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Wonder Woman: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Steve Trevor?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comic News Comment
Wonder Woman: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Steve Trevor?

Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) will make his big screen debut in Wonder Woman, bringing one of the most complicated love interests in DC Comics history to the silver screen. Upon doing so, DC Extended Universe will attempt to answer the same question that has plagued comic book writers for over 75 years – what, exactly, do you do with Steve Trevor?

RELATED: Wonder Woman: Diana, Steve Trevor & Etta Candy Arrive in New Photos

Trevor’s basic (and, yes, important) place in Wonder Woman’s history has mostly remained the same over the years, namely that it is his plane crashing into Paradise Island that would kick-start the very creation of Wonder Woman! He even appeared on the very first page of the first appearance of Wonder Woman in All-Star Comics #8 (in a special preview by William Marston and H.G. Peter of Wonder Woman’s upcoming lead role in Sensation Comics).

Princess Diana won the right to accompany Steve Trevor back to the United States and represent the Amazons of Paradise Island as their champion, Wonder Woman! In Sensation Comics #1, they interact for the first time (Wonder Woman had already fallen in love with him because Amazon technology allowed her to see the events that led up until his crash on Paradise Island, and Steve made quite a good impression on Diana) and Steve gushes over his guardian angel…

That first issue also established Wonder Woman’s secret identity, Diana Prince, an Army nurse (very quickly she then became a secretary to Steve Trevor’s boss). The end of the first story also established that Marston was taking a page out of the successful Superman book, with Steve Trevor in love with Wonder Woman while not seeing Diana Prince as a possible love interest….

Steve Trevor of this era was a curious sort, in that he was clearly a man of action (much like how Chris Pine seems to be playing him) and yet he was also the classic male version of the damsel in distress (dude in distress?), as he would routinely get captured and then saved by his “beautiful angel,” Wonder Woman (in a clever bit in Sensation Comics #3, Marston seemingly points out how sexist the world is when Wonder Woman saves the day but Steve Trevor is given all of the credit, despite his insistence that she deserves the credit)…

As time went by, Trevor’s role within the comic began to be reduced, as he took on sort of an almost traditional superhero boss type role. You know, someone that Diana Prince would have to come up with excuses to get away from so that she could turn into Wonder Woman and save the day. However, that was coupled with him continuing to be Wonder Woman’s love interest, as well.

That basic set-up continued when Marston passed away and the writing duties on the series were taken over by Robert Kanigher. Kanigher de-emphasized most of Marston’s supporting cast outside of Trevor and Trevor’s boss, Colonel Darnell (after World War II ended, both Trevor and Darnell remained in military intelligence). Kanigher would still have Trevor profess his love for Wonder Woman, but he just wouldn’t be as big of a part of the series. Once again, the stories would typically be Diana sneaking away and going off on an adventure as Wonder Woman and then meeting back up with Steve at the end of the story to wrap things up.

As the 1940s ended, DC tried a bold move by trying to cash in on the booming romance comics market by trying to turn Sensation Comics into a romance comic book (the lead Wonder Woman story still had adventure in it, but then the back-ups were romance stories).

RELATED: That Time Steve Trevor Made Diana Prince Pretend to be Wonder Woman for Him

The romance angle did not last long. During the 1950s and 1960s, Kanigher slowly turned Trevor and Wonder Woman’s relationship on its ear a bit, as Trevor began to get a bit of the upper hand in their interactions. This was around the time of a few particularly iffy stories like when Steve Trevor bound Wonder Woman in her own lasso to force her to marry him or when Trevor (who thought he was off to a suicide mission) asked Diana Prince to pretend to be Wonder Woman and spend his last day with him.

The dominance of Steve Trevor was clearly on Mike Sekowsky’s mind when he came up with his dramatic revamping of Wonder Woman in 1968, as Kanigher was pushed out and plotter/artist Sekowsky and scripter Denny O’Neill took over the series with Wonder Woman #178. In the following issue, Wonder Woman gives up her costume and her powers as Paradise Island leaves this dimension. She wants to spend more time with Steve Trevor as just Diana Prince…

Of course, in a tragic coincidence, Steve is then shot at the end of Wonder Woman #179 and put into a coma. Diana then begins her new life as a superhero without powers or a costume.

In a truly bizarre twist, Steve actually recovers from his injuries only to die for good the next issue! The non-costume era of Wonder Woman ends a couple of years later, as Kanigher was brought back to brutally eliminate every aspect of the Sekowsky run (Diana even has the memories of this time erased from her mind!).

RELATED: Chris Pine Calls “Wonder Woman’s” Steve Trevor a Charming but Cynical Realist

Then the Wonder Woman TV show began in 1975 and Lyle Waggoner played Steve Trevor during the first season, which was set in World War II.

When the series jumped forward to present day in Season 2, Waggoner remained on the show as Steve Trevor Junior. With Steve Trevor now prominently featured on television, DC naturally figured that they had to bring him back in the comic book, as well (much like how Alfred made a return from the dead when the Batman TV series got picked up), so in 1976’s Wonder Woman #223 (by Martin Pasko, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta), Aphrodite ressurrected Steve Trevor as part of some twisted test, and she allowed him to stay alive (he had to change his name to Steve Howard and died his hair black since Steve Trevor was still considered dead)…

Hilariously enough, just two years later, new Wonder Woman writer Jack C. Harris likely got tired of writing about Not-Quite-Steve Trevor, so in Wonder Woman #248 (art by Jose Delbo and Joe Giella), Harris had a dark cult become obsessed with Steve’s return to the living and used him to power some evil monstrosity and when Wonder Woman disconnected him from it, Steve died again!!

Things just to a whole new level of absurdity when Gerry Conway took over the series (for the second time) and he decided he wanted to have Steve Trevor back in the comic! So in Wonder Woman #270 (art by Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta), Conway introduced an alternate reality Steve Trevor who showed up in this reality…

This new Steve Trevor was basically just like the old one and soon, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor’s relationship was basically back to the way it was during Robert Kanigher’s 1950s/1960s run (Dan Mishkin later merged the three “different” Steves into one guy in 1985, but that’s neither here nor there). When Wonder Woman’s series ended leading into Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor got married.

RELATED: DC Announces Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor One-Shot

George Perez and Greg Potter then completely rebooted Wonder Woman following Crisis on Infinite Earths and their solution to the Steve Trevor incident was to make Steve Trevor much older than Diana, thus eliminating him from the realm of love interests (not only that, but now it was Trevor’s mother who first made contact with the Amazons during World War II)…

Steve remained a supporting character during George Perez’s stint on the title, but when Perez left after five years, Steve was also pretty much eliminated from this volume of Wonder Woman for the next twenty years.

When the New 52 reboot occurred in 2011, Steve Trevor’s fate was changed once again! He was once more the person who crash-landed on Paradise Island and he was the person who was Wonder Woman’s entry into the world. He was her liasion and he became an agent in a superhero response group called ARGUS.

Here he is with Wonder Woman in her early years in the United States in Justice League #3 (by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams)…

As an ARGUS agent (and the liasion to the Justice League), Steve has had a lot of his own adventures for the first time, even having his own short-lived Justice League team (Justice League of America). During Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman in DC Comics’ Rebirth, Steve has been a major cast member in the series. It has taken him over 75 years, but Steve Trevor finally seems like a character who can exist independently of Wonder Woman.

Of course, the new film is set in World War I, so obviously Steve Trevor will die before modern times, but will he make it out of the film alive, or will this be yet another Steve Trevor death? Watch Wonder Woman this week to find out!

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