Wonder Woman

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This article is about the character known as "Princess Diana of Themyscira" and "Diana Prince". For other characters who adopted this name, as well as other uses, see Wonder Woman (disambiguation).
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman. Art by Terry Dodson.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance All Star Comics #8 (December 1941)
Created by William Moulton Marston
In-story information
Alter ego Princess Diana of Themyscira
Species Amazon
Demigod (2011–present)
Team affiliations Justice League
Female Furies
Star Sapphires
Black Lantern Corps
White Lantern Corps
Partnerships Wonder Girl
Superman
Notable aliases Diana Prince
The Amazon Princess
Abilities
Wonder Woman
Cover for Wonder Woman #1 (Summer 1942). Art by Harry G. Peter.
Series publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule (Vol. 1)
Quarterly: #1-2; #6-15
Bi-Monthly: #3-5; #16-62; #171-227; #323-329
8 Times a Year: #63-170
Monthly: #228-322; #600-614
(Vol. 2)
Monthly: #1-226
(Vol. 3)
Monthly: #1-44
(Vol. 4)
Monthly: #1-current
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date (vol. 1)
Summer 1942 – February 1986
(vol. 2)
February 1987 – April 2006
(vol. 3)
August 2006 – July 2010
(vol. 1 cont.)
August 2010 – October 2011
(vol. 4)
September 2011 – Present
Number of issues (vol. 1): 329
(vol. 2): 237
228 Issues (+ 8 Annuals, 1 Special)
(vol. 3): 45
44 (+ 1 Annual)
(vol. 1 cont.): 15
(vol. 4): 19
Main character(s) Princess Diana of Themyscira
Creative team
Writer(s)
Penciller(s)
(vol. 1)
Inker(s)
Colorist(s) (vol. 2)
Carl Gafford
(vol. 3)
Alex Sinclair
(vol. 4)
Matthew Wilson

Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a warrior princess of the Amazons (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) and is known in her homeland as Princess Diana of Themyscira. When outside her homeland incognito, she is sometimes known by the secret identity Diana Prince. She is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers and superior combat and battle skills. She possesses an arsenal of weapons, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane.

Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986.[1] Her depiction as a heroine fighting for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality has led to Wonder Woman being widely considered a feminist icon.[2][3][4] Created during World War II, the character was initially depicted fighting the Axis military forces, as well as an assortment of supervillains. Wonder Woman gained a formidable cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Cheetah, Ares and Circe, and newer ones like Genocide and The Circle, as well as many gods and monsters from Greek mythology. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).[5]

In addition to the comics, the character has appeared in other media; most notably, the 1975–1979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter, as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and Justice League. Since Carter's television series, studios struggled to introduce a new live-action Wonder Woman to audiences, although the character continued to feature in a variety of toys and merchandise, as well as animated adaptations of DC properties, including a direct-to-DVD animated feature. Attempts to return Wonder Woman to television have included a pilot for NBC in 2011, closely followed by another stalled production for The CW.[6][7] In 2013, Warner Bros. announced that Israeli actress Gal Gadot would portray Wonder Woman in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[8]

Publication history[edit]

Creation[edit]

In an October 25, 1940 interview with the Family Circle magazine, William Moulton Marston discussed the unfulfilled potential of the medium.[9] This article caught the attention of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics.[10] At that time, Marston decided to develop a new superhero; Marston's wife Elizabeth suggested he create a female superheroine:[11]

William Moulton Marston, a psychologist already famous for inventing the polygraph (forerunner to the magic lasso), struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. "Fine," said Elizabeth. "But make her a woman."

Marston introduced the idea to Gaines, co-founder of All-American Publications. Given the go-ahead, Marston developed Wonder Woman with Elizabeth, whom Marston believed to be a model of that era's unconventional, liberated woman.[11] Marston was also inspired by Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in a polyamorous relationship.[12] Both women served as exemplars for the character and greatly influenced the character's creation.[11] Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941),[13] scripted by Marston and with art by Harry G. Peter. Wonder Woman was initially named "Suprema" in Marston's first script, but this name was dropped.[14][15]

Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942) was Wonder Woman's first cover appearance.

Marston was the creator of a systolic-blood-pressure-measuring apparatus, which was crucial to the development of the polygraph (lie detector). Marston's experience with polygraphs convinced him that women were more honest and reliable than men and could work more efficiently.[16]

"Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world", Marston wrote.[1]

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston wrote:[17]

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.

Initially, Wonder Woman was an Amazon champion who wins the right to return Steve Trevor – a United States intelligence officer whose plane had crashed on the Amazons' isolated island homeland – to "Man's World" and to fight crime and the evil of the Nazis.[18]

During this period, Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society of America as the team's secretary.[19][20]

Silver and Bronze Age[edit]

During the Silver Age, under writer Robert Kanigher, Wonder Woman's origin was revamped,[21] along with other characters'. The new origin story increased the character's Hellenic and mythological roots: receiving the blessing of each deity in her crib, Diana is destined to become "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as strong as Hercules, and as swift as Hermes."[22]

At the end of the 1960s, under the guidance of Mike Sekowsky, Wonder Woman surrendered her powers in order to remain in Man's World rather than accompany her fellow Amazons to another dimension. Wonder Woman begins using the alias Diana Prince and opens a mod boutique. She acquires a Chinese mentor named I Ching, who teaches Diana martial arts and weapons skills. Using her fighting skill instead of her powers, Diana engaged in adventures that encompassed a variety of genres, from espionage to mythology.[23][24] This phase of her story was directly influenced by the British spy thriller The Avengers and Diana Rigg's portrayal of Emma Peel.[25]

In the early 1970s the character returned to her superhero roots in Justice League of America and to the World War II era in her own title.[26]

Modern Age[edit]

Following the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths series, George Pérez, Len Wein and Greg Potter relaunched the character, writing Wonder Woman as an emissary and ambassador from Themyscira to Patriarch's World, charged with the mission of bringing peace to the outside world. Pérez incorporated a variety of deities and concepts from Greek mythology in Wonder Woman's stories and origin. His relaunch of the character acted as the foundation for the more modern Wonder Woman stories as he expanded upon the widely accepted origin of Diana being birthed out of clay. The relaunch was a critical and commercial success.[27]

In August 2010 (issue #600), J. Michael Straczynski took over the series' writing duties and introduced Wonder Woman to an alternate timeline created by the Gods in which Paradise Island had been destroyed and the Amazons scattered around the world.[28] In this timeline, Diana is an orphan raised in New York who is learning to cope with her powers. The entire world has forgotten Wonder Woman's existence and the main story of this run was of Diana trying to restore reality even though she does not properly remember it herself. A trio of Death Goddesses called the Morrigan acted as the main enemy of Wonder Woman.[29][30] In this run, Wonder Woman wore a new costume designed by Jim Lee.[31] Straczynski determined the plot and continued writing duties till Wonder Woman #605; writer Phil Hester then continued his run, which ultimately concluded in Wonder Woman #614.[32]

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of publications to attract a new generation of readers. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang were assigned on writing and art duties respectively and revamped the character's history considerably. In this new continuity, Wonder Woman wears a costume similar to her original costume, but has a completely new origin. No longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods, she is, instead, a demigoddess and the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. Azzarello and Chiang's revamp of the character was critically acclaimed.[33][34][35][36]

Storylines[edit]

Golden Age[edit]

In her debut in All Star Comics #8, Diana was a member of a tribe of women named the Amazons, native to Paradise Island – a secluded island set in the middle of a vast ocean. Captain Steve Trevor's plane crashes on the island and he is found alive but unconscious by Diana and a fellow Amazon. Diana has him nursed back to health and falls in love with him. A competition is held amongst all the Amazons by Diana's mother, the Queen of the Amazons Hippolyte, in order to determine who is the most worthy of all the women; Hippolyte charges the winner with the responsibility of delivering Captain Steve Trevor back to man's world and to fight for justice. Hippolyte forbids Diana from entering the competition, but she takes part nonetheless, wearing a mask to conceal her identity. She wins the competition and reveals herself, surprising Hippolyte, who ultimately gives in to Diana's wish to go to Man's World. She then safely returns Steve Trevor back to his home and is awarded a special dress made by her mother for her new role as Wonder Woman.[37][38]

Coming to America for the first time, Wonder Woman comes upon a weeping army nurse named Diana Prince. Inquiring about her state, she finds that the nurse wanted to leave for South America with her fiancé but was unable to due to shortage of money. As both of them looked identical and Wonder Woman needed a job and a valid identity to look after Steve (who was admitted in the same army hospital), she gives her the money she had earned earlier to help her go to her fiancé in exchange for her credentials. The nurse reveals her name as Diana Prince, and thus, Wonder Woman's secret identity was created, and she began working as a nurse in the army.[39]

Wonder Woman then took part in a variety of adventures, mostly side by side with Trevor. Her most common foes during this period would be Nazi forces, and sometimes villains like Baroness Paula Von Gunther, The Cheetah, Doctor Psycho and Duke of Deception.[40]

Silver Age[edit]

In the Silver Age, Wonder Woman's history received several changes. Her earlier origin, which had significant ties to World War II, was changed and her powers were shown to be the product of the gods' blessings – "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury".[22][41] The concepts of Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were also introduced during this period.[42]

Wonder Woman Vol 1 Issue #179 (Nov. 1968) showed Wonder Woman giving up her powers and returning her costume and title to her mother in order to continue staying in Man's World. The reason behind this was that all the Amazons were shifting to another dimension, but Diana was unable to accompany them as she needed to stay back to help a wrongly convicted Steve.[43] Thus, she no longer held the title of Wonder Woman and after meeting and training under a blind martial arts mentor I-Ching, Diana resumed fighting crime as the powerless Diana Prince. She ran a mod-boutique as a business and dressed in a series of jumpsuits while fighting crime.[24][44][45][46][47] During this period, Samuel R. Delany took over scripting duties with issue #202. Delany was initially supposed to write a six-issue story arc, which would culminate in a battle over an abortion clinic, but Delany was removed reportedly due to criticism from Gloria Steinem, who, not knowing the content of the issues Delany was writing, was merely upset that Wonder Woman was no longer wearing her traditional costume.[48]

Bronze Age[edit]

In Wonder Woman Vol 1 #204, Diana's powers and costume were returned to her and she is once again reinstated as Wonder Woman.[47] I-Ching is killed by a mad sniper in the same issue.[49] Later, Diana meets her "sister" Nubia, who is Hippolyta's daughter fashioned out of dark clay (hence Nubia's dark complexion).[50][51] Nubia was the Wonder Woman of "The Floating Island", and she challenges Diana to a duel which ends in a draw.[51] Returning to her home, Nubia would have further adventures involving Diana.[50]

The last issue of Volume 1 showed Diana and Steve Trevor announce their love for each other and their subsequent marriage.[52][53]

Modern Age[edit]

Cover to Wonder Woman Vol 2#1 (Feb. 1987), showing the character's look after the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot. Art by George Pérez.

The events of Crisis on Infinite Earths greatly changed and altered the history of the DC Universe. Wonder Woman's history and origin were considerably revamped by the event. Wonder Woman was now an emissary and ambassador from Themyscira (the new name for Paradise Island) to Patriarch's World, charged with the mission of bringing peace to the outside world. Various deities and concepts from Greek mythology were blended and incorporated into Wonder Woman's stories and origin. Diana was formed out of clay of the shores of Themyscira by Hippolyta, who wished for a child; the clay figure was then brought to life by the Greek deities. The Gods then blessed and granted her unique powers and abilities – beauty from Aphrodite, strength from Demeter, wisdom from Athena, speed and flight from Hermes, Eyes of the Hunter and unity with beasts from Artemis and sisterhood with fire and the ability to discern the truth from Hestia.[54] Due to the reboot, Diana's operating methods were made distinctive from Superman and Batman's with her willingness to use deadly force when she judges it necessary. In addition, her previous history and her marriage to Steve Trevor were erased. Trevor was introduced as a man much older than Diana who would later on marry Etta Candy.[55]

Starting in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #51, The Amazons, who had revealed their presence to the world in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #50, are blamed for a series of murders and for the theft of various artifacts. The Amazons are then taken into custody, Queen Hippolyta is nowhere to be found and Steve Trevor is forced by General Yedziniak to attack Themyscira. These events lead to the "War of the Gods" occurring. The culprit of the murders, thefts and the framing of the Amazons is revealed to be the witch Circe, who "kills" Diana by reverting her form back into the clay she was born from. Later, Wonder Woman is brought back to life and together with Donna Troy, battles Circe and ultimately defeats her.[56][57][58][59] Circe would later return by unknown means.

When Hippolyta and the other Amazons were trapped in a demonic dimension, she started receiving visions about the death of Wonder Woman.[60] Fearing her daughter's death, Hippolyta created a false claim that Diana was not worthy of continuing her role as Wonder Woman, and arranged for a contest to determine who would be the new Wonder Woman, thus protecting Diana from her supposed fate.[61] The participants of the final round were Diana and Artemis, and with the help of some mystic manipulation by Hippolyta, Artemis won the contest.[62] Thus, Diana was forced to hand over her title and costume to Artemis, who became the new Wonder Woman and Diana started fighting crime in an alternate costume.[63] Artemis later died in battle with the White Magician – thus, Hippolyta vision of a dying Wonder Woman did come true, albeit not of Diana as Wonder Woman.[64] Diana once again became Wonder Woman, a request made by Artemis in her last seconds. Artemis would later return as Requiem. Prior to Artemis' death, Hippolyta would admit to her daughter about her own part in Artemis' death, which strained their relationship as Diana was unable to forgive her mother for sending another Amazon to her death knowingly for the sake of saving her own daughter.

The demon Neron engaged Diana in battle and managed to kill her.[65] The Olympian Gods granted Diana divinity and the role of the Goddess of Truth who started to reside in Olympus; her mother Hippolyta then assumed the role of Wonder Woman and wore her own different incarnation of the costume.[65] In Wonder Woman Vol 2 #136, Diana was banished from Olympus due to interfering in earthly matters (as Diana was unable to simply watch over people's misery on earth).[65] She immediately returned to her duties as Wonder Woman, but ran into conflicts with her mother over her true place and role as Hippolyta seemed accustomed to her life in America.[65] Their fight remained unsolved, as Hippolyta tragically died during an intergalactic war.[65] Themyscira was destroyed during the war, but was restored and reformed as a collection of floating islands.[65] Circe later resurrected Hippolyta in Wonder Woman Vol 3 #8.[66]

One of the events that led to Infinite Crisis was of Wonder Woman killing the villain Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #219.[67] Maxwell Lord was mind-controlling Superman, who as a result was near to killing Batman. Wonder Woman tried to stop Superman, Lord (who was unable to mind control her) made Superman see her as his enemy Doomsday trying to kill Lois Lane. Superman then attacked Wonder Woman, and a vicious battle ensued. Buying herself time by slicing Superman's throat with her tiara, Wonder Woman caught Lord in her Lasso of Truth and demanded to know how to stop his control over Superman. As the lasso forced the wearer to speak only the truth, Lord told her that the only way to stop him was to kill him. Left with no choice, Wonder Woman snapped Lord's neck and ended his control over Superman.[67] Unknown to her, the entire scene was broadcast live around every channel in the world by Brother Eye. The viewers were not aware of the entire situation, and saw only Wonder Woman murdering a Justice League associate. Wonder Woman's actions put her at odds with Batman and Superman, as they saw Wonder Woman as a cold-blooded killer, despite the fact that she saved their lives.[68]

At the end of Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman temporarily retires from her costumed identity. Diana, once again using the alias Diana Prince, joins the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Donna Troy becomes the new Wonder Woman and is captured by Diana's enemies. Diana then goes on a mission to rescue her sister, battling Circe and Hercules. Diana defeats the villains, freeing Donna and takes up the role of Wonder Woman again. Circe places a spell on Diana, which renders Diana into a normal, powerless human being when in the role of Diana Prince; her powers come to her only when she is in the role of Wonder Woman.[69][70][71][72][73]

Main article: The Circle (comics)

The storyline "The Circle" was focused on the revelation of a failed assassination attempt on Diana when she was a baby, by four rogue Amazons.[74] These Amazons – Myrto, Charis, Philomela and Alkyone, collectively referred to as The Circle – were Hippolyta's personal guards and were extremely loyal and devoted to her.[75] However, when Hippolyta decided to raise a daughter, The Circle was horrified and considered the baby ill-fate, one who would ruin their entire race.[76] Thus, after Diana was sculpted out of clay and brought to life, The Circle decided to assassinate the baby. Their attempt was foiled however, and the four Amazons were imprisoned.[77] After years, the Circle escaped their prisons with the help of Captain Nazi, and decided to accomplish their previously failed mission and kill Diana. Diana defeated Myrto, Charis, Philomela and then approached Alkyone, who runs off and succumbs to her death by falling into the ocean. The other three Amazons return to their prisons.[77][78]

Issue #600 introduced Wonder Woman to an alternate time-line created by the Gods in which Themyscira had been destroyed and the Amazons scattered around the world.[28] In this timeline, Diana is an orphan raised in New York who is learning to cope with her powers. The entire world has forgotten Wonder Woman's existence and the main story of this run was of Diana trying to restore reality even though she does not properly remember it herself.[79] Diana has no memories of her prior adventures as Wonder Woman, recollecting her memories in bits and pieces and receiving different abilities and resources (such as the power of flight and her lasso) during the progression of her adventure. A trio of Death Goddesses called the Morrigan acted as Wonder Woman's main enemies.[80] Diana ultimately defeats the evil goddesses and returns everything back to normal.[81]

The New 52[edit]

In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire publication line, dubbing the event The New 52. Among the major changes to the character, Wonder Woman now appears wearing a new costume similar to her older one, and has a completely new origin. In this new timeline, Wonder Woman is no longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods, but the demigoddess daughter of Queen Hippolyta and Zeus, king of the Greek Gods. Currently, Diana has taken on the role and title as the new "God of War".[82][83]

The Greek messenger god, Hermes, entrusts Wonder Woman with the protection of Zola, a young woman, who is pregnant with Zeus's child, from Hera, seething with jealousy and determined to kill the child.[84][85][86][87][88] With the appearance of a bizarre, new, chalk-white enemy, the goddess Strife, Wonder Woman discovers she, herself, is the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, who, after a violent clash, became lovers.[89] Hippolyta revealed Diana's earlier origin story to be a lie, spread amongst the Amazons to protect Diana from the wrath of Hera, who is known for hunting and killing several illegitimate offspring of Zeus.[89]

The first of these half-mortal siblings to reveal himself to Wonder Woman was her older half-brother, Lennox Sandsmark, who could transform himself into living, marble-like stone and, before his death, was revealed to be the father of Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark).[90]

The story then focuses on Wonder Woman's quest to rescue Zola from Hades, who had abducted her and taken her to Hell at the end of the sixth issue of the series.[91][92][93][94] The male children of the Amazons are introduced and Diana learns about the birth of her "brothers" – the Amazons used to infrequently invade ships coming near their island and force themselves on the sailors, before killing them. After nine months, the birth of the resulting female children was highly celebrated and they were inducted into the ranks of the Amazons while the male children were rejected. In order to save the male children from being drowned to death by the Amazons, Hephaestus traded them from the Amazons in exchange for weapons.[91][95][96]

After saving Zola from Hades, Wonder Woman tries to protect her further from Apollo, as it is prophesied that one of Zeus' children will be his downfall whom Apollo considers to be Zola's child.[97][98] Wonder Woman receives the power of flight by one of Hermes' feathers piercing her thigh and Zola's baby is stolen by Hermes at the end and given to Demeter. The issue's last page shows a dark and mysterious man rising from the snow, taking a helmet and disappearing.[99][100] This man is later revealed to be Zeus' first son, known only as First Born, who seeks to rule over Olympus and the rest of the world, and take Diana as his bride.

A stand-alone #0 issue was released in September which explored Diana's childhood and her tutelage under Ares, the God of War, now known most often as simply 'War'.[101] The issue was narrated in the style of a typical Silver Age comic book and saw Diana in her childhood years.[102] The main plot of the issue was Diana training under War as he thought of her being an extraordinary girl with immense potential. The issue ultimately concluded with Diana learning and experiencing the importance of mercy, as she hesitates and refuses to kill the Minotaur – a task given to her by War; however, this show of mercy makes her a failure in War's eyes.[101][102][103] Later in the series, Wonder Woman is forced to kill War during a conflict with her evil half-brother, Zeus' son First Born, and herself becomes the God of War. After the Amazons are restored, she rules over them both as a warrior queen and God of War, as the ongoing conflict with First Born escalates.

Wonder Woman appears as one of the lead characters in the new Justice League title written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee.[104] In August 2012, she and Superman shared a kiss in Justice League Vol 2 #12, which has since developed into a romantic relationship. According to Justice League writer Geoff Johns, their union is the new status quo.[105][106][107] Johns revealed that both Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship will end badly.[108] DC has since announced a Superman/Wonder Woman comic scheduled to debut in the fall of 2013. The book will focus not only on their romance but also on threats powerful enough to challenge even the Power Couple.[109][110]

Earth 2[edit]

The New 52 version of Earth 2 was introduced in Earth 2 #1 (2012). In that issue, the Earth 2 Wonder Woman is introduced via flashback. She, along with Superman and Batman, are depicted dying in battle with forces from Apokolips five years in the past.[111] This Wonder Woman worshiped the deities of Roman mythology as opposed to the Greek; the Roman gods perish as a result of the conflict. An earlier version of the Earth-2 Wonder Woman, prior to the Apokoliptian invasion, is seen in the comic book Batman/Superman, where she is seen riding a pegasus.

In Earth 2 #8 (2013), Wonder Woman's adult daughter, Fury, is introduced. She is loyal to the Apokoliptian Steppenwolf.[112]

Secret identity[edit]

A Wonder Woman without special powers fighting crime as Diana Prince. Cover to Wonder Woman Vol 1#189 (July 1970), art by Mike Sekowsky.

Wonder Woman uses the alias Diana Prince, which was created by William Moulton Marston, as her secret identity.

During Marston's run, Diana Prince was the name of an army nurse whom Wonder Woman met. The nurse wanted to meet her fiancé, who was transferred to South America, but was unable to arrange for money to do so. As Wonder Woman needed a secret identity to monitor and look after Steve (who was admitted in the same army hospital Diana Prince worked at), and because both of them looked identical, Wonder Woman gave the nurse money to go to her fiancé in exchange for the nurse's credentials and took Diana Prince as her alias.[39] She started to work as an army nurse and later as an Air Force secretary.[39][113]

The identity of Diana Prince played an important part in Wonder Woman's adventures during the 1960s, which featured a de-powered Diana fighting crime without her mystic powers. As she was no longer Wonder Woman, she used the Diana Prince alias while fighting crime and ran a mod boutique as a business.[45][46]

The "Diana Prince" alias again gained an important role to play in Wonder Woman's adventures after the events of Infinite Crisis. Wonder Woman was broadcast worldwide killing a villain named Maxwell Lord, as he was mind controlling Superman into killing Batman. When Wonder Woman caught him in her lasso, demanding to know how to stop Superman, Maxwell revealed that the only way to stop him was to kill Lord, so as a last resort Diana snapped his neck.[114][115] Due to the trauma of killing another person, the Amazon went into a year's exile in order to rediscover herself.[116] Once she returned to public life, Diana realized that her life as a full-time celebrity superhero and ambassador had kept her removed from humanity. Because of this she donned the persona of Diana Prince and became an agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs. During a later battle with Circe, the witch placed a spell on Diana leaving Wonder Woman powerless when in the role of Diana Prince.[117]

In the current New 52 universe, Diana does not have a secret identity as stated in an interview by series writer Brian Azzarello.[118] However when she and Superman began dating, for her civilian identity she uses the Diana Prince alias whenever she is around Clark Kent such as when she introduced herself to Lois Lane at Lois's housewarming party under that name.[119]

Characterization[edit]

While many writers have depicted Diana in different personalities, what has remained constant is her ability to feel compassion and give love without discrimination. This trait had been the reason for her induction into the Star Sapphires.[120][121] The modern version of the character has been shown to perform lethal and fatal actions when left with no other alternative. A primary example of this is when she killed Maxwell Lord in order to save Superman's life.[115][122]

Wonder Woman's personality and tone has wavered between that of a typical warrior, a highly compassionate and calm Ambassador, and sometimes also as a naive and innocent person. All of which was conducive to the core of the character...her balancing between the martial side of things and the loving side. Writer Gail Simone was applauded for her portrayal of Wonder Woman during her run on the series, with comic book reviewer Dan Phillips of IGN noting that "she's molded Diana into a very relatable and sympathetic character."[123]

But a mainstay, and the original intention, of her personality is that of the outsider, the third party, the One who differs from the status quo all in the name of humanity and love.

The New 52 version of the character has been portrayed to be a more young, headstrong, loving, fierce and wilful person. Brian Azzarello stated in a video interview with DC Comics that they're building a very "confident", "impulsive" and "good-hearted" character in her. He referred to her trait of feeling compassion as both her strength and weakness.[124]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

The Golden Age Wonder Woman had strength that was comparable to the Golden Age Superman. An example of this is when she was able to tear a steel door off its hinges.[125] In one of her earliest appearances, she is shown running easily at 60 mph, and later jumps from a building and lands on the balls of her feet.[126]

Her strength would be removed in accordance with "Aphrodite's Law" if she allowed her bracelets to be bound or chained by a male.[127]

She also had an array of mental and psychic abilities, as corresponding to Dr. Marston's interest in psychic abilities and the paranormal. Such an array included ESP, astral projection, telepathy (with or without the Mental Radio), mental control over the electricity in her body, etc.

Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #105 revealed that Diana was formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons and was imbued with the attributes of the Greek and Roman gods by Athena – "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules."[22] Wonder Woman's Amazon training gave her limited telepathy, profound scientific knowledge,[22] and the ability to speak every language known to man and beyond – even caveman[22][128] and Martian language.[128]

Between 1966 and 1967, new powers were added, such as super breath and telepathy.[129]

In the Silver and Bronze ages of comics, Wonder Woman was able to further increase her strength. In times of great need, removing her bracelets would temporarily augment her power tenfold, but cause her to go insane in the process.[130]

These powers received changes after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Post-Crisis[edit]

In the Post-Crisis universe, Wonder Woman receives her powers as a blessing from Olympian deities:[131]

  • Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, blessed Diana with strength drawn from the Earth spirit Gaea, making her one of the physically strongest heroes in the DC Universe and the strongest female heroine of all in the DC Universe.[132] Her connection to the earth allows her to heal at an accelerated rate so long as she is in contact with the planet. In rare cases where she has been gravely injured, Diana showed the ability to physically merge with the earth, causing whatever injuries or poisons to be expelled from her body; such an act is considered sacred, and can only be used in extreme cases.[133]
  • Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, granted Diana great wisdom, intelligence, and military prowess. Athena's gift has enabled Diana to master over a dozen languages (including those of alien origin), multiple complex crafts, sciences and philosophies, as well as leadership, military strategy, and armed and unarmed combat. More recently, Athena bound her own eyesight to Diana's, granting her increased empathy.[134]
  • Artemis, goddess of the hunt, animals, and the Moon, graced Diana with the Eyes of the Hunter and unity with beasts. The Eyes of the Hunter ability gives Diana a full range of enhanced senses, including telescopic vision and super hearing.
  • Hestia, goddess of hearth and home, granted Diana sisterhood with fire. This power has been shown to control the "Fires of Truth," which Diana wields through her lasso, making anyone bound by it unable to lie.[135] This ability also grants her resistance to both normal and supernatural fire.
  • Hermes, the messenger god of speed, granted Diana superhuman speed and the ability to fly.[135] She is capable of flying at speeds approaching half the speed of light.[133] She can react quickly enough to deflect bullets, lasers, and other projectiles with her virtually impenetrable bracelets. After the 2011 relaunch of the character, Wonder Woman does not naturally possess the power of flight. She gains it once she is hit by a feather thrown by Hermes.[136][137][better source needed]
  • Aphrodite, goddess of love, bestowed Diana with stunning beauty, as well as a kind heart.

While not invulnerable, she is highly resistant to great amounts of concussive force and extreme temperatures. Edged weapons or projectiles applied with sufficient force, though, are able to pierce her skin.[133][138] Due to her divine origins, Diana can resist many forms of magical manipulation.

She is able to astrally project herself into various lands of myth. Her physical body reacts to whatever happens to her on the mythical astral plane, leaving her body cut, bruised, or sometimes strengthened once her mind and body are reunited. She can apparently leave the planet through meditation, and did this once to rescue Artemis while she was in hell.[139]

After the 2011 relaunch, Diana has gained new powers. As the natural born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, she has inherited some of her father's powers, which are suppressed by wearing her bracelets. She uses these powers in battle against Artemis (the Goddess; not the Amazon) and quickly renders her unconscious with ease with a series of carefully positioned counterattacks. While using her godly strength, her costume and accoutrements lit up and her eyes glowed like her father's.[98][137][better source needed] After becoming the God of War in the pages of Wonder Woman, Diana inherits his divine abilities. Diana has not exhibited her full powers as War, but is seen in Superman/Wonder Woman #5 to slip easily into telepathic rapport with a soldier, explaining "I am War. I know all soldiers, and they know me."

Skills and resources[edit]

Diana is depicted as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusively Amazonian martial arts. In some versions, her mother trained her, as Wonder Girl, for a future career as Wonder Woman. From the beginning, she is portrayed as highly skilled in using her Amazon bracelets to stop bullets and in wielding her golden lasso.[140] Batman once called her the "best melee fighter in the world".[141] The modern version of the character is known to use lethal force when she deems it necessary.[142] In The New 52 continuity, her superior combat skills are the product of her training with Ares in her childhood.[101]

Diana has an arsenal of powerful god-forged weapons at her disposal, but her signature weapons are her indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth.

Aegis of Athena[edit]

Her bulletproof bracelets were formed from the remnants of Athena's legendary shield, the Aegis, to be awarded to her champion. The shield was made from the indestructible hide of the great she-goat, Amalthea, who suckled Zeus as an infant. These forearm guards have thus far proven indestructible and able to absorb the impact of incoming attacks, allowing Wonder Woman to deflect automatic weapon fire and energy blasts.[143] Diana can slam the bracelets together to create a wave of concussive force capable of making strong beings like Superman's ears bleed.[142] Recently, she gained the ability to channel Zeus's lightning through her bracelets as well. Zeus explained to her that this power had been contained within the bracelets since their creation, because they were once part of the Aegis, and that he had only recently unlocked it for her use.[144] After the 2011 relaunch of the character, it was revealed that Diana was the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta[89] and that the bracelets are able to keep the powers she has inherited from Zeus in check.[98] In addition, Hephaestus has modified the bracelets to allow Wonder Woman the sorcerous ability to manifest a sword of grayish metal from each bracelet. Each sword, marked with a red star, takes shape from a flash of lightning, and when Wonder Woman is done with them, the swords disappear, supposedly, back into her bracelets. As such, she has produced no other weapons from the bracelets in this way.[145]

Lariat of Hestia[edit]

The Lasso of Truth, or Lariat of Hestia, was forged by Hephaestus from the golden girdle of Gaea.[135] It compels all beings who come into contact with it to tell the absolute truth and is virtually indestructible;[135] in Identity Crisis, Green Arrow describes it as "the only lie detector designed by Zeus." The only times it has been broken were when Wonder Woman herself refused to accept the truth revealed by the lasso, such as when she confronted Rama Khan of Jarhanpur,[146] and by Bizarro in Matt Wagner's non-canonical Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity.[147] It also at one time had the power to force anyone caught to obey any command given them, even overriding the mind control of others; this was effective enough to defeat strong-willed beings like Captain Marvel.[148] Diana wields the lasso with great precision and accuracy and can use it as a whip or noose.

Other items[edit]

Diana occasionally uses additional weaponry in formal battle, such as ceremonial golden armour with golden wings, pteruges, chest-plate, and golden helmet in the shape of an eagle's head. She possesses a magical sword forged by Hephaestus that is sharp enough to cut the electrons off an atom.[135]

As early as the 1950s,[149] Wonder Woman's Tiara has also been used as a razor-edged throwing weapon, returning to her like a boomerang.[135] The Tiara allows Wonder Woman to be invulnerable from telepathic attacks. It allows for Diana to telepathically contact people such as the Amazons back on Themyscira using the telepathic power of the red star ruby in the center of her Tiara.[142]

The Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age portrayals of Wonder Woman showed her using an Invisible plane that could be controlled by mental command via her Tiara. Its appearance has varied over time; originally it had a propeller, while later it was drawn as a jet aircraft resembling a stealth aircraft.[150]

As a recent temporary inductee into the Star Sapphires, Wonder Woman gained access to the violet power ring of love. This ring allowed her to alter her costume at will, create solid-light energy constructs, and reveal a person's true love to them. She was able to combine the energy with her lasso to enhance its ability.

Outfit[edit]

Wonder Woman's New 52 outfit. Panel from Justice League Vol. 2#3 (Nov. 2011). Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams.

Wonder Woman's outfit has varied over time, although almost all of her outfit incarnations have retained some form of breastplate, tiara, bracelets and her signature star symbols.[151] Although Wonder Woman's outfit design was originally rooted in American symbolism and iconography, it was later explained as having more Amazon roots. During a flashback in Vol. 3, Hippolyte is shown issuing orders to have a garment created for Diana, taking inspiration from the skies on the night Diana was born; a red hunter's moon and a field of stars against deep blue, and the eagle breastplate being a symbol of Athena's avian representations.

At the time of her debut, Wonder Woman sported a red top with a golden eagle emblem, a white belt, blue star-spangled culottes and red and golden go-go boots. This outfit was entirely based on the American flag, as Wonder Woman at that time was purely an American icon.[152] Later in 1942, Wonder Woman's outfit received a slight change – the culottes were converted entirely into skin-tight shorts and she wore sandals.[152] While earlier most of her back was exposed, during the imposition of the Comics Code Authority in the mid-1950s, Wonder Woman's outfit was rectified to make her back substantially covered, in order to comply with the Authority's rule of minimum exposure.[152] During Mike Sekowsky's run in the late 1960s, Diana surrendered her powers and started using her own skill to fight crime. She wore a series of jumpsuits as her attire, most popular of these was a white one.[152] After Sekowsky's run ended in the early 1970s, Diana's roots were reverted to her old mythological ones and she wore a more modernized version of her original outfit, a predecessor to her "bathing suit" outfit.[152] Later, in 1976, her white belt was turned into a yellow one.[152]

After Crisis On Infinite Earths, George Pérez rebooted the character in 1987. She wore an outfit similar to her 1970s one, but now with a larger golden belt.[152] This outfit continued until William Messner-Loebs' run, which had Diana pass on the role of Wonder Woman to Artemis.[152] No longer Wonder Woman, Diana sported a new black biker-girl outfit designed by artist Mike Deodato Jr.[152] After John Byrne took over writing and art duties, he redesigned the Wonder Woman outfit (Diana was reinstated as Wonder Woman at the end of Loebs' run) and joined the emblem and belt together.[152]

Her outfit did not receive any prominent change until after Infinite Crisis. Similar to her chest-plate, her belt was also shaped into a W.[152] This outfit continued until issue #600 – J. Michael Straczynski's run of Wonder Woman's altered timeline changed her outfit drastically. Her outfit was redesigned by Jim Lee and included a redesigned emblem, a golden and red top, black pants and a later discontinued blue-black jacket.[152]

Another major outfit change came after DC Comics relaunched its entire line of publications, dubbing the event The New 52. Her original swimsuit outfit was restored, although the color combination of red and blue was changed to dark red and blue-black. Her chest-plate, belt and tiara were also changed from gold to a platinum or sterling silver color. She wears many accessories such as arm and neck jewelery styled as the "WW" motif. The design previously included black trousers, but they were removed and the swimsuit look was restored during the time of publication.[153] Wonder Woman is currently sporting this incarnation of the outfit, which additionally, is no longer made of fabric, as it now resembles a type of light, flexible body armor. Her boots are now dark blue rather than red.

Reception[edit]

Wonder Woman was named the 20th greatest comic book character by Empire magazine.[154] She was ranked sixth in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[155] In May 2011, Wonder Woman placed fifth on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.[156]

Alternative versions[edit]

Wonder Woman has appeared in a wide variety of media outside of comic books since her initial appearance including comic strips, film, television and video games.

The first serious attempt at creating a live action series on Wonder Woman was a 1974 pilot movie. It was written and produced by John D. F. Black, and starred Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman. This incarnation of the character was blonde, wore a red and blue jumpsuit, and acted more like a secret agent rather than a superhero.[157][158] This pilot was not picked up for a regular television series. A successful television series based on Wonder Woman finally emerged in 1975, airing initially on ABC for its first season and CBS for its second and third season. This version of the character was written by Douglas S. Cramer, and retained significant aspects from the comic book version. It starred Lynda Carter in the lead role as Wonder Woman and originally aired from 1975 to 1979.[158][159] The show earned solid ratings and helped Wonder Woman reach the peak of her popularity.[160]

Attempts have been made to produce a television series on the character in more recent times, but none have emerged successfully yet. In 2011, NBC released a pilot for a television series starring Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman. The pilot was not taken up for a regular series however.[161] In 2012, it was revealed that The CW, Warner Bros. Television and DC Comics are developing a script for a possible television series, titled Amazon, about the origin of Wonder Woman.[6][162][163] In the meantime, she appeared in 2013 in the comic continuation of Smallville in a 4-issue episode/story arc named Olympus,[164] which features a Smallville take on her origins, her first appearance as Wonder Woman proper, and hers and Superman's first adventure together. It also features Hippolyta, Steve, Lois, and Martha Kent, and has been described as the comic realization of an idea that couldn't be brought to life during Smallville's TV run because of the Wonder Woman NBC pilot.

In the animation stream, Wonder Woman has appeared in a variety of shows – notably Super Friends, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Warner Premiere animated films that feature the Justice League. In 2009, Warner Premiere released the Wonder Woman animated film featuring Keri Russell as the voice of Wonder Woman. The film was well received.[165]

Wonder Woman appeared in The Lego Movie, which was released in February 2014. The character is voiced by Cobie Smulders.

Gal Gadot will appear as the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.[166][167] The film is set to be released in May 2016.[168]

Many alternative versions of Wonder Woman have appeared in comics, such as in various Elseworlds titles etc.

Collected editions[edit]

Title Material collected ISBN
Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 1 All Star Comics #8, Sensation Comics #1–9, Wonder Woman #1 978-1401226442
Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 2 Sensation Comics #10–14, Wonder Woman #2–3, Comic Cavalcade #1 978-1401232405
Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 3 Sensation Comics #15-18, Wonder Woman #4–5, Comic Cavalcade #2 978-1401236922
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 1 All Star Comics #8, Sensation Comics #1–12, Wonder Woman #1 978-1563894022
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 2 Sensation Comics #13–17, Wonder Woman #2–4 978-1563895944
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 3 Sensation Comics #18–24, Wonder Woman #5–7 978-1563898143
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 4 Sensation Comics #25–32, Wonder Woman #8–9 978-1401201456
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 5 Sensation Comics #33–40, Wonder Woman #10–12 978-1401212704
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 6 Sensation Comics #41–48, Wonder Woman #13–15 978-1401227340
Wonder Woman Archive Edition, Vol. 7 Sensation Comics #49–56, Wonder Woman #16–18 978-1401237431
The Comic Cavalcade Archive Edition, Vol. 1 Comic Cavalcade #1–3 978-1401206581
Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess Archives, Vol. 1 Wonder Woman #98–110 978-1401238650
Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 Wonder Woman #98–117 978-1401213732
Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Vol. 2 Wonder Woman #118–137 978-1401219482
Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Vol. 3 Wonder Woman #138–156 978-1401225247
Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Vol. 4 Wonder Woman #157–177 1-4012-3289-2
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 Wonder Woman #178–184 978-1401216603
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Vol. 2 Wonder Woman #185–189, Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #93, The Brave and the Bold #87 978-1401218256
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Vol. 3 Wonder Woman #190–198, World's Finest #204 978-1401219475
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Vol. 4 Wonder Woman #199–204, The Brave and the Bold #105 978-1401221508
Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors Wonder Woman #212–222 978-1401234942
Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals Wonder Woman vol. 2, #1–7 978-1401201975
Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: Challenge of the Gods Wonder Woman vol. 2, #7–14 978-1401203245
Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Beauty and the Beasts Wonder Woman vol. 2, #15–19, Action Comics #600 978-1401204846
Wonder Woman, Vol. 4: Destiny Calling Wonder Woman vol. 2, #20–24, Annual #1 978-1401209438
Wonder Woman: The Contest Wonder Woman vol. 2, #0, #90–93 978-1563891946
Wonder Woman: The Challenge of Artemis Wonder Woman vol. 2, #94–100 978-1563892646
Wonder Woman: Second Genesis Wonder Woman vol. 2, #101–105 978-1435218093
Wonder Woman: Lifelines Wonder Woman vol. 2, #106–112 978-1563894039
Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost Wonder Woman vol. 2, #164–170, Secret Files #2 978-1563897924
Wonder Woman: Paradise Found Wonder Woman vol. 2, #171–177, Secret Files #3 978-1563899560
Wonder Woman: Down to Earth Wonder Woman vol. 2, #195–200 978-1401202262
Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals Wonder Woman vol. 2, #201–205 978-1401204624
Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon Wonder Woman vol. 2, #206–213 978-1401207977
Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead Wonder Woman vol. 2, #214–217, The Flash #219 978-1401209384
Wonder Woman: Mission's End Wonder Woman vol. 2, #218–226 978-1401210939
Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman vol. 3, #1–4, Annual #1 978-1401212346
Wonder Woman: Love and Murder Wonder Woman vol. 3, #6–10 978-1401217082
Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack! Wonder Woman vol. 3, #11–13 9781401215439
Wonder Woman: The Circle Wonder Woman vol. 3, #14–19 978-1401219321
Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth Wonder Woman vol. 3, #20–25 978-1401221362
Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian Wonder Woman vol. 3, #26–33 978-1401225131
Wonder Woman: Warkiller Wonder Woman vol. 3, #34–39 978-1401227791
Wonder Woman: Contagion Wonder Woman vol. 3, #40–44 978-1401229207
Wonder Woman: Odyssey, Vol. 1 Wonder Woman vol. 3, #600–606 978-1401230777
Wonder Woman: Odyssey, Vol. 2 Wonder Woman vol. 3, #607–614 978-1401234317
Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood Wonder Woman vol. 4, #1–6 978-1401235635
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Guts Wonder Woman vol. 4, #7–12 978-1401238094
Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Iron Wonder Woman vol. 4, #0, #13–18 978-1401242619
Wonder Woman Vol. 4: War" Wonder Woman vol. 4, #19-23 978-1401246082
Miscellaneous
Wonder Woman 80-Page Giant No. 1 (2002) Wonder Woman vol. 1, #28; #105; #108; #144 (80-Page Giant retro style Annual) SC: 1-56389-818-7

Television[edit]

In the pilot, a 90 minute TV movie set in the 1940s, Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter), Princess Diana from the hidden Paradise Island, home to a tribe of eternally young women based on the Amazons of Greek mythology, meets an American airforce pilot, Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner), when he is shot down by a Nazi plane and lands on the mythical island. Princess Diana decides she must follow the Major back to the United States and help fight the Nazis.

Only the first season of the TV series (1975-78) took place during World War II, where Wonder Woman’s alter ego, Diana Prince, was a Navy-enlisted First Class Petty Officer.

Season 1 of the TV series aired on ABC. The show then transferred to CBS, where Seasons 2 and 3 were set in the 1970s, with Diana Prince working for a US Government intelligence agency run by Steve Trevor, Jr (also played by Lyle Waggoner).

See: List of television episodes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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