Yara Flor, the new Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, explained

Deep in the Amazon rain forest, Yara Flor stalks her victim. The target is an enormous purple hydra with fanged teeth and 8 slavering jaws. Generally simple, however this time, her warrior’s sword isn’t making a damage. She calls for assistance, roaring the name of her honorable horse: “JERRY!”

After an undignified landing on her pegasus’ back, some stunt flying, and a couple of more snickersnacks of her sword, she beats the hydra. Magnificent narrative informs us that she may not be the ideal bridge in between the world of mortals and the world of gods, however this girl has actually been selected for a grand fate. Yara Flor is the brand-new Marvel Female of a long run — however she may be the future of DC Comics itself.

The recently minted hero initially appeared in January in the pages of Future State, the enthusiastic storytelling effort that stops briefly today DC superhero universe to explore its prospective future. That’s just the start: DC Comics informs Polygon that this May, Yara will end up being Wonder Woman of the primary timeline in a stand-alone Wonder Woman book. If all goes according to strategy, she’ll likewise star in a currently-in-development CW series, and end up being the very first Latina superhero to heading her own live-action TELEVISION program.

Yara’s intro alone is a turning point. The DC Universe has never ever had an Amazon from the Amazon previously. And while several characters have actually used the mantle of Marvel Female and Marvel Woman, Yara is the very first to be entirely thought of by a female developer, Joëlle Jones. Yara’s approaching solo book, to be penned and highlighted by Jones, will be Wonder Woman’s very first continuous series in DC history. Currently, Yara is an outlier, originating from a tradition of female characters who have actually been badly served by the connection churn of long-running comics universes. And she’s doing it with a unique voice.

“I think the real difference between her and Diana,” states Dan Watters, who composed for Yara in Future State: Superman/Wonder Female, “is that she’s not a princess or a queen. […] She hangs out in weird bars with Amazon gods and she’s running around the streets of Brazil and helping people where she finds them.” Superman/Wonder Female artist Leila Del Duca explains her as headstrong and “a little bit quick to anger.” Joshua Williamson, who penned Yara’s experiences in Future State: Justice League, can visualize the hero in the real life. “Yara would do karaoke after a successful mission, and would not only bring down the house, but be the last one to leave.”

Her love is likewise a specifying function, states Jones. “She’s excited to step into a hero role — almost too excited, Labrador Retriever excited, to be there.”

How Yara Flor took shape — in the ever-evolving landscape of comics, in the suffocating conditions of COVID-19 lockdown, and in the light of a beaming, singing Latin American fandom — reveals simply how business of superheroes is altering, to one where rope-throwing warrior females kill beasts in Beyonce- and Balenciaga-inspired armor, and a female forming the future of Marvel Female comics is anything however uncommon.

Yara draws her sword to face a one-headed hydra in the jungle in Future State: Wonder Woman #1, DC Comics (2021).

Jones started her profession composing and highlighting books for Dark Horse Comics, DC, and Oni Press prior to breaking away from the pack in 2016 with originals Girl Killer and Bride-to-bes of Helheim, which both made Eisner elections. In 2017, she ended up being a member of the vanishingly little club of females who have actually highlighted several problems of Batman, and the next year created Catwoman’s bridal gown. The work was so expressive, DC handed her writing and artist tasks on the Catwoman continuous series.

Jones states that she has actually constantly liked Diana of Themyscira (among her Batman arcs even included Diana in a visitor function), however that there has actually constantly been an aspect of the character that felt unattainable to her. “She was this beautiful goddess that I looked up to and wanted to be like, and I wanted to take those emotions of admiration and put them in a character. It would be a woman who had the same powers, but had foibles as a human.” Jones included that her concept was that the reader might “watch the struggles of somebody wanting to be just like Wonder Woman, but who staggered along the way.”

Prior To there was Yara, there was Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark, Marvel Girls each with terribly irregular traditions muddled by duplicated retcons. Donna’s origin story was very first revoked by DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot in 1985, and every effort to close the loophole has actually tangled the character up in more crisscrossing connection. It’s a typical story for superhero characters forgotten or deprioritized by editorial. However if Wonder Female is as crucial as Superman or Batman, then shouldn’t Wonder Woman be as crucial as Supergirl, Robin, or Batgirl? Yara Flor might be the Wonder Girl corrective.

When Jones began work on Yara, it was with the mandate of creating a new Wonder Female in a potential future, without the need to explore a time when she and Diana of Themyscira shared a superhero community, much less a mentorship. But Yara was just too powerful to be limited by the borders of the Future State timeline.

“As things went on, and people got more interested, it just sort of happened organically,” Jones says. “[DC editorial was] like, ‘Let’s make her the new Wonder Girl.’”

A new Wonder Woman needs her own series to chronicle her adventures, and May’s Wonder Woman #1, written and drawn by Jones, will chisel Yara’s origins into DC canon. Raised in Jones’ native Boise, Idaho, the hero will travel to Brazil to discover her roots. And in typical superhero fashion, the search will turn into an epic adventure with strange gods and a promise to “change the world of Wonder Woman forever.” Readers will find a short preview story for the new series in DC’s table-setting one-shot Infinite Frontier #0, hitting shelves on March 2.

Yara Floor waves goodbye in an airport, while two hooded women observe suspiciously, in Infinite Frontier #0, DC Comics (2021).

Yara says goodbye at the Boise airport in an unlettered page spread from Infinite Frontier #0.
Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

Yara’s Brazilian heritage spoke to her creator’s fascinations and a greater demand. Jones became interested in the mythologies of the Amazon basin after a trip to Brazil for a convention, São Paulo’s Comic Con Experience. CCXP boasted 280,000 attendees — more than twice that of San Diego Comic Con, North America’s biggest fan convention — in 2019. Those numbers have not been lost on Hollywood. Guests at CCXP 2019 included the casts of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Wonder Woman 1984, and Birds of Prey, as well as American comics luminaries like Frank Miller and Neal Adams. During their visit, former DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio suggested that it would be fun to see a woman from the actual Amazon as an Amazon. Jones agreed, and started researching.

Bringing a Brazilian Wonder Woman into DC canon added to a challenge that was already “really fucking daunting,” as Jones puts it. Like some versions of Wonder Woman, Yara is the child of an Amazon (that is, a woman from the island of Themyscira) and a god. But instead of a Greek god, Yara’s father is an Amazon river god. Jones would not divulge which Themysciran or which Amazon river god, but said that she has plans for a dramatic love story at the heart of how Yara came to exist.

For Yara’s origin, Jones says that she relished a brand-new mythos, after growing up obsessed with Greek mythology. “It’s difficult at times, because most of it’s in Portuguese, and I want to treat it right,” says Jones. “So it’s been asking for a lot of help, reading a lot of books, and delving into some strange YouTube channels.”

Image: Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire/DC Comics and Image: Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire/DC Comics

If Yara was inspired by travel and new experiences, she was honed in the much smaller world of COVID-19 lockdowns — and the direct market’s nearly two-month pause caused by the Diamond Comics shutdown. “She has such a big, broad world, and it goes through mythology and different continents and cultures,” Jones says. “And I [was] stuck at home in my PJs, nowhere to go, nothing to do. It gave me an opportunity to block out everything else and hang out in my imagination. After I’d seen all the TV shows and read all the books I wanted to read, there’s nothing left but me and daydreaming. […] I can’t picture her coming out at any other time, for me personally, to have that time with her in the way that I did.”

Image: Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire/DC Comics and Image: Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire/DC Comics

Before pandemic health precautions became the daily norm, Jones shared a studio with artist Leila Del Duca. But the two kept in touch with their studiomates in regular zoom sessions, to simulate the experience of working in the same space, while Jones was working on Yara Flor.

“I got to see my friend Joëlle create this new iconic character, and hear about her worries and victories throughout the process,” says Del Duca. “[I was] super proud and excited that she got to have this chance, and that DC went with her ideas. […] Every time she showed us a new costume, we were like, Oh my god, this is so good! Were you looking at Beyonce with those boots?

Concept art of Yara Flor’s Future State costume, highlighting her Kokoshnik tiara, gold armor, and boots.

She was. Jones’ approach to the costume and gear of a new Marvel Female was defined by balance. She wanted Yara’s look to be somewhat revealing, in homage to the history of Wonder Woman costumes, but she also didn’t want to make a Wonder Girl who was too exposed. It would be an understatement to say that the relative skimpiness of superheroine costumes compared to those of their male counterparts has been an occasional topic of heated discussion in the comics neighborhood. So Jones looked to female icons in fashion who achieved that harmony, and eventually homed in on Beyonce.

“Her performance costumes, to me, have such power behind the silhouettes,” says Jones. “If there’s sexuality in it, she owns it; it’s hers. I started with that silhouette, and from there, I went to some Balenciaga leggings that are completely made out of metal. It’s shiny, gorgeous gold metal that reminded me of Barbarella.”

Concept art of an alternate costume for Yara Flor/Wonder Woman.

A black and white drawing of Yara looking bored and wearing a job uniform for River Tours.

Jones designed nearly 30 different outfits for her new Wonder Woman, but wasn’t certain the costume was a success until after Yara was revealed to the world in the first announcements of Future State. Jones immediately began to see cosplayers hard at work replicating Yara’s unitard and golden asymmetrical armor.

“I didn’t think anybody could do it,” Jones says. “I didn’t think it would be possible with the armor and all this stuff. Oh, cosplayers are gonna hate to do this. But they jumped on it so fast that it inspired me to stick with my guns.”

From the girdle of Gaia to the winged sandals of Hermes, Wonder Woman has had her fair share of superheroic accoutrement and supernatural modes of transportation, and Yara Flor is no different. However there’s also her non-sartorial gear:

The Sword

A black and white drawing of Yara Flor/Wonder Woman’s sword, which has a jagged blade close to its hilt.

Jones says that the idea behind giving Yara a sword was simple: Sword fights are simply fun to draw. But to give the weapon a link to ancient Brazil, she based its shape on a spear tip found at an Amazonian anthropological site, enlarged, elongated, and given a hilt.

A black and white drawing of Yara Flor/Wonder Woman’s boleadoras, a braided rope weapon with three weights on the ends.

The Boleadoras

Yara wields a set of golden boleadoras, a bola with three weighted ends. The rope weapon, which is thrown in such a way as to entangle an animal’s legs, has a long history in South America for its use in cattle ranching, much as the lasso does in the American West. And when it comes to Wonder Woman’s rope weapon, there’s only one question to be asked: Are they Boleadoras of Truth?

According to Jones, Yara’s bola is even more effective than the Lasso of Truth, in some ways. “Her bola acts more as a weapon of control. She could control somebody to speak the truth, or control them in the way they think, or control their actions. It takes the Lasso of Truth and amps it up a bit more.”

Yara Flor/Wonder Woman triumphantly astride her winged horse, Jerry.

Jerry the Pegasus

A bridge between the world of Themyscira and Brazil, Yara does have one creature of Greek myth at her beck and call (when he bothers to listen). That’s her pegasus, Jerry, making the story of Yara Flor bona fide Horse Girl Content.

Why is this magnificent, if recalcitrant, beast named Jerry? Jones thought it was funny.

“I had a real estate agent named Jerry,” she tells Polygon. “I really liked saying his name, and I found myself saying his name to him all the time, like, ‘So how many bathrooms does it have, Jerry? Tell me more about this skylight, Jerry.’”

Creating a new superhero is a monumental effort. A character who can stand up alongside the DC Trinity needs a memorable design, a compelling origin, a winning personality, and a gripping new story to put them in. But in a never-ending comic book universe it’s not enough for your character to galvanize readers. It has to make other comics creators want to pick up the pen and continue where you left off.

Luckily, Yara Flor has a head start. Right off the bat, she earned a spot in two additional Future State books, and DC editorial helped get the other creative teams up to speed on her personality. Jones’ two-issue Future State: Wonder Woman story showcases a younger, more headstrong Yara in an early solo adventure. A more seasoned Yara clashes with Jon Kent — when a Brazilian god clashes with a robotic star — in Dan Watters and Leila Del Duca’s Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman. And in Future State: Justice League, from Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha, Yara and Jon are veterans of the world’s foremost superhero team, facing a threat the likes of which the Justice League hasn’t seen since their predecessors were in charge.

“I’ve had such a fun time drawing [the costume], personally,” states Del Duca. “I also really love that [Jones] gave her bangs and long hair — it helps showing movement when drawing action scenes.”

“In almost a weird way,” Watters tells Polygon, “she’s an obvious character that didn’t exist yet. Of course, there needed to be a Yara Flor. Why was there never a Yara Flor before?”

Nearly a dozen black and white studies of Yara Flor from the neck up, from different angles.

Yara’s place in Future State signals a significant editorial investment in a brand-new character, the kind of attention that could have kept Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark from becoming continuity relics. An ongoing Marvel Woman book is a further vote of confidence, and one that gave Jones license to dive deeper on the character’s origins. And soon, TV viewers will get their own version of Yara Flor, to stand next to Supergirl, the Flash, and Batwoman.

In November, the CW announced that Dailyn Rodriguez (Queen of the South, Ugly Betty) had joined Berlanti Productions (The Flash, Arrow, etc.) to helm Wonder Woman, based on Jones’ work. “They were like, We’re interested in this character, and we definitely want to have something for a Brazilian audience,” Jones says. “It’s been fun to talk with other people about it, and then hear their ideas — because TV’s going to be a bit more prohibitive than comics, and one of my favorite things is problem-solving those little things.”

One of those little things? A winged horse is an easy sell in a comic, but less so in a television series. Sorry, Jerry.

Yara Floor screams at the sky, sword in hand, surrounded by mysterious amazon faces and a crashing whirlpool of water, on the black-and-white cover of Wonder Girl #1, DC Comics (2021).

The uncolored cover of Wonder Girl #1.
Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

“It was a really roundabout way to get there,” Jones tells Polygon on inventing Yara Flor. “But ultimately kind of satisfying, because I got to sit with her and who she was for such a long time that when it came to her changing to Wonder Girl, I feel like I had a grasp on who she was.”

DC and Marvel creators invent dozens of superheroes and villains every year, but it’s only a precious few who break out of the pack. It would be folly to try to predict the future (state) for any brand-new superhero. But Yara has a lot going for her. She’s a first for both on-page and behind-the-scenes diversity at DC Comics. She’s got her own television show in development before her solo comic series launches, and multiple creators are already pulling for her success.

Her editorial origin story could not be more of the moment, following a year in which DC Comics was rocked by changes from without and within, but it’s also an acknowledgment of what is certain about the future of superhero storytelling. Yara is a heroine for an increasingly global audience that enjoys their tights and fights across all formats.

In more ways than one, she is the Wonder Female of Future State but the Wonder Girl of the future.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.