Today marks the 75th anniversary since DC Comics first gave us Wonder Woman. Over the years the Amazon Princess has been an enduring symbol of female empowerment and strength, especially during the 70s (thanks in part to Gloria Steinem). What sets her apart from her superhero colleagues, is that she is a warrior; she comes from a society that molds women into soldiers. In other words, when Wonder Woman is on the field, she ain’t got no time for you sh*t.
There are plenty of stories over the past 75 years that prove Wonder Woman‘s “no nonsense” approach in a fight. However, there are some that stand out and burn themselves into our memories. The list below is comprised of just a few of her awesome stories that illustrate not only her strength, but her perseverance and wisdom that have endeared her to us.
Wonder Woman: Stoned by Greg Rucka
The deadly Medousa comes calling, and Wonder Woman‘s world is turned completely upside-down. After a terrible sacrifice, the Amazing Amazon must prove herself once again to her comrades in the JLA and to the world.
First of all, Greg Rucka‘s entire run on Wonder Woman is a must-read. “Stoned” is, by far, the story arc that stood out the most. Medousa seeks to destroy Wonder Woman in a battle royale type of setting. At the same time, tensions between the U.S. and Themyscira are mounting. As ambassador to her home island, Wonder Woman also has to prevent an all out war. Talk about multi-tasking! The main event was the showdown between the Amazon Princess and Medousa, with Ares there to watch.
Wonder Woman demonstrates her abilities as a bad-ass warrior by taking on the Gorgon blindfolded. There’s a point in the fight where Medousa is able to run her sword through Wonder Woman and pull off her blindfold, but WW just slices off one of her hair snakes and squeezes its poison into her eyes so she can be blind again and continue the fight. This lady does not give up.
My favorite is what happens after “Stoned.” Wonder Woman doesn’t magically regain her sight by the conclusion of the arc. Because of that, the JLA test whether or not Wonder Woman can even continue fighting alongside them. In a very hilarious series of panels, we see Wonder Woman holding her own even against the Flash.
Wonder Woman: Destiny Calling by George Perez
In this volume, the origin and early history of Wonder Woman are retold in order to update the birth and rise of the Amazons’ greatest champion. When Ares, the god of war, devises a plot to overthrow the Greek pantheon of gods by inciting World War III, Wonder Woman is forced to leave behind Paradise Island for “Man’s World.” Now armed with her lasso of truth and her silver bracelets, the Amazon princess must find a way to stop the power hungry demagogue’s plan for universal domination in a world she does not belong in nor comprehend.
“Destiny Calling” isn’t so much a testament to Wonder Woman’s strength, but her wisdom and compassion. Classic Wonder Woman is actually less of a Warrior Princess than she is in the more modern takes. But that doesn’t make her a pushover. Wonder Woman has had to take a very public role as ambassador for a long time, mostly to prevent war incited by her sisters or the Greek gods themselves. The picture above should tell anyone that Wonder Woman is more than just a leggy broad with a perfect figure.
When Hermes arrives on the scene, he showers the mortal world with his over-inflated ego and arrogance. Wonder Woman sees this and tries to reason with him. Of course, she goes unheeded and Hermes plays right into a dastardly plot to free Phobos and Ixion, who wreak havoc on all of Boston. Now it’s up to Wonder Woman to save the city, but at a terrible cost to her home and the peace between her two world she fought so hard to implement. As a result, WW isn’t afraid to keep it 100 with her god.
Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simone
An army of foes called the Olympians have risen to begin their all-out assault on war across the globe and only Wonder Woman can stop them! One particular attack could spell the end of the Department of Metahuman Affairs and end WW’s secret identity of Diana Prince. And Wonder Woman’s life is changed forever when she faces a monster named Genocide who easily goes toe to- toe with the comic book icon…and beats her!
Gail Simone is arguably Wonder Woman‘s best writer to date. In “The Circle,” Simone conveys all of the Amazon’s best qualities. Wonder Woman sees all the details of a situation without losing sight of the big picture. In other words, she’s strong, fierce and compassionate, and she has a great strategic and diplomatic mind.
On more than one occasion, Wonder Woman is able to take down her foes and see that they are not truly her enemies, but are merely misguided. With that in mind, she spares their lives and tries to appeal to her opponents’ humanities. It doesn’t always work here, but it’s enough.
Still…you don’t ever want to be on her bad side. She will end you. Permanently.
Wonder Woman: Blood by Brian Azzarello
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, has kept a secret from her daughter all her life-and when Wonder Woman learns who her father is, her life will shatter like brittle clay. The only one more shocked than Diana by this revelation? Bloodthirsty Hera-so why is her sinister daughter, Strife, so eager for the truth to be told?
The New 52 changed up a lot of character continuity, Wonder Woman included. Especially Wonder Woman. The first six issues just reintroduces us the Amazon Princess, as well as to the Greek gods. Continue reading through Azzarello’s entire run and you’ll see our hero kill Ares, become the new god of war, and lead her Amazon warriors to war against the maniacal first born son of Zeus — who rebuilt Olympus with flesh and bone. Oh, and did I mention that Wonder Woman is also Zeus’ offspring? That’s right, she’s a demi god.
Wonder Woman: Odyssey by J. Michael Straczynski
Due to mysterious circumstances, Diana must track down the truth behind what’s happened to her timeline and face the biggest stunner of all: Who destroyed Paradise Island?
The gods have turned their backs on the Amazons, and Paradise Island is destroyed. The Amazons have scattered into the wind and are living underground. Literally. This version of Wonder Woman is headstrong, brash, and looking to sweep the floor with whoever put her people in such a dire situation. Basically, she’s what one would expect a 20-something would be before they figure out their position in the world and become a more responsible person. Sometimes that can be annoying, but Straczynski made this take for Wonder Woman refreshing.
One cool thing about Diana’s arsenal is the reinterpretation of her magic lasso. It’s actually her lifeline. Y’know how everyone in Greek mythology has a string that represents their entire life, and they die when the Fates cut it? Yeah, the lasso is that. We don’t know if Diana’s life is directly connected to the lasso, but it does restore her memory of past timelines. So who knows?
The Omac Project by Greg Rucka
Not a Wonder Woman story, but she is super hardcore here. Leading up to The Omac Project, there was a crossover arc between Superman and Wonder Woman‘s respective books titled “Sacrifice.” Maxwell Lord has brainwashed Superman, and Wonder Woman is forced to fight him. If you ever wondered what an all-out brawl between two titans looked like, look no farther than “Sacrifice.” This story actually concludes toward the end of The Omac Project where Wonder Woman realizes Maxwell Lord is behind Superman’s destructive behavior. Lord declares that he will not stop. So Wonder Woman makes a call no other hero will make — she takes Lord by the head and breaks his neck. This act, of course, creates such a huge fallout that leads directly into Infinity Crisis.
The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
Also not exclusively a Wonder Woman story. There’s one scene in the series where Superman finds Wonder Woman in Korea where she just liberated a village of women who were previously abused and/or enslaved by all the men. Wonder Woman gave them the choice to set them loose or kill them. The women opted to kill the men, and she supported that choice.
Superman is there to recruit Wonder Woman for a mission back on the home front. Superman is insistent in his request. Wonder Woman just stands up, towers over Superman, and basically says, “Try and make me.” You can feel the intimidation level skyrocket. Not even Superman wants to mess with her at this point.
Do you agree with our picks? What’s your favorite Wonder Woman story or moment? Tell us in the comments below!