Wonder Woman is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and wonderful creations in comic book history. After all, aren't women made of sugar, spice, and uh, clay molded by Zeus himself?
Well. Here's the thing though. Ladies? Can be pretty f'ing dark. So while Wonder Woman is typically seen as the most diplomatic, kindest member of the Justice League, in truth she's exactly what she claims to be -- an Amazon demigod (most of the time) who is ready to cut through anyone that gets in her way. And that's on a good day. On a bad day? Well...
Comic book fans might be familiar with Max Lord. He was a man with a plan. That plan involved secretly being behind Justice League International, manipulating the team to gain information and leverage over the world's superheroes. And then uh, murdering people.
And that's pretty much exactly what he did. While JLI was typically on the lighter side of the DC Comics universe, Max began his killing spree by blowing the Blue Beetle's brains out. murder spree by blowing out the brains of a dork named Blue Beetle. Following that he created dozens of robots set to kill all heroes. These robots are a bit like Marvel's Sentinels, excep-- actually no, they're just like Marvel's Sentinels.
There's another wrinkle here, too: Max Lord has the power to psychically dominate almost anyone, sort of like Jessica Jones' nemesis Kilgrave. Max uses this power to manipulate Superman into fighting the Justice League.
At this point one might say Max Lord is unstoppable, but that's not really true. One bullet to his head would do it, but everyone in the hero community is too much of a coward. This is where Wonder Woman comes in.
The Princess of Themyscira doesn't waste any time. She captures Max with the Lasso of Truth and interrogates him, demanding to know how to release Superman from the villain's psychic grip. Max is forced to admit that as long as he's alive, the Man of Steel will always be at risk for corruption. So Wonder Woman goes, "Okay," and snaps his neck on live television.
This is one of Wonder Woman's darkest moments. Heck, a superhero killing someone in cold blood is pretty grim even for DC, period. And we're just getting started.
Wonder Woman has proven that she'll kill if it's a last resort, but it's not like she's a maniacal, genocidal leader intent on ending all life on Earth or anything. Except in the Flashpoint Universe, where Batman is his own grumpy dad, Superman's a kid, and Cyborg is somehow popular. To think that all this came about just because the Flash decided that, maybe, he should go back in time and un-fridge his mom. See, this is what happens when people think women should live -- chaos!
Anyway, in this reality, Wonder Woman has a much cooler outfit and more power than ever -- because she's the warrior-general of all of Themyscira. Now, because Flashpoint wasn't dark and edgy enough, the guy who is right now writing his Batman-meets-Rorschach fanfiction decided that Wonder Woman would have an affair with the married Aquaman. Mera, Aquaman's wife, found out and instead of filing for divorce or having a discussion about polygamy, she tries to straight up kill Diana. It doesn't go well for Mera.
Aquaman responded by rallying all of Atlantis to declare war on the Amazons. The resulting conflict threw the world into declaring war on the Amazons, and the Aquaman retaliated by attacking Themyscira, and Wondy retaliated by attempting to destroy the entire Earth. Maybe the lesson here shouldn't be "don't save your mom," it should be, "save more women."
Anyway, after Wonder Woman gets on land and starts murdering everyone the Shazam kids fight her, but she slaughters them mercilessly, because after killing one guy on live television, where do you go from there?
She dies hugging the corpse of Aquaman, the man she loved and then murdered, as he presses a Doomsday button. It's like Romeo and Juliet, but ya know, just the worst.
Wonder Woman has had a long and illustrious life, so it makes sense that she's made a lot of enemies. And since she's a demigod, you can bet those bad guys are a pretty big deal.
Case in point: During Justice League: Darkseid War, the Justice League fight against Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor (for those not well versed in nerd, that's like Universe Hitler and Multiverse Hitler), all of which ends up being a ploy by a woman named Grail. She takes the power of the Anti-Monitor, turns Darkseid into her slave, and attempts to destroy everything, before she is finally stopped, relenting just enough for Darkseid to be turned into a baby. She takes Babyseid and disappears.
The big question here: Who is grail? Where did she come from? How does some random woman have this much power?
Oh, she's kind of Wonder Woman's sister. See, the night Wonder Woman was born, an assassin named Myrina gave birth to a daughter -- prophesied to bring destruction to everything. Her mother was murdered after giving birth, and Grail and her mother's killer left the island, years before Wonder Woman had ever seen Steve Trevor.
Speaking of Steve, during the Darkseid War, Grail sought out Wonder Woman's boyfriend and cursed him with the Anti-Life Equation. Long story short, that makes Evil Steve a living weapon.
To be fair to Grail, she learned her villainy from the best: her dad is Darkseid himself. Turns out the God of Evil knocked boots with an Amazonian, creating the world's worst Hot Topic employee.
Flash-forward to the part where Darkseid becomes a baby (it never gets old saying that). In an effort to regrow her father, Grail starts sacrificing children of Zeus, with Hercules up first on the chopping block. Apparently the Justice League are uh, busy, so it's up to Wonder Woman to stop Grail and save the universe as we know it.
She has help, though, as a hidden twin brother reveals himself. Wait, no, sorry he's working for Grail. It's all just a fun trauma congo.
To recap, Wonder Woman keeps getting new family members, all of which try to kill her, and most of which are aligned with a dark god bent on bending the world to his sick and twisted will. Thanksgiving on Themyscira must be hell.
Remember the Wonder Woman movie, i.e. the first time a lot of people ever cared about DC's coolest character? Remember how at the end she faces down against a dude named Ares -- the God of War -- and defeats him to save the world? Okay, well something similar to that happened in the comic, except not at all, and much much worse.
At a certain point Diana became aware that her dad wasn't a beach, but Zeus. Yeah, she's Greek mythology royalty now. She gets drawn into a long, drawn out fight involving all of her family -- Hades, Persephone, Perseus, all the big hits. After fifty or so issues revolving around a series of horrifying gods attempting to kill an actual baby, Wonder Woman stabs Ares and claims his power (to stop someone else from doing it first).
Imagine if, at the end of the movie, Ares had faded, and all his armor appeared on Wonder Woman, and -- like the Highlander -- she absorbed his powers. And responsibilities. First off, that would've been a hella good ending. Second, that's exactly what happened in the comics. After the death of Ares (the old guy seen above, middle), she takes the battle to another cousin she didn't know she had called The First Born (the dude on the right end of the spear).
Though it is never explictly stated, it's clear that The First Born is inspired by Jesus. As in, Jesus Christ, the one who sometimes referred to as the "first-born." Heck, this same villain later wears a crown of thorns. Or at least he did, until Wonder Woman threw him off a cliff.
So after she fought Jesus and saved her family, Diana lives on as the new Goddess of War for all mankind, gaining power from mass slaughter. All's well that ends well?
Turns out that none of it ever actually happened. Yeah, see...
The Truth is the name of a Wonder Woman comic, but it's also possibly the most devastating thing you can ever hear. Lies can hurt and lies can heal. The truth? It doesn't give a fuck. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of Wonder Woman's darkest moments came when she learned the truth of her existence -- something she finds after using the Lasso of Truth on herself. Which, like, that's a thing you can do? Best therapy tool ever.
Anyway, she finds out that her home world, Themyscira, the place that has had countless stories take place, has been lost to her ever since she stepped off the isle.
Every single time she thought she saw her mother, an old friend, a lover -- all of it was a lie, an illusion, to distract her, and keep her separated from the Amazons. Every single comic that takes place after she first leaves the island with Steve Trevor -- all of those tales with her mother and sisters? None of them ever happened.
Yeah, this is a comic so dark it's gonna to invalidate your own comic collection. See those pages filled with your favorite tales? Yeah, none of them are canon -- it was all a lie told to Wonder Woman. This breaks Diana so hard that she begins thinking everything and everyone, including Steve Trevor, is an illusion whipped up by some dark god.
The Truth is so much that it shatters her mind, and she's taken to an insane asylum where she stays until a giant Minotaur in a trenchcoat comes and sets her free. Even if it's dark, it's still comics.