Warning: contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #772
Even without her memories or powers, Wonder Woman still can’t stand boastful men like Thor. In her recent Asgardian adventures, the former princess of Themyscira doesn’t have the time or patience for someone as belligerent as the Norse God of Thunder, Thor. Despite their differences though, Thor may have just proven instrumental in Wonder Woman regaining everything she had lost in Valhalla.
Diana’s latest journey sees her far away from her roots in Greek Mythology. Having completely forgotten everything that made her Wonder Woman, she has been fighting and dying in Valhalla’s endless cycle of war. Though she finds that this new life suits her, everything changes when her guide through this strange new world, Siegfried, dies in battle and doesn’t come back the next day. With the help of the ever-tricky squirrel Ratatosk, Diana uncovers an uncomfortable truth; the World Tree is dying, meaning Ragnarok is fast approaching. Her first thought upon learning this is to bring this information to Thor, the most powerful man in Asgard. The God of Thunder is so full of pride, however, that he rejects the notion of his world-ending without a second thought. At her wit’s end, Diana takes matters into her own hands, seeking answers among the Valkyries. To do that though, she first needs a key to their fortress, a key located in the belly of the serpent Nidhogg.
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Now, in Wonder Woman #772 from Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Travis Moore, Wonder Woman pulls off a trick worthy of Loki by putting herself in an egg for Nidhogg to swallow. After a mysterious figure gives her the key, Diana rushes back to the battlefields of Valhalla. There, the recently returned Odin chews out Thor for not listening to Diana’s pleas for help. Before he can reveal what he thinks is going on though, a catapult fired boulder flies across the battlefield and crushes him. Thor instantly demands retaliation, which fits into Diana’s plans nicely. She wants a battle so large that the Valkyries will have no choice but to leave their fortress. As the two Gods go into battle, the rush of battle rekindles something in Diana. As Thor channels thunder, Wonder Woman flies into the air, her powers and sense of self fully restored.
One key component of superhero stories is their ability to use the ridiculous to inspire hope, and there are few examples of that purer than this. For decades, DC had no idea what to do with Wonder Woman. This put the character into the unfortunate position of having no clear direction or consistency despite being one of DC’s most recognizable characters. For years, writers and artists would depict her as everything from a cold-blooded killer to a beacon of compassion and empathy. Throwing Wonder Woman into Norse mythology could be read as a response to this. In Valhalla, Diana can kill indiscriminately without much consequence. Immersed in the macho culture of Norse mythology though, Diana completely loses her sense of self.
Though it might initially appear that Wonder Woman regains her powers and identity by doing the same routine of battle that she did before, what matters is the context. Wonder Woman doesn’t just fight for the thrill of battle, she fights to protect people. Her setting aside her differences with Thor is emblematic of this. Though he was undoubtedly rude to her, Diana is always one to extend a hand instead of a sword when possible. More than physical strength, it’s cooperation that makes Wonder Woman and Thor such a powerful team.
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