It’s official: Wonder Woman is a bona fide hit. So what’s next?
It might seem a little hasty to look toward the future at this point, but after just one weekend in theaters, director Patty Jenkins’ film is already the best-reviewed movie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero universe and well on its way to challenging some of the genre’s most successful films both critically and commercially. And with Jenkins and star Gal Gadot both locked in for a sequel, this might actually be the perfect time to start thinking about what the future holds for DC Comics’ world-famous superheroine.
As fans of Wonder Woman’s comic book adventures already know, the live-action film featured a mix of elements from the character’s history – both classic and contemporary – for her big-screen origin story. The writers tasked with scripting the film’s sequels (assuming there will be more than one, that is) would be wise to continue doing just that, and look to the comics for inspiration, picking and choosing from the various story arcs that have showcased the best of what Wonder Woman can be.
Here are a few stories that offer a good place to start:
Wonder Woman: Hiketeia
We already know from Wonder Woman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the trailers for Justice League that Batman and Wonder Woman can’t seem to stay out of each other’s way, so this 2003 story that explores their relationship and puts it to the test seems like an obvious choice.
Penned by writer Greg Rucka with art from J.G. Jones, Hiketeia has a young woman who recently escaped from a human-trafficking ring come under the sworn protection of Wonder Woman. The only problem is that she killed the criminals who assaulted her and murdered her sister – putting her in Batman’s sights and putting Wonder Woman, as the girl’s sworn protector, into conflict with her Justice League teammate.
Wonder Woman’s firmly held belief in sacred vows comes into conflict with the pursuit of justice in this story, and it offers a great way to explore the differences between her take on the world and that of the Dark Knight.
Wonder Woman: Blood
By introducing Ares and the pantheon of Greek gods in Wonder Woman, the studio opened the door to a host of stories with interesting takes on the supernatural elements of the character’s origin. One of the more recent, compelling spins on that aspect of Wonder Woman’s mythology is the 2012 story arc from the Wonder Woman series titled “Blood.”
The story pitted Wonder Woman against the very gods themselves, with the life of a half-human child hanging in the balance. Over the course of the narrative, we see her battling all manner of mythological monsters, clashing with the various gods, taking lives when necessary, and generally engaging in a darker, more horror-fueled adventure through the supernatural landscape she inhabits.
The live-action Wonder Woman movie hinted at the terrible influence the gods can have over mankind, and this story took that notion to its terrifying extremes. Although the narrative also features a version of Wonder Woman who’s not afraid to kill, the character starring in the story is also a bottomless font of hope and stubborn optimism when it comes to humanity – not unlike her big-screen counterpart.
JLA: A League of One
The final act of Batman v Superman made it clear that Wonder Woman can hold her own alongside Batman and Superman, but the 2002 story A League of One took that one step further and made a strong case for her as the greatest hero in the Justice League.
Written and illustrated by Christopher Moeller, A League of One has Wonder Woman learn of a prophecy that the Justice League will be killed while defeating a monstrous, magical dragon raised from slumber. In order to prevent that from happening, she manages to defeat and send away each one of her teammates, leaving her to square off against the dragon solo and – hopefully – save her fellow superheroes and all of humanity by sacrificing herself.
The story seems a little far-fetched, but with the right tweaks to the script, it makes for a compelling narrative that emphasizes her warrior skill set (and mind-set) and also has a built-in reason to keep the spotlight on Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon
Adding to the aforementioned theme of Wonder Woman’s relationship with the Greek gods, this 1987 story had her tackle the famous (or perhaps infamous) gorgon Medusa, who’s been resurrected by a group of villains.
While there might not be enough meat to the story to merit its own movie, there are the seeds of a great set piece in Wonder Woman’s clash with Medusa, who can turn her victims to stone with a look. The sacrifice Wonder Woman must make in order to finally defeat her is a great indication of the lengths she’ll go to protect the world from evil.
Wonder Woman: The Circle
Rather than pitting Wonder Woman against gods or monsters, this 2005 story made an enemy out of a group of Amazons.
The story has Wonder Woman juggling the responsibilities of her civilian life along with a new threat that’s emerged from her distant past: A quartet of Amazons who once served as her mother Hippolyta’s personal guard, but now harbor a deep, dark secret tied to Wonder Woman’s creation. Given how intimidating the Amazons were in the live-action movie (and how much we’d like to see them in action again), the events that transpire in “The Circle” offer a great opportunity to explore what sets Wonder Woman apart from her fellow Amazons and the history of the mysterious island where she was raised.
One thing that probably won’t make the leap from page to screen in this particular case, though, is the story’s use of several telepathic gorillas that Wonder Woman allies herself with, as well as a villain going by the name of “Captain Nazi,” which seems a little too on the nose even for a superhero movie.