What Makes The Character So Important?
Simply put, Wonder Woman is unique. There is literally nobody else like her – in the comic book arena, or elsewhere. Created by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston as a direct, feminist response to the aggressive masculinity that was flooding the pages of comic books everywhere, she’s a female superhero in her own right – not a spinoff from the story of another character. Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comic #8 in October 1941, and graced her first cover with Sensation Comic #1 in January 1942, so – with the exception of a brief hiatus in 1986 – DC has published Wonder Woman stories almost continuously for 76 years.
This lengthy history – along with being a founding member of the Justice League – is the reason Wonder Woman is known as the third member of DC’s Trinity, alongside Batman and Superman. But, while she shares that legendary status with those male superhero icons, Wonder Woman is also set far apart from them in terms of character. They have their similarities – including the fact that each has endured seven decades of reboots, rewrites, and relaunches, with a vast array of talented writers and artists leaving their fingerprints on them – but, Wonder Woman is a demi-goddess, whichever origin story you favour.
Superman is an alien, orphaned, and raised on Earth – having super powers only by virtue of the effects our sun has on his physiology. Batman is an orphaned vigilante, only by virtue of the vast wealth his murdered parents accumulated, and bequeathed to him. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is an honest-to-goodness Amazonian Warrior, specifically bestowed with superpowers by Gods.
Originally, she was sculpted from clay by Queen Hippolyta of Themyscira, and Aphrodite breathed life into the moulded, child figure. Thus, the child Diana was created by two women, and the Greek Gods then gifted her with a range of their powers. Later, in the DC-wide relaunch of 2011, Wonder Woman’s origin story was controversially rewritten to have her be the child of Hippolyta and Zeus.
The changes to the origin of Wonder Woman have not altered the point of her character, though. Her male counterparts, while advocating for truth and justice, are notoriously quick to enrage. Batman and Superman have both made points of declaring themselves as being against the taking of human lives – but have both killed, nonetheless. Wonder Woman has also killed, but takes a very different approach. To her, peace is always the goal.