Princess Diana of Themyscira, Wonder Woman, is an emissary of love and peace. Ironically, her life is oftentimes violent and not without heartache and misfortune. Before she became Wonder Woman, Diana secretly entered a contest held by her mother, Queen Hippolyta. Hippolyta wanted to determine who among the Amazons was worthy to don the title of Wonder Woman. Diana, with her obvious advantages due to her godly gifts, won the contest and, much to her mother’s chagrin, Hippolyta had no choice but to bestow the honor on her daughter. Leaving Paradise Island meant Diana would most likely never return.
Even so, Wonder Woman left her home. Ever since she set foot on Man’s World, Diana struggled to find her place in modern society. An outsider to many, she remained undeterred, constantly fighting in the name of righteousness in the hopes one day Man’s World would no longer need her. Along the way, despite losing one family, Diana found another. She made friends with the likes of Etta Candy, Batman, and Superman, and found a lover in Steve Trevor, but darker times were to be had. Here at CBR we’re taking a look at 15 of the worst things to ever happen to the Amazing Amazon!
15. STEVE TREVOR DYING…TWICE
While in recent years the relationship between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor has evolved to where they’re no longer codependent on one another, like in the early days, their relationship is still the stuff of legend. Even since Trevor debuted back in All Star Comics #8 in 1941, he’s played a pivotal roll in Diana’s life, serving at her side as her lover, friend, and fellow warrior.
However, despite the passion they shared for each other, and despite the fans’ love of the power couple, Steve Trevor has died multiple times. He first died in Wonder Woman #180 while fighting Doctor Cyber. Steve would come back again, thanks to the goddess Aphrodite, renamed Steve Howard, but then get killed several years later. Both times left Diana more than devastated.
14. WHEN CIRCE KILLED HERMES
Like few other villains, Circe has a way of getting under Wonder Woman’s skin. During “War of the Gods”, Circe was trying to achieve supreme power and she manipulated the pantheons of gods from all over the world, including the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips into fighting to the death. Wonder Woman and the rest of the DC hero elite banded together to try and stop her. Yet it wasn’t just Earth’s heroes who went on the frontline, but some gods too.
Hermes joined the battle. For quite some time, Hermes and Diana had become friends, with the God of Speed acting as a mentor to the Amazon Princess. He would join her on multiple adventures and help her out when needed. During War of the Gods, Hermes fought long and hard to thwart Circe, but the witch ended up killing him, leaving Wonder Woman crushed.
13. BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR JULIA KAPATELIS GETTING CRIPPLED
Silver Swan is one of Wonder Woman’s classic villains, but the Vanessa Kapatelis iteration didn’t really start as a diehard antagonist. Initially, Wonder Woman and Vanessa’s mom, Julia, were good friends. The two forged a healthy friendship, often finding themselves pulled into each other’s lives. As for Vanessa, she was somewhat jealous about her mother’s relationship with Diana, but eventually outgrew the negative feelings and befriended the Amazon.
Things got heated however when the Boston Mob, along with the White Magician, were rather irate with Diana foiling their plans. They lash out at her through Julia, crippling her, and leaving Vanessa distraught and blaming Wonder Woman. Taking advantage of Vanessa’s turbulent frame of mind, some of Wonder Woman’s villains transformed Vanessa into the Silver Swan and focused her energies on killing Wonder Woman, who was dealing with her own grief because of the matter.
12. WHEN CIRCE KILLED WONDER WOMAN
Again Circe gets up to no good and again she’s pulling out all the stops during DC’s epic “War of the Gods”. Following the murder of Hermes, Wonder Woman sets her sights on the evil witch like never before. All the while, Circe is cackling with delight like all villains do when they think they’ve won.
Even so, Circe realizes she must kill Wonder Woman so she can fulfill her plans. Yet Circe is aware of a prophecy stating she cannot kill Wonder Woman through conventional means like bullets or anything of the sort, so Circe gets clever. Enlisting incredible dark magic, Circe casts a spell to devolve Wonder Woman, turning her back into clay and effectively killing her. Wonder Woman’s new “death” didn’t last for long, but it still wasn’t a good day in the life of the Amazing Amazon.
11. DONNA TROY DYING
Donna Troy’s existence is one of perpetual confusion and heartbreak. Having her history constantly changed, neither she nor the reader could keep up with every new origin. What it boiled down to was that she was Wonder Girl and later graduated to simply being called Donna Troy; a fiercely, strong, woman with a nearly unparalleled kinship to Wonder Woman. It made her death all the sadder.
Months before her tragic demise, the two women discovered that Donna was simply Wonder Woman’s magical twin. They bonded over the fact and even moved into an apartment together, sharing their adventures and becoming the best of friends. So when Donna died in battle against a robot Superman, going out like the warrior she was, it was a steep blow to all. Despite her grief, Diana gave the eulogy. The loss would weigh on Diana’s heart for a long stretch of time.
10. DISOWNING HER MOTHER
Wonder Woman and her mother are constantly at odds with one another. They are equally tenacious women who don’t take no jive from nobody and stubbornly believe they know what’s best for everyone. Hippolyta, being the Queen of the Amazons, takes the position, and that of Diana’s mother, incredibly seriously…frighteningly so.
After Steve Trevor died the first time, Wonder Woman was apparently so stricken with grief that Hippolyta had Diana’s memory of the event removed from her mind in order to save her from the heartbreak. Despite her good intentions, Diana eventually learned her mother mind-wiped her and she wasn’t happy. After all, who would be? Out of anger, Diana disowns her mother, creating a rift between the two women that wouldn’t get solved anytime soon thereafter.
9. HER MOTHER DYING
During the event “Our Wars At War”, the insanely powerful alien tyrant Imperiex is laying siege to the entire universe. Nearly every hero, and even many villains, is called on deck to help thwart off the awesome attacks. Throughout the course of the event, Wonder Woman and Hippolyta have yet another argument. Leading up to their fight, the two women had been fighting over the Wonder Woman title; each firmly believed they ought to have it.
Finally, in a bold declaration, Diana screams to Hippolyta that her mother is no Wonder Woman. It was the last time they would speak, as soon after, she sacrificed herself to save the Earth, proving to her daughter, and readers, that she had what it took to be Wonder Woman. Diana regretted her final harsh words, crying uncontrollably over the broken and burnt form of her dead mother.
8. KILLING MAX LORD
Perhaps the most well-known out of any and all notorious actions Wonder Woman has committed is the killing of the madman Max Lord. After Max Lord mind-controls Superman in Wonder Woman #219 and goads him into fighting and nearly killing Wonder Woman, the Amazon Princess is having none of it. Their fight comes to end when she momentarily distracts Superman, lassos Max Lord, and snaps his neck, killing him.
It was a bad day that only got worse. Max had filmed the ordeal; the whole world watched Wonder Woman commit murder. No longer was she seen as pure and the people she protected no longer trusted her. Even friends like Batman and Superman wanted little, if anything, to do with her, feeling she had broken the sacred rule of not killing. The wedge Max’s death drove between Wonder Woman and the rest of the world ate at her none-stop.
7. BLINDING HERSELF TO FIGHT MEDUSA
Perseus killed long ago Medusa, but then her two sisters confronted Circe and forced the witch to resurrect her. Drawing breath once more, Medusa is out to take vengeance on the Champion of the Gods, which just so happens to be Wonder Woman. Medusa attacks the White House and an embassy, but Wonder Woman foils each attack. Diana is incensed by Medusa’s callous disregard for human life and nearly kills the Gorgon, but is interrupted by Medusa’s calling out to Ares and invoking a proper challenge that Diana cannot refuse.
The two fight in a baseball stadium and as the battle intensifies, Wonder Woman realizes she won’t be able to not look at Medusa for much longer. So she blinds herself. Wonder Woman then kills the monster, but her blindness lasts for a while and her friends don’t trust her or her fighting skills, considering her a liability.
6. ARTEMIS DYING IN DIANA’S PLACE
When Hippolyta caught wind of a prophecy stating that Wonder Woman would soon die in battle, the Queen of the Amazons did everything to prevent Diana’s death. No matter the cost, Hippolyta’s resolve was absolute. She formed a new contest that would determine a new Wonder Woman. Diana entered of course, as did her fellow Amazon, Artemis.
The contest was rigged however for Diana to lose, and she did lose; Artemis became the new Wonder Woman. She did a hell of a job, but true to the prophecy, she got killed. Diana was emotionally wrecked by the loss, even more so after discovering her mother’s trickery. Horrified with letting someone else take her place, Diana would even travel to Hell itself to save and retrieve her dear friend.
5. GOING EVIL IN INJUSTICE
Wonder Woman is generally seen as a shining beacon of love and hope, so when the character made a complete reversal and started murdering people in the series Injustice, it was a hard pill to swallow. After Superman accidentally kills Lois Lane, thanks to the Joker, he murders the villain. From there, he decides Earth ought to be ruled with an iron fist. Wonder Woman agrees, but this Wonder Woman also takes advantage of the situation to try and nuzzle up to Superman in a way she hadn’t while Lois was alive.
In trying to prove her dedication, Wonder Woman kills Captain Atom, Huntress, and is willing to kill anyone else who gets in her or Superman’s way. It was a frightening change and when Wonder Woman proper met her now-evil doppelganger, she was appalled by the carnage Injustice Wonder Woman had wrought.
4. GETTING KILLED BY STEPPENWOLF
The world of Earth 2 is a very different and horrifying place than the one we know. When Darkseid originally attacked the planet, the Justice League combated the titanic threat and pushed back the New God and his mad assault. On Earth 2, our heroes are not so lucky. Darkseid’s initial invasion is a success and the world’s heroes are fighting to preserve what little life there is left.
Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, in one last hurrah, mobilize, having put together a stratagem that could defeat Darkseid’s minions. Wonder Woman and Superman throw themselves into battle, serving as distractions so Batman can fulfill his plan, yet they know it’s all but a suicide mission. Still, readers and Wonder Woman alike were taken aback by the sudden arrival of Darkseid’s general Steppenwolf and the brutality by which he kills Wonder Woman, impaling her completely with a massive sword.
3. WHEN SHE WORE A LEATHER JACKET
During the Wonder Woman arc known as “Odyssey”, starting with issue #600 of the beloved series, a brand new style of craziness was added to the Amazing Amazon’s life. The story itself introduced Wonder Woman to an alternate timeline that the Gods had created. In this new reality, Paradise Island had been destroyed and the Amazons were now scattered around the planet.
It was a complete and utter reboot, the kind of which that left many fans more than disgruntled. Yet perhaps the most alarming change was Wonder Woman’s new outfit, or rather her leather jacket. While she’s worn leather jackets before, this time around it felt like such a complete and utter departure from the character and her iconic costume. While it might have tried to modernize Wonder Woman, it only further removed her from her fanbase and potential readers.
2. LOSING HER POWERS BACK IN THE ’60s
Superheroes lose their powers from time to time — it kind of comes with the job description. Yet few superheroes can claim to have lost their powers for as long as Wonder Woman did back in the ’60s. Around this time, the Amazons had decided to leave the world, instead choosing to relocate to another dimension so that they could restore their magic. Wonder Woman, believing Man’s World still needed her, refused to go.
So she surrendered her powers back over to the Amazons — Wonder Woman’s people left, and she stayed. Now powerless, Wonder Woman assumed the identity of Diana Prince and became a mod boutique owner. She also starts training under I Ching, who teaches Diana how to fight without powers. It wasn’t an easy time for the heroine.
1. LEAVING PARADISE ISLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME
When Diana of Themyscira left Paradise Island as Wonder Woman for the first time, it came with the understanding she would probably never return. She was being sent as an ambassador to Man’s World in the attempt to bring peace to a people many thought was beyond saving. Diana did not; even though she possessed all the skills necessary to make for a valued emissary, leaving her mother and friends, potentially forever, was not easy.
Not to mention the culture shock of it all. Imagine leaving a land of perfect bliss and venturing as a stranger into an even stranger world. That’s what Diana had to endure. She knew no one when she ventured over to Man’s World and only by luck was she able to meet the people who would become like a second family to her and help her to fight the battles that needed to be fought.
Are there any other horrible moments in Wonder Woman’s history we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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