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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Default What Do You Think Makes a Good Villain For Wonder Woman?

    Conversations elsewhere have made wondering, but what do you think makes a good villain for Wonder Woman? It's not a secret she doesn't have the best one but of the ones who get re-used or the ones who are relatively minor but your fond of, what do you think about them makes a good villain for Diana?

    I have my own thoughts on this but was wondering what others might think?

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Good villains should reflect the hero in some way.

    Veronica Cale—and Golden Age Paula von Gunther—are capable women who have bought into the patriarchy and the social system that Diana opposes.

    Doctor Psycho is a misogynist and a rapist.

    Ares is (or should be) the embodiment of aggression.

    Cheetah (as Barbara Ann Minerva) is the friend that Diana failed to save.

    Doctor Poison is a nihilist, at least in the movie.

    I think Zeus could make an excellent villain for Diana, and then more in the sense of a hidden presence and mover. I also think Pérez missed a great opportunity when he had Wonder Woman fight Ares in order to stop a nuclear apocalypse—the whole MAD doctrine was more Athena gone mad than something coming from Ares.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  3. #3
    Moderator Nyssane's Avatar
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    Cheetah checks all the boxes for me when she's used at her best.

    1. She's a woman. This was my #1 reason why she's treated poorly by DC in the "lack-of-respect" thread, but it's also a strength. No other superheroes of Wonder Woman's caliber has a female archenemy or even a female opponent who could reach Cheetah's stature in the Wonderverse. Female relationships and dynamics being explored with Diana/Barbara Ann is the highlight of the match-up. For decades, fans wondered why Cheetah was always Wonder Woman's most prominent enemy, and now we have one with Rebirth's re-imagining of the character, and it adds a character relationship that you don't see anywhere else in comics. And beyond Cheetah, I do think all the best WW villains are women (plus Dr. Psycho).

    2. She was created by William Moulton Marston. Let's get real, here. No villain created post-Marston will ever be Wonder Woman's greatest foe. All superheroes have archenemies created incredibly early in their years, and it won't change with Wonder Woman. All of her best rogues were created in the 40's, and it *really* sucks that so few of them have carried over to the modern age.

    3. She's both a physical AND emotional threat to Wonder Woman. In many ways, Cheetah is Wonder Woman's dark reflection. Cursed, feral, resentful, all the things Wonder Woman isn't. She's slightly weaker physically, but she's faster, and that makes her a force to be reckoned with. I also find it amusing out of the "Dark Trinity" (Lex, Joker, Cheetah), she's the strongest and could easily mop the floor with them if she wished. That said, I don't think a villain has to be a physical rival to be a great Wonder Woman enemy.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    Cheetah checks all the boxes for me when she's used at her best.

    1. She's a woman. This was my #1 reason why she's treated poorly by DC in the "lack-of-respect" thread, but it's also a strength. No other superheroes of Wonder Woman's caliber has a female archenemy or even a female opponent who could reach Cheetah's stature in the Wonderverse. Female relationships and dynamics being explored with Diana/Barbara Ann is the highlight of the match-up. For decades, fans wondered why Cheetah was always Wonder Woman's most prominent enemy, and now we have one with Rebirth's re-imagining of the character, and it adds a character relationship that you don't see anywhere else in comics. And beyond Cheetah, I do think all the best WW villains are women (plus Dr. Psycho).

    2. She was created by William Moulton Marston. Let's get real, here. No villain created post-Marston will ever be Wonder Woman's greatest foe. All superheroes have archenemies created incredibly early in their years, and it won't change with Wonder Woman. All of her best rogues were created in the 40's, and it *really* sucks that so few of them have carried over to the modern age.

    3. She's both a physical AND emotional threat to Wonder Woman. In many ways, Cheetah is Wonder Woman's dark reflection. Cursed, feral, resentful, all the things Wonder Woman isn't. She's slightly weaker physically, but she's faster, and that makes her a force to be reckoned with. I also find it amusing out of the "Dark Trinity" (Lex, Joker, Cheetah), she's the strongest and could easily mop the floor with them if she wished. That said, I don't think a villain has to be a physical rival to be a great Wonder Woman enemy.
    Good point for #2, created by the same creator definitely works in her favor. While she's not my favorite not being public domain also she means she doesn't have other versions out there to compete with and is unique to WW's world.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Good villains should reflect the hero in some way.

    Veronica Cale—and Golden Age Paula von Gunther—are capable women who have bought into the patriarchy and the social system that Diana opposes.

    Doctor Psycho is a misogynist and a rapist.

    Ares is (or should be) the embodiment of aggression.

    Cheetah (as Barbara Ann Minerva) is the friend that Diana failed to save.

    Doctor Poison is a nihilist, at least in the movie.

    I think Zeus could make an excellent villain for Diana, and then more in the sense of a hidden presence and mover. I also think Pérez missed a great opportunity when he had Wonder Woman fight Ares in order to stop a nuclear apocalypse—the whole MAD doctrine was more Athena gone mad than something coming from Ares.
    Is Dr. Psycho not a popular Wonder Woman villain because he's too hateable? Popular villains tend to have some likeability

  6. #6
    Incredible Member Psy-lock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    Cheetah checks all the boxes for me when she's used at her best.

    1. She's a woman. This was my #1 reason why she's treated poorly by DC in the "lack-of-respect" thread, but it's also a strength. No other superheroes of Wonder Woman's caliber has a female archenemy or even a female opponent who could reach Cheetah's stature in the Wonderverse. Female relationships and dynamics being explored with Diana/Barbara Ann is the highlight of the match-up. For decades, fans wondered why Cheetah was always Wonder Woman's most prominent enemy, and now we have one with Rebirth's re-imagining of the character, and it adds a character relationship that you don't see anywhere else in comics. And beyond Cheetah, I do think all the best WW villains are women (plus Dr. Psycho).

    2. She was created by William Moulton Marston. Let's get real, here. No villain created post-Marston will ever be Wonder Woman's greatest foe. All superheroes have archenemies created incredibly early in their years, and it won't change with Wonder Woman. All of her best rogues were created in the 40's, and it *really* sucks that so few of them have carried over to the modern age.

    3. She's both a physical AND emotional threat to Wonder Woman. In many ways, Cheetah is Wonder Woman's dark reflection. Cursed, feral, resentful, all the things Wonder Woman isn't. She's slightly weaker physically, but she's faster, and that makes her a force to be reckoned with. I also find it amusing out of the "Dark Trinity" (Lex, Joker, Cheetah), she's the strongest and could easily mop the floor with them if she wished. That said, I don't think a villain has to be a physical rival to be a great Wonder Woman enemy.
    Good points. I'd also add one more: she has a memorable look, making her easy to identify in a crowd of villains. It may not seem like much, but I think it's very important for a comic book villain.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    Is Dr. Psycho not a popular Wonder Woman villain because he's too hateable? Popular villains tend to have some likeability
    I think there is more than one type of popularity for villains. As for why DC haven't used Doctor Psycho more, I have plenty of ideas, but no real facts to judge their validity.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  8. #8
    Incredible Member Psy-lock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    Is Dr. Psycho not a popular Wonder Woman villain because he's too hateable? Popular villains tend to have some likeability
    He's her most frequently used villain after Cheetah, Ares and Circe, so I wouldn't say he's unpopular. At least not by WW villains standards.

  9. #9
    Moderator Nyssane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psy-lock View Post
    Good points. I'd also add one more: she has a memorable look, making her easy to identify in a crowd of villains. It may not seem like much, but I think it's very important for a comic book villain.
    Absolutely! Especially for female villains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psy-lock View Post
    He's her most frequently used villain after Cheetah, Ares and Circe, so I wouldn't say he's unpopular. At least not by WW villains standards.
    Giganta weeps.

    But yeah, Dr. Psycho is pretty popular as far as I've seen. I think DC hesitates to use him more often because of the somewhat problematic elements in modern day. But he was one of the main characters of the Harley Quinn TV series, so that definitely boosted his popularity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    I also think Pérez missed a great opportunity when he had Wonder Woman fight Ares in order to stop a nuclear apocalypse—the whole MAD doctrine was more Athena gone mad than something coming from Ares.
    How is it an Athena plot?

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    How is it an Athena plot?
    Ares is raw aggression. Athena is preparation and planning.

    Having a situation where two sides are spending all of their resources in defense to such a degree that they can destroy not only the enemy, but themselves and everyone else too, just in case there might be a war seems much more like an Athena gone mad than Ares.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  12. #12
    The Comixeur Mel Dyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    Cheetah checks all the boxes for me when she's used at her best.

    1. She's a woman. This was my #1 reason why she's treated poorly by DC in the "lack-of-respect" thread, but it's also a strength. No other superheroes of Wonder Woman's caliber has a female archenemy or even a female opponent who could reach Cheetah's stature in the Wonderverse. Female relationships and dynamics being explored with Diana/Barbara Ann is the highlight of the match-up. For decades, fans wondered why Cheetah was always Wonder Woman's most prominent enemy, and now we have one with Rebirth's re-imagining of the character, and it adds a character relationship that you don't see anywhere else in comics. And beyond Cheetah, I do think all the best WW villains are women (plus Dr. Psycho).

    2. She was created by William Moulton Marston. Let's get real, here. No villain created post-Marston will ever be Wonder Woman's greatest foe. All superheroes have archenemies created incredibly early in their years, and it won't change with Wonder Woman. All of her best rogues were created in the 40's, and it *really* sucks that so few of them have carried over to the modern age.

    3. She's both a physical AND emotional threat to Wonder Woman. In many ways, Cheetah is Wonder Woman's dark reflection. Cursed, feral, resentful, all the things Wonder Woman isn't. She's slightly weaker physically, but she's faster, and that makes her a force to be reckoned with. I also find it amusing out of the "Dark Trinity" (Lex, Joker, Cheetah), she's the strongest and could easily mop the floor with them if she wished. That said, I don't think a villain has to be a physical rival to be a great Wonder Woman enemy.
    I like your points, Nysanne. I would add that a good antagonist for Wonder Woman, one best-suited for arch-enmity, should be a villain, who is uniquely positioned to take away that, which is most precious to her, ..in the most entertaining fashion possible. For my money, that is a super-villain, whose greatest ambition is to enslave the world or destroy the free will of other sentient beings.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member WonderScott's Avatar
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    To me, Diana’s villains need to embody different aspects of hate, fear, and bigotry and all the underlying causes that cause them. Couple that with differing aspects of psychology, and politics, and how those both have progressed and/or regressed since her inception and you have a lot to leverage in developing characters, stories, and themes.

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Psy-lock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Dyer View Post
    I like your points, Nysanne. I would add that a good antagonist for Wonder Woman, one best-suited for arch-enmity, should be a villain, who is uniquely positioned to take away that, which is most precious to her, ..in the most entertaining fashion possible. For my money, that is a super-villain, whose greatest ambition is to enslave the world or destroy the free will of other sentient beings.
    But why does her arch-enemy have to be a world conqueror? If you look at other famous arch-villains, most of them aren't interested in conquering the world. Joker, Zoom and Black Manta only care about messing with their respective heroes. I think that's what really makes an arch-enemy: a personal beef with the hero. If a villain threatens the whole world then wouldn't he/she be everyone's enemy? Not to say that her arch-enemy can't be a world conqueror, but there has to be more than that to make him/her Diana's personal nemesis.

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psy-lock View Post
    He's her most frequently used villain after Cheetah, Ares, and Circe, so I wouldn't say he's unpopular. At least not by WW villains standards.
    Ah. I meant not in terms of being used but talked about in fandom. People tend to talk more about Ares, Cheetah, and Circe. Ares when it comes to plot/origin, Circe and Cheetah because they're fun and cool villains. Veronica Cale because she's Diana's Luthor. All of them because of lesbian vibes lol. Medusa for giving her a great moment "look at me" "Never"

    I never heard anyone talking about Dr. Psycho like that.

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