Capes & Cowls: Introducing Trinity, Daughter of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is getting a daughter! Again! It was big news today when Tom King (Batman, The Vision) and Daniel Sampere (Dark Crisis, Trinity of Sin: Pandora) both introduced, on their social media pages, Lizzie, aka Trinity. Set to make her debut in the upcoming Wonder Woman #800 (out June 20, 2023), Trinity’s story is said to set in motion the new Wonder Woman title, relaunching with a new #1 by King and Sampere. How Trinity ultimately ties into that new story remains to be seen, as preview pages hint that the new volume takes place in the present, and Trinity’s story is set about twenty years in the future, as per King. (Then again, King did juggle multiple timelines with his Batman work, showing us his take on Helena Wayne in a future-set timeline there, so it’s probable that something similar is at play here.)

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about Trinity beyond her codename (which is probably based on the fact that she seems to be in possession of three lassos) and her proper first name (Lizzie, probably in honour of Elizabeth Marston, who with her husband William Moulton Marston and polyamourous life partner Olive Byrne, was involved in the creation of Wonder Woman), we do know one thing for certain: what she looks like! So let’s talk costume, let’s talk hair, let’s talk inspiration and homage, because just by glancing at the pics that Sampere and King released this morning, I can spot at least five probable references/homages to other looks pulled from Wonder Woman lore, so let’s dive into it!

The first thing I noticed is how superheroic Trinity looks. The pose, the expression, the colours of the costume. Though she’s in the traditional red/white/blue/gold that’s become associated with her mother, the most interesting thing about this look is how the blue is emphasized over the red. In most incarnations of Diana’s look – and going down to both Donna Troy and Cassandra Sandsmark, as well as Diana’s Earth-Two daughter Lyta Trevor (aka Fury), red generally tends to be the dominant colour that these character wear, with blue playing a more supporting role whenever it makes an appearance. Here, though, Trinity’s dominant colour is blue, with red playing a supporting role. It’s a refreshing change, and it really makes the shining gold detailing of her costume pop. Come to think of it, I think the only other prominent character in the Wonder Woman mythos who has blue as a dominant colour is Nubia.

Apart from the colour scheme, the first reference I noticed was the fact that this costume is a jumpsuit, instantly calling to mind Wonder-jumpsuit queen Donna Troy, who has rocked a jumpsuit since Nick Cardy put her in one back in 1969. While Donna’s was more of a traditional jumpsuit, the one Trinity sports has something of an athleisure vibe to it with the colourblocking and the red stripe down the side. Athleisure-as-superhero-gear is something that’s been a bit maligned in recent years, just as jeans-as-superhero-gear was maligned in the late 90s to early 2000s when characters like Superboy and Wonder Girl started incorporating them into their costumes, but unlike jeans, athleisure at least has some sort of athletic cred to it. It’s suitable and, in some ways, a fitting update to the original inspirations for superhero costumes – circus outfits, like ones that strongmen wore. (But I digress.) I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the athleisure styling of the look also calls to mind the look that Diana sported in some DC Animated films, as well as Cassandra Sandsmark’s second Wonder Girl look from the Young Justice animated series. (Of course, Cassie’s look seemed inspired by Diana’s DC Animated look.) Cassie also wears a similar, though slightly busier, look as Wonder Woman in the alternate DCeased universe.

The second thing that I immediately noticed about Trinity’s look is the breastplate. The styling of it immediately called to mind the last new member of the Wonderfamily – Yara Flor, the latest woman to be called Wonder Girl. Her own costume has a similarly styled breastplate (except her palette is a darker, richer one than the one that Trinity sports here) though it should be noted that Yara’s breastplate is a more intricately designed one than Trinity’s. While Yara’s look is bolder and more modern, Trinity’s is a little more streamlined, a little more classic superhero, which makes sense given that she’s the daughter of one of DC’s Big Three. The breastplate also calls to mind some of the looks that the second Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, has worn over the years, especially in the 2003 relaunch of the Teen Titans. There, while she started out sporting the classic =W= design, it soon morphed into an upper W design, with more of a V design underneath, making the design seem a little bit like an abstract bird. Since she wasn’t Wonder Woman, I suppose it made sense for her emblem not to be the double =W= symbol, and that sentiment seems to be echoed here in Trinity’s breastplate design. Look closely, and you’ll see the hint of a bird-like design in the breastplate, calling to mind the classic eagle design that has been emblazoned across the chests of various Wonder Women over the decades, but never once does the breastplate or the belt try to emulate a =W= design. Diana’s daughter she might be, and a wonder too, but she’s not reflecting that in her design, and rightly so, given that she’s calling herself Trinity.

The gold detailing doesn’t just stop at the breastplate and belt, though. Go down to her feet, and you’ll notice that Trinity’s wearing the classic white-striped red boots that Diana has sported off an on over the years, though these ones come with a golden knee-pad situation, calling to mind Diana’s Rebirth-era look. It’s a great way of mixing together two of her mother’s iconic costume elements, while making it entirely her own. It also looks like there’s a gold cap on the sole of the boots, which is a new, interesting detail.

Going from boots to hair, above a tiara that follows the trend of most recent tiaras (ones with slightly more intricate designs than the simple, iconic ones Diana sported from inception through the Odyssey arc), Trinity is sporting a ponytail. While I love the practicality of it – superheroines in general tend to wear their hair loose, and while it makes for great dramatic effect, it’s not always the most practical thing, I have to admit that this specific ponytail very much calls to mind another Amazon – Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, who was Wonder Woman herself for awhile in the 1990s. Though Trinity’s hair is more of a warm cinnamon brown than Artemis’ flaming red-orange hair, the ponytail has a similar effect, even if it’s not as dramatically long and whip-like as Artemis’.  While it’s not an out-and-out red, it is interesting to note that this marks a different colour from the pre-Crisis Lyta Trevor, who was blonde, and the Fury of Earth-2 in the New 52 era, who had black hair, sometimes with a red panel. Blonde, brunette, kind of a redhead.

There are two other iconic elements of a Wonder-costume design, and those are stars and bracelets. Trinity’s look seems to only consist of five stars – one on her tiara, two on her chest, and one on either hip. It’s a simple design, easy to emulate for cosplayers and other artists alike. I’m not sure if the stars on the chest were entirely necessary, but it’s nice to see a sleek, easy costume without all the unnecessary lines that some recent interpretations of Wonder Woman’s costume have had. Trinity returns to classic form with the bracelets – they’re large and silver, but unlike recent designs where Amazons have had underwrappings beneath the bracelets (to emulate the designs that Gal Gadot wore in live action takes as Wonder Woman) here Trinity just has the bracelets. Luckily, they’re long, vambrace-style bracelets, all the better to shield one from bullets and other weapons.

Speaking of weaponry, here is the first Amazon in a long while to be seen without a sword or shield of some sort. Hearkening back to her mother’s original designs, Trinity seems to only carry a lasso. Well, three of them, which is most likely why she’s called Trinity. It seems like her mother’s Golden Lasso of Truth, her aunt Donna’s Silver Lasso of Persuasion and…that black one definitely isn’t Cassie’s Lasso of Lightning, I wonder (sorry) what it is. Black Lasso of Darkness? Ebony Lasso of Lies? Shadow Lasso of Domination? The black design of it certainly calls to mind some sort of sinister intent, doesn’t it?

Online reaction to the costume (and to the announcement of the character) have been a mixed bag, though there’s certainly anticipation to see how the character’s introduction is going to play out, and how she’s going to be in contrast to her mother and the other women in the Wonderfamily, and also to see how she’s going to round out the future trinity that is comprised of Lizzie (Prince? Trevor? <Insert Last Name Here?>), Jon Kent, and Damian Wayne. As for the costume itself…there’s a lot going on, a lot inspired by disparate elements of previous looks we’ve seen over the years coming together to form a new look. It’s a good look, though perhaps one or two elements (like the stars on the chest) could be pared down to make it a bit simpler, but overall, there have definitely been worse costumes in Wonderfamily history. Personally, I like that it’s bright, shining, and visually superheroic, because that’s what it should be. She seems like a superhero instead of a warrior, which is a welcome direction to take this new character in.

The Unlikely Legacy of the Phantom Lady!

“The society columns record the activities of Sandra Knight,” begins the narrative caption bubble page fifty-two of Police Comics #1, “debutante daughter of Senator Henry Knight. No one suspects that frivolous Sandra is also the Phantom Lady, whose battles against spies and public enemies constantly make the headlines.” Thus begins the career of Phantom Lady, splashing onto the scene in 1941, a few scant months before Wonder Woman would make her own debut in All-Star Comics #8. 

Phantom Lady’s first appearance in Police Comics #1

The unlikely legacy of Phantom Lady is one that doesn’t get talked about too much, which is unfortunate because she’s a fantastic character with a really interesting history behind her. When most people think of Phantom Lady, they probably don’t think of the original, yellow-and-green clad Quality Comics Phantom Lady (whose rights DC Comics would acquire in 1956, along with other Quality Comics characters), but the red-and-blue clad Fox Features Syndicate one, made famous by Matt Baker’s absolutely phenomenal artwork. She’s a fantastic, fun-to-read deviation from the Quality/DC Sandra Knight, but the DC Comics fanboy in me has always leaned to the Quality/DC one, not only for the legacy she began, but because the DC Universe has always kind of been my favourite superheroic fantasy playground. 

Matt Baker’s Phantom Lady

Phantom Lady’s legacy is a lot farther reaching than simply a series of women who shared her codename, though. Beyond the Fox Features Syndicate version (which was later owned by Star Publications and Ajax-Farrell Publications when Fox went under) there was also a version created by Paragon Publications (later AC Comics), who sought to revive the character in the 1970s. When DC Comics threatened legal action – since by then they owned the rights to the character – Paragon changed her name to Nightveil (though she was also known as the Blue Bulleteer and Nightfall.) Unlike Phantom Lady, Nightveil had supernatural powers, though she looked remarkably like Matt Baker’s take on Phantom Lady, in that familiar blue and red costume. There’s also Shadow Lady from Big Bang Comics, and Cobweb from Alan Moore’s America’s Best Comics. Closer to home, there was the Silk Spectre from the Watchmen book, though she was something of an amalgamation between Phantom Lady, Nightshade, and Black Canary. For a character who isn’t considered A-List or talked about much today (unlike Superman, who has inspired many characters himself) it’s fascinating to note that Phantom Lady had inspired a lot of characters based on her…three of whom exist within DC Comics’ own continuity, beyond the original. 

Nightveil, Shadow Lady, and Cobweb

So, who WAS Phantom Lady, exactly? Well, the original, who debuted in Police Comics #1, cover dated August 1941, was Sandra Knight, daughter of wealthy senator Henry Knight. Dressed in a yellow bathing suit, paired with green boots, a green cape, and a red belt, Sandra Knight employed a black light lantern (shaped like a flashlight) that cast a cone of thick black light onto her adversaries, blinding them so she could take them down. Later incarnations of the character would upgrade her equipment to a black light ray mounted on wrist bands and black light goggles that enabled her to see within the black light (which she could also turn on herself to become invisible, aka a phantom.) She possessed no superpowers of her own, but was armed with a remarkable wit, a brilliant mind (various origin stories have her involved in the development of her black light technology) and knowledge of hand-to-hand combat. Her long-time love interest in those early days was Donald “Don” Borden, an agent of the US State Department’s Counter-Espionage Division, who somehow couldn’t tell that Phantom Lady and Sandra Knight were one and the same, despite the fact that she didn’t wear a mask or a wig during those early days. He must have been too distracted by her bathing suit to pay attention to her face. 

When Sandra Knight was brought into the DC Universe, there were a couple of changes made to her backstory that tied her to DC Comics lore. For one thing, she was now the member of two different teams – the All-Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters, the latter of which she’d have the longest association with, partially due to the fact that the team was entirely made up of other Quality Comics characters that DC had acquired along with Phantom Lady. One of the biggest changes made to Sandra’s history was that she now had a cousin – Ted Knight, Starman, a member of the Justice Society of America. (A noteworthy feat here is the retcon that Sandra was the one who inspired Ted to become Starman, a rare instance of a female hero inspiring a male hero!) This gave her connections to a universe in which she previously had none, and started a legacy that would trickle down a couple of generations in some very interesting, important ways. She would also later gain a love interest in Arnold “Iron” Munro, a character with some interesting Golden Age connections himself1, and one who was far better suited to being her love interest than Don Borden ever was. 

Phantom Lady and her cousin Starman

As time marched on, Sandra was one of the few characters that DC allowed to age – despite her popularity in the Golden Age and at other publications, at DC she wasn’t the A-List character that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were, and while sliding timescales and various crises kept them youthful and at the forefront of superheroics, Sandra was moved off-panel and into the background. She wouldn’t be forgotten though, not entirely. Retired from crime fighting, Sandra moved to France and opened up a school, the Universite Notre Dame Des Ombres – or the University of our Lady of the Shadows. A school to train new combat agents, one of Sandra’s students here was Delilah “Dee” Tyler, who like Sandra was also the daughter of a prominent politician in Washington D.C. Dee would soon become the second Phantom Lady, following her mentor’s well-heeled footsteps. Much like Sandra, Dee also had a black light projection ray and goggles, but because this was the 1980s, she also had some new tricks in her arsenal, such as the ability to cast holograms over herself and around her as well. She was also specifically trained in savate, a French form of kickboxing. Originally featured in back-up stories in Action Comics Weekly, Dee proved to be a smart, spunky successor to Sandra, teaming up with the likes of the Flash and the Doom Patrol. Also like Sandra before her, Dee was also a member of a new incarnation of the Freedom Fighters. Unfortunately, while a fun, interesting character, Dee only had a sixteen year run in the comics, eventually dying at the hands of Deathstroke during DC’s Infinite Crisis event. 

Dee Tyler as Phantom Lady

A new Phantom Lady was introduced in 2006, a year after Dee Tyler’s brutal death. Named Stormy Knight, she had no apparent relation to either Sandra Knight or Ted Knight, despite the fact that she was also the daughter of a senator named Henry Knight. While Dee was cut from a more traditional cloth as a superhero, Stormy was created during a time where reality tv was a couple of years into ruling American pop culture, and her origins and characterization reflected that. In public, Stormy played up the role of a spoiled, air-headed, celebrity party girl, while privately she was a an intelligent inventor with a degree in quantum physics who game up with black light bands that not only allowed her to project black light rays, cast illusions, and turn herself invisible and intangible, but also allowed her to bend reality. One notable moment has Stormy transporting herself and others from the third dimension to the fourth dimension. Unfortunately, Stormy’s life lived up to her name – she discovered that her father had been killed and replaced by a robot called (yes) Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard. This marked the beginning of her downfall, as soon after, Stormy would struggle with alcoholism and an attempt at taking her own life, before ultimately leaving her costumed career behind. 

Stormy Knight as Phantom Lady

In 2011, DC Comics would reboot their entire continuity, starting almost entirely from scratch (unless your name was Batman or Green Lantern), and as such, it cut ties with many of its previously established legacies. Sandra, Dee, and Stormy were all excised from prime continuity, and the Freedom Fighters, All-Star Squadron, or JSA had never existed in this bold new world. (As happens in comics, some of these things would later be retconned back into history.) As part of their relaunch, DC intended to start up a new Freedom Fighters team, and they started by introducing each member with a mini-series that told their new origins. In this world, Phantom Lady was reimagined as Jennifer Knight, the daughter of Daily Planet journalist Harry Knight, who had been killed by a crime boss, along with her mother. This version of Phantom Lady bore more in common with characters like Batman and the original Helena Bertinelli incarnation of the Huntress2 than she did the women with whom she shared a codename. After a botched attempt at enacting vengeance against the crime boss by going after his sons, Jennifer was rescued by her friend Dane and given a special suit and gloves that gave Jennifer a variety of abilities – the classic black light ray, and the ability to turn invisible and intangible. While she didn’t have the power to bend reality the way that her predecessor Stormy Knight did, the suit did grant Jennifer the ability to control shadows, giving her access to the cold, emotionless Shadow Dimension and to create hard constructs out of black light. Jennifer would ultimately have the shortest appearances of any of the Phantom Ladies in prime continuity, only having five appearances total – four in her own book, and one in the Human Bomb mini-series. A new Freedom Fighters series based on these characters was never published. 

Jennifer Knight as Phantom Lady, with her partner Doll Man

This isn’t the last that we would see of Phantom Lady, of course. While Jennifer Knight vanished into obscurity, versions of Phantom Lady were still seen within DC’s multiverse, such as Sophia Becker, the Phantom Lady of Earth-10. Sophia had similar powers to Sandra Knight and Stormy Knight via black light bands that could manipulate darkness and allow her and her teammates to teleport. Within the universe of her stories, she was also Sandra Knight’s successor, who picked up the mantle because she was atoning for being the daughter of American collaborators who helped Nazis come into power. 

Sophia Becker as Phantom Lady

Meanwhile, on the prime Earth where all of DC Comics’ main continuity storylines take place – Phantom Lady received another unlikely homage in the form of Ghost Woman, a villain who fought the Justice League of China with her ghost gun, which fired off short-term solid-light constructs in the shape of ghosts, a clear reference to and clever twist on Phantom Lady’s classic black light ray. 

Ghost Woman

While Dee, Stormy, Jennifer, and Sophia all succeeded Sandra in one way or another, Sandra has one other important descendant – one who never took on the Phantom Lady name, but is her legacy by blood. In 2004, DC Comics debuted a new version of Manhunter, a federal prosecutor named Kate Spencer. Kate was far from perfect. A habitual smoker whose personal life was a mess, Kate was the divorced mother of a six-year-old boy (who later exhibited superpowers himself) who was tired of seeing guilty criminals go free, Kate became the Manhunter after stealing equipment from an evidence room so she could go after the the cannibalistic Copperhead, who not only avoided a death sentence but also escaped police custody. While Sandra used her black-light ray to simply apprehend criminals, Kate lived in a different world, and her reasons for putting on a costume were different than her grandmother’s, and so she killed Copperhead. In the beginning, though, Kate had no idea who her grandmother was, and when the truth was eventually discovered, she worked to establish a relationship with the retired crime fighter. Though she never quite lost her edge, Kate did give up murdering supervillains and was eventually invited to join the Birds of Prey, where she befriended two other characters with ties to the Golden Age – Lady Blackhawk and Black Canary. 


Though it’s been a couple of years since there have been any important sightings of any Phantom Lady in the comics, DC is – at the time of this writing – going another shift in continuity, coming up towards a new dawn of the DC Universe. While she may not have the A-list name recognition of a Superman, a Batman, or a Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady – her name and her legacy – have exhibited an interesting sort of staying power that hasn’t applied to many of the characters who debuted alongside her in the 1941s. Who knows what incarnation – new or old – this reboot may bring to Phantom Lady’s enduring legacy. 


  1. Iron Munro is the son of Hugo Danner, a character who originally appeared as the protagonist of Philip Wylie’s 1930 novel “Gladiator”. Danner is popularly said to be one of the characters that influenced Jerry Siegel in co-creating Superman, though no confirmation of this piece of pop cultural lore exists. Fittingly, Iron Munro was created after DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event to fill in the role that the original Superman had played before continuity changed. His great-grandson Ramsey Robinson – Kate Spencer’s son – would exhibit similar powers.
  2.  There are multiple versions of the Huntress in DC Comics, both related to and unrelated to the Batman family. This piece here refers to both the first incarnation of Helena Wayne – the daughter of Batman and Catwoman – who debuted in All-Star Comics #69 in 1977 and the first incarnation of Helena Bertinelli, who debuted in April 1989 in Huntress #1. Much like in the footnote above, Bertinelli was created to fill in the role that Wayne had played, though their origins were wildly different. Helena Bertinelli became the Huntress to take vengeance for her parents, who were killed by the request of a mob boss.