Wonder Woman underwent a bit of a renaissance during the new 52 relaunch. The tone was different and so was the outlook focusing much more on the role of the Greek Gods in modern life. While this subject is not always a popular one among the dedicated fans of the series, it proved well to draw in other fans, and for the first time in a long time, Wonder Woman became a must-read series. One of the introductions in the series was to feature Wonder Woman as the Goddess of War, a role which she was said to be trained for since her younger years, but none other than Ares himself. This was a notable difference for the character, who although associated with the Greek Gods since her inception as a character, was one that very few had to should be deified. In truth, the role of Goddess has only occurred a few times, and all of them relatively recently.
Goddess of Truth
The post-Crisis on Infinite Earths was a time of character deaths. It all started with Superman’s death, at the time an unheard of occurrence for a major character, but it was soon after followed by the death of Hal Jordan, the broken back of Bruce Wayne, and the death of Wonder Woman. The death of Wonder Woman was one tied closely enough to another company wide crossover, Underworld Unleashed, and specifically its main antagonist, Neron. For a time it seemed as though Neron might be established as another major player in the DC Universe’s cavalcade of villains, but he soon after mostly dropped off the map save for showing up intermittently to pose a temporary threat to other heroes. At the time though it was a fairly ambitious move by DC, taking characters that had been written to be less powerful or just different in their post Crisis stories and to beef them up with some diabolical power from Neron, and while the characters lasted in their changed forms, Neron was mostly done with having a major influence on the DC universe. He would mostly be associated only with Underworld Unleashed were it not for John Byrne choosing him as the agent which would kill Wonder Woman as she journeyed to Hell to rescue her allies.
Wonder Woman held out for a while, but soon succumbed to her injuries. Almost immediately though she was reborn as Diana, Goddess of Truth. The persona did not last long, as Diana struggled with the necessity to leave mankind to their own perils, instead deciding to save them as much as she could. She was soon kicked out of Olympus and given back her old title as Wonder Woman, and her past as goddess was soon forgotten, even when some stories in her coming years brought her back closer to the ranks of the Gods.
Goddess of War
Wonder Woman in the new 52 was born as a God before she ever had the chance to aspire to more. Gone was her back story of the child formed from clay, and it was replaced with a lie. This had been told to leave her ignorant of the truth, that Zeus was her father, and if anyone were to find out this truth that she would be in the wrath of Hera. This dynamic served as one of the main focuses of the new Wonder Woman series, but soon other aspects became important as well. The rise of the First Born would tie the entire story line together, as did the #0 issue of the new title which served to give back some of the lost history of the characters during an entire month of #0 issue for the new 52. It was explained that Diana had trained with the God of War since childhood, and that she regarded him as much as a father as a teacher. He had known the truth of the training, that one day she would rise to take his place. When it came to pass Wonder Woman realized that she did not want the title but without it she could not defeat the power of the First Born. Thus for the second time Wonder Woman was inducted into the role of Goddess, and remained so after the crisis had passed, and moving forward into the new direction of her ongoing series.
Goddess of Peace
In what is kind of a Elseworlds tale, and kind of not, Wonder Woman was reimagined once again as another Goddess in the pages of Future’s End. The two part Future’s End Wonder Woman and Superman-Wonder Woman told the story of the future gone wrong after her years acting as the Goddess of War. It was a relatively short story, spread over only two issues, but fans of the character, and specifically those of the Perez version of the character thought that the distinction between war and peace was an important one. It was after all Perez who took the character and turned her away from the regular model of heroes and transformed her into something more. She was now not in man’s world to fight gangsters, but had instead come as an envoy of peace, first to stop a plot by Ares, but then to act as ambassador. For the character fighting became the last option instead of the first and was a new hallmark of a character focused on helping people more so than punching bad guys. It was the Future’s End version of the character which best captured this era for the Perez fans, and as a goddess might have made the most sense.