Diana has been rejecting the Wonder Woman title as she battles in Valhalla, but as her heroism returns, so does the name fans know and love.
Warning: contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #772!
The name Wonder Woman has taken on a new meaning, as Diana reclaims her warrior identity in the mythic realm of Valhalla. Throughout the current Wonder Woman story arc “Afterworlds,” Wonder Woman has rejected the name, opting to just go by ‘Diana’ instead. While fans had speculated that Diana may be ditching the title for good – with the Infinite Frontier era of DC Comics having presented numerous new contenders – it seems she is reclaiming it, even as her latest adventure has subtly shifted its relevance.
Over the past few issues, Wonder Woman has been fighting alongside the Norse gods, including DC’s versions of Thor and Odin. With no memory of who she is, and only vague hints of her previous identity, Diana has been enjoying the guilt-free bloodshed of endless battle. In the previous issue, Wonder Woman confronted Doctor Psycho, and when he addressed her by that name, she rebuked him, saying her name was “Diana.” It was a moment that drew a sharp divide between the deadly warrior she was choosing to be in Valhalla and the superhero fans know.
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Now, fans can see her embrace her old identity in Wonder Woman #772, written by Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan, with art by Travis Moore, colors by Tamra Bonvillain and letters by Pat Brosseau. In this issue, Wonder Woman encounters Odin, who once again addresses her as “Wonder Woman.” Rather than correct him as she did Doctor Psycho, she tells his son Thor that she “likes the ring of it,” and she suggests everyone call her that now. Readers learn this has stirred something deep within Diana, and the memories of her time as Wonder Woman on Earth begin to flood back. Later, when she meets Deadman, the connection to her past is strengthened even further, as he stirs up more memories. Her journey into self is completed when she encounters Doctor Psycho once again, posing as an evil, future version of Wonder Woman. Psycho tries to convince her this evil version is inevitable, and that Wonder Woman must give in to her dark impulses, because it is in her nature. However, she has other ideas, telling Doctor Psycho she knows who she is.
Diana’s initial rejection of the title when she was mostly concerned with the thrill of battle, coupled with her accepting it once her mind has returned to larger acts of heroism, emphasizes the idea that ‘Wonder Woman’ isn’t just Diana’s superhero nickname, but an important title that comes with history and expectations. DC’s Future State introduced Yara Flor as the Wonder Woman of the future, while the Infinite Frontier era has hinted either Nubia or Hippolyta will take the mantle while Diana is away in the afterlife. Diana reclaiming the Wonder Woman name may mean these characters are denied it a little longer, but it also begins to expand what the title means in DC Comics. Fans are now well aware that Diana is not innately Wonder Woman, but must choose to embody this role – a role which places a mythic weight on her shoulders.
The name Wonder Woman is recognized the world over, but like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, Diana is also an individual. This storyline, through Diana’s journey of self-discovery, is helping redefine her place in the DC Universe. Wonder Woman is back to using her iconic name – a vital stage of reclaiming her identity and place in the world.
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