As DC superheroes go, Wonder Woman’s powers are some of the strongest, striking fear into the hearts of her enemies. Her tools and weapons were all forged by gods and goddesses, rendering them (and her) practically indestructible. As princess of the Amazonians, she was raised a warrior and is known for her superior hand-to-hand combat skills. While she’s been trained to fight the evil in the world, Wonder Woman has preferred the path of peace, only turning to violence as a last resort. Her compassion for humanity has always been regarded as a strength rather than a weakness by her fans—and even her creator—William Moulton Marston.
Nevertheless, as time has gone on, more violent storylines for Wonder Woman have been written, with killing serving as an acceptable solution for Wonder Woman to defeat her enemies. While she often demonstrates remorse for her actions, even exiling herself to atone for her kills, her brutal acts (even amid alternate timelines) and warrior woman status have become cemented in modern iterations of the character. Now with the release of her first standalone live-action film on June 2nd, it bears re-examining just how many people she’s killed throughout the seventy-six years of the character’s existence, and whether any of these deaths might eventually be played out on film (like Ares, maybe?). Without further ado, here are 15 People Wonder Woman Has Killed.
In 1996, a story arc was introduced within the Wonder Woman comics which involved a virtual reanimator created by scientist and inventor, Julian Lazarus. Dr. Lazarus found a way to take a 2-D image and convert it into 3-D using complicated quantum physics, rendering a virtual clone of the subject. After things went horribly wrong (of course) and his son was killed, Dr. Lazarus stored his "data" in the machine and kept him entertained with videos of superheroes and villains. Little did he know that his son would begin to revive dead supervillains through this machine, wreaking chaos across Gateway City.
One such baddie was none other than the Superman-killing Doomsday, who was already a force to be reckoned with when he was alive (as we saw in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), but was an even greater menace as a virtual clone. As Wonder Woman and Champion battled him, Dr. Lazarus’ assistant eventually figured out that turning the power all the way up would ultimately destroy him. As a result, the bony spurs on his body multiplied and Wonder Woman was able to smash him into a million pieces while wearing the Gauntlet of Atlas. Although it wasn’t the real Doomsday, the virtual clone was still a threat to humanity and was quite possibly even scarier than the original.
Hellbent on swift justice, Wonder Woman has no qualms about killing when it’s retribution for the deaths of a boat-full of young girls. During the “God Complex” storyline, a bunch of her Wonder Scouts are mercilessly slaughtered by someone near Aquaman’s domicile of Atlantis. Although Black Manta was the perpetrator of the crime, his marching orders came from none other than Poseidon’s own son, Triton.
Apparently, Triton just couldn’t get over Wonder Woman’s rejection of him during Aquaman Annual #1. He had tried to steal her away and make her his lover, but she wouldn’t have any of it (and neither would her Amazonian sisters). His vendetta only worsened once his plan to take the throne from his father was foiled and Poseidon turned him into a demon of sorts. Wonder Woman didn’t care much for his sob story, however, and she walked right up to him and snapped his neck. Lucky for her, Poseidon blamed himself for not getting rid of Triton sooner, and he did not harm her for committing a murder in his domain.
13 Elijah Snow
Warren Ellis’ Planetary/JLA storyline compiled in the Planetary: Crossing Worlds trade paperback features DC's Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in an alternate universe. In this world, Clark Kent’s parents and the entire island of Themyscira are killed by Planetary, an organization whose mission is to discover the world’s secrets. After finding out that Planetary member Jakita Wagner (who has powers similar to Wonder Woman’s) was responsible for the death of her people, Wonder Woman takes on Wagner with gauntlets that don’t just repel bullets, but conjure up a bunch of glowing swords.
Meanwhile, Batman encounters Elijah Snow, the man who killed his parents (in this storyline, anyway). He has designed his Batsuit to counter Snow’s temperature controlling abilities, and he trained for twenty years in order to defeat him. Although Batman severely injures Snow and has him right where he wants him, he’s unable to finish the job, much like his regular universe counterpart. However, Wonder Woman has no problem stepping in and sticks a sword right through Snow’s brain. Even in an alternate universe, it was pretty astonishing to see her murder someone she wasn’t even fighting.
An offspring from the corrupt heart of Cain aka Vandal Savage, Grendel was a demon that was spawned from the first murder in the world. As you might guess, Grendel wasn’t exactly a lovable, friendly guy, especially since he was a favorite of Satan (although he later killed him). He originally became one of Wonder Woman’s enemies after she traveled to his dimension in order to find Beowulf and kill D’grth. However, the two later encountered each other on Earth, after Grendel had followed Wonder Woman through a portal she had created with the Rock of Eternity.
While investigating a creepy super prison, Wonder was captured and given to Grendel as a sacrifice. As much as he wanted to devour her whole, she managed to escape her bondage (duh) and save the day. “I have a rule against killing, where possible. Demons are an exception,” she says--before snapping his neck. So yeah, Grendel wasn’t really a person, but he was still a living thing that she snuffed the life out of. Luckily, she escaped in time to also stop her fellow Amazonians from an honor killing after they were faced with the prospect of enslavement or war. Never mess with an Amazon's freedom from the patriarchy.
During the early stages of Wonder Woman’s 1980s reboot (before she can even speak English properly!), she encounters Decay, an ugly purple creature forged from the heart of Medusa. A creation of Phobos (the God of Fear), Decay can age anything to death and nearly does so to the daughter of Wonder Woman’s friend, Julia Kapatelis. As Decay tries to kill Wonder Woman, she ravages the city of Boston and manages to steal the Amazon's tiara in the process. All the while, TV cameras are trained on the two as their epic battle rages on.
It’s not until Wonder Woman realizes that the key to Decay’s destruction lies within the hero's famed Lasso of Truth that things start turning in her favor. With the lasso, she’s able to control Decay, and she ultimately destroys her with the power of life. Although Decay strains to keep up her mission of death and rot, she’s no match for a weapon forged by the gods, and she explodes into a much more attractive form—pink and orange dust.
Wonder Woman also kills Decay a second time during the same reanimator storyline as entry #15 on this list. She's one of the dead villains resurrected as a virtual clone by Dr. Lazarus' son, Kris. Hopefully, she stays dead this time—as long as the pieces of her body are never reunited that is...
Only one issue later, Wonder Woman is faced once again with a formidable foe. This time, it’s Phobos' brother Deimos, who helped orchestrate a murderous plot of nuclear holocaust on behalf of his father Ares, the God of War. It should be noted here that in this version of Wonder Woman’s backstory, she and the Amazonians have basically been created in order to thwart Ares’ lust for power. Luckily for the rest of the gods and goddesses, she succeeds.
Deimos tries to terrorize Wonder Woman and her Earthly companions, but she’s not afraid of anything. Even as Deimos has her in his clutches, she manages to break free using the weapons gifted to her by the gods. As she did when killing the demon Grendel, Wonder Woman justifies her actions here as being for the greater good. “Though we Amazons are peaceful by nature, we are first and foremost warriors! Thus that the world might live—Deimos must die!”... she tells no one in particular. Then she proceeds to throw her tiara through Deimos’ snake-like hair like an oversized throwing star, decapitating him in one swift motion. That's what you get when you try to get a-head in life (Insert rimshot here).
9 Medusa the Gorgon
We’re not condoning killing, but if there’s one fight to the death worth watching, it’s between Wonder Woman and Medusa the Gorgon. Most of us know Medusa from classical Greek mythology; she’s the winged monster with snakes for hair who can turn people to stone with just one look into their eyes.
In Wonder Woman #210, the beast's sisters, Euryale and Stheno, have orchestrated a live broadcast (from Yankee Stadium of all places) of Medusa and Wonder Woman’s fight. Aside from seeing Wonder Woman killed, and their grudge against Athena satisfied, they look forward to their sister’s deadly gaze turning the entire TV audience to stone.
Although things look rough for a while, Wonder Woman blinds herself with the venom of one of Medusa’s snakes so that she can face her without risking a stone-y transformation. As millions around the world look on, she successfully lobs off Medusa's head with an axe in a dramatic finale that simply ends with Wonder Woman declaring, “I win.” MMA fighters have nothing on her victory swag.
Writer Greg Rucka really liked seeing Wonder Woman kill off a bunch of demons and monsters, apparently. Following the same storyline as the previous two entries, she’s once more faced with a larger than life creature summoned by the gods. In this case, it's the god of all gods/Diana's sometimes-father, Zeus. Pallas Athena has contested his throne and chosen Wonder Woman as her champion, while Zeus’ guardian of the throne, Briareos, fights for him.
Normally, this would have been a pretty unfair fight, even with Wonder Woman’s superhuman abilities and weapons. Briareos has god-like immortality and a bunch of extra hands and heads that make defeating him extra difficult. But Wonder Woman has something that he does not: the head of her last kill, Medusa. Just when it seems like she’s going to be crushed to death in Briareos' palm, Wonder Woman calls the winged horse Pegasus to her, who delivers her safely to the ground. As she faces Briareos, still blinded by Medusa’s snake venom, she reveals the decapitated gorgon’s head to him, which even in death has the power to turn living things to stone. Sorry Zeus, it’s time for the age of women.
7 Goddess Diana
After the Greek and Roman pantheons had merged, along with their respective gods and goddesses, the Goddess Diana (of the hunt) resisted—preferring her independence over unity. In exchange for more power, The Shattered God asked her to betray the Olympians, allowing him to turn them to stone and leaving her to loot the place. While she was in the process of doing so, Wonder Woman showed up with Trevor Barnes, who were both seeking answers to what exactly was going on. You see, Wonder Woman’s identity had been stolen from her by the Shattered God in order for him to use her to recreate the world. Comics, right?
Naturally, when Wonder Woman figured out what other-Diana had done, she went into one of her Amazonian rages, and the two proceeded to beat the living crap out of each other. Despite not having much of her power or weapons, Wonder Woman was able to use her own bracelets (which Diana was wearing) to weaken her opponent and defeat her. Although she had only meant to make her yield, after Wonder Woman threw Diana into a statue of Zeus, she was crushed to death underneath.
6 The White Magician
Asquith Randolph, better known as The White Magician, was a powerful sorcerer who consistently found himself at odds with Wonder Woman. On multiple occasions, he tried to get rid of her in order to make himself more powerful by whatever means necessary. He allied himself with the mob, blew up a space station, and kidnapped Vanessa Kapatelis, but she always found a way to foil his plans.
Even after the mantle of Wonder Woman was passed on to Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, a fellow Amazon from Egypt, she still couldn’t shake him. He sucked the life force out of two women in order to become a demon of immense power that was capable of defeating Artemis. Although she fought bravely against The White Magician, she couldn’t take him on alone. Diana came to her aid, and she was able to smash him into oblivion with the power of the Gauntlet of Atlas, causing the sorcery that made him into a demon to collapse and incinerate him on the spot.
Like we saw when she faced off against Medusa, Wonder Woman’s not afraid to take one for the team if it means saving the world from a horrible fate. She was gifted with great power by the gods, and with that comes great responsibility. During the New 52 series, she’s forced to make a difficult decision for the greater good. Instead of letting the First Born kill Ares (the God of War) she takes matters into her own hands. She grabs a spear and impales both Ares and the First Born with it.
With that single act, she then takes up the helm as God of War, saving the world and the Olympian gods from certain death. It’s a bloody scene, but at least she shows remorse for her choice. She could have easily killed the First Born as well, but spares him when Hell comes to take Ares soul away. Despite the violence, Wonder Woman doesn’t kill for killing's sake; she kills only when she deems it absolutely necessary. As Hell says, “You will make an interesting God of War.”
Let’s face it, the version of Wonder Woman in the Injustice comics and video games just doesn’t measure up. She’s supposed to be an advocate for peace, yet she accepts Superman’s viewpoint that choosing murder over diplomacy is almost always acceptable. Not only that, but her temper (and that of a number of other Justice League members) always seems to get the best of them.
Case in point: during Year 3 of the "Gods Among Us" storyline. Superman and Batman are facing off against each other with their respective allies. Wonder Woman, a headlining force for Superman’s team, gets a little riled up while fighting Huntress and Batwoman. They call her a tyrant, and she gets all self righteous saying that she’s on “the right side of history.” Everyone always thinks they’re right, especially in fight. The only thing is, most people don’t lose their temper and murder someone they disagree with. Unfortunately for Huntress, Wonder Woman pulls her lasso a little too tightly around Huntress’ neck and breaks it, killing her. Yet somehow, Diana didn’t mean to do it. Ugh, no thank you. We'll take the Gold or even Silver Age Wonder Woman over her Injustice counterpart any day.
After Queen Hippolyta is killed by Artemis (disguised as the former Aqualad, Garth) in Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies, Wonder Woman becomes the new queen of Themyscira. While she and Aquaman had intended to marry and merge their two ancient worlds together, conspirators on both sides made sure that would never happen. In fact, they made sure that both sides would think the other was trying to destroy them, making war an inevitability.
Mera, unfortunately, becomes a casualty of war after both the Amazonians and Atlanteans are attacked on Themyscira. After Wonder Woman leads her people to the British Isles to start over again, Mera follows and attacks her. As you might imagine, it doesn’t end well for Mera; she’s decapitated and Wonder Woman takes her head “as a reminder.” Yeah sure, Diana.
This portrayal of Wonder Woman makes her out as a murderous witch who kills multiple people in cold blood and is responsible for the deaths of millions more. In fact, it’s Mera’s death that becomes the catalyst for much of the destruction in this universe. Of course, it's all really Barry Allen's fault, so Diana gets a pass here.
2 Maxwell Lord
As we've come to see from this list, Wonder Woman has killed both in the regular world/timeline and in alternate universes. When it comes to Maxwell Lord, however, there was a lot of controversy over her decision to end his life. Lord was controlling Superman's mind in order to prove a point about how deadly superheroes actually are. He made Supes think that Doomsday was killing Lois and that Wonder Woman was actually Doomsday, so that the Man of Steel would eliminate Diana (and other superheroes too, undoubtedly). But Diana couldn't let that happen, so she did what she had to—lassoed the hell out of Lord and made him tell her how to stop the rampaging Superman.
Death was the only answer, and she delivered it swiftly and with no mercy, shocking even Superman. While you can argue that it was the only way, the writers surely could have come up with some sort of crazy scheme to make it so that Wonder Woman didn't need to kill him at all. In doing so, she actually proved his point that superheroes will kill, which makes you wonder if there wasn't a bit of subtle mind control going on there, too.
As alternate timelines go, the “Absolute Power” one from Superman/Batman is a doozy. The Legion of Super-villains change history and raise Superman and Batman as their own children, making them dictators of the world. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with the other superheroes that are still around in this timeline, especially Wonder Woman.
In issue #15, she stages a coup, along with Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, to put a stop to Superman and Batman’s tyranny. Wonder Woman tries to remind the Caped Crusader of what he was, what he is in the real world, but he’s been brainwashed to believe that humanity got what they deserved. So she stabs him in the chest with her sword, killing him. Unfortunately for her, this makes the Man of Steel go mad with vengeance, and he later kills her with her own lasso.
Luckily for us all, this timeline doesn’t stick around for too long, since it was already pretty unstable to begin with. Both Superman and Batman are returned to the proper time stream, although they’re left with the images of the atrocities they committed--including Supes' murder of Wonder Woman.
Diana has surely killed a bunch more heroes and villains in her day? Sound off with any other deaths you're aware of in the comments!
Wonder Woman arrives in theaters on June 2nd, 2017.
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