August 31, 2014

Character Study: Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet

Credit: Wizkids Heroclix
Every so often, I get to spot a comment or two on social media with fans who claim they never quite understood the invisible jet or the mythos behind all of it. Challenge accepted! I am going to review and attempt to explain just how Wonder Woman's mode of transportation fits within.

Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet first appeared in the Senational Comics #1 in January of 1942 by William Moulton Marston. According to Wikipedia, the plane was supposed to be allegorical political statement that women's suffragettes were made to feel invisible. It's an interesting interpretation, but surely it inserts a political spin on what should otherwise be a fantasy story.

Credit: The New Original Wonder Woman
During the initial run of the Wonder Woman comic book series and further on in the television series, flying was not in Wonder Woman's set of defined super powers. When she needed to travel great distances, she used the invisible jet to get around in "man's world". It certainly would be beneficial to her and her Amazon sisters to not interfere with the outsiders as well as not bringing unnecessary attention to what had been a secret society of female warriors. As the initial canonical explains, the invisible plane was invented by Wonder Woman as an improvement over her mother's, Queen Hippolyta, transport planes and was described as "transparent". Mostly, the plane was just used to travel back and forth from the Island and Washington D.C. There, Wonder Woman would most likely leave it hidden in a barn until needed. Wonder Woman would often summon the jet via mental telepathy magic found inside her tiara.

Credit: Super Friends TV Show
The invisible jet plane later became a modern day substitute for riding on horseback. While the jet plane would struggle against obsoleteness, the jet plane developed more adaptable uses. It's even capable of flying through interplanetary space with spiritual help from Aphrodite. As it's often imagined as a super aircraft all to it's own, the plane has been written to reach sonic speeds of 2000 miles per hour (MPH) or later at 40 miles a second.

But as Wonder Woman's powers developed flying on her own, the invisible jet plane was seldom used. But keeping it within the storyline, the plane was written with many new origins and even became self-aware. Later on, after the DC comics universe history reboot, the plane becomes more than a plane. It continues on to transform and adapt itself into corresponding eras. It changes even into other transports at Wonder Woman's need. It's been seen to even go under water.

The plane has no real defense weapons. Since being created by a pacifist society, there are no guns, cannons, lasers, or other weapons on board. According to wikipedia, the jet plane can fire projectiles from itself. But this is done as a last resort as the plane can only regenerate slowly.

Credit: Super Friends TV show
Authors who write Wonder Woman stories can make use of this beneficial part to her story. It's a familiar sidekick or companion. It's proven to not only be helpful to the hero but also aides those Wonder Woman friends and allies who aren't gifted with flying powers.

Even if a transparent jet seems campy, I think the name would be derived by it's purpose. It's supposed to be undetectable by radar - thereby making it a literal invisible plane. It was written ahead of it's time relative to science fiction. You could even speculate that it's the first ship to use cloaking technology.