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Wonder Woman: Whatever Happened to Jim Lee's Costume?

Wonder Woman Jim Lee costume header

As one of the flagship DC characters, it's not surprising that Wonder Woman has gone through a number of redesigns and costume changes over the years. Each of her looks has put its own spin on the iconic, classic look of Diana Prince.

However, one of the most surprisingly controversial changes to her look came in 2010, when DC Comic Co-Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee crafted a new costume for Wonder Woman, just a year before he would do it again in the wake of Flashpoint. Now, we're taking a closer look at Wonder Woman's short-lived costume from the "Odyssey" era and why it disappeared.

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What Was The Costume?

This Wonder Woman costume was designed with a more modern sense of style. Diana no longer wore the blue and red spandex costume she's primarily worn versions of since she was first introduced in 1941. This costume gave a red armor top and a full-length pair of black pants. She also began wearing a very Black Canary-esque leather jacket. She largely loses the blue elements of the costume, trading it out for black. The costume also includes a chocker, which is an... interesting choice given Wonder Woman's history with the concept of dominance.

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However, the costume was largely tied to a single overarching story arc that purposefully cut off Wonder Woman from the rest of the DC Universe. As a result, Wonder Woman didn't spread out across the universe in the new look, which may have helped contribute with the costume's overall failure to connect with readers. The costume was even met with controversy when it was first introduced, accused of losing connection with the older history of the costume. However, given the story it was telling, it does make sense why Diana would receive such an updated look to reflect the changes to her life.

Why Did She Get It?

Wonder Woman Jim Lee Costume

The new costume coincided with the release of Wonder Woman #600, the first part in the larger "Odyssey" storyline. Diana suddenly wakes up in an altered reality where Themyscira was never protected by the Gods. It's long been destroyed: even Queen Hippolyta is dead. Diana was smuggled off the island as a baby and raised among modern society. This new direction, penned by J. Michael Straczynski and primarily penciled by Don Kramer, aligned Wonder Woman's closer to that of Superman. Therefore, her general look would be more defined by modern conventions instead of more ceremonial attire.

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Diana found herself contending with the machinations of the Morrigan, who had a role in the apparent destruction of Themyscira. She slowly learned about the reality that should have existed, as the Morrigan tried to recruit her to her cause so they could lead an army of the dead to take over the Earth. It's revealed that the Morrigan was working for the Greek Goddess Nemesis, who had stolen Wonder Woman's form and powers for herself. Diana defeats her in battle however and regains her sense of self.

When Did She Stop Wearing the Costume?

In the 2011 crossover Flashpoint, the Flash accidentally altered reality and create a far darker DC Universe as a result. Like everyone else in the universe, Wonder Woman was radically altered and turned into an outright murderous monarch of a Themyscira that would be willing to try and conquer the world around her, and she had a new, more war-like costume while she did this. After the crossover gave way to the New 52, Wonder Woman began wearing a more updated version of her old look.

But even if she hadn't been rewritten by a company-wide crossover, it's unlikely the Jim Lee costume would have lasted much longer. This Jim Lee costume was ultimately tailored for one specific story, and its more modern design was connected to her new origins that tied her closer to modern culture instead of the ancient Greek ways.

Wonder Woman has been rebooted multiple times since then, both as a result of (and in response to) Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's run on the character as a part of the New 52. With each new direction, her costume has been tweaked or restored to an earlier form, even by Jim Lee for the New 52's rebooted Justice League. The Jim Lee costume was an interesting attempt at modernizing Wonder Woman's aesthetic, but it didn't have the staying power to stand on its own outside of the story it was tied to.

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