With the upcoming release of Warner Brothers’ cinematic adaptation of Wonder Woman (due out June 2, 2017), her presence is everywhere. This is a pivotal moment for a classic character that has captured the imaginations of superhero fans of all ages ever since her comic book début in All Star Comics # 8 way back in 1941.
With such a long and storied history, the character has evolved in ways drastic and subtle. Her mythical origins and fantastic adventures have spanned the globe and the cosmos. Whether she’s going solo, or she’s joining forces with the Justice League or her fellow Amazons, she has left an indelible imprint on pop culture.
She’s more than just a character. She’s also a symbol of patriotism, charity, feminism, and selflessness. She has traits and values we all should aspire to. But we’re only mortal, and there are some things only she can pull off. Sometimes, you have to leave things to the professionals. And after all, being over 5,000 years old brings plenty of experience to the table.
In honor of the upcoming film and her legacy, here’s 15 things that make Diana Prince stand out from her contemporaries, from special abilities to philosophical differences, or adventures so terrifying (or bizarre) that only she could tackle them and escape unfazed.
15. She Can Make You Tell The Truth
The Lasso Of Truth (also known as the Magic Lasso or Golden Lasso) is one of the most badass and iconic weapons in comic book history, and Wonder Woman wields it with impressive results.
Not only is it capable of incapacitating combatants, it also helps decipher their motives. Anyone bound in its grasp is incapable of telling a lie, and not even the god Hercules (or Superman for that matter) can break it. That comes in handy when interrogating disagreeable metahuman villains.
In real life, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston helped develop the systolic blood pressure test, which is still utilized by the polygraph, or lie detector (a real-life Magic Lasso if you will). Oddly enough, he claimed the device didn’t influence the Lasso; Marston said it was actually just symbolic for the compliant powers of feminine charm.
14. A Daughter of Gods
Wonder Woman has a pretty amazing pedigree — befitting the powerful Amazon’s legacy. Her mother is Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, and her father is Zeus, the King of The Gods. Pretty impressive, no?
Having parents of such mythical stock left Diana with some pretty big boots to fill, but she was clearly up to the task, while also reaching out to help humanity in ways her deity parents never could, or would. In other words, she may be more powerful than mortals, but she fights for them all the same.
It’s worth noting that the identities of Wonder Woman’s parents is a fairly recent development, originall having been unveiled during The New 52 in 2011. Earlier origins of her creation included her being created out of clay, or had her familial details kept under wraps entirely. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has confirmed Zeus and Hippolyta will both be referenced in the film.
13. She’s Both Wholesome And Controversial
Wonder Woman is such a fascinating character because she means so many things to different people. She’s been hailed as a feminist icon, and decried for being a sex symbol at the same time. She’s praised and demonized in equal measure. She’s an extremely complicated character, to say the least.
While she was born on Paradise Island, she became a symbol of American strength in WWII. But her All-American wholesome appeal was infamously disputed by psychiatrist Dr. Frederic Wertham in his 1954 book Seduction of The Innocent (which severely damaged the comic industry). He claimed that she was a corrupting influence on American youth, she engaged in BDSM, and that her strength and enduring will made her a lesbian.
Her creator William Moulton Marston’s use of bondage was quite intentional — in fact, he viewed it as heroic, saying: “the only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound.”
With our ever-shifting societal mores, some of her past controversial aspects have become more accepted as our understanding of human behavior expands (her recently confirmed bisexuality being one example). That being said, she can still be polarizing, as our next entry will attest.
12. A Fictional Character Used As A U.N. Ambassador
2017 marked a major milestone for Wonder Woman, as she was named an honorary United Nations ambassador. Her official title? Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. She was chosen for the position the year prior as a way to highlight Sustainable Development Goal 5, a program designed to help promote gender equality and female empowerment.
The choice seemed logical: Wonder Woman is an inspiring figure to women (and men) the world over. But in our current polarized social media landscape, the decision was met with resistance by many. A petition was started to oppose the choice saying “Having strong (living, breathing) female role models is a critical aspect of the goal of empowerment of women and girls.” There were also accusations that the character was overly sexualized, among other criticisms (we’ll dive more into that next).
As a result, her title was revoked just a few months later. Sigh.
11. Uses BDSM as a Superpower
As we stated earlier, the use of bondage in Wonder Woman comics was quite intentional, and Wonder Woman has used it to her advantage in a multitude of ways, but not how you might think. One of the most notable uses occurred in the pages of Wonder Woman #4.
In the issue, manufacturer Ivan Torgson is reluctant to enter the American War effort for WWII, and he threatens to shut down his factories rather than do his patriotic duty. Later on in the story, he also tries to murder his mistress, until Wonder Woman breaks in to save the day, that is.
Resolving to make Torgson pull his weight in the conflict, she hatches a plan using her rope-typing skills to imprison, enslave, and brainwash Torgson and his associates until they submit and do the right thing. Marston’s positive views of bondage and submission as a use for societal advancement are on full display, here.
10. Fought Walt Disney (or A Reasonable Facsimile Thereof)
In one of Wonder Woman’s most bizarre adventures, Diana faced off with The House of Mouse — or a suitable substitute to avoid any legal issues, that is.
After discovering her doppelgänger at the United Nations, Wonder Woman learns that her double is an animatronic straight out of a Disney Theme Park. In the comics, the park is known as Dazzle Land, created by Wade Dazzle, which she investigates to learn why there’s a duplicate of her in the first place.
After battling cute animatronic herds of hamsters and gerbils, she’s confronted by Wade’s own robotic double, who planned on harnessing Wonder Woman’s Amazon power to keep the real Wade (now deceased) in suspended animation. She freaks out at his concept and destroys the cryogenic unit, ending any future attempt at reanimating Wade’s corpse back to life.
9. Resistant to Magic
The threat of magic is a constant in the DCU. Even the mightiest of heroes (like Superman) can’t escape the powers of the supernatural, giving characters like Felix Faust, Morgaine Le Fay, and Mordru a leg up when facing off against The Justice League and the like. This gives Wonder Woman a distinct edge above her teammates, as the superheroine is resistant to evil spells and other forces of magic.
This isn’t completely foolproof, of course. Occasionally, a mystical threat poses danger to her, but as a rule, the evil wizards, witches and sorcerers of DC Comics would do well to steer clear of the Amazon and her lasso. She’s not phased by sleight of hand and arcane incantations, although you might be wishing for some sort of magical spell to avoid a righteous Amazon ass-kicking.
8. She’s An Omnilingualist
When you’re a globe and planet-hopping superhero, the language barrier could impede your do-gooder duties. Luckily for Diana Prince, she has that covered. She’s an omnilingualist. Try saying that five times fast.
So what is an is an omnilingualist, exactly, you may ask? To put it simply, Wonder Woman can speak and understand any foreign dialect without needing Google translator. This power simply flows from within her effortlessly, which is of the essence during epic battles between metahumans and external threats.
This impressive ability was bestowed upon her by Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and while displays of her omnilingualism ability have been so minimally used that many fans aren’t even aware of it, it’s a truly handy power, as seen in the above caption where she begins speaking in native, um, “caveman.”
7. Gets Stronger Through Sheer Will
When Wonder Woman’s already formidable strength still isn’t enough for high-stakes battles, she has another trick up her bracelet: she can increase her might through sheer will. By concentrating, she can transfer energy from brain to brawn. This isn’t only handy in amping up her ability to beat down — it also gives her increased stamina and speed.
This unique skill was first showcased in the Golden Age tale Sensation Comics #6. During the Silver Age, the ability was eventually explained to be an ingrained part of her muscle power, and not a separate component in her skill set.
The old adage “mind over matter” comes into play here, but in a more dramatic and explosive way than mere mortals could ever attain. That being said, it’s a mental conditioning philosophy we all can aspire to.
6. She’s Not Afraid to Kill If Necessary
Batman took an oath, Superman (mostly) shuns it, and as a general rule, most superheroes avoid putting down their opponents for good. To kill someone, even a villain, makes you just as bad as them, the argument goes. Wonder Woman has no such concerns, thank you very much, and would like you to kindly get over it.
This isn’t to say she likes it: while trained as a warrior by the Amazons, her primary mission is of peace and empathy. But when those fail, she isn’t afraid to take out the trash, be it Doomsday, Triton, or Grendel.
Her most notorious killing was Maxwell Lord: after lassoing him to stop him from mind controlling Superman, she made the decision to snap his neck, feeling his threat to humanity was too great. She’s also taken out the evil god Ares (more on that next), leading us to “wonder” if he’ll suffer a similar fate in the upcoming film.
5. 2 Gods, One Spear
Yeah, so Wonder Woman killing Ares is even more impressive when you discover how she did it. In a gloriously gory two-for-one in The New 52, she impaled both The God of War and fellow god/arch-villain The First Born with the same spear. Yep, she pulled the ultimate two-birds-with-one-stone trick, stopping two of history’s toughest baddies at the same time.
After a masterstroke like that, you deserve some sort of honor, and Wonder Woman got one befitting of her actions — she takes Ares place as the God of War, saving the Earth and the Olympian Gods in the process.
Lest you think taking the War mantle made her more cruel or devious, you can relax: her moral compass is still set, only killing as a last resort. She still hasn’t topped this supervillain shish kabob moment, however. Who could?
4. Gets Stronger If She Loses Her Bracelets
Wonder Woman’s bracelets are so iconic that even non-comic readers know they deflect bullets and other weapon fire with ease. They’re one of her most recognized accessories and elements of her legacy.
But did you know that she actually gets stronger without them on? It’s true: if Wonder Woman is ever stripped of her shiny amulets, she’s endowed with a massive burst of physical strength, adding even more power to her already impressive physical might.
So why doesn’t she just ditch them for good and be super strong all the time? Ah, there’s the rub. While the extra strength can come in handy, the side effect is pretty much total insanity. For both the sake of her Justice League teammates and her enemies, the bracelets are the one safeguard from her going rogue with apocalyptic repercussions.
3. Immune to Electricity
Electricity is in many ways the great equalizer: no matter how strong and healthy you are, no one is resistant to deadly high voltage — except Wonder Woman that is. And it’s a power she gained by accident, during a battle with the villain Dr. Psycho.
During their skirmish, Psycho (who ranks as one of Wonder Woman’s oldest foes) tries to take her down with his weapon, the amazingly titled Electro Atomizer. But things didn’t work out as planned, to say the least, as the weapon has the opposite effect, making Wonder Woman immune from the power of electricity entirety.
Oops! Poor Dr. Psycho will never live that one down. It’s just one of many reasons why Wonder Woman is someone you don’t want to face off against: she’s always evolving, becoming more powerful as time goes on.
2. She Flies An Invisible Jet
While we’re excited as hell for the new Wonder Woman movie, we’re hedging our bets on seeing her invisible jet, which is a bummer. (A bummer that may be rectified in the sequel, mind you.) The jet is one of the quirkiest and most memorable vehicles in the DCU, second only to the Batmobile.
The plane’s origins and different iterations are just as unusual as the concept of an invisible plane suggests: it was originally designed to give her an advantage in the sky, since unlike many other heroes, she couldn’t fly (this has since been changed in the comics, as she can now ride on wind currents).
The jet has had many nifty gadgets and abilities throughout the years, including a sophisticated artificial intelligence. It could also fire rainbow rays, travel up to 2000 MPH, is undetectable by all forms of radar, can travel in outer space, and can even change to other types of vehicles if needed.
The plane (later called Wonder Dome) isn’t seen much these days: after sacrificing itself to save thousands, it lost its A.I. capabilities and remains largely unused. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise, given that its primary pilot can fly by herself these days.
1. Star in a Well Reviewed DCEU Movie
Now that the official embargo for Wonder Woman reviews has finally been lifted, we can say for certain that the enthusiastic tweets from press screenings (and positive response from former Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter) were no joke. Gal Gadot’s Amazonian princess is a certifiable hit with the critics, one that far surpasses previous DCEU outings like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
While that is admittedly a low bar to cross, it’s a relief not just for Warner Bros brass, but for fans who really want Wonder Woman to be a smash success, both commercially and critically. This will be the first big female-led superhero movie EVER (we can keep on pretending that Catwoman and Elektra never happened, right?). This makes it a big deal for a variety of reasons. And one of those reasons is for the DCEU to right itself and make some genuinely good films with better batting averages. Wonder Woman is a character that deserves a film as thrilling as her legacy, and it looks like she’s got it.
Fans have waited decades for our favorite Amazon warrior to get her due on the silver screen, and thankfully, director Patty Jenkins’ film offers a message of empowerment and heroism that the world could use more of right now.
What do you think makes Wonder Woman stand out from the rest? Now that the reviews are in, will you be first in line? Tell us in the comments!