Mr Mendoza was poor farmer living in the Peruvian Andes. After his beloved wife gave birth to their daughter Maria, they drove back from the hospital in the valley to their home. But before reaching home they were stopped by highway robbers. They had no money to give to the men, and in the ensuing scuffle Maria's mother was shot and killed. When the police arrived, they asked for money too, and ended up stealing the truck. Mr. Mendoza later saw them splitting the profits from his truck with the robbers. He resolved never to be a victim again, and that like the police he would have money through whatever means were necessary. In time, he became magistrate in a small village with a shady past and many dark secrets.
Maria Mendoza grew up to become a beautiful idealist, remembering the days of the great empires and often protesting the pillage of the Peruvian wealth, both natural and archeological. She was particularly angered by the illegal digs being conducted at the nearby ruins of the quasi-mythical city of Cuzco by the men of the rich, influential crimelord Armando Guitez.
Guitez's excavations had an even more sinister goal than selling off Peruvian history on the black market. There were mystical secrets hidden in the ruins and according to tradition, the Incan sun god Manco Capac had buried great evils under the city to imprison them. Guitez hoped to find magical powers in the ruins
Guitez's quest for mystical power was making him aggressive and irritable, even by crime lord standards. After having a man killed in court in front of the Mr Mendoza for speaking ill of him, he had the police force take Mr Mendoza to his house to discipline him.
Maria followed Guitez. An American named Steve Trevor was in love with her and agreed to help her despite the obvious danger and the fact that he was working for Guitez Industries.
Things quickly got out of hands at the Guitez estate. Guitez shot the juez dead, then sent his enforcers after Maria. Trevor helped her hide in the ruins, then started playing a risky game. He pretended to be a model Guitez employee, while actually shipping magical artifacts to L.A. so the crime lord wouldn't get them. Guitez knew what was going on, however, and shot Trevor, shattering a mystical rune Trevor was holding in the process.
A supernatural being emerged from the broken sigil, but Guitez wrestled with it physically and spiritually. He won and took the form and power of the monster. When a dragon also emerged from the ruins, he defeated it and added its power to his own. The empowered Guitez then left for L.A. to acquire the powers of the other runes Trevor had shipped there.
Meanwhile, Maria was drawn to a light in the mystical ruins and found the staff of Manco Capac, which destroyed the remaining cursed ruins and turned her into Wonder Woman. With his dying words, Trevor warned her about Guitez - and Wonder Woman flew to L.A. to stop him. Wonder Woman eventually impaled the demonic Guitez on a spike on the top of a Church of Eternal Empowerment temple before summoning lightning to incinerate him.
Adapting to her new surrounding with her trademark courage and resourcefulness, Maria quickly became the new secretary and junior reporter at L.A.'s tabloid the National Exposer . Her exceptional beauty made it rather easy to be hired by editor William Willard.
Like other heroes, Wonder Woman soon joined the Justice League of America to fight a dangerous cult
As Wonder Woman, Maria possesses a staff made of pure light that grants her the powers of an Incan sun god. Her staff changes Maria into an armored warrior with superhuman strength and the power to fly, The staff also allows her to fire blasts of light, and use ancient sorcery. The staff can also change into other weapons