. He fulfills roles that are needed, and drive home the Wonder Woman’s loving compassion range. It’s like Roman Holiday, it’s just about two people, and that’s what makes the best of comic book couples. The super-stuff stays out of the dynamic and it can still be soluble.