Wonder Woman’s shield, explained

Wonder Woman was first introduced to the world in the pages of All Star Comics #8 in October 1941, followed shortly thereafter by her first feature film in Sensational Comics #1, released January 1942. The character was an unqualified success, making up DC’s Holy Trinity alongside Superman and Batman. Her comic origins, far less scandalous than her real-life creation, remained unchanged for years: Diana was sculpted out of clay by her mother, the Amazon queen Hippolyta, and educated by the Greek gods (a 2011 retcon identified Diana as the biological daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta) . Her appearance has changed over time, but is most commonly associated with the classic attire of red boots, blue shorts with white stars, and a red bodice (originally adorned with a golden eagle, then with the defining WW initials). The character’s looks are iconic, as are their weapons. The golden tiara, similar to a boomerang. The bulletproof bracelets of submission. The golden lasso of truth. The Invisible Jet. The ceremonial gold armor stuffed with golden eagle wings and an eagle-like helm, crafted by Pallas and originally worn by Asteria, single-handedly holds off hordes of male warriors, sacrificing their own lives to give Queen Hippolyta and her Amazons time to escape to Themyscira. Her sword, crafted by Hephaestus, sharp enough to cut the electrons off an atom. Finally, her shield, the often-overlooked part of her arsenal.


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Wonder Woman’s shield is newer than you think

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with her shield
Image from Warner Bros.

And there’s a reason the shield doesn’t get the same recognition as, say, the bracelets: it’s a relatively new addition. Thanks to the year 2017 wonder woman Movie and her current appearances in DC Comics, it’s hard to imagine her without her, but for more than half of her publishing life she hasn’t had a shield. It’s DC’s own Mandela Effect, if you will. Wonder Woman had used a sword from time to time, but the shield was introduced to the character by a legendary artist George Perezwho rebooted the character during his estimated run with the character after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was a deliberate effort by Perez to create a stronger connection between the character and her roots in Greek mythology, and given how quickly the shield became associated with the hero, it clearly worked.

Wonder Woman’s shield is stronger than a certain Avenger’s shield

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman with her shield on her back in Wonder Woman
Image from Warner Bros.

There are various stories as to the origin of Wonder Woman’s shield. In one instance, the shield – like her sword, bracelets, and armor – was made by the Amazons on Themyscira. The warriors of legend have honed their smithing and weapon skills over centuries, so it stands to reason that the shield, and indeed everything they craft, is far ahead of what mortals can create. Other stories retain the same origin, except that the shield is imbued with magic. And in some storylines, the shield is a gift from the Greek gods, created in their empire on Mount Olympus. The common thread running through these origins is that the shield is of an exponentially higher quality than anything man can conceive. Yes, that includes Captain America’s legendary shield. Vibranium is great and all, but Cap’s shield has been broken by the likes of Doctor Doom, Thor, Ultron, Thanos, Hyperion and the Serpent to name a few (and that’s just from the comics – the MCU shield had its share too of debt). To paraphrase Timex’s immortal words, Wonder Woman’s shield keeps leaking and ticking.

Wonder Woman’s DCU shield became instantly iconic

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice
Image from Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman’s shield first appeared in live action during Gal Gadot’s surprise appearance as a character in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not surprising, of course – the only other successful adaptation of the character, the Timeless One wonder woman TV series that ran from 1975-1979 (with the ever-popular Lynda Carter in the role), predating the shield’s debut on the pages of Perez’s artistic trajectory in the comics. Her shield is put to the test during the battle with Doomsday, as it withstands and repels the monster’s destructive heat waves. Later that same shield would prove invaluable throughout 2017 justice league (and of course in the 2021 Director’s Cut Zack Snyder’s Justice League), where Wonder Woman and her cohorts in the League take on the new god Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his army of fearsome Parademons (how do you like the apples, Cap?).

However, the shield was elevated to iconic status during the events of her solo film. In the film, Wonder Woman grabs her shield and lasso, scales the walls of Themyscira Armory to retrieve the Godkiller Sword, and heads into the world of men with Steve Trevor (Chris Kiefer), weapons in hand, ready to take on Ares (David Thewlis) and stop the First World War. As Diana, Steve, and their cohorts make their way across Europe to find Ares, they reach the front lines in Belgium, where Allied forces remain trapped in their trenches, unable to cross no-man’s-land to grab the Germans on the other side at. What follows is arguably the best scene in comic book film history, and maybe even the film as a whole. Diana climbs the ladder out of the ditch and makes her way into no man’s land, single and tall, ready to face the onslaught. She deflects the first bullets that come her way with her armbands, and as the German firepower builds in power, Diana holds her ground, taking the entire attack behind her shield, inspiring and allowing Allied forces to close the German trenches storm and retake the Belgian village of Veld. This imagery endeared Gadot’s heroine to moviegoers everywhere and cemented the heroine and her indestructible shield in cinematic history.

From Wonder Woman’s beginnings to its introduction following the events of Redefinition Crisis on Infinite EarthsWonder Woman’s shield has become an inseparable asset in pop culture, as much a part of the heroine as the weapons that have accompanied her from the start.

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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