Part of me doesn’t want to do this, because to me Wonder Woman has always been an almost asexual superhero. She doesn’t fit into the standards of human behaviour and is almost more of a representation of Mother Nature than humanity. However as the new and deliciously gay Batwoman is being published I decided to queer up some existing DC characters. This review will take a closer look at Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl in the Justice League Unlimited episode The Balance.
The episode starts off with Wally (Flash) and Diana enjoying a canteen dinner only to be interrupted by Shayera who also was supposed to be having dinner with Wally. As soon as the two women see each other the sparks starts flying and Shayera immediate turns to leave, only to be intercepted by Wally and persuaded to stay. Wally is clearly playing the matchmaker under the disguise of being an incorrigible flirt. He pushes them together, wanting them to get over their past disagreements in order to become friends again. Sparks keep flying between the two women throughout the dinner, but they do stay.
Then we’re introduced to the danger of this week and due to an evil evil man (Felix Faust) having upset the natural order of things and opened up the gates to Tartarus all those with magical powers are currently suffering great torment. The Martian Manhunter acknowledges that, “The gates of Tartarus swings both ways” as he gives Diana a most penetrating gaze. It is now up to Wonder Woman to restore balance into the verse.
Taking the mission upon herself (after the encouragement of the Olympians) Diana sneaks into Shayera’s apartment intent on “borrowing” her mace which has the power to disrupt magic. Shayera catches her in the act and we get another sparkling encounter. The two bicker and their conversation ends on a gorgeously subtextual note as Hawkgirl states, “You want the mace, you get me too”. At which we are offered a most intense zoom in of Diana’s conflicted (as much as any character on this show can manage to look conflicted or show any kind of subtleties on their) face.
The two (metaphorically) suit up and get going. First stop is the Amazons and Hippolyta who are at the gate of Tartarus trying to keep the evil forces at bay. As Hippolyta sees Diana she verbally attacks her daughter for having broken her banishment from the land of the Amazons. Shayera can’t just stand by and take it, but automatically stands up to the queen of the Amazons speaking in Diana’s favour. Hippolyta changes her mind and finally gives Diana her blessing and help by endowing Wonder Woman’s armour and weaponry with their full powers. As Wonder Woman flies away Hippolyta holds Shira back and asks her to, “bring my daughter back to me”. Hawkgirl promises to do just that as she takes off after Diana.
Once in the fire pits of Tartarus the two once again starts bickering and disagree as to what the plan should be, and it’s not just the pits that are on fire as this little interlude takes place:
Wonder Woman: I don’t need you!
Hawkgirl: Yes you do…I can’t make this decision for you Diana, but however you want to play it I’ll back you up.
Showing that no matter the tension or the disagreements, Hawkgirl is fiercely loyal to Wonder Woman. And the matter of needing one another is in reference to their mission, but could also indicate a much larger picture. These two do need each other, even when there are sparks and bickering there is also an undeniable need.
After a minor encounter with Felix Faust the two are thrown out of Hades’ library which he has occupied. Wonder Woman lands heavily on the ground, but Hawkgirl is viciously thrown into it. Diana is the first one to get to her feet and rushes to Shayera’s side offering up some comfort and support through and outstretched hand, a hand that Shayera refuses to take. This scene is also followed by a gorgeous little subtext display.
Hawkgirl: The Princess doesn’t even sweat in the fire pits of Tartarus.
Wonder Woman: I do too sweat!
Hawkgirl: Please! You glow…I wouldn’t be surprised if you never had to-
Not only does Shayera study Diana enough to know she doesn’t sweat, but the fact that she describes her as glowing when she is engaged in physical activities is pure and unsaturated subtext. In short, Hawkgirl was totally checking out Wonder Woman.
As the final battle against evil has been won Wonder Woman approaches the unconscious Hawkgirl who slowly opens her eyes to an outstretched hand. This time Shayera accepts the offer and is pulled to her feet by Diana. Shayera keeps her eyes on their linked hands for a few seconds before pulling away and the following take place;
Hawkgirl: You’re all sweaty.
Wonder Woman: I told you.
Followed by intense eye-contact which is only interrupted as Hades makes himself known.
When Hades torments Diana by trying to make her question her paternity Shayera is there offering her support. Both physically and mentally. There is also some of that compulsory hand holding going on.
The episode then ends on potent potential as the following dialogue takes place;
Wonder Woman: What about us?
Hawkgirl: Like oil and vinegar. We go together, but we don’t mix.
They both fly off together into the horizon.
They might not be ready to put all their differences and past aside, but they do go together. And judging by Hawkgirl’s insecure body language (her arms across her chest, protecting her heart while enhancing the appearance of her bossom) there are issues to work on and miles to go, but there is no denying the compatibility.