As one of the longest continually published comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s history has undergone some changes over the years, though a few elements remain consistent in all of her depictions. She is the princess of the Amazons, a race of women who live free of men on Paradise Island (later dubbed Themyscira). After growing up on this island, Wonder Woman (whom the Amazons named Diana) journeys to man’s world on a mission of diplomacy and peace.
Until DC's New 52 relaunch, there were a few other aspects of the origin story that remained consistent. Her mother, Hippolyta, created her out of clay, and the Greek gods bestowed her with life, making her the only Amazon who was not conceived by a man. She grows up among the Amazons who teach her the skills of a warrior as well as the lessons of peace and love. When Steve Trevor, an American pilot, crash lands on Paradise Island, the Amazons have a contest to determine who should receive the honor of taking him back to man's world and acting as an ambassador of all that the Amazons represent.
In the golden age this led to an infatuation with Steve Trevor that persisted throughout the golden and silver age versions of the character.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character’s origin was slightly retold by George Perez. In this version the Amazons were in fact reborn from the souls of abused and murdered women from ancient days. In 1200 B.C. a debate occurred in Mount Olympus on how mankind should be made to believe in the Gods. Ares, the God of war wanted to descent upon the world with his army and force mankind into following the Gods. This was opposed by the others Gods present including Artemis, who wished in peace and wanted to make a new race that would lead men on the right path. Zeus turns his back on them and they decide to proceed without his blessing. With the aid of Charon the ferryman, the gods reach the Womb of Gaea, were the souls of women who were abused and murdered at the hands of men were preserved by Gaea herself. Artemis sends the souls to Greece were they form into adult women. Aphrodite observes that one soul still remains in the Womb to which Athena replies the time has not yet come for that one.The new race in Greece are approached by the Gods who bestow them with the skill of hunting and the purpose of leading humanity in the right path. They appoint Hippolyte and Antiope as the rulers while Menalippe is the Oracle. The civilization is named the Amazons. Stories of this civilization, named as Themyscira by the poets spread throughout Greece and reaches the ears of Heracles who is driven into attacking the city behind the scenes by Ares, who seeks to sabotage the gods' plan. Heracles approaches the Amazons but is defeated by Hippolyte upon which he fakes friendship and declares the Amazons as allies. When their guard is down he poisons Hippolyte and his army attacks the women in full force taking Hippolyte, Antiope and the other survivors captive. In his cells, Hippolyte is freed by Athena who reminds her of her purpose and asks her to avoid revenge and pursue peaceful means. Hippolyte escapes and frees the rest of the Amazons. She relies Athena's message to the women but blinded by their thirst for revenge, the Amazons slaughter the men ruthlessly. The Gods appear and tell them they have failed in their purpose and banish them to an Island known as Paradise to guard the terrible evil within as punishment. They are also granted Immortaility as long as they do not stray from their new purpose, which would eventually purify their souls. The Amazons build a nation and live there for Millennia. It is during this time that Hippolyte, leader of the Amazons feel an unexplainable yearning. She conveys this to the Oracle who tells her she was the only one pregnant during her death and thus the yearning she feels is the call of her unborn child. As per her advise, Hippolyte goes to the shore at sunrise and makes a clay form of a baby. She then cries out to Artemis. Seeing this the Gods decide it was time for the remaining soul in the womb of Gaea to depart. The soul is sent to the clay form, which then becomes a real child , blessed with Gaea's gift, life. Demeter grants the baby great strength, Aphrodite grants her great beauty and a loving heart, Athena grants her great wisdom, Artemis grants her the eye of the hunter and unity with beasts, Hestia grants her sisterhood with fire and Hermes gives her great speed and the power of flight. Hippolyte names her after a holy warrior Diana and she grows up knowing the love of a thousand mothers. Thus Diana of Themyscira was born.
The most recent version of the character’s origin (since the new 52) has not yet been told in totality, but certain things are known. It has been revealed how the Amazons replenish their numbers (they do so by kidnapping sailors and using them for procreation before killing them) as well as the fact of Wonder Woman’s divine lineage. Despite the fact that Zeus is her father it does not necessarily remove other facts about her origin from canon (for instance the blessings of the gods) though it remains to be seen how or if this will be incorporated into the ongoing stories. In the Zero month of the new 52 in which DC was planning to tell the origins of the character from the new 52, the story for Diana focused on the fact that she had been trained by Ares when she was a teenager though she eventually rebelled against him. It is as of yet unclear how this factors into her new origin. When Diana first came to man's world she encountered a group attacking the Pentagon. because of this she befriended Barbara Minerva who was working there on ancient antiquities and Barbara helped her acclimatize to man's world.
Wonder Woman’s appearance in the early golden age of comics made her the first prominent female superheroine. The psychologist William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman somewhat as a counter reaction to the presence of prominent male superheroes (at this time Superman, Batman and Captain America) with the hopes that the character could serve as an inspiration for young children (though in certain ways it was geared more towards female readers.) Marston had been partially motivated to create this character because of the accomplishments of his own wife, who was also an accomplished academic at a time when it was difficult for women to fulfill this role. As a result, the first Wonder Woman series contained many complimentary articles and features which sought to provide guidance to a presumed female readership. There were articles for instance on the different career paths that women could pursue (according to the standards of the 1940s) as well as a series of stories on famous and accomplished women, called the Wonder Women of History. Marston introduced the character in All-Star Comics #8 in 1941. She became the lead character in Sensation Comics in 1941, and got her first solo book in 1942.
Additionally, Marston had this to say about the character in 1943:
"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women' s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
As one of the longest running comic book characters, Diana has seen a great deal of development and throughout every era of comics.
Fans of modern day comic book characters would have some difficulty relating to characters from the early golden age, and Wonder Woman is no exception. As a superhero the character obviously fulfilled the role of an icon for readers, but so too did her secret identity, Diana Prince. The character was created in a time when different cultural and societal norms existed in North America. Thus although by the modern depiction her accomplishments at the time seem ordinary, in that era they were more so. Diana Prince was originally an army nurse, but quickly attained the rank of lieutenant in Army Intelligence. This was partially a creative convenience so that she could be close to both Steve Trevor and received information which she needed to pursue her superheroics. In the real world though, this role in Army intelligence, even as the secretary to General Darnell, was still a rare position for a woman to hold in society. At this time as well, the character had her only real sidekicks in her history in the form of Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls. These characters gave the Wonder Woman a degree more of levity while also allowing the writers to focus on some issues which were more related to women. When Marston left the character, the strong driving force of the character to act as a strong moral guide and role model for female readers left as well and the character became more sensitive to the forces driving the industry as whole. Thus Wonder Woman changed somewhat to a more stereotypical woman. Her main interest was not always fighting crime, but for a time it became all in the interest of keeping Steve Trevor happy and interested in her for marriage. Also the backup stories featuring the Wonder Women of History were slowly phased out and replaced with features on marriage customs from around the world and trivial facts on random household objects. By the time that Robert Kanigher took over the character, a change away from traditional comics as a whole was accomplished. He eventually veered completely away from superheroism and essentially only told stories involving the Wonder Family, which consisted of Wonder Woman, her teenage version Wonder Girl, her baby version Wonder Tot and her mother. This eventually proved not very popular and Kanigher was forced to rethink the character and cast her in a more traditional superhero context (he actually explained this decision in comics to the reader with his various creations vying to remain in continuity against his wishes). It was at this time for instance that Wonder Woman saw the return of some characters that had been missing for some time such as the Cheetah or Doctor Psycho. It was also at this time that she became a founding member of the original Justice League of America.
This superhero era led by Kanigher didn’t last long though. The character was mired in the story lines from the golden age and especially her attachment to Steve Trevor. At the same time across the DC lineup characters were being revitalized with a new focus on science fiction. The silver age at DC is often attributed to having been started by the appearance of the re-imagined Flash in Showcase #4 in 1956. This led to a number of DC characters being reinvented such as Green Lantern and Hawkman. The difference with Wonder Woman though is that the character had managed to stay continually published since the golden age and did not get a science fiction retelling in the 1950s and 1960s. This left the character somewhat stilled mired in the past and eventually it was decided that something would be done to break her free of it. When the decision was made though it was decided that she would not have a science fiction background as it would break too much from her background as an Amazon, but that she would be slightly re-imagined as a martial arts based character, more along the lines of Batman. This would allow her to keep her somewhat unique background story, while also being more contemporary and popular. A much stronger emphasis was also placed on her appearance, as her somewhat drab civilian clothes and costume from the golden era were replaced with contemporary fashions of the time. In addition she opened a fashion boutique in trendy Greenwhich Village. This has led some to describe this era of the character as the “Mod Girl Wonder Woman.” While this version of the character did not prove to be consistently popular over the course of her brief run, it did leave some lasting impact on the character once she returned to her usual appearance. Following this she sought out more ambitious careers, for instance as a translator for the United Nations, or as a NASA astronaut and eventually moved back to Army Intelligence where she eventually got promoted to major. Also this period provided the opportunity to sever her from a dependence on Steve Trevor for her stories and her stories for the first time in her publication history became much more in line with what is considered typical of the super hero medium. The introduction of the multiverse made it such that there became two Wonder Womans, the modern version on Earth 1, and the golden age version on Earth 2. For a short time her appearances in her own comic were those of Earth 2 until the contemporary Angle Man accidentally visited her and subsequently the series was returned to modern day. The stories continued much like this for the remainder of the silver age until the end of the first Wonder Woman series with the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. To provide closure to the character which was destined for a reboot, Steve Trevor returned and following the defense of Paradise Island from Shadow Demons, the two were finally married, though in continuity this lasted less than an issue.
The modern age of the character can be tied to the reboot of the character following Crisis on Infinite Earths. In this the character became defined by the vision of George Perez in a way which the entire concept of the character was defined by his direction. As opposed to the past where the character would get retold origins which would try to make her more contemporary, now she got one which tied her much more strongly to the stories of the ancient gods. For the first time Diana enters man’s world not knowing how to speak English already, and is forced to master the language on her own. In this period she also became much more closely related with modern female issues, and this was usually through her circle of friends – Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis and Mindi Mayer. Such issues as the cultural need for women to be attractive and thin, suicide and the sensationalization of the media as it pertains to women were all addressed. This version of the character also reimagined Steve Trevor as a father figure for Diana as opposed to a romantic counterpart. After Perez’s run on the character, she was taken over for a time by William Messner Loebs, who recast her again in somewhat more traditional superhero stories, though in this case she still explored a different aspect of humanity. After a long space voyage, when she returned home she was forced to work at a fast food restaurant to pay her bills and made friends with a number of people in her “civilian identity.” This built up to the revelation of betrayal of her mother, and of Artemis taking over as Wonder Woman for a short time, but this was soon reversed. The following writer was John Byrne, who when he was writing Superman in the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC universe, had hinted at a relationship between Diana and Superman. This was explored occasionally under his run, but it is probably best known for the death of Diana, and the assumption of her duties by Hippolyta. She was soon returned to life (as she had never really died, instead having been deified). This period also introduced Cassandra Sandsmark, who would go on to become Wonder Girl at a later point. The remainder of this second series is best remembered for by the writing of Jimenez and Rucka, both of whom helped define the character. The latter during the lead-in of events to Infinite Crisis had Diana fighting Superman who was being controlled by Maxwell Lord. Battered after their battle, Diana has managed to stop Superman by using her lasso of truth on Lord, and the only option which she is given to stopping him is to kill him, and realizing this is the case, she does so. This created a controversy both within comics and in the real world, as both fans and characters alike debated the morality of this decision. In comics this also led to strained relations between her and Superman and her and Batman and with the addition of the events of Identity Crisis, helped to lead to the breakup of the Justice League of America at a crucial point right before the main events of Infinite Crisis were about to begin.
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, she disappeared for a year in order to rediscover herself, and took part briefly in the events of 52. In the span of One Year Later, she was re-imagined once again and was forgiven by Batman and Superman while given her third ongoing monthly title. Batman helped her establish a role at the Department of Metahuman Affairs under the name of Diana Prince (paying homage to her golden age alter ego.) She worked alongside Tom Tresser and eventually became romantically involved with him. A move among fans across the different companies occurred with characters reverting to their original numbering of series (this for instance happened to Iron Man at Marvel as well) and the third Wonder Woman series was relaunched with Wonder Woman #600. This was actually accurate at the time as it was the indeed the 600 issue released (not including issues numbered otherwise such as with a zero or a million.) Issue 600 was used as a chance to reinvent the character as she discovers herself with no memories and in a new costume. This was a short lived experiment as the entire DC lineup was soon to be re-imagined into the new 52, though certain aspects of her redesigned costume remained.
The New 52
The character's depiction in the new 52 has been mostly along the same lines as the remainder of her modern appearances, though as of yet much remains to be explained about her character. One development with the character in this new universe is that some of the developments which occurred during Flashpoint are occasionally referenced (such as her using London as her base of operations.). In the New 52, Wonder Woman's origin is that she is the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus - she is no longer a clay form brought to life by the gods.
Due to the reboot of the character following Crisis on Infinite Earths, numerous things no longer made sense in terms of continuity as it related to the remainder of the DC Universe. As her first overall appearance was now in continuity around the Legends miniseries, it no longer made sense that she was a founding member of the Justice League of America. This founding position was instead given retroactively to Black Canary. Later it was decided that she should be given this position back and thus both she and Black Canary were considered founding members of the Justice League. In reference to the Justice League though, although she has more than 400 combined appearances therein, she has had most of her character development in her own series.
Relationship with Superman
Although she has traditionally paired with either Steve Trevor or no one as a main romantic lead, and Superman with either Lois Lane or Lana Lang, there has often been the hint of a romance between the two characters. This began in the 1960 in the series Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane which was equal parts romance and action themed. In order to drive along the romance, the theme often came up of Lois Lane believing that Superman really loved Wonder Woman (though this was mostly for the purposes of a case.) In later years the same ideas perpetuated though most in imaginary stories or alternate tellings of the future. Following Crisis on Infinite Earths the characters were briefly linked romantically in Action Comics #600 which was written by John Byrne. Subsequently the characters' interest in one another was generally portrayed as a strong friendship (this occurred under different writers, primarily Messner-Loebs and Rucka.) Following the reboot of the DC universe into the new 52 the characters once again showed a romantic interest in one another. They found common ground in the isolation which their power give them and shared a kiss in Justice League #12 in 2012.
Major Story Arcs for Wonder Woman
Due to the format of most golden age comics, the majority of story arcs at the time for all characters were the same, Wonder Woman included. More accurately that is to say that there were not story arcs at all, as issues contained two to three stories, all of which started and concluded within the issue in question. There was therefore not much continuity in Wonder Woman until she reached the silver age. The few exceptions to this were in issues which contained a common theme, such as Wonder Woman meeting some leprechauns and each of the three stories dealing with that. Alternately there were some common themes for the character at the time, one of which was dealing with enemy saboteurs. These were mostly contemporary, and thus started as either the National Socialists in Germany or the Imperial Japanese. Later these became others.
The Silver Age format for comic books also did not generally favour a lot of story arcs, or at least, not memorable ones. In this period though the character did undergo some consistent changes as she battled a variety of common foes including Kobra, but the changed format gave her the ability to develop more as a character. The silver age stories of Wonder Woman can be broken into a few general arcs – the depowered stories (in the mod girl phase), undergoing tests to re-enter the Justice League of America, a golden age story about her work during the Second World War, her adventures as an astronaut for NASA, the hunt for Kobra, and eventually the return of Steve Trevor and the internal politics of working at the Pentagon. The most famous story which she was involved with at this time was “For the Man Who Has Everything”, a story focused on Superman, but also involving herself and Batman. The first major story arc which she was part of was Crisis on Infinite Earths, which also ended her silver age appearances.
Duing the Perez run on the character, there were not as many story arcs either, but they did become more defined. Her entrance into man's world was to stop a global nuclear war created by Ares. She also had introduced a modern version of the Cheetah, Circe, Doctor Psycho and Silver Swan. One of the defining story arcs at this time was the Challenge of the Gods, where she discovers the truth about her own past as she journeys into the underworld. In this time as well she was a part of numerous company-wide crossovers including Millennium, Invasion and one focused on herself, the War of the Gods. The latter was Perez’s swansong on the character and with Messner Loebs taking over afterwards the direction of the character changed again somewhat. Under his direction, Diana became involved in battle factions of organized crime in Boston, and faced off against Ares Buchanan and the White Magician. This resulted in Wonder Woman being marooned in space, and returning to uncover the plot. During the events of Zero Hour a slightly different version of her origin is told, and Artemis wins the right to be Wonder Woman in another contest. This ends eventually with Diana battling the White Magician after Artemis has been killed. The John Byrne run equally was without as many defined story arcs except specifically with how her death affected others. This was also incorporated into the company wide Genesis event. Once she returned she faced a new villain known as Devastation who she battled occasionally, and she also took responsibility for Cassandra Sandsmark (who would later become Wonder Girl.) As a prominent character within the DC universe she took part in company-wide crossovers like Our Worlds at War and the Joker’s Last Laugh. When Rucka took over, some of the character's most memorable story arcs occurred, and most famously among them Stoned and the Superman story arc Sacrifice which ended in Wonder Woman #219 with her killing Maxwell Lord.
Wonder Woman was minorly associated with the series 52, and in the One Year Later universe following Infinite Crisis she becomes a member of the Department of Metahuman Affairs. The most memorable story arc from this era was the much maligned Amazons Attack story arc, which many fans felt was not engaging nor did it do enough service to the well-established characters. After Gail Simone took over the series, a number of memorable story arcs took place, foremost among them Rise of the Olympian and Warkiller. Following the departure of Gail Simone the character was relaunched into the storyline Odyssey, where she must discover who she is and what has happened to her life. During this period she also took part in the events of Blackest Night where she was first a Black Lantern and later a Star Sapphire.
With the decision to relaunch the DC Universe into the new 52, this was done by the Flashpoint story arc, where the Reverse Flash has modified the past with a vastly different modern DC Universe having resulted. In this universe Diana leads a dystopian society of Amazons that have taken over England after a battle between the Amazons and the Atlanteans led by Aquaman.
In the new 52, there has not been one central story arc thus far, but there have been some common developments, mostly involving in fighting among the gods.
Gods and Mortals
The Gods, led by Athena, create the Amazons in Greece to realize their ideals and bring humans into following them. The Amazons are created from the souls of dead women who were murdered at the hands of men. These souls are preserved in the Womb of Gaea. All but one soul depart to earth. This is opposed by Ares, the God of War, who seeks to use brute force to bend mankind to his will and overthrow Zeus as the supreme ruler of the Gods. The Amazons fail in their purpose by killing men in their thirst for revenge, after being betrayed by Heracles, who was manipulated by Ares.. Thus greatly displeased, the Gods banish them to Paradise Island, where they are tasked with guarding an ancient evil, as immortals. Here the leader of the Amazons Hippolytta feels a yearning for her unborn child (as she was pregnant at the time of her death). She makes a clay form of a child and prays to Artemis, one of the Gods responsible for the Amazon's creation, Seeing this the Gods send the last remaining soul in the Well of souls to the clay form, transforming it into a live child blessed with Gaea's gift, life. The Gods grant her various abilities and she grows up as Diana of Themyscira.
When she has matured into an adult, Menalippe, the Oracle of the Amazons sees a vision in which the Gods and humanity is in danger. Soon they are approached by the Gods and tasked with organizing a tournament in order to chose a champion, who will save them from impending Doom. Diana competes against her mother's wish and win. She is also made to face the test of the flashing thunder (which is a gun). After Diana is chosen as the champion she is given the armor of the holy warrior whom she was named after. Athena then sends her a weapon, the Lasso of Truth forged by Hephaestus from the girdle of Gaea.
Meanwhile in the outside world a grand scheme orchestrated by Ares is in effect. His pawn, General Kohler sends colonel Steven Trevor to an unknown location on an aircraft with a co-pilot who is also a servant of Ares. When they arrive at the destination, which is Paradise Island, the co-pilot sabotages the plane and drops a bomb. Diana seeing this immediately flies up and throws the projectile away, which explodes, to the shock of the Amazons who have seen nothing like it. Diana finds Trevor underwater, where she is cautioned by one of Poseidon's messengers that he means them no harm and brings him up where they treat him. Kohler is later found dead in his office.
Diana then begins her journey to stop Ares's plan, led by Hermes and reaches Harmonia, daughter of Ares in order to obtain Ares's present location. She gives Diana a half of Ares's talisman. Hermes takes her to Boston, to professor Julia Kapatelis (after dropping off Trevor at a hospital) who has the knowledge to help Diana. Meanwhile one of Ares's sons, Phobos who was tracking Diana sends a statue made from the Gorgon's blood to Julia's house where it is recieved by Julia's daughter Vanessa. Julia takes Diana to her home after being convinced by the talisman that Diana has come with a purpose not to be taken lightly. She is teaching Diana English when the statue turns into Decay, daughter of Medusa, a monstrous female capable of inducing accelerated aging and deterioration with a touch. Vanessa is affected by her, the house is destroyed and Decay flees with Diana's Tiara.
Seeing that Diana is not faring well, Athena question their fate in her. The gods prepare to leave to oblivion, on Charon's ferry. This also causes the Amazons to age and wither but they do not lose faith in Diana. Decay wreaks great havoc in the city before being finally caught by Diana. The two fight and Decay initially gains the upper hand, taking advantage of Diana's anger and managing to touch her making her age. But Diana overcomes her with the Lasso of truth, destroying her.
Meanwhile in the hospital, Trevor is arrested by General Tolliver who is also a servant of Ares, and tries to kill him. He is painted as the killer of General Kohler by the media. But Trevor escapes and reaches his co-worker and friend Lieutenant Etta who believes he is innocent. She searches General Tolliver's office and finds the Ares Project. Meanwhile Ares's other son Deimos manipulates various military generals and other important people from around the world in order to make them deploy nuclear missiles against other nations. Vanessa is in the hospital in critical condition with the doctors unable to find a cure. Trevor, Etta tracks Diana to Kapatelis's winter home, followed by Trevor's close friend Michaelis. They convince Diana and Julia that they mean no harm and work together in uncovering the secret of the Talisman. Julia comes up with a pattern from the Talisman and the other team comes up with the same pattern from the Ares Project, convincing them that the Ares project is indeed the work of Ares. The pattern when drawn on the world map reveals locations of nuclear bases, making it clear that Ares intends to start a nuclear war.
General Tolliver and the other servants manipulated by Deimos takes unauthorized control over a US nuclear base. A similar situation occurs in Russia. Diana brings the Talisman to a mirror in an attempt to complete it's half form, and they get transported to Ares's stronghold, Areophagus. There they fight Deimos and Phobos, who hold the other half of the Talisman. Diana is infected by Deimos's venom, but manages to kill him by throwing her Tiara at his neck, decapitating him. Phobos flees. They join the two talisman halves and find themselves transported to Ares's location, which is the nuclear base being commandeered by General Tolliver. They fight and General Tolliver gets into the nuclear launch room which is protected by a steel door and is about to launch the missile when he is attacked by Trevor who had followed him. Diana, weakened by Deimos's venom, attempts to open the door but is suddenly transported to Ares's realm. Here she finds herself face to face with Ares himself who mocks her and her purpose. As his grand plan is nearing completion he declares Diana as a failure to the gods. Diana attempts to fight him but he seems out of her league and easily overpowers her and ignites her. In great agony, Diana musters the will to lift herself up and throws her lasso at Ares. Upon coming into contact with the lasso, Ares sees the truth and realizes the future consequences of his evil scheme. He realizes the world would grow empty and lifeless from the catastrophe. Without no one to rule over and no one to follow him, his strength would diminish and his castle would crumble, taking him with it. Tears fall out of his eyes as he stops the missiles from being launched and lets Diana go and advises her to lead mankind, as appointed by the other gods. Thus Diana has completed her mission. The gods are spared of oblivion and the Amazons regain their immortality becoming young again.
In the nuclear base Michaelis is dead. Trevor finds Diana's unconscious body in the launch room and carries her out. But Diana is dying from the poison and is in the care of the Amazons when Zeus, who now seemingly believes in Diana, comes to her rescue. She is taken to the depths of the sea by Poseidon and cured. Thus she comes up from the sea as healthy as ever to the great joy of the Amazons and her mother, Hippolyta. She goes back to Boston with a cure for Vanessa. After curing her, Julia takes her to Myndi Mayer who has offered to relay Diana's message to humanity through the media. She is in fact taking advantage of Wonder Woman's (the media has named Diana Wonder Woman at this point) great marketing value to make a fortune for herself. In the epilogue, Barbara Minerva is shown planning to obtain Wonder Woman's Lasso.
Challenge of the Gods
After the events of the previous arc, Diana is hard at work spreading her message to humanity. She is worried that certain backward countries refuse to heed the words of a woman and that Russia is protesting her costume(due to its similarity to the US flag) calling her biased. The us army declares her explanation of the Ares project as true. The archeologist Barbara Minerva arrives in Boston and with her servant, begins a ritual to feed her mysterious plant-god with her blood.
Diana arrives at Minerva's residence owing to a letter from her claiming she had the second Girdle of Gaea that would help uncover the fate of Hippolyte's sister Antiope, who had left the amazons before their exile to Paradise Island. When inspecting the lasso of truth, Minerva is forced to forced to confess that she has no girdle. Feeling betrayed, Diana leaves the place in tears. At night, Minerva completes the final phase of the ritual by drinking an elixir mixed with her own cursed blood and transforms into the Cheetah. She tracks down Wonder Woman at Julia's residence and the two fight, with Minerva quickly gaining the advantage due to her element of surprise. She manages to pin Diana under a tree trunk when she is shot by Julia and falls into the adjacent stream. Diana fails to find her body in the water.
Meanwhile, Steven trevor is back from his mission and departs to his home with Etta, where his father is in his death bed. Upon arriving he finds he is too late. He picks up a photo of him and his parents and reminisces of old times.
Later it is time for Diana to depart and both Julia and Vanessa bid their goodbye in tears. In Diana's world, she is approached by Zeus in order to partake in the ''ultimate pleasure of the Flesh and spirit'', manipulated by Pan the goat-god. Diana is his first prey and when she politely refuses to surrender her virginity, he is mad and unleashes his lightning upon her. Hippolyte is enraged by Zeus's intentions and rushes to Diana's rescue when Zeus is called away by Hera, by the request of the other Gods. Later, Diana is summoned by the Gods to heaven. Here Zeus gives her the challenge of the gods as punishment and as a means to finally deem her worthy of the gods' faith.
She is sent to the evil cavern under paradise island to retrieve a ''treasure" belonging to Zeus. Upon entering the Cavern, Diana is forced to fight monsters such as the last Hecatoncheires: Cottus, the Hydra, and the venomous Echidna. She slays the first two and when she is fighting the Echidna, she is drawn to a light and upon entering, she finds herself face to face with a beautiful woman who reveals herself to be the warrior whom Diana was named after, and Steven Trevor's mother. She was an air-force pilot back home, and fatefully crash landed on Themyscira due to a storm. Here she finds the amazons fighting to keep the evil within the cavern at bay and lends a hand with her gun. She fights valiantly but is killed, earning great respect from the Amazons. Queen Hippolyte gives her an honourable burial, garbing her in an armor designed from her country's military uniform. They also place and identical set in the hall of honor along with her gun. She tells Diana her destiny is to be the embodiment of all hope of the two worlds. She asks Diana to take good care of Steven. She had been waiting for this meeting for a long time and now is ready to rejoin her husband who died just recently. She leaves, accompanied by Hades.
Queen Hippolyte is driven into following Diana into the cavern by a mysterious vulture. The vulture guides her deep into the cavern, where she faces many dangers, created by the god Pan to prevent her from unearthing a dark secret about the goat-god. But she overcomes all this and happens upon a skull, which the other gods up in Heaven recognizes as that of Pan. Seeing he was murdered a long time ago, Zeus realizes the current Pan is an imposter and also regrets how he treated the Amazons. But Pan already sends Diana into another location on a possibly suicidal mission regarding the events in the cross-over Millenium. But warned by Zeus and enraged upon discovering his son Pan had actually died a long time ago, Hermes retrieves Diana and brings her back into the cavern, where she saves her mother Hippolyte from being eaten by the cyclops that had eaten Pan.
Hippolyte had also seen Heracles in the cavern, bound in rock form, under attack by harpies. Even though she hates him, she doesn't want him to suffer like this. They face tough resistance from a Minotaur and the Echidna, but is assisted by Harmonia, daughter of Ares who is revealed to be the vulture that led Hippolyte.. They overcome the attack and Harmonia provides them with Ares's amulet from the previous arc, which can absorb the evil released by Pandora contained within Heracles. She asks Diana to do this deed for Ares who's madness was calmed by Diana herself, and thus prove herself to be Gaea's chosen one. Diana recognizes Heracles as Zeus's treasure and frees Heracles by tying him up with Hippolyte with the Lasso of truth. It causes Hippolyte to suffer for Heracles just as Heracles is now suffering for her. His skin of stone breaks and the evil is released but absorbed by Diana with the amulet. The amulet is then taken by Ares with glee. Zeus and the other gods grant Heracles freedom from his punishment of bearing the weight of Paradise Island and entrust it to Gaea's might. With the gods' faith in the Amazons restored, Diana carries Hippolyte and Heracles out of the crypt which was now in ruins and he is forgiven by the Amazons after his apology and they all celebrate later.
Diana is later sent back to man's world in order to gather more knowledge on their race, even as some amazons question Hippolyte's decision to let a man set foot on their Island.
First clash with Circe
After Diana's clash with Silver Swan, she goes to Greece, where Julia is staying. Here she meets Julia's friend, renowned Epigraphist Stavros Christadoulodou. Here, a conspiracy is shown to be in play with a mysterious woman behind it, dwelling in an undisclosed location, speaking to her servant Mikos about Diana's presence and how it could be a threat. A rebel group is revealed to be in existence, secretly fighting the witch's forces, headed by a man named Gregory, who had lost his son's to the witch's monsters. The witch uses her servants disguised as animals to kill her enemies in the rebel group. The rebel faction also has Katina and Spiros as it's members, actively tracking other followers of the witch and trying to keep Diana safe from harm. She goes on boat to an island called Cephalonia when she is distracted by another small island in the vicinity. She senses a strange presence in the island and is somehow attacked by it's mysterious resident psychically, as a warning, causing her to faint on the spot. In the hospital, Diana is surrounded by her friends and some wonder if it's the Magia, a curse that some believe is pure superstition. The Magia is said to come from the mysterious island, where a witch is said to exist. Diana is introduced to Theophilius Ventouras, one of the wealthiest people in the area by Julia, who is actually another pawn of the witch, and he deceives Diana and her friends into thinking the woman is actually a rich loner and there is no truth in the myths about the Magia and the Witch. Stavros meets with Gregory and is given a scroll that the faction had obtained from the island, which may contain secrets about the witch.
Mikos delivers Ventouras's dead son to him, presumably killed by the rebel faction. This causes him to seek revenge against the Rebels and Diana. They turn into monsters and attack Diana. Diana fights the witch's forces but is overpowered by the witch herself, but only after retrieving the scroll from Stavros who was already attacked and severely wounded. The scrolls ends up in Julia's hands, and she immediately goes to work decoding it in an effort to save Diana and discover the witch's weakness. Diana is taken to the witch's stronghold, where she is revealed to be Circe, a sorceress possessing the soul of Hecate, the moon god after they had entered into a pact to drive the world into chaos. She tells Diana what became of her aunt Antiope, who was killed by Circe herself after manipulating Antiope's husband Theseus's former wife. Circe explains to Diana that her existence is a threat to her mission, due to Diana's goal of promoting peace and equality among mankind, and therefore she must be eliminated. Circe is about to kill Diana when she is interrupted by Julia and the rebels. Julia had decoded the scroll and knew how to stave off the witch's attacks. But they are beaten by Circe and almost killed when Circe herself is suspiciously summoned off from the island by an unknown force, later revealed to be the god Hermes.
Powers and Abilities
Wonder Woman’s powers are a result of the blessings she received from the gods (or presumably in the modern version by her divine ancestry.) Her abilities in large part come from her upbringing in the martial society of the Amazons. She is one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC universe.
Her level of super strength (as granted to her by Demeter) is comparable to that of the Earth itself (as this is where she derives her powers.) She is thus strong on a level with the strongest other DC’s characters including Superman and Captain Marvel. It is generally accepted that she is not as strong as Superman, but that she is one of the few in the same class as he is. Wonder Woman was even able to take on Powergirl in a hand to hand fight while trying to free her from mind-control. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel were an even match when they fought. On one occasion she even used her massive strength to move the Earth (though this was under duress and aided by Superman and the Martian Manhunter.) With the launch of the new 52 Wonder Woman showed a new strength level while fighting a God, she removes her bracelets and goes into a "berzerker rage" of power. We then find out that Wonder Woman's bracelets are what protects her opponents from her intense power. Wonder Woman had a quick match with Supergirl where we found out that they are close in strength, Wonder Woman over powered Supergirl with her bracelets still on.
Granted by Hermes (God of Messengers), her top speed has never been well documented, but she has been shown to be faster than half the speed of light. The Flash has said that Wonder Woman can easily keep up with him and she has been seen keeping up with Flash going faster than hypersonic speed. She has been shown to be on par with some of the fastest characters in the DC Universe such as Jesse Quick. She can disarm human opponents of their weapons instantly and she can immobilize her opponents in the blink of an eye, as she showed when she speedblitzed White Martian and Genocide into space in no time and was able to take down Amazo before he could finish a word. She is such a well trained athlete that in combat, her reflexes even surprise the likes of Superman.
Granted by Demeter (Goddess of the Earth), in the Pre-52, she is immune to radiation and the coldness of space; she also possesses a high level of resistance against fire and high temperatures, she has been shown taking fire, lava, thermonuclear explosions, hell fire and even superman's heat vision, however, her invulnerability has a vulnerable point against piercing weapons. Wonder Woman can fight with and withstood considerable damage in the form of hand to hand combat with opponents such as Superman and Gods. Wonder Woman possesses a high resistance to damage and magical attacks. Also she was self-sufficient in the fact that Wonder Woman did not have to eat or sleep and could hold her breath under water for hours and hours. This may still hold true in the new 52, Wonder Woman has still shown the ability to fight on with little to no rest or food to replenish her strength.
Granted by Hermes (God of Messengers), this ability allows her to fly at fast speeds. In the silver age she could not fly and had to rely on the Amazon ability to glide on air currents and her invisible plane. Wonder Woman is able to fly at hyper-sonic speeds able to keep up with Superman.
Granted by Demeter (Goddess of Earth). In the rare instance when Wonder Woman is harmed, her body heals from any injury instantly without scarring
Granted by Athena (Goddess of Wisdom), this gives her a degree of wisdom beyond that of most mortals and gives her a strong moral sense. This also aids her in her tactical ability. She is among the smartest and wisest members of the Justice League of America, along with the Martian Manhunter and Batman.
Wonder Woman can fight to she drops dead, she does not need to rest. Wonder Womans's agility is on a super-human level.
Although not a real power in itself, she received a blessing of great beauty from Aphrodite.
Granted by Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt). Eyesight, hearing, taste, touch and smell are all on super-human level. Wonder Woman has the (Hunters Eyes) which allows her to always hit her mark and see far distances.
Other assorted divine powers
For a time she was given enhanced vision by Athena, which gave her the ability to see in darkness and through illusions. Due to her wisdom she can learn languages faster than a regular person, she can talk to animals. She has also been shown to project herself astrally in order to commune with the gods and ask for special favors from them. She has also been shown to take on the abilities of certain of her patron goddesses as when she became a form of divine midwife to save the life of an unborn child.
Wonder Woman is trained in the a variety of martial arts, making her a master of unarmed and armed combat (even proving adept with pistols). Before Flashpoint Batman considered Diana the best melee fighter on the planet, even putting her ahead of Superman, due to the combination of her power and the depth of her training. Even when depowered she is on par with some of the best hand to hand fighters in the DC Universe.
In the New 52, the night when she turned 8, Ares appeared before Diana and offered to train her above and beyond what the Amazons could, having seen her potential to eventually be his replacement as the God of War. Though the training was one for one night each month, the year was noticed with Diana improving tremendously compared to the other Amazons.
Weapons and Equipment
Lasso of Truth
The Lasso of Truth forces people to tell the truth. It was forged by Hephaestus from the Golden Girdle of Gaea that Antiope had once worn. It is able to restore people's lost memories get rid of illusions or cause illusions to those it holds and heal the holder's body cure insanity and protect people who are in close proximity to it from magical attacks. In the golden age version the lasso could also take on a rigid form and hold people aloft from a great distance away. During these eras, the lasso also forced those who were bound by it to act as the holder demanded. This trait also affected Wonder Woman. A non-combat application of the lasso is that it can be used to change Diana's clothes as long as those clothes are "in the right frequency" as the lasso. Although this was a plot device used more often in the golden and silver age in has been used on occasion in modern comics as for instance one time Diana transformed into a Miss America costume.
Bracelets of Victory
These are a pair of steel cuffs that are indestructible because they were created from the remains of Zeus’s Aegis shield. Wonder Woman can use her super reflexes to deflect projectiles, blades, punches, or any form of offensive attack used against her (including Darkseid’s Omega Beams.) She can also use them to deflect an object back into her enemies. When Diana crosses them to protect her from impact with larger projectiles as well as damage inflicted by explosions and collisions with hard surfaces, the bracelets generate a small energy shield. In recent events, Diana has learned how to emit a devastating magic lightning attack from her bracelets do to their link with Zeus. This attack can even strike Gods and Goddesses down with a powerful strike, and this attack can even work underwater. In the golden age these were items of submission meant to control Amazons. If they were removed from an Amazon, she would launch into an uncontrollable rage, releasing her full power (this was a plot device which subdued many foes, among them the Crimson Centipede.) Also during this era, if they were bound together by a man, all her powers were lost, this was only true in the Golden Age. With the launch of the new 52 the golden age bracelets are brought back. Wonder Woman removes her bracelets and go into a "berzerker rage" of power. Wonder Woman's bracelets are what protects her opponents from her intense power in the New 52.
Her tiara is razor sharp and can be used so as to return to her when thrown. It is also magical and can therefore be used to injure those susceptible to magic, such as Superman.
The Invisible Plane
The invisible plane was Diana’s major means of travel during the Golden and Silver ages as the character did not have the ability of flight. It was controlled telepathically and would appear almost instantly. With the introduction of the power of flight to the character it was a forgotten element of her character until she found the Lansinar Disk. This disc was a piece of alien technology which allowed her to create an invisible version of whatever object or vehicle she visualized it to be. She would use this to create an invisible plane, but it eventually became to be used more to create the Wonder Dome.
When faced with a larger threat, Diana will wear her Amazon battle armour for added protection as well as use martial weapons such as swords. Technically speaking as well, as reimagined under the George Perez 1980s reboot, the iconic costume is in fact simply the breastplate of this armour. She will also additionally use a shield for added defense when she deems it necessary.
Diana is depicted as quite skilled in a number of martial weapons. She has shown to be adept with swords, battle axes and spears. She tends to favour swords though in particularly difficult fights. Her knowledge of martial weapons extends to other less conventional weapons, including broken bottles.
On occasions Wonder Woman has employed a magical sword of unknown (though presumably Amazon) origin. This sword has been used most specifically against those with the power of invulnerability as invulnerability generally does not work against magical items. It is generally represented as a short sword. In Wonder Woman (vol. 4) #15, Hephaestus modifies Diana's bracelets so that she can manifest two short swords from them during battle.
Wonder Woman has used these swords many times in the new 52. Specifically in the Justice League and Wonder Woman books.
Sandals of Hermes
Given to Diana by Hermes, these are no longer in canon, but at one point allowed her to travel between Themyscira and the outside world. These sandals have also been given to Artemis and Cassandra Sandsmark as they also provide the power of flight.
Gauntlet of Atlas
These gauntlets allow the strength of any who uses them to be increased by ten. She has used these to battle the White Magician in his demon form and Doomsday. When using them Diana has trouble controlling her sudden increase in strength.
Although seemingly only a purely decorative aspect of her costume, in the golden and silver ages, her earrings were sometimes depicted as giving her the ability to breathe in outer space. Gelignite Grenade Earrings and Grappling Hook Bracelet - In her depowered mod girl phase, Diana on rare occasion employed these devices, which were concealed to look like regular parts of her costume. She acquired them from a demolitions expert and villain which she had helped reform. The grenades were strong enough to blast through a thick steel door and the grappling hook could support easily her body weight to aid in climbing.
For a short time during the Blackest Night crossover, Wonder Woman was empowered by a Black Power Ring and then a violet Power Ring.
Real Name: Diana of Themyscira
Occupation: Ambassador of Peace, Superhero, Adventurer
Height: 6 ft.
Base: Washington, D.C., Themyscira, JLA Watchtower, Hall of Justice
Partnerships: Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Superman, and Batman
Teams: Justice League, Justice Society, Gods of Olympus, Black Lanterns Corps, Star Sapphire Corps, and the White Lantern Corps
Foes: Ares, The Cheetah (Rich), The Cheetah (Minerva), Giganta, Angle Man, Dr. Psycho, Dr. Poison, Baroness Paula Von Gunther, Hades, Silver Swan, and Cyborgirl
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941)
Created by: William Moulton Marston
As one of the major DC characters, Wonder Woman has appeared in many Elseworlds titles as well as Realworlds, and Just Imagine from Stan Lee
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Wonder Woman is forced to work for the oppressive, police-state government run by Lex Luthor.
Eventually, she and Superman, along with her daughter, Lara, play a a major part in Batman's plan to destroy the dictatorship's power source, Brainiac, subsequently inciting a revolt.
Wonder Woman appears in Superman: Red Son story line.
Wonder Woman appears in the first three issues of the Ame-Comi comic run. She is depicted as a young warrior eager to prove herself in battle, but when she goes against her mothers words it results in a punishment of sorts. Diana is made into an ambassador of peace to the world outside of Themyscira, which she is reluctant to perform. At a U.N. Assembly where she announces Themyscira's intention for peace she is attack by Cheetah, who is quickly defeated. This depiction of Diana is that of a younger amazon who is depicted in a more arrogant and aggressive manner.
Wonder Woman in Other Media
The character has appeared occasionally on live television. In 1966 a short film was made to pitch the character to television studios, but was ultimately unsuccessful. The most famous television show was in 1975 starring Lynda Carter.
The first animated version of the character was in 1972 in an episode of the Brady Kids cartoon called “It’s all Greek to Me.” Starting in 1973 she appeared as one of the main characters in Super Friends, and appeared for 8 seasons in total. In 1988 she appeared in one story in the Superman animated series. She later became a major character in the DC Animated Universe Justice League and Justice League unlimited. This series is best known for the implied romantic feelings between herself and Batman. After the end of this relatively long running series, she appeared in Batman The Brave and the Bold. She later appears in the series Young Justice as a background character. In 2009 an animated film was created which mostly served as an origin story.
Numerous novels have been created involving the character: Gods and Goddesses (1998), Spirit of Truth (2001), The Hiketeia (2002), Justice League of America: Wonder Woman Mythos (2003), and Wonder Woman Love and Murder (2007).
- Wonder Woman is a playable character in the fighting game Justice league Task Force (1995).
- She is playable in Justice League: Injustice for All (2002). It was released for the GameBoy Advance and featured character designs similar to the that of the Justice League animated series.
- She is playable in Justice League Chronicles (2003) for the GBA.
- She is a playable character in the action RPG Justice League Heroes released for the PS2, Xbox, PSP and the Nintendo DS. Unlike most other games it is based on the long running comic book series and written by Justice League of America writer Dwayne McDuffie.
- She is a playable character in the fighting game Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (2008).
- She appears in the platformer LittleBigPlanet 2 developed for the PS3.
- Wonder Woman is a playable character in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, an action adventure game released in 2012. She is voiced by Laura Bailey.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us: Wonder Woman has also appeared in the 2013 NetherRealm Studios fighting game, INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us, as a playable character with her own set of super moves and alternate constumes, one of which was a New 52 skin. In the game, Wonder Woman is summoned alongside Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman, and the Joker into a world where Superman rules with an iron fist and said world's Wonder Woman is his second-in-command. Wonder Woman must unite with the others and this world's Batman to defeat Regime Superman for good. She is voiced by Susan Eisenberg.
In 2011, the cosmetics company MAC released a series of cosmetics, including lipstick, with a Wonder Woman theme.
On the 4th December 2013, Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder announced that Gal Gadot had been cast as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the upcoming "Batman vs Superman" film (Working Title) set to be released in 2015.
On 23rd January 2014 it was reported Gal Gadot had signed a 3 picture deal with Warner Bros. for the role of Wonder Woman. In addition to playing Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman Gal Gadot will further portray the character in Justice League and a Wonder Woman standalone film.
Between 1942 and 1947, images of tied up women began to populate the covers of Wonder Woman. This subtext has been noted, and it has been debated.
Marston ’s sexual fantasies, or an outlet for readers of the comics, who were teenagers developing their sexuality. Marston had worked as a prison psychologist and bondage and submission were two themes of his comics and they were intertwined with theories of the rehabilitation of criminals. Wonder Woman of course, being a superhero wanted to change the ways of the criminals. Even a rehabilitation center was built on a small island near concept of Marston was the “loving submission” where kindness would allow people to surrender. Parodies have been written with this concept, as male criminals may give up only to spend time with her.
When Marston died in 1947 Robert Kanigher took over and Diana became less of a feminist character but during this time, her abilities expanded as she wore earrings that provided her with the air she needed when she was in outer space and she had an invisible plane. Extra additions included a tiara which could cut through almost anything and acted as a boomerang and her bracelets now had two way radios.
In 1954, Dr. Fredric Wertham alleged that there were lesbian subtexts to Wonder Woman and claimed comics contributed to juvenile delinquency in his book Seduction of the Innocent where despite a very obvious heterosexual relationship with Steve Trevor, Wertham asserted that Wonder Woman’s association with the Holliday Girls could be interpreted as a lesbian relationship. The Comics Code Authority was then introduced in reaction to Wertham 's claims against the entire industry.
Depiction and the Iconic Costume
Wonder Woman’s costume has come under heavy criticism throughout the years. Many find that as an example of a character that is supposed to represent female empowerment that by wearing a costume which reveals a gratuitous amount of skin that the character is being contradictory. Numerous attempts have been made to make her costume more realistic, however in terms of the character’s history there are few problems with it. Despite that it offers little protection, Wonder Woman does not require very much protection, either from harm or from the elements. The costume is also sometimes criticized for its symbolism closely related to American themes, that despite the fact that she is meant to be an emissary of peace to the whole planet, that her costume looks very American This is explained as one of the motivations for her role in man’s world. The costume is a breastplate inspired by the colors and symbols of a downed World War II airplane being flown by Steve Trevor’s mother . As an American pilot, it is therefore not surprising that stars (on the lower part of her breastplate) and stripes (one her boots) are evident parts of the design. In the summer of 2011 it was announced that DC Comics would reboot its entire lineup and create the new 52. Debate immediately surfaced as the head creative force behind the reboot (Jim Lee) decided that all female characters should be drawn with "pants" or full leg covering as part of their costume. This was in line with the redrawn Wonder Woman after issue #600 in volume 3. However, as the summer progressed images began to appear with Diana in a costume which appeared to be a synthesis of her traditional one and the reimagined one. With the actual reboot this is the costume that was decided on, essentially with the breastplate in the general shape of the traditional costume, and the theme being more in line with the redesign of the previous year. She additionally has added aspects of her uniform which didn't exist before such as a braided armband.