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.
It was later retconned by Gail Simone that Wonder Woman's outfit design had Amazonian roots. During a flashback in Vol. 3, Hippolyta is shown issuing orders to have a garment created for Diana, taking inspiration from the skies on the night Diana was born; a red hunter's moon and a field of stars against deep blue, and the eagle breastplate being a symbol of Athena's avian representations.[volume & issue needed]
While in London, Wonder Woman was summoned to help a young lady called Zola from the minions of the goddess Hera and after Diana defeated the enemies, she was informed by Hermes that Zola was pregnant with Zeus’s child, which caused Hera’s wrath. Diana then took took Zola and the injured Hermes to the island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons, where Hera’s wrath reached them in the form of her daughter Strife. Wonder Woman used the Lasso of Truth to stop Strife from hurting the Amazons, but it caused her to reveal the fact that Diana and her were sisters. The next day, Diana learned from her mother that she was in fact Zeus’ daughter and, hurt by her existence being a lie, she decided to renounce the name Diana, and swore never to return to the island again.
Soon thereafter, the gods secreted themselves away for a conference. At this time, Darkseid attacked Olympus. The dark god ceased hostilities, though, as soon as he realized the place was deserted. When the gods returned, they had decided upon destroying Mount Olympus and undertaking a "cosmic migration" to the stars. Over Hermes' objections, they took several steps. First, the three elder brothers made a new pact to replace the original pact which divided Earth among them. Then, they combined the will of all the gods (minus Ares) and the strength of Amazon prayer, and used Diana's bracelets to amplify that power (the bracelets are all that remained of Zeus' Aegis; this Aegis was made from the hide of Amalthea, the goat which reared him. Thus, the old home was demolished and New Olympus was created. In order to properly establish this new home, it was necessary for the Gods to sequester themselves indefinitely.
By the time that Robert Kanigher took over the character, a change away from traditional comics as a whole was accomplished. He eventually veered completely away from superheroism and essentially only told stories involving the Wonder Family, which consisted of Wonder Woman, her teenage version Wonder Girl, her baby version Wonder Tot and her mother. This eventually proved not very popular and Kanigher was forced to rethink the character and cast her in a more traditional superhero context (he actually explained this decision in comics to the reader with his various creations vying to remain in continuity against his wishes). It was at this time for instance that Wonder Woman saw the return of some characters that had been missing for some time such as the Cheetah or Doctor Psycho. It was also at this time that she became a founding member of the original Justice League of America.
Diana succeeded in her trials, defeating numerous monsters including Echidna, the Chimera, the Cyclops, the Hydra, the Harpies, and the Minotaur. Eventually, Pan's bones were discovered on Olympus but it was too late to save Diana from her labors. Joined by her mother, Diana did indeed destroy the demons beneath Themyscira with the help of the amulet of Harmonia (these demons were funneled into Ares). Diana also freed Heracles, who had borne the weight of Themyscira for eons while imprisoned in a stone form and had been scarred by various monsters. Heracles was accepted into Olympus.
In the Silver Age, Wonder Woman's history received several changes. Her earlier origin, which had significant ties to World War II, was changed and her powers were shown to be the product of the gods' blessings, corresponding to her epithet, "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Hermes". The concepts of Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were also introduced during this period.
^ Greenberger p. 175: "Journalist and feminist Gloria Steinem...was tapped in 1970 to write the introduction to Wonder Woman, a hardcover collection of older stories. Steinem later went on to edit Ms. Magazine, with the first issue published in 1972, featuring the Amazon Princess on its cover. In both publications, the heroine's powerless condition during the 1970s was pilloried. A feminist backlash began to grow, demanding that Wonder Woman regain the powers and costume that put her on a par with the Man of Steel."
Wonder Woman’s powers are a result of the blessings she received from the gods (or presumably in the modern version by her divine ancestry), but originally came from her "brain energy" training. Her abilities in large part come from her upbringing in the martial society of the Amazons. She is one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC universe.
Trudging on, Hades expects their presence and tries sending spirits in order to stall and attack Diana and Hermes. Successfully defeating them, they wonder through a forest and find a cabin resembling Zola's farm house. Zola pops out and happily hugs Wonder Woman. Hades at that moment makes his grand entrance and frees them. Though, just before they escape, Hades beckons Wonder Woman to look behind, and shoots her with Eros pistols. She urges Hermes and Zola to leave while she is left at the mercy of Hades who wants her to be his bride. Here, she is preparing to wed Hades when she gives Diana her lasso, saying that if he truly loves him, she will confess it due to the properties of the lasso. She says yes, but will not go on with the wedding as it is more or less forced and not real love. She escapes his clutches and shoots him as a means of payback for shooting her.
In 1972, just months after the groundbreaking US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, science fiction author Samuel R. Delany had planned a story for Ms. that culminated in a plainsclothes Wonder Woman protecting an abortion clinic. However, Steinem disapproved of Wonder Woman being out of costume, and the controversial story line never happened.
A few decades later, second-wave feminist Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine debuted in 1972 with an image of Wonder Woman on the cover. Historian Tim Hanley suggests that this move shifted "the focus away from female superiority to sisterhood and equality, essentially making her a mascot of the women's movement". This perception shifted over the years, as demonstrated in December 2016 when the United Nations decided to drop the title of "honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls" which it had given to the comic book character Wonder Woman a few months prior, in a ceremony attended by the actors who had portrayed her (Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot). The title was eliminated in response to a petition signed by 44,000 people which argued that Wonder Woman undermines female empowerment due to her costume, described as a "shimmery, thigh-baring bodysuit with an American flag motif and knee-high boots". The petition stated that "it is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualised image at a time when the headline news in United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls". Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins responded to both the petition and to the U.N.'s decision by stating that she thinks "that that's sexist. I think it's sexist to say you can't have both. I have to ask myself what I would apply to any other superhero".
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).
Wonder Woman was taken to Zamaron where the Star Sapphires informed her that a Dark God had taken hold there, too. Diana fought the newly-emerged Karnell, Dark God of Love, who informed Diana that he and his brethren had come from the Dark Multiverse, which the Justice League had recently encountered. When Diana wore the Tenth Metal during the climax of the Justice League's battle with Barbatos, Diana had wished for the gods' return. Though she had meant the Gods of Olympus, the Dark Multiverse's gods were chosen instead, and thus she had unintentionally caused their invasion. Together with the Star Sapphire Corps, Wonder Woman was able to defeat Karnell, who retreated back to Earth. Wonder Woman left the Corps and returned home. In her absence, Jason had united with the Justice League and fought the Dark Gods, who had plunged Earth into chaos. Suddenly, the Dark Gods disappeared, only for them to return with Jason at their side. Jason fought Wonder Woman, but after he led her away from the Dark Gods, he revealed that he was using his armor to channel the power of Dolos, God of Deception, and was in fact deceiving the Dark Gods. Using the wisdom of Athena, Jason developed a plan to convince the Dark Gods to retreat back to their reality. He offered himself, along with the power of the Greek Pantheon, in exchange for the Dark Gods leaving Earth. The Dark Gods accepted the proposal and Diana tearfully said goodbye to her brother, who was taken with them to the Dark Multiverse. The planet was saved and its people returned to normal, but Diana was distraught over the loss of her brother.
In order to defeat them, Superman and Wonder Woman collected the magic armor created by Hephaestus and intercepted Zod and Faora while they were building a portal to the Phantom Zone. At first, they defeated Zod and Faora by detonating their armor at point-blank range, but Zod and Faora were revitalized by a beam of sunlight sent by Apollo, which gave the criminals enough strength to beat Superman and Wonder Woman and trap them in an abandoned nuclear reactor. As a last-ditch effort to stop their enemies, Superman and Wonder Woman caused a nuclear explosion, but not before Clark told Diana that he loved her. The explosion trapped Zod and Faora back in the Phantom Zone, and Superman shielded Wonder Woman with his cape. The two heroes barely survived the explosion and Superman took Diana to Hessia, who used a healing crystal to save her.
“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.
A stand-alone #0 issue was released in September which explored Diana's childhood and her tutelage under Ares, the God of War, now known most often as simply 'War'. The issue was narrated in the style of a typical Silver Age comic book and saw Diana in her childhood years. The main plot of the issue was Diana training under War 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, which she first learned when War showed it to her during their sparring. This later translated into her refusal to kill the Minotaur – a task given to her by War; however, this show of mercy makes her a failure in War's eyes, which was actually his fault since he inadvertently "taught" her mercy and affection as his protege. Later in the series, Wonder Woman is forced to kill War during a conflict with her evil half-brother, Zeus' son First Born, and herself becomes the God of War. After the Amazons are restored, she rules over them both as a warrior queen and God of War, as the ongoing conflict with First Born escalates. At the end of Azzarello's run, as part of a final conflict, Wonder Woman kills First Born, while Zeke is revealed to have been Zeus' plan for resurrection, with Zola revealed to have been a mortal shell for the goddess Athena, who gave birth to Zeus just as he once did to her. Wonder Woman pleads with Athena not to allow the Zola personality, whom she has grown to love as a friend, die with Athena's awakening. Athena leaves the site in animal form, leaving a stunned and confused Zola behind with Wonder Woman.
After taking Despero to the authorities, Wonder Woman and Superman came across the mysterious Pandora, someone Wonder Woman was familiar with. She believed Superman could use her box to trap the evil she unleashed in ancient times; but when Superman touched it, he was overwhelmed by its power. While Pandora took the box and left, the two heroes received news that a new superhuman, Shazam, was entering the borders of Kahndaq. Their confrontation with Shazam turned violent until the rest of the Justice League and the Justice League of America intervened to defuse the situation. Suddenly, Dr. Light lost control of his powers and began absorbing Superman's solar energy, unleashing an energy beam at Wonder Woman. In a fit of anger, Superman killed Dr. Light with his heat vision, an action that caused a fight between the two Leagues.
Zeus has made a woman called Zola pregnant. Hera, due to this, is furious. She sets out to kill Zola, but Hermes finds her first, only to find out that Zola does not want to come with Hermes. Zola opens the door, and an arrow is shot at her direction; Hermes pushes her away in time, and gives her a key, as assassins sent by Hera and it teleports to Wonder Woman’s apartment, because Hermes enlisted Wonder Woman to protect Zola. Zola gives Wonder Woman the key, and it teleports both Wonder Woman and Zola back to Zola’s house. After Zola finds out that she is pregnant with Zeus, it gets revealed that one of Zeus’ children is going to take his place, by Zeus’ own will. Wonder Woman takes Zola, along with Hermes, to Themiscyra where Diana explains to her Mother, Queen Hippolyta, why she took with herself Zola and Hermes to Themiscyra. Alongside all of this, Hippolyta tells Diana about her true origins; that her real father is Zeus. Diana’s reaction to this isn’t very well, so she decides to abandon Themiscyra. Hera is aware of the fact that Wonder Woman is Zeus’ daughter, and she arrives to Themiscyra, furiously. Wonder Woman realized she did a mistake by leaving her home, so she went back to Themiscyra where she sees that everyone has been turned into snakes by Hera, except for Hippolyta, she was turned into stone. Apollo arrives in a bar searching for War (Ares), and explains to him that Zeus doesn’t even exist from what he’s sources says. Apollo takes this as his chance to become the king of Olympus and the Gods.