Wonder Woman's bracelets
|Wonder Woman's bracelets|
Wonder Woman deflects bullets in
her live-action television series
|First appearance||All Star Comics #8 (December 1941)|
|Created by||William Moulton Marston|
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Wonder Woman|
Wonder Woman's bracelets, also known as the Bracelets of Submission, are a pair of metal cuffs worn as forearm guards. They were an original creation by William Moulton Marston as an allegory for his philosophy on loving submission and the emotional control associated with it. These bracelets have thus far proven indestructible and able to absorb the impact of incoming attacks, allowing Wonder Woman to not only deflect automatic weapon fire, energy blasts and other projectile weaponry, but also to absorb forces from a long fall.
In the Golden Age of Comics, the Amazons of Paradise Island were depicted wearing the bracelets as a symbol of submission to their patron goddess Aphrodite and, under the goddess's instruction, as a reminder of the period when the Amazons were subjugated under the rule of the treacherous Hercules. The bracelets were magically made to be indestructible by Aphrodite. The bracelets were useful, as magically indestructible gauntlets they could use to deflect bullets, energy weapons, and all manner of attack.
In Wonder Woman #52, published in March 1952, it was first mentioned that the bracelets were composed of "amazonium."
In Sensation Comics #4 it was revealed that Amazons temporarily lost their super strength if a male welded chains to their bracelets together. Their strength remained unaffected if they were chained by females (Sensation Comics #10). They would regain their strength if their bracelets were unchained. In later stories Amazons lost their strength if males simply bound their wrists, rather than their bracelets, with chains or other forms of welding. In Comic Cavalcade #14, the bracelets were revealed to balance Amazon strength with loving submission to the positive aims of civilization.
The consequences of removing bracelets became simplified in later stories: if ever broken or removed, the Amazon would go mad with rage, as Dr. Marston's allegory for the unfettered destruction by the human ego. The bracelets were very rarely broken, and then only by magical weapons empowered by the gods themselves (such as Artemis's sword and Aegeus's dagger of Vulcan).
The Amazons were, as before, charged with wearing their bracelets as a constant reminder of their experience of enslavement. They also wore the bracelets as penance of failing in their mission to reform mankind. However, they did not lose their strength if males chained their bracelets together and were not cursed with madness should the bracelets be removed or broken. Additionally, the generic Amazon bracelet provides no special protection.
When Diana won the Contest to become Wonder Woman, she was given a pair of magical silver bracelets. The bracelets were later explained as having been forged from the remnants of the Aegis, a shield made from the indestructible hide of the great she-goat, Amalthea, who suckled Zeus as an infant. When crossed before her, the bracelets are able to generate a remnant of the Aegis, allowing Diana to deflect attacks far larger than the surface area of her bracelets. This remnant takes the form of a semi-visible spherical forcefield roughly twice the height of Diana.
Both Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark also have their own indestructible silver bracelets. When Hippolyta continued to operate as Wonder Woman after Diana's resurrection, she likewise wore her own silver bracelets. When John Byrne took over the writing and art duties, he depicted the bracelets as larger than usual and gauntlet-like, with extension pieces being semi-distinct from the original bracelets.
It was revealed during Gail Simone's tenure as the title's writer that Zeus had endowed the bracelets with the power to channel divine lightning when they were struck together at will. Diana can also slam the bracelets together to create a wave of concussive force, which is capable of making strong beings like Superman's ears bleed.
In other media
On the live-action Wonder Woman television series, the two-part episode "The Feminum Mystique" establishes that the bracelets are produced from "feminum," a metal found only on Paradise Island. When Nazi agents learn the truth from Wonder Woman's sister Drusilla, they invade Paradise Island and force the Amazons to mine the feminum until the Amazons turn the tables on their captors. Removal of the bracelets leaves Wonder Woman vulnerable to attack but does not render her powerless or insane.
To create the bullet deflection effect, explosive charges were attached to the bracelets worn by Lynda Carter. She concealed triggering devices in her hands and, on cue, would trigger the devices to create the explosive effect.