Sunday, May 18, 2014

AMAZON 1-0-1: Wonder Woman, And All The Info You Need To Know... (A Fan Piece By Karl Disley)


Wonder Woman is a bit of contradiction, depending on who is scripting her. Is she as powerful as Superman? Or Captain Marvel? Can she fly? Or does she need those winged sandals? Seaking to address the imbalances once and for all, Karl Disley has submitted this piece which provides a one-stop-Themyscirian-shop for all you need to know on the wonder of wonders herself! Enjoy:

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There are stark differences between characterizations of Princess Diana, nay Wonder Woman, mostly in terms of capabilities. A perceptible tension to establish a creative void between her solo book and her Justice League appearances, more so now since the 'nu-52' soft reboot.

Amongst DC veterans there hasn't been enough debate - finished or continued - between writers, to firmly establish her role and her direct or indirect strength outside her own book. Resulting in fundamentally different perceptions of Wonder Woman (WW).

Thus, this is not an iconic WW write up in any sense. Such a thing cannot exist where multiple versions are concerned and co-exist in a comic-book universe, coveted with both a fan readership emasculated by the trivialities of non-continuity and maintaining some semblance (of what one might posit to state) could well be a nonconformist reluctance to remain with the status quo and ignore any previous timeline. 

This so called 'iconic approach' (which serves only a current proletariat take on her) is merely throwing yet another ingenious take on the pile, from yet another writer who may not have her best interests at heart, and in such cases it isn't even supported by specific published material.

So let's look at some facts we do know;

Real name: Princess Diana of Themyscira
Super-hero name: Wonder Woman
Other aliases': Diana Prince [fake i.d.], Amazon Princess, Amazing Amazon, Princess of Power, The Destroyer, The Avatar of Pain [Khund names, official description of her], The Dragon [name given by the Circle, an Amazon offshoot on Themyscira], Daughter of the Hunter's Moon, Helm-Princess [title given by Beowulf], Athena's Grace, Themyscira's Mistress of the Hunt

Marital status: single
Known relatives: Queen Hippolyte/Hippolyta [mother], Antiope [aunt, deceased] [Diana's identical double], Astarte [aunt, deceased], Theana [cousin], the hecatoncheir Cottus [source of her human flesh], Pandora [who was born from clay, same as Diana], Donna Troy [magical sister], other relatives [yet to be established or confirmed as true] Lennox, Strife, Hera, Zola, Hermes.

Group Affiliations: The JLA, The JSA, Dept of Metahuman Affairs, All-Winners Squadron, NASA, IADC, Military Intelligence, Themysciran Embassy, United Nations [trade summit section], Les Modes [fashion boutique]

Base of Operations: Washington DC, Los Angeles [east side], Boston - Mass, Gateway City, Hackney - London, Themyscira [Paradise Island] Devils Triangle/Bermuda Triangle/Aegean Sea

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch Weight approx 179lbs Hair raven black Eyes pale blue, now grey due to Athena's granting her 'inner sight' Beauty off the scale.

Costume Specifications: Her costume has its own specific identity. 
  • The red refers to two things; the hunter's moon that hung in the sky the night she was created out of clay, and the warrior [blood] aspect of the Amazon tribe. 
  • The white stars refer to the heavenly aspects of the Goddesses who created the means to create Diana, plus the virginal aspect of being a moon maiden
  • The blue refers to both the sea and sky, two elements Diana would feel most comfortable in. Plus it also represents the night she was born into
  • The eagle on her original chest logo, was the golden eagle which appeared to Hipployta the night she was born [telling her she must go form a child out of clay], and the one eagle on Science Island that all amazons must climb the peak of its nest, in order to retrieve a golden egg to prove she has come of age [which is fourteen, when they receive their bracelets/gauntlets]
  • The silver of her bracelets, represent the silver of the [October] moon, and Athena's warrior aspect. For other amazons, they represent an earlier time when man abused and shackled them - to remove them means two things; madness and immediate loss of immortality.
  • The gold represents the Amazon nation, both in their armour and wealth
Powers and Abilities
[And here we go, ignore the stats just admire the facts...]
Di is slightly under Kryptonian levels of strength and endurance - she has taken on a mind-controlled Superman and Power Girl, beaten Lobo to a standstill and equalled Captain Marvel in stamina. 
Her very grace, agility, speed and all-round fighting technique are well above legendary -world-class masters of the martial arts such as Batman and Black Canary operate well below her level, yet learn a lot from her just watching her fight.
On a purely statistical level (not taking into account any actual power ratings that will only fluctuate due to the different writers and their various takes on them), the most powerful of the DC pantheon of heroes places Diana comfortably in third place, after Superman and Captain [Shazam] Marvel respectively.
Diana has eidetic muscle memory - much like recorded memory. Once she sees something - like riding a motorbike for example - she can instantly physically copy it to perfection. This also applies to learning languages.
While WW is easier to wound than a Kryptonian or Daxamite [esp thru edged or piercing attacks], her enormous willpower, resolve and endurance allow her to take on a lot of damage and keep on coming regardless. 

She also has a healing factor, more often commonly described as 'divine blood' that gives her unique healing abilities. While she does not actually have regenerative capabilities like Wolverine, even bad cuts, burns, concussions and broken bones will discreetly vanish over mere periods of minutes or hours, tho some first-aid and bandages are often visible and needed. This healing factor of her divine blood prevents things from worsening while she is physically active and quietly fixing things without any need of surgery. She once recovered the use of a broken arm within two hours. And facial scarring from the male Cheetah which would've caused permanent scarring for life only remained visible for six weeks.

Diana's tolerance to pain is at superhuman level intensity. She's fought with two to three degree burns on the inside of her hands, tho she's had to soak her palms in herbs and balms while her hands have been thickly bandaged - and had someone to tie her weapons to her hands so she could bear the pain.
Her Demeter-granted durability is profundently much the same characteristics as the earth itself - attempting to crush, burn, freeze, etc, soil is not going to yield much results regarding barring truly massive force, but trying to cut or pierce it is much more likely to work. Blows delivered with Superman-class strength can be withstood and endured by Diana but impaling and or cutting attacks such as bullets, arrows, spears or swords, axes and even certain energy beams will more easily make her bleed or even would her if they hit a vulnerable spot such as her eyes. During the latter half of her post-Crisis run, she was seen to run trudging thru molten lava but with minor burns closely approximating a severe sunburn - but then lava can surprisingly embody a wide range of temperatures.

Wonder Woman can also work in low earth orbit for up to almost half an hour or deep in Siberia [fighting Captain Atom] or the Arctic, her body quickly getting covered with rime, without discomfort.
Though she's technically on human terms a golem, and arguably once a goddess, Diana's functions are entirely organic and behaves organically like any human woman [though with superhuman speed, strength, durability, etc]. Her artificial nature only ever matters for specific mystical purposes, such as casting her soul/ consciousness into another dimension. 

However from one of her remarks, she seems to have two distinct senses of touch - one works as expected from someone with superhuman abilities. the other has a more human scale that allows her to lightly touch and sense things on her skin. This second sense of touch apparently uses different pathways that do not include a notion of pain and based on what she told Nemesis its somewhat isomorphic and low-resolution in response...she can sense a gentle contact but the sensation is not very rich.

Diana possesses superhuman accuracy with all manner of Amazon weaponry - early during her hero career [for want of a phrase to describe it] when faced with an advance fighting force she shoots a mortar shell in mid-flight, with her arrow snagging the shell and tugging it ninety degrees to the left [with her right hand used for leverage] to explode against an enemy tank. Weapons are normally reserved for war however - in normal circumstances Di fights empty-handed with only her lasso and bracers/gauntlets. Her tiara is rarely used, except against living opponents.
With her eidetic muscle memory, Di is able to use pretty much any weapon with the self-same accuracy as a traditional Themysciran Amazon armament - at one point she easily wrenches a Khund energy cannon off its fixed mounting and uses it for anti-aircraft fire, wielding it like a rifle and spotting her target with the MK1 eyeball.

While Wonder Woman is stunningly beautiful and graceful and often considered the most glamorous woman on earth, in terms of a sexual plato she does not have the Attractiveness Advantage [or perhaps does not feel the need to use it] - shes every bit as persuasive towards women [many of whom feel that she has a special feminist mystique] as towards men of all sexual orientations. In short- she doesn't use her beauty or sexuality to get her own way, placing her on a higher moral plane than most other heroines. She is totally unconcerned with her own beauty and blissfully ignorant or unaware of her sexuality.

Beyond her raw brawn, technical toughness and fighting skills, WW enjoys a number of physical divine blessings. Notable abilities and skills include;
  • flying at high speeds, tho not as fast as Superman or any Green Lantern. A divine blessing from the god Hermes, She accelerates very quickly to a point speed of Mac 1 and can zoom very close to the ground from a forty-five degree plangent, making her highly mobile She could quickly catch up with a flying ICBM [presuming it was flying in a stationary flight plan at around 15,000 mph] at these speeds she can reach low earth orbit [100+ miles thereabouts] within seconds, as she did in her final fight with Genocide.
  • an eagle-eye 20/20 vision eyesight that can pierce even darkness, and an incredibly acute keen hearing - both blessings from Artemis. Her eyes once located the Cheetah hiding in a copse of trees in a wood at night-time, and even her hearing can accurately locate opponents - one point when she was blinded she uses one of her bracers to deflect and redirect a heat rocket right back at an opponent she can hear but cant see.
  • the ability to hold her breath longer than any human. Once , during an Amazon trial, she [and every Amazon] held their collective breaths underwater for an hour at a time [for approx. 24 hours] coming up for air at the end of each hour. ~When she lost her powers and became Diana Prince and studied under I Ching, she could only do this for fifteen minutes at a time. Her strength and stamina also lend quality to this feat.
  • moving at superhuman speeds [running, jumping, swimming] thought this is seldom demonstrated after the Silver Age ended as flight is more commonly efficient - another blessing from Hermes. Her running time is based on a ratio of between forty-nine to sixty miles per hour, depending on necessity. Her leaps can manage forty to fifty feet, again depending on need,, and her swimming [the last of her abilities, taught to her by the Amazon horsewoman Pythia] is recorded as thirty miles per hour in water. Her diving length is nearly one thousand fathoms.
  • Aphrodite-granted beauty,, which requires no maintenance whatsoever and makes cosmetics pointless. Diana's make-up drawer in Washington DC held just one hairbrush, one toothbrush and one unopened bottle of perfume [a gift from Vixen, on leaving Justice League Europe].
  • A form of superspeed - tho not in the same sense as superspeed super-hero wise. Her speed was given her by the gods, a combination of DEX based skills, and movement motion, a gift undiscerned of any true origin by Hermes. Presumably its a gestalt of her super-strength and power of flight combined.
  • The Doctor Doolittle aspect ability to communicate with animals. Most creatures with a semblance of human contact can be [mildly] controlled by Diana, such as doves, birds, small dogs, etc. Furthermore, with some measure of stamina on her part [concentration-wise] even animals that should be uncontrollable, like a rabid wolf or four [when she encountered Claw the Unconquered in his snowy realm] or a polar bear mother near her cub will treat WW as a trusted friend and a noble ally -somehow their communion clearly trust her and know who she is.
Non physical skills
Diana is superhumanly charismatic, and a great orator - when she talks, people listen. Seeing her in action or hearing her speaking or even reading her book on Amazon teachings;'Reflections' has inspired tens of thousands around the world to change their lives for the better. Shes an icon, famous and admired worldwide, a global mega-star and for feminists a role model for girls and women. Even space aliens such as the Khunds and angry Gods such as Darkseid listen to her and odds are good they will be swayed by her charisma, poise, sincerity and articuletness.

Tho her presence is massive and her influence impressive, this is in no way whatsoever mind-control or hypnosis as her arguments can be perceived as very strong indeed - there are obvious limits as to who can be convinced of what. esp as Diana can never lie, stretch the truth or try to manipulate. Many people listening to her are simply too set in their ways for any truth to interfere with their own opinions or sway them - but Diana talks to a crowd a remarkable percentage of them listen to her words and presence.

WW is highly educated, in the Amazon and Roman tradition that greatly inspires knowledge and the application of it - she learns very very fast thanks to the divine blessings of Athena and Hermes particularly when it comes to languages and her memory is near faultless. Again her idetic memory muscles enable her to coalese both mind and body so once learnt. never forgotten either in mind or body. At kindergarten age, she rapidly went from being a little girl who loved animals [and tearing up trees by their roots] to being a walking zoological encyclopedia. She can speak most every language on Earth, including some exotic alien languages like ancient Atlantean, completely lost or unknown codes and the like. Generally she can be assumed to be highly well-read and highly qualified on practicaly every academic subject, from quoting minor passages from world literature to correctly identifying the model of ex-Soviet ICBMs and remembering their specifications. She has researched platelet graphs on how to control diabetes for her friend Steel and helped her friend Cathy with her Women's Lib group.

Her intelligence is razor-sharp, and shes very quick on the uptake as long as she has a specific context to work with [for instance, battle strategies]. You can fool her once- but never the same way twice. Shes a top strategist and tactician and can be counted on to come up with an appropriate solution - whether militaristic or democratic based - to all sorts of problems or crisis's., though rather predictably after many years fighting crime than never seems to stop in Patriarch's World, just merely punching things works just fine.

She isn't just intellectually gifted - shes ultra professional, highly tactical and organised, and analytically, is amazingly calm and graceful under pressure, and is remarkably practical in tense situations. Theres an inherent pragmatism that all Amazons use which Diana also enables. Tho she often lets her emotions guide her in many situations, as is the way of her people, this is rarely if ever a marked weakness in her reasoning - she will implement what her emotions lead her toward with a clear head and contemplative intelligence.

Wonder Weapons
As Carrie Bradshaw once said in Sex And The City 'even her jewelry has superpowers' and WWs weapons have acquired iconic status.
Her silvery bracers, or bracelets, or gauntlets [any of these descriptions is appropriate] indestructible, with her superhuman strength and reflexes she can use them to block all kinds of projectiles and attacks Much like Captain America's shield, it can absorb energy and impacts. Thus a tactic such as blocking a particularly powerful punch with her crossed forearms makes sense - the thin sheet of metal. doesn't just protect her tissues from being lacerated it can block raw force. Why doesn't any shrapnel get thru her bracers and hit other people? Simple - her bracers are forged of the Aegis that projects a 'shield' around Diana and anyone standing next to her or behind her. Interestingly the bracers do not seem to conduct heat even when lasers are employed against them - in the subjective sense of light fast projectiles such as bullets she is so precise that she can deflect the projectile and aim its ricochet for instance to hit the person who just shot at her with a called shot to the shoulder. The bracers are quite effective in a fire-fight situation to block energy based weapons such as lasers - presumably she tracks where said weapon is aiming thanks to her eagle-eyesight and superhuman reflexes and her wrist or wrists are already up at point once the energy beam is emitted. Even very rapid fire aimed at her directly - say, massed assault gun fire or machine gun fire as in the first Lynda Carter pilot - will reliably be countered and deflected and maybe even destroyed outright by her uncanny speed and reflexes. When she does this, her arms will move so fast it seems like a blur.

Arguably, her 'bullets and bracelets' stunt is Wonder Woman's greatest action sequence, and her most identifiable.

The bracers are important to deflect against cutting, shearing and piercing attacks, against which WW is prob at her most vulnerable. Rather than show off and deflect bullets etc against her body [she's certainly strong enough one assumes to survive bullet wounds] she will always elect to be careful and stop weaponry with her bracers. This clearly prevents things from going wrong - for instance some projectiles may be armor-piercing or ricochet off her the wrong way [since her body presents a marked, er, deficit in flat surfaces!] and hurt a bystander or hit a weak spot. Its the aegis effect that stops this happening and is a significant factor in her defensive techniques.

In combat terms, Diana has three main options with her bracers - using them to block usually dangerous melee attacks, using them to boost her fighting range via acrobatics [the default option] or using reflection/deflection [primarily for the reflection component]. Judging from what I have read in the comics, her usual approach when fired on is to step back slightly, defend against the projectiles then rush in and engage in close quarter combat before the enemy can react. Unless very specific projectiles are employed [such as the god-forged arrows of one of the Circle] opening fire on Wonder Woman is just nothing more than a useless delaying option, no matter what the weapon is. Even the best marksman on Earth, Deadshot saw his opening salvo at close range with automatic weapons fail miserably.

Her tiara, which is also a long-range communications device between her and her mother the Queen. It is made of magical Amazonium metal with astounding tensile strength. Most of its bevelled edges are razor-sharp and it can be used as both a cutting weapon and a defensive weapon at close range or long range respectively. Diana can throw it with precision and force like no other - having her tiara ricochet a few times on obstacles, snag her lasso and fly back to her with her lasso is not something exceptional for her. Like Cap's shield, it can follow trajectories that are not entirely compatible with the laws of physics, unless they are comic-book physics! For instance she can throw it in a strange arching trajectory through the rifles of a dozen soldiers and have it fly back to her hand as she flies away. 

Its boomerang capacity and literal airborne design [oval/circular] makes it an ideal offensive cutting weapon. Her tiara has another, hidden meaning - as well as it being her own official mark as a Princess, its double-pointed [one point down, one point up] serves another function - when an Amazon wears a tiara/crown with the point upwards it means 'peace', and when its worn with the point downwards, it means 'war. Since the post-Crisis WW, Diana has often more than not worn a double-point tiara....signifying a warrior of peace who strives for both peace and yet will engage in war when having to.

Various weaponry. which Di employs occasionally, esp since the end of the Bronze Age and post-Crisis version has her use more of these. A reasonable wartime loadout for her would be a one-handed battle-ax, a sword, a dagger, a shield, a sabre. plus a bow with a full quiver of six arrows, plus her normal accoutrements. The double-bladed battle-ax is her preferred weapon for war, designed by the Amazon mechanic Io, presumably because it'll take more blows for her strength to demolish her own weapon and force her to switch to the next one. Its also an effective weapon for slaying giant monsters and demons.The longsword at her side during wartime is a flamberge that Beowulf Prince of the Geats gave to her as a present.

In wartime, she will sometime wear a distinctive metallic suit of body armour patterned after an eagle. These shining custom-fitted battle armours are based on aesthetic of an emblem of Amazon royalty and their honour guard in the main. Suits have been cast and formed for Diana, Donna Troy, and Cassie, with a substitute identical armour for Hippolyta, based precisely on her daughter's.

The colours of said each armour pertain to a basic pseudo-Greek, Olympian pattern of achievement, plus the [un]official line of succession. They are as follows; Diana [gold], Donna [silver], Cassie [bronze]. Presumably also so the Amazon warriors can rally to the proper champion in the heat of battle is another aesthetic built into the battle-armour's colour scheme.

Diana's golden war armour is as an homage to her patron goddess and includes the U.S. flag once flown by Diana Rockwell-Trevor tucked in a relief-bow under her left shoulder-plate.
Diana also owns various items from previous adventures. The items and artefacts used during this era are as follows;
The Sandals of Hermes, which can fly across dimensions and at enormous speeds. Used first by Artemis when she took over from Diana as WW briefly, then later by Cassie on her first sojourn as Wonder Girl. Diana still keeps these sandals in a sock drawer in her bedroom.
Kane Miohail's magical seashell, which being magical can when worn as a pendant can become much larger - usually about twenty square meters - but at one point it became large enough to carry nearly two hundred Amazon warriors in full battle kit.It can fly at great speeds or be raced like a sailing ship. When Diana sailed it a mast, sails, rope etc were evident, presumably produced by the ships magic.

The DMA-type ;invisible plane' stealth radar plane that Bruce Wayne donated to the DMA. Highly expensive military grade equipment that he donated, presumably on the back of the abortive Brother Eye debacle that caused so much damage to hero's reputations. At a time when WWs own Lansarian invisible jet were unavailable [for unspecified reasons] this was loaned to Diana on Bruce's bequest, as he helped secure her 'Diana Prince' secret I.D. for her joining the DMA. With high-tech camouflage, she can use it for short hops tho it wasn't a patch on her own jet - used mainly for transportation it is only a two-seater. The plane seems practically transparent - theres a layer of iron and silica-based paint that mirrors the planes background at all times though the angles and edges of the plane can still be discerned at a blur and the inside of the cockpit appears normally. It might include a 20 or 25mm multiple barrels cannon with ample ammunition - but that is more hinted when Steve Trevor was flying it than demonstrated. It also has retractable pylons for landing and uploading. The plane can be remote-controlled using a small voice-activated remote attached to each DMA agents wrist-band and a small on-board autopilot computer with the same capabilities. Armour plating is seriously impressive, and ramming things a perfectly viable tactic in-air strongly hinting at an airframe formed from advanced metal sheeting. The plane once flew clean thru a gigantic Hell-Lord. cleaving him/it in two, without leaving any visible damage. Diana's plane is destroyed shortly after, assuming it was the same one that Trevor was piloting.

The Golden Lasso of Truth - next to her bracers the most easily identifiable and most notorious of her weapons. The Golden Age and Silver Age version of her lasso not only forced one to tell the truth, it could compel anyone caught in it to obey the orders of whoever held it. This aspect has been long discarded, tho Donna Troy had her lasso - the Lasso of Persuasion - cover this aspect.

Little known fact - Diana's lasso is also called the Lasso of Hestia. It is nearly indestructible, but has been snapped in the past, by the God called Eros for instance but it has unspecified powers and levels of regeneration when the Goddesses reattach it later. WW can magically extend its length to hundreds of metres to encircle a horde of sea monsters for instance. It glows with an inner golden light, which the wielder can intensify for illumination when needed.

Some reports of the rope from bystanders claim it isn't a rope but a golden chain made of hundreds of fine links which I believe can also be the case. It can be used to almost communicate with some animals who touch it, a trait which Diana has found useful when shes lost her divine gifts on occasion. She has [not too often] used it like a Catwoman-type whip and can crack it even when extended to a great length. The tip is not weighted like a whip, mind, so this specialised attack is only useful if the lasso can entangle its target so WW then can yank it leaving the lasso to cleave and crush what its wrapped around as she pulls. 

This is a lethal attack, used sparingly, and is thus only ever used against objects [for instance to wreck a shield held by an opponent] or targets against which lethal force is appropriate [such as cleaving the wrists of giant Hell-Lords]. The same lasso can be wrapped around Diana's body which prevents any other use of it by anyone else, thus swathed Diana is protected by truth - lies, emotion control, hypnosis, mind control and other outside influences that would affect her normally would have no effect on her.

Little known fact two - the truth actually comes from Diana herself. The lasso actually controls and directs this ability and makes it a physical entity she can use. 
 
Its connection can be cut - but on only strenuous circumstances. Esp when its connection with Diana herself is removed, such as when she temporarily lost control of her soul, the lasso can be nothing more than just merely rope but is soon re-established once again when Diana controls it. Anyone touching the lasso, or who is encircled by it it must speak the truth...a common application when Diana needs be honest with her and each other is for all people concerned to touch the lasso simultaneously. 

The lasso also has a higher setting as it were. not used often - if someone is brain-damaged or severely under duress, she can 'call' their soul into the lasso, a projection of darkness where one's soul is laid bare and only truth reigns; occasionally mental images will appear to the troubled mind, such as Captain Nazi and his abusive childhood. Diana uses this method exceedingly rarely as it can almost be constituted as a form of mental torture for those of a simpler mindset. Note that those [persons without a soul cannot be affected by the lasso, although these instances vary from one story to another, depending on how the writer perceives it. 

It's essentially impossible to keep secrets from WW because of her lasso, making its mind-altering properties certainly one of the most invasive and dangerous weapons ever. Even enemies like Genocide with her own influence - she was essentially WW herself, but a reanimated corpse - fell victim to its lower-level enchantment. Despite its subversive qualities, her lasso retains a candid esthetic that rarely lowers the persuasive endowment that in other heroes' hands would be seen as strictly coercive, maybe even threatening. Its seen as a natural part of WW herself and thus fits her modus operandi perfectly, and its this which was her creator William Moulton Marston's most iconic and most identifiable weapon/artefact/equipment. Its the one thing we all remember her by the most. 

Her faith and divine patronage are the Cassiopeia Constellation - often called the 'W' or 'the Crown' due to its shape which, along with the red moon [a 'hunters moon of October] the storm directly preceding her birth and the quasi-mythological golden eagle [actually an avatar of Athena their patron goddess] is the personal heraldry associated with the night/early morning of baby Diana's birth, and which associations she wears on her costume.

Her values and legacy
Diana expresses herself in practically every language with the grammar and diction of a highly-educated native. She retains a slight quasi-Greek accent in all of those, but it just makes her sound charming and exotic. Her jet-black hair is unusually smooth, thick and silky giving it and her locks an almost liquid quality. She is practically in human terms a goddess, that if she had a 'divine portfolio' would include such spheres as Truth, Courage and Compassion.

Upholding certain core values is her core mission statement. Not here to fight crime or beat up various criminals [as such] but to change, inspire and save lives from poverty, neglect or despair, so understanding those values is the primary key to understanding Diana. Amazingly honest she never lies and always faces up to her actions...the armour of small lies and everyday deceptions that makes life tolerable for lesser mortals does not exist for her, This is the source of her greatest strength...she knows exactly who she is with no room for the smallest inch of denial. and she never shirks problems or confrontations with a supposed little white lie. Every word every silence every gesture every pursuit is precisely who she is, laid bare. Her word is her bond. 

As a diplomat her hugely developed people skills make her proficient in a bewildering array of cultural conflicts - from Kinshasa to Spokane, from Montreal to the Khund Empire, from the battlefield to the boardroom, from the girl-next-door to super-gorilla commandos she's a super-activist who knows how people 'tick' and how to adapt. The oppressed and the disenfranchised know she is on their side. Diana is not commonly associated with a milieu - like for example Spider-Man is with Manhattan, but can operate almost anywhere, her Amazon values and Royal Ambassadorial countenance enabling her to perform in almost any circumstance. With her immense charisma and well known policy of truth, its obvious to all observers that when Diana swears something, as in the Hiketeia, she really means it and would actually die before breaking her oath. 

During combat however there are exceptions to this, followed very closely by Dianab to ensure fair play; one is ruses de guerre - stratagems of war luring the enemy into an ambush or lulling them into a false sense of complacency, having them fall prey to a diversion etc. While those involve deception these are not considered lies in Amazon culture. This distinction also directly applies to strategic decision 'in the field' involving having a secret identity as Diana Prince in the past, which is perfectly necessary to survive in a culture where a level of privacy is needed.

It's an unique testament to Marston's legacy that WWs weapons [if that's how one wishes to refer to them as] don't diminish her but instead add to her, and offer that lasting integrity to her character. This also involves her using a secret identity to glean a better understanding of human society and behaviour which as a quasi-Godlike 'messiah' she would find it hard to do.

WW respects the noblesse oblige stemming from her enormous power-set and obligations to what she does - shes there to serve , and those she saves are the important ones not her. As a champion of her culture, Diana is necessarily a knight errand - if directly petitioned to right a wrong, she will accept normally. She's very empathetic and genuinely concerned about people, whether its an alien race facing extinction, a child losing her pet, a person raised to be a monstrous killer-beast or a stressed out executive. One odd exception is her weakness, which is rare; being royalty she will rarely show any kind of weakness...she will freely let tears run because of the death of an innocent but for their own loss, not for hers.

Wonder Woman has that most unusual of feminine mystiques - she has always been incredibly famous thru the television image of Lynda Carter and Super Friends cartoons, but in her main medium she has always held a very modest readership. A lot of perceptions about her are shared thus between those who have never even read her comic book but only seen the tv show, much less modern day writers. 

One glaring contradiction is Diana's feminine aspect - a strong female cannot feel weak or appear weak if she is to thrive, and in point of that she comes across as perhaps a martinet in terms of proactivism. A super-charismatic person cannot feel remote then, and a woman like herself with a great sense of empathy cannot afford to feel emotionally distant from female readers who want emotion. Away from the socio-political feminist confines of Themyscira where Women rule openly and in peace, the association of WW and feminism seems tied to the oft rancorous misunderstanding of the 'feminist' part of that equation Diana represents AWAY from the island, and the hero depicted in the comics unduly becomes linked with traditional gender issues in order to make readers understand what shes all about. 

From a purely ideological standpoint, Marston's legacy about a female society peopled by women and policed by women stands true and firm, even in the ghost of the original feminist principles, it remains locked in Diana's DNA and serves as a 'paddle' thru which she swims along the river, so to speak. What has happened , directly or indirectly thru Marston's teachings is that Diana has filled an important vacuum maybe women didn't even know about - that feminism and its socio-biological outputs can be self-determined and expressed in a way that does not leave others disenfranchised. That is the true mark of a lasting legacy.

Wonder Woman's main message - if she was said to have one - is this; keep your spirits high, your behaviour positive and your mind open.

6 comments:

  1. Bravissimo, Sirs! Bravissima, Wonder Woman!
    -Been a great week of posts!!!

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  2. A most fantastically done and thoroughly detailed article, Karl! *applauds*

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  3. Thanks folks glad you all liked what Karl had to say! Was pretty comprehensive stuff!

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  4. Damn. You think Karl likes WW just a little?;)
    Damn fine job Karl. I'd even go as so far as to recommend this article/post as something any fan or new fan, or potential fan of Ww should read. You pretty much laid out everything anyone would need to know about Diana, Good job sir;)

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  5. Thanks everyone....I spent three months putting this together, just as an alternate to all those articles that say the same old thing, plus that WW Encyclopedia that contained so many inaccuracies as it did bad photo-stats. I wanted to make a real study of her powers and abilities and if I say so myself I think I did a good job! Diana's always been my favourite solo hero and I just adore her.
    Dan, thanks once again for publishing this for me on your blog.
    King; Caroline, thanks also for your kind words, appreciated.
    Dale - hey, don't let me stop you if you wanna recommend this!
    Thanks again, everyone!

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