Princess Diana of Themyscira, Wonder Woman, is not only an emissary of love and peace, but she’s a representative of women across the globe. Since her creation, she was always meant to be a powerful force for good and to help put women in a more positive light. Since 1941, the Amazing Amazon has been a feminist icon unlike any other. She stood up for women’s rights long before the real world caught up with her. As the years wore on and Wonder Woman became more and more recognized, so too did her influence.
Her stories evolved, focusing on inclusivity and not letting anyone tell you whom you could and couldn’t be. Her universal message of love and tolerance sparked an ember in a many a reader, inspiring her fans to in turn become better versions of themselves. Once the 2017 Wonder Woman movie blew up worldwide, people around the globe felt more connected to the Amazon Princess than ever before. In spite of all the good Wonder Woman’s brought to both the world in and out of comics, there’s been many mishaps and unfortunate moments along the way. Today at CBR we’re looking at the most offensive versions of Wonder Woman.
15 FLASHPOINT WONDER WOMAN
If you like Wonder Woman bloodthirsty and hell-bent on taking over the civilized world, then Flashpoint Wonder Woman is for you. The complete opposite for everything that Princess Diana stands for, this is one version of the Amazing Amazon that we have the superhero the Flash to blame for. Late one night, when the Flash was feeling gloomy, he ran back in time to prevent his mother’s death. This sent massive ripples throughout the timestream, resulting in a brave new world where Wonder Woman and Aquaman were at war, Bruce Wayne was dead, and Superman was a prisoner of the U.S. government.
Having been driven beyond reason, this Wonder Woman had no problem hanging people by the neck with her Lasso of Truth and didn’t feel compassion. She wanted Aquaman’s head on a spike and the rest of the world could wither and die for all she cared.
14 NBC PILOT WONDER WOMAN
Nearly everything in the 2011 NBC Wonder Woman is a perfect example of what not to do with the Amazon Princess. Over the last couple of year, the pilot has been battered relentlessly for being an abomination. Even its star, Adrienne Palicki, has spoken out about how lucky she feels that the show wasn’t picked up.
One can only feel embarrassment for anyone involved in the pilot. Frankly put, it was such an awful departure from the source material and there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reasons for the bizarre changes. There wasn’t a sense of direction to the Wonder Woman pilot. To make matters worse, Adrienne Pallicki was unnecessarily dolled up. It got to the point where her appearance was anything but flattering and gave the wrong message about the superhero.
13 '40s AND '50s ERA WONDER WOMAN
Ever since Wonder Woman first appeared back in All Star Comics in 1941, she’s experienced loads more hardship then many of her superhero male colleagues. While in the ‘40s she would help fight the Nazis, things took a darker turn the moment things like bondage and making her the secretary to the Justice Society of America were introduced. In spite of being a feminist icon, she didn’t receive all the respect she deserved. Often enough, you’d find her getting tied up by men spouting dialogue about how women were inferior.
Throughout the ‘50s, the powers that be wanted Wonder Woman more feminine, rather than going on manly adventures. To that end, the character was forced into never-ending romantic escapades with Steve Trevor. No longer was she saving him, but now he would periodically be rescuing her, all the while trying to find elaborate ways to have Wonder Woman marry him.
12 NAZI WONDER WOMAN
When there’s an evil Superman, an evil Wonder Woman is usually not far behind. There’s probably nothing more offensive than Nazis, but in the DC Multiverse, the Third Reich rules one of the worst worlds of all. The JL-Axis, the alternate version of the Justice League of America control their Earth, Earth-10, with an iron fist. In their timeline, Germany won World War II and the JL-Axis acts as superpowered agents of the Nazi party.
In turn, this means they help enforce the edicts imposed by Hitler, stating that the strong are taken away for breeding, with those who have the weakest genes are slaughtered in mass genocides. Having a completely evil Diana that’s fallen under the Nazi sway, is more than a little unsettling.
11 JUSTICE LEAGUE RECEPTIONIST WONDER WOMAN
Before the idea of gender and sexual equality were ideas in the minds everyone, female characters didn’t necessarily get treated well. Still, it made sense that Wonder Woman, being the powerhouse that she is, would eventually end up meeting the Justice Society of America. However, Hawkman, the resident team leader, wasn’t impressed with Wonder Woman’s ability to lift tanks and thought a better usage of her abilities was to offer her the prestigious role of "honorary secretary."
So while the rest of the JSA would be out punching Nazis, the nearly indestructible women with super speed, and unbreakable bracelets was going to be taking notes at a desk. Some have tried to explain this wretched chapter in her history, blaming backroom editorial/publishing politics. No matter, having comics' most prominent heroine gaze longingly up to the sky, wishing she could help is pretty awful.
10 TV MOVIE WONDER WOMAN
Let’s make a Wonder Woman TV show, but instead of having it be a series, it’ll be a TV movie! Next, let’s make Princess Diana blonde, give her an Olympic-looking star-spangled tracksuit, and remove nearly every iota of “wonder” from her. Does that work? Excellent!
That’s likely the conversation that transpired when discussing the Wonder Woman TV movie from the ‘70s. In a story that seemed made up as it went along, the Wonder Woman TV movie featured our titular Wonder Woman chasing exotic criminals and getting seduced in discotheques. Starring Cathy Lee Crosby, ABC didn’t care that she had a utility belt and not a lasso, or that she was prone to karate chopping her assailants. Plagued by assassins, who were genderless twins with frightening hair, Wonder Woman also defeated a snake with a bowl of milk -- clearly they took a misstep along the way.
9 CRIME SYNDICATE WONDER WOMAN
Thanks to the Multiverse, there’s a bunch of doppelgangers of fan-favorite heroes running around. One of the most notorious and malevolent parallel groups of the Justice League is the Crime Syndicate. From Earth-3, they’re pure evil. This included Wonder Woman’s counterpart, Superwoman. It would later be explained that she was a renegade Amazon who’d fled over to Man’s World.
When Superwoman appeared in Grant Morrison’s reboot of the Crime Syndicate, she was made worse than ever before. Aside from dressing rather inappropriately, she was now a former resident of Damnation Island and had opted to murder all her fellow Amazons before moving to the U.S. She’s incredibly manipulative, having two lovers, Ultraman and Owlman, and constantly plays them against each other, all the while brandishing a Cheshire cat grin.
8 INJUSTICE WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman is a shining emblem of love and hope. She has nothing but blissful love and kindly feeling for everyone she meets, even if they are villainous. So the idea of Wonder Woman’s character taking a complete one-eighty and suddenly have her murdering people with zero compunction, as seen in the Injustice series, was a hard pill to swallow.
Thanks to the Joker, Superman accidentally murdered Lois Lane. In turn, he kills the maniacal villain. Taking things a step further, he decides Earth needs to be ruled. Wonder Woman agrees. Things also take a sleazy turn when this Diana tries to take advantage of the situation to nuzzle up to Superman in a way she hadn’t while Lois was alive. In trying to prove her dedication, Wonder Woman was willing to kill anyone who got in her or Superman’s way.
7 ODYSSEY WONDER WOMAN
During the Wonder Woman arc "Odyssey", beginning with issue #600, brand new craziness was introduced to the Amazing Amazon’s life. In what was an utter tonal shift, the story introduced Wonder Woman to an alternate timeline the Gods had created. In this new reality, Paradise Island had been destroyed and the Amazons were scattered across the world.
It was a complete reboot in everything but name alone. The sudden change left many fans more than disgruntled. However, the most alarming change was Wonder Woman’s new outfit, or rather her biker jacket. While she’d worn leather jackets before, this time around it felt like such a complete departure from the character and her iconic costume. The goal was to try and modernize Wonder Woman and make her accessible to people, but it did the opposite and only distanced her from her fanbase and potential readers.
During the Silver Age, at least where DC Comics was concerned, it seemed that nearly every major superhero, or at least Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, were required to either get turned into children or meet their child selves. None of it made any sense, but nobody seemed to care. While Batman might have gotten Bat-baby, Wonder Woman got Wonder-Tot. Her mental state was terribly insulting, as she spoke like a caveman; her name sounded like it needed ketchup on the side. To make things super sketchy, things took a bizarre turn when the character Mer-Mite tried to court this frighteningly young child. It was weird.
Before the story could finish, time travel got involved, and brought together Wonder-Tot, Wonder Girl, and Wonder Woman. The whole thing ended up being some bizarre scheme by Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s mother.
5 TACO-MAKING WONDER WOMAN
Even though Wonder Woman is all about female empowerment and is a major feminist icon, misogynistic men have controlled every aspect of the Amazon Princess. As a result, Diana’s been thrust into situations that are anything but reflective about the positive representation of women.
Take for example when Wonder Woman was forced to serve tacos for a living. Granted, she’s pretty excellent at her job; having the powers of the Greek Gods at your disposal would likely assist in making a mean taco. Even so, there’s no reason for her to do it. Wonder Woman is not clueless. She understands hardship and hard work; she knows life isn’t easy for everyone. There are better ways to demonstrate that Wonder Woman is just like all of us. While most people should work retail or food service just to know what it's like, Wonder Woman ought to get a pass.
4 WHO'S AFRAID OF DIANA PRINCE
Back in the glorious days on of the ‘60s, 20th Century Fox TV decided to go ahead and try and make a Wonder Woman TV show. It was called Who's Afraid Of Diana Prince and it was an unmitigated disaster. In an effort to build upon the success of the 1966 Batman TV series, the producers decided that yes, they were going to make a Wonder Woman TV show, but no, they weren’t going to keep any of her appealing characteristics or make the show anything remotely like the comics. Instead, they were going to make the program a comedy.
This unearthed pilot from 1967 was very much a comedy, but made through the lens of a misogynistic Hollywood era. It doesn’t bother to make Diana a strong, self-assured woman, but instead she’s nagged by her mother for not having a husband and she goes about admiring herself in the mirror, calling herself a “foolish girl”.
3 RED SON WONDER WOMAN
Because of course everyone wants a Wonder Woman who desperately pines for Superman’s attention. If you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm; nobody wants a Wonder Woman like that. In Mark Millar’s 2003 three-part Elseworlds series Superman: Red Son, Superman rules the world. Wonder Woman, throughout most of the story, is madly in love with Superman, but can’t seem to take a hint that he doesn’t feel the same way back. Instead, the Red Man of Steel uses her affections to his advantage, making her serve him at his beck and call. It isn’t until Batman’s death, that she suspects the truth.
As the world finally uniting against Superman, realizing he’s become a dictator, the Green Lantern Marine Corps tries and fails to stop him. Wonder Woman, finally seeing the evil Superman for who he is, leads her Amazonian army to fight him...she barely slows him down.
2 HOMEMAKER WONDER WOMAN
After the Golden Age, Wonder Woman comics changed. Throughout the early years of the Silver Age, many of these changes weren’t necessarily for the best. Rather than fighting bad guys, Wonder Woman spent a ridiculous amount of time with Steve Trevor. Inexplicably, Steve was also obsessed with plotting convoluted ways to try and get Wonder Woman to marry him. In Wonder Woman #127, after Steve is almost killed, Wonder Woman decides to play the happy homemaker for the military man. It doesn’t work out like he hoped.
Instead of endless romance, their romantic excursions keep getting interrupted; Wonder Woman helps out everyone she encounters. And as it turns out, she isn’t a good cook either. Exhausted, Steve finally exclaims, “if only I weren’t married to you!” Turns out it was a hallucination, but he said that last bit aloud, when he woke up. Wonder Woman wasn’t pleased.
1 '90s WONDER WOMAN
When Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, heard a prophecy stating that Wonder Woman would die in battle, the Queen of the Amazons did everything in her power to ensure Diana’s safety. Hippolyta even created a new contest to determine a new Wonder Woman. Diana entered, as did her fellow Amazon Artemis, but the contest was rigged from the start for Diana to lose, and lose she did. Artemis became the new Wonder Woman.
After losing her title, Princess Diana adopted a new, hideous look. Now sporting skintight shorts, a leather bra that did little in offering any modesty, and funky blue leather jacket, there was nothing redeeming about her costume. You wouldn’t find anyone running around the grungy ‘90s in a metal bikini, so why do it to Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman readers, despite enjoying the story, couldn’t believe their eyes at the sight of Diana prancing around so scantily dressed.