Tag: Nubia

Nubia: Wonder Woman’s Black Sister by Kelsey Miranda

During our class discussion on Wednesdays we mentioned the new Superman vs.sfnubia Batman movie features Wonder Woman as a main character.  The actress who was casted for the role is Israeli actress Gal Godot. A good choice but in class we discussed how songstress Beyoncé Knowles would have been better. During my frantic Google searches of why Beyoncé was not cast as Wonder Woman, I came across something interesting.

In 1973 the writers of the Wonder Woman decided to change her origin story revealing that she was not the only Wonder Woman.  WW Issue #204 “The Second Life of the Original Wonder Woman” the cover depicts a fully armored woman ready to kill Diana and they are surrounded in an arena of Amazons.  In the background there is Hippolyta stating “Unless I revel there are two wonder women, my daughter Diana will die!” In this issue Diana’s memory and powers are restored after the efforts of her mother, Hippolyta, bring Diana back to the Paradise Island. Prior to this issue, Wonder Woman was living as Diana Price and gave up her Amazon powers to live in the “Man’s World”. Memories of her life as an Amazon disappeared until flash backs of her birth come back “as Hippolytasculpted a toddler girl and Athena endowed her with the powers of the gods.”[1]  Issue 204 hints that Diana is missing a part of her birth story. Diana gains back her memory and reasserts herself as Wonder Woman but is interrupted by armored woman who claims she is “Wonder Woman of the Floating Isles.”

iamnubiaThe armored woman challenges Diana in a series of games. While Diana and this mysterious armored woman are sword fighting and the armored woman defeats and knocks the sword out of Diana’s hand.  In a position to kill Diana, she stops and reveals herself as Nubia.  This is the first time Nubia is introduced in the comic book. Hippolyta’s immediately recognizes her long lost daughter who was captured by long time enemy of the Amazons, Ares god of war. In the origin story of Nubia, at the same time that Diana was created out of white clay Nubia was created from black clay by Hippolyta.  Aphrodite gave both babies the gift of life and beauty but Nubia was immediately captured after her creation by Mars. Nubia is Diana’s black sister but Hippolyta only refers to Diana as her daughter. Kind of messed up of Hippolyta especially being reunited with your long lost child! Nubia returns to the floating island where she is the leader of male warriors. Nubia’s life away from Paradise Island depicts a life of loneliness.

In WW #206 “War of the Wonder Woman” the cover shows Diana and Nubia chained together at the ankles and wielding swords at each other. In the background there is Ares face and it seems that Nubia is being controlled by Mars to kill Diana and destroy the Amazons.  Interestingly Mars chooses Nubia, Diana’s sister because he knows that she is the only woman with enough strength to challenge and destroy her. Nubia’s sword is the only weapon that can counter act Diana’s lasso.  Nubia and Diana cross paths again and we find out that Mars raised Nubia to be an “”instrument of vengeance against the Amazons — whom I hate because their ways of love — will eventually destroy my ways of war — unless I annihilate them first! Nubia will do this for me!”[2]

In the Midst of the fight Diana recognizes that Nubia is wearing a ring that belongs to Ares and it is being used to control her. Diana changes her focus to destroying Ares’s ring. Once the ring is destroyed Nubia and Diana realize how fearful Mars is of women and their peacemaking ability.  Mars disowns her at the end of the issue and Nubia decides to lead her “warriors into ways of peace!”[3] The two do not decide who carries the title of Wonder Woman but share a “sisterhood” like alliance instead.

Gloria Steinem’s article “Wonder Woman” discusses the influence comic books especially Wonder Woman had on her life. Writing during the 1970’s in the midst of the women’s movement and the civil rights movement Steinem connects second-wave feminism to Marston’s Wonder Woman. “While Wonder Woman symbolizes many values of the women’s culture that feminists are trying to introduce into the mainstream, strength and self-reliance for women; sisterhood and mutual support among women; peace fullness and esteem for human life.”  Steinem dismisses the concept Marston created that women are better than men and argues that the social hierarchy must be eliminated so individuals can be free of assigned roles because of race and sex. Marston’s use of Mars to display how men are threaten by women which the writers in the 1970’s show but also how women maybe standing in the way of other women.

This is an interesting concept because of the time period of 1973, after the passage of Roe V. Wade there was a significant split in the woman’s movement.  I agree with Jill Lepore the writer of “The Last Amazon” that passage of Roe v. Wade narrowed the movement. “If 1972 was a legislative watershed, 1973 marked the beginning of a drought.”[4]  Pro-life feminists and Pro-choice feminists separated but also many minority women thought of the women’s movement as white heterosexual women’s movement.  This created splits between Black feminists, Chicana feminists, and Lesbian feminists to split from the women’s movement to discuss other inequalities such as race and sexuality.

It also poses an interesting concept of Mars the male figure that is everything nubia_2012that Wonder Woman is against creating divides against women. How Nubia was “brainwashed” by Mars for his agenda against the Amazons. Hmmm. It may possibly a reference to anti-feminist women during this 1970’s creating more conflict with the women’s movement. Unfortunately this is the last we will see of Nubia in the Wonder Woman comic until the late 1990’s and 2000s. After talking to my friend Leo, who has been reading the “post-crisis” Wonder Woman he says that Nubia becomes Wonder Woman of an alternative DC world and may be modeled by Beyoncé. Can you see the resemblance?     [5] [6]

[1] http://www.carolastrickland.com/comics/wwcentral/misc_indexes/nubia/nubia.html

[2] http://www.carolastrickland.com/comics/wwcentral/misc_indexes/nubia/nubia.html

[3] http://www.carolastrickland.com/comics/wwcentral/misc_indexes/nubia/nubia.html

[4] http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/last-amazon–

[6] Final Crisis #7 (2009) // DC Comics (Earth 23)