Wonder Woman & Hippolyta
Created by William Moulton Marston
In current Earth-0 continuity, Wonder Woman has been restored to her role as a founder of the Justice League. Another significant change, is that her mother, Hippolyta has been removed from the timeline as the Golden Age Wonder Woman. As reported by Newsarama from the 2010 C2E2 Convention in Chicago:
"Another fan asked about Wonder Woman's revised origin, post-Infinite Crisis, to which DiDio explained that her mother Hippolyta was no longer the original Wonder Woman of World War II. Additionally, Wonder Woman was again a founding member of the Justice League. "Wonder Woman is our premier female superhero in DC Comics," DiDio said. "When she first appears she should be in our premier superhero team."
Circa 1200 BCE, The Greek goddesses Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, Hestia, and Demeter created a new, all-female race of Amazons. The souls for these female warriors were provided from the "Well of Souls," which held the essences of women who had perished wrongfully. The Amazons were led by Queen Hippolyta and her sister, Antiope. After Hippolyta was humiliated by the Greek hero Heracles, the goddesses secluded the Amazons to the Caribbean island of Themyscira (also known as Paradise Island), where they have no further contact with "Man's World" for more than 3,000 years. While on Themyscira, the Amazons would not age and were effectively immortal.
After several thousands of years in isolation, the Queen began to long for a child of her own. In longing, she crafted an infant from the clay sand on the shores of Themyscira and prayed to the goddesses to give it life. As it happened, the goddesses had planned for the creation of one last Amazon. One soul remained in the Well of Souls that of the unborn child from Hippolyta's first life. The clay figure was brought to life and named Diana, the Amazon Princess. More than life, the goddessees blessed Diana with powers greater than any Amazon. (Wonder Woman v.2 #1)
In recent times, a pilot named Steve Trevor accidentally crash landed on the island's shores. The goddesses ordered the Amazons to select a champion who would venture out and return Trevor to man's world and also oppose the forces of the war god, Ares. Ares had recently gone mad with battle lust and began meddling in human affairs. To choose their champion, the Amazons held an all-encompassing tournament which was finally won by Diana. The American media quickly dubbed Diana Wonder Woman (a name which Diana discourages in personal relations). She was befriended by a Harvard classics professor named Julia Kapatelis and her daughter, Vanessa. Julia eventually proved instrumental in Ares' defeat. (#5-6)
After Ares was finally defeated, the Gods assigned Diana to an arduous series of trials, all of which she completed successfully. She was instructed to remain in the world of men and act as the Themysciran ambassador. (#11-14) Under her guidance, the first outsiders were finally permitted to visit Paradise Island, among them Diana's friend Julia. (Annual #1)
Though all Amazons are "sisters," Diana and Hippolyta have two true relatives. Long ago, Hippolyta's sister, Antiope, took a band of Amazons and settled outside of Themyscira. Antiope was killed by Ariadne, but hose Amazons became the band of Bana Mighdall. Diana also has a "twin" sister. She was created by the sorceress Magala, who magically duplicated Diana to create a playmate for her. This duplicate was soon mistaken for Diana herself and was kidnapped by Hippolyta's enemy, Dark Angel. Dark Angel forced the clone to live endless painful life cycles in "Man's World." In one life cycle, she was adopted, raised as Donna Troy and later became the heroine called Wonder Girl and Troia. Donna was freed from this cycle by Diana and the Flash, who used their memories of Donna to cement her identity.
As part of her mission to the outside world, Diana has taken it upon herself to work for peace and prosperity in all corners of the globe. Diana was slow to work with other super-humans. She was invited to join the new European branch of Justice League International, but she did not like their manner. She never truly accepted their offer of membership but offered her help if they should need it. (Justice League Europe #1) It was after her good friend Superman died that Diana decided finally to continue his legacy as leader of the Justice League of America. (Justice League America #71)
She has been a steadfast member of the League ever since, and reorganized the American branch of the JLA after the team splintered into three groups. (#0) She stayed with this team even when she lost her title of Wonder Woman to a rival Amazon named Artemis (III, Wonder Woman II). (WW #90-91) This was temporary, and Diana was back for service in the most recent JLA. (JLA #1)
After regaining the title of Wonder Woman, Diana relocated to Gateway City. She then also suffered one of her greatest tragedies. A battle with Darkseid left a full half of her Amazon sisters dead. It was said that only 1200 remained. (#101-104)
But in Gateway she met a new friends Helena Sandsmark and her daughter Cassandra. (#105) She took to lecturing at Helena's museum, and Cassie aspired to follow in Diana's footsteps. In one adventure, Cassie actually confronted the god Zeus and asked him to empower her like Diana. He was impressed by her boldness and granted her wish. She gained the powers of super-strength, invulnerability and flight. Later, it was revealed that one of Cassie's parents was actually a god. Perhaps Zeus only unlocked Cassie's inherent potential. Cassie became the second Wonder Girl, quite against her mother's wishes. (#111)
As All Great Heroes Do...
Diana died in a tragic battle with the demon, Neron (Wonder Woman #125) but was granted divinity as the Goddess of Truth. (#127) During her brief time as a god of Olympus, Diana was supplanted in the role of Wonder Woman by her mother, Hippolyta (Wonder Woman III). Hippolyta immediately undertook a mission back to the 1940s with Jay Garrick (the original Flash). After this mission, she elected to join the Justice Society and remained in that era for eight years. When she returned from the past, Hippolyta took Diana's place in the Justice League as well. (JLA #16) During her time in the 1940s, Hippoltya had a sexual (and apparently non-romantic) relationship with the JSA's Wildcat. Also, Helena Kosmatos (Fury I) honored Hippolyta by naming her daughter (Fury II) after the heroine. In time, Helena herself suffered from delusions that she was Hippolyta's daughter.
Diana's time on Olympus was short; she could not in good conscience merely stand by and watch the evil and suffering on Earth. For interefering in human affairs, Zeus banished Diana from Olympus. (WW #136) Originally Diana retained her immortality and godly powers, but these too were soon stripped of her. (#139) Diana immediately returned to her duties of Wonder Woman as ambassador and member of the the JLA. (JLA #23)
But in Diana's absence, Hippolyta had established a distinguished career for herself in Man's World. The Queen enjoyed her role in the Justice Society and became accustomed to life in America. Mother and daughter fought on several occasions over Hippolyta's true place and, sadly, their differences were unresolved when the queen died during the Imperiex/Brainiac 13 War. Hippolyta had sacrificed herself to save the Earth from Imperiex's "Hollower." (Wonder Woman #172) Themyscira was also destroyed in this battle, but reborn with the help of alien technology as a floating paradise. The Amazons' former chief-of-guards (and Hippolyta's closest friend), Phillipus, became their leader and the goddesses again blessed this new home.
Diana recently (finally) struck up a romance with Trevor Barnes, who worked for the United Nations. Trevor soon died heroically during a battle of the gods. Over the years, Diana has shown little interest in any man, save perhaps Superman and Batman. Though they are her best friends, her feelings have occasionally grown beyond friendship. She is also aware that Aquaman has always harbored romantic urges towards the her.
Crisis of Public Opinion
Diana's relationship with her best friends, Superman and Batman was put to its greatest test during the second great Crisis, wrought by Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime. It began when Luthor's pawn, Maxwell Lord coerced Superman into nearly killing Batman. (Superman #219, Adventures of Superman #642) Diana saved Bruce with Amazonian medicine and then she was forced to do savage battle against the Man of Steel. Under Lord's control, Superman pulled no punches, and Diana could do no less. She stopped him momentarily by cutting his throat with her tiara. But in the moments this bought her, she realized that so long as Lord lived, he would never release Superman from his control. She took the only course of action she could fathom, and killed Lord — snapping his neck. Lord's creation, the A.I. called Brother Eye watched the whole thing and broadcast Diana's crime to the entire world. (Wonder Woman #219)
The looming Crisis forced Diana to make a second momentous decision. Brother Eye took its revenge out on Diana's Amazon sisters, who managed to hold their own against the OMAC hordes. Diana ultimatlely realized that her people would always be in danger on Earth. She bade the goddess Athena to take them away; her prayer was answered and Diana was left alone on Earth. (#224)
After this, Diana concluded that the right thing to do was to turn herself over to international authorities at the Hague, in the Netherlands. (#222) Though this court exonerated her of the crime, she still faced charges in the U.S. It would have been easy for a person of such power to evade authorities, but for Diana, it was morally important to be judged by society. She hired the high profile L.A. attorney Kate Spencer to defend her. Diana knew that Spencer also moonlighted as the costumed vigilante, Manhunter, and in return for her services Kate asked Diana to help train her. (Manhunter #26-30)
During the Crisis, Superboy Prime also destroyed the JLA's Watchtower, and it seemed the final nail had been driven into the team. (JLA #119) But after having emerged from great sacrifice Diana and her friends reconciled. All three agreed to take a sort of sabbatical from adventuring. (Infinite Crisis #7) Diana relinquished the title of Wonder Woman (the fourth) to her sister, Donna Troy. With Batman's help, Diana went undercover as an agent in the U.S. Department of Metahuman Affairs, adopting the identity of Diana Prince. There she reported to Sarge Steel and was partnered with the espionage veteran, Nemesis. (Wonder Woman v.3 #1)
After spending a year out of costume, Diana resumed her mission as Wonder Woman (#4) and joined with Superman and Batman to reform the Justice League as well. (JLofA v.2 #1)
Diana is sweet and genuinely caring. But beneath her exterior lies the heart and mind of a fearsome warrior, either of which she can summon forth at any time. Combat is Wonder Woman's last recourse and she always tries to handle any physical confrontations as quickly and painlessly as possible.
In the time period between Crises, Wonder Woman was not a charter member Justice League of America. Although she was depicted as a member of the newly formed Justice League Europe, she appeared with them only in JLE #1 expressing her doubts, and never assisted in any missions. Artemis was never welcomed for membership by the League.
In most pre-Crisis accounts, Paradise Island was created by Aphrodite alone. The queen's name was originally spelled "Hippolyte" even in post-Crisis times. The original version of this story was told in All-Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1, the post-Crisis version in Wonder Woman v.2 #1.
It is unclear in how many of the pre-Crisis adventures Hippolyta may have participated during her sojourn in the 1940s, presumably most or all.
In the DC/Marvel Amalgam universe cross-over (1996), Wonder Woman was Ororo (Storm of the Marvel Universe). Princess Diana was known simply as "Prince."
In the post-Crisis Secret Origins #14, Wonder Woman appears in a flasback to the Senate Hearings of the JSA. This occurred before her Golden Age history was rewritten (and rewritten).
Wonder Woman and All-Star Comics
The publisher of All-Star Comics held a contest asking the readers to write in and tell which Sensation Comics hero they wanted to join the JSA. Wonder Woman won hands down, but to make her a full member meant they'd have to violate their membership rule: any hero with their own book could not remain a full JSA member. They made her an honorary member to keep their rule intact, and made her secretary so they could make the fans happy by putting her in the book albeit in a token position.
The Ownership of Wonder Woman
The following was posted by comics writer Kurt Busiek to the DC Comics Message Boards on 25 January 2005:
Q: For years there have been rumors that if DC were to quit publishing Wonder Woman for a certain length of time, that ownership of the character would revert back to the Martson estate. A few years ago some people on the old DC boards were stating that you had refuted those claims in a post.
So are the rumors true? Were they ever true? Or, do you just not know, one way or the other?
A: They are no longer true, but they were true for a long time — as I understand it, the terms were that DC had to publish at least four issues with "Wonder Woman" as the banner lead feature or rights would revert. That's why DC did the LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN mini-series that I wrote and Trina Robbins drew — the Perez revamp was in development, but coming along slowly, and they had to publish something to fulfil the contract terms.
They specifically didn't want something that would be attention-getting, because they didn't want to undercut the revamp. So they wanted something gentle and nostalgic, and we had fun doing it.
In the intervening years, though, I'm given to understand that at some point DC bought the character outright, and thus those contract terms are no longer in force.
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