Antiope, from Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #177 (February 2002). Art by Phil Jimenez.
|Abilities||Enhanced strength, enhanced speed, enhanced durability, and highly developed fighting skills.|
Antiope is a fictional comic book character appearing in books published by the American publisher DC Comics, usually as a supporting character in stories featuring Wonder Woman and the Amazons of Paradise Island/Themyscira). Created by writer Dan Mishkin and visualized by artist Don Heck, she first appeared in Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #312 (February 1984), and is based on the mythological Antiope, one of the mythological Amazons.
In most incarnations Antiope is depicted as the sister of Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta. In the continuity of DC Comics' 2011 reboot, The New 52, she is also known as Alcippe, an incarnation that establishes her as Hippolyta's mother and the founding leader of the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall, who is worshiped by them as a sacred ancestor.
Antiope is introduced in Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #312 in February 1984 as a high-ranking Amazon who is disillusioned with Hippolyta's rule, and plots to overthrow her. The character has no apparent familial relation to Hippolyta. She is eventually killed by Shadow Demons in Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #328, during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover storyline.
Wonder Woman is devolved into nonexistence during the 1985–86 storyline "Crisis on Infinite Earths", making way for a reboot of the character in February 1987. In the new backstory of the Amazons, the Greek Gods have taken the souls of women slain throughout time at the hands of men and sent them to the bottom of the Aegean Sea. Forming bodies from the clay on the sea bed, the souls come to the surface and become the Amazons. The first one to break surface is Hippolyta, who is elected Queen, and the second is her sister Antiope, who rules alongside her. An assortment of goddesses bestow them with various skills and powers, and give Hippolyta and Antiope each a Golden Girdle of Gaea, which enhances their strength and abilities. The Amazons eventually found the city of Themyscira in Anatolia and became known as fierce warriors of peace in Turkey, Greece and Rome.
The demigod Hercules seeks to invade the Amazon city, but is subdued by Hippolyta. She invites him and his men to celebrate a potential friendship with a feast; hiding his anger and humiliation, he accepts, but then he and his men drug the Amazons and take them prisoner. Hercules steals Hippolyta's Golden Girdle, and his men abuse and rape the Amazons. The goddess Athena agrees to help the Amazons escape on the condition that they will not seek retribution against Hercules and his men, but the vengeful Amazons slaughter their captors. Athena demands that the Amazons serve penance for disobeying her, but though Hippolyta agrees, Antiope refuses and renounces all allegiance to the Olympian Gods. Leaving her Golden Girdle with Hippolyta to replace the one stolen by Hercules, Antiope leaves for Greece in search of Hercules and his general, Theseus. She is accompanied by a contingent of loyal Amazons, and her adopted daughter Phthia, the daughter of Queen Hypsipyle of Lemnos and the Argonaut Jason.
In Greece, Antiope and Theseus fall in love and marry. They join their forces, but the Amazons resent serving beside the men who raped them, and the Greeks show no remorse or respect. Antiope and Theseus have a son, Hippolytus, but Theseus' jealous and vindictive former wife, Ariadne, murders Antiope and lays the blame on Phthia. Antiope's Amazons retrieve Phthia and the Golden Girdle stolen by Hercules, and leave Greece. Phthia assumes leadership of the group, who eventually become the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall.
These Amazons settle in the Middle East, keeping the Golden Girdle and a bust of Antiope as sacred relics. They are mortal, but breed with outsiders and survive for centuries as coveted warriors. Hippolyta's daughter Diana, known as Wonder Woman, finds their city while searching for the villain The Cheetah in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #29. Upon Hippolyta's death in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #177, Antiope's ghost visits Diana, saying "There are other Amazons out there. Descendants of my tribe. Other offshoots—Diana, you must seek them out, and guide them—and represent them in the world of man." She and Hippolyta promise to watch and guide Diana.
All Themyscirian Amazons possess various degrees of superhuman strength, speed, stamina and extraordinarily acute senses which were gifts they were blessed with by their gods. As shown by various tribe members, they have the capability to break apart steel and concrete with their bare hands, jump over 12 feet from a standing position, have a high durability factor, enhanced healing, and the ability to absorb and process a vast amount of knowledge in a short period of time.
Themyscirian Amazons also possess the ability to relieve their bodies of physical injury and toxins by becoming one with the Earth's soil and then reforming their bodies whole again. The first time Diana does this she prays to her god Gaea saying: "Gaea, I pray to you. Grant me your strength. You are the Earth who suckled me, who nurtured and bred me. Through you all life is renewed. The circle which never ends. I pray you, mother Gaea, take me into your bosom. Please, let me be worthy." During writer John Byrne's time on the comic it was stated that this is a very sacred ritual, to be used only in the most dire of circumstances.
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