Wonder Woman (Earth-One)
Created by William Moulton Marston
Written by Aaron Severson
Special thanks to Dark Mark's Indexing Domain
NAME + ALIASES:
Princess Diana of Paradise Island, alias Diana Prince
Hippolyta (mother); Artemis (ancestor, deceased); Nubia (sister); Donna Troy (adoptive sister); Steve Trevor (eventual husband)
United States Army Intelligence, Justice League of America, United Nations, NASA, United States Air Force
Historical: All-Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1941)
Wonder Woman has been published more or less continuously since 1941, but the tone and style of her adventures began to shift significantly after the death of creator William Moulton Marston in 1948. The character's costume, powers, origin, and basic iconography were unchanged, but later writers discarded Marston's quasi-feminist, BDSM-heavy fantasy in favor of more conventional superhero action and soap opera. As a result, the version of Wonder Woman who appeared throughout the Silver Age and Bronze Age — later assigned to Earth-One — was no longer quite the same as the original Golden Age character, who was later retroactively assigned to the Wonder Woman of Earth-Two.
As with Superman and Batman, there is no precise cutoff point between Wonder Woman's Earth-Two and Earth-One adventures and some stories and events took place on both Earths. However, most "present day" Wonder Woman stories from the mid-fifties to 1986 took place on Earth-One, including Wonder Woman's adventures as a member of the original Justice League of America.
Child of Paradise Island
The Earth-One incarnation of the Amazon princess Diana was the daughter of Hippolyta, queen of Paradise Island. Diana and her twin sister Nubia were formed from living clay animated by the goddess Aphrodite, Hippolyta's patron. Nubia was abducted as an infant by Mars (Ares), the god of war (Wonder Woman v.1 #206), while Diana was raised by her mother on Paradise Island.
When Diana was a young adult, an American military officer named Steve Trevor crash-landed in the waters near Paradise Island. The Amazons rescued him and treated his injuries, being careful to observe Aphrodite's injunction against allowing a man to set foot on the island. Growing up as the only child on an island of immortal, ageless women, Diana had had little if any contact with mortal men, so she quickly became fascinated and infatuated with Trevor.
Hippolyta knew that Trevor could not remain on Paradise Island and decided that it was time for the Amazons to once again send forth a champion to combat the malign influence of Mars, the god of war, and Hades, the god of death, something the Amazons had done at least once before, thousands of years earlier. (#302) The Amazon queen organized a contest to select that champion, but forbade Diana from participating. Diana defiantly entered the contest anyway and won the right to journey to Man's World as Wonder Woman.
Heroine of Man's World
Using an Amazonian invisible plane, Wonder Woman escorted Steve Trevor back to the United States. There, she met a young Army nurse named Diana Prince and made a deal to assume Prince's identity so Prince could join her husband overseas. Trevor was unaware of Wonder Woman's new dual identity, but she engineered a transfer to military intelligence so she could be closer to him. Inevitably, Trevor largely overlooked "Diana Prince" in his fascination with Wonder Woman, although he eventually came to care for Diana as well. (#300) Trevor would be an ongoing distraction for Wonder Woman, who remained reluctant to either pursue or completely abandon their relationship.
Early in her career, Wonder Woman saved a young girl named Donna Hinckley from a burning building. Believing the child an orphan (New Teen Titans v.1 #38), she took Donna to Paradise Island to be raised by Hippolyta, who also arranged for Donna to be imbued with the same powers as the other Amazons. Now called Donna Troy, the girl would later return to Man's World as Wonder Girl, becoming a member of the Teen Titans. (Teen Titans v.1 #22)
Wonder Woman's primary focus was on battling evil in Man's World, a mission that encompassed both supernatural foes like the Duke of Deception, a servant of Mars (Wonder Woman v.1 #104), and costumed or metahuman villains like Dr. Psycho (#160), the Angle Man (#115), and the bizarre Communist Chinese menace Egg Fu. (#158) Wonder Woman became a founding member of the Justice League of America (Justice League of America #9) and shared periodic adventures with other Earth-One heroes like Supergirl.
For a time, Hippolyta decided to remove Paradise Island from Earth-One's dimension, forcing Wonder Woman to choose between departing with her Amazon sisters or giving up her powers to remain in Man's World. Wonder Woman chose the latter (Wonder Woman v.1 #179), also resigning her Army commission and taking a leave of absence from the JLA. (Justice League of America #69)
Now a normal civilian woman, Wonder Woman settled into her identity as Diana Prince, opening her own fashion boutique. Soon afterward, Steve Trevor died at the hands of Dr. Cyber, leaving Diana heartbroken. (Wonder Woman #180) With the help of a mysterious Chinese man named Shu-Shen Lu, who called himself "I Ching," she retrained herself in the martial arts and became a non-powered adventurer, periodically joining forces with Batman (Brave and the Bold #87), Superman (World's Finest Comics #204), and her former Justice League teammates. (Justice League of America #100–102)
I Ching was killed by a sniper and Diana was left with amnesia. She returned to Paradise Island (which had returned to Earth's dimension), where she regained her Amazonian powers. Hippolyta restored Diana's memories up to a point, just prior to the Amazons' departure, leaving Wonder Woman with no recollection of anything that's happened in the interim. (Wonder Woman #204) After a series of trials, the JLA readmitted her to their ranks. (#212–222, Justice League of America #128)
NOTES: I Ching was resurrected (and restored to continuity) after Infinite Crisis, returning in Wonder Woman v.3 #2 and Justice League of America v.2 #0 (2006). This story implies Hippolyta has chosen not to restore all of Diana's memories for some unspecified reason; Wonder Woman #212 (1974) instead claims Hippolyta was simply unable to do so. The amnesia plot appears to have been purely an editorial gesture. The white jumpsuit issues were edited by Mike Sekowsky and then Denny O'Neil. When DC decided they needed to restore Wonder Woman to her classic self, Bob Kanigher returned as writer/editor with #204. He made little effort to tie up the remaining threads of the "I Ching" saga; there was no explanation for the Amazons' returned, and Kanigher even brought back Steve Trevor (who'd been killed off) without explanation! With #212, Julie Schwartz became the editor and he directed the "12 Labors" plotline to reconcile Diana's memory loss.
The goddess Aphrodite resurrected Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman #223) by joining his essence with that of her son, the god Eros. (revealed in #322) Trevor took a new identity as "Steve Howard" to avoid awkward questions about his death and rebirth. (#223) Sometime afterward, Steve was killed again by the Dark Commander. (#248) Hippolyta sought to alleviate her daughter's trauma by removing Diana's memories of Trevor using the Mists of Nepenthe. Later, the Steve Trevor of another, unnamed alternate Earth emerged on Earth-One, crashed near Paradise Island, and took the first Steve's place in Wonder Woman's affections. (#270)
After regaining her powers, Wonder Woman retained her civilian alter ego of Diana Prince. She went to work for the U.N. (#212) and later joined NASA as an astronaut trainee. (#252) She and Trevor became Air Force officers (#272), Diana with the rank of captain, and they were assigned to the special intelligence branch. She was later promoted to the rank of major. (#300)
At the prompting of Eros, who mistakenly believed himself to be the original Steve Trevor (#321), Wonder Woman later used Amazonian memory tapes to restore the gaps in her memory. Hippolyta then revealed to the second Steve Trevor that he was actually from another Earth and the Amazons' Purple Healing Ray had imbued him with the Earth-One Steve's memories. Wonder Woman was furious at her mother's tampering with her mind. (#322)
During the Crisis, the god Hermes revealed Diana Prince's true identity as Wonder Woman to Steve Trevor and several of their Air Force colleagues. (#328) Diana helped Hippolyta defend Paradise Island against an attack by the forces of Ares and Hades and thwarted Ares' assault on Mount Olympus, after which Diana and Steve were finally married—by Zeus himself. (#329)
Earth-One's Wonder Woman was one of the heroes present for the battle at the Dawn of Time. (Crisis on Infinite Earths #10) Shortly afterward, she was seemingly disintegrated during the final confrontation with the Anti-Monitor. In fact, she was devolved to the enchanted clay from which she was originally formed. (#12)
Aphrodite gave Hippolyta a short time to grieve her daughter's loss and then allowed the final reality-altering effects of the Crisis to take hold, (Legend of Wonder Woman #1–4) setting the stage for the emergence of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths ended in 1986, the Earth-One Wonder Woman's series was canceled and the character was rebooted by creator George Pérez. The post-Crisis Wonder Woman was essentially a new character: She didn't arrive in Man's World until after the Crisis (during Legends), was never a member of the original JLA, and shared none of the Earth-One Wonder Woman's history or continuity. Also excised was any romantic interest between her and Steve Trevor. The post-Crisis Trevor was significantly older than his pre-Crisis counterparts and eventually married Etta Candy. Although these changes were dramatic, they established a solid—and popular—base for the character's next 20 years of adventures.
From the late sixties onward, the Wonder Woman series underwent many dramatic changes in editorial direction, either in hopes of sparking sales or to align the comic books with Wonder Woman's contemporary appearances in other media. Nonetheless, most of Wonder Woman's adventures from the mid-fifties through 1986 took place on Earth-One, with several notable exceptions:
- Some sixties stories indicate that Diana began her costumed adventures on Paradise Island while still a small child — sometimes called Wonder Tot (Wonder Woman v.1 #122) — and continued into adolescence as Wonder Girl (Wonder Woman v.1 #30), even meeting and joining forces with time-traveling versions of herself at different ages. (Wonder Woman v.1 #124 et al) Since these adventures were frankly described as "Impossible Tales," it's unclear to what extent they were an actual part of Earth-One continuity.
- A spate of other stories from the same period (Wonder Woman v.1 #159–164) imply that the Silver Age Wonder Woman was active during World War II. Most canonical pre-Crisis stories strongly suggest that Earth-One had few if any costumed heroes during the war (excepting the occasional time traveler), so these adventures are almost certainly apocryphal. They may belong to the same speculative "Earth-B" universe as the Brave and the Bold stories indicating that Batman knew Sgt. Rock from the war.
- For a brief period in 1977–78 (encompassing Wonder Woman #228–243, the Wonder Woman Spectacular, and the Wonder Woman stories in World's Finest Comics #244–250), the Earth-One Wonder Woman was displaced by her Golden Age counterpart in a series of stories intended to cash in on the popularity of the then-current Wonder Woman TV show. Those stories are set in 1942–43 and explicitly take place on Earth-Two.
- Wonder Woman's appearances in the Super Friends comic book are not part of Earth-One continuity either, although the Super Friends universe was similar to Earth-One and some similar events took place on both worlds. The letters page of Super Friends #1 indicated that on the Super Friends' Earth, the Justice League's young friend Marvin White was the son of Diana White (née Prince), the woman from whom Wonder Woman originally borrowed the Diana Prince identity.
Earth-One's Wonder Woman possessed incredible strength, speed, and endurance. Unlike her post-Crisis counterpart, she could not fly, but she could leap great distances and then glide on air currents. Her reflexes were quick enough to deflect bullets or even energy blasts with her bracelets. All the Amazons of Earth-One's Paradise Island possessed similar abilities, but Wonder Woman was the most formidable of the Amazons, granted exceptional strength and prowess by the gods. (Wonder Woman #105)
While still a teenager, Wonder Woman theoretically became immortal like her Amazon sisters (DC Special #19), but she did not stop aging at that point. It is unclear if she would have continued to age (perhaps at a reduced rate, like her Earth-Two counterpart) or if her physical aging, like her mother's, would have ceased in adulthood.
Wonder Woman's bracelets were nearly indestructible and could block or even redirect almost any physical attack. However, she would temporarily lose all her strength if her bracelets were bound together by a man. Wonder Woman's magic lasso, created of Amazonian metal, compelled anyone bound with it to answer questions truthfully. She was also skilled with a wide variety of other weapons, but seldom used them, although she did occasionally use her tiara as a boomerang.
Wonder Woman's invisible "robot plane," created by Amazon science, was faster than any conventional fighter aircraft, could convert itself into a submarine, and was capable of responding to remote mental commands from Wonder Woman or anyone she designated. Wonder Woman also had access to the Amazons' Magic Sphere, which could display events from other times, and the Purple Healing Ray, invented by the Amazon Paula (the Earth-One counterpart of Earth-Two's Baroness Paula Von Gunter).
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- DC Special #19
William Moulton Marston's last issues were Wonder Woman #28 (Apr. 1948) and Sensation Comics #82 (Oct. 1948)
- Justice League of America #1–69, 100, 110, 128–232, 237–239, (1960–85)
- Sensation Comics #83–106 (approximate)
- Wonder Woman, #29–228, #243–329 (1948–86, approximate)
- The Legend of Wonder Woman, 4-issue limited series (1986)