One thing that sets DC apart from Marvel is that it’s never been a question who DC’s biggest heroes are. Often referred to as the trinity, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have consistently been the center of DC’s Universe. Ideally, they should be equal, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case. While Superman and Batman have often contested the first place spot, Wonder Woman has always been a distant third. Fortunately, one well-received movie can change everything for comic book characters. While there’s still a gap between Wonder Woman and her two colleagues, that gap is closing.
But what does it mean for Diana to be behind Clark and Bruce? It’s all about where DC is investing their reimgs. For decades, Wonder Woman’s only non-comic representation outside of team shows like Justice League and Super Friends was the 1970s T.V. show starring Lynda Carter. Compare this to Superman and Batman who have both received multiple films and shows while Wonder Woman only managed two direct-to-DVD animated films. Looking at this metric alone, it’s arguable that Wonder Woman often hasn’t even been third. Flash, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern all received solo T.V. series of their own that have grabbed the attention of a whole new generation of fans. But it’s not just the screen where DC struggled adapting Wonder Woman.
Both Superman and Batman have thought-provoking and critically-acclaimed alternate universe stories centered on them. Batman broke new grounds with the gritty Dark Knight Returns while All-Star Superman is dripping with adoration for the character. Batman has over 30 Elseworlds titles and Superman has about 20. Wonder Woman has two. As if that isn’t enough, when Wonder Woman does feature in other character’s Elseworld stories they consistently reduce Diana to Superman’s love interest. Even in the main continuity, Wonder Woman rarely has any ongoing spinoff titles for her supporting cast like many of her contemporaries do.
That was the state of Wonder Woman in DC for decades, but the character’s fate changed as soon as her movie became the flag bearer for DC’s burgeoning cinematic universe. It took time, but Wonder Woman has finally been receiving the respect her character deserves. Diana is arguably the main character of Dark Nights: Death Metal, becoming a leader and ultimately sacrificing herself to save the universe, something that is typically reserved for Clark and Bruce in DC’s biggest events.
The biggest sign that DC is investing more reimgs into Wonder Woman is her presence in Future State. That event’s Wonder Woman, Yara Flor, was easily the event’s breakout character. The character was so instantly memorable that there was even work on a CW adaptation staring her, though the Wonder Girl show was canceled, unfortunately, it’s still impressive that a show was put into development at all after the character had only been around for roughly a month.
Meanwhile, Diana herself has finally received the same introspective alternate universe stories which redefined Batman and Superman. The nightmarish Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a stunning book that sees a lonely Wonder Woman navigating a post-apocalypse. In a similar vein is Future State’s best title, Immortal Wonder Woman which shows Wonder Woman as the DC Universe’s last living soul. That’s not even counting the handful of YA graphic novels that Diana has led. These might be small steps forward, but they are steps forward and they show that DC is finally investing effort into making Wonder Woman one of their biggest heroes.