With Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” set for June, more details are starting to emerge regarding the Amazonian’s conquests and what shaped her identity before she touched down in full war-mode in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Diana Prince played a critical role in defeating Doomsday in her cinematic debut courtesy of Zack Snyder, and new information has come to light regarding Ares, God of War, as the main antagonist.
Given her extensive list of rogues in the comics, as well as what she’s accomplished as part of the Justice League Trinity, there are quite a few options available as to whom she can face off on-screen. With DC Rebirth also rejigging her history, the door’s been blown wide open as to who can claim to be the fiercest she’s faced. Thusly, CBR decided to assess 15 of Wonder Woman’s strongest opponents.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Wonder Woman comics
15. MAX LORD
Max Lord was a benefactor and a key cog in the Justice League International team. Recently, he resurfaced in the comics, pitting the League against the Suicide Squad, but his past machinations as part of the evil syndicate, Checkmate, stand out the most. He’s most renowned for putting a bullet through his superhero ally, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), killing him without remorse.
He got his comeuppance, though, at Diana’s hands. Lord was distrustful of super-humans and used the Brother Eye satellite system to plot against them, culminating in him controlling Superman and forcing the Man of Steel to fight Wonder Woman. She ended up snapping Lord’s neck to cease his control over Superman, which was broadcast live to the world, and also fractured the Trinity. He admitted killing him was the only way to end the debacle, and so she did, which proved that Lord was just as cerebral as he was maniacal. His mind control abilities, plotting several steps ahead and overall, arrogance, make him one of the most dangerous humans she’s ever faced.
The daughter of Myrina Black and the destroyer of worlds, Darkseid, Grail was secretly born on Themyscira on the same night as Diana’s birth. Her history with Wonder Woman runs quite deep as Myrina saw Diana and her twin brother, Jason, born to Hippolyta that fateful night too. Growing up hating both her father and the Amazonians, she helped start “The Darkseid War” while manipulating the League, Anti-Monitor and last but not least, Steve Trevor, in the process to subjugate Darkseid and kill Wonder Woman.
Grail proved to be one of the most dominant warriors our hero ever faced. Grail not only took it to Wonder Woman, she also punished the other Justice Leaguers physically as well. Putting Steve Trevor under her control was just the icing on the cake, because Grail was able to force Diana and Steve to battle each other. Bearing powers similar to her father, including Omega beams, Grail was a near-perfect combatant, and pushed Wonder Woman’s team to the brink of destruction.
Medusa is quite the storied individual in Greek mythology, with a gaze that turns folks into stone, and in DC’s lore, that status quo was maintained, especially as one of Wonder Woman’s biggest rivals. Cursed by Athena for catching the eye of Poseidon, Medusa waged war on Diana as part of her everlasting revenge scheme, aligning with Ares from time to time. Wonder Woman eventually decapitated her, but Medusa proved a tough one to put down, popping back up in Gotham.
She later incurred the wrath of Batwoman (Kathy Kane) as she transferred her ire from the Amazonian homeland to something more ground level. What makes Medusa so dangerous is how much she despises Diana’s heritage, humanity and just how far she’s willing to go to seek vengeance on everyone that spurned her in life. Medusa is often portrayed as a stone-cold killer ready to break Diana on every possible level.
In Greek mythology, Eris caused the Trojan War and this act of violence is what helped empower her as the goddess of strife and discord. Her schemes remain as consistent as ever in DC lore and these are built on her hatred for Hippolyta and Diana, which in turn shifts her gaze, venomously, towards mankind. Earlier incarnations of DC’s Eris depicted her as Ares’ daughter, fueling up on hate to usurp her father, allying with the likes of Circe and Hades at times, and often running afoul of the God of War.
She’s as manipulative as they gets and the New 52 upped the ante even more with the help of writer Brian Azzarello, alongside artist Cliff Chiang. Strife is Wonder Woman’s half-sister through Zeus, and is seen as a petulant drunk. She maintains her role as the chief architect of chaos and discord, using confusion, paranoia and mental manipulation to trick people into warfare. She also has the ability to alter her size, making her an incredibly difficult adversary to overcome.
11. BARONESS PAULA VON GUNTHER
Baroness Paula von Gunther is one of Wonder Woman’s most polarizing villains to date. She committed several atrocities as a Nazi, but she’s also been written as a sympathetic figure. This dichotomy makes her very unpredictable and also highly dangerous. It was eventually revealed that she worked for the Nazis because they held her daughter, Gerta, captive. This would push Wonder Woman defend her in court and lead the Amazons to take both her and her daughter in, with the Baroness even saving Diana’s life from an explosion.
This allowed her to be trained in the ways of the Amazons, becoming a true part of Themyscira. However, fans would do well to remember how her dealings with the occult ended up with a possession by the Dark Angel entity. This led to Donna Troy’s origin and in this form, the Baroness transcended from being a skilled Amazonian-like warrior to a dark mystic capable of time-control, teleportation and altering even altering the timestream.
10. SILVER SWAN
The Silver Swan’s another of Wonder Woman’s rogues who has proven to be quite tempestuous. The earliest incarnation, Helen Alexandros, was a spurned ballet dancer who was mutated by Ares to be used as an instrument of way while the other, Valerie Beaudry, was experimented on (a la Captain America) in the midst of becoming Diana’s ally. However, the version that stands out most is Vanessa Kapatelis. She was an avid fan and eventual friend of Diana, who was manipulated into hating her.
Dr. Psycho and Circe transformed her into a terrorist and all-out killing machine, with Vanessa also focusing on Wonder Girl due to an incensed jealousy of her relationship with Wonder Woman. It’s very similar to the Electro relationship we saw in Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Not to be mixed up with the Black Canary, Silver Swan also has hypersonic screams, only instead of saving people, she’d be a lot more likely to use that power to devastate huge landscapes.
Genocide is the dark reflection of Wonder Woman, created by Ares from a version of her corpse taken from the future. He used the soil of locations where genocidal acts took place and, with the aid of Barbara Minerva (Cheetah) and Dr. T.O. Morrow, they fused science with the magic of Felix Faust to reanimate the body. The conspirators were shocked to see how bloodthirsty and uncontrollable this monstrosity was, but Ares took no heed as he wanted to use it as a weapon to defeat the gods.
The entity not only took down Wonder Woman, but it also was able to use her lasso of truth since she was still technically Diana herself. So powerful was Genocide that even the Justice League found difficulty in stemming its threat, which does sound familiar to the role Doomsday plays against Superman. Genocide definitely takes after Ares in terms of how cold, cruel and cutthroat she is when it comes to exacting vengeance on Wonder Woman and her loved ones.
8. MORGAINE LE FEY
Morgaine le Fey is one of Diana’s greatest mystical threats. Hailing from Arthurian times, her feud with Merlin spilled over into an immortal rivalry with Jason Blood and the demon, Etrigan, but later on, she’d end up crossing swords with Wonder Woman. The sorceress, in the Post-Crisis era, craved Wonder Woman’s eternal youth and desperately tried to steal it, unsuccessfully at that. This would lead to several battles with Diana, as well as with the Trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman teamed up).
Often seen in the “Justice League” cartoons, her black magic abilities often fell short against Diana, but not before pushing her boundaries. She was able to transport Wonder Woman to another dimension known as The Nether Plane, where she was able to fight Diana on the premise that the winner would get to keep Wonder Woman’s Amazonian fighting skills (although it was really just her immortal essence that le Fey wanted most). Ever since Merlin robbed her of her youth and beauty, Morgan le Fey has worn a golden set of armor to mask her withered body and this is what leads her on her quest to bind and steal Diana’s immortal life force.
7. THE FIRST BORN
The First Born is the ultimate Grecian god in Wonder Woman’s mythos. As the first child of Zeus and Hera, he was cast out from Mount Olympus at birth because it was foretold that he would lay waste to Zeus’ empire. He survived the harsh wilderness in the care of hyenas and grew in power, setting out to catch his father’s eye. His feats failed to garner any approval, so he turned to a more aggressive route and assembled an army to march on Olympus directly.
He would achieve his objective eventually but it was left to Orion of the New Gods and Ares himself to help Diana. To give you an idea of how powerful he is, he was able to hold a Boom Tube open. Ares fell at his hands, but Wonder Woman defeated the villain, taking Ares’ mantle as the god of war in the process. This rabid and at times, feral, entity is seen as the most ferocious and vindictive offspring of Olympus and shows respect to none but one, Diana herself, due to her combat prowess and reputation as an outcast of Zeus.
6. DOCTOR PSYCHO
Doctor Psycho’s name is quite fitting as he’s one of Wonder Woman’s most psychopathic and maniacal adversaries. He’s an avid hater of women, which led Ares to manipulate him often and with total ease. Using his psychic abilities, Psycho’s mind control has proven to be a huge problem for Wonder Woman and her fellow Leaguers, not to mention when used in tandem with his other psionic abilities. He even found himself targeting Steve Trevor to get at Diana because he just loves playing on her emotions and he knows how valuable Steve is to her.
He prides himself on group schemes, such as with Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Super Villains, as well as the Injustice League. After being stabbed repeatedly and injured by the Mad Hatter in “Secret Six,” he resurfaced with a power-up thanks to Circe, in just one of several collusions with Wonder Woman’s rogues. Cheetah and Giganta are a few names he’s also worked with in the past, as he continues his ambition to extinguish Diana’s spark.
Circe loves to tussle with Wonder Woman and when she does, she usually rains down the magical pain. This sorceress is perhaps Diana’s strongest mystical foe and, as usual, she’s another one who’s jealous of her looks, power and the respect she commands. Whether it’s directly attacking Diana or disguising herself as a human, Circe’s ready to expend any and all means to torture the Amazonian.
She harbors just as much hate for the gods of Olympus, as well as mankind, and in “One Year Later” she even powered up Diana’s rogues. In the New 52, she was written as being bit more reckless redesigned as a pale red-head who was continuing a deadly vendetta against Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons. She even managed to ally herself with Magog and used her magic to influence Superman into battling Wonder Woman. In addition to being immortal and packing a vast array of powerful spells, she also possesses a special mirror, allowing her to mimic other people to the tee, which you can bet has messed with Diana and the League.
Giganta was the product of a mind-swapping, scientific experiment gone awry. Dr. Doris Zeul was left no choice but to transfer her consciousness into the body of Olga, a circus-freak who could increase her stature, after a dying Zeul failed to transfer her mind into Diana. This shame, coupled with her desire to topple Wonder Woman, led Giganta to join a few villainous societies such as the Injustice League in “Salvation Run,” as well as Libra’s Society in “Final Crisis.”
Vandal Savage also exploited her brute strength and penchant for chaos, capitalizing on her ability to grow to several hundred feet. Her strength and durability grows as she does, making her a formidable foe, even for Superman. Her genius has often resulted in ego trips, which makes her want to be seen as the alpha female over Diana. It’s this anger and frustration that Diana usually uses to take Giganta down, while never underestimating what she’s capable of. Wonder Woman knows that no matter what, she’ll always be one of her most relentless enemies.
Cheetah’s another integral part of the Wonder Woman mythos just based on how long they’ve gone at it. From the cartoons to the comics, they’ve done it all and fans are hoping she pops up in the movie at some point. Barbara Ann Minvera is the most prominent one to have donned this mantle who, after having been transformed mystically, began her quest for Diana’s lasso, and eventually a victory against the Amazonian princess simply to satisfy her own ego! She even got powered up by Circe along the way.
The New 52 saw her as a relic hunter who was also able to turn Superman into a Cheetah-like being, but yet again, DC shifted her up in “Rebirth.” This reimagined her as an archaeologist transformed by a cult and gave her even closer ties to Diana, injecting even more drama between them. In addition to her feline appearance, Cheetah has superhuman strength and speed.
We know, we know! These two heroes are close friends and, as the New 52 had it, even lovers at one point! But that doesn’t discount the times these titans went at it. Wonder Woman’s considered a physical equivalent to Superman and is arguably one of the few who can subdue him (and even then, she needs her magic lasso to do it). Diana’s usually the non-Kryptonite method the League turn to whenever the time comes to take him down, because sometimes Batman’s secret plans or a Green Lantern ring just don’t seem to cut it.
We’ve seen this duo level cities in the New 52 thanks to Circe’s manipulation, as well as in the “Injustice” universe when Ares schemed to pit them against each other. Most notably, they clashed when Max Lord manipulated Superman into fighting the League, which left Diana with no choice but to snap Lord’s neck in order to release Kal-El from his mind control. They’ve thrown down a lot over the years and, while there’s no clear winner on most occasions, you can’t deny they give us one hell of a fight, exhausting each other past their limits.
Ares, god of war, has always hated the Amazons. As Zeus’ offspring, he’s wanted them dead out of sheer jealousy, or to subjugate them as part of a vendetta against Olympus. Diana often fell into his crosshairs, as seen when he created the aberration called Genocide. Even in death, he finds ways to torture her from the spiritual realm. In the New 52, he was depicted as a bald, old man and Diana’s mentor in a major retcon, only for DC to reshape him in “Rebirth” to resume being a villain who spreads the message of war among mortal humans.
Diana and Ares usually clash over philosophies on how their powers ought to be used, but it’s clear their lineage to Zeus factors in as well, which adds a cerebral element to their everlasting dance. Ares has never been remorseful against her kind, but the same applies for Diana, as he brings out the best in her, as well as the worst, because she usually has to completely cut loose in order to stop him. He’s as much a mental threat as he is physical, truly shaping him as the ultimate warrior.
Thoughts on our picks? Let us know who else you think can take Wonder Woman to the limit!
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