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 fare; 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.
The story then focuses on Wonder Woman's quest to rescue Zola from Hades, who had abducted her and taken her to Hell at the end of the sixth issue of the series. The male children of the Amazons are introduced and Diana learns about the birth of her "brothers" – the Amazons used to infrequently invade ships coming near their island and force themselves on the sailors, before killing them. After nine months, the birth of the resulting female children was highly celebrated and they were inducted into the ranks of the Amazons while the male children were rejected. In order to save the male children from being drowned to death by the Amazons, Hephaestus traded weapons to the Amazons in exchange for them.
"Gas was intended to win the war. On that much Wonder Woman is absolutely right." said David Hambling in Popular Mechanics. Rachel Becker of The Verge stated that despite the scientific liberties of using a "hydrogen-based" chemical weapon as a plot device, the film succeeds in evoking real and horrifying history. "First off, mustard gas is such a horrible, terrifying weapon, it doesn't need to be made more potent. But if you were a chemist bent on raining destruction on the Allied forces, you wouldn't do it by replacing the sulfur atom in mustard gas with a hydrogen atom. You'd know that sulfur is the linchpin holding together this poisonous molecule."
For a time she was given enhanced vision by Athena, which gave her the ability to see in darkness and through illusions. This also makes her resistant/immune to telepathy. Due to her wisdom she can learn languages faster than a regular person, she can talk to animals. She has also been shown to project herself astrally in order to commune with the gods and ask for special favors from them. She has also been shown to take on the abilities of certain of her patron goddesses as when she became a form of divine midwife to save the life of an unborn child.
Wonder Woman has been the subject of a discussion regarding the appearance and representation of female power in general, and of female action heroes in particular since her initial 1941 appearance in Sensation Comics, as she was created to document "the growth in the power of women", while wearing "a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue underpants and knee-high, red leather boots." She was blacklisted a year later in 1942 in the "Publications Disapproved for Youth" because, the group behind the list argued, she was "not sufficiently dressed".
In 2016, "Issue #48" of Sensation Comics, featured Wonder Woman officiating a same-sex wedding, drawn by Australian illustrator Jason Badower. "My country is all women. To us, it's not 'gay' marriage. It's just marriage", she states to Superman. Inspired by the 2015 June Supreme Court ruling that established marriage equality in all 50 United States, Badower says DC Comics was "fantastic" about his idea for the issue. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he said his editor "Was like 'great, I love it! Let's do it.' It was almost anticlimactic." "Diana's mother, the queen, at the very least authorized or in some cases officiated these weddings," Badower says. "It just seems more like a royal duty Diana would take on, that she would do for people that would appreciate it."
The Gods, led by Athena, create the Amazons in Greece to realize their ideals and bring humans into following them. The leader of the Amazons, Hippolyta feels a yearning for a child). She makes a clay form of a child and prays to the Gods. Hearing this the Gods give the clay form, transforming it into a live child blessed with Gaea's gift, life. The Gods grant her various abilities and she grows up as Diana of Themyscira.
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.
Wonder Woman continued to use the plane for super speed, outer space, and multi-dimensional transport up until the unpowered era of Diana Prince. When Wonder Woman resumed superpowered, costumed operations in 1973, she continued to use the jet as before, but did glide on air currents for short distances. At one point, Aphrodite granted the plane the power to fly faster than the speed of light for any interstellar voyages her champion might undertake. Thanks to tinkering by gremlins, the Plane even developed intelligence and the power to talk. The plane proved a good friend, eager to help his "mistress" and her loved ones in any way possible. It got along especially well with Steve Trevor.
This version was conceived of as a prequel to the first live-action, theatrical appearance of Wonder Woman, in the 2016 film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, placing Wonder Woman in the 1910s and World War I (a decision which differs from her comic book origins as a supporter of the Allies during World War II). As for story development, Jenkins credits the stories by the character's creator William Moulton Marston in the 1940s and George Perez's seminal stories in the 1980s in which he modernized the character. In addition, it follows some aspects of DC Comics' origin changes in The New 52 reboot, where Diana is the daughter of Zeus. Jenkins cited Richard Donner's Superman as an inspiration.
The inspiration to give Diana bracelets came from the pair of bracelets worn by Olive Byrne, creator William Moulton Marston's research assistant and lover. "Wonder Woman and her sister Amazons have to wear heavy bracelets to remind them of what happens to a girl when she lets a man conquer her," quoted Marston in a 1942 interview. "The Amazons once surrendered to the charm of some handsom Greeks and what a mess they got themselves into. The Greeks put them in chains of the Hitler type, beat them, and made them work like horses in the fields. Aphrodite, goddess of love, finally freed these unhappy girls. But she laid down the rule ("Aphrodite's Law") that they must never surrender to a man for any reason. I know of no better advice to give modern day women than this rule that Aphrodite gave the Amazon girls."
The iconic explosion overlay most associated with the TV show was introduced after the third episode to mask the cut point between the Diana and Wonder Woman clips, meaning they no longer needed to be perfectly aligned. This allowed them to be shot without a locked off camera at more convenient points in the production schedule, when Carter was already in the appropriate costume. The slow motion aspect of the sequence was dropped, and Wonder Woman was no longer left holding her Diana Prince clothes. A thunderclap sound effect accompanied the explosion effect; both the explosion flash and its sound are apparently non-diegetic (only heard by the audience, not within the narrative world), as demonstrated by Diana changing unnoticed in a dormitory of sleeping women, in adjoining office spaces, etc. Generally the audience never sees Wonder Woman change back to Diana Prince, although there is one occasion when it is almost shown: Wonder Woman reveals her secret identity to her little sister Drusilla by slowly turning on the spot, but the actual moment of transformation is masked by a cut-away reaction shot of Drusilla (no thunderclap was heard).
Steve Rose in The Guardian criticized the film for failing to explore the material's potential for "patriarchy-upending subversion". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticized the film's over-reliance on exposition: "Wonder Woman is hobbled by a slogging origin story and action that only comes in fits and starts. Just when Gadot and director Patty Jenkins...are ready to kick ass, we get backstory."
In the storyline’s conclusion with issue #14, fans were led to expect a violent battle as Wonder Woman faced Ares, the main villain of the comic. While the ending definitely features some great action, author Greg Rucka also presented a much more diplomatic side to Diana, showing that she’s a hero who can also fight using her intelligence and honorable beliefs.
In 1954, Dr. Fredric Wertham alleged that there were lesbian subtexts to Wonder Woman and claimed comics contributed to juvenile delinquency in his book Seduction of the Innocent where despite a very obvious heterosexual relationship with Steve Trevor, Wertham asserted that Wonder Woman’s association with the Holliday Girls could be interpreted as a lesbian relationship. The Comics Code Authority was then introduced in reaction to Wertham 's claims against the entire industry.
The team learns that a gala will be held at the nearby German High Command. Steve and Diana separately infiltrate the party, with Steve intending to locate the gas and destroy it, and Diana hoping to kill Ludendorff, believing that he is Ares and thus killing him will end the war. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing his mission, but this allows Ludendorff to unleash the gas on Veld, killing its inhabitants. Blaming Steve for intervening, Diana pursues Ludendorff to a base where the gas is being loaded into a bomber aircraft bound for London. Diana fights and kills him, but is confused and disillusioned when his death does not stop the war.
After, she encounters Apollo and Artemis. A fight ensues while lead to the capture of Zola. Using Hermes caduceus, they teleport to Olympus and the following events occur: Hermes gives Diana the ability of flight after poking her with a mystical feather, and two, Diana shows off her "God Mode" off to the goddess Artemis, revealing that taking off her bracelets augments her strength.
To find the perfect location to shoot the Amazon island of Themyscira, the birthplace of Wonder Woman herself, the film's producers searched all over the world, finally settling on the Cilentan Coast: a stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea, located in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. It was chosen because most beaches in the world that sit below big cliffs disappear beneath the tide for part of every day. Production designer Aline Bonetto and her location manager Charles Somers considered 47 countries and visited several of them before they found what they were looking for. Bonetto explained that, "Italy had beautiful weather, a beautiful blue-green sea, not too much tide, not too much wave. Our effects team added some cliffs in post-production, and it was the perfect way to go". The estuary at Lower Halstow in Kent is featured in the scene in which Diana arrives at a Belgian creek to make her way to the warfront. Bill Westenhofer served as the visual effects supervisor for the film and Martin Walsh served as editor.
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".
In 2011's The New 52, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of publications to attract a new generation of readers, and thus released volume 4 of the Wonder Woman comic book title. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang were assigned writing and art duties respectively and revamped the character's history considerably. In this new continuity, Wonder Woman wears a costume similar to her original Marston costume, utilizes a sword and shield, and has a completely new origin. No longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods, she is, instead, a demi-goddess and the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. Azzarello and Chiang's revamp of the character was critically acclaimed, but highly divisive among longtime fans of the character.
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Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #105 revealed that Diana was formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons, given life and power by four of the Greek and Roman gods (otherwise known as the Olympian deities) as gifts, corresponding to her renowned epithet: "Beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules", making her the strongest of the Amazons. Wonder Woman's Amazon training gave her limited telepathy, profound scientific knowledge, and the ability to speak every language – even caveman and Martian languages.
The success of the superhero television series Supergirl informed the marketing and promotion strategy used for Wonder Woman. According to Time Warner chief marketing officer Kristen O'Hara, they wanted to approach the Wonder Woman marketing campaign in a light manner, similar to how they did with Supergirl. O'Hara elaborated that the modest campaign route they took for Supergirl aided in establishing a large central fanbase among women well in advance of the series, which reportedly generated 5 million female superhero fans in one week. They were then able to model over time, and grow that audience leading up to the 15-months-later release of Wonder Woman. Though neither the film nor the series are aimed exclusively at women, the latter's campaign gave them their first opportunity to begin collecting data about female superhero fans. In May 2017, a promo for Wonder Woman was released during the season finale of Supergirl, featuring a remix of the song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) wearing Wonder Woman's boots. The promo included an appearance by Lynda Carter, star of the 1970s Wonder Woman, who plays the American president on Supergirl.
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.
Princess Diana commands respect both as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince; her epithetical title – The Amazon Princess – illustrates the dichotomy of her character. She is a powerful, strong-willed character who does not back down from a fight or a challenge. Yet, she is a diplomat who strongly "favors the pen", and a lover of peace who would never seek to fight or escalate a conflict. She's simultaneously both the most fierce and most nurturing member of the Justice League; and her political connections as a United Nations Honorary Ambassador and the ambassador of a warrior nation makes her an invaluable addition to the team. With her powerful abilities, centuries of training and experience at handling threats that range from petty crime to threats that are of a magical or supernatural nature, Diana is capable of competing with nearly any hero or villain.