In Becky Cloonan’s ‘The Wager,’ Wonder Woman reveals using her Lasso of Truth can have similar consequences to Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare.
Warning: contains spoilers for Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1!
The final story in Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1 reveals a surprising connection between Wonder Woman’s powers and those of Marvel’s Ghost Rider. The issue is the first of a new six-issue Wonder Woman anthology series paying tribute to her 80th anniversary. She first appeared way back in All Star Comics #8 (1941) thanks to writer William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peter.
Wonder Woman: Black and Gold celebrates the superhero’s creation with an anthology series largely in monochromatic art with gold highlights in line with Wonder Woman’s costume and lasso. In honor of Wonder Woman’s legacy, each issue will have multiple stories from different creative teams. The first issue features the talents of Aj Mendez, Ming Doyle, Nadia Shammas, Morgan Beem, John Arcudi, Ryan Sook, Amy Reeder, and Becky Cloonan.
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The last of the five stories included in Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1, ‘The Wager,’ features the origins of Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and describes being tied up with it as similar to Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare. The Penance Stare is one of Ghost Rider’s deadliest powers, causing those who fall under its gaze to experience all of the pain they’ve inflicted upon others. Diana explains in ‘The Wager’ that those tied up by her Lasso of Truth experience the truth of everything bad they’ve ever done. People find it difficult to live with the truth after they experience her lasso.
Becky Cloonan, the writer of Gotham Academy and co-creator of the Vertigo series American Virgin and Demo, is pulling double duty here as both the writer and artist of ‘The Wager.’ It’s nice to see a story focused on Wonder Woman’s iconic weapon, as it is just as old as she is, first appearing alongside the superhero in All Star Comics #8. Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, also invented the lie detector test, showing some of the thinking that went into the Lasso of Truth as an effective weapon against evil. While Ghost Rider’s weapon of choice emanates from his eyes and has been shown to cause physical harm in extreme cases (when it doesn’t backfire), Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth causes more of a long-lasting mental attack, which is pretty fitting since she comes from the mind of a psychologist.
There is a small hint at the end of the story that the tales Diana tells of the lasso’s origin may be just one version of the truth that suits her needs in this interrogation, but as Batman points out, Wonder Woman is an inherently honest person, so criminals best not take their chances with her Lasso of Truth. Luckily for DC’s villains, Wonder Woman is nowhere near as vengeful as Marvel’s Ghost Rider, but that doesn’t mean she lacks the ability to strip away their lies and force them to confront their sins if that’s what it takes to save the world.
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