Although she initially forbids Diana to be trained as a warrior, Hippolyta reluctantly agrees to let General Antiope, Hippolyta's sister and Diana's aunt, train her, only more rigorously than any other warrior. In 1918, Diana, now a young woman, rescues US pilot Captain Steve Trevor when his plane crashes off the Themysciran coast. The island is soon invaded by German soldiers that had been pursuing Trevor. The Amazons kill the crew, but Antiope sacrifices herself to save Diana. Steve is interrogated with the Lasso of Hestia and reveals that a great war is consuming the outside world and that he is an Allied spy. He has stolen a notebook of the chief chemist Dr. Isabel Maru, who is attempting to engineer a deadlier form of mustard gas under the orders of General Erich Ludendorff from a weapon facility in the Ottoman Empire. Believing Ares to be responsible for the war, Diana arms herself with the "Godkiller" sword, the lasso, and armor before leaving Themyscira with Steve to locate and stop Ares for good.
Marston introduced the idea to Gaines. Given the go-ahead, Marston developed Wonder Woman, whom he believed to be a model of that era's unconventional, liberated woman. Marston also drew inspiration from the bracelets worn by Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in a polyamorous relationship. Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8 (cover date Dec/Jan 1941/1942, released in October 1941), scripted by Marston.
Athena immediately set Diana on a quest into Hades' realm to free the god Hermes. She descended beneath Doom's Doorway with Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) and Ferdinand the Minotaur and was confronted by Zeus' alliance. Ironically, she might not have succeeded but for the machinations of her constant nemesis, Ares. Ares acted as a double agent and gained Zeus' trust, but when the opportunity arose, he killed his uncle Hades and assumed control of the Underworld. Diana then used Hermes' caduceus to revive him. Back on Olympus, Zeus asked for Athena's forgiveness, which she granted. Athena then also restored Diana's sight, but bound it to her own.
Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long. Generations of girls have carried their sandwiches to school in Wonder Woman lunchboxes. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history.
The Diana Prince alias also played an important role 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. To recover from the trauma of killing another person, the Amazon went into a self-imposed exile for one year. On her return 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 assumed the persona of Diana Prince and became an agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs. During a later battle with the witch Circe, a spell was placed on Diana leaving her powerless when not in the guise of Wonder Woman.
Artemis of Bana-Mighdall briefly served as Wonder Woman during Hippolyta's trials for a new Wonder Woman. Orana, a character similar to Artemis, defeated Diana in a new contest and became Wonder Woman in pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity. Orana was killed during her first mission. Others who have donned the Wonder Woman persona include Nubia, Cassandra Sandsmark, and Donna Troy.
In May 2017, early tracking had Wonder Woman opening with $65–75 million, and possibly as high as $105 million. The film opened Friday, June 2, 2017, across 4,165 theaters and made $38.7 million on its opening day, including $3.7 million in IMAX. It was the biggest single-day gross for a woman-directed film, ahead of the $35.9 million opening Friday of Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight in 2008 and the biggest opening day for a woman-led comic book superhero film, ahead of Ghost in the Shell ($7 million). This included $11 million it made from Thursday previews, also the best start for a film directed by a woman, surpassing Fifty Shades of Grey's $8.6 million which was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, and the third-biggest of the year, behind Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Of that, $1.5 million came from IMAX screenings.