Is there a theme to Wonder Woman´s villains...?

#1 Edited by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

And if there isn´t is that why she´s not as successful?

So, I was on another discussion board and someone was saying that WW has an issue because her villains don´t thematically connect to her. For instance they were saying if you think about it, Batmans villains are connected by being twisted psychological versions of himself. They are usually born out of tragedy, but for whatever reason choose to go the other way from Bruce, and are therefore reflections of what he must fight against becoming. Totally agreed, and Batman certainly has some of the greatest villains ever written.

Now on to Superman, apparently his theme was Brains Vs Brawn. Now I didn´t even understand this one as a theme. How is that a theme even? I mean most of Supermans greatest villains are more brute strength. I mean his major 3, Darkseid, Lex Luthor and Braniac are all brain vs brawn to some degree, but what about Doomsday or Bizzarro. So I wasn´t sure what was meant by that.

So now on to Wonder Woman, Whats the theme? I have to say at first I scratched my head. I´m a defender of everything pre new 52 Wonder Woman, especially her villains. In fact I would go as far as to say she had potentially the second greatest villains set in the DC universe. Her villains for me are more interesting and diverse than Green Lantern or Flash, and they aren´t anywhere near as corny as people think they are. I even think they´re to some extent cooler than Supermans. I mean I love Lex and Braniac, but for me I get much more excited by the prospect of writing Dr. Psycho, Dr. Poison, Ares, Alkyone, Veronica Cale or The Crow Children. All have this great twisted quality to them. Its also a real challenge trying to work out how they can mess with Diana. I´ve also always said these characters are under written, there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept. Infact I thought the only mistake is that Cheetah is seen as her archenemy; now I love Cheetah, she has really grown on me since I first got into Wonder Woman; I have to admit I thought she was pretty weak at first, but then it clicked and I think she´s fantastic. The only problem is she´s not a good face for WW rogues, if you´re trying to have her taken seriously. You need a character that more connects with WW and can be a foil for her emotionally, psychologically as well as physically. One that anyone can look at and think, OK they´re totally badass. My candidates for the future of WW, who should be the posterboys and girls of her villains, Dr. Psycho, Alkyone, Ares. But I digress, as I was saying this question really stomped me. I mean what is theme connecting Dr. Psycho and Ares, and if there isn´t one is that the problem with Wonder Woman? I am so fed up of all the excuses with Wonder Woman, I could literally get really mad at the next person who says something about her bathing suit costume, or invisible jet. Its just all idiotic. But I had to say wow, for a question by a detractor this was a good one.

So I got to thinking, as I´m writing a Wonder Woman script, what connects the Wonder Woman villains I want to use in my 3 part story. There must be something unique about this set that appeals to me. A single thread that I see woven through her story. Just like Spider-Man fights mutant hybrids of animal and man, science experiments gone wrong or Daredevil fights corruption and fear, what is it about Wonder Woman and her colorful rogues that does it for me. Then it dawned on me and I figured it out. There is a thread and please tell me if I´m wrong. Two things connect most of WW best villains: it´s the classic story of Ancient Warrior vs Mystics and Magicians, but set in the modern world. Think Ares, Cheetah, Alkyone, The Gorgans, Dr Psycho, even Venessa Cale mainly uses mystic forces against WW, by being the brains and resources behind the demons who go after WW. This is another theme and I think even stronger. WW represents Peace, her villains, nearly all revel in war, discord and destruction. These aren´t villains whose motives are to take over the world or even necessarily kill WW. These are villains who for one reason or another just enjoy the very notion of inflicting pain and suffering on humanity, exciting panic, or just plunging the world backwards into all out war. Ares of course is the ultimate expression of that, but everyone from Cheetah to Alkyone to Dr. Psycho on a smaller scale all enjoy the same devastation. Now for me that is a pretty badass and unique theme. I love that not one of her villains has the obvious motive of taking over the world or money. The last theme and this is where I out did myself, cause I really searched. The last thing is Diana love of self and inner confidence being the object of obsession. Yes Obsession is a major theme amongst Diana villains. Due to lack of self-love for one reason or another, Diana´s almost natural and instinctive love of self and compassion for others, which they see gives her such freedom, sends the dark monsters of her world into a jealous and obsessive frenzy.

Dr Psycho, in love with Diana, because he hates himself; his warped love for her, and hatred of everything else drives his acts of madness. Cheetah, again, obsessed with Dianas freedom as she is a slave to the curse that has made her the Cheetah, where as Diana´s gift make her free. Veronica Cale, obsessed with Wonder Woman, cause she thinks she hasn´t worked to become WW, its just been given to her. Dr. Cyber, literally so obsessed with Diana´s beauty she wants her face, so she can plaster it to hers. Ares obsessed with the contradictions in Diana´s philosophy, and showing her those contradictions. Alkyone, some weird almost psychopathic obsession with Diana´s mother, and her wish Diana was her child. The list goes on. Again I think this maybe a theme unique to Diana´s rogues. I mean there is alot of obsession in Batman, but its a different type of obsession. Most Batman villains obsession comes from hate of the Batman or wanting to one up him. Diana´s rogues seem to have admiration, jealousy and ultimately different shades of perverted love for the character, resulting in obsession.

So what do you think, have I cracked it?

Are the themes I´ve mentioned wrong?

Maybe theres something I´m missing?

Let me know.

#2 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

Yep

#3 Posted by joshmightbe (24937 posts) - - Show Bio

Do villains need a theme, none of Batman's villains seem to share a common theme aside from being (no pun intended) Bat s**t crazy yet he seems to be doing just fine. And look at Flash his rouges gallery is the biggest random freak shows in comics and he's doing pretty good.

#4 Edited by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe: Yeah, I know that was my immediate thought to the comment on the other post, however, I like the idea of a heroes villains having a theme that intimately connects hero to villain.

I think if you look at Batman, the theme is there of villains being twisted mirror images of The Tragedy he faced. In Superman, to some extent or another I would say the running theme is his villians like him in one way or another are Gods corrupted by their own power. Again that mirrors Superman perfectly in the sense that for whatever reason he´s a God that has managed to maintain control of his lust for power seeing himself as humanities benefactor, rather than there natural ruler, heir or destroyer. Flash is hard one, in a sense I think the theme connecting Flash´s villains is there goofiness. I loved the episode of Justice League the animated show where Flash was getting the key to Central City. I love Flash and I love when he´s depicted as more of a fun loving guy and his villains are just the party poopers. Again goofy mirror images of himself. As for Wonder Woman, Truth vs Deception, Peace vs Discord, Warrior Vs Mystics and obsession are all key themes amongst her Rogues and I really like that, because again its very distinct from Batman and Superman´s villain motivations, and also every bit as psychological Batmans relationship villains, yet every bit as urgent and potentially world threatening as Supermans villains. Her villains are bent on plunging the world into varying degrees of hostility, all due to some twisted obsession they have with Wonder Woman´s perfection and nobel mission of peace. Perhaps those themes need to be played up more, so people can see

she´s not anything at all like Superman and is her own woman.

#5 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

WWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY GOD WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? WHAT ARE YOU TESTING ME FOR; TWO FUCKING YEARS OF AZZERRELLO; WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR.

#6 Edited by drgnx (3565 posts) - - Show Bio

Seems some can be tied to mythology?

Gigantia -> Titan

Circe - > Circe

Cheetah - > Ware-beasts, shifters, etc (might even be something more specific)

Gods -> Gods

Winged Opponents -> Angels and Harpies

Dr Psycho -> Seems like possessions and spirit walking (NA myth but probably others too)

not sure about Gen

#7 Posted by 4_color_image (219 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26:

I always assumed

Batman's Rogues are psychopaths

Superman's Rogues are Villains of Science

Wonder Woman; however muddles a bit between Myth, Doctors & randomness.

#8 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

@4_color_image:

Just interested why you think Supermans villains are villains of science? I don´t really see that as the inherent connection.

You´re right about WW´s rogues though. They can seem confusing.Thats why I was so stomped by the question at first. But I do think I found a common thread.

#9 Posted by drgnx (3565 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26:

A Lot of his rogues were created through since and/or use it to fight him. But this also very generic.

Flash seems elemental based.

#10 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

Flash seems elemental based. Fire Water Wind Earth you mean? Not sure about that.

As for Superman, I don´t know if they are science based all of them. Alot of them are deranged God like beings. They use technology sometimes, but I´m just taking the main villains and trying to see what the thread is of each.

@drgnx said:

@jphulk26:

A Lot of his rogues were created through since and/or use it to fight him. But this also very generic.

Flash seems elemental based

#11 Posted by gokuwarrior (4368 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: her villans are great,but most writers didn't know how to use their potential.

ares is the god of war,he seeks power because he wants to ruled a world full of battles,where everyone will be his battle pet,there is his theme.

circe is resentful sorceress that wants to take revenge on the olympus for what they did to her,and hates diana because she is the champion of the gods,and is loved by the goddesses.

cheetah is a sociopath full of envy and resentment that consume her to the point that she hates every life form and fights only for her selfish interests,basically she is all the oppsite to wonder woman,everything she fights against.

veronica is a tormented and confused woman that enys wonder woman and how she is so loved by people,she wants to be wonder woman somehow.

DR psycho is obsessed with wonder woman,he seems to love her,he has an obsession with her,he wants to control her,wants to possesses her.

DR poison is just crazy,the classic mad scientist.

so wonder woman's rogue gallery is cooler than some people think and very versatil.

#12 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

@gokuwarrior: @gokuwarrior said:

@jphulk26: her villans are great,but most writers didn't know how to use their potential.

ares is the god of war,he seeks power because he wants to ruled a world full of battles,where everyone will be his battle pet,there is his theme.

circe is resentful sorceress that wants to take revenge on the olympus for what they did to her,and hates diana because she is the champion of the gods,and is loved by the goddesses.

cheetah is a sociopath full of envy and resentment that consume her to the point that she hates every life form and fights only for her selfish interests,basically she is all the oppsite to wonder woman,everything she fights against.

veronica is a tormented and confused woman that enys wonder woman and how she is so loved by people,she wants to be wonder woman somehow.

DR psycho is obsessed with wonder woman,he seems to love her,he has an obsession with her,he wants to control her,wants to possesses her.

DR poison is just crazy,the classic mad scientist.

so wonder woman's rogue gallery is cooler than some people think and very versatil.

But do you think there has to be a theme that connects them? Like Batman or Superman. Thats what I´m interested in this thread. I know each villain by themself has a theme, but is there a theme connecting all her rogues, or at least the main ones.

#13 Posted by gokuwarrior (4368 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: yes there is a them that conncets them to wonder woman,they are everything that wonder woman fights against,and for different reasons,they hate her,or have an obsession with her,want to see her beaten,humiliated,lost,alone,there is the theme.

#14 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

@gokuwarrior said:

@jphulk26: yes there is a them that conncets them to wonder woman,they are everything that wonder woman fights against,and for different reasons,they hate her,or have an obsession with her,want to see her beaten,humiliated,lost,alone,there is the theme.

Yeah but thats kinda true of all superhero villains in a way. What do you think of the reasons I gave? accurate/inaccurate?

#15 Posted by gokuwarrior (4368 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: you're about about them.and they really connect with wonder woman,an they aren't the reason why wonder woman is not as succesful as characters like superman nowdays,there's nothing wrong with her villans,they need to use their potential properly,and use wonder woman's own potential properly too.

#16 Posted by drgnx (3565 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26 said:

Flash seems elemental based. Fire Water Wind Earth you mean? Not sure about that.

As for Superman, I don´t know if they are science based all of them. Alot of them are deranged God like beings. They use technology sometimes, but I´m just taking the main villains and trying to see what the thread is of each.

@drgnx said:

@jphulk26:

A Lot of his rogues were created through since and/or use it to fight him. But this also very generic.

Flash seems elemental based

You can make a lot of stuff fit if you stretch far enough.

Flash has

  • Captain cold - ICE
  • Weather Wizard -> lightning and wind
  • Golden Glider - can fly and seems almost ghost-like -> wind
  • Heatwave - Fire
  • Trickster - walk an air -> wind
  • Turbine? -> Wind (tornadoes)
  • Pied Piper - > doesn't fit as well, he uses sonic and harmonics -> closes link is air/wind
  • Mirror Master -> Illusions -> makes me thing of water for some reason-must be a memory of an old show somewhere
  • Zoom -> lightning (speedster trademark)
  • Grodd with Speedforce -> lightning | not sure without, maybe earth

Not all of them fit as well, chances are no-one will have a perfect themed villain base, granted I'm sure if there was an intent to have them themed. Many galleries seem to have similar power sets distributed differently, just in different proportions.

Anyways, not really committed to this, I just felt like typing ...

#17 Posted by 4_color_image (219 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26 said:

@4_color_image:

Just interested why you think Supermans villains are villains of science? I don´t really see that as the inherent connection.

You´re right about WW´s rogues though. They can seem confusing.Thats why I was so stomped by the question at first. But I do think I found a common thread.

I guess Science was the wrong word. I should have said Sci-Fi most influenced by the Atomic Age.

  • Brainiac is a super computer
  • Lex is a genius
  • Bizzaro is an imperfect clone
  • Darkseid - Intergalactic/dimensional god
  • Doomsday - Created by an ancient genetic experiment on Krypton
  • Livewire - Electric based powers
  • Eradicator - Cyborg
  • Kryptonite Man - Scientist who's experiments turns him in to a villain
  • Metallo - Cyborg
  • Parasite - worker at a research plant that stumbles upon waste
#18 Posted by lilben42 (2556 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: They should make her a theme.

Wonder Woman was given her powers and saw them as a blessing and decided to use them for good. Well her villains could see them as a curse and use them for evil.

Or

Wonder Woman thinks that everyone should have free will, and peace. Her villains could think peace is dull and free will just causes problems.

#19 Posted by jphulk26 (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

@lilben42:

@lilben42 said:

@jphulk26: They should make her a theme.

Wonder Woman was given her powers and saw them as a blessing and decided to use them for good. Well her villains could see them as a curse and use them for evil.

Or

Wonder Woman thinks that everyone should have free will, and peace. Her villains could think peace is dull and free will just causes problems.

Thats a really good one actually. Only problem is it seems half her main villains share that, but not all. Same goes with the second one. But I think you´re on to something there.

#20 Posted by WDW (1514 posts) - - Show Bio

Don't ask anyone on forums you must come up with your own connection and establish it.

#21 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

You don't necessarily need a theme for your villains. That said, she does seem to have a few groups:

  • Strong female villains (most of her older rogues gallery)
  • Men who want to control or otherwise disempower her (e.g., Dr. Psycho)
  • Evil gods and goddesses

Granted, those are rather general, but so is "has experienced trauma and gone bad" for Batman so I don't see that as a problem.

#22 Posted by batpala (339 posts) - - Show Bio

There always seemed to be an 'abused women' theme for at least the female villains. For example; Silver Swan, Veronica Cale. Also overtly powerful men and women who want to see Wonder Woman cut down to size. [Sebastian Ballestros, Dr Psycho, Veronica Cale also fits into this, Baroness Von Gunther]. Also the mythology theme: Circe, Ares, Phobos and Demos, Eris, ect.

#23 Posted by lilben42 (2556 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: I think that's the problem with WW villains some are so random. Like Dr. Cyber and Dr. Poison.

#24 Edited by Hazlenaut (1960 posts) - - Show Bio

An excellent insight on what Wonder Woman's villains are. That was helpful. Now how would the flip of how they effect if they were good.

As for the corny comment it makes me think one of her villains should be a cursed/magic doll. dismissing makes someone hold a grudge for negligence. Does she have one of those villain that grudge for negligence?

#25 Posted by waezi2 (8042 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that they primary are suppose to represent everything bad about women, like WW is suppose to represent everything good. Like Batman villains are suppose to be counterparts to Bats by being what you can become after trauma.

Online
#26 Edited by darknightspideyfanboy (1326 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: i thought the theme for the superman villain is that absolute power corrupts absolutely all of superman villain have great power but are corrupted by there own great power superman on the other prove this wrong by being the best person he can be but that just me

Online
#27 Posted by dmessmer (367 posts) - - Show Bio

@jphulk26: I agree with most of your analysis, but to connect them more directly as foils to Wonder Woman I would point to one of the themes of the Perez run: Wonder struggling against some of her own good qualities. Other writers (even Azzarello) have touched on this a bit as well.

In the Perez run, Diana didn't want to be called Wonder Woman and often told her PR team (led by Mindi Mayer) to quit selling her beauty for fear that it gets in the way of her ultimate message. She wanted to spread her message of peace and acceptance, and was often frustrated that all of the attention was on her abilities and her beauty.

In that regard, her villains reflect her biggest fears about herself - that her own exceptional qualities prevent the fulfillment of her mission as her message gets lost amid the hype of her more superficial traits. She wants people to look past her superior fighting abilities, whereas Ares is the embodiment of that. She wants to people to see more than a pretty face, yet Silver Swan was lured into the role of villain through her desire to beautiful. She wants to show the benevolence of the Gods, but the Cheetah turns to the divine to make her a savage. She wants others to understand that her magical powers were bestowed upon her as symbols of her mission, whereas Circe uses magic to further her own goals. She wants to extend kindness and love to everyone, but Dr. Psycho was driven to become a villain because people couldn't see past his ugliness. Now, as far as Egg Fu is concerned, you're on your own (if you don't know who he is, do yourself a favor and click the link - seriously).

In one way or another, all of these villains not only represent goals that are at odds with Wonder Woman's mission (though they do that, too), but also touch upon her own anxieties about her suitability to be the bearer of her message. As much as her villains all envy her in one way or another, she seems to envy them as well - that they aren't burdened with perfection in the same way that she is.

If I might digress for a moment, that's part of why I don't like the Wonder Woman/Superman romance. It seems that being with him would only further her insecurities. It seems to me that she'd be much more likely to be attracted to a non-superpowered person who is, nonetheless, embodying the traits that are central to her mission - an activist of some kind, for instance.

#28 Posted by jointron33 (1902 posts) - - Show Bio

Ares represents war, the opposite of Diana being an ambassador of peace.

Cheetah is self centered, greedy, power hungry, and whorish, whereas Diana is humble, caring, loving, and modest.

Dr. Psycho represents mental power as opposed to Diana's physical

Silver swan is hidden beauty whereas Diana's is blatant

#29 Edited by Danieles (124 posts) - - Show Bio

If the comic's super villain its the opposite to the super hero, in this context the most feared powerful villain that wonder woman should faces a is a tender , loyal, feminine housewife lol

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