Wonder Woman isn’t a character. Wonder Woman is a role that different characters take. This complicates discussions and understanding of Wonder Woman because that title doesn’t always refer to daughter of Hippolyte, Diana, Princess of the Amazons. Others have been Wonder Woman, and other Wonder Women exist in the multiverse.
At some level, this must have been Charles Moulton Marston’s intent when he created the character. In “Introducing Wonder Woman” Hippolyte tells her daughter, “We are indeed a race of Wonder Women!” (Marston 6). This assertion is asserted by a number of Wonder Woman stories in which other Amazons including Hippolyte and Artemis take on the role in Diana’s absence.
But in the Wonder Woman mythology, nothing is ever that simple.
In 2017’s Wonder Woman prequel, Odyssey of the Amazons, Amazon General Hessia tells Amazon warrior Thekla, “I ofttimes wonder, what is our true purpose? […] Were we meant to separate eternally from the rest of humanity? Or one day will one of us at least try to bring the more peaceful ways of Themyscira to the world?” (Grevioux, “Part One” 17/5). Of course, we can chalk this up to the creative team behind Odyssey having nearly eight decades of material to work with to inform this question. At the saga’s end, The Great Mothers foretell the coming of “the prophesied one” who will “lead them. She will pave the way and prepare not only the sisters, but the world. And whoever she may be—she will be glorious” (Grevioux, “Part Six” 24). In this mythology the emphasis is on the prophesied one. Since Diana is the first to take on the title, should we assume that she is the true Wonder Woman? She was the first and she is the woman who has held the title the longest.
More Questions Than Answers
Maybe the larger question is: Does it matter? Does it matter who is called Wonder Woman or which Amazon holds the title? Does it matter which Amazon is being featured in the role?
I think it matters.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments!
[Grevioux, Kevin (w), Ryan Benjamin (p), and Richard Friend (i), Don Ho (i), Tony Washington (c), Tony Avina (c), and Saida Temofonte (l).] “Part One.”Odyssey of the Amazons (Mar. 2017), National Comics Publications [DC Comics].
[Grevioux, Kevin (w), Ryan Benjamin (p), and Richard Friend (i), Tony Washington (c), and Saida Temofonte (l).] “Part Six.”Odyssey of the Amazons (Aug. 2017), National Comics Publications [DC Comics].
Marston, William Moulton. Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus Volume 1. DC Comics, 2016.