William Marston's earliest works were notorious for containing subversive "bondage and sapphic-undertones" subtext. Among Wonder Women's infamous catchphrases, "Suffering Sappho", was a direct reference to lesbianism. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent referred to her as the "lesbian counterpart to Batman" (whom he also identified as a homosexual). After Marston's death in 1947, DC Comics downplayed her sexuality and feminist origin. Wonder Women, without Marston's creative direction, become more "traditional" superhero fair; the lesbian relationships and sexual imagery disappeared from the "Wonder Woman" comic, along with Wonder Woman's super powers. During the Comics Code Authority-decades since, Wonder Woman's subversiveness had been gradually stripped away; subsequent comic book writers and artists either didn't know know what do with her or barely hinted at Wonder Woman's erotic legacy. Similar to whitewashing, Wonder Woman's queerness and feminist identity throughout the latter half of the 20th century was never discussed and rendered "invisible" in adaptations in favor of the dominant sexism portrayal of women in comic books.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character’s origin was slightly retold by Greg Potter and George Perez. In this version, the Amazons were reincarnations of the souls of abused and murdered women from ancient days. In 1200 B.C. a debate occurred on Mount Olympus on how mankind should be made to relate to the gods. Ares, the god of war and destruction, wanted to descend upon the world with his army and crush mankind submission. This was opposed by the others gods present including Artemis, who wanted peace and suggested creating a new race that would lead humans on the right path. Zeus rejected their arguments, and they decided to proceed without his blessing. With the aid of Charon the ferryman, the gods reached the Womb of Gaea, where the souls of women who were abused and murdered at the hands of men were preserved by Gaea herself. Artemis then sent the souls to Greece where they reincarnated into adult women. Aphrodite observed that one soul still remains in the Womb, to which Athena replied that the time had not yet come for that one. The new race in Greece were approached by the goddesses, who bestowed upon them several blessings, charging them with the purpose of leading humanity in the ways of Gaea. They then appointed Hippolyte and Antiope as co-rulers. The civilization is named the Amazons. Stories of this civilization spread throughout Greece and reached the ears of Heracles, who was being manipulated by Ares into attacking the Amazons. Heracles approached the Amazons but was defeated by Hippolyte, upon which he pretended friendship and declared the Amazons allies. When their guard was down, the Greeks drugged the Amazons, taking Hippolyte, Antiope and the other survivors captive. In her cell, Hippolyte is freed by Athena ,who reminds her of her purpose and asked her to avoid revenge and pursue peaceful means. Hippolyte escaped and freed the rest of the Amazons. She shared Athena's message to the Amazons, but blinded by their thirst for revenge, they ruthlessly slaughter the remaining men. Antiope gave Hippolyta her girdle and left to pursue revenge The goddesses appeared and told them they had failed in their purpose and banished them to an island to guard the terrible evil within, as penance. They were granted immortality as long as they did not stray from their new purpose, which would eventually purify their souls. The Amazons built a nation and lived there for 4,000 years. It is during this time that Hippolyte, sole leader of the Amazons, felt an unexplained yearning. Menalippe, the Oracle, told her she was the only Amazon pregnant at the time of her previous incarnation's death, and thus the yearning she felt was the call of her unborn child. As per her advise, Hippolyte went to the shore at sunrise and made a clay figure of a baby. She then cried out to Artemis. The gods, recognizing it was time for the remaining soul in Gaea's womb to depart, infused it into the clay form, which then incarnated as a real child. Blessed with Gaea's greatest gift, life, the gods present bestowed their gifts upon the newborn: Demeter granted the baby great strength, Aphrodite granted her great beauty and a loving heart, Athena granted her great wisdom, Artemis granted her the eye of the hunter and unity with beasts, Hestia granted her sisterhood with fire, and Hermes gave her great speed and the power of flight. Hippolyte named her after a holy warrior, Diana, and she grew up knowing the love of a thousand mothers. Thus Diana of Themyscira was born.
After Diana's clash with Silver Swan, she goes to Greece, where Julia is staying. Here she meets Julia's friend, renowned Epigraphist Stavros Christadoulodou. Here, a conspiracy is shown to be in play with a mysterious woman behind it, dwelling in an undisclosed location, speaking to her servant Mikos about Diana's presence and how it could be a threat. A rebel group is revealed to be in existence, secretly fighting the witch's forces, headed by a man named Gregory, who had lost his son's to the witch's monsters. The witch uses her servants disguised as animals to kill her enemies in the rebel group. The rebel faction also has Katina and Spiros as it's members, actively tracking other followers of the witch and trying to keep Diana safe from harm. She goes on boat to an island called Cephalonia when she is distracted by another small island in the vicinity. She senses a strange presence in the island and is somehow attacked by it's mysterious resident psychically, as a warning, causing her to faint on the spot. In the hospital, Diana is surrounded by her friends and some wonder if it's the Magia, a curse that some believe is pure superstition. The Magia is said to come from the mysterious island, where a witch is said to exist. Diana is introduced to Theophilius Ventouras, one of the wealthiest people in the area by Julia, who is actually another pawn of the witch, and he deceives Diana and her friends into thinking the woman is actually a rich loner and there is no truth in the myths about the Magia and the Witch. Stavros meets with Gregory and is given a scroll that the faction had obtained from the island, which may contain secrets about the witch.
While the story is very flawed, the art of this arc has been fantastic, and this issue is no exception. Jesús Merino continues to show off his mastery as an illustrator with the battle against King Best. The design of the leader of the Dark Gods is terrific, and the Amazon twins have never looked better. Jason, in particular, looks great as the details in his powers make him appear more powerful than ever. Even if next issue falls apart, I do not doubt that the art will still go above and beyond.
Hera Sea Devils #14 (November–December 1963) Hera is the Queen of the Gods, Goddess of Marriage, Home, Women, Childbirth, and Family who is based on the goddess of the same name. Post-Crisis, she destroyed Themyscira after finding Zeus leering at Artemis of the Bana-Mighdall. In the New 52, Hera initially appears antagonistic, though after her immortality and powers are stripped from her by Apollo, she joins Wonder Woman in her quest to protect the reincarnated Zeus. Post-Rebirth, she appeared as a peacock and aided Wonder Woman alongside several other gods.
After recruiting a newly mortal, but still very bitter Hera into her group of companions, Wonder Woman retreated to London. Lennox revealed that there had been seven bastard children of Zeus. He and Diana were two, two others had been killed, and three remained. He suggested that for information on where the baby had been taken, Diana should contact their sister Siracca in Libya. Her encounter with Siracca did not begin well, but after Wonder Woman appealed to her sense of family, she suggested that Diana seek out their brother Milan in New York City.
The Silver Age format for comic books also did not generally favour a lot of story arcs, or at least, not memorable ones. In this period though the character did undergo some consistent changes as she battled a variety of common foes including Kobra, but the changed format gave her the ability to develop more as a character. The silver age stories of Wonder Woman can be broken into a few general arcs – the depowered stories (in the mod girl phase), undergoing tests to re-enter the Justice League of America, a golden age story about her work during the Second World War, her adventures as an astronaut for NASA, the hunt for Kobra, and eventually the return of Steve Trevor and the internal politics of working at the Pentagon. The most famous story which she was involved with at this time was “For the Man Who Has Everything”, a story focused on Superman, but also involving herself and Batman. The first major story arc which she was part of was Crisis on Infinite Earths, which also ended her silver age appearances.