Wonder Woman's first solo movie is just around the corner and while we don't know for sure who's going to be challenging the Princess of the Amazons, we do know who we would like to see and who we wouldn't. Over the years, Wonder Woman has built up a truly varied rogues gallery that heavily draws upon Greco-Roman mythology and, while it's not as impressive as Batman's or the Flash's, we still feel that her rogues have plenty to offer.
Unfortunately, there are also some pretty poor ones tossed in as well. From Egg Fu to Circe, Wonder Woman's villains are a study in contrast. The best of them ascend to the heights of Olympus while the weakest of them deserve an eternity it Tartarus for their crimes against comic book readers.
So without further ado, let's begin with the worst of the worst in our countdown of Wonder Womans's best and worst foes.
As is the case with any medium that’s been around for decades, comics have accumulated a their fair share of racist moments. Luckily the industry, like society as a whole, has made major improvements in that area, but if you ever need a refresher of how bad things used to be then you need look no further than Egg Fu.
You see, Egg Fu is a giant Asian egg who’s roughly the size of a football field and has a comically large handlebar mustache. To make make things even more racially insensitive, he speaks in broken, halting English that reads like the translations from some of the early Final Fantasy titles.
When he was originally created in the 1960s, Egg Fu was an agent of communism, but was defeated by Wonder Woman. Most characters of this nature are one-offs, but Egg Fu has proven surprisingly resilient and popped up as recently as the New 52. We're not sure why DC thought Egg Fu, of all Wonder Woman's villains, was worthy of a reboot, but it's hardly the strangest thing DC has ever done.
Wonder Woman has faced off against more members of the Greek pantheon than just Ares. One of her more successful foes was the the sun god, Apollo. Like his father before, Apollo sought to ascend to the throne of Olympus and, for a time, he actually succeeded. He managed to defeat Zeus and his champions and even had his mother, Hera, exiled to earth as a mortal. Given what we know of Greek mythology, this sounds fairly accurate.
Fortunately for mythology professors everywhere, Apollo did have one fatal weakness and that was his love for his twin sister Artemis. After defeating the goddess of the hunt, Wonder Woman forced Apollo to stand down by threatening his sister's life. It's a gambit that would have failed for Batman or Superman, but Wonder Woman has shown a willingness to kill when necessary.
When it comes to stupid villains with lame comics, it's hard to top Inversion. Appearing in Wonder Woman #247, Inversion's goal isn't to topple Mount Olympus, seek revenge for some centuries-old wrong or even just make a lot of money. You see, he was a scientist who was trying to create a teleporter when things went horribly wrong and he was turned inside out. Clearly, he had never seen The Fly or he'd know how that stuff goes down. Now that we think about it, the Fly would have been a much better villain than this weirdo.
He captures Wonder Woman in an attempt to force her to reprogram the Justice League's satellite so he can turn everyone's organs inside out. Unsurprisingly, Wonder Woman is more than capable of defeating a guys whose vital organs are in a convenient punchable location and he only appears for a single issue. That's a trend with a lot of the weaker comic book villains. Serialized comic book stories are a fairly recent development, so writers often created villains for a single story and, understandably, the results were mixed.
One of Wonder Woman's classic civilians, Giganta has been around for several decades and is a frequent foe of the Amazon.
Giganta has undergone a few changes since her first appearance, but the villain that people are most familiar with is Dr. Doris Zeul. A brilliant scientist, Zeul was diagnosed with a fatal disease and attempted to use a machine to swap bodies with Wonder Woman. Thankfully, before she could create yet another remake of Freaky Friday, she was interrupted by Wonder Girl.
From there, Zeul spent a few issues trapped in the body of an ape before managing to hijack the body of a circus performer with the power to increase her size. Not only did Zeul steal the woman's body, she also stole her name, thus beginning her career as the super villain Giganta.
Like Inversion, Grandee is yet another one-off villain with a really weird plan. While old-school comic book villains are usually known for strange or zany plans, Grandee's manages to be rather boring. Diana Prince is offered a job in an ad campaign for a chain of department stores marketing itself to women. Unfortunately, it is then discovered the owner of the store, Mr. Grandee is paying his all-female staff less than the minimum wage and buying his goods from local sweat shops. Honestly, the legal aspects of this plan really weren't well thought out, but, beyond that, it's just a really boring plot to find in a comic book. These are important issues, but they are ill suited to comic books.
One of the best things about Wonder Woman is the fact that her stories, in addition to being standard superhero stories, also double as unique takes on classic Greco-Roman myth and Medusa is a prime example of this. After being resurrected by Circe centuries after her defeat at the hands of Perseus. Medusa attacked the White House where Wonder Woman was meeting with the president. From there, the gorgon queen attacked the Amazonian embassy and turned the ambassador to stone. In her rage, Wonder Woman nearly killed the creature, but Medusa was saved by the intervention of Ares who forced Diana to yield for the moment.
This led to most exciting thing to ever happen in Yankee stadium in the history of sports, a one on one match between Wonder Woman and Medusa which Ares then broadcast to the world. Forced to blind herself via blindfold and snake venom, Diana was able to decapitate the gorgon whose head eventually ended up in the possession of Morgan Le Fey.
As anyone with even a passing knowledge of Greek mythology knows, Zeus really gets around. There are dozens of myths detailing his exploits which, understandably, leads to Hera's constant anger towards her unfaithful husband. That being said, Zeus' actions become a bit more understandable when you consider that the first child he had with Hera was prophesied to take his throne and kill the Olympians. Zeus, being a fan of both living and being in charge of stuff, tried to have his child killed before that prophecy could come to pass, but the child managed to survive and eventually attacked Olympus. Wonder Woman, proving that she saves her deities at least as much as they save her, defeated the creature, thus ensuring Zeus's continued reign.
Angle Man is one of the more resilient of Wonder Woman's lesser villains and has been through multiple incarnations. The first one featured him a a smooth talking conman who could find the angle in any crime. Honestly, in this incarnation he wasn't too terrible and features the distinction of being one of Wonder Woman's few recurring villains during the Silver Age. As a suave charismatic conman he was a decent enough villain, but the subsequent incarnations of the character were just lame.
The Bronze Age variant of the character involved a weapon known as the Angler that allowed him to alter locations and objects within space. It sounds like a neat enough power, but it proved to be ineffective against Wonder Woman. Beyond that, we're having a bit of trouble taking a villain seriously whose main weapon sounds like something you'd use to catch trout with your grandfather on a particularly dull Sunday afternoon.
In essence, Genocide is Wonder Woman's Doomsday. She isn't her most famous, intelligent, or complex villain, but she is one of the most threatening. In order to defeat Wonder Woman, Ares travels to the distant future where he retrieves the corpse of the dead Amazon. With a combination of Amazon magic and modern science, Genocide is created from the cadaver. However, Genocide is no mere zombie. Using soil collected from the sites of humanities greatest crimes, such as Auschwitz and the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Ares used his magic to empower the creature with the residual energies from those places resulting in an abomination of science and sorcery.
While the creature did not kill Wonder Woman, it did defeat her in its first encounter and even stole the Lasso of Truth. It was later revealed that the creature was meant to destroy the Olympians and the Amazons, but Diana was able to defeat the creature by throwing a titan onto it. Yeah, getting crushed by a titan will take out just about anyone.
Doctor Psycho's inclusion may be a bit controversial. On the face of it, Dr. Psycho seems like a pretty lame foe for Wonder Woman. After all, he's dwarf with mind-control powers. It's not too intimidating of a gimmick, but his character is actually a good foil for Wonder Woman.
Dr. Psycho is a misogynistic scumbag who seeks to dominate women with his mind control powers. So he's basically that one asshole that everyone has met at least once in their lives. That's probably why it is so incredibly satisfying to see Wonder Woman kick his ass throughout the comics. Sure, he's not the most powerful of Diana's foes, but his personality and mission makes him a great counter to Wonder Woman's own goals and identity.
Just as Solomon Grundy began life as a Green Lantern villain before taking up residence in Gotham, Morgan Le Fay didn't start out battling the Princess of the Amazons. She actually first appeared in a Batman comic where she battled the Caped Crusader and the demon Ertigan. Eventually, her quest for immortality led her to cross paths with Wonder Woman as she attempted to steal the Amazon's life force in order to preserve her eternal youth. Unfortunately for the sorceress, Wonder Woman had already given up her eternal youth and thus the spell reduced Morgan to dust though she managed to return to life and remains a thorn in both Diana and Etrigan's side.
Interestingly enough, in Pre-Crisis continuity, Wonder Woman has also fought Morgan's daughter who was often called Morgana the Witch. While the stories implied that even her mother was afraid of the young witch, she was a bit sillier than later incarnations of Morgan Le Fay often shown with a broomstick, black cat, and pointed hat like a cheap Halloween costume. Her spells would also make use odd double literation such as "by the britches of Beelzebub."
In a lot of ways Maxwell Lord is a bit like Wonder Woman's version of Lex Luthor or even Dark Reign Norman Osborne. He's not much of a physical threat, but he is cunning and ruthless. At first, Lord appears to be a good man hoping to use his wealth and power to make the world a better place. To that end, he founds the Justice League International planning to use them as a tool to take over the world. This plot was eventually foiled when it was discovered that he was under the influence of an evil sentient computer program.
However that wasn't the end of Lord's villainous activities and at some point gained mind control powers which he used to take control of Superman and other members of the League. He was eventually stopped when Wonder Woman snapped his neck, but not before he killed Ted Kord.
The Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman's oldest foes and has gone through many changes over the course of the past few decades, but her current, and most well-known form, is that of Barbara Minerva. In the original pre-crisis continuity, Minvera was an archaeologist who stumbled across a cult dedicated to a primal deity known as Urzkartaga. Upon learning that those blessed with the power of Urzkartaga gained the power of the cheetah, she sacrificed one of her colleagues to the god thus earning her place as its bride. Unfortunately, she wasn't aware of the fact that the god preferred his brides to be virgins so the mantel of the Cheetah became a curse and she was forced to eat the flesh of humans in order to maintain her strength.
In the New 52 continuity, Minerva is actually raised in Urzkartaga's cult and may be even more vicious than her original incantation having sacrificed her little brother in order to prove her loyalty to the cult. Eventually, she is imbued with the power of the Cheetah and this instills her with an overwhelming desire to defeat Wonder Woman brining the two into constant conflict.
Throughout the course of her 75+ year existence, there have been many attempts to reboot Wonder Woman for new audiences. However, none of those proved quite so controversial as the so-called "I-Ching era" which saw Wonder Woman lose her powers and become a clothes shop owning martial artist. Luckily, this era lasted less than half a decade, but during that time we saw one of Wonder Woman's strangest villains emerge, a weird S&M lesbian street gang called THEM.
The idea of a non-powered Diana Prince taking on a street gang isn't too strange on the face of it since she obviously couldn't take on the likes of Ares or Medusa without her powers, but THEM was weird and came across as mean spirited. Portrayed as angry lesbian hippies, THEM would kidnap young women and make them their slaves even going so far as to put them in dog collars.
Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, did actually include some S&M elements within the character such as her weakness to being tied up by a man, but THEM is odd even within that context.
Wonder Woman is a champion of peace; it makes sense, then, that the god of war would emerge as one of her most consistent foes - and the oldest, having first appeared in Wonder Woman #1. In his pre-crisis incarnation, Ares often went by his Roman name of Mars and even conquered the red planet itself. As if that wasn't bad enough, he's totally a Nazi. Well not officially, but he does aid the Axis cause during WWII, though plans are constantly foiled by Wonder Woman.
In the post-crisis and New 52 continuity, he has since gone by his Greek name and donned an intimidating set of black armor. Despite the new look and name, his hatred for Wonder Woman has remained intact. Unfortunately for him, his most recent plan, involving Zeus' first born son, led to his death at the hands of Diana who, in an ironic twist, took up the mantle of God of War.
However, fans of Ares need not be too disappointed as it is rumored that he will be the main villain in the upcoming Wonder Woman film.
Without a doubt one of Wonder Woman's greatest foes, the sorceress Circe has been wreaking havoc since at least the days of Ulysses. However, her exploits in the tales of Homer were merely a prelude to the events that would bring her in conflict with Wonder Woman. As her first real attempt at world domination, Circe orchestrated a war between various pantheons. The problem with opening with a war between gods is that it's a rather hard thing to top, but, somehow, Circe has managed to do that just that.
She has frequently teamed up with other super villains, but never plays second-fiddle to anyone including the likes of Lex Luthor. Though, she did totally get rejected by him which honestly was kind of satisfying because if anyone deserves a slice of humble pie, it's Circe. Not that Luthor's rejection actually managed to humble her in any way. That's a task we suspect the gods themselves couldn't pull off.