This user has not updated recently.

907 5322 163 107
Forum Posts Wiki Points Following Followers

My Ten Favorite Wonder Woman Stories/Runs

To celebrate her 75th anniversary and her appointment as an honorary ambassador to the UN for the empowerment of women and girls, I've decided to do a series of Wonder Woman blog posts starting with this one. I'll be listing off my 10 favorite Wonder Woman stories and/or runs. Before I start, this list was anxiety inducing to make. Mostly, this is because I don't want to let Wonder Woman down considering what a powerful symbol she is. Also, I know there are a lot of Wonder Woman runs that really fell flat: Denny O'Neil's controversial de-powered Diana Prince of the '70's, Allan Heinberg's disappointing run in the mid-2000's, and the Pre-Flashpoint J. Michael Straczynski disaster. This is why, I'm sure the first half of my list will be open to a lot of criticism. Specifically, I'm guessing I'll take heat for the number of Superman crossover stories that will feature in this list. However, before you take out the pitchforks, please keep in mind everything I said above and the fact that, at heart, I am a big Superman fan. In the end, I endorse these stories as being worth the read, so I hope you enjoy. One final warning, definite spoilers ahead. Alright, let's get started:

10) Lifelines- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #105-108 by John Byrne

No Caption Provided

Much of John Byrne's run on Wonder Woman is not well-regarded, and... that's for pretty good reason. That being said, the best thing Byrne did for the Wonder Woman series was introduce the new Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, and her archaeologist mother, Helena. Lifelines acts as the debut for the two characters who would become essential to the fabric of the DC Universe for years to come. I would grow up with Cassie and her overprotective mom in the pages of Young Justice, and still follow her exploits in Teen Titans. Lifelines is also a pretty fun mystical adventure featuring Jack Kirby's Demon, The Phantom Stranger, and Morgaine Le Fey who are always welcome additions to a plot. All in all, this story shows that Byrne's run had promise even if it never really delivered what the fans wanted.

9) Trinity 98- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #140-141 by Eric Luke and Yanick Paquette

No Caption Provided

I read this story a long, long time ago, so bear with me. While trying to track down and defeat the forgotten Olympian, Oblivion, Wonder Woman gets trapped in a dream where everything is right with the world and she gets to live the life she wants. Apparently, what she wants is to be with Superman while Batman remains their closest friend. If memory serves, Bats sort of hangs out of frame silently seething with jealousy and Lois Lane also hovers like a specter of the truth. Eventually, Wonder Woman shakes herself out of the fantasy and is reminded why she must stay an independent woman to be a force against violence and evil. I think this story stuck with me because it's always memorable when DC's Trinity are in a story together, and because of the beautiful Adam Hughes covers. A good, lesser-known favorite.

8) For a Thousand Years- Action Comics Vol. 1 #761 by Joe Kelly and German Garcia

Yeah, yeah, I know this story takes place in a Superman book, but just listen to the premise: Wonder Woman and Superman get trapped in Valhalla fighting demons for... a thousand years. You have to admit that sounds pretty epic, and it is. Not convinced yet? Check it out:

No Caption Provided

It's a DC Comics/heavy metal mash-up fantasy. Throughout the story, Superman misses Lois while slowly growing closer and closer to Wonder Woman. It starts to look like he's about to give up hope of leaving Valhalla and accept a new love in the form of Diana. Near the end of the book... you kind of want him to. The friendship between Wondy and Supes is built up so well, you really want them to end up together. The Man of Steel has a will of steel, and he goes home to Lois in the end, though. Still, this is one of my favorite team-ups between Superman and Wonder Woman with some great character development and a pretty brutal plot.

7) Power Couple- Superman/Wonder Woman #1-7 by Charles Soule, Tony Daniel, and various other artists

Oh man, yeah, another Wonder Woman and Superman team-up story. I can see the comments in my mind's eye now: "You don't like Wonder Woman unless she's defined by a man." That's not it, I swear, and if you don't like the bottom half of this list then I promise that I'll redeem myself in the top half. I am, obviously, a fan of the Superman and Wonder Woman pairing. Why wouldn't I be? If you were to ask me who my two favorite superhero characters of all time are, I'd say: Superman and Wonder Woman. Power Couple is probably the definitive story for their relationship. In fact, DC kind of blow their load in this story by giving you almost everything you want to see from the couple right off the bat: Wonder Woman facing down Doomsday, Superman squaring off against the sun god Apolllo, and the tag-team dream match of Superman and Wonder Woman against Zod and Faora.

No Caption Provided

Basically, those things are what fanboy dreams are made of. Also, the story really shows off Wonder Woman's strengths as a hero since she has to bail out her Super boyfriend more than once throughout the arc. She wore the pants in the relationship even though DC refused to give her pants. Power Couple stands out as the highlight of DC putting the two characters together, and I enjoyed the ride. ...I can't wait for the debate about this relationship to consume the comments section... Sigh.

6) The Twelve Labors- Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #212-222 by various writers and artists

Following the ill-conceived run where Denny O'Neil took Wonder Woman's powers away and made her a spy, Wonder Woman regained her abilities and had no memory of the previous months she spent as Diana Prince. She came to discover that she was no longer a member of the Justice League and that the famous group's headquarters wasn't even in the same location. No worries, The Justice League was ready to welcome her back with open arms, but, fearing she could be a danger to her teammates, Wonder Woman refused to join unless she completed Twelve Labors to prove she could still do the job. Each story of The Twelve Labors was done by different creative teams that made up a veritable who's who of 1970's DC talent: Len Wein, Curt Swan, Cary Bates, Ross Andru, Martin Pasko, etc. The different labors also varied from Wonder Woman beating down a super-chauvinist to proving Walt Disney conspiracy theories.

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

Throughout her trials, Wonder Woman was observed by different members of The Justice League of America. Each of her comrades had to fight the urge to help her, trusting that she would come through like the hero they know she is. Did she pull it off and rejoin the league? Of course she did and she would remain a team member until the ill-conceived Justice League Detroit (which is a story for another time). Twelve Labors is a solid, retro story that restores Wonder Woman to all her glory.

5) The George Perez Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #1-62 by George Perez and various artists

Finally, we're out of the bottom five and into the cream of the crop. We'll start with Geroge Perez's Wonder Woman revamp following Crisis on Infinite Earths. This run is known for making the most of the Greek mythology aspects built into Wonder Woman's origin. Perez puts the gods and monsters of ancient Greece on full display and makes them integral to Wonder Woman's life and adventures. The mythical witch Circe becomes an important nemesis for Wonder Woman throughout this run, and Perez also gives us the most iconic version of DC's Ares. Something that Perez is not given enough credit for, though, is restoring some of the more feminist aspects of Wonder Woman. He starts by making the Amazons reincarnated women who were killed by acts of male violence.

No Caption Provided

From there, Perez makes sure to show that the bond of sisterhood is the greatest strength The Amazons possess. He pits the Amazonian principles of peace, wisdom, and love against Ares' acts of war. Perez makes Wonder Woman a voice of pacifism to advocate for these beliefs. The run also gives us some great supporting characters likes Julia Kapatelis, Pythia, and Ed Indelicato. Perez steered Wonder Woman through the minefield of early modern age crossovers while creating a new Greek epic. His take on Wonder Woman became so iconic that every successful run on Wonder Woman since then has had to include the same devotion to Greek mythology. His run only gets knocked down to number five because it ended with the messy crossover War of the Gods (which I'll cover at another time). You could tell that Wonder Woman was a labor of love for George Perez and it's important to note how badly the series suffered after he left.

4) Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette

Those of you that know me will not be surprised to see that my spirit animal, Grant Morrison, made the list, but maybe you'll be surprised that he isn't first. With Earth One, Morrison attempted to restore all of the challenging feminist elements that made William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman so ahead of its time. In particular, Morrison wanted to focus on Wonder Woman's traditionally feminine aspects and make them look powerful rather than make her look powerful by giving her traditionally masculine traits. He focused more on her abilities as a healer and diplomat rather than her skill in battle. He also brought back the aspects of Amazonian culture that made them a superior society with sci-fi technological advances. Finally, he attempted to reintroduce the saucier aspects of Wonder Woman like Amazonian lesbianism and the themes of bondage.

No Caption Provided

This only stalls at number four because it teases a final battle that never materializes and because Morrison doesn't go much further than restore the aspects of the character that Marston cherished. In the end, though, Morrison delivers a boundary pushing story that shakes up the genre and challenges modern adaptions of the character. He brings the true feminist power of Wonder Woman back home and he does so by showing that an act of submission to the truth can be just as powerful, if not more so, than resisting a lie. William Moulton Marston would have been proud.

3) Greg Rucka's First Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #195-226 by Greg Rucka and various artists

There's a reason why DC turned to Greg Rucka to re-imagine Wonder Woman for Rebirth. It's because Rucka was the writer that made Wonder Woman relevant again in the early to mid 2000's. Following the end of George Perez's run in 1991, Wonder Woman was stuck pinging between underwhelming and disastrous runs. Rucka changed the game in 2003 by making her the true badass of the DC Universe. This all starts with the "Stoned" story arc where Wonder Woman is forced to do battle with Medusa. Wonder Woman blinds herself as protection against Medusa's stone glare and then proceeds to win the battle by chopping off the gorgon's head. Later, in "Counting Coup," a still blind Wondy uses Medusa's head as a weapon to turn Briareos into stone.

No Caption Provided

This all comes to a head in "Sacrifice" where Max Lord has Superman under mind control and is pushing him to hallucinate and go on a rampage. Knowing that Lord won't stop and that Superman won't do what needs to be done, Wonder Woman snaps Lord's neck. This becomes a seminal moment moving into the crossover Infinite Crisis and proves that Wonder Woman has more of a warrior's resolve than her male counter-parts. I remember reading a Wizard Magazine article of the biggest badasses in comics back then. Because of Rucka, Wonder Woman made the list next to the likes of Wolverine. Rucka started the era of warrior Wonder Woman and got me reading her once again. That gives him the number three spot.

2) The Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #0-35 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

The New 52 may have been divisive, but it's hard to argue that Wonder Woman wasn't stronger for it. Azzarello and Chiang took the Greek pantheon and stylized them to make them feel fresh and hip. Eris became the spoiled, party-girl Strife. Hades had candles on his head and wax running down his face to represent life melting away. Ares became a worn out old drunk with blood on his hands. The Gods began to truly symbolize the abstractions they stood for. It was like Azzarello and Chiang took Perez's Wonder Woman and mixed it together with Neil Gaiman's Sandman to create something new and wonderful. The run played with the warrior Wonder Woman concept popularized by Rucka, but gave her a side that was decidedly merciful. In issue #0, Ares tries to teach Diana a lesson in being a warrior by sending her out to kill a minotaur. The young Diana spares the monster only to have the beast sacrifice itself for her later on in the series in what was a strangely emotional moment.

No Caption Provided

In this way, Azzarello paid homage to both the warrior Wonder Woman and the Wonder Woman that preferred to redeem her enemies. The storyline was driven by a war for Zeus' throne and a lost Olympian deity hell bent on revenge. In the end, all Wonder Woman is trying to do is protect a mother and her child. The series quickly became my second favorite run on Wonder Woman, and stands as some of the best material The New 52 has to offer.

1) William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman- All Star Comics #8, Sensation Comics #1-57, Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #1-18 by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. Reprinted in Wonder Woman Archives Vol.1-7.

Yes, I believe that the original Wonder Woman run is the best Wonder Woman run. Let's start with the fact that Marston's Wonder Woman is a feminist work that's waaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of its time. Wonder Woman turned genre gender roles on their heads by making a woman the hero and boyfriend, Steve Trevor, the damsel in distress. Marston's amazons were a superior, advanced civilization dedicated to peace and love and pitied the outside world for its wars and struggles. Marston certainly believed that the world would be better off if it was run by women as evidenced by Wonder Woman #7 that predicts a series of women presidents that solve all the world's problems. All of Marston's women were capable, strong, and dynamic including Etta Candy, the plus-sized sidekick that often stole the show. If you get the chance to read Marston's Wonder Woman, you'll be blown away by the fact that this material came out in the early 40's and has a view of women with elements that would still be seen as progressive to this day.

No Caption Provided

Cards on the table, I also really love how weirdly kinky it is. Marston's Wonder Woman is rife with bondage play. Wonder Woman is constantly getting tied up or is tying up her adversaries. Ropes, chains, paddles, and whips are common props in Wondy's Golden Age adventures. Suggestions of lesbianism were there as well. In Wonder Woman #3, the amazons are shown to play a game where amazons dressed as deer are chased down and captured by the remaining women. Etta Candy's sorority hazes new recruits with another bondage game. Eventually, you start to realize that this bondage play is all a part of Marston's feminist vision. Wonder Woman #4 is when this becomes clear. In issue #4, you get treated to two redemption processes where an evil man is convinced to submit to a good woman. The first is the king of the wicked mole men and the second is a corrupt businessman.

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

In Marston's Wonder Woman, the act of submitting to a benevolent and loving master is a heroic and redemptive act. The best example of this is when Wonder Woman redeems her arch-nemesis Baroness Paula Von Gunther. Once, an evil Nazi spy with a penchant for torture, brain-washing, and humiliation, Paula is redeemed when she submits to the loving will of Aphrodite and the Amazons. After that, she becomes one of Wonder Woman's greatest friends and allies. That's yet another way Wonder Woman stood apart from her Golden Age contemporaries. While most heroes would either jail or kill their adversaries, Wonder Woman preferred to redeem hers with wisdom, patience, and love. Marton's Wonder Woman is unique, decades ahead of its time, and remains to be topped by another Wonder Woman story in my eyes. Diana's creator set her on the path to becoming the feminist icon she is today.

No Caption Provided