As one of the longest continually published comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s history has undergone some changes over the years, though a few elements remain consistent in all of her depictions. She is the princess of the Amazons, a race of women who live free of men on Paradise Island (later dubbed Themyscira). After growing up on this island, Wonder Woman (whom her mother named Diana) journeys to Man’s World on a mission of diplomacy, peace, and love.
During Marston's run, Diana Prince was the name of an army nurse whom Wonder Woman met. The nurse wanted to meet with 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 look after Steve (who was admitted to the same army hospital in which Diana Prince worked), and because both of them looked alike, 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. She started to work as an army nurse and later as an Air Force secretary.
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.
Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Wonder Woman's social reforms were not initially accepted by the Amazons, even if they were morally necessary. Later, she had a training session with Artemis, who urged her to accept the Amazons' worship as a goddess, but Diana refused. Unfortunately, Dessa, a fellow Amazon, kidnapped Zeke and threatened to throw him off a cliff, for she disagreed with Diana's new perspective. Diana convinced her to return the boy to Zola. Shortly afterwards, the men of Paradise Island returned to their original home, with Diana welcoming them with open arms.
Carolyn Cocca has stated that Wonder Woman possesses a "duality of character" due to the character possessing both feminine and masculine qualities in her physical abilities and attitude, which Cocca felt made her more appealing to a wide audience. Wonder Woman's first female editor, Karen Berger, claimed that, "Wonder Woman [is] a great role model to young women, but also contains many elements that appeal to males as well. Wonder Woman crosses the gender line.". Berger worked with George Pérez on the new issues of Wonder Woman starting in 1987, and the new Diana "works with friends and allies to teach lessons of peace and equality."
Until DC's New 52 relaunch, there were a few other aspects of the origin story that remained consistent. Her mother, Hippolyta, created her out of clay, and the Greek gods bestowed her with life. She grew up among the Amazons who taught her the skills of a warrior as well as the lessons of peace and love. When Steve Trevor, an American pilot, crash landed on Paradise Island, the Amazons had a contest to determine who should receive the honor and responsibility to take him back to Man’s World and serve as the champion emissary of all the Amazons represent.
While Diana stood admiring the replica, Bruce Wayne appeared. He proceeds to angrily confront her by grabbing Diana's arm and asking her about the information device that she had stolen. Bruce claims to see right through her "babe in the woods" act, saying that while Diana doesn't know him, he's met "a few women like [her]". Diana, however, calmly smiles and retorts that Bruce has never met any women like her. She then proceeds to tell Bruce that she was unable to obtain anything from Bruce's device, due to Lex Luthor's data having military-grade encryption. Diana explains her intention to re-obtain her photograph from Luthor, stating that she only borrowed Bruce's device, and has already returned it to him shortly beforehand (placing it into the glove compartment of his car), before calmly excusing herself and leaving.
Critics such as Valerie Estelle Frankel support Jenkins's vision. Frankel argues that the film subverts the male gaze, stating that the construction of Wonder Woman tends to shift every few decades as it reflects the state of feminism during different time periods, including third-wave feminism (which reflects Jenkins's approach). Zoe Williams offers a similar argument, stating that while Wonder Woman "is sort of naked a lot of the time," that is not, at the same time, "objectification so much as a cultural reset: having thighs, actual thighs you can kick things with, not thighs that look like arms, is a feminist act". Williams then juxtaposes Wonder Woman to past female action heroes such as Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, and Lara Croft, whom she suggests were all constructed for the male gaze, in which a "female warrior becomes a sex object", (a point which she argues that Jenkins directly references in the film).
A stand-alone #0 Issue was released in September which explored Diana's childhood and her tutelage under Ares, the God of War. The issue was narrated in the style of a typical Golden Age comic book and saw Diana in her childhood years. The main plot of the issue was Diana training under Ares 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 Ares; however, this show of mercy makes her a failure in Ares' eyes.
Gods and Mortals (1987) Challenge of the Gods (1987–88) War of the Gods (1991) The Contest (1994) The Challenge of Artemis (1995) Paradise Island Lost (2001) Our Worlds at War (2001) The Hiketeia (2002) Down to Earth (2003–04) Who Is Wonder Woman? (2006–07) Amazons Attack! (2007) The Circle (2008) Ends of the Earth (2008) Rise of the Olympian (2009) Flashpoint (2011) The Lies (2016) Year One (2016) The Truth (2017) Godwatch (2017)
Stealth Expert: Wonder Woman is exceptionally stealthy, as she was able to quickly sneak away from Chief and Charlie to General Ludendorff's gala, and later to steal the hacking device that Bruce Wayne had plugged into the LexCorp Industries servers and leave it in his car, without getting caught on either occasion. Later, Wonder Woman noticed Cyborg spying on her and Batman from a distance. Shortly thereafter, along with Batman and Cyborg, she was able to swiftly slip away when Commissioner Gordon turned away for a moment, and even Flash was left incredulous at how he didn't notice his teammates leave, despite having superhuman reflexes and standing right beside them. Wonder Woman even managed to enter the highly-secure Batcave itself on her own, impressing Batman.
Gloria Steinem, editor for Ms. magazine and a major supporter of Wonder Woman, stated "... [Marston] had invented Wonder Woman as a heroine for little girls, and also as a conscious alternative to the violence of comic books for boys." Badower described a near-international incident (involving an unnamed Russian general rolling dozens of tanks and munitions through a shady mountain pass) as an outstanding example for standing up to bullies. "She ends up deflecting a bullet back and disarming the general," he says, adding that "she doesn't actually do anything violent in the story. I just think that Wonder Woman is smarter than that."
Wonder Woman experienced significant changes from the late 1950s through the 1960s during the Silver Age of Comic Books. Harry G. Peter was replaced by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito in issue #98 (May 1958), and the character was revamped as were other characters in the Silver Age. In Diana's new origin story (issue #105), it is revealed that her powers are gifts from the gods. Receiving the blessing of each deity in her crib, Diana is destined to become as "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury". Further changes included the removal of all World War II references from Wonder Woman's origin, the changing of Hippolyta's hair color to blonde, Wonder Woman's new ability to glide on air currents, and the introduction of the rule that Paradise Island would be destroyed if a man ever set foot on it.
In the 1910s, Peter was a staff artist at the magazine Judge, where he contributed to its suffrage page called “The Modern Woman,” which ran from 1912 to 1917. More regularly, the art on that page was drawn by another staff artist, a woman named Lou Rogers. Rogers’ suffrage and feminist cartoons very often featured an allegorical woman chained or roped, breaking her bonds. Sanger hired Rogers as art director for the Birth Control Review, a magazine she started in 1917. In 1920, in a book called Woman and the New Race, Sanger argued that woman “had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her to her lot as a brood animal.” In 1923, an illustration commissioned by Rogers for the cover of Birth Control Review pictured a weakened and desperate woman, fallen to her knees and chained at the ankle to a ball that reads, “UNWANTED BABIES.” A chained woman inspired the title of Sanger’s 1928 book, Motherhood in Bondage, a compilation of some of the thousands of letters she had received from women begging her for information about birth control; she described the letters as “the confessions of enslaved mothers.”
During the 25 bi-monthly issues of the "new" Wonder Woman, the writing team changed four times. Consequently, the stories display abrupt shifts in setting, theme, and tone. The revised series attracted writers not normally associated with comic books, most notably science fiction author Samuel R. Delany, who wrote Wonder Woman #202–203 (October and December 1972).
When Marston died in 1947 Robert Kanigher took over and Diana became less of a feminist character but during this time, her abilities expanded as she wore earrings that provided her with the air she needed when she was in outer space and she had an invisible plane. Extra additions included a tiara which could cut through almost anything and acted as a boomerang and her bracelets now had two way radios.
Wonder Woman has also appeared in the 2013 NetherRealm Studios fighting game, INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us, as a playable character with her own set of super moves and alternate constumes, one of which was a New 52 skin. In the game, Wonder Woman is summoned alongside Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman, and the Joker into a world where Superman rules with an iron fist and said world's Wonder Woman is his second-in-command. Wonder Woman must unite with the others and this world's Batman to defeat Regime Superman for good. She is voiced by Susan Eisenberg.
The British War Council quickly gathered to discuss the notebook. Their codebreakers were unable to decipher the two different languages that it was written in, but Diana quickly identified them as Ottoman and Sumerian. She read the book out loud, informing the council that Doctor Poison had created a new form of mustard gas based on hydrogen instead of sulfur, which gas masks would be useless against.
For a time she was given enhanced vision by Athena, which gave her the ability to see in darkness and through illusions. This also makes her resistant/immune to telepathy. Due to her wisdom she can learn languages faster than a regular person, she can talk to animals. She has also been shown to project herself astrally in order to commune with the gods and ask for special favors from them. She has also been shown to take on the abilities of certain of her patron goddesses as when she became a form of divine midwife to save the life of an unborn child.
^ Mozzocco, J. Caleb. "The Many Loves of Wonder Woman: A Brief History Of The Amazing Amazon's Love Life". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012. When the next volume of Wonder Woman would start, Trevor was sidelined as Diana's love interest. He still appeared in the series, but as an older man, one who would ultimately marry the post-Crisis version of Wondy's Golden Age sidekick, Etta Candy.
Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot reacted positively to Diana's rebooted orientation, and agreed her sexuality was impacted by growing up in the women-only Themyscira. Gadot stated that Wonder Woman feels she need not be "labelled sexually", and is "just herself". "She's a woman who loves people for who they are. She can be bisexual. She loves people for their hearts." Coming from a society that was only populated by women, "'lesbian' in [the world's] eyes may have been 'straight' for them." "Her culture is completely free from the shackles of heteronormativity in the first place so she wouldn't even have any 'concept' of gender roles in sex."
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. Circe would later return by unknown means.
Gaines didn’t know any of this when he met Marston in 1940 or else he would never have hired him: He was looking to avoid controversy, not to court it. Marston and Wonder Woman were pivotal to the creation of what became DC Comics. (DC was short for Detective Comics, the comic book in which Batman debuted.) In 1940, Gaines decided to counter his critics by forming an editorial advisory board and appointing Marston to serve on it, and DC decided to stamp comic books in which Superman and Batman appeared with a logo, an assurance of quality, reading, “A DC Publication.” And, since “the comics’ worst offense was their blood-curdling masculinity,” Marston said, the best way to fend off critics would be to create a female superhero.
She also had an array of mental and psychic abilities, as corresponding to Marston's interest in parapsychology and metaphysics. Such an array included ESP, astral projection, telepathy (with or without the Mental Radio), mental control over the electricity in her body, the Amazonian ability to turn brain energy into muscle power, etc. Wonder Woman first became immune to electric shocks after having her spirit stripped from her atoms by Dr. Psycho's Electro Atomizer; it was also discovered that she was unable to send a mental radio message without her body.
^ Sanderson, Peter (September–October 1981). "Thomas/Colan Premiere Wonder Woman's New Look". Comics Feature. New Media Publishing (12/13): 23. The hotly-debated new Wonder Woman uniform will be bestowed on the Amazon Princess in her first adventure written and drawn by her new creative team: Roy Thomas and Gene Colan...This story will appear as an insert in DC Comics Presents #41.
The chief chemist associated with General Ludendorff who specializes in chemistry and poisons. On her role, Anaya said, "Well, it was a small role in this big ensemble, but it is an important character in the story. I'm going to be a big nightmare" for Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Describing her character, Anaya said, "Dr. Maru loves rage and enjoys people's pain. She's creating terrible weapons, and her purpose in life is to kill as many people as possible, and provoke as much pain as possible". She researched World War I and Fritz Haber, the scientist who created mustard gas, to prepare for the role. On the character's facial scars, Anaya stated, "I went to Patty Jenkins and asked, 'What happened to her?' And she said, 'She did it on purpose.' I was like, 'What? Patty, you're going further than I ever imagined.' She said, 'She wants to provoke painful suffering, so she tested her own gas on her own face. She wanted to know how deep this form of her gas would go, so she put it on her own face.' You can see half of her face is completely gone. This is the sadistic side of Dr. Maru". She also stated her character "is quite the opposite to the lead role of this movie, one of the strongest characters ever of DC comics, Wonder Woman. I can tell you that Doctor Poison is someone with a capacity to provoke so much pain." On Dr. Maru's relationship with General Ludendorff, Anaya said, "I think that they have a relationship based on loyalty. Ludendorff is a very tormented General that lacks self-confidence. That's why, in part, he takes these drugs that Dr. Poison gives him. They are from different worlds, but they complement each other".
“Anniversary, which we forgot entirely,” Olive Byrne wrote in her secret diary in 1936. (The diary remains in family hands.) During the years when she lived with Marston and Holloway, she wore, instead of a wedding ring, a pair of bracelets. Wonder Woman wears those same cuffs. Byrne died in 1990, at the age of 86. She and Holloway had been living together in an apartment in Tampa. While Byrne was in the hospital, dying, Holloway fell and broke her hip; she was admitted to the same hospital. They were in separate rooms. They’d lived together for 64 years. When Holloway, in her hospital bed, was told that Byrne had died, she sang a poem by Tennyson: “Sunset and the evening star, / And one clear call for me! / And may there be no moaning of the bar, / When I put out to sea.” No newspaper ran an obituary.