(Note: This entry is for DC's Amazon superheroine, who should not be confused with Artemis the Olympian goddess.)
Artemis was born a member of the Bana Amazon sect that had split off from the Amazons of Themyscira. The Bana Amazons, under the leadership of Antiope (the Themysciran Queen Hippolyta's sister), left the island of Themyscira and settled in Egypt, where they founded an Amazon city named Bana-Mighdall. The Bana Amazons renounced the Olympian Gods and instead worshiped the Egyptian Goddesses Isis, Mammitu, Bast, Neith and Ishtar. The goddesses blessed the Bana Amazons with a perpetual sandstorm around their city to protect them from outsiders. The Bana traded their fighting skills and weapons in return for male slaves to increase their population, and Artemis was the result of one of these liaisons.
Artemis was created in 1994 by writer William Messner-Loebs and artist Mike Deodato when they were working as the creative team of Wonder Woman vol. 2. Because Wonder Woman's true name was Diana (the Roman name for the goddess of the moon and the hunt), Artemis was intentionally given the Greek name of the same goddess in order to link the two women and show that they were "two sides of the same coin." Artemis was envisioned as being far more aggressive and warlike than Diana and had fiery red hair to further help differentiate the two. Deodato based Artemis' appearance on the Wildstorm character Zealot and gave her the same long flowing-topknot hairstyle. Artemis was also inspired by an earlier DC character named Orana, another red-haired Amazon who had challenged Diana for the title of Wonder Woman. Like Artemis, Orana managed to win the title from Diana, only to later die as Wonder Woman (though unlike Artemis, Orana never returned from the dead).
Eventually the greatest warrior of Themiscyra, Wonder Woman, journeyed to Bana-Mighdall looking for the villainous Cheetah, who had stolen her Lasso of Truth. Due to a misunderstanding, Wonder Woman was forced to duel the Bana Amazon's greatest warrior, the Shim'Tar, and was defeated. The god Hermes, who was in love with Wonder Woman, destroyed Bana-Mighdall in retaliation, rendering the Bana Amazons homeless. They entered an alliance with the sorceress Circe, who promised to create a new home for them if they served her during the War of the Gods. Because the Bana held Wonder Woman responsible for the loss of their original home, they decided to attack the Amazons of Themyscira.
It was at this point in the conflict that Artemis made her first appearance. A fiery red-haired girl only fourteen years of age, she stood in front of the Bana's ruling council and protested the action, asserting her belief that Amazons should not fight other Amazons. But since she was only a child, her protests went unheeded and the Bana Amazons went ahead with their assault. During the invasion of Themyscira, Circe betrayed the Bana Amazons and attempted to destroy both Amazon tribes by magically transporting the island to a demonic dimension. The warring Amazons were forced to put aside their differences and fight alongside each other in order to survive the constant onslaught of demon armies. Wonder Woman came to the rescue and forced Circe to return Theymscira back to the real world, but discovered that while only a few months had passed on Earth during this time, an entire decade had passed in the demonic dimension. Artemis was now a beautiful woman in her twenties and had become one of the greatest warriors of her tribe, battle-hardened by ten years of fighting against the demonic hordes.
Major Story Arcs
After Themiscyra was returned to its proper place on Earth, Queen Hippolyta granted the Bana Amazons a small section of the island to serve as their new home. Hippolyta then began to suffer visions of Wonder Woman dying. Since the title of Wonder Woman was held by Hippolyta's daughter Diana, the Queen hoped to prevent her daughter's death by holding a Contest of the Amazons to choose a new Wonder Woman. Initially Hippolyta forbade any member of the Bana from participating in the contest, much to the anger of Artemis and the Bana Amazons. But after Diana pointed out the unfairness of the exclusion, Hippolyta relented and the Bana were allowed to compete.
Artemis demonstrated great battle prowess during the contest and emerged as Diana's strongest challenger. She eventually won the contest with some mystical assistance from Hippolyta, who had privately decided that she would rather see a Bana Amazon become Wonder Woman than risk her daughter's death as foretold in her visions. Artemis was crowned as Wonder Woman and given a uniform identical to Diana's, along with the Gauntlet of Atlas, The Sandals of Hermes and the golden Lasso of Truth in order to replicate Diana's Wonder Woman powers. She then set forth to present herself to the World of Men as the new Wonder Woman.
Career as Wonder Woman
Artemis' tenure as Wonder Woman got off to a rocky start. Though she could easily match Diana's prowess in combat, Artemis had grown to adulthood fighting mostly demons in a kill-or-be-killed environment and was very rough around the edges when it came to dealing with people. She possessed little of the personal grace or sense of diplomacy that had made Diana so respected as Wonder Woman. The American public and media generally saw Artemis as being arrogant and abrasive, and she was criticized for resorting to violence far too often. She tried to extend a hand to the superhero community, but usually received the cold shoulder. During her failed attempt to join the Justice League, Batman refused to even allow Artemis to sit in Diana's chair during League meetings.
Desperate to improve her image, Artemis agreed to work with a public relations representative in an effort to make herself a more likable Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, the representative secretly worked for the villainous White Magician, who was determined to bring about Wonder Woman's demise. Though Artemis was starting to turn things around at this point, doing positive things such as helping downtrodden immigrants and abused women, her arrogance again got the better of her and she was lured into a dimension of Hell by the White Magician, who had gained extreme power there. Artemis fought the Magician with all of her might, but his powers were too great in this dimension and she was killed in the battle, proving Hippolyta's visions of Wonder Woman dying to be true. Her body was found and mourned over by none other than Diana herself.
After Artemis died she ended up in Tartarus, and one of Thirteen ruling Princes of Hell, Dalkriig-Hath, became enamored with her beauty and took her as his bride. Artemis did not suffer the unholy matrimony gladly and killed Dalkriig-Hath the moment he let his guard down. She then took the opportunity to escape back to the living world. She joined an anti-demon team called the Hellenders using the knowledge she had gained in Tartarus to hunt demons. The Hellenders initially gave her the code name of "Javelin," but she disliked the name and soon switched to the code name of Requiem instead. She also had a brief relationship with one of the Hellenders named Sure-Shot, but dumped him and left the team after discovering that he and his teammates had gotten their powers and abilities from a dangerous drug. During her time with the Hellenders, Artemis wore the green and white one-piece outfit that eventually became her regular costume.
After the Hellenders disbanded, Artemis trained several heroes in the art of combat, starting with a woman named Henrietta Jessup, whom Artemis had befriended while on the Hellenders. Jessup took the code name of Sojourner. Artemis then encountered Diana (who had regained the title of Wonder Woman) again, and was asked by Diana to train Cassandra Sandsmark, who used the training to become the current Wonder Girl. Artemis' reputation as an elite combat trainer grew such that even Supergirl sought her out to improve her own combat skills. During this time, Artemis was able to gain a measure of revenge on Batman for his hostility towards her when she had tried to join the Justice League. She easily defeated Batman in combat and proceeded to pound him into a pulp, but an ambush prevented her from inflicting permanent injury.
Later, Artemis was informed of great unrest in Hell following the death of Dalkriig-Hath. Despite having killed Dalkriig-Hath herself, Artemis was still considered to be his wife, so she was next in line to rule his section of Hell even though she had no desire for the role. She nevertheless presented herself in front of the twelve surviving Demon Princes and accepted her husband's section of Hell. To officially grant her control of Hell, she had to be blessed by the twelve Demon Princes. After the blessing, it was revealed Artemis had pulled a switch and her friend, the demon Belyllioth, had assumed her form. Infuriated at the trick, the twelve Demon Princes vowed revenge on Artemis upon her return to Tartarus, but Belyllioth (now officially one of the Thirteen rulers of Hell) had promised to protect her for eternity.
Return to the Amazons
Artemis eventually decided to retire from the World of Men and returned to her own people, the Bana Amazons, who still shared the island of Themyscira with the Themysciran Amazons. But there was great unrest on Themyscira during this time as a rogue Amazon sorceress named Magala had incited another war between the two Amazon tribes. Artemis quickly proved herself the greatest warrior of the Bana Amazons and was was crowned Shim'Tar of her tribe.
As the new Bana leader, Artemis hoped to end the conflict and open negotiations with the Themyscirans, but instead wound up in personal combat with Queen Hippolyta, who had assumed the role of Wonder Woman after her daughter Diana's recent death (though like Artemis, Diana later returned from the dead). During their battle, Artemis reminded Hippolyta that the reason she was the new Wonder Woman was because her actions had led to the death of Diana, and also of Artemis herself. Shocked into her senses, Hippolyta renounced her crown, and Artemis and Themyscirian General Phillipus were elected co-leaders of the unified Amazon tribes.
For further details: Amazons Attack!
During the OMAC attack on Themyscira during Infinite Crisis, it was decided by Artemis and Phillipus that in order to save the Amazon race, they needed to teleport the entire island and all of the Amazons to a new hidden location. The Amazons resurfaced some time later, once again under the leadership of Hippolyta, but unknown to the rest of the Amazons, Hippolyta had fallen under the evil influence of Circe.
Under the pretense that humans had attacked them first, Hippolyta declared war on the human world. Artemis and Phillipus were assigned to oversee the attack, but soon lost faith in Hippolyta since her actions seemed less than honorable. However, they did not do enough to stop the conflict, and as a result the Amazons were cursed by a disguised Granny Goodness. Their memories were erased and they were scattered to different corners of the world under false identities. Artemis appeared near the Great Wall of China in traveling clothes, with no memories of her Amazonian life.
A few months later the Olympian Gods returned to power, and Zeus restored the memories of the Amazons and brought them back to Themyscira. Artemis, however, was not among them. During her period of memory loss she believed herself to be a normal person without superhuman powers, and while in this vulnerable state she had been kidnapped by Mr. Smyth, the ruthless leader of a notorious slavery ring.
By the time her memory fully returned, she had been bound with special shackles and kept constantly drugged in order to make her too weak to escape. Her captors also dressed her in a copy of her green and white costume, perhaps as a humiliating reminder of her former superhero status. Mr. Smyth then tried to brainwash the captive Artemis into serving him by using a frightening combination of drugs and interrogation, but she successfully resisted through sheer force of will. Artemis was later freed by the banshee villain Jeannette, and took violent revenge upon her captors.
In the Flashpoint universe, Artemis followed a much darker path. She killed Wonder Woman's mother Hippolyta and then framed Tempest for the murder in an attempt to keep Themyscira from developing ties to the outside world. Along with the other Amazons, Artemis invaded Britain when their request for aid was denied after Paradise Island was sunk beneath the waves. Ultimately Artemis was killed by Brittania (Penny Black). She cut Artemis in half while she was pursuing Lois Lane in an attempt to stop her from contacting the world outside of Britain.
Queen Hippolyta, ruler of Themyscira.
Princess Diana, Wonder Woman
Phillipus, general and former co-ruler of Paradise Island.
Donna Troy, the first Wonder Girl and member of the Titans of Myth, Queen Hippolyta's adopted daughter.
Cassandra Sandsmark, the second Wonder Girl, daughter of Zeus.
Nubia, is Wonder Woman's "black sister" Queen Hippolyta's daughter.
The Olympian, Achilles Warkiller became the King of the Amazons, later gives Queen Hippolyta back the throne.
Steve Trevor, love interest to Wonder Woman, first man on Themyscira and honorary Amazon.
The Amazons, of Themyscira.
- Height: 6' 2"
- Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
- Eyes: Green
- Hair: Red
- Unusual Features: Extremely long hair
- Citizenship: Egyptian, Themiscyran
- Place of Birth: Bana-Mighdall, Egypt
- Marital Status: Widowed
- Occupations: Shim'Tar, Chancellor of Themyscira, Adventurer, former Wonder Woman
- Known Relatives: none
Powers and Abilities
Strength and Mastery of Combat
Artemis possesses the physical abilities of a peak-level member of the Amazon race: Superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, and longevity. She is able to lift 15 tons under normal conditions. In addition, she is one of the Amazons' most accomplished warriors and is a master of hand-to-hand combat, swordfighting, and archery. Artemis is the equal of Diana (Wonder Woman) in combat, though her fighting style is far more aggressive, which contrasts with Diana's more measured approach. Because she never holds back, Artemis has often beaten Diana when they have fought, and she believes herself to be the superior fighter.
Artemis' mastery of arms includes the ability to expertly construct bows, arrows, and many other weapons by hand. She possesses considerable mechanical ingenuity and is able to quickly fashion useful implements out of any available material, such as when she braided a sturdy rope out of her own hair and then employed it both as a means of escape and as a weapon. As Shim'tar of the Bana Amazons, Artemis owns magical Shim'tar armor which provides a high degree of invulnerability. During her time as Wonder Woman, Artemis also possessed the Gauntlet of Atlas (which increased her strength tenfold, allowing her to lift well over 100 tons), the Sandals of Hermes ( giving her the ability to fly), and the Lasso of Truth. As Wonder Woman, Artemis usually favored using her personal weapons (the bow and arrow) over the lasso.
Artemis learned many sorcery skills during her time in the Underworld, including the ability to assume the form of another person or animal, though using this power expends a considerable amount of her energy. She can reverse the effects of spells cast by demonic forces, and has the power to sense the presence of demons no matter how well they are disguised. Thanks to the sorceress Circe, Artemis is also immortal.
Somewhat vulnerable to extremely toxic poisons and tranquilizers. Piercing weapons and energy blasts cause minor damage. Her amazon heritage allows her to heal at an amazing rate, and since becoming immortal, her durability has heightened more so.
- Justice League ( JL ) (2001-2004)
In the Justice League (JL) animated series (2001-2004), a Cartoon Network series, Artemis was depicted in the Justice League episode titled "Fury."
Artemis was a prominent character in the 2009 Wonder Woman direct-to-video animated feature, which re-told Wonder Woman's origin story. Artemis was voiced by 'Rent' actress Rosario Dawson. There were some differences between the original comic book Artemis and this animated version. The Bana Amazon tribe was never mentioned in the film and Artemis was instead an Amazon of Themyscira. She was older than her comic book counterpart and had fought alongside Queen Hippolyta in many battles and wars throughout the ages, establishing herself as one of Themyscira's greatest warriors, perhaps even it's greatest.
As great as her prowess was, there came a time when Artemis' fighting skills were surpassed by Hippolyta's daughter, Princess Diana. Diana proved she was the mightiest and most skilled amazon when she won the contest to represent the Amazon people in "Man's world" and became Wonder Woman. There was a difference in Artemis' role in comics and this animated feature. Rather than compete in the contest like in the comics, in this feature Artemis was assigned to oversee it.
This version of Artemis was depicted wearing an outfit that closely resembled her black and brown midriff-baring alternate costume from comic book continuity. She also retained her distinctive long flowing-topknot hairstyle and some of her Themiscirian adornments including her gold upper arm bands, her distinctive gold neck bands and her loose, sheer pants-like garment.
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
Artemis appeared again in this direct-to-video animated feature, voiced by actress Rachel Quaintance. She was first shown training Kara Zor-El (before she became Supergirl) in the art of combat, much like she did in the comics. When Artemis soundly defeated Kara during their sparring session, Kara's overprotective cousin Superman intervened, prompting Artemis to warn him never to lay a hand on her again. Artemis later led the Amazons into battle against an army of Doomsday beasts sent by the villain Darkseid. At the end of the film, Artemis proudly looked on as Kara made her Supergirl debut in her classic blue-and-red costume. Artemis wore a sleeveless red outfit during most of the film, except in battle, when she dressed in Amazonian-style armor.