Wonder Woman's character was created during World War II; the character in the story was initially depicted fighting Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the "damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics during the 1940s. In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Cale and the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).
And yes! I’d love to hear your professional opinion on this book. Personally, I’m loving it. I like the essays, their length, their readability while still being scholarly, and I feel it’s giving me a good sense of the character. I’ve lived and breathed Marvel for so long but I don’t know DC in the same way so this is helping. (And I’ll be teaching Wonder Woman in a new course I’m doing next year on superheroes and social justice so I need to know more about her background too.) But I’d love to know what you think of it, as a seasoned Wonder Woman fan.
James Robinson is an acclaimed, award-winning writer whose works include Starman, JSA: The Golden Age and Superman. With Geoff Johns, he was co-writer of Hawkman. In addition, he wrote the screenplay to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, starring Sean Connery, and created the acclaimed young-readers comic series Leave it to Chance. Robinson is currently writing Wonder Woman (Rebirth).
Categories: 1942 comics debuts1987 comics debuts2006 comics debuts2011 comics debutsComics by Brian AzzarelloComics by Dennis O'NeilComics by Gail SimoneComics by Gerry ConwayComics by Greg RuckaComics by J. M. DeMatteisComics by J. Michael StraczynskiComics by John ByrneComics by Kurt BusiekComics by Len WeinComics by Paul KupperbergComics by Paul LevitzComics by Robert KanigherComics by Roy ThomasWonder Woman titles
Membership Air Wave • Amazing Man • Atom Smasher • Batman • Black Adam • Captain Marvel • Citizen Steel • Cyclone • Damage • Darknight • Hawkgirl • Hippolyta • Huntress • Jakeem Thunder • Johnny Thunder • Judomaster • King Chimera • Liberty Belle • Lightning • Magog • Miss America • Mister America • Obsidian • Power Girl • Red Beetle • Red Tornado • Ri • Robin • Sand • Stargirl • Star-Spangled Kid • S.T.R.I.P.E. • Thunderbolt • Tomcat • Superman • Wonder Woman
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.
The last issue of Wonder Woman saw very little of the Amazon. Instead, we watched her brother, Jason, launch an attack against the Dark Gods. He first tries to take on the Gods, named Karnell, Savage Fire, the Mob God, and the God with No Name. They quickly defeat him, but Jason gets the backup of Supergirl and the Justice League for round 2. The Dark Gods, however, aren’t pushovers and promptly defeat the heroes thanks to their leader, King Best. Before all seems lost, Diana returns just as King Best takes form and begins his path of destruction. Will Wonder Woman and Jason be able to contain this madness?
Wonder Woman has been the subject of a discussion regarding the appearance and representation of female power in general, and of female action heroes in particular since her initial 1941 appearance in Sensation Comics, as she was created to document "the growth in the power of women", while wearing "a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue underpants and knee-high, red leather boots." She was blacklisted a year later in 1942 in the "Publications Disapproved for Youth" because, the group behind the list argued, she was "not sufficiently dressed".
She asked him who he was, but before he could answer, the two noticed several boats coming through the island's forcefield. Steve noted that he was one of the good guys and the people on the boats—Germans—were bad guys. Having noticed the invading ships, the Amazons quickly gathered on the cliffs above the beach. Hippolyta ordered Trevor to move away from Diana, but forgot about him as the German soldiers began to come closer to shore. She took command of her army, ordering the archers to fire on the boats. Diana and Trevor took cover behind boulders on the beach.
“As to the ‘advanced femininity,’ what are the activities in comic books which women ‘indulge in on an equal footing with men’? They do not work. They are not homemakers. They do not bring up a family. Mother-love is entirely absent. Even when Wonder Woman adopts a girl there are Lesbian overtones,” he said. At the Senate hearings, Bender testified, too. If anything in American popular culture was bad for girls, she said, it wasn’t Wonder Woman; it was Walt Disney. “The mothers are always killed or sent to the insane asylums in Walt Disney movies,” she said. This argument fell on deaf ears.
In the wake of the 1954 hearings, DC Comics removed Bender from its editorial advisory board, and the Comics Magazine Association of America adopted a new code. Under its terms, comic books could contain nothing cruel: “All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.” There could be nothing kinky: “Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.” And there could be nothing unconventional: “The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.”
If there is any part of the story that stands out, it’s the “oh $%” cliffhanger. I’ve read plenty of stories with such cliffhangers, but this one is a real gut-punch. Not because it’s shocking for this arc, but when you realize next issue is the finale for Robinson’s run for the time being. From the moment Diana sought out Jason, it built to this moment. It got me excited for next time, despite its failures this issue.
In August 2011, the third volume of Wonder Woman was cancelled along with every other DC title as part of a line-wide relaunch following Flashpoint. The series was relaunched in September with a #1 issue written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Cliff Chiang. Wonder Woman now sports another new costume, once again designed by Jim Lee. Azzarello describes the new Wonder Woman book as being darker than the past series, even going so far as to call it a "horror" book.
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. 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. 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.[volume & issue needed]
Shortly after the team assembled, Wonder Woman assisted in helping a newly resurrected Superman regain his memories. With the team now fully assembled, Wonder Woman contributed to the successful offensive against Steppenwolf, forcing the alien invasion into retreat. Afterwards, she began to plan for the Justice League's future alongside Bruce Wayne.
In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman adhered to an Amazon code of helping any in need, even misogynistic people, and never accepting a reward for saving someone; while conversely, the modern version of the character has been shown to perform lethal and fatal actions when left with no other alternative, exemplified in the killing of Maxwell Lord in order to save Superman's life.
The relaunch was beset by scheduling problems as described by Grady Hendrix in his article, "Out for Justice" in The New York Sun. "By 2007 [Heinberg had] only delivered four issues ... Ms. Picoult's five issues hemorrhaged readers ... and Amazons Attack!, a miniseries commissioned to fill a hole in the book's publishing schedule caused by Mr. Heinberg's delays, was reviled by fans who decried it as an abomination." Picoult's interpretation received acclaim from critics, who would have liked to have seen the novelist given more time to work. Min Jin Lee of The Times stated, "By furnishing a 21st-century emotional characterization for a 20th-century creation, Picoult reveals the novelist's dextrous hand."
In 2016, "Issue #48" of Sensation Comics, featured Wonder Woman officiating a same-sex wedding, drawn by Australian illustrator Jason Badower. "My country is all women. To us, it's not 'gay' marriage. It's just marriage", she states to Superman. Inspired by the 2015 June Supreme Court ruling that established marriage equality in all 50 United States, Badower says DC Comics was "fantastic" about his idea for the issue. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he said his editor "Was like 'great, I love it! Let's do it.' It was almost anticlimactic." "Diana's mother, the queen, at the very least authorized or in some cases officiated these weddings," Badower says. "It just seems more like a royal duty Diana would take on, that she would do for people that would appreciate it."
Gloria Steinem also liked the film, stating that she felt it made the "Amazon origin story clear; [Wonder Woman] was stopping war, not perpetuating it." Steinem also noted that she knew "some women were disappointed by all the makeup, but I may be desperate—I was just happy that the Amazons had wild hair!" Her only complaint lay in the choice to eliminate the World War II setting as the Wonder Woman comic book developed in response to existing comics that were "so sadistic and racist that there was a congressional hearing on the subject". Steinem also gave Hillary Clinton the first Wonder Woman Award in October 2017 during the Women's Media Center's "Speaking Truth to Power Awards" (an organization created by Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan). Upon receiving the award, Clinton noted that she had seen Jenkins's Wonder Woman film and that she "loved the outfit". She also said that as her granddaughter was "really keen" on Wonder Woman, Clinton "thought maybe I could borrow something from her for the night. It didn't quite work for me, but I will say that this award means a lot to me because as a little girl, and then as a young woman, and then as a slightly older woman, I always wondered when Wonder Woman would have her time, and now that has happened." Clinton had previously praised Jenkins's film, in a public August 2017 message, stating that "it was just as inspirational as I'd suspected a movie about a strong, powerful woman in a fight to save the world from international disaster would be."
Bracelets of Submission: Like all Amazons, Wonder Woman wears two nigh-indestructible gauntlets as part of her armor. They are incredibly durable, capable of deflecting even Ares' massive bolts of lightning and Doomsday's tremendously powerful and destructive thermal attack. Due to her powers as a demigoddess, she also has the ability to create a massive wave of energy outwards when she clashes them together.
Wonder Woman's powers and traditional costume were restored in issue #204 (January–February 1973). Gloria Steinem, who grew up reading Wonder Woman comics, was a key player in the restoration. Steinem, offended that the most famous female superheroine had been depowered, placed Wonder Woman (in costume) on the cover of the first issue of Ms. (1972) – Warner Communications, DC Comics' owner, was an investor – which also contained an appreciative essay about the character.
Elena Anaya, who played the supervillain Dr. Poison, is contracted for multiple movies, so we may see her return. Jenkins didn’t completely rule out a comeback for Chris Pine’s character Steve Trevor, but that seems unlikely because Trevor is dead. And not the Winter Soldier kind of dead. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright will reprise their roles as Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope in Justice League, but they haven’t been confirmed for Wonder Woman 2 yet. Oh, and Jenkins wants to recruit 1970s Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter for a cameo role! Here’s hoping.
The next day, Diana awoke to find that they'd hitched a ride on a larger ship and arrived in London. She was less than pleased at the sight of the city, stating that it was hideous. As they walked through the streets of London, Diana insisted that Trevor take her to the war. She was dismayed to hear that he intended to deliver Doctor Poison's notebook to his superiors in the British War Council. Trevor promised that if he went with her to deliver the notebook, he would take her to the war. Though annoyed by the detour, Diana agreed. Trevor then realized that she was only wearing her battle armor, and took her to a store to buy her some clothes. As they walked to the store, Diana was delighted to see a baby and ran toward it, with Trevor having to pull her away.
Superhuman Reflexes: Wonder Woman's speed also extends to her reflexes, even if she is not moving at super speed, because when a German soldier fired her weapon past her, she could perceive the bullet as if it were moving in slow motion. She repeatedly used this skill to deflect bullets with her Bracelets of Submission and block the blows of her opponents with ease. One hundred years later, Wonder Woman's reflexes improve further, to the point that she was able to block all of the rapid machine-gun shots of a British terrorist with her bracelets, leaving the people standing behind her unscathed. When she dropped her sword mid-battle with Parademons, Wonder Woman was able to perceive Flash super speeding towards her fallen weapon, and hence outstretched her hand while he returned the sword to her grasp. Her reflexes were not powerful enough to contend with those of Flash or resurrected Superman, however, as Superman managed to grasp Wonder Woman's Bracelets of Submission before she could clash them.
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. In this timeline, Diana is an orphan raised in New York. 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. In this run, Wonder Woman wears a new costume designed by Jim Lee. Straczynski determined the plot and continued writing duties until Wonder Woman #605; writer Phil Hester then continued his run, which ultimately concluded in Wonder Woman #614.