Poll: Who Is The Best Alternate Wonder Woman?
Over the past few weeks, we here at ComicsAlliance have asked our readers to decide which stories represent the best alternate takes on Superman and Batman, and now, the time has come to complete the DC Trinity.
With her origins in the epics of Greek mythology mixed with the pulp-style adventure of a lost island full of mystical warriors, Princess Diana of Themyscira has the ability to adapt to almost any sort of story, from straightforward superhero action to the kind of sci-fi that involves invisible airplanes and purple healing rays. As for who put the best tweaks and changes on that formula, it's up to you to decide --- read on for our assembled Wonder Women, and cast your vote to see who's the best!
But first, the usual caveats. Just like with Batman and Superman, we're not including every alternate take on Wonder Woman --- specifically, we're omitting replacements from the core DC timeline, meaning that Hippolyta, Artemis and Donna Troy will have to wait for another poll. Instead, we're focusing on characters from specific Elseworlds stories or named alternate realities. And now to see who gets the victory!
The Wonder Woman of DC's pin-up-inspired Bombshells universe comes from a version of Themyscira that has a slightly more strained relationship with the outside world than its main-continuity counterpart, and with good reason. With World War II raging in the skies above the hidden island, the Amazons of Bombshells found themselves subjected to a rain of bullets, bombs and crashed airplanes from the dogfights of unwitting airmen. As a result, Diana's first encounter with Steve Trevor involved him being sentenced to die for the crimes of the entire outside world.
Eventually, though, Diana left Themyscira and took to the battlefield herself, teaming up with Amanda Waller's squadron of reimagined superheroes like Batwoman, Big Barda and Mera — who recently bragged about being Diana's first kiss — to fight not just the Nazis, but the mysterious mystical forces of Tenebrae, too.
The one thing that sticks out in my memory about the Wonder Woman of Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier is that she's tall. That's not always the case in other portrayals, but here, you can't miss it. In the scenes that she has with Superman, she towers over him, refusing to back down even when he tries to lecture her about their role in being sent to deal with international conflicts.
It might seem like a small thing, but that visual reminder of Wonder Woman as a powerful force, both physically and in terms of her personality, has a lot to do with why her portrayal in The New Frontier stands out. Set in a world that's reeling from the horrors of World Wars and butting up against the optimism for the future, Wonder Woman is a character who never backs down from what she believes in, and ends up being one of the best parts of that universe because of it.
After a year spent fighting the Nazis in World War II, the Diana Prince of Wonder Woman '77 made an abrupt and seemingly effortless transition to the '70s, an era that saw her working for a top-secret intelligence organization by day and fighting crime as the Amazonian superheroine by... well, also by day, I suppose. In her time with the Inter-Agency Defense Command, Wonder Woman would deal with the threats of terrorists, alien invaders, and, of course, a clone of Adolf Hitler.
In addition to the usual set of powers that you see in her comic book counterpart — including her Amazonian strength, bullet-deflecting bracelets, her truth-compelling lasso, the invisible jet and the ability to communicate with animals — '77's Wonder Woman also introduced a new set of superheroic tricks into the arsenal. The most famous, of course, was her signature spinning transformation, but she also gained the ability to do some sick skateboard tricks, and to be honest, that alone is probably going to win her this poll.
In the far-off future of the 853rd Century, the Wonder Woman of Justice Legion Alpha protects the colonized planet Venus.
Originally a marble statue, Wonder Woman One Million was brought to life by the Goddess of Truth — and while it's never outright stated, it's heavily implied that the Goddess in question is the 20th century's own Wonder Woman, promoted to immortality and a full-time position in the pantheon. It is, after all, something that she'd done before, and considering how much WW1M's origin echoes her predecessor's — even more than most of the other Justice Legionnaires — it's pretty easy to believe.
To help her in her battle for truth, this Wonder Woman has a pair of sentient AI bracers named Harmony and Charity, along with an invisible shield that can block any attack. There's just one problem: Since no one in the future is anywhere close to being on her level, she's actually a little out of practice when it comes to actually fighting. She's just... too rad?
Wonder Woman's equivalent on the evil-aligned Earth of the Crime Syndicate is notable for also being that world's Lois Lane.
As Superwoman, her lasso — pretty frequently depicted as being glowing golden barbed wire, which is kind of amazing in a mid-90s ECW sort of way — offers a few tweaks on the standard model. Rather than revealing the truth, it's been seen to either compel mindless obedience or cause its victims to start revealing humiliating secrets. That's a little on the nose, sure, but consider that her world's Superman gets his powers from literally snorting Kryptonite like cocaine. Compared to that, Superwoman is a fresh breeze of subtlety.
On the world where Superman's rocket ship crashed into the Ukraine rather than Kansas — and where Lex Luthor, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen were still American, but Batman and Pete Ross were inexplicably Russian — Wonder Woman still hailed from the island of Themyscira. The difference was, this was a Themyscira that allied itself with the Soviet Union and made their two leading superhumans the world's most powerful couple.
On the one hand, Red Son's Wonder Woman has a character arc that, like everything else in the book, is based around her relationship with Superman and the fact that he never notices her affections, but on the other hand, the story does offer up some pretty great moments for her — most notably when she snaps the lasso to save Superman's life.
Unlike most of the other Wonder Women on this list, US Marshall Diana Prince isn't actually an Amazon from Themyscira. Instead, she's the gun-slinging sheriff of a town called Paradise, and when that place is destroyed by Felix Faust and Maxwell Lord, she ends up setting out on a mission of revenge, and puts together an Old West Justice League in the process.
It's worth noting that most alternate universe versions of the JLA tend to stick with the big guns, but in Justice Riders, Chuck Dixon and JH Williams III gave us one of the weirdest versions ever, stocking it up with cowboy versions of Flash, Hawkman, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner and the Martian Manhunter. It's an odd team, but that's part of its charm, and building it around Wonder Woman as the leader and the motivating force makes for a pretty fun story.
All right, look, I'll level with you here. I have not actually read William Messner-Loebs and Phil Winslade's Wonder Woman: Amazonia, but I did see this description on Wikipedia and pretty much had to include it:
"The Wonder Woman: Amazonia limited series depicted an alternative version of Diana who was born during the 19th century at a time when Jack the Ripper gained control of the British Empire. She was snatched away from Paradise Island by Captain Steven Trevor and the Royal Marines. She was forced to marry Trevor and became the star of a London theatrical show, reenacting tales of women from the Bible. She eventually showed herself to be a great heroine, freeing oppressed women from all over the Empire and taking on the terrible reign of King Jack."
So yeah, that's a story where Wonder Woman acts out Bible stories and then fights King Jack the Ripper, and now I'm torn between wanting to read this immediately and being very worried that it will not live up to what I think that story is right now.