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Wonder Woman (DC Comics) (Gail Simone era)

Wonder Woman

(Diana of Themyscira) (Gail Simone take) (part #1)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Wonder Woman is the most famous comic book super-heroine. She first appeared in 1941. Her main creator was Dr. William Marston (writing as “Charles Moulton”). WW has more or less been in publication ever since.

She is a complex character, with a complex mythology. Over the decades, she has featured in stories of wildly diverging quality and in very different genres. And of course, as the emblematic super-heroine, she has reflected important societal evolutions about women.

This specific profile

Since there is so much material and so much variation, Wonder Woman is best profiled using author-based takes. Over time we’ll ideally cover the versions of Wonder Woman associated with her key writers – Moulton, Pérez, O’Neil, Rucka, Simone.

Thus, this profile focuses on the excellent 2008-2010 Wonder Woman run by Gail Simone . What happened before Simone gets a quick recap. But the characterisation, game stats, etc. are about the WW stories Gail wrote in 2008-2010.

Therefore, there are S P O I L E R S therein about :

  • Wonder Woman volume 3.
  • One key episode of the Rucka run in volume 2.
  • A few contemporary Simone-penned appearances in other book (such as Secret Six).

For historical reasons, this profile is our main Wonder Woman profile. So it comes with a lot of additional material about the character.

Which in turns means that it’s a bit long, so it was broken down into three parts :

  1. Wonder Woman (Gail Simone take) part #1 – The amazing Amazon (powers, skills, artifacts).
  2. .
  3. Wonder Woman (Gail Simone take) part #3 – The feminine mystique (quotes, FAQ, game stats).

Other WW profiles

Though this here profile is the main one, you can also peruse :


Background

  • Real Name: Princess Diana of Themyscira.
  • Other Aliases: Diana Prince (fake ID) ; the Destroyer, the Avatar of Pain (Khund names) ; the Dragon (name given by the Circle) ; Daughter of the Hunter’s Moon ; Helm-Princess (title given by Beowulf) ; Athena’s Grace ; Themyscira’s Mistress of the Hunt.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Hippolyta (aka Hippolyte, mother), Antiope (aunt, deceased), Astarte (aunt), Theana (cousin), the hecantoncheire Cottus (source of her flesh), Donna (magical sister).
  • Group Affiliation: Amazons of Themyscira, Justice League of America, (as Diana Prince) Department of Metahuman Affairs.
  • Base Of Operations: Themyscira (“Paradise Island”) or Washington, D.C..
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Intense pale blue Hair: Raven black


Powers and Abilities

This era likely features the mightiest and most competent depiction of Wonder Woman. During the Simone run, she is one of the most powerful, intelligent, charismatic and competent heroes in the world. She operates at a higher level of might and skill than most JLA members.

She’s firmly among the trinity of keystone heroes of the DC Universe. Both Rucka and Simone had her as being near-Superman-class in power, and one of the most badass warriors on Earth.

Diana is slightly under Kryptonian  levels of strength and endurance. She has taken on a mind-controlled Power Girl or a mind-controlled Superman without faltering.

Her grace, agility, speed and fighting technique are all superhuman. World-class masters of the martial arts such as Black Canary and Batman operate well below her level. They learn a lot from sparring with her or just watching her fight.

Durability

Wonder Woman is easier to wound than a Kryptonian or Daxamite – especially by edged or piercing attacks. On the other hand, her enormous willpower, resolve and endurance allow her to take a lot of damage and keep on coming.

She also has a healing factor . This does not mean that she regenerates like Wolverine does. But even bad cuts, burns, concussions, broken bones and the like will discreetly fade over a few minutes or hours. Still, some first aid and bandages are always advisable.

This healing factor is most useful for internal bleeding, burns, broken bones and the like. It stops the damage, prevents it from worsening even when Wonder Woman is vigorously active, and quietly fixes things without a need for surgery.

Thus, even when Wonder Woman is badly wounded, she will likely soon be ready to fight again. She once recovered the full use of a broken arm within, at most, two hours.

Diana’s tolerance for pain is also superhuman. During this era she’s seen fighting with third- to fourth-degree burns on the inside of her hands, though she first had to have her hands heavily bandaged and soaked in balms. She also needed somebody to tie her weapons to her hands so she could hold them despite the pain.

Wonder Woman flying over a white background, by Nicola Scott

Her Demeter -granted durability seems to have much the same characteristics as the earth. Attempting to crush, burn, freeze, punch, etc. the soil is not going to yield much results barring massive force. But trying to cut it or pierce it is more likely to work. The same is true of Diana’s flesh.

Blows delivered with Superman-class strength can be withstood by Diana. Howbeit, impaling or cutting attacks such as bullets, arrows, spears, certain energy beams, swords, axes, etc. will more easily make her bleed. They could even seriously wound her if they hit a vulnerable spot such as the eyes.

During this run Diana is seen trudging through molten lava with but minor burns. But then, lava can have a wide range of temperatures. Wonder Woman could also work in low Earth orbit or deep in the Arctic, her body quickly getting covered with rime, without discomfort.

Physiology

Though she’s technically a golem, and arguably a goddess, Diana is entirely organic. She functions like a human woman – albeit with superhuman strength, speed, durability, etc.. For instance, she can have children using the traditional method. Her artificial nature only ever matters for very specific mystical purposes.

Medically, mentally, etc. Wonder Woman is just a healthy superhuman lady. She has all the usual organs working in the usual ways.

However, from one of her remarks, she seems to have two distinct senses of touch. One works as could be expected from a superhuman with massive strength and durability. It is the other, human-scale one that allows her to sense even light contacts on her skin.

This second sense of touch apparently uses different pathways that do not include a notion of pain. Based on what she told Thomas Tresser it’s somewhat low-resolution. She can sense a gentle contact, but the sensation is not as rich as it is for a normal person.

Other physical assets

Wonder Woman possesses superhuman accuracy with all Amazon weapons. Early during this era she diverts a mortar shell in mid-flight. Her arrow snags the shell and tugs it away to explode against an enemy tank.

Weapons are normally reserved for war, however. In normal circumstances Diana fights empty-handed and with her lasso and bracers. The tiara is rarely used, especially against living opponents.

Wonder Woman as agent Diana Prince

Wonder Woman is able to use pretty much any weapon with the same accuracy as traditional Themysciran Amazon armament. She once wrenches a Khund energy cannon off its mounting and immediately uses it for anti-aircraft fire. She wielded it like a rifle and spotted her targets with the Mk1 eyeball.

While Wonder Woman is stunningly beautiful and graceful. She is often thought of as the most beautiful woman on Earth.

Divinely gifted

Beyond her raw brawn, toughness and fighting skills, Wonder Woman enjoys a number of physical divine blessings. During this era, notable abilities include :

  • Flying at high speeds, though not as fast as a Kryptonian or a Green Lantern. This is a blessing from Hermes . She accelerates quickly and can zoom very close to the ground, making her highly mobile.
    Wonder Woman could quickly catch up with a flying ICBM (which was presumably flying at about 15,000 mph). At these speeds, she can reach low Earth orbit (100+ miles) within seconds, like she did during her final fight against Genocide.
  • A eagle-like eyesight that can pierce even darkness, and an incredibly keen hearing. This is a blessing from Artemis . Diana can accurately locate opponents solely via her sense of hearing. At one point she uses her bracer to redirect a HEAT rocket right at an opponent she can hear but cannot see.
  • The ability to hold her breath for longer than humanly possible, thanks to her strength.
  • Moving at superhuman speeds (in DC Heroes RPG terms Jumping, Running, Swimming). Yet this is seldom demonstrated since Flight is far more efficient. This is another blessing from Hermes.
  • Aphrodite -granted beauty, which seems to require no maintenance whatsoever and makes cosmetics pointless. Diana’s make-up drawer in Washington, D.C. held but one spare toothbrush and one unopened bottle of perfume. And the later was probably a promotional gift from Vixen.
  • A form of super-speed, though not quite in the same sense as, say, the Flash. It is closer to a mixture of extreme speed, precision, mental and physical reflexes, ability to orient oneself and process information, etc.. Thus, she acts and works faster than a human being could. This is another aspect of Hermes’s blessing of speed and Aphrodite-given grace.
  • The ability to communicate with animals. Furthermore even animals that should be uncontrollable, like a polar bear mother near her cub or a rabid wolf, will greet Wonder Woman as a trusted friend and noble ally. Somehow they know whom she is.

Charisma

Diana is superhumanly charismatic, and a great orator. When she talks, people listen. Seeing her in action or hearing her speaking has inspired tens of thousands throughout the world to change their lives for the better.

She’s an icon, famous and admired worldwide, a global mega-star, and the role model for millions of little girls and grown women. Even space aliens and angry gods listen to Wonder Woman. And odds are good that they will be swayed by her charisma, sincerity, poise and articulateness.

Though her presence is massive, this is in no way hypnosis or mind control. There are obvious limits to whom can be convinced of what, especially since Wonder Woman will never lie, deceive or manipulate.

Many people listening to her are simply too set in their ways for the truth to sway them. But when Diana talks to a crowd, a remarkable percentage of listeners is touched by her words and presence.

Education and intelligence

Wonder Woman is highly educated in the scholarly Amazon tradition. She learns superhumanly fast and well thanks to the divine blessings of Athena  and Hermes, particularly when it comes to languages. Her memory is nigh-faultless. At kindergarten age, she rapidly went from being a little girl who loved animals to being a walking zoological encyclopaedia.

Wonder Woman fighting as Agent Diana Prince

Wonder Woman speaks practically every language on Earth, including some exotic ones (such as Ancient Atlantean). However she can be stumped by alien languages, completely lost or unknown tongues, codes, and the like.

She can be assumed to be very well-read and highly qualified on practically every academic subject. This ranges from quoting passages from world literature to correctly identifying the model of ex-Soviet ICBMs and remembering their specifications.

Her intelligence is razor-sharp. She’s extremely quick on the uptake as long as she has a context to work with (for instance, battle strategies). She’s a top strategist and tactician and can be counted on to come up with an appropriate solution to all sorts of problems and crises. However, she also realises that in many cases, just punching things works fine.

Wonder Woman is not just intellectually gifted. She’s :

  • Professional.
  • Organised.
  • Thinks tactically and analytically.
  • Is ridiculously calm and graceful under pressure.
  • Can rapidly come up with good and practical plans that will survive contact with the enemy.
  • And so on and so forth.

Though she openly lets her emotions guide her in many situations, as is the way of her people, this is rarely a weakness in her reasoning. She will implement what her emotions lead her toward with a clear head and razor-sharp intelligence.


Wonder Woman’s equipment

Diana uses a number of pieces of equipment, which have acquired an iconic status.

Her silvery bracers, part 1

These are indestructible. With her superhuman reflexes she can use them to block all sorts of attacks, particularly projectiles. Much like Captain America’s shield, they seem to absorb energy.

Thus, a tactic such as blocking a particularly powerful punch with her crossed forearms makes sense. The thin sheet of metal doesn’t just prevent her tissues from being lacerated, it can block raw force. The bracers do not seem to conduct heat either.

In the case of very fast, light projectiles such as bullets, Wonder Woman is so precise that she can block the projectile and aim its ricochet. For instance she could hit the person who just shot her with a called ricochet into their shoulder.

Wonder Woman flying over a white background

Wonder Woman is so fast that she can routinely use her BRACERS to block lasers. Presumably she tracks where the weapon is aiming thanks to her superhuman eyesight and reflexes. Thus, her wrist is already at the correct spot when the laser is emitted.

Even very rapid fire aimed at her — say, massed assault rifle fire or chaingun  fire — will reliably be countered by the bracers and Wonder Woman’s superhuman speed. When she does that, her arms move so fast as to be a blur.

Her silvery bracers, part 2

The bracers are important to defend against shearing, cutting and piercing attacks, toward which Wonder Woman is more vulnerable. Rather than show off and bounce bullets off her sternum she will elect to be careful and stop swords, bullets, arrows, lasers, spears, anti-tank rockets, etc. with her bracers.

Furthermore, this prevents things from going wrong. For instance some projectiles might turn out to be armour-piercing, or ricochet off her the wrong way (since her body presents a marked deficit in flat surfaces) and hurt a bystander, or hit a weak spot. No such risk exists if she uses the bracers.

In DC Heroes RPG terms, Wonder Woman has three main options with her BRACERS. She can use them to Block (usually dangerous melee attacks), to boost her OV via Evasion — the default option — or for Reflection/Deflection (usually for the Reflection component).

Gorilla Knights submit to Wonder Woman

Her usual approach when fired upon is to Lay Back, defend against the projectiles, then rush in and engage in close combat before the enemy can react. Unless very special projectiles are employed (such as the god-forged arrows fired by Philomela of the Circle), opening fire on Wonder Woman is just a way to delay her for a few seconds, no matter what the weapon is.

Even the best marksman on Earth (Deadshot) opening up at close range with his favourite semi-automatic weapons saw his every shot fail.

Her tiara

This tiara is also made of magical metal with astounding tensile strength. Most of its edges are razor-sharp, and it can be used as a cutting weapon both up close and at a range.

Wonder Woman can throw her tiara with superhuman precision and force. Having the tiara ricochet a half-dozen times on obstacles, snag her lasso and fly back to her with the lasso is not something exceptional.

Like Captain America’s shield, it can follow trajectories that are not entirely compatible with the laws of physics. Wonder Woman can, for instance, throw the tiara in a strange arcing trajectory through the rifles of a dozen soldiers surrounding her and have it fly back to her hand.

Amazon weaponry

When the time comes for war, Wonder Woman will liberally arm herself with Themysciran weapons. A reasonable wartime loadout for Diana is :

  • A one-handed battle axe.
  • A sword.
  • A dagger.
  • A small shield.
  • A sabre.
  • A bow with a full quiver.
  • Plus her normal equipment.

The double-bladed battle ax is her preferred weapon for war. One assumes that it’ll take more blows for her strength to demolish this stout weapon and force her to switch to the next one. It’s also a good weapon for slaying giant monsters.

During much of this run, the longsword at her side during wartime is a flamberge  that Beowulf, Prince of the Geats, gave her as a present.

Her eagle armour

In wartime, she will sometimes wear a distinctive metallic suit of body armour patterned after an eagle. These shining battle armours are the emblem of the Amazon royalty. Suits have been forged for Queen Hippolyte, Princess Diana, Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark.

Wonder Woman's tiara and bracers sparkling in the dark

They are custom-fitted, and each suit sports a slightly different set of colours. This is presumably so Amazon warriors can rally to the proper champion in the middle of a battle. Princess Diana’s war armour is golden as an homage to her main patron, and includes the US flag once flown by Diana Rockwell-Trevor tucked under the left shoulder plate.

Magical artefacts

Diana also owns various magical items from previous adventures. The artefacts used during this era are:

  • The sandals of Hermes (which can cross dimensions and fly at enormous speed). During this run, the sandals are used but once, to visit a number of divine realms in quick succession. They’re simply kept in her socks drawer in her bedroom.
  • Kāne Miohai ’s magical seashell. This small seashell worn as a pendant can magically become much, much larger. It usually is about 20m², but it once became large enough to carry about 200 Amazon warriors in full battle kit.
    The seashell can fly at great speeds, or be sailed like a racing sailing ship. When Diana sailed it a mast, sails, rope, etc. were evident – presumably produced by the shell’s magic.

Invisible jet

Bruce Wayne had donated to the DMA some hideously expensive military equipment when “Diana Prince” joined. That includes an advanced stealth fighter reserved for “Agent Prince”.

This high-performance, large jet fighter uses high-tech camouflage making it nearly invisible to radar. Diana chiefly uses this plane for transportation. It’s more comfortable than flying under her own power, and it allows her to bring a passenger since it’s a two-seater. It’s also more discreet than the seashell.

The plane looks practically transparent. Presumably there’s a layer of active paint that mirrors the background of the plane at all times. However, the angles and edges of the body can still be discerned and the inside of the cockpit appears normally.

It might include a 20 or 25mm multiple barrels cannon with ample ammunition – but that is more hinted when Steve Trevor was flying it than demonstrated. It also presumably has retractable pylons somewhere.

Wonder Woman being sarcastic

The plane can be remote-controlled using a small remote, and has a smart autopilot computer with voice control capabilities. The armour plating is impressive, and ramming things is a perfectly viable tactic, strongly hinting at an airframe made from some sort of advanced metal. The plane once flew clean through a gigantic Hell-lord, cleaving him in two, without visible damage.

Diana’s plane is destroyed in the closing hours of the era covered by this profile, assuming that it was the same one than Trevor was piloting.


Wonder Woman’s equipment – the Lasso of Truth

This glowing piece of rope, also called the Lasso of Hestia , is Wonder Woman’s best-known instrument. Here is how it works.

Nearly indestructible

It is strong enough to hold Superman. The Lasso has been snapped in the past by some ridiculous levels of force but has always returned intact. In game terms it is fixed off-scene as any Gadget is, but presumably the Lasso’s link to Gaea  allows it to regenerate.

Extensible

Wonder Woman can magically extend its length to several hundred metres if needed. For instance, it could entangle a number of gigantic sea monsters.

Glowing

It glows with a golden light, which the wielder can intensify for illumination when needed.

Animal speech

It can be used to communicate with all animals who touch it. This has proven useful when Diana lost the use of her divine gifts.

Use as a whip

Diana occasionally uses the lasso like a whip, and can crack it even when extended to a great length. However, the tip is not weighted. Therefore, this specialised attack is only useful if the rope can wrap around something. Wonder Woman can then yank it, leaving the lasso to cleave and crush what it’s wrapped around as she pulls.

This is a lethal attack. Therefore, it is only ever used against objects (for instance, to wreck a shield held by an opponent) or targets against which lethal force is appropriate (such as cleaving the wrist of giant hell lords).

Armour of truth

The lasso can be tightly wrapped around Diana’s body. This is best done with another person to help, and prevents any other use of the lasso.

Thus swathed, Diana is protected by truth – lies, emotion control, hypnosis, mind control and other abilities that would make her untrue to herself no longer affect her.

Soul connection

The connection between the Lasso and Diana can be cut, but only under the most strenuous circumstances. When the connection is cut, the Lasso is just a piece of indestructible robe, with no other properties.

The connection was cut once during this run. But this only occurred after Wonder Woman spent several days bereft of her soul. She re-established the connection when, despite being soulless, she reconnected with her sense of mercy and compassion.

Touch of truth

Anybody touching the Lasso, or being touched by the Lasso, has no choice but to speak the truth – including Wonder Woman. A common application, when Diana needs to promise something or has something promised to her, is for both parties to touch the lasso while taking their oath.

Soul to soul

The truth-inducing touch of the lasso has a higher “setting”, as it were. If both she and another person touch the lasso, Wonder Woman can will forth both souls to be projected into the lasso.

This usually takes the form of floating into endless darkness. Therein one can only tell the truth. It is also possible to just peer into one’s soul and learn about their fears and hopes. Occasional mental images will fill the darkness.

In DC Heroes terms this is a mixture of Charisma (Interrogation) and a Mind Probe. For instance she could both have Albrecht Krieger (aka Captain Nazi) tell her what his plans were (Interrogation) and see his rotten childhood (Mind Probe).

For conflicted persons who have gone through traumatic episodes, have self-loathing issues, etc. being “in the lasso” can be pretty much torture as they are forced to face who they are without any protection.

This is vaguely ethically defensible. There is no evil within the lasso other than the one they brought, and Diana herself certainly isn’t bringing any. Nevertheless, WW dislikes it when the person is suffering and will conduct the interrogation in the quickest and most humane way she can. She’ll just abort the process if the intelligence to be gained is not worth it.

Persons without a soul are immune to the Lasso’s touch of truth, since they have no soul to bare.

Revelator of truth, part 1

The most dangerous ability of the Lasso is that its wielder will mystically learn the truth about those she encounters.

In DC Heroes game terms this is modelled as an Always On, short-ranged Mind Probe that gets stronger as the wielder spends time with a person. This effect is extremely subtle. In fact it’s practically undetectable. Even powerful telepaths such as J‘onn J‘onnz never realised its existence.

It is thus essentially impossible to hide secrets from Wonder Woman. Though it’s not useful on the time scale of a fight or brief encounter, ordinary persons will be laid bare before her if they interact with her even for a few minutes. The process seemed far faster and more powerful when Genocide used it. This presumably means that Diana keeps this enchantment running at its lowest degree of power.

Diana is very much aware of how devastating this ability could be. She almost never mentions the existence of this dweomer . She never uses her knowledge of those truths unless she’s certain that it will have an unambiguously positive effect. One example is to help a person who is hiding a serious problem, such as alcoholism.

For everything else she will stay mum and let people keep their privacy.

Just because the lasso is so potent as to expose truths all around it doesn’t mean that she has to treat this like intelligence. One comment of hers implies that she can choose not to ’scan’ specific persons if she concentrates. For instance she apparently decided to have Etta Candy-Trevor keep her secrets, and was surprised to learn about her affiliation.

Revelator of truth, part 2

Since there have been a number of instances where Wonder Woman was surprised by secrets held by persons around her, it is likely that this ability was only recently developed. Perhaps her atunement with her lasso grew stronger as a result of meditation and her time as the Goddess of Truth.

Or perhaps Wonder Woman has always kept it suppressed as much as possible out of respect for people’s privacy.

What is happening is not explained, but my own (unsupported !) theory is a mix of the two.

  1. Wonder Woman generally keeps this ability to bare truth just by standing there with the lasso as suppressed as she can. That’s the cleanest interpretation of her words when mentioning the horrible damage Genocide could inflict with the Lasso of Truth.
  2. But over time, she has gained a better level of control. This lets truths that, deep down, people want WW to know, “leak” toward her.

If so the second Mind Probe Power could have in DC Heroes RPG terms a self-imposed Limitation (-0 FC since she can lift it when she wants) that it only picks facts that the person would, on some level, like Wonder Woman to be aware of.

End of part #1

This profile is continued in Wonder Woman (Gail Simone take) part #2 – Who is Wonder Woman ? (history, personality).


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By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman in the late 2000s.

Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Darci, Gareth Lewis, William Chamberlin, Woodrow Hill, Mike Winkler, Roy Cowan, Frank Murdock, Bearhugger, Chris Cottingham, Bryan Gittens.

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