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Comic Book / The Contest

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The Contest is a comic book story arc that occurred in 1994 written by William Messner-Loebs and drawn by Mike Deodato. It compiled a segment of the second volume of the DC Comics Wonder Woman book from issues 90 through 93 and issue 0 into a collected book edition.

The plot involves Hippolyta having a premonition that Wonder Woman will die. Hippolyta holds a contest hoping that her daughter will lose the title before this premonition comes to pass. Diana loses her title as Wonder Woman to Artemis.

This Storyline provide these examples:

  • Action Girl: The Amazons, big time. They have a long proud history of practicing athletics and martial arts.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Diana has visions of her mother and Hercules's relationship, which imply Diana is actually Hercules' daughter and that her mother considered going with Herc before Herc and his men betrayed and enslaved the Amazons.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Artemis. The premise is to illustrate how she is different from Diana. This is also a deconstruction of the heroes of the nineties.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Diana's core group during the mock battle part of the contest consisted of herself, the redheaded Artemis and the blonde Mala...the three best competitors in the whole contest.
  • Character Development: Artemis goes from being an anti-heroine of the nineties to being more calm but still brutal compared to Diana.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The one dangerous obstacle the contestants in the final race were aware of going in was the tall steep cliffs they had to climb to get onto the main island after completing the swimming portion of the race.
  • Crapsack World: Subverted, The vision of the comic was to show the Dark Age of Comic Books for the reader, and also the Anti-Hero Substitute Artemis and the dichotomy between her and Diana.
  • Death Course: In Queen Hippolyta's desperation to prevent her daughter's foretold death as Wonder Woman she secretly adds multiple incredibly dangerous obstacles to the final race to slow Diana down. Philippus tries to talk Hippolyta out of it but the queen won't have it.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Artemis, despite being on the side of good, is much more pragmatic and dangerous than Diana ever was.
  • Harping on About Harpies: The second unexpected obstacle during the race that settles "The Contest" are a flock of harpies that attack the contestants as they reach the top of the cliffs.
  • Hero Antagonist: Artemis ends up hoodwinked by the White Magician into fighting Diana and taking part in heroics that are entirely staged (without her knowledge) just to keep Temi from interfering with Randolph.
  • Heroic RRoD: Diana collapses at the end of the race which ends the titular contest ostensibly due to over-exertion form helping save everyone from the "obstacles" her mother raised on the race even though they shouldn't have been a problem for her. Eventually it was revealed she over exerted herself because her mother had used magic to subtly drain power from Diana and transfer it to Artemis to ensure Diana lost.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: During Artemis's first outing as a hero at the end of The Contest she and Diana discuss how the last enemy to face them was a magical construct in their native langue, which annoys the police officers and reporters nearby who try to get them to talk in English.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In Temi's first outing as Wonder Woman she nonchalantly looses an arrow into an opponent's gun barrel. As the thing has been attached in place of his hand when it blows up in response he's down for the count.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Mala's weapon of choice is a net.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Diana who despite having lost her title, continued to be fair and straight. Artemis wants to achieve this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Artemis is abrasive, rude and brutal, but she will protect innocent lives and she takes her title as the new Wonder Woman very seriously.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Diana gets a bunch of visions implying Hercules is her father, and Hippolyta repeatedly makes it clear her word can't be trusted and that she's misled Diana about her past, so when Diana confronts her mother and Hippolyta insists she was born of clay and that Herc isn't her father her words are undermined by her own actions and the situation is left ambiguous.
  • Mega Maelstrom: A giant whirlpool opens up in the ocean between the small island the final race starts on and Themyscira proper, sucking in the swimmers slower than Venelia and giving Artemis a chance to rescue Mala. Diana even compares it to Charybdis.
  • Most Common Superpower: Diana by the way she was drawn and Artemis for wearing a very sexy variation of the wonder woman costume.
  • Moving the Goalposts: When it looks like Diana is going to win the contest Hippolyta alters the remaining portions to slow her down, and starts secretly siphoning Diana's power off to Artemis ensuring Temi will be the winner.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Artemis is wearing a very thin suit of Wonder Woman, even Diana is wearing little more than a black bra and shorts.
  • No Ontological Inertia: As with the last time one showed up the death of the Medusa faction formed from a segment of the original restores its victims.
  • Prophecy Twist: As the prophecy only told Hippolyta that Wonder Woman was going to die, not Diana, Hippolyta has organized the contest to ensure that someone else dies as Wonder Woman by taking the title from Diana.
  • Stripperiffic: All the Amazons who are not elderly in appearance are wearing so little clothing material it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination, including making it clear that none of the Amazons possess a single strand of body hair.
  • Taken for Granite: The resurrected/fractured clone of Medusa makes a reappearance as an obstacle in the race that closes out the competition and petrified both Artemis and Venelia before Diana chucked it off a cliff.
  • Thong of Shielding: Mike Deodato shrinks the spangled Wonder Woman shorts into a thong.
  • Tournament Arc: The arc covers a tournament organized by Hippolyta to replace Diana as Wonder Woman.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Artemis's fellow Bana reveals that Diana is a dead ringer for her long deceased aunt Antiope, though how she knew what Antiope looked like is unknown given that Antiope died well over a thousand years ago and the Bana have regular human lifespans.
  • Underboobs: Artemis's initial "top" is basically a loop of gold that passes over her shoulders and covers part of her breasts on its way to loop back to her back. The bottom of her breasts are exposed by this ensemble.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: It's revealed that in the months since Themyscira's apparent destruction due to Circe's magic it was actually transported into another dimension where the Amazons have spent ten years fighting demonic monsters for survival before they were able to return. This also allows the fourteen year old idealistic Artemis to grow into a hardened twenty-four year old soldier with little understanding of the nuances of the outside world.