Epic doesn’t even begin to describe the final trailer for Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman. Vast in scope and loaded with action, the new trailer premiered during Sunday’s MTV Movie & TV Awards and showed off a ton of badass moments for Diana Prince, as well as finally naming one of her major enemies: Doctor Poison, played by Elena Anaya (The Infiltrator). Although hardcore fans have known that Doctor Poison will be in the movie, this trailer is the first time we’ve heard her name. But just who is Doctor Poison, and how important is she?
While Doctor Poison isn’t a significant villain for Wonder Woman in the same way Joker is to Batman, she is actually one of Diana’s first foes in the comics. Created by illustrator H.G. Peter and William Moulton Marston (who also created Wonder Woman herself), Doctor Poison debuted in Sensation Comics #2 in 1942, which was the second issue in Wonder Woman’s first solo magazine.
Doctor Poison is actually Princess Maru, an Axis spy who aids the Germans and Japanese and conceals her gender behind a bulky disguise. She’s a master chemist who — what else — poisons the U.S. Army’s water with “Reverso,” a drug that compels soldiers to do the opposite of their issued orders. Later, in 1948, Doctor Poison bands together with other imprisoned Wonder Woman foes, including Jinx and Giganta, to form Villainy Inc.
Afterward, Doctor Poison disappeared until 1999’s Wonder Woman #151, when her granddaughter takes up the mantle. The new Doctor Poison then joins the Secret Society of Super Villains under Cheetah, but their base is eventually destroyed by Wonder Woman.
In the New 52 reboot in 2011, Doctor Poison’s origins were changed. She became the daughter of Russian scientists who were renowned experts in poisons. The United States approached Poison’s parents to work as spies, but upon refusal, they were arrested and died in a Siberian jail. That’s when Maru vowed revenge and became Doctor Poison. Her origins changed again recently in last year’s DC Rebirth, in which she became Colonel Maru, a Japanese soldier working for a group called Poison that was founded by her family. Poison created the “Maru Virus,” which compels victims into a murderous rage.
In Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins hinted that Doctor Poison is an amalgamation of different characters from her comic book history. Although Jenkins told Screen Rant that the film doesn’t get “super into her backstory,” Jenkins said that Maru is “a woman who has had all kinds of damage in her life, and now she delights in bringing — and I’ve known people like this — delights in bringing that to other people’s lives. There is that way of being a damaged and dark person where you’re waiting for other people to face that wrath too.”
Wonder Woman will be released on June 2, 2017.