Wonder Woman

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"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."

William Moulton Marston, 1943

The Princess of Truth. The Princess of the Amazons. The Female Superhero.

The first prominent female superhero in The DCU the history of comic books, and generally considered the greatest of the superheroines, was created in the 1940s. Wonder Woman is distinguished by her indestructible bracelets, which deflect bullets, and her enchanted lasso, which compels men to tell the truth and puts animals to sleep.

She was created in 1941 by psychologist William Moulton Marston (then an educational consultant to DC Comics) along with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, as a deliberate counterpoint to the all-male stable of "Übermenschen" published by DC at the time. Marston was remarkably free of the era's usual prejudices about and disdain for women (though this was partly because he was an admitted masochist who fetishized powerful women), and intentionally designed the character to embody his image of an idealized strong, unconventional and independent female. The character first appeared in "All Star Comics" #8 (December, 1941).

As a historical note, Marston was also vital in the development of the polygraph ("lie detector") -- which may be why Wonder Woman's lasso forces criminals to speak the truth. Marston also had unconventional sexual views (He and his wife had a third partner, Olive Byrne -- unconventional by today's standards, grounds for arrest or even public stoning in 1941). He also practiced BDSM and/or bondage, thus many of his stories had elements of this; see the "Suffering Sappho!" section of Superdickery.com for some examples.

He also had very unconventional views on how the world should be run for the time he lived in, believing a Matriarchy would be superior to the male-dominated world of the 1940s. This was the basis for Paradise Island.

Due to the deal Marston struck with DC, for a long time (at least through 1986), DC had to publish at least four issues of Wonder Woman each year or lose the rights to the character. This may have been one of the reasons that she was one of the few superheroes who continued publishing during The Interregnum, along with Superman, Batman and a handful of others. Her longevity is certainly one reason that contributed to her being one of DC's "Big Three" -- as Frank Miller described it -- Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman, are all the "gods" of the DC Universe, and the rest are all "just" heroes (something that is taken to its logical extreme in the Kurt Busiek/Mark Bagley year-long series Trinity). Also playing a big role: her 1970s TV series with Lynda Carter and her visibility in the Superfriends cartoon, as noted below.

Originally, Wonder Woman's powers were relatively limited, compared to her contemporaries. She was strong, but not as strong as Superman. She was fast, but not as fast as the Flash. She couldn't fly, but she could "glide on air currents". Most of her powers were gadget-based; the bullet-deflecting bracelets, the Lasso of Truth, the invisible jet. The Silver Age version of the character was stated as having the Strength of Hercules and the Speed of Hermes, deities who were shown to be a match for Superman and Flash, respectively, in other series. Wonder Woman herself battled Superman to a standstill in the tabloid-sized special comic "Superman versus Wonder Woman".

The bosomy, raven-haired Amazon heroine was never as well-known by the general public as the other "big heroes" until the 1970s, thanks to Shannon Farnon, her voice actress on Superfriends, and Lynda Carter, who portrayed her in prime time. In addition, feminists loved her, as evidenced by her being on the cover of the premiere issue of the movement's flagship magazine, Ms.

At the same time, however, Wonder Woman was undergoing a Retool; with the popularity of shows like The Avengers, and its visions of strong Action Girls, she lost her powers, took up martial arts under inscrutable old Oriental guy I Ching, and became Undercover Agent Diana Prince. Ironically, this period was mostly ended by the above feminists, such as Gloria Steinem, who protested the depowering of a strong female character. As a result, Diana was repowered and rejoined the Justice League, and the whole episode is considered a Dork Age.

Later, she was revamped for Crisis on Infinite Earths by the comics legend George Perez. She was powered-up, giving her flight, and tying her much more to Greek mythology and a mission as a messenger of peace to "Patriarch's World". Furthermore, she considered a Secret Identity obviously counterproductive in that role, so she stayed with her new friends, Julia Kapatelis, a classical Greek scholar, and her daughter Vanessa. Furthermore, Steve Trevor was revised to be old enough to be Diana's father, thus precluding the cliche romance; instead, he romanced Etta Candy. However, it turns out that he is indirectly linked to Diana's home since his mother, Diana Trevor, crash landed there and died helping the Amazons defeat a monster, making her a deeply honored hero to them.

In addition, she was simultaneously made much more naïve and tougher. The naïveté is such that Wonder Woman could not conceive of a woman being an enemy, which made the time when the Cheetah tried to con her out of her lasso an extremely upsetting moment. The toughness comes from being a classically trained warrior who is ready to kill as necessary and with no regrets, such as when she decapitated the villainous god Deimos. At the same time, her supervillain enemies became much more credible threats as in how the Cheetah was changed from a normal woman in a silly cheetah suit to a villain who became a powerful and deadly were-cheetah who is a real challenge to Diana in battle.

A popular (and therefore cheapened) way to escalate the drama in Wonder Woman stories (or Crisis Crossovers) recently has been to threaten Paradise Island... and then make good on the threat. The Amazons have been all-but-destroyed by Darkseid, themselves (in two civil wars), Imperiex, Hera, OMACs, Granny Goodness in the wake of Amazons Attack, and in Alternate Universe by the removal of the gods' protection.

In the mid-2000s run written by Greg Rucka, she suffered from a negative reaction in-universe, between escalating her role as emissary, leading to accusations of forcing her beliefs on people, and snapping the neck of a villain who had telepathic control of Superman because she felt it was the only way to stop him. In the middle of all this, she fought shadowy corporate schemers, resurrected Gorgons, participated in the hostile takeover of Olympus by her patron, Pallas Athena, and faced the destruction of her home by OMACs.

After Rucka's run and the OMAC crossover event, Wonder Woman was again rebooted. This time, she reluctantly got involved in a war between the Amazons (along with her newly resurrected mother) and Patriarch's World. In the wake of all this, she regained (or rather gained for the first time in this continuity) her Diana Prince: Secret Agent identity in order to connect with people. Many fans were not pleased. However, there was some delight at Wondy's appearance in Manhunter, when she enlisted Kate Spencer's services as a lawyer during her trial for the killing which occurred during Rucka's run.

In the late 2000s, Wonder Woman's series was in the hands of Gail Simone. Her supporting cast was revisited and she went up against a series of monsters including the ultrapowerful Genocide, her mother's former bodyguards, a grief-stricken Green Lantern, her own pantheon, and some long-lost family members who were abducted by a vicious alien race. The tales were epic, twisty and generally well received. Gail is the first woman to have ever written Wonder Woman's comic for a long period of time and deeply loves the character. However, Gail was not the first woman to write the comic, as Jodi Piccult wrote it almost immediately before her (but was not received very well), and Mindy Newell wrote it in the 80s and 90s.

Sales on the book continued to drop, so when Wondy's 600th overall issue (and a renumbering of the current series to reflect that) came around, J. Michael Straczynski shook things up. In his year-long storyline "The Odyssey" (completed by Phil Hester), the gods went back in time to remove their protection from the Amazons. As a result, Paradise Island fell when Diana was a little girl, and a handful of Amazons smuggled her out and raised her on the streets of Man's World. During the story, Diana struggles to regain her powers and understand why the world seems disastrously wrong around her.

After "The Odyssey" ended, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang took over the title and relaunched it with a new #1 issue as part of DC's New 52 reboot. Their run on the book is said to be much darker and more horror-influenced than previous runs, though like many Wondy writers and artists before them, they did not read very much of her history when they took the assignment. Wonder Woman once again sports a new costume, though it is much closer to the original than the suit from the JMS run. Azzarello and Chiang's first issue was met with a large amount of critical acclaim, though the graphic violence was criticized by some. Like Greg Rucka's run, Azzarello and Chiang approach Wonder Woman's world through the world of the Greek gods, though the difference between the two approaches is quite clear.

She has appeared in these other media:

  • A four-and-a-half-minute pilot reel was produced by Greenway Productions in 1967 -- planned as an ultra-campy Sitcom, with Wonder Woman (Ellie Wood Walker) as a delusional Hollywood Homely single girl who imagines herself a beautiful superhero. It was never aired, but can now be seen here.
  • The Brady Kids (1972): The character's first appearance in animation. The Brady kids meet Wonder Woman and together they are accidentally transported back to the time of the ancient Olympic Games. The kids plan to compete in the marathon and beat the Greek athletes to qualify for the race. Wonder Woman persuades the kids to disqualify themselves, explaining that if they win the race they will change the course of history. It's all kind of surreal.
  • Wonder Woman (1974): The TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby as a non-powered Wonder Woman who earned the nickname "Blonder Woman". Unrelated to the next item.
  • Wonder Woman: A 1975-79 show starring Lynda Carter. It is dated, but fondly remembered.
    • And Lynda Carter managed an eerie resemblance to the original character as drawn by Gibson Girl artist Harry G. Peter.
  • Superfriends: Alongside the male heroes of DC Comics.
  • Justice League: Voiced by Susan Eisenberg as a princess fresh from Paradise Island, and a little bit naive. She had a budding relationship with Batman. Her origin story was retooled to fit with the series narrative, which left out much of the comic origin, though it was revisited in later episodes.
  • Justice League: The New Frontier: An animated Direct to Video based on the acclaimed comic series by Darwyn Cooke. This Wonder Woman was closely tied with her classic origin but examined the change from the Golden Age to the Silver Age. She was voiced by Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess fame -- and her personality was a little Xena-ish too.
  • Wonder Woman: A newer DTV produced by Bruce Timm but set in its own continuity and focusing exclusively on her, intending to embrace the classic origin in full. She is voiced by Keri Russell.
  • Wonder Woman: An attempted pilot for NBC's 2011 season by David E. Kelley, focusing on Wonder Woman fairly established in Man's World and running the Themyscira Corporation to get her word out in between fighting crime, starring Adrienne Paliecki as Diana. It wasn't picked up, and fans weren't happy with what word leaked out - partially because Diana seemed to have trouble with the size of her breasts and straight up murdered security guards.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold: She appears in the Cold Opening of an episode and in the main story of another. Her design is an homage to the Golden Age and has a lot of canon references to the TV series.
  • Young Justice: She appears in bit parts in several episodes as a member of the Justice League. Due to rights issues that were not cleared up until after the show had already begun production, her sidekick Wonder Girl was excluded from the show's roster of teen superheroes during the first season. Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) becomes a recurring character in Season 2, with Diana getting an explanded role. She is voiced by Maggie Q of Nikita fame.
  • Super Best Friends Forever: The series of animated shorts by Lauren Faust which feature the first animated appearance of Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) in several decades.
  • She is portrayed by Gal Gadot in the DC Extended Universe; she first appears in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and gets her own solo movie Wonder Woman in 2017 and a leading role in Justice League.

Wonder Woman provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Diana sometimes carries the Sword of Hephaestus, which can shave electrons off an atom.
  • Action Girl: Despite some times of Unfortunate Implications, Diana has never been depicted as incapable.
  • Action Mom: Hippolyta
  • Adaptational Personality Adjustment: Not Wonder Woman herself so much, but her supporting characters. During the Golden Age, Hercules/Heracles suffered this unfortunately. He did cause either Hippolyta's death or Theseus kidnapping her in the original myth, but either was an accident owing to Hera stirring up war with the Amazons on framing him for kidnapping Hippolyta. Hercules in Golden Age Wonder Woman seduces Hippolyta to steal her girdle and enslave the Amazons, just because Mars convinced him it was a good idea, rather than needing her girdle to complete his twelve labors. Hippolyta as a result is more of a Broken Bird compared to her portrayal in Greek mythology or A Midsummer Night's Dream, vowing to never trust a man again per Aphrodite's edict.
  • Amazon Admirer: Nearly every incarnation has a literal example, dating all the way back to the Golden Age.
    • Hippolyta tells Diana that the Amazons hide from the world of men per orders from the gods because men are obsessed with conquering them. The Amazons once lived in harmony with other humans, provided they never let men seduce or trick them. Then Hercules, under the influence of Mars, decided to steal Hippolyta's divine girdle, a gift from Aphrodite in an attempt to subdue the Amazons. He proceeded to enslave them while breaking Hippolyta's heart. Aphrodite took pity on them when the Amazons repented the moment of weakness, helping free them and relocate them to a remote island. As a reminder of the betrayal, however, they have to wear bulletproof bracelets. It's also why Hippolyta is at first reluctant to let Diana go help Steve in the world of men, fearing history will repeat itself. (The bracelets end up coming in handy because Diana learns they can repel gunfire.)
    • Steve Trevor plays this straight. He recognizes Diana as the woman who saved him from a plane crash, and she goes with him back to the mainland to see if humans are worthy of her protection. They proceed to fight Nazis and have each other's backs. In the Golden Age, at least before he started dying on a regular basis in DC continuity, he said he was fine if Wonder Woman never returns his feelings; knowing she was saving the world was enough for him.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She is a literal Amazon and she is definitely beautiful. Even when she's portrayed as muscular.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Paradise Island has fueled slash for decades.
    • Diana introduced a male suitor, Nemesis, to the courtship rituals of Themyscira. When he points out that Themyscira is filled entirely with women, she basically says, "Yes, exactly."
    • It's been acknowledged that many Amazons are lesbian since George Perez's run in the late 1980s, in keeping to the Classical Greek roots.
    • There have been hints and implications over the years that Wonder Woman herself is bisexual, and several writers have said they consider her so. Nothing has been directly stated in the comics themselves, though.
    • It's been implied that once DC reboots in August, Wonder Woman will be a little more... open.
    • For years there has been subtext between Hippolyta and Phillipus, the captain of the royal guard. On her Tumblr page, Gail Simone claimed she had planned to have the two women officially get married, an idea which was even supported by Dan DiDio. [1]
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Reoccuring villain, The Cheetah.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Artemis took over as Wonder Woman for a brief time during The Nineties.
  • The Artifact: Steve Trevor, pretty much since Marston left the book, has been adrift, but lingers (especially in adaptations) based on the name retaining some currency.
    • The Invisible Jet has been of dubious usefulness ever since the writers decided Diana should be able to literally fly on her own. But the plane is cool!
  • Author Appeal: The bondage situations, as mentioned in the main description. His other domestic partner was noted for always wearing metal bracelets when outside the house.
    • In fact, according to The 10 Cent Plague by David Hajdu, Wonder Women was originally created to help the author "deal with his persistent fantasies of being dominated by women" or some such thing.
  • Badass Princess: Diana
  • Bald Women: Alkyone, a former Amazonian guard of Hippolyta.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: the native home to Wonder Woman and her sister Amazons, the fictional nation Themyscira (a.k.a. Paradise Island), is currently located in the Bermuda Triangle, but the island can teleport to any different location or time whenever the island's inhabitants desire.
  • Big Bad: Ares, the Greek god of war.
    • In the New 52, Ares takes on the appearance of an old man, and seems much more docile. The new big bad seems to be either Hera or Apollo.
  • Black Vikings: Despite being steeped in Greek mythology, the Amazons are very diverse, with a number of visibly black Amazons and at least one Asian Amazon. The 2011 relaunch also reimagines the Greek god Apollo as a black man (as in he looks like he's made of obsidian).
    • The original WW had several stories where outsiders were adopted into Paradise Island. In one of the reboots, the Amazons were the re-embodied spirits of women from all over the world who had died from domestic violence.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Alkyone, Myrto, Charis and Philomela ("The Circle") were named Queen Hippolyta's personal guard. It didn't work out too well.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: As a diplomat, Wonder Woman has at least once had a division of Secret Service agents (unpowered people with pistols and radios, mind you, not other Amazons) assigned to protect her. It is hard to imagine a threat they could defeat which would even scratch her skin.
  • WONDERBOOBS Of Steel: Hell yeah!
  • Boring Invincible Hero: The 70s depowerment was an attempt to rail against this. Resulted in They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
  • Canon Immigrant: The magic lasso originally did more than compel telling the truth -- in the Golden and Silver Age, the captive of it had to obey ANY instruction the holder gave. As this was too squicky for family hour, both Superfriends and the television series changed it to the current version, based on William Moulton Marston's pioneering work with the lie detector. It stayed that way when DC rebooted the character after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • It was retooled again at some point: the lasso now not only compels people to tell the truth, it also automatically reveals the truth about anything it's attached to: Diana can use it to find pressure points on giant monsters, etc. This evidently comes from the lasso being some kind of manifestation of the concept of Truth. Which may be why using it on Darkseid in Final Crisis canceled out the Anti-Life Equation.
    • The lasso, per Gail Simone's run, also doesn't just force people to tell the truth. It sees into their soul and reveals their deepest secrets.
  • Canon Discontinuity. The reboot made the original Wonder Girl an awkward character; she was later retconned as a Wonder Woman magic clone with a literal Multiple Choice Past.
  • Captain Geographic: For America, despite not being born there.
    • In the George Perez reboot, it's explained that when Steve Trevor's mother washed ashore Paradise Island, they thought her American badges were crests, and created an outfit to honor her death based on the American flag.
    • In the film, it's explained that she is Themyscira's ambassador, and honors where she's going by wearing their colors (how they knew that Steve's flag patch was the American ensign is not explained).
  • Captain Superhero: Some of the Rogues Gallery.
  • The Champion: A sometimes forgotten part of Diana's character. She is the personal champion of the Goddess Athena. She has been to seen to go through with Athena's plans wholeheartedly, regardless of the risks. She is also called the Champion of the Amazons.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Golden Age explanation. Amazonian disciplines allowed any woman to channel mental energy into muscle, giving super strength and speed. It was a learned skill. In one early issue, it's even taught to some girls from the outside world -- one adolescent is seen lifting five tons without strain. The Silver Age Retcon made WW The Chosen One, sculpted out of clay and given life and powers by the gods, making her the most powerful Amazon by far -- strong as Hercules, swift as Mercury, etc. In other words, Captain Marvel with mammary glands.
  • Chest Insignia: In various ages, her bustier of justice has been decorated with either a gold eagle with Wonderbra wings, or a gold "WW". Alex Ross believably combined the two in Kingdom Come.
  • Clark Kenting: Originally on par with the Trope Namer himself, and sometimes worse as she won't even wear glasses as Diana Prince, yet even Steve Trevor didn't figure it out. Averted since The Dark Age of Comic Books when she didn't have a disguise at all, but brought back in The Modern Age of Comic Books when she resumed her Diana Prince secret identity. At least she wears glasses and changes her hair style now.
  • Clingy Costume: Wonder Woman #80 has her fall asleep one day (near a pond, no less) then wake up to find herself trapped in a mask that's rigged to explode.
  • Clothes Make the Legend
  • Continuity Snarl: The Wonder Woman Family, as discussed here and here.
  • Cool Plane: Her invisible jet. Just don't think too hard about the way it works (or why she needs it if she can fly, though at first it was because she couldn't fly (The Golden Age of Comic Books), then she can only fly glide short distances (The Silver Age of Comic Books) and needs the jet for long-distance flight. This hasn't been true since the 1980s, though). In The Modern Age of Comic Books, she occasionally uses it to transport cargo or passengers, but for the most part, it hangs around due to historic value and Rule of Cool.
    • More recent versions have depicted the jet as a stealth plane.
  • Darker and Edgier: Azzarello's run on the comic has been said to be darker than other previous WW comics.
  • Deal with the Devil: He begged her to take one, but she declined.
  • Depending on the Writer: As with most superheroes, her personality and powers vary every time a new writer is brought in.
  • De-Power: The I Ching kung fu period.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Her lasso of truth, making it somewhat difficult to tell mystery stories.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One memorable story has Diana appearing on "The Scene," a talk show hosted by various female journalists such as Lois Lane and Linda Park. The name, logo, and entire premise of the series are extremely similar to those of the real life female talk show "The View."
  • Enfant Terrible: Ares' sons and Devastation.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Themyscira is protected by Megalodons in the sea around it, and the giant sharks have even offered themselves for a Heroic Sacrifice to help protect the island.
  • Exiled From Continuity: Complex legal issues resulted in Wonder Woman and her supporting cast being unable to appear in a number of DC television adaptations. For example, she was supposed to appear in "The Call", an episode of Batman Beyond, but had to be written out and replaced by Big Barda, and was also the only JLA member to not appear in "The Big Leagues", a crossover with the Static Shock TV series. The producers of Smallville have similarly said they tried to use her in the show, but were unable to due to legal reasons. Her sidekick, Wonder Girl, was also barred from appearing in the cartoon adaptations of Teen Titans and Young Justice (though for the latter, Greg Weisman has said that the issues were eventually lifted). Wonder Girl finally joined the cast in season 2 of the latter series.
  • Expy: Tom Tresser/Nemesis, as portrayed in Wonder Woman, was arguably a 21st Century analogue of Steve Trevor.
  • Fad Super: Arguably, she was created to be timely as both a super-patriot and a fightin' first-wave feminist. Writers have gradually divorced her from the patriot angle while struggling to define what sort of feminist she is.
    • Supporting character Nubia was introduced as a painfully inept attempt at creating a heroine to reflect the Black Power movement of the 1970's.
  • Flag Bikini
  • Flight, Strength, Heart: Literally, as she actually was given a loving heart and the power to make friends easily. She was also given beauty, the power to talk to and calm animals; and has an invisible plane, even though she can fly, and it doesn't actually make anyone within it invisible.
  • Flying Brick: Slowly evolved into this from Lightning Bruiser.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The reason William Marston created Wonder Woman, as he explains in the page quote.
  • Funny Animal: "Wonder Wabbit," a Funny Animal rabbit counterpart of Diana who lives on Earth-C-Minus. Wonder Wabbit is a member of her world's "JLA" (the "Just'a Lotta Animals").
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The B&D content of the Golden Age comics was so blatant and ever-present, it pretty much stomped on the "sub" part of "Subtext".
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: In Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #36, over a few pages, Wondy goes from fighting Giganta (who it turns out, was merely waiting for her date with The Atom) to commiserating about Tom Tresser telling her their relationship is over to beating up the Olympians together. Giganta these days is more of an Anti-Villain or Punch Clock Villain at worst.
  • Greek Mythology: Though the Golden Age had very much The Theme Park Version, often liberally simplifying them, mixing in other mythologies, and Westernizing them. More modern incarnations are generally more faithful about their adaptations... Depending on the Writer.
  • Heroic BSOD: She's not prone to these, but one instance happened when she was forced to confront two equally valid but conflicting truths (which of the parents had the rights to a child, one of whom was a supervillain dictator). The lasso actually snapped and for a brief time, truth itself became totally unbound on the world.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Paradise Island, though it is accessible to the outside world in certain arcs.
  • High Heel Hurt: The 2006 incarnation of Wonder Woman had Diana complain about the stilettos as part of the disguise Canary issued to her.
  • Hot Amazon: Super example.
  • Hourglass Hottie: Even the versions that are muscular and athletic generally have a wasp-waisted hourglass figure.
  • Immortality: Depending on the Writer. The Lynda Carter version "remembered the Greeks and the Romans". In Justice League Unlimited, Batman points out that she's from "a society of immortal warriors". In some comic incarnations, her immortality was lost when she left Paradise Island; in The Kingdom, she loses it due to pregnancy; in still other continuities, she is still and always immortal, and may even eventually become a goddess herself.
  • Immune to Bullets: Sometimes. Frequently her bracelets are, but she herself is not. Despite being completely able to take on Superman...
  • Improbable Weapon User: A lie-detecting rope, a tiara, bracelets and an invisible telepathic airplane that used to be a flying horse. All perfectly normal.
    • In the Golden and Silver Age comics, she also possessed devices such as the Purple Healing Ray (Exactly What It Says on the Tin) and the Mental Radio, a two-way radio/TV device that transmitted messages via telepathy.
  • Improvised Weapon: In addition to her standard armament of improbable weapons, she'll use whatever is available, including the invisible plane as a battering ram against larger foes.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: After Genocide stole her lasso and went on to kidnap Etta Candy, Wondy resorted to this with Cheetah. She used the tiara to cut Cheetah's face and then threatened to cut off pieces of her tail if she didn't reveal where Etta was being held.
  • Insistent Terminology: Nemesis in "Who Is Wonder Woman?":

Sarge Steel: "... You'd still be one of Circe's pigboys."
Nemesis: Wolfmen. A small but important distinction."

  • Kill It with Fire: One of her oft-ignored abilities, in the comics, is immunity to fire.
  • Kryptonite Factor: In The Golden Age of Comic Books, in keeping with the bondage undercurrent, she lost her powers whenever she was tied up her bracelets were chained together by a man (she was tied up "incorrectly" on several occasions. Hilarity ensued.) She (like all other people, supposedly), could also be knocked out by hitting them on the right spot in the back of the head. In addition, removal of an Amazon's bracelets would send her into Unstoppable Rage. In The Silver Age of Comic Books, this was expanded to being bound in any way by a man. All these vulnerabilities were removed Post-Crisis; not being bulletproof was sufficient.
  • Lady Land: Paradise Island/Themyscira
  • Lady of War: Some recent reimaginings.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Wonder Woman (as Diana Prince) gets into an argument with a superhero memorabilia seller about why WW is not considered cool. He says "all I know is she's never sold as well as Superman or Batman...".
  • Legacy Character: During the 90's, the Wonder Woman mantle was briefly passed to Artemis before she was killed off. Later, the mantle again changed hands, this time to Queen Hippolyta. This lead to a series of confusing events where Hippolyta went back in time to the 1940's and retroactively became the "original" Wonder Woman, making Diana a legacy heroine herself. Of course this idea was ignored by subsequent writers and done away with entirely when DC rebooted its history during the New 52.
  • Leotard of Power: The classic example
  • Life Drinker: A comic had a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Walt Disney named Wade Dazzle who was being kept alive by life force drained from visitors to his theme park and fed into his preserved body.
  • Lightning Bruiser
  • Living Lie Detector: With help from her magic lasso. It's also canon that she's the spirit of truth, and it's hard to tell a lie around her even without the lasso. As Mercedes Lackey pointed out in the foreword to "The Circle" TPB, the lasso doesn't just make someone tell the truth, it makes them see and confront the truth.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The leader of the Citizenry is Astarte, Hippolyta's forgotten older sister, who was taken by the Citizenry in Hippolyta's place. The sisters are not fond of each other these days.
  • Lying Creator: DC and JMS claimed his run was the new status quo, but it's rather obvious nobody never intended all those changes to be permanent. Especially when the main plot was Diana trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Made of Iron: Her skin's not so tough against some things as other Flying Bricks, but she's still far more durable than normal humans. While pointy objects and bullets seem to annoy her a lot, blunt stuff and even lava or other such things don't bother her any more than they do Superman.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Even more so as depicted in an anime-style Japanese statuette seen by Diana and Black Canary when the two visit Tokyo. The price tag reads "Wonder Woman: Happy Magic Fun Sword Girl - Sexy! Sexy! Fight! Fight!"[1]
  • Magic Skirt: Her original look, but only in her very first story. The skirted look became popular in later eras, however, whenever an artist wanted to evoke a "Golden Age Wonder Woman" look (e.g., in Kingdom Come and Justice League: The New Frontier).
  • Mama Bear: It doesn't matter if you're some Eldritch Abomination or one of the Gods themselves, you do not mess with Hippolyta's daughter.
  • Master Poisoner: Doctor Poison
  • Metronomic Man-Mashing: Wonder Woman gets this done to her by The Devil. It succeeds in pissing her off. Well, more so than she already was at him.
  • Mildly Military: In the early Silver Age, you would never have guessed that being a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force required Diana Prince to do anything more onerous than wear a blue uniform.
  • Mirror Self: John Byrne retold Donna Troy's origin so that she was originally the mirror self of Princess Diana as a teenager, but given a separate personality by the sorceress who owned the mirror. Donna Troy was then captured by Queen Hippolyta's nemesis Dark Angel, who mistook her for Diana, and subjected her to live multiple lives that all ended in tragedy, ultimately leading to the one where Donna becomes Wonder Girl/Troia of the Teen Titans. This origin has recently been retconned out of her history since 2006.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Batman and Superman both have codes against killing. Diana, however, explicitly doesn't, which has led to conflict between them on a few occasions.
  • Most Common Superpower: Depending on the Artist, can rival Power Girl.
    • As The Atom found out in Justice League Unlimited, the lucky bastard.
    • Gail Simone's run pretty much states that her breasts are the second biggest in DC's superhero community.
  • Multiple Choice Past: Her origin and history have been retconned at least half a dozen times.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Ares's weakness: Because his power comes from human conflict he can't survive if there are no humans, forcing him to work to prevent nuclear war.
  • Not Quite Flight: For most of The Silver Age of Comic Books. Finally they just said "screw it, she flies".
  • Oh Crap: Both the trope and the words used by Diana in the animated movie.
  • Painted-On Pants: Wonder Girl traditionally wears these. During the Messner-Loebs run, WW also wore something like bike pants.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Wonder Woman doesn't wear capes often, but when she does, they usually fit this trope.
  • Pinball Projectile: Her tiara (See Precision-Guided Boomerang below)
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Part of the thinking behind the De-Power. Feminists shouted back "No it doesn't!"
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Her tiara, though she rarely uses it this way because it can kill people.
  • Punny Name: Ubiquitous for lesser characters in The Golden Age of Comic Books; most notably Etta Candy for the chubby girl.
  • Put on a Bus: Anyone seen Julia Kapatelis anywhere?
  • Race Lift: Etta Candy is black in The New 52.
    • The Wonder Woman of Earth-D in the Multiverse was of Arabic descent, while the Wonder Woman of Earth-23 is black.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sarge Steel, at least while not having his body inhabited by Dr. Psycho.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When she started to lose her soul in "Ends of the Earth", her eyes turned red until she got it back.
  • Reluctant Warrior: She may be an Amazon, but she constantly advocates diplomacy. At one point, she is forced to kill Maxwell Lord since he had telepathic control over Superman, and (while under the Lasso of Truth's effects) refused to not use it to kill other heroes.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Her tiara.
  • The Rival: Artemis of the Bana-Mighdall (later becomes The Lancer)
  • Science Marches On: Originally, Paradise Island was kept hidden from the world by being always covered by clouds. When satellite mapping was invented, someone would have noticed that one spot of the ocean was always cloud covered and would have investigated. So it was changed to magic somehow keeping it hidden.
  • Secret Identity: Though not much anymore. Lampshaded to Hell and back in the Simone run, with Tom Tresser even telling her that she's the worst person at keeping a secret identity he's ever known.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Diana's mission in new story arc.
  • Shooting Wonder Woman: Maybe a sniper would have a chance, but most goons like to stand directly in front of her before shooting at her.
  • Spank the Cutie: The very early Golden Age stories had occasional frequent examples of what Marston called "loving discipline".
  • Sidekick: Wonder Girl, Etta Candy.
    • And the Holiday Girls, young women from Holiday women's college who assisted WW, did investigative work, got caught and tied up and rescued a lot. Many of them were from Etta's "Beeta Lamda" sorority, where a common pledge prank was that you had to walk around campus in baby outfits with diapers and a bottle.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Diana has the infrequently acknowledged ability to talk to animals.
  • Star-Spangled Spandex: Along with Wonder Girl, Donna Troy.
  • Statuesque Stunner: And HOW!
  • Straw Feminist: When written badly. The Pet Peeve Trope of a lot of WW fans.
  • Stripperiffic: JMS tried to deliberately avert this when redesigning the costume for his run. It's debatable as to his success; true, her legs are covered up, but her new breastplate actually shows off more cleavage than the old one, and the jacket usually comes off when she fights (and was eventually abandoned entirely).
  • Super-Hero Origin
  • Super Senses: Diana can sense magic! In some versions her normal senses are enhanced as well.
  • Super Speed: She has the speed of Hermes, and according to a recent issue of Justice League, can hit and dodge faster than Superman thanks to her warrior training.
    • She'd still lose in a race, though. As Batman put it, "Who's faster: Bruce Lee or Usain Bolt?"
    • In another, older issue, a variant of when she first met Flash, she showed off how fast she was. He countered... by running backward and still beating her. She was amused.

Wonder Woman: I warn you, the gods granted me the speed of Mercury.
Flash: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were fast.

    • According to an issue of JLA, the speed of Mercury is around mach three. Pretty fast by most standards... but of course, the Flash has been quoted as saying, "Can we pick up the pace? Mach ten is a crawl!"
  • Super Strength
  • Super Toughness: Exactly how much toughness she has depends on the writer, but generally she'll fall under this trope. She usually likes to block bullets with her bracelets instead of her skin, though.
  • Take That / Shout-Out: In one of the issues following Amazons Attack, Steel tells Nemesis to spy on suspected Amazons because "we don't want an Amazons Attack 2".
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted with the current version series, considering Diana is perfectly willing to kill if she judges it necessary and will never second-guess making that decision. * NECKSNAP*
    • Which makes sense since Wonder Woman is a dedicated warrior, though she always tries for peace first.
      • Kingdom Come. Wonder Woman has a slow Heroic Breakdown as she keeps pointing out she's a warrior - why else would she have a sword? - culminating in her killing of Von Bach. Batman gives her a What the Hell, Hero?.
        • All played straight Pre Crisis, when she was one of the most devout Technical Pacifist types in the DCU. That was part of the point of having a lasso (aside from Moulton's interests) -- it was a non-lethal weapon. Back then the Amazons may have known how to fight, but only for self-defense. There's a reason they were aided by Aphrodite and the Big Bad for the entire Amazon society was Ares.
  • Token Minority: Nubia, who was even explicitly called the "Black Wonder Woman" in The Seventies. Later years have shown the Amazons to be more racially diverse, so Phillippus, while the most prominent black Amazon, doesn't stick out quite so much.
    • Nubia was the black Wonder Woman. In this version of the story, Hippolyta had originally been directed to make two figures, one dark, one light. The black baby was stolen by Ares and thereby hangs the tale.
  • Unstoppable Rage: For Wonder Woman and other Amazons in their Pre Crisis incarnations, the Bracelets of Submission acted as a check against the use of unrestrained power. If Wonder Woman's bracelets were removed, she became intoxicated with power, violent and nearly unstoppable. Like some readers, villains could be confused about the "rules" of Wonder Woman's bracelets, thinking that their removal would also remove her strength (cue Oh Crap moment for the bad guys).
  • Very Special Episode: One of the few well-handled varieties dealt with the drug induced suicide of Wonder Woman's publicist Myndi Mayer early in Perez's run.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Her tiara and leotard.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: As the Spirit of Truth, even a secret identity is difficult for her.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Supposed to be this in DC, due to Aphrodite's blessings.
  • Zorro Mark: As of the new Retool, her bracelets leave a "W" imprint on enemies. To quote JMS, "This is a Wonder Woman who signs her work... letting her enemies know that she's getting closer."
  1. Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #35