What if Wonder Woman were a man?
What if instead of an ambassador of peace, she was a sociopathic killer?
What if Wonder Woman were a talking rabbit?
Comics writers and fans love the What If game. Imagining a classic hero as totally different, even evil, can bring about all sorts of interesting tales. Ask what Wonder Woman or Superman might be like with a different origin or living in a different era. Would their heroism always shine through? Would they be a boon or a curse to their world? Or there's the ever popular plot where the hero confronts an evil twin/clone/robot; Silver Age comics characters seemed to have at least half a dozen lookalikes apiece. Can Wonder Woman beat — herself?
While Wonder Woman hasn't had as many alternate versions as, say, Superman, she's had her share. Here are the Amazing Amazon's 17 most WTF counterparts — they're not necessarily bad iterations or stories, but they certainly aren't the Wonder Woman we know, either.
Bizarro Wonder Woman has never been as high profile as Bizarro #1, Superman’s defective duplicate, but different versions of her nevertheless keep cropping up in the DCU.
In her first appearance in DC Comics Presents #71, she doesn’t have much chance to demonstrate the typically mangled Bizarro thinking. A 21st century reboot version got more space to shine, even helping Bizarro defeat his nemesis Bizarro-Doomsday. This later Bizarro-Wonder Woman reverses usual Amazonian thinking by being a firm believer in male superiority. A third version, Bizarra, appears as part of a criminal team fighting the equally vicious Extremists in the Lord Havok limited series. There's also a Bizarro Wonder Woman on Earth-3o in the current version of DC's multiverse.
While not really movie-star material, Bizarro-WW has appeared in both films and TV. When Bizarro creates his own JLA in the Super-Powers Team cartoon series, it includes a Bizarro Wonder Woman. So does the Bizarro team in the Lego film Justice League vs. Bizarro League. Illogical though he is, Bizarro apparently knows the rule that you need at least one woman on every super team.
Queen Hippolyta has slipped into her daughter's costume a couple of times. In a 1946 story, Hippolyta got a glimpse of the near future, in which gangster Duke Dalgan captures Wonder Woman. To save Diana, Hippolyta kidnaps and replaces her, but as so often happens, her efforts only bring about the future she wanted to avert. Not to worry — Hippolyta overcomes Dalgan, then returns to Paradise Island. Wonder Woman never learned who the mysterious "Masquerader" was.
Years later, after Wonder Woman’s 1940s adventures had been retconned out of continuity, John Byrne used Hippolyta to bring them back. After Diana died during Byrne's run, Hippolyta assumed the role of Wonder Woman, fell through time into the 1940s, and joined up with the Justice Society of America. She stayed in the past for eight years before returning to the present. Her dead daughter eventually got better and resumed her life as Wonder Woman, so Hippolyta promptly returned to rule over the Amazons of Themyscira.
DC’s Elseworlds stories were originally out of continuity adventures (a later retcon set them on parallel Earths) that featured adventures like Superman being raised in Nazi Germany, or Batman in the setting of the movie Metropolis. The Elseworlds tale JLA: The Island of Doctor Moreau mashes up the Justice League of America with H.G. Wells’ novel about a scientist engineering humans from animals.
In 1888, Lucas Carr winds up on Moreau’s island. There, he meets the Justifiers of the Law, the elite enforcers who keep Moreau’s other creatures in line. They include Dianna (albino ape), swift Jubatus the cheetah (Flash's counterpart) and the hawk creature Falconus. Carr convinces Moreau and his Justifiers to return to England, where the Justifiers end up hunting down Jack the Ripper. When it turns out he’s another of Moreau’s creatures, the manimals turn on each other over whether to keep serving Moreau. Everybody ends up dead.
For what it's worth, Diana also went ape in Wonder Woman #170, when an alien turned her into “Wonder Woman — Gorilla!” to make her a suitable mate.
Silver Age Wonder Woman writer Robert Kanigher loved him some doubles. Diana constantly encountered alternate versions of herself, like in #137, when she and Steve Trevor are abducted into outer space. They land on a parallel Earth (duplicate Earths were all over the cosmos in Silver Age DCU) populated by robots, including a robot Wonder Woman. There wasn't a robot Steve in sight, however, so the metal Amazon is determined to win him for herself.
The two Wonder Women then compete for Mr. Trevor in various trials (a favorite Kanigher motif). Although the robot is clearly a cheat, Steve never says a word of support to the flesh Wonder Woman, which leaves her wondering why she’s even bothering. Happily, it turns out that Steve’s only been keeping his mouth shut because the robots have placed him in a trance. After the real Wonder Woman wins, Steve resumes proposing their marital union every five minutes like a creep.
Following 2011’s Flashpoint event, DC rebooted its continuity into the not-so-well-regarded New 52. In the new Wonder Woman, the story of Hippolyta creating Diana from clay is a lie. Diana is a child of Zeus, abd the clay bit was a cover story intended to keep Zeus' jealous wife Hera from killing her.
During her training on Themyscira, Diana became the secret protege of Ares, only to have him drop her when she refused to kill for him. Years later, after Diana learned her true origin, she found herself embroiled in the power struggles of her Olympian kin. In the course of one adventure, she had to kill Ares, becoming the new God of War. She fought against the role, but as the battle against the monstrous First Born of Zeus heated up, she stepped into the job.
Lord knows what Wonder Woman creator William Marston would have made of this, given that he wrote her as a force for peace and nemesis of the war god. He might be happier with the events in DC Rebirth, which imply that a lot of Diana's New 52 adventures didn't really happen.
What could make more sense than reimagining Wonder Woman as Wonder Wabbit, an anthropomorphic super-rabbit from a parallel Earth? An Animalzon who works for military intelligence in her secret identity of Diana Prance surely makes for an ideal one-off, right?
Okay, lots of things make more sense than that. But Wonder Wabbit and her team, the Just'a Lotta Animals, fit into a long tradition of superheroing funny-animal parodies, such as Super Turtle and the Terrific Whatsit. In the early 1980s, DC considered starring this JLA in a monthly humor book. Then someone pointed out that any marketing tie-ins would conflict with the marketing rights to the human JLA.
Instead, DC launched Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, a completely new team of parallel-Earth anthropomorphic heroes. Wonder Wabbit and the JLA did appear in #14 as heroes from yet another Earth — a shock to Captain Carrot, who in his secret identity wrote and drew a Just'a Lotta Animals comic book
Although Wonder Wabbit and Captain Carrot found each other quite attractive, the series didn't last long enough to do much about it. As Earth-Wonder Wabbit doesn't seem to exist in DC's current multiverse, perhaps they never will.
The high point of 1996’s DC versus Marvel crossover was that midway through the story, the MU and DCU temporarily fused together. In the MU, orphan Ororo Munroe grew up a pickpocket on the streets of Cairo; in the “amalgam” universe, she wound up on Themyscira and became an Amazon. She and her adoptive sister, Diana, spent years feuding and competing before Diana headed out into "patriarch's world" for adventure. With Diana gone, it was Ororo who became Themyscira's greatest champion: Amazon.
In the one issue of Amazon published on our Earth, Ororo confronts Neptune when she learns he sunk her parents' ship. In Bullets and Bracelets, readers followed the adventures of Diana and her lover, Frank Castle, a mashup of Steve Trevor and Frank Castle. Nobody ever explained why some characters got fused together while others didn't, but it's hard to argue with the fun that resulted.
Justice Riders was another Elseworlds story, later located on Earth-18 (the regular Wonder Woman is on Earth-One).
In this Wild West setting, Diana Prince was sheriff of a small California town called Paradise -- until railroad magnate Maxwell Lord destroyed it overnight. Lord wanted to build a transcontinental railroad, he had an army of robots to do the job, and he saw no reason to go around towns like Paradise when he could simply level them.
Seeking revenge on Lord, Diana recruits allies such as bounty hunter Guy Gardner and fast-draw gunslinger Wally West. Together, the “Justice Riders” defeat Lord and the alien assisting him, then disband. Their legend, however, lived on, as writer Clark Kent built a whole series of dime novels around them.
In regular DC continuity, Amanda Waller is the ramrod of the Suicide Squad. In the Super Hero Girls universe (which includes cartoons, games, and novelizations), she’s the principal of Super Hero High School, where the star pupil and most promising hero is a young Wonder Woman.
Coming from Themyscira, teenage “Wondy” attends school alongside class clown Harley Quinn, alpha female Cheetah, and IT geek Lena Luthor. This version of Wonder Woman is intensely serious about becoming the best hero she can be, but she’s baffled by American slang and customs. When Green Lantern offered her a handshake, for instance, she assumed it was a challenge to combat and threw him across campus. Fortunately, she has super-friends such as Harley, Supergirl, and Katana to help keep her on the right track to super-success.
Amazonia is another Elseworlds tale, once again set in Victorian times and involving Jack the Ripper.
After Steve Trevor washes up on the island of Amazonia, he sends word back to England of the hidden isle's existence. Instead of seizing the island and making Steve the colonial overlord, England sends an army to destroy the Amazons. Little Diana grows up in the slums of Whitechapel until Steve stumbles across her again. He marries Diana to secure his authority over her, then sets her to using her amazing strength as a music hall act. It’s a great life for him, and Diana doesn’t think she can do better.
It turns out, however, that England’s current King Jack is a misogynist madman. As the Ripper, he sliced women up; as king, he destroyed what few rights England’s women held. He's also developed a drug that turns men into woman-hating brutes. Or, as Jack sees it, frees them completely from feminine weakness. (Yep, he’s got issues.) Jack takes Diana back to Amazonia where he and his friends will hunt them to the last woman. Too bad for him that Diana’s begun to remember just how powerful she is ….
In Wonder Woman #165, the Amazon’s old foe Dr. Psycho draws two duplicates out of her buried dark side. One is a tyrant who wants to dominate the world, and the other embodies total vanity. The latter duplicate is by far the more fun of the pair, constantly admiring her lovely self and dumping Steve because she can do so much better.
After escaping Psycho’s deathtrap, Diana easily gets Vanity on her side. First, she convinces the duplicate that Tyrant Wonder Woman will destroy her out of jealousy. Wonder Woman offers to team up against the Tyrant, then retire from crimefighting, as she could never compete with Vanity’s awesomeness. Vanity swallows this guff whole and helps take down Tyrant, only to be captured in turn. The Amazon then uses Psycho's device to return her darker impulses back into the depths of her mind.
The Silver Age Steve Trevor never stopped trying to get Wonder Woman to say yes to his proposals (sometimes employing some creep-tastic methods to get his way). In Wonder Woman #127, after Steve almost dies stopping some bad guys, she finally caved. He'll soon wished she hadn't.
Instead of a romantic honeymoon, Steve has to endure hordes of autograph seekers demanding WW's attention. His wife keeps breaking off picnics and romantic country drives to help people out. And as the illustration shows, she's not much of a cook. (Fittingly, it's the only time Silver Age Wonder Woman was shown not to be competent at something.) Steve finally concedes that she was right to say marriage and crimefighting don't mix -- before adding that he'd be the happiest man in the world, "if only I weren’t married to you!”
Oops. Turns out that Steve has been hallucinating after getting clonked on the head, but he said that last bit aloud, as he came to. And Wonder Woman heard it. Steve’s “It was a dream!” protestations don’t save him from her stony silence.
When J. Michael Straczynski started writing Wonder Woman with #600, the Amazing Amazon got her umpteenth reboot. All of a sudden, the Amazons are gone (not the first or last time someone thought that that would be a groundbreaking move), victims of a mysterious genocide. Diana lives in a sewer, hiding from the killers until she can gather the survivors and fight back against the enemy. Is it mortals? The goddess Morrigan?
No, it turns out as the "Odyssey" arc climaxes that it's Nemesis, the Greek goddess of retribution. Frustrated with all the retribution she needs to dole out, she decided to annihilate humanity in one fell swoop. For that, she needed a host body, so she took over Diana’s. A splinter of Wonder Woman’s true self survived, however — that’s who readers had been following for the previous year.
Diana reunited her fragmented self and defeated Nemesis, but like War, that dumped the goddess’ mandate on her shoulders. When she refused to become a spirit of vengeance, this erased the entire timeline, just in time for Flashpoint to reboot her again.
When the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 debuted in DC’s Silver Age, they had no personality beyond being straight-up evil. That included Superwoman, Earth-3’s Wonder Woman counterpart. Later stories would explain that she was a renegade Amazon who’d fled to Man’s World, but personality still wasn’t her thing.
The Superwoman introduced in Grant Morrison’s 2000 reboot of the Crime Syndicate had personality to spare, though none of it was likable. A former resident of Damnation Island (the alt. Paradise Island), she murdered her fellow Amazons before moving to the U.S. Sexually manipulative, she’s the lover of Ultraman (evil Superman) but enjoys getting it on with Owlman (evil Batman) even more. The risk of Ultraman attacking them in a jealous rage adds to the fun.
In the 2010 animated movie Crisis on Two Earths, Superwoman shows she's even willing to destroy the multiverse for kicks. Frustrated with living in a multiverse of constantly diverging realities, Owlman has developed a bomb that will wipe out every universe, including his own. Naturally, Superwoman's response is to ask how she can help.
Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block is best known for giving us Teen Titans Go. However, it also included several short, serialized cartoons, including three Wonder Woman episodes.
In the first installment, Steve Trevor washes up on a Paradise Island beach, drawing the attention of Amazon security guards driving missile-loaded jeeps. Good thing Wonder Woman, decked out in cool shades and driving an invisible convertible, drives up to snatch Steve to safety. But then, Diana's old foe Giganta wakes up — she apparently naps in the water just off the beach — and pursues the convertible on roller skates. Giganta captures Steve and jumps back into the sea. Wonder Woman follows on a surfboard (no, it wasn't invisible), decks Giganta, and saves Steve.
If there were plans for more episodes, they never materialized. Who knows what Wonder Woman would have done next if the serial had kept running?
Turning a famous female hero into a guy is certainly WTF, but it’s easy to see the appeal. The first example was Wonder Warrior, one of several gender-reversed superheroes Superman encountered in Superman #349. The Man of Steel assumed he’d landed on a parallel world, but later discovered that it was actually one of his old foe Mxyzptlk’s elaborate practical jokes.
A genuine male Wonder Woman appeared years later on Earth-11. Prince Dane of Elysium, AKA Wonder Man, was an ally of Superwoman and other American heroes until he killed corrupt businesswoman Maxine Lord (a reference to WW’s killing of the Earth-1 Maxwell Lord). Furious at being cast out of the Justice League, Dane led an Elysium army against America, only for Superwoman and Atom to defeat him.
The Flashpoint retcon apparently reached out to Earth-11 too. In the New 52, Earth-11 exists, but its Wonder Woman counterpart is Wondrous Man of the Justice Guild, who does not appear to be invading America. Yet, anyway.
The Diana we meet during Flashpoint makes Bizarro-Wonder Woman seem rational and the war goddess WW look like a pacifist.
As in the Flash TV show over on The CW, Barry Allen created the Flashpoint timeline when he saved his mother from being murdered. The comics' Flashpoint universe is a much uglier world, though, largely thanks to Wonder Woman. While visiting Atlantis as an Amazon diplomat, she took Aquaman to bed. When Mera confronted her, Diana decapitated the Atlantean queen, then presented it to Aquaman as a gift. This act of WTF-ery launched an Amazon/Atlantis war that devastated the entire world. Wonder Woman led some of the brutal Amazonian attacks, killing millions, and she personally murdered several notable individuals, such as Steve Trevor.
Eventually, Flash went back and stopped himself from saving Mom, which erased Flashpoint in favor of the New 52 reality. However, now that we know Earth-Flashpoint still exists, perhaps that monstrous version of Wonder Woman does too.
There's no shortage of other wacko Wonder Women out there. Offer your favorites up in comments.