WAR & PEACE: PARAPHERNALIA
There's something oddly carnal about the word "paraphernalia," particularly as it relates to Wonder Woman (see Mars Getsoian's "Athena, Aphrodite, and the Evolution of Obedience"). It immediately brings to mind a word like "paraphilia," a technical term for a sexual attraction of an unusual or pathological nature (see the similarities?). So is it possible that paraphernalia means something other than we think it does? Sadly, a quick trip to Webster's Dictionary reveals that it doesn't, in fact, mean an uncontrollable desire to use weaponry in the act of sexual stimulation. Then again, Webster's Dictionary wasn't written by the Amazons (yes, they actually use weapons during foreplay; see "Wonder Woman" #37 for details).
However, the dictionary does contain the obscure reference to "a married woman's personal property exclusive of her dowry." The princess Diana - also known as Wonder Woman - isn't married and has no dowry, but she does possess some of the most powerful personal property in all of the DC Universe. And there's something both feminine (most of her weapons are also jewelry) and erotic (the lasso is invested with all sorts of bondage imagery) about those items. Green Lantern's fine piece of jewelry pales in comparison; it's just not as sexy.
Sex is only part of the equation, though. Diana is a warrior from a technologically advanced, martial and mystical society, and has a bevy of fearsome weapons at her disposal to serve in her fight against evil. This article will discuss some of the more prominent weaponry she's used over the last two decades.
The Golden Tiara
Diana's tiara, a sign of her royal station, is also one of her deadliest offensive weapons. It's a divine construct made from an alloy that's harder than diamond. She often utilizes it as a razor-sharp boomerang to stun, lacerate or decapitate her opponents.
With the use of a device called "The Mental Radio," the tiara's bejeweled star becomes a means by which Diana is able to telepathically communicate with her mother and sister Amazons on Themyscira (a.k.a. Paradise Island).
The Bracelets of the Aegis
Formed from Athena's nigh-indestructible aegis (which, in turn, was formed from the hide of Zeus' goat wet-nurse, Amalthea), Diana's enchanted and indestructible bracelets (also called vambraces) are capable of deflecting all manner of projectiles and energies - from machine gun fire to Darkseid's Omega beams to the combined might of the Olympian pantheon. When the bracelets are crossed, they create a force field that protects her from concussive forces and radiation.
Recently, the bracelets have been able to produce defensive lightning-burst attacks that seem to activate whenever Diana is in grave danger. The nature of this latest ability is as of yet undetermined, but is, most likely, related to the power of Zeus.
The Lariat of Hestia
Created from Gaea's Girdle, the fiery lariat is capable of quite a number of fascinating feats. Tapping into and magnifying Diana's innate truth ability, it can force anyone within its confines to submit to and speak the truth. It gives Diana access to the innermost reaches of the bound person's soul, where she can witness events as they actually happened (truth), rather than as one recalls that they happened (memory).
The lariat can stretch to any length. It can be used to break psychic deception, telepathic manipulation and mind control. It can restore memories. It has anti-mystical properties that can be utilized to protect Diana, or anyone encircled by it, from mystical attacks by creating a seemingly impenetrable circle of fire around her. It is also able to destroy mystical constructs. She has also used it as a whip.
Diana's used it to teleport herself, and anyone else within its confines, over great distances. The lasso is specifically attuned to her; it obeys her commands (even when she isn't near) and it cannot be used by anyone else - although, it seems that her sister, Donna, who shares Diana's innate truth ability, can utilize it to some extent; and Genocide, a creature made from Diana's future corpse, was able to use it as well.
No god or mortal can escape the lasso once bound or break its bonds; only Diana can release them from bondage. The lasso can only be broken, at great consequence to the fabric of reality, by Diana's lack of faith in truth.
The Sword of Hephaestus
This sword - forged by Hephaestus, the god of technology - is so sharp that it can shave the electrons off an atom. The sword is capable of cutting Daxamites, Kryptonians, and other mythological or super-powered beings. Diana generally uses this weapon in cosmic battles or when facing tremendous threats.
The Amazon Battle Axe
The axe is an enchanted weapon forged by the Amazon, Io. Diana uses this weapon against all manner of mythological beasts and deities. Most recently, she used it to spilt open the head of her greatest enemy, Ares, the god of war.
The Golden Eagle Armor
The Golden Eagle Armor is an Amazon-crafted, ceremonial body armor that Diana wears for extra protection during big battles. It can be sealed for use under extreme conditions like the vacuum of space or the pressures of the ocean depths. The armor's wings enhance her aerial dexterity.
The Sandals of Hermes
Bequeathed to Diana by the speed god, Hermes, the sandals allow the wearer to fly at great speeds and safely transverse dimensional barriers. Diana used the sandals to travel back and forth between the otherworldly Themyscira, and Patriarch's world. She's also used the sandals to access Asgard, Hades, and various other mythological locales.
The Gauntlets of Atlas
The Gauntlets of Atlas can increase the wearer's strength and stamina by a factor of ten.
The Invisible Jet
The Invisible Jet is actually a sentient, highly-advanced technological life form from an alien species known as "The Ring." Once possessed of morphing abilities, the Lansarian (as it is erroneously called) is now frozen in the form of Diana's jet.
Although she can fly under her own power, Diana's uses the jet as a convenient way to transport passengers and cargo. The state-of-the-art jet responds to Diana's (and only Diana's) telepathic commands, is able to attain supersonic speeds, is equipped with invisible missiles and other weapons, is capable of complex aerial maneuvers and space travel, can hover indefinitely, can operate underwater, and uses a perpetual clean-energy source (graviton particles).
The jet is invisible to all measure of detection (infra-red, heat, radar, sonar, etc.). Despite beliefs to the contrary, all passengers and cargo, once inside the jet, are also invisible.
Diana also uses a variety of swords, shields, clubs, axes, quarterstaffs, staves, bows and arrows, and daggers when entering the battlefield.
If you could have any one item from Diana's arsenal, which would you choose?
Robert Jones, Jr. is a freelance writer from Brooklyn, NY. He is webmaster of the blog Son of Baldwin, and is currently working on his first novel.