Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Untold Truth Of Wonder Woman's Lasso

Wonder Woman is the champion of the downtrodden, a righter of wrongs, and a pilot of invisible jets. And if there's one tool she's primarily associated with, it's her lasso, and if there's one conviction she's aligned with, it's that of truth. Truth might be complicated, full of shades of grey and highly contested, but it's her sacred duty to seek it out from where it hides and bear it back into the light. And that's where the Lasso of Truth comes into play. It dangles from her hip, snatches airborne villains before they can make their escapes, and shines from movie screens with a light all its own.

Its names are many, from "the Golden Perfect" to the "Lasso of Hestia." But its purpose is singular — it compels those within its bonds to tell the truth. But where did this fabulous rope come from? And what, over its many years as Wonder Woman's signature tool, has it accomplished? We're here to divine the truth of the lasso itself, from golden girdles to illusion-disarming and all the many lies it's revealed in between.

Gift of the goddesses

The lasso began as part of the goddess Aphrodite's magical girdle, an item bestowed upon the Amazons that granted them strength and immortality. Queen Hippolyta, intrigued by its properties, instructed her craftswoman, Metala, to forge a golden rope from it. Metala did so, creating the very first iteration of Wonder Woman's wonderful lasso. It was a finely-wrought golden chain that didn't, in fact, compel its subject to tell the truth but to obey. It was unbreakable, magically elastic, capable of binding groups of people, and, once coated in chemicals of Amazonian design, was able to transform Diana's civilian clothes into her Wonder Woman costume.

Then DC's landmark event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, took place. Wonder Woman's lasso was left relatively unchanged, save for two major alterations. It now compelled the truth rather than obedience, and it was no longer an Amazonian design. This post-Crisis lasso was instead forged by Hephaestus, god of metallurgy himself, from the Golden Girdle of Gaea, tempered in the fires of Hestia. But that wasn't the end of the lasso's changes, as the New 52 reboot of the DC universe changed the legendary tool still further. Nowadays, the lasso is known to the Amazons as "the Golden Perfect," a gift from the gods passed down through the generations. It's a symbol of sacred trust — that of the Amazons in the gods and the gods in the Amazons. Only an Amazon of purest heart can wield it, making Diana a perfect candidate.

Truth in many forms

Generally speaking, the lasso's powers seem fairly straightforward. Wonder Woman wraps a bad guy in it, bad guy has to tell the truth about his evil scheme, the heroes rush off to stop it with their newfound knowledge. But truth is a slippery subject, and Wonder Woman's deeply held sense of compassion will never allow her to settle for convenience when there's honesty to be had. Luckily, the lasso's powers are flexible enough to account for this.

Under the umbrella of "truth," the lasso can do everything from dispelling illusions induced by hallucinatory gas to allowing people to communicate openly beyond a stubborn language barrier. In the recent "Year One" storyline, a neophyte Wonder Woman, dazzled by the delights and depredations of Man's World, used the lasso, then still new to her, to accomplish both of these feats. When she, Etta Candy, Steve Trevor, and Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva all held the lasso at once, they were able to communicate despite Diana's inability to then speak English. Soon after, an insanity-inducing poison turned a squad of helpless men into manic murderers. With the lasso, Diana was able to dispel the poison's effects immediately and discern the men's innocence. Truth might need to be delivered as a magical antidote or immersive, immediate language course, but the lasso will always be able to fit the bill.

Air currents, high-frequency vibrations, and more

Despite its highfalutin powers, Wonder Woman's lasso is, in fact, a simple lasso. Sure, it's an unbreakable one that can stretch, shrink, and form complicated nets and snares, but it's a rope with a loop tied into it. Wonder Woman uses it often in this manner, throwing it to catch midair villains and rampaging animals alike. Or when a disaster comes along, the lasso is useful for towing unlucky victims to high ground, the shore, or beyond a fire's reach.

In the Golden and Silver Ages, however, Wonder Woman explored the lasso's physical properties to the furthest extent. As the character wasn't originally capable of flight, she could twirl the lasso furiously enough to create air currents she could float on. When a fearsome incantation was sent through the air, she could spin the lasso fast enough to create a high-pitched frequency capable of disrupting the spell in mid-flight. Wonder Woman was practically a cowgirl during this era, so skillfully did she wield her magical chain. Gal Gadot might be able to unleash devastating shockwaves from her bracelets, but we'd like to see her give someone tinnitus with a particularly fierce twirl of the lasso.

When the truth hurts

The truth might set you free, but as another well-worn saying goes, the truth also hurts. And when you're Wonder Woman, endowed by the gods with transcendent powers of truth-seeking, that hurt is magnified ... even deadly. More than once, those wrapped in the lasso have been confronted with a truth Diana didn't anticipate, perhaps not even the truth she was seeking to compel, and have been driven to unforeseen extremes.

One particularly brutal example of this happened during another character's tenure as Wonder Woman. Artemis, an Amazon of the Bana-Mighdall tribe, briefly took up the mantle when Hippolyta saw Wonder Woman's death in a vision. Seeking to prepare a successor, Artemis was sent into battle in the iconic starry leotard, but she wasn't the Wonder Woman that Diana had been. Raised in a far rougher environment and lacking her predecessor's finesse, Artemis made many clumsy mistakes as the world's most famous heroine — the most brutal being an unwise use of the lasso. The victim was so dismayed at the truth he was confronted with that he committed suicide. As the famous line from A Few Good Men goes, many can't handle the truth, and thus whoever wields the lasso must do so with wisdom.

Wonder Woman's superpowered insight

Confronting foes with upsetting truths has its uses. More than once, Diana has used the lasso's powers to force those within its bonds to face a secret that motivates them to do ill or to face consequences they'd prefer to ignore. 

In 2008's Wonder Woman #15, Diana confronted Captain Nazi, an old foe looking to bring the Third Reich back to life. Seeking to learn of his plan to invade Themyscira, Diana wrapped him in the lasso and discovered his past, as well. Facing his abusive childhood brought him to tears, which had the dual effect of stopping his assault and forcing him to lose faith in his campaign. 

Similarly, during George Pérez's run on Wonder Woman, Diana stopped an emboldened Ares at the point when all seemed most lost. In the lasso's coils, he saw the result of his quest to cover the Earth in conflict and bloodshed: a barren rock, void of followers, and thus void of the discord that fueled him. The abject loneliness of this vision didn't just compel him to retreat, but it actually wrenched tears from his eyes. In the end, it wasn't violence that stopped either of these terrible villains, but the truth that was lurking within their own hearts.

The lasso in the wrong hands

Unfortunately, not all who seek Wonder Woman's destruction can be constrained by the lasso. Genocide, a villain envisioned by Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone as being the heroine's ultimate antithesis, actually used the lasso to further her own depraved aims. A superpowered juggernaut created from both Diana's corpse (retrieved from the future) and soil from the sites of 20th-century killing fields, Genocide was a ruthless golem of murderous intent, used to further the aims of Ares, the Cheetah, and other members of Wonder Woman's rogues gallery. In her first assault upon the Amazons, Genocide was actually able to steal the lasso and take it back to her terrible masters, who surgically implanted it within Genocide's body.

Twisted into serving horrible aims, the lasso imbued Genocide with incredible power. Suddenly, she could overthrow the will of Green Lantern Corps members, manipulate those around her into disabling despair, and exude a general aura of rage and hopelessness. All reason and rationality could be overthrown in one terrible flood of psychic energy from the lasso that Genocide had buried in her own flesh. Though Diana was able to retrieve it and Genocide was scattered to the winds, the memory of what the lasso was capable of when put to evil ends was not so easily forgotten.

The lasso helps Wonder Woman reconnect to the truth

Being an object and not a power she herself is imbued with, Wonder Woman can use the lasso upon herself. Rarely does she need to employ this ability — she makes a point of being honest with herself and others from the get go — but it's come in handy more often than you might think.

Often, this comes in the form of Diana wrapping herself in it to prove she speaks truthfully. Sometimes it's a private practice meant to reconnect the heroine to her roots and her mission. But occasionally, she needs the lasso in a moment of extreme crisis, and those are often the most spectacular uses of all. 

During 2016's "Year One" storyline, Wonder Woman was exposed to a fear and rage-inducing gas. Plunged into a mindless fury, she promised to anoint the men of this new world with the blood they seemed to so dearly crave. But clarity managed to shine through, and she managed to grab hold of her lasso and wrap it around her own body, head to toe, as tightly as possible. Her mind cleared of anger and despair, and she dispersed her own insanity in a dazzling blaze of power, crying out, "This is not true!" The day was saved, the villains were caught, and Wonder Woman, fresh from Themyscira's shores, had discovered just how much of a difference she and her wonderful lasso could make in this strange new world.

The lasso's terrible twin

As any fan knows, Batman's greatest power is his ability to prepare for anything. Backup personalities buried in the darkest recesses of his brain, should anyone ever crack his sanity in two? Yeah, he's got one. An understanding of chemistry and enough supplies in his utility belt to cook up any poison or antidote on the fly? He's way ahead of you. Most famous, perhaps, are his many contingency plans for his comrades in the Justice League, should they ever need to be taken down. The magnum opus of these schemes was the Justice Buster — a suit that took years, millions of dollars, and more than a little mad science to build. Batman created it to take down each and every member of the League, and he certainly did his homework.

So how did he intend to take on Wonder Woman? With a dark inversion of her lasso. Rather than attempting to defeat her through sheer force, speed, or combat, Batman equipped the Justice Buster with a "Bind of Veils." The Bind, acquired through crafty purchasing and subterfuge, was allegedly made by Hephaestus alongside the lasso. Crafted of the same materials in a reversal of the lasso's weave, the Bind's powers are, accordingly, that of lies. When used, the Bind would lock Diana within an illusion of her victory over Batman, allowing Batman to get away safely. Dirty pool? Maybe. But effective? Absolutely.

Three lassos for three heroines

Just as Wonder Woman has her lasso, the girls who've taken on the mantle of Wonder Girl must have lassos of their own. But they don't have lassos of truth. Instead, they have lassos of very different powers, suited for very different heroines.

Donna Troy, a Wonder Girl of many divergent origin stories, wields a silver-blue lasso with as much dexterity as the heroine she takes her name from. In 2010's Justice League of America  #44, she named it as the Lasso of Persuasion. As she told the demon Etrigan, bound within it, "Anyone whose will is less than [hers] has to do what [she] tells them. And [her] will is iron!" Cassie Sandsmark, the second Wonder Girl, wields a very different lasso, the Lasso of Lightning. This lasso is uniquely connected to her as a daughter of Zeus, channeling her godly father's legendary lightning through its unbreakable bonds. Moreover, as was revealed when the witch Circe had the lasso of lightning under her control in 2006's Wonder Woman #4, it's also capable of inducing rage. Whether its truth, persuasion, or lightning, the lassos of the DC universe are not to be trifled with.

The lie of the lie detector

If there's one thing you know about Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, it's probably that he invented the lie detector. But this nugget of common knowledge isn't precisely true. Marston created the systolic blood pressure test, not the polygraph itself, and he never accomplished his goal of introducing it to the court system. He still managed to make good on his contribution, most notably starring in a series of Gillette advertisements, and he did get many of his ideas to the public through the comics he'd become best known for. But the common understanding of Marston's invention having something to do with Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth is solidly wrong, especially since his rendition of the lasso compelled obedience instead of truth-telling.

In fact, Marston saw Wonder Woman's lasso as symbolizing something very different: The natural allure he believed all women possessed, that the world would do well to heed. As detailed in Jill Lepore's landmark book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Marston saw the Amazons as ruling through natural charm, grace, wisdom, and strength. The lasso merely got people to accept them as rightful leaders a little more quickly than they would have otherwise. Truth was important, sure, but accepting Amazonian guidance was the real path to a just and peaceful world. That's a little harder to turn into a soundbite than "man who invented lie detector also invented the Lasso of Truth," though.

Wonder Woman's lasso isn't unbreakable

The Lasso of Truth is, crucially, unbreakable. What good would it be otherwise, in a world of razor-sharp batarangs and beings of godlike strength? Wonder Woman can't go around having it snapped by any old bad guy in a radium-powered exo-skeleton. No, as befitting a tool forged by the gods (or, in the Golden Age, a particularly talented Amazon), the lasso is unbreakable.

Except when it isn't. 

Though it's always climactic and heralds an enormous change of stakes, the lasso has, in fact, been broken before. Sometimes it's the result of having its connection to truth weakened on the conceptual level. Bizarro, representing the reversal of all things, was able to break it in 2003's Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity series. But in 2003's Superman: Red Son, Wonder Woman broke it herself in a desperate attempt to save Superman. Occasionally, it's broken through Diana's own weakness. For example, her dismay at learning a truth she couldn't handle in 1997's JLA #62 ripped the lasso apart through the sheer force of the quandary at hand. Naturally, it's always returned to wholeness. But the lasso, as its mistress, is not invulnerable, which provides readers with a wealth of stories.