Comics have never lacked for kick ass women, with Wonder Woman being an example of feminine beauty and strength. But Diana isn’t the only Amazon to stand tall. Artemis of Bana-Mighdall is a character with a rich history. Born into a seperate tribe of Amazons who migrated to Egypt, Artemis has been a rival and friend to Diana, and she deserves to share the spotlight.
Artemis’ orgin comes from the Bana-Mighdall tribe who split off from Greece. Three thousand years ago, the two Amazon queens Hipployta and Antiope divided the Amazon nation. Hippolyta’s tribe lived immortal lives on Themyscira while Antiope’s tribe were never given immortality and had to mate with men to keep their bloodline alive. Artemis’ tribe assimilated many gods into their worship and they built the city of Bana-Mighdall in Egypt, which translates in their language as The Temple of Women.
Artemis first encountered Wonder Woman when she arrived in Bana-Mighdall while looking for stolen Lasso Of Truth. Diana battled the chief warrior and the god Hermes eventually destroyed Bana-Mighdall because the Egyptian tribe had attacked Diana and he was in love with her. With their home destroyed, the tribe aligned with Wonder Woman’s nemesis Circe in exchange for an immortal life and a new home. Artemis was only 14 at the time and protested against attacking Themyscira, demonstrating she was wise beyond her years.
Years later, she and Diana met again with the two of them getting off to a rocky start, but they recognised the warrior in each other. Artemis even took up the mantle of Wonder Woman after Queen Hippolyta had a vision of her daughter dying. She called for a contest to decide who was to be the new Wonder Woman and Artemis won. Her approach to fighting crime was far more brutal than Diana’s, and members of The Justice League didn’t warm to her. Eventually, Artemis died in battle, but was later ressurected.
Interestingly, Artemis’ name is a reference to the syncretic identification of the Greek Artemis with the Roman Diana. Editor Paul Kupperberg characterised both Wonder Women as being “two sides of the same coin.”
With the DC Rebirth, Artemis is part of the new Red Hood and The Outlaws comic, teaming with Jason Todd and Bizarro. The purpose of the comic is to show a ‘Dark Trinity’ as a reflection of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Artemis is trying to get out of Diana’s shadow by hunting for The Bow Of Ra, a weapon she believes was made for her. Her relationship with Jason is best described as her not putting up with his shit and reminding him who the better fighter is.
Artemis is an example of a woman who was told she was destined for great things, but ended up having to settle for not being as special as she thought. It’s not stopped her from forging her own path and standing out as a powerful character. Be sure to pick up Red Hood And The Outlaws to see her kick ass!