There have been a couple of heroes to use the name "Wonder Girl." We'll be focusing on the second one, Cassie Sandsmark. Introduced in 1996, Cassie was an adolescent girl who befriended Diana of Themyscira AKA Wonder Woman, a superhero who gets her powers from the Greek gods. When Cassie saw that Diana was having trouble during a fight, she decided to help out. Stealing the sandals of Hermes and the Gauntlet of Atlas, she gained a few powers and helped out Diana as the new Wonder Girl. She proved effective in a fight, despite her mother's protests, and later Zeus decided to grant her real superpowers so she wouldn't have to rely on magical items.
As Wonder Girl, Cassie had several adventures as a member (and sometimes leader) of the team Young Justice and later a member (and leader) of a newly reformed Teen Titans. As she's grown up over the years, she's checked her look several times. She also later gained a lasso similar to Wonder Woman's, except that it can deliver electrical current, and she learned that she was actually the daughter of Zeus, which technically makes her a demi-god. Zeus hadn't given her super-powers, he'd merely activated the powers she'd always had hidden within.
DC Comics has now relaunched its superhero universe and so many characters are starting over with new origins. We aren't entirely sure what the deal is with the new Cassie Sandsmark, who is introduced in Teen Titans #1. Whereas the old version of Cassie only stole once to help out Wonder Woman, the new Cassie seems to be a repeat offender thief, including taking sports cars that don't belong to her. Where exactly she got her powers and what her relationship to Wonder Woman is in the new reality hasn't been established yet. But one thing is clear: she does NOT like being called Wonder Girl.
So let's take a look at her many styles over the years.
The initial idea was that since Cassie was such a young teenager, she would not look like the average sexed up lady superhero in skin-tight spandex. She just grabbed a Wonder Woman T-shirt and rather than a mask (something her idol/mentor Diana never wore) she put on a dark wig and large goggle so people wouldn't recognize her. This interestingly makes her stand out in that she looks a little bit like a cute nerd superhero instead of many comic book teenagers who look a few years older than they are and often have a lot of skin showing.
The initial look definitely seems messy. The jean vest and jean shorts seem a little odd and the Gauntlet of Atlas seems a little odd when she doesn't have a bracelet of some kind on the other wrist.
When Cassie got actual super-powers, she no longer needed the winged shoes or gauntlet, so she was able to clean up the outfit a bit. The black shorts work better than jean shorts and a darker jean vest seems now like a fun addition that was definitely in keeping with the times. The 1990s was an era when many heroes and villains in comics threw a leather jacket or trench coat on over their costume. Some artists would tint the goggles, which definitely made them look a little cooler. And if you think about it, a hero who flies through the air at high speeds would probably benefit from tinted goggles anyway. Wind and sun glare can definitely hurt your eyes.
At times, Cassie would wear black shorts, at times red shorts, at time red shorts that were so dark they were almost black. The red is definitely a nice call back to Wonder Woman's colors, but making them too bright risks making them seem out of place with the other elements of the outfit.
Cassie continued wearing this outfit when she joined Young Justice. In 1999, in the pages of the Wonder Woman series, she was forced to use her powers in public a couple of times without her disguise. It was starting at this time that she began taking combat training from Artemis, one of Diana's fellow Amazon warriors. This training started getting Cassie to feel more confident about herself in general and she later wound up becoming the public face of Young Justice to the media. During a story called Sins of Youth, she wound up temporarily aged into an adult, at which point she wore the Wonder Woman outfit and one of the classic Wonder Girl uniforms that had belonged to her predecessor Donna Troy.
Cassie later decided to make a play for her Young Justice teammate Superboy (aka Kon-El, a young clone made from Superman and Lex Luthor's DNA). She initially tried a new look that involved a skirt and then decided screw it. In the midst of this, she revealed to her teammates that she wore a wig and was actually blond.
Soon afterward, Cassie ditched the wig and started rocking out a new pair of red jeans decorated by stars. This was a fun look that was in keeping with her original design but also showed that Cassie was growing up into a young woman. Later on, she ditched the jacket and got herself a tighter shirt with a zipper. Again, sexier and symbolic of her maturation, but still very much Cassie's look. And the different color scheme and design keep her from looking like "little Wonder Woman." She's her own hero.
BRING ON THE COSTUMES
In 2003, Young Justice disbanded and Cassie and several of her teammates joined the newly reformed Teen Titans. At this time, Cassie got herself a magic, electrifying lasso and also got a new superhero costume. By this point, her identity was pretty public so there was no use in even using goggles as some kind of disguise.
This is very much a superhero costume. Cassie was older now and truly a hero in her own right, so it made sense for a new wardrobe. It's a great look, sleek and eye catching. It hints at the Wonder Woman costume but again maintains its own identity. And despite her youth and the trend in some comics to have teenage characters bare a lot of skin, Cassie has stuck with wearing trousers. The bare midriff I don't mind at all since she's a teen and many teen girls enjoy rocking this look.
During the story Infinite Crisis, Superboy lost his life. Following this, Cassie adopted a new look that emulates Superboy's latest style: a t-shirt and blue jeans. Although this was an obvious reference to the love she had lost, it was also a nice callback to her original off-the-rack style while maintaining the superhero look she'd become accustomed to. The WW belt buckle is a nice touch.
For a short time, Cassie wore this armored version of her outfit. The less said about it, the better. It just doesn't fit her at all. Cassie is connected to the Greek gods but she didn't grow up worshiping them like Diana and she's not actually an Amazon warrior. She's a modern girl. On top of that, the color scheme with the red W just isn't working. A leather skirt may look good on Diana, but on Cassie it seems out of place.
Later on she changed it to this slightly different look. It's not a bad design, but the metal W going across the arms makes me wonder if she's not going to have trouble moving. Some artists wisely depicted this as gold metallic cloth rather than literal metal. When that's done, it's actually a great design.
Cassie later went back to the shirt and jeans look, this time with a few alterations such as no belt buckle and some heavy-duty boots. It's still a solid look, thought I miss the belt buckle. That's just me, though.
Now that we've relaunched Cassie, she has a whole new style to her. Her current outfit reminds me of mystical characters featured in different Image and Top Cow comics, such as Magdalena or even Witchblade.
She's a career thief now and the hood definitely gives her a sense of mystery. The starfield on the fabric is an interesting twist of having a star-spangled look to her. The barbed wire take on the lasso is something I definitely don't like and making it red like her outfit just blends in too much. It should stand out. If you don't want to emulate Wonder Woman's lasso by making it gold, fine. Bright blue might work better. Just my thoughts.
And that brings us to a close, friends. Until next time, this is Alan Kistler, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E., signing off.
Alan Kistler is a freelance writer and actor living in New York
City. He has been recognized as a superhero historian and a Doctor Who
historian by various news outlets and media companies. He has spoken at
the Paley Center on the subjects of pop culture, science fiction, Star
Trek and vampire fiction. He is the creator/host of the podcast Crazy
Sexy Geeks. Twitter: @SizzlerKistlerRelated Stories: