WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Wonder Woman #82 by Steve Orlando, Kieran McKeown, Scott Hanna, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Pat Brosseau, Rafael Albuquerque and Dave Stewart, on sale now.
Everyone knows about Diana of Themyscira, but do you know about Peng Deilan, China's very own Wonder Woman? Apparently, Wonder Woman didn't know about her Chinese counter-part either, because in Wonder Woman #82 she met Deilan in a confrontation that left Diana humbled in the wake of her counterpart's might. For those unfamiliar with the extended world of heroes in DC, Deilan's appearance might feel abrupt or sudden. Despite the character first appearing in 2016, she hasn't become a house-hold name.
This is a shame, because Peng Deilan's story is utterly wild and unlike any other. Let's explore China's very own Wonder-Woman.
Deilan is a Literal Cosmic Snake Who Fought a Shapeshifting Turtle. Really.
Peng Deilan, unlike Wonder Woman, is in actuality a cosmic entity who fell in love with another cosmic entity. Ancient Buddhist texts speak of the six worlds -- the realms of Gods, Demigods, Animals, Humans, Ghosts, and Hell. The only way to transfer to another realm is to be reborn through reincarnation. Should any creature be born into one of these realms, it would defy the laws of order and balance if they should cross over.
However, when a white snake from the Realm of Animals fancied a human boy from the Realm of Humans, she naturally wanted to transfer to the human world. This required gathering her qi -- or life force -- in order to transform. She needed help, so resorted to asking her friend, the green snake, to help her gather energy. The two would amass enough fuel to transform. However, not everyone was on board with the white snake's plan. Most critical of all was an old turtle named Fahai.
Still, the white and green snakes transformed, and while the white snake and the boy fell in love, the green snake realized she too longed to be in the boy's arms. When the white snake and the boy announced their engagement, the green snake felt jealous. But when a sorcerer -- in fact, the old turtle Fahai in disguise -- attacked the white snake on her wedding day, the green snake defended her friend, striking Fahai into the ocean. But before she finished the turtle off for good, the turtle cursed the green snake, turning her to stone.
She would remain imprisoned in stone for centuries, until Doctor Omen set her free, giving her the name Peng Deilan. She would join the Justice League of China, taking the name of her personal source of inspiration: Wonder Woman. Only, like many of her other counterparts, she'd take the name "Wonder-Woman" to distinguish herself just enough from her Western counterpart. The Justice League of China has become a force for good in the East, combating the threats the Justice League of America might not realize are brewing across the Pacific Ocean.
In many respects, due to the massive amount of qi Deilan has accumulated, she is on par with Wonder Woman in terms of sheer power. This is due to her ability to gather and manipulate energy. Like Wonder Woman, she has increased physical strength and durability. Her lasso, rather than an enchanted weapon given to her, is an extension of her own snake skin, able to be manipulated like any other part of her body.
In addition to her lasso, she also wields a guandao, a Chinese polearm used to hack and thrust through opponents. It offers her far greater reach than a normal sword, keeping enemies at a distance. In addition, Deilan developed acute psychic abilities. As a snake, she couldn't form words with her mouth, so she utilized these psychic powers to communicate. Upon transforming into a human, this ability didn't go away.
Oh, and did we mention she can still transform into a gigantic snake at will?
These abilities give her an edge, in many respects, over Diana, making her a force that should be taken very, very seriously.