Pandora sort of took the fans of the DC Universe by storm after her first appearance. Of course it is pretty rare for a character to show up 53 times in a single month’s worth of comics (she appeared in all of the new 52 plus also Flashpoint #5) but unlike other characters created specifically for company-wide crossovers, much remains to be revealed about her role in the scheme of things. As opposed to characters like Pariah, Lady Quark or Alexander Luthor (all of whom were created for Crisis on Infinite Earths) all that is known of her is that she is some sort of agent of change that has abilities to travel across time and space (though it remains to be seen if she will show up in the second wave of the new 52.) However, as enigmatic as she is, there is something interesting about her character which is rarely mentioned (and not surprisingly as it mostly relates to fashion) and that is her clothing, and specifically that she wears a trench coat. The history of the trench coat is pretty well documented as it appeared first in the First World War as a piece of military clothing. From this beginning the garment actually became a popular piece of fashion for both men and women, though I would say somewhat indisputably that women took it and made it their own, while it became something much more generic for men.
Thus while the trench coat became a staple of high fashion for women it became relegated to the field of the hard-boiled detective for men. In terms of early comic characters a lot carried on the pulp novel style of character that was so popular in the 1930s and produced such recognizable characters as Sam Spade or Rick Blaine (both played by Humphrey Bogart). These in turn produced early detectives such as Dick Tracy or Slam Bradley. While the trench coat got this niche for men, for women it exploded in popularity and even today variations of trench coats are still seen on the most exclusive fashion runways. In terms of female comic book characters that wear trench coats though the list is pretty short, so much so that I can’t think of any (though I am sure there are some.) Still it is interesting after all this time to see a sort of synthesis of the two directions the garment took by being featured prominently by both a female and a comic book character.