Wonder Woman has been through a lot over the course of 75 years of history, thousands of comic book issues, a hit television show, multiple animated appearances, and now a major motion picture. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman might not have introduced us to Princess Diana for the first time (thanks for something, Batman v Superman), but maybe it should have. This film will instead give us a look into the life of the Amazon warrior and what she is truly capable of, set during World War I, long before Batman or Superman ever appeared on the scene.
Many times, Wonder Woman has managed to overcome some of the worst hardships imaginable to any man or woman; of course, sometimes the worst things can’t be overcome, they can only be endured for as long as possible. Before (or after) you watch Wonder Woman, where she will undoubtedly succeed by the time the movie comes to an end, let’s take a look back at some of the worst things that have ever happened to Diana of Themyscira. Could Batman and Superman ever hope to measure up? Better yet, could any of us?
15. INVASION OF EARTH 2
Earth 2 was rebooted by James Robinson and Nicola Scott during the New 52 initiative. In 2012’s Earth 2 #1, the planet is invaded by parademons and Steppenwolf of the New Gods. In this reality, Wonder Woman is the last representative of the Amazons, and she is one of the only heroes on Earth. It falls to her, Batman, and Superman to stop the invasion before everything is lost.
Batman conceives of a plan to stop the parademons in their tracks, but to get the job done, he would need a distraction. Superman and Wonder Woman fight hordes of monsters to give Batman the time he needs to upload a virus that would kill the parademons. In the fray, Steppenwolf kills Wonder Woman in a sneak attack. Superman and Batman also go down fighting, but the day is saved.
14. SECRETARY OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY
During the Golden Age of comic books, it was rare to see a woman take on the role of superhero. William Moulton Marston changed that by introducing Wonder Woman in 1941 for All-Star Comics #8. The character proved popular enough that she soon joined the Justice Society.
Unfortunately, not everyone was as forward thinking during this time, and instead of becoming a full-fledged member of the team, she was instead given the role of secretary in All-Star Comics #12 from 1942. Thanks Hawkman! Instead of being considered an equal among her peers, she would have to be happy with her lesser role. It would take some time before Wonder Woman was finally awarded full-time membership on the team. It’s insane that this was even a matter of contention at one point.
13. FIGHTING SUPERMAN (TO THE DEATH)
In 2005’s The OMAC Project by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz, Superman is mind controlled by Maxwell Lord in a plot to destroy the world’s metahuman population. Made to believe he is fighting Doomsday, the Man of Steel takes on Wonder Woman at full force, and the battle is intense, to say the least. Diana manages to endure the onslaught in order to confront Lord and stop the carnage before more destruction can take place.
Lord uses this encounter as evidence that metahumans are dangerous and not to be trusted, but Diana doesn’t care. Without hesitation, Wonder Woman snaps Lord’s neck, killing him and freeing Superman. Unfortunately, the incident was broadcast around the world, she was branded a murderer, and even her own allies, who she had JUST saved, rejected her. It took some time before she regained her standing in the superhero community.
12. THE GODS THEMSELVES
In Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on Wonder Woman, Zola is a woman carrying the child of Zeus, who enters into the protection of Wonder Woman. Diana spends the entire New 52 protecting Zola and baby Zeke from all manner of danger, including Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, the First Born, and Hecate. In the end, Diana wasn’t able to protect Zeke from his own destiny.
It turns out that Zeke is a reincarnation of Zeus himself, and his death only serves as a means to bring the god back to life and return him to the throne of Olympus. After going through so many trials — becoming the God of War, defeating Zeus’ vengeful first born son — none of it turned out to be enough to spare the innocent child. Wonder Woman’s New 52 adventures end with her mourning the loss of the child she viewed as her own son.
11. THE LOSS OF HER TITLE
In 1995, Diana’s mother Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, had a dream that Wonder Woman would die. Instead of confiding in her daughter, she kept this a secret, called for a new contest for the title of Wonder Woman, and blamed it all on Diana’s inadequacies. Hippolyta manipulated the fight so that her daughter would lose to Artemis, who would then pick up the mantle of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman #92.
William Messner-Loebs and Mike Deodato’s story had Artemis taking over her predecessor’s role while Diana continued to help those in need in some kind of weird bathing suit/biker chick outfit. Meanwhile, everyone hated Artemis because she wasn’t as nice as the real Wonder Woman. When the White Magician showed up, Artemis died in battle (hey, a Wonder Woman did die!) and Diana finally took back what was hers.
10. CRISIS OF CLAY
In the reality-shattering events Crisis on Infinite Earths from 1985, the entire multiverse was destroyed and then enfolded into one new universe. The Wonder Woman of Earth-2 was killed when her Earth was erased from existence thanks to the destructive powers of the Anti-Monitor. Wonder Woman of Earth-1 survived the events of the Crisis right up to the very end.
In the final issue of the series, while in the Anti-Matter Universe with a group of superheroes, Diana was shot with an energy blast by the evil and all-powerful Anti-Monitor. Though many believed she had been killed, in fact, the attack reverted her back to her clay form. Diana from Earth 1 would then be re-formed and reborn as the Post-Crisis iteration of Wonder Woman.
9. ALTERNATE REALITIES
Things were turned completely upside down for Diana when reality itself was warped around her, and she was left to live a very different life. In Wonder Woman #600, J. Michael Straczynski introduced the “Odyssey” storyline, where Themyscira had been destroyed and Wonder Woman was raised as an orphan. Her new costume was very different from her customary outfit, opting for long pants instead of shorts and gaining a jacket.
Her former existence as a superhero was largely forgotten by the world, but much of the story revolves around Diana regaining her memory and restoring reality. She undergoes a series of challenges in order to regain all her former abilities and weapons. After confronting The Morrigan, Wonder Woman is able to restore reality with all her memories.
8. A TYRANNICAL SUPERMAN
No, we’re not talking about Superman from Injustice. Back in 2005, Jeph Loeb and Carlos Pacheco gave us the storyline “Absolute Power” from Superman/Batman. In this arc, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, and Cosmic King — supervillains from the 31st century — raise Superman and Batman to be tyrannical dictators of a new timeline. They murder many of their former friends, but Wonder Woman remembers something and goes on to form a resistance group to fight for change.
The resistance comes into conflict with the pair of dictators and a fight breaks out. Wonder Woman manages to kill Batman but Superman responds by killing everyone. He even goes so far to choke Diana with her own Lasso of Truth. Superman and Batman would then travel through various realities before finally making things right.
7. WAR OF THE GODS
In 1991, George Perez had Wonder Woman deal with a war between gods in the aptly named War of the Gods four-part miniseries. The Greek gods fight the Roman gods, with African gods, Norse gods, and even some alien deities from distant planets entering into the conflict. The Roman gods select Captain Marvel as their champion and send him off to fight Wonder Woman in a battle between demigods.
It all turns out to be the doing of Circe, who was aiming to eliminate all the gods and kill Gaea herself. She ends up handily defeating Diana in combat, reverting her to clay and essentially killing her. However, Wonder Woman triumphantly returns at the end of the story to finally defeat Circe and stop the war between the gods.
6. THE DEVIL HIMSELF
In Wonder Woman #124 from 1997, John Byrne has Wonder Woman go up against the demon Neron. He proves to be too powerful to overcome and Diana falls to the awesome powers of the Lord of Lies. In the following issue, the Justice League of America try everything they can to revive their friend, but nothing seems to work.
It isn’t until Wonder Woman #127 that Diana ascends to godhood and joins the gods of Olympus as the Goddess of Truth. In the meantime, Hippolyta takes over her daughter’s role as Wonder Woman, joining both the Justice Society and Justice League in one of the oft-forgotten legacy fill-ins. Unable to watch over humanity without interfering, Diana is eventually cast out of Olympus and reclaims her role as Wonder Woman.
5. A BLACK LANTERN
When Nekron unleashed the Black Lantern Corps upon the universe, many members of the superhero community were consumed by zombified ringslingers. In Blackest Night #5, Nekron used his abilities to transform Wonder Woman Superman, Superboy, Green Arrow, Kid Flash, Donna Troy, Ice, and Animal Man into Black Lanterns due to their previous connections with death.
Wonder Woman becomes a monster who attacks her former allies as she attempts to murder all living beings. Under the thrall of her Black Lantern ring, she beats up Mera and has a vision of tearing out Wonder Girl’s heart and killing Donna and Hippolyta in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2. Diana becomes self-aware and fights her urges for flesh until a Violet Lantern ring of love frees her from her predicament.
4. THE DEATH OF HER MOTHER
During the events of Our Worlds at War, Wonder Woman nearly dies when an Imperiex probe blows up in her face. With her daughter out of commission, Hippolyta takes on the responsibility of stopping the probes attacking the planet in Wonder Woman #172. She destroys one probe and attempts to divert the device sent to destroy Earth.
A rejuvenated Diana shows up and together they are able to stop the Hollower from reaching the planet; however, a second Imperiex probe attacks them. Knowing that Imperiex’s attacks were at least partially her fault due to her adventures in time travel, Hippolyta sacrifices herself by blowing up the remaining probe. Dying on the battlefield, Diana races to find her mother and the two have one last moment together before Hippolyta dies.
3. POSSESSION BY THE EVIL GODS
Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis pitted superheroes against the evil machinations of Darkseid and the New Gods. Wonder Woman is forced into a conflict with the possessed Mary Marvel, who exposes her to a virus that turns her into the puppet of the Dark Lord himself. Under the sway of the Anti-Life Equation, Diana becomes the leader of a new breed of Female Furies made up of Batwoman, Catwoman, and Giganta.
Her possession becomes a huge obstacle for the heroes to overcome because few among the still-free superheroes can hope to stand against the might of Wonder Woman herself. It isn’t until the very end of the story that Wonder Woman is freed from Darkseid’s control. She uses her Lasso of Truth to exorcise Darkseid from the body of Dan Turpin.
2. A BATTLE WITH GENOCIDE
One of Wonder Woman’s greatest battles was against the monster known as Genocide. Created by the Secret Society of Supervillains through both science and magic, Genocide was created to be Diana’s own Doomsday. The creation first appears in 2009 from Wonder Woman #26, where Gail Simone has Genocide beat Wonder Woman to near death and steal her Lasso of Truth.
After having the Lasso surgically implanted into her body, Genocide goes on to kill most of the agents who work for Department of Metahuman Affairs (where Diana works) before also blowing up the building. She tortures Etta Candy into a catatonic state and infects Donna Troy with enough negative energy to turn her against Wonder Woman. It takes all of Diana’s strength to finally take back the Lasso and end the monster’s reign of terror.
1. THE TRUTH AND THE LIES
When the New 52 gave way to Rebirth, Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp told the story “The Lies” in Wonder Woman. Rucka effectively retcons Diana’s New 52 continuity out of existence by revealing that her time as Queen of the Amazons and God of War was all an illusion. In issue #11, Diana and Steve Trevor attempt to return to Themyscira, but they soon discover that in all her years since leaving the island, she has never actually returned and never can.
The grief of this realization causes Wonder Woman to temporarily lose her mind. She believes that Steve Trevor is a figment of her imagination and is sent to a mental hospital in order to get her sense back. This might be the cruelest truth she has ever had to endure.
Wonder Woman has endured many challenges over the years. Tell us about other challenges she has faced down in the comments below.