By Daffodil 10 Comments
A lot of superheroes are known for their vastly interesting rogues' galleries. However, Wonder Woman often gets the short end of the stick, despite having great villains of her own. Here's a look at my own personal top 10 Wonder Woman villains and enemies:
10.) Baroness von Gunther
Wonder Woman's first recurring enemy was none other than female Nazi spy, Baroness Paula von Gunther. A crafty individual with an array of gadgets and gizmos that enabled her to escape Wonder Woman's clutches on numerous occasions, the Baroness is a perfect example of what Wonder Woman sets out to do: redeem her enemies. The Baroness was a seemingly heartless Nazi agent, but everybody has reasons for their actions, and Wonder Woman discovered the Baroness': her daughter, Gerta, was held captive by the Nazis and she was ordered to do their bidding. Wonder Woman, the noble heroine that she is, immediately went to the aid of Gerta von Gunther, rescuing her from the Nazis and convincing The Baroness to turn over a new leaf. She joined the Amazons on Paradise Island, becoming their chief scientist and being known simply as "Paula." Baroness von Gunther proves that Wonder Woman has the ability to inspire even the vilest and most evil criminals to become better people.
9.) The Duke of DeceptionOne of Wonder Woman's earliest and most persistent enemies, the Duke of Deception was one of Ares's chief lieutenants on the planet Mars. The embodiment of deceit and trickery, Deception was a key figure in World War II, spreading his lies throughout the countries and inciting war between nations. Once Wonder Woman interfered, the Duke found himself defeated, and not even his phantasms could stop her. Ares (then called Mars), disappointed in Deception, imprisoned him with a bunch of female slaves. Deception, clever as he was, manipulated the women into siding with him, overthrowing Mars and his allies and taking over the planet. The Duke of Deception later deceived his own daughter, Lya, when she tried to overthrow him, proving Deception to be one of Wonder Woman's cleverest villains. Deception appeared throughout the Silver Age in various incarnations, such as an alien and a handsome God (though he was usually depicted as a shriveled old man, he used his powers to make himself look much more attractive than he truly was), and was recently modernized as a member of Circe's army of supervillains.
8.) MedousaA figure straight out of Greek Mythology, Medousa (or Medusa) proved that Wonder Woman's villains can be truly epic. First appearing to battle Wonder Woman briefly in the 90's, Medousa skyrocketed to the top ten during Greg Rucka's run of Wonder Woman, where Medousa's sisters, Euryale and Stheno, joined forces with Poseidon and Circe to resurrect Medousa after she had been slain by Perseus. The Gorgon, once revived, sought out to kill Wonder Woman for revenge against Athena, who had turned Medousa and her sisters into the monsters they had become. Medousa stormed through the Themysciran Embassy, turning one of Wonder Woman's friends' sons to stone in the process. An enraged Wonder Woman later fought Medousa in a baseball stadium on live television. Her motivation was grand: turn everyone who watches the television broadcast to stone. Wonder Woman blinded herself with one of Medousa's snakes, but even blind, continued on to decapitate the Gorgon in a similar manner to Perseus. Medousa later came back to haunt Wonder Woman and her allies as they traveled through the Underworld.
7.) Doctor Cyber
Prominently featured in the Silver Age, Doctor Cyber is essentially Wonder Woman's token insanely intelligent (or intelligently insane?) super-villain. Her Lex Luthor, if you will. During an encounter with a depowered Diana Prince, Doctor Cyber suffered injuries that scarred and deformed her face. She vowed to get revenge on Wonder Woman for taking her beauty away with a scheme: to switch bodies with Wonder Woman. Then, she'd have the perfect body to go with her perfect mind. Her claim to fame and the reason for her placing number seven on the top ten is simple: she murdered Steve Trevor.
6.) GigantaDespite not being used for the majority of DC Comics' history, Giganta made a splash when she first appeared in the animated series, Superfriends. Sure, she had been used before then as a recurring Golden Age foe of Wonder Woman, but Superfriends marked the most prominent appearances of Giganta until the 2000's. In the 40's, Giganta was an evolved ape who had joined the Holliday Girls and later caused a ruckus for Wonder Woman. In the Silver Age, Giganta was brought back and rebooted as an evolved ape in love with Steve Trevor. The modern Giganta is Doris Zuel, a mad scientist who, like Doctor Cyber, wanted to switch her handicapped body with someone more useful. Although Diana wasn't available, Doris used a circus strongwoman named Olga, who for some reason had the magical ability to grow in size up to fifty feet. In Olga's body, Doris took on the name Giganta, and was first seen among an army of female criminals banded together by Circe. She later joined Villainy, Inc. (like the Golden Age version did before her), and battled Wonder Woman for control of Skartaris. After a while, Giganta fell in love with superhero Ryan Choi, the new Atom. She thought Choi could be the one to turn her over to a new leaf, but he was killed by one of his enemies. Giganta later joined the Secret Six, working with Ryan Choi's murderer and later getting revenge. Giganta places number six on this list because, besides Cheetah, she's the most visually recognizable villain that Wonder Woman has to offer.
5.) Silver SwanA legacy villainess who has had three incarnations: the bitter ballet dancer Helen Alexandros, the disfigured mutant Valerie Beaudry, and the scorned best friend Vanessa Kapatelis. Helen Alexandros was the Silver Age Silver Swan, a homely young dancer who had wanted the lead in her troupe's Swan Lake. However, she was passed over because of her acne-ridden face in favor for a woman more conventionally beautiful. Helen, named after Helen of Troy, begged to the Gods for help. Only one God answered her: Ares. Ares offered Helen the ability to become a beautiful maiden called the Silver Swan, named after the form Zeus had taken to impregnate Leda with Helen of Troy. Helen Alexandros used her dual identity to find out Wonder Woman's very own dual identity as Diana Prince. She became Diana and Etta's roommate, all the while plotting to kill Wonder Woman so that she could stay the Silver Swan forever. Unfortunately, the Silver Swan lost her battle against Wonder Woman, and was forced to return to her mousy appearance. The second Silver Swan, Valerie Beaudry, was mutated from radiation. She had somehow found herself married to an abusive man who used his wealth and technology to turn her into a living weapon. Wonder Woman eventually convinced Valerie to break free from her husband and the Silver Swan persona. The third SIlver Swan, Vanessa Kapatelis, was Wonder Woman's trusted friend who was manipulated by Doctor Psycho and Circe into becoming the Swan. Resenting Wonder Woman for choosing Cassandra Sandsmark as Wonder Girl and not Vanessa, she messed with Diana's head until her inevitable recovery. Each of the Silver Swans possessed formidable abilities: a massive sonic scream able to level cities, superhuman strength, and a degree of durability.
4.) Doctor PsychoA misogynistic little man who is against everything Wonder Woman stands for. Doctor Psycho is the only villain who can truly get inside Wonder Woman's head and discover her vulnerabilities. He has consistently fought against Wonder Woman since the 1940's, using his illusions and manipulations to make life for Wonder Woman a living Hell. Wonder Woman eventually overcame Doctor Psycho's illusions, using her lasso of truth, but that didn't stop Psycho from seeking out Wonder Woman's loved ones and causing them harm. He also often allies himself with other major Wonder Woman villains, such as Circe, Cheetah, and Giganta. In the current Wonder Woman comics, it's revealed that the reason Psycho does these horrendous things to Wonder Woman is out of love for her. He feels it is the only way to be in her life. He definitely takes the cake for being the most depraved, deranged villain in Wonder Woman's rogues gallery, making him the number four best villain.
3.) CirceAnother of many mythological enemies that Wonder Woman has faced, Circe is perhaps the most powerful, though also the most confusing. Circe originally started out as a villain who despised Wonder Woman because she thought she'd steal Hecate's powers for herself. Being a greedy Goddess that she was, Circe of course did not want that to happen. Her hatred led to the War of the Gods, one of the biggest crossovers that focused on Wonder Woman. She later died on numerous occasions and came back on numerous occasions. Why is she number three on the list, you might ask? Well, certainly due to prominence. Although her history is riddled with confusion, she has been a major adversary of Wonder Woman's since her first appearance. She was given a huge push in the 90's to make her Wonder Woman's Joker or Lex Luthor, but it didn't stick. She still plays a major role in Wonder Woman, but not enough to make her the top Wonder Woman villain of all time.
2.) AresWonder Woman's primary foe in the Golden Age and the reason for Wonder Woman even existing, Ares is the second best Wonder Woman villain of all time. In the Golden and Silver Ages, Ares was known as Mars, the God of War who resided on, yep, you guessed it, the planet Mars. The modern Ares (vastly more interesting) hasn't been used as frequently as Circe, leaving some mystery to the powerful villain. He is best represented as a behind-the-scenes villain, one who uses his minions like the Duke of Deception, Silver Swan, Deimos, Phobos, the Crimson Centipede, etc. for his bidding. His power level, possibly higher or possibly lower than Circe's, is vague, but one thing is certain: Wonder Woman usually has to talk her way out of a confrontation with Ares. Power isn't everything, though, and Ares doesn't have the best track record, such as his last encounter with Wonder Woman which left him with an axe in his head.
1.) CheetahThree women and one man have taken the name of Cheetah, and each one has been vicious, relentless, and dangerous to Wonder Woman. The first Cheetah was schizophrenic socialite Priscilla Rich, who had suffered from an inferiority complex that left her conjuring up "The Cheetah," a huntress who had her sights on her prey: Wonder Woman. She couldn't stand the attention that Wonder Woman received while her own accomplishments during World War II went unnoticed, and it drove her insane. She had several opportunities to kill the Amazon Princess, but didn't, obviously, as that would've ended the series. Instead, Cheetah opted to toy with her, framing her for theft. Priscilla, crafty and quick, even managed to steal Hippolyte's magic girdle, enabling her to combat Wonder Woman physically. Wonder Woman attempted to redeem Cheetah after several defeats, but Priscilla Rich escaped each time. Her niece, activist Deborah Domaine, became the second Cheetah, after she was mind-wiped by Kobra. The modern version of Cheetah is Barbara Minerva, a famous archaeologist who despises Wonder Woman. She became the Cheetah after a cannibalistic ritual in which she devoured her close friend Tom Leavens. It gave her the power of the cat God, Urzkartaga, and made her Wonder Woman's most formidable enemy. Recently, Cheetah has been given a power increase after killing the original, Priscilla Rich. Her speed is almost on par with the Flash, making her a huge threat. Briefly, a fourth Cheetah surfaced, a man named Sebastian Ballesteros. He was later killed by Barbara Minerva. Some may argue that Cheetah is not Wonder Woman's number one villain, but four dangerous incarnations, an appearance in the pop-culture series Superfriends, and several appearances outside of the Wonder Woman book makes her the top Wonder Woman villain of all time.
Honorable mentions should go to: Angle Man, Doctor Poison, Queen Clea, Blue Snowman, Hercules, White Magician, Veronica Cale, Hades, Maxwell Lord, Genocide, and The Morrigan.