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.
When a Godwave spilled forth from the creation of the Fourth World, the Earth was seeded with great power. It first manifested in the form of old gods, then of metahumans. Some of the oldest of these gods were hidden from the universe until the time of ancient Greece by the sorceress, Hecate. Hecate reasoned that the Olympian Gods (as they would eventually be called) were greatly weakened after usurping power from their father Cronus and the Titans of Myth. She feared that other powerful gods in the universe (notably Darkseid of Apokolips) would seize Earth for himself. Because of Hecate's enchantment, Darkseid wrongly believed that he and the other New Gods pre-dated the Olympians.
^ 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."
Thus although by the modern depiction her accomplishments at the time seem ordinary, in that era they were more so. Diana Prince was originally an army nurse, but quickly attained the rank of lieutenant in Army Intelligence. This was partially a creative convenience so that she could be close to both Steve Trevor and received information which she needed to pursue her superheroics. In the real world though, this role in Army intelligence, even as the secretary to General Darnell, was still a rare position for a woman to hold in society. At this time as well, the character had her only real sidekicks in her history in the form of Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls. These characters gave the Wonder Woman a degree more of levity while also allowing the writers to focus on some issues which were more related to women. When Marston left the character, the strong driving force of the character to act as a strong moral guide and role model for female readers left as well and the character became more sensitive to the forces driving the industry as whole. Thus Wonder Woman changed somewhat to a more stereotypical woman. Her main interest was not always fighting crime, but for a time it became all in the interest of keeping Steve Trevor happy and interested in her for marriage. Also the backup stories featuring the Wonder Women of History were slowly phased out and replaced with features on marriage customs from around the world and trivial facts on random household objects.
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.
Although created to be a positive role-model and a strong female character for girls and boys, Wonder Woman has had to deal with the misogyny that was commonplace in comic book industry for decades. For example, Wonder Woman was a founding member of the Justice Society of America. This roster included the original Flash and Green Lantern. Wonder Woman was an experienced leader and easily the most powerful of them all, yet was rendered a secretary. This would also be accompanied with her losing her powers or getting captured on most Justice League adventures. During the '50s and '60s, comic writers regularly made Wonder Woman lovesick over Steve Trevor, a Major in the United States Army. Stories frequently featured Wonder Woman hoping or imagining what it would be like to marry Steve Trevor.
The Greek messenger god, Hermes, entrusts Wonder Woman with the protection of Zola, a young woman, who is pregnant with Zeus's child, from Hera, seething with jealousy and determined to kill the child. With the appearance of a bizarre, new, chalk-white enemy, the goddess Strife (a reimagined version of Eris, the goddess of discord who had battled Wonder Woman in post-Crisis continuity), Wonder Woman discovers she, herself, is the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, who, after a violent clash, became lovers. Hippolyta revealed Diana's earlier origin story to be a lie, spread amongst the Amazons to protect Diana from the wrath of Hera, who is known for hunting and killing several illegitimate offspring of Zeus.
While Superman watched out for Zod, Diana visited the deserted Themyscira to speak to her mother, still a clay statue. In her absence, a demon from Tartarus had escaped from its prison and roamed free on the island. Wonder Woman destroyed the creature and sealed the gates to Tartarus with her lasso. Leaving the island, she received word from Batman that Superman was engaging Zod and Faora in battle. Reaching Superman’s side, Wonder Woman steadily overwhelmed Faora until Zod threatened Superman’s life. Wonder Woman was forced to let the criminals go.
Wonder Woman’s costume has come under heavy criticism throughout the years. Many find that as an example of a character that is supposed to represent female empowerment that by wearing a costume which reveals a gratuitous amount of skin that the character is being contradictory. Numerous attempts have been made to make her costume more realistic, however in terms of the character’s history there are few problems with it. Despite that it offers little protection, Wonder Woman does not require very much protection, either from harm or from the elements. The costume is also sometimes criticized for its symbolism closely related to American themes, that despite the fact that she is meant to be an emissary of peace to the whole planet, that her costume looks very American This is explained as one of the motivations for her role in Man’s World world. The costume is a breastplate inspired by the colors and symbols of a downed World War II airplane being flown by Steve Trevor’s mother . As an American pilot, it is therefore not surprising that stars (on the lower part of her breastplate) and stripes (one her boots) are evident parts of the design. In the summer of 2011 it was announced that DC Comics would reboot its entire lineup and create the new 52. Debate immediately surfaced as the head creative force behind the reboot (Jim Lee) decided that all female characters should be drawn with "pants" or full leg covering as part of their costume. This was in line with the redrawn Wonder Woman after issue #600 in volume 3. However, as the summer progressed images began to appear with Diana in a costume which appeared to be a synthesis of her traditional one and the reimagined one. With the actual reboot this is the costume that was decided on, essentially with the breastplate in the general shape of the traditional costume, and the theme being more in line with the redesign of the previous year. She additionally has added aspects of her uniform which didn't exist before such as a braided armband.