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Wonder Woman’s Gallery Of Foes

“Oh… hi there, it’s great to see you, I hope you didn’t have a particularly hard time finding your way down here, the majestic mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313 certainly is a notoriously convoluted place… infinite in fact. So kudos for locating this particular annex. Usually, of course, the Precinct’s resident Carrion Crow Of Woe – Eldritch would have guided you here, but, he’s been feeling rather nonplussed since his recent encounter with Supergirl’s cat Streaky, so he is on a rather lengthy corvidae sabbatical right now… “

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Though, as long as you followed my implicit instructions, it wasn’t necessarily a huge task to navigate – turn left at the Movie Mausoleum, head directly forward until you reach the Comic Crypts and then turn right and head into the boundless Ancient Amazon Archives, whereupon you will find an additional wing that leads ceremoniously unto the art gallery of the atavistic Greek gods themselves. A small part of which contains an extensive exhibition of malice and enmity, of beings whose one purpose in life is to oppose that which is truth, hope and love… the aspirations that ultimately transform into a celestial persona known as Wonder Woman.

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Now, it’s well known throughout comic-book circles that Gotham’s grim guardian – The Batman has the greatest and most eclectic gallery of foes, and without a doubt the most famous of all SuperVillains reside within their ranks, even non comic-book fans have heard of the likes of the Penguin, Riddler, Two Face, and of course the medium’s most memorable and malevolently maniacal nemesis – The Joker.

With that said, the Themysciran Titan also possesses a wild array of distinctive adversaries to challenge her ongoing mission of peace, though maybe lesser known outside of comicdom, they are still most certainly as iconic and maliciously menacing as Batsy’s archive of antagonists.

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Silver Swans, Gods Of War, Cheetahs, Psycho Doctors and malevolent Witches, Wonder Woman’s eclectic cast of foes really are as wild and diverse as the Caped Crusader’s… in fact, when you really delve headlong into their malign and pernicious psyche they are a hell of a lot more distinct and disparate than almost any enemies the pointy eared vigilante has in his antagonistic ranks.

ARES – GOD OF WAR

ares.jpgOf course, with Ares having been the prime villain in the 2017 Wonder Woman film he has rocketed up the ranks of Diana’s nemeses, though, if you have been a fan of Ms Prince’s comic for many a year (or literally decades, a la moi) then he has always been one of her most enduring and dangerous foes.

In Greek mythology, Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera and one of the twelve Olympian Gods. Designated as the God of War, Ares revels in the savagery and bloodletting of eternal human combat from whence he derives his power. In the Wonder Woman mythos, Ares (in the post crisis DC Universe) was Diana’s greatest enemy, it was through the actions of this barbaric god that Diana left her home of Themyscira so she could resist Ares’ threat on human kind, as he poised to unleash World War III upon the planet. Ares mercilessly opposed the creation of the Amazon race, who were championed by his own half sister – Artemis, who chose to preach the peaceful idylls of the earth goddess Gaea to the fledgling Amazon race, much to the chagrin of Ares who vowed to corrupt and destroy the immortal sisterhood.

CHEETAH

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My personal favourite Wonder Woman villain of all time is most assuredly Diana’s principal nemesis – The Cheetah, but did you know that the current holder of that appellation, one Barbara Ann Minerva, is actually just one of many that have held that titular title over the years? no? well read on fellow fans of ferocious felines.

Making her first ever appearance in Wonder Woman #6 was the original variant of the capricious cat – Priscilla Rich, created by the awesome alumni of William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter way back in 1943. This golden age version of Cheetah was a spoilt rich girl with an inferiority complex and split personality, who when shown up by Wonder Woman at a charity event, attempted yet failed to take the life of Diana. Later, falling into the mire of her dissociative identity disorder, Priscilla donned a colourful costume and became the first Cheetah.

Cheetah 2.0 was actually Priscilla’s very own niece – Debbie Domaine, who was very much removed from her aunt personality wise, being an ecology activist and fast friend with Wonder Woman herself. After Priscilla passes away, Debbie was kidnapped by the cult of Kobra, her aunt’s former villainous identity is revealed and through torture and insidious indoctrination, Debbie became the new embodiment of Cheetah.

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Currently chowing down on hapless humans and ruining Wondy’s day is Barbara Ann Minerva – former British archaeologist and heiress. Babs inherited her predatory powers from the ancient plant god – Urzkartaga, who, trapped for aeons in the Urzari jungle sought a champion to free him of his imprisonment and herald his way to ultimately raise an army and conquer the known world – this avaricious avatar ended up being Babs Minerva. First appearing in Wonder Woman (volume 2) #170, Babs continues to create chaos for the Themysciran Titan to this day, and recently was the main villain in the celluloid classic that is Wonder Woman 1984. (We also interviewed her a couple of years back – right here)

CIRCE

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Witch-Goddess – Circe is next in our iniquitous inventory of villainy, first ushered unto the DC Universe in the 1949 issue of Wonder Woman #37, this original (pre-crisis) version of the character, created by Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter was a centuries old sorceress who acquired her immortality from a rare elixir named Vitae, and was eventually banished to an uninhabited island in space known as Sorca, for her crimes against the Amazon race.

Post the DC Comics shake up of their universe in the Crisis storyline, Circe’s previous history was re-written by the great George Perez, though the core of her characterisation remained similar. In this revision of her mythos, Circe is the daughter of the Greek Titans – Hyperion and Perseis and is an immortal sorceress and former princess of the isle of Colchis (legendary resting place of the Golden Fleece) An advocate of the goddess – Hecate for millennia, her powers are myriad including the ability to change and reform reality and matter, she can control minds and raise the dead to fight for her, on top of the more mundane and everyday powers (at least in the comic-book world) of flight and strength. We also interviewed the malefic Circe a few years back – Right Here, though our poor hapless interviewer would really rather forget his calamitous conference with the witchy wonder!

Silver Swan

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Like felonious feline – Cheetah, the capricious cygnet known as Silver Swan has been inhabited by three very different persona over the decades. A trio of women have inherited the majestic yet melancholic moniker of The Silver Swan, beginning with the tragic tale of Helen Alexandros. Helen was a talented ballet dancer, who oft found herself bereft of balletic opportunities because (or so she believed) of her average looks and physique. Striking a pact with Ares for angelic beauty, Helen was gifted the exquisite form she so desired  on the proviso that she destoyed the Amazon champion, Wonder Woman. Mystically enhanced by Ares, she became the Silver Swan, and was granted the powers of flight, super strength and the capacity to unleash powerful sonic blasts using her voice.

Second in line to ruffle her feathers at Diana was Valerie Beaudry, a lonely and dejected personality with low self esteem and severe social anxiety problems. In fact her only connection to societal structure came in the form of a pen pal – Henry Armbruster, industrial head of Armbruster International. Upon meeting for the first time, Henry exploited Valerie’s longing for acceptance and friendship by choosing her for his secretive Silver Swan project. Through experimentation, Valerie emerged as the new face of the Silver Swan, retaining all the powers of the previous Alexandros avian variant. With the succour of wonder Woman, Valerie gradually broke free from the manipulative control of Armbruster, and in due course became an agent of justice, initially joining the meta-human team – The Captains of Industry, and a brief stint in The Suicide Squad.

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The swan song of this group of volatile volitants and current holder of the sonic scream is Vanessa Kapatelis, a former adherent and eventual friend of Diana. Yet, Vanessa’s friendship with Wondy and her inherent insecurities were perniciously preyed upon by Witch-Goddess – Circe, who utilised Vanessa’s diffident personality and slowly turned her against the Amazon princess. With the assistance of the diabolical Doctor Psycho, Circe conditioned and transformed the insecure former friend of Diana into the latest form of the Silver Swan. Even after Wonder Woman defeated Circe and released Vanessa from her thrall, her unjustified torment continued as she was summarily kidnapped from recovery at a Buenos Aries hospital by deceitful pharmaceutical mogul – Veronica Cale. Cale modified Vanessa through cybernetic implants and sent her out, once more, to fight her former friend, Diana. With her eventual defeat again at the hands of Wonder Woman, Vanessa retreated to the paradise isle of Themyscira for rehabilitation and solace.

Phew! and that, my astounding Amazonian associates is just the literal tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the astonishing Amazon’s array of aggressive antagonists, I mean I could go on (an on) but this post is already reaching near encyclopedic proportions! Yet, with Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary on the near horizon (October 21, Wondy fact fans) you can be sure that there’ll be plenty more posts emanating from the Precinct’s Ancient Amazon Archives, celebrating not just our favourite Hellenic herald but also her nearest and not so dearest…

Comic Cover Of The Week: Wonder Woman #23

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Liam Sharp Delivers Yet Another Stunning Cover

The Truth is finally laid bare before Diana, in this enthralling last instalment of Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp’s mythological masterpiece ‘The Lies’. This issue marks the sad departure of Liam Sharp’s astounding artwork, as he moves on to other projects for DC Comics, with Bilquis Evely taking over artistic duties for issues #24 and #25.

“The conclusion to Diana’s search for the truth takes her on a journey into darkness, but the price of understanding may be one sacrifice too many for Wonder Woman…”

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Sensational scribe Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman Rebirth has been astounding, his alternating storylines have offered up some of the most exceptional tales of Amazonian ancestry since the great George Perez. Alongside Greg have been two of comicdom’s most prolific and talented artists, Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, with both wowing us on a monthly basis with their vivacious visuals and astonishing attention to detail, making each and every issue a literal masterpiece.

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Jenny Frison Offers Up A Breathtakingly Beautiful Variant Cover

Making every month a pricey one for this particular comic-book collector are Jenny Frison’s absolutely beautiful variant covers, they are so resplendently gorgeous, that I have literally no choice but to purchase them alongside the regular covers which feature Liam and Nicola’s equally scintillating cover imagery.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #23 is available at your local comic-book emporium right now.

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #15

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Welcome back once more my Amazon loving affiliates, to another instalment of; Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the world’s foremost female Superhero. This week we present you with: Wonder Woman (vol 2) #15. Released in April 1988, written and illustrated by George Perez.

The tantalising tale hidden behind the awesome Perez cover is titled “Swan Song” and recounts Diana’s struggle against one of her most deadly but piteous foes; The Silver Swan.

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Three women have inherited the mantle of Silver Swan over the years, beginning with the tragic Helen Alexandros. Helen was a talented ballet dancer who oft found herself overlooked for major roles, because (she believed) of her average looks and physique. Striking a bargain with Ares for angelic beauty and form, Helen was granted the beauty she desired on the proviso that she would destroy the human’s champion Wonder Woman. Mystically altered by Ares, Helen became the Silver Swan, with the abilities of flight, super strength and the capacity to create powerful sound blasts using her voice.

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Silver Swan #2 is Valerie Beaudry, a lonely and friendless woman, who found it difficult to connect with the world at large. The only connection Valerie had was a pen pal named Henry Armbruster, the industrialist head of Armbruster International. Upon meeting for the first time, Henry exploited Valerie’s need for acceptance and friendship by choosing her for his Silver Swan project. Through his experiments Valerie mutated into the Silver Swan, giving her incredible beauty and hyper sonic powers, he also expanded his nefarious control over her by marrying Valerie. As time went on Valerie, with the help of Wonder Woman became aware of Henry’s exploitative ways and saw him for who he really was and divorced him. From here on Valerie became an agent of justice, serving time with Super-team Captains Of Industry and a short stint in the Suicide Squad

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Silver Swan #3 was Vanessa Kapatelis, a former admirer and friend of Wonder Woman. Vanessa was preyed upon by Witch-goddess Circe who decided to utilise the young insecure woman’s friendship with Diana and turn her against against the Amazon princess. With the assistance of Dr Psycho, Circe conditioned and altered Vanessa transforming her into the new Silver Swan. After the defeat of Circe by Wonder Woman, Vanessa was taken to a hospital in Buenos Aires to recover but whilst there was discovered and kidnapped by the deceitful Veronica Cale, an unscrupulous pharmaceutical magnate. Cale modified Vanessa through implanted cybernetics and sent her back once more, to fight her one time close friend Diana. With her eventual defeat again at the hands of Wonder Woman, Vanessa had the Cybernetc implants removed and was taken to the Amazon Isle of Themyscira for recovery and solace.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astonishing Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #6

(Copyright_DC Comics)

(Copyright_DC Comics)

Welcome back once more, fellow fans of the amazing Amazon to; Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira. This week we delve into the Amazon archives to bring you: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #6, written by Len Wein, with cover and interior art by George Perez. Released in July 1987.

The titanic tale secreted behind this amazing Perez cover is titled “Powerplay”. Diana and Ares face off in a bitter duel, in her bid to thwart the Greek God of War from his maniacal scheme to bring a final conflict that will end mankind.

Ares

Olympian and son of Zeus, Ares, has long been a thorn in the side of Wonder Woman and her sister Amazons. His first appearance was in Wonder Woman #1 in 1942, introduced as a protagonist, with his ultimate goal of eternal war and conflict in the world of man, he is predominantly opposed by Aphrodite, who wishes a harmonious civilisation amongst the humans. Whilst the followers who worshipped Ares fought amongst themselves, killing off their weaker brothers, Aphrodite enacted her plan to create a race of superior warrior women, to guide the world into a more peaceful existence, and thus the Amazons were born. Ares, despite being the son of Zeus never conformed with his godly brothers and sisters, leaving Olympus to form his own realm, Areopagus  (Ares’ Rock.)

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In the recent “New 52” reboot of the DC Universe, Ares, who is now regularly referred to as “War” appears as an aged man with his legs and feet permanently stained with the blood of generations of conflict. With the revelation that Diana is actually the demi-god daughter of Zeus, their dynamic changed, Ares is revealed to be one of Diana’s former mentors, training her in the ways of martial combat and this early meeting of their relationship takes on a father/daughter bond. However when Diana is tasked by Ares to slay the Minotaur, she is unable to do so, and this showing of kindness and compassion made her a failure in the eyes of Ares. More recently, Diana herself has inherited the title of God Of War, after regretfully killing her Olympian brother whilst attempting to stop the insidious plans of the First Born. In his dying breath, Ares forgives and commends Diana before being taken to the afterlife by Hades

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my amazing Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #1

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Welcome back once more friends of Themyscira, to another instalment of  Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the amazing Amazon. The tantalising tale hidden behind this weeks captivating cover is titled “The Princess And The Power” released in February 1987, written by George Perez and Greg Potter, with cover and interior art by George Perez and Bruce Patterson.

It’s been a year since the last publication of a Wonder Woman solo comic, ending her titanic run on volume one and following on from the major reboot of the DC Universe in the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” saga, Diana returns once more in volume two. 

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This classic comic sports an awesome George Perez wraparound cover that depicts the defeat and subjugation of the Amazon warrior race by Zeus’ son Heracles, who is aided and abetted by God of War, Ares.

With a brand new first issue comes a reworking of Wonder Woman and her sister Amazon’s backstory. A convocation of Greek Gods form in Zeus’ palace on Mount Olympus, where Artemis, Goddess of the hunt petitions Zeus to create a race of warrior women to lead mankind back once again, to the faithful worship of the Greek Gods. Zeus rejects the idea, and Artemis approaches Zeus’ wife Hera in private to get her blessing for the venture. With Hera’s support, Artemis gathers together Gods who are sensitive to her cause which include, Hermes, Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena and Hestia.

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Together these gregarious Greek Gods cross the famed River Styx and enter the Cavern of Souls (also known as the Womb of Gaea, the Earth Mother) and extract the souls of women who have died at the hands of man throughout the generations, and reincarnate them as Amazon warriors. One soul however is left in the cavern, and Athena professes that this one has a special destiny, but her time is yet to come. This soul will eventually become Diana, moulded out of clay on the shores of Themyscira by her mother Queen Hippolyta, and given life, once more by the pantheon of Greek Gods.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astute Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #286

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Welcome back once more to another instalment of, Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of everyone’s favourite Amazon warrior. This week we present to you; Wonder Woman #286, written by Robert Kanigher, with interior and cover art by Ross Andru, Dick Giordano, Jose Delbo and Dave Hunt. Released in December 1981.

The tremendous tale hidden behind this classic cover is titled “Be Wonder Woman… And Die”, in which Diana gives an up and coming actress, who wants to portray Wonder Woman in a movie, a chance to play her in real life to give the film role more perspective. The cover depicts Queen Hippolyta cradling the Wonder Woman actress, who was accepted as an Honourary Amazon sister shortly before her untimely demise.

Queen Hippolyta

Queen Hippolyta

Hippolyta (aka, Hippolyte), is the legendary Queen of the fabled Amazons, who made her first appearance alongside her daughter Wonder Woman, in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941. Based on the Greek mythological character of Hippolyte, who was the Amazonian Queen fathered by god of war Ares.

There have been two major versions of her origin, the original golden age variant of her origin we touched upon in an earlier instalment of Classic Wonder Woman, which you can read right here After Wonder Woman underwent a revamp by the legendary George Perez in 1987, Hippolyta’s own backstory also changed. Hippolyta, her sister Antiope and the rest of the Amazons were created by the Gods of Olympus, Artemis, Hestia, Athena, Demeter and Aphrodite, who took the souls of warrior women who had been slain by the hands of man over the centuries and formed them initially out of clay, before granting them life as immortal Amazon warriors. Hippolyta herself is believed to be at least 3,000 years old.

Blonde Hippolyta-New 52 reboot

Hippolyta-New 52 reboot

A recent reboot of Wonder Woman in DC Comic’s  “New 52″, also brought another change for the Amazon Queen. Blonde and edgy, this version of Hippolyta is more the fierce warrior than a diplomat and mentor as her previous incarnation. Also this version of Hippolyta didn’t fashion Diana from clay, but fell pregnant after having an affair with Zeus, and was eventually punished for her transgression by Zeus’ wife Hera, and turned to stone.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my admirable Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #149

(DC Comics, 1941-2015)

(DC Comics, 1941-2015)

Welcome once more friends, to our ongoing classic comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the world’s first and most important female superhero. This week we bring you Wonder Woman #149, released in October 1964, written by Robert Kanigher, with cover and interior art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Within the pages of this amazing amazon archive, you will encounter the classic, The Last Days Of The Amazons, recounting the tale of Queen Hippolyta’s lost love and her call to the goddess Athena to help her fashion a statue in his image. But when the statue inexplicably is brought to life, the presence of man on Themyscira threatens the downfall of the island.

Themyscira

This issue takes place mainly on the paradise island of Themyscira, which is actually the second home of the Amazons. Themyscira originally was the city-state in ancient Greece founded by the Amazons themselves, ruled over by sisters Hippolyta and Antiope. After being betrayed by Gods, Ares and Heracles, the Amazons moved to a remote island and rebuilt their culture away from the prying eyes of man and under the protection of Zeus himself. The Amazons, separate from the modern world lived in a state of harmony with their surroundings, training themselves for centuries as warriors and artisans.

Join us again in a weeks time for another classic WW cover, my affable amazonian associates!