Superhero origins are funny things. They define how a character will be portrayed for the rest of their run. When done well, they can set up a character for hundreds of great stories, but if they’re done poorly they can be an anchor that drags the whole series down. The best origin story is probably that of Batman. A boy watches his parents get gunned down and vows to never let that happen to anyone else again. He uses his vast wealth to train his body and mind to become the perfect crime fighting machine. Everything you need to know about the character is right there in the origin. He’s got a dark past, he’s a perfectionist, and he’ll do whatever it takes to stop criminals. Over the years some details have changed, like who killed his parents and how he trained, but the basic details stay the same. Even when he got all campy in the 60s, they stayed true to the basics.
Wonder Woman is a different story. Her origins have always been a bit more vague. Initially, she was just the best of the amazons and she won the right to take Steve Trevor back to America and help fight the Nazis. So, from that we know that she’s tough and likes adventure. It doesn’t give us much to go on. Eventually, they changed it so that she was imbued with the powers of some of the Greek gods. Then, she was the daughter of the original Wonder Woman who fought with America in World War 2. Then she was an ambassador from the Amazons to bring peace to the outside world. The problem is that when you get right down to it, she’s a hard character to pin down. Every writer who takes over the book seems to have a different idea of who the character is and what her motivations are. With the launch of DC’s “New 52” they’ve altered her origin yet again. Now she is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta (the leader of the Amazons).
After the origin, there comes a period of setting the basic framework for what the character’s life is like. Batman runs Wayne Enterprises, but mainly spends his time fighting crime. He’s rich, has a butler, and a propensity for picking up young boys. Superman was raised on a farm, is modest, works as a reporter, and feels it’s his duty to help out. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, has had a million different jobs, and lifestyles. She’s worked for the army, she’s been an ambassador, she lost her powers and learned kung-fu, and she’s been a secret agent. Currently, her stories are taking on more of a horror twist, but we’ll see how long that lasts.
What the character needs is for a writer and artist team to take over the character and define her. Set her origin in stone. Take the most iconic aspects of her (lasso, tiara, invisible jet) and make them integral to who she is. Properly set out exactly what her powers are and what their limits are. I mean, if she can fly on her own why does she need a jet? Once details like that get hammered out she can finally have a chance at becoming as famous as the other big two at DC.