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Baroness Paula
Baroness Paula Von Gunther
Real name Paula Von Gunther
Debut Sensation Comics #4 (April 1942)
Created by William Moulton Marston
Harry G. Peter
Affiliations Wonder Woman
Gestapo
Abilities Brilliant strategist and scientist; Amazon training
Played by see In other media
GALLERY

Baroness Paula von Gunther battled Wonder Woman as her first recurring arch-nemesis and, eventually, her closest ally.

Baroness Paula von Gunther originally debuted in Sensation Comics #4.

History

Pre-Crisis

Golden Age

Baroness Paula von Gunther first appeared as a foe of Wonder Woman. She battled the Amazon numerous times as an agent of the Gestapo. She murdered many individuals, kept a small group of women as personal slaves, tortured them routinely, was for a time the leader of all Gestapo operations in the United States, forced American citizens into becoming Nazi spies, and once tried to monopolize America's milk supply so that its people would have weak bones and fall before the stronger-boned Nazis.

Von Gunther was finally captured and revealed that she had worked for the Nazis because they held her daughter Gerta captive. Von Gunther reformed and pledged her loyalty to Wonder Woman after Gerta was rescued. Von Gunther even put her own life in peril to save Wonder Woman from a burning munitions plant, suffering third-degree burns and a horribly scarred face.

Von Gunther went to trial, but Wonder Woman acted as her defense and got her off. Murder charges had to be thrown out on double jeopardy, because Paula had previously been tried, convicted... and executed for that crime (Sensation Comics #7). Wonder Woman also dramatically revealed Paula's scarred face to the jury, which was moved by Paula's heroic self-sacrifice and acquitted her of the remaining espionage and sabotage charges. (Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #3.)

Paula returned to Paradise Island with her former slave girls and her daughter to live and undergo Amazon training. Queen Hippolyta molded fine features on Paula's face, which the goddess Aphrodite blessed and magically converted into Paula's new face.

Paula became the Amazons' chief scientist, spending part of her time on Paradise Island and part aiding Wonder Woman from a hidden underground laboratory beneath Holliday College. Her daughter Gerta also was a scientific savant, although her experiments sometimes led to accidents that needed Wonder Woman's help to fix. Gerta's enlarging ray, for example, was instrumental in helping Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor return to human size after escaping Atomia's atom world, but also accidentally unleashed the menace of the Bughumans.

Silver Age

Her Earth-1 counterpart differed only slightly, as Baroness Paula von Gunta. The Earth-1 von Gunta appeared in Wonder Woman (vol. I) #163 and 168, before presumably following a similar path as the Earth-2 Paula and moving to Paradise Island to become an adopted Amazon and chief scientist.

The Earth-1 Paula was asked to replace Hippolyta as Amazon queen during a coup d'état, which was abruptly ended when goddess Kore appeared to enlist the Amazons in a battle against the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Post-Crisis

Following the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was revealed that Baroness Paula von Gunther fought Hippolyta during the time-traveling queen's World War II adventures as Wonder Woman.

This Von Gunther was a mistress of the occult and became the human host for the evil wandering spirit, Dark Angel. Dark Angel became a dedicated foe of Hippolyta and was inadvertently responsible for the origin of Donna Troy.

Donna Troy was able to defeat Dark Angel, and at some point Dark Angel separated herself from von Gunther. The Baroness was last seen living among the Amazons.

Eventually it was revealed that Dark Angel was not a mystical spirit but an extant multiversal doppelganger of Donna Troy.

It is not yet known how, if at all, the continuity-altering events of Infinite Crisis altered Paula's history.

Powers and abilities

Pre-Crisis, Paula von Gunther had no super powers but was a skilled hand-to-hand combatant.

Post-Crisis, von Gunther was empowered when possessed by Dark Angel, who had vast powers and was able to perform a variety of feats including mind control, altering her size, teleportation and altering the time stream.

In other media

See: Baroness Paula Von Gunther (Christine Belford)

Baroness Paula von Gunther was one of only two enemies from the comic book to appear on the Wonder Woman television series. She was played by Christine Belford.

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