We have now come to the 8 issue epic tale in Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman run, “Rise of the Olympian.” Art in these issues is done by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan.
The Ichor are coming. Well, taking their children home, wherever that is. You may remember them from the “Expatriate” story, where they were trying to destroy the Khunds, until Etta Candy talked them out of. We don’t know what she said to get them to leave, but Wonder Woman is responsible for whatever happens next. Seems like we’re about to find out what happens next. Also not certain where or what the Ichor are doing, but dang, they just blew up a star and are flying through the explosion like a bunch of badasses.
Meanwhile, presumably on Themyscira, Hippolyta is standing on a beach, staring at the blood moon, being very ominous. First glance, I wasn’t certain why throw this page in here. Sure, it tries to add to the feeling of impending doom, but it doesn’t really add much. But then I thought about it some more. Immediately following this page is another scene with the Ichor. Had we gone straight from flying through a star, to seeing them do ordinary things and getting out of their ship, some of the impact from the cool moment would have been lost. Switching scenes, even for just a page, allows the Ichor’s cool moment to linger a bit, before moving on to something else with them.
As mentioned previously, now we see the Ichor ship land, and out steps…Zeus and Athena? And they’re on Olympus? And Olympus is in ruins? What? May need to do some research on this, because surely it’s not a reference to the George Perez run, where Darkseid destroyed Olympus. That would almost be too coincidentally perfect, with Anthony and I covering that run on the podcast. Anyways, Olympus is in shambles, there’s pro-Darkseid graffiti, and the throne has been used as a different kind of throne. Athena is beside herself, wondering where their followers or champions were while this was being done to their home. That’s probably a very good question, and one that is going to have ramifications later on in this story. Upset Gods generally aren’t a good thing.
At the Department of Metahuman Affairs, Diana is gathering her newly formed team, code name Dragons. Making up this team is Etta Candy and Agent Tresser, because of course they are. Also included are Michael D’Alessio (sharpshooter, rebel), Winston Goh (negotiator, likes being challenged), rookie James Yarbrough (tech expert, bit fearful), and Leanna Kelly (medic, likes acknowledgement). Just as Diana was giving the command for them to move out to deal with a metahuman issue at a mall, Director Steel is there to be a thorn in her side. Because of course he is. Steel has a special mission for Tresser, so he will not be joining the Dragons on this mission. Diana senses something is wrong with this, and threatens Steel with a long talk when they get back.
Now, I don’t know about your childhood, but the threat of a long talk is a serious threat. There would have been times if given the option of getting a long lecture or a switch, I probably would have chosen a switch. The lecture would go on for seemingly forever. Maybe it’d stay on a topic, maybe it wouldn’t, you never really knew. An eternity to find out what your punishment actually was, because the lecture was not usually the punishment itself. It was the guilt trip. However, I assume Steel here will have the ability to talk back. But I digress. Point is, don’t overlook the threat of a stern talking to.
We next find Dr. T.O. Morrow on a rooftop talking to Barbara Minerva, absolutely freaking out about some invention he has unleashed on the world. He doesn’t say what was unleashed, other than some vague mentions of all the shame and guilt and some other stuff of humanity. But more importantly, he thinks the idea came from Satan. I suspect he means literal Satan, and not the little devil that’ll appear on your shoulder, trying to get you to do things you know you shouldn’t. Minerva tells him that it’s too late to turn back now, and hasn’t he plotted the death of millions before. Morrow responds that that would have been kinder. Well, that seems ominous.
The Dragons show up to the mall to find about half of it in ruins. The destruction is a bit interesting on this full page. I am going to guess that half of the mall is destroyed, but the other half seems perfectly fine. Circling the entire mall, you can see a ring of cars that look to have been pushed away from the center of the destruction. Although, I can’t help but think at first glance that it doesn’t make sense why the cars at the far end of the undamaged section of the mall are also pushed back. It seems like the cars at the far end would have been fine, since that section of the mall is fine. But that’s really a minor nitpick.
Well, never mind. Ignore that last bit. Upon landing their helicopter, Diana notes that it seems like these cars, which are bleeding, were placed in a ring to keep emergency vehicles out. Etta makes the comment that death is in the air, and Diana corrects her, saying it’s shame. Don’t know if that should be a bigger clue to something, or just a confirmation of what Morrow was saying in the previous scene. Diana has Etta gather up the rest of the team to try to evacuate any surviving civilians, while she needs a moment to herself. I suspect Wonder Woman may be about to make an appearance.
Inside the mall, we see some green creature stomp the skull of a girl that was trying to escape. Sure enough, Wonder Woman shows up and declares war on the creature. I find this to be a great line. We so often see the despicable villain doing all of their villainy things, and the hero just comes in and punches them. And that’s fine. That is a perfectly reasonable thing to put into a story. Can still create great moments. However, the declaration of war is that extra bit of spice that elevates a recipe from good to great. Previously, we’ve seen Wonder Woman as the pacifist, only resorting to violence as necessary. Here, this creature has committed crimes so heinous, that Diana feels the need to declare war on them. That opens the potential to see a fury from Wonder Woman we have not seen before. And of course, this is followed by the creature being sent flying the roof of the mall.
Back at the DMA, Tresser is upset that Steel pulled him off the mission, and he doesn’t have time for Steel’s paranoia. This pushes Steel’s button, and proves he’s not paranoid by showing Tresser riding on the giant shell with Wonder Woman. Really curious to find out where that picture came from. Anyways, Steel has Tresser taken into custody. The agents lead Tresser away, and while there is some argument about Tresser removing the nectarine pit that Diana had given him, Tresser surprises the guards and subdues them all.
While fighting the creature, Wonder Woman gets the sense that it’s a god, perhaps an abattoir. But too late, Wonder Woman realizes that the creature is drawing out and feeding upon this hatred that she is feeling toward it. This strengthens the creature to the point where it is able to defeat Wonder Woman. Etta finds her afterwards bound in the rubble, and having lost her lasso. There was also a moment during this fight, where Mercury tells Zeus that Athena is despondent having lost her final champion, and is going to give up being immortal.
Donna Troy calls up Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) and gives her what I guess amounts to a pep talk. It boiled down to, if you want to be an Amazon, then act like it. You have a duty now, you can break down and cry later. After the call, Robin (Tim Drake) tries to comfort her as she attempts to hold everything together. They hug and Cassie is barely able to get out that she needs to borrow the T-jet. If you know your Teen Titans, post Infinite Crisis history, you’ll know that we’re roughly two and a half years from the end of Infinite Crisis. I don’t know what exactly is going on in Teen Titans, but the memories of Infinite Crisis could be contributing the emotional state Cassie is in.
At the mall, Agent Tresser is trying to get Wonder Woman free from the rebar binding her, but Wonder Woman is just gone. This creature not only roundly beat her physically, but also mentally. With her spirit broken, lasso gone, Wonder Woman doesn’t really have the will to continue on. Agent Goh brings up to Etta that Steel wants them to arrest Agent Tresser, but she has Goh ignore that order and stick with the evacuations.
In the ruins of Olympus, Athena lays dying, having given up on life. The other gods have lost their memories, but she is seeing glimpses of what they once were, and what they will become. To make matters worse, her champion has the name of another god on her lips. Remember Wonder Woman seeking out Kane Milohai way back in “The Circle?” Athena forces Zeus to vow that he will save the Amazons, to which he agrees. If Zeus reclaims his memories, I am very skeptical that he will keep that vow. But for now, in a scene I’m not entirely sure what happens, Zeus summons seemingly just women home. Maybe these are outcast Amazons that had forgotten who they were. Seems possible.
Genocide, the being that absolutely wrecked Wonder Woman, has returned to the Secret Society’s headquarters, much the chagrin of Dr. Faust. Morrow’s not happy about it either. Morrow tries to reason with his creation to no avail. Genocide presents him with Wonder Woman’s lasso, and demands that Morrow make it a part of her.
Donna and Cassie arrive at the mall, and before walking to Wonder Woman, Donna gives this speech to Cassie that she can’t cry. Regardless of how bad things are in there, she cannot cry. For Wonder Woman’s sake, and in case of the worst and they have to take on her responsibilities, they both need to keep themselves composed. It’s a testament to Lopresti’s art to show their reaction upon seeing Wonder Woman. They come up on her battered body, with Agent Tresser on the verge of panic, hoping Donna still had a healing ray she had. Donna tells him that they’ll have to get her back to Themyscira. Tresser points out that he’s an Amazon now, and is able to come with them.
Barbara Minerva comes to doctor just out of surgery, doing the most repulsive thing she’s ever done to another living being, and she loved it. Sounds like a great doctor. Minerva shoos her away and speaks with Genocide, giving her her new mission. While a short scene, I want to pause here for a moment to point out some things. I find this page as a good example of doing just what you need to do when writing a story in a limited space. The interaction with the doctor lets us know that the procedure to make the lasso a part of Genocide was done, and was gruesome. In a mainline DC Comics book, you’re not going to show that scene. But quickly describing it allows me to create an image of it in my head, and it’s not pretty. Then, there’s a panel where Genocide calls Minerva out on a small fib. This shows us that the Lasso of Truth that was installed in Genocide is working. There’s no need to go into further explanation right now about what the lasso is doing to Genocide. We’ve seen enough. Sure, Genocide might go into a longer explanation to torment Wonder Woman, but for now, this is enough.
Genocide leaves an immediately attacks the DMA. While this attack is going on, Director Steel shoots Agent Goh, convinced that he’s one of those traitorous Amazons since he called in the Justice League to help. As Genocide is asking where Psycho is, the Justice League shows up. This Justice League roster consisting of Black Canary, John Stewart, Red Tornado, Firestorm, and Vixen. But they don’t help much. We finally see what has become of the lasso, being laced all throughout Genocide, and forces John Stewart to see something that sends him screaming.
On Themyscira, Zeus shows up before Hippolyta, and apologizes for the ignoble things he has done and the fool he has been. As a gift to the Amazon, since they’ve done such a good job for 3,000 years, he’s going to offer them a warrior’s rest. The peace of the grave. Sounds an awful lot like Zeus is just going to kill them. Can’t wait to see his reaction when they decline this gift. Zeus doesn’t tend to be one that takes rejection kindly.
Agent Tresser does his best to talk Wonder Woman out of joining the fight in her injured condition. Of course she doesn’t listen to him. She’s too stubborn and bound to honor and duty to not rejoin the fight. Plus, she keeps mentioning that she’s never fully told the Justice League about the true power of her lasso, and she has to get it back. She goes into a room and comes back in her full, golden, battle armor. Complete with wings and everything. Before she leaves, they do have their first kiss, and Tresser tells her that she’s terrible at keeping a secret identity. So, I guess he did know that Diana Prince was Wonder Woman??? She goes downstairs, and gets her gorilla friends ready for battle.
At the DMA, Director Steel is continuing his decent into madness. He goes down to the vault and tells two guards that are guarding Dr. Psycho to join the fight upstairs. Meanwhile, Steel proceeds to have a lovely chat with Psycho about what’s going on upstairs, and essentially whether or not he should go ahead and kill Psycho so Genocide can’t get him. And really, I find it surprising that Steel doesn’t just shoot Psycho here. Steel has clearly lost his mind at this point, so why not. Upstairs, in the fight, the Justice League is still not fairing very well. Then Wonder Woman and her soldiers show up, joined by Donna Troy and Wonder Girl, who are also in full body armor. They join in on the fighting.
Zeus is introducing his to Amazons to their new home, the island of Thalarion. So, let’s get to know this new island. It is approximately 300 nautical miles from Themyscira. All of the buildings will be made of crystal, so that there will be no secrets. Sounds like a great idea right? Sure hope no one thinks to bury any secrets. Anyways, the only woman allowed on the island will be Athena, as they are to live in her honor. An all male island? As a male, I must say that sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. And there’s a river of gold, so they’ll never want for money. And who’s going to live on this island? Well, there’s Jason. He once commanded a ship called the Argo. And then there’s also his crew with them. Jason, looking pretty rough, like he’d been dead for thousands of years, asks why Zeus is doing any of this. He’s clearly confused at being back among the living. To which Zeus essentially says they are going to bring peace to the world, by conquering the world. And to top things off, Zeus is going to make a son for Jason, which will undoubtedly happen without anything backfiring.
Wonder Woman is laying it into Genocide, but is absolutely horrified when she sees what has been done with her lasso. Genocide gets Wonder Woman will the lasso, but Donna Troy interrupts her before anything truly soul-crushing can happen. While this is all happening, in a mind-boggling move, Steel has taken the device negating Psycho’s abilities off of his head. And then Cheetah shows up, and things get weird. It turns out that Steel Psycho had actually switched bodies. No wonder Steel was acting so erratically, and had taken a great interest in all things Amazons. That was actually Dr. Psycho in his body. I really enjoyed this payoff. It answers why Director Steel had been acting the way he was with a really nice surprise. Now, why was the Secret Society doing this and why did they spring the trap now? That still needs to be answered.
The fight with Genocide continues on when the visor she had been wearing gets knocked. And geez, her eyes are creepy. Her eyes are made up of a bunch bodies and faces, and it’s just creepy. Everyone is pretty taken aback by it. But then the building explodes. Part of me really hopes the explosion was caused by seeing her eyes, because that would be non-sensical and amazing, but I suspect it was just part of Cheetah’s plan.
Then there’s a brief moment of Jason and the Argonauts about to take on a US battleship. While this is the end of the current issue, before starting the next, I really, really…….really hope we see Jason’s group legitimately tries to sink this battleship.
After the explosion, things are a bit of a mess. I know, of course they are because an explosion just happened, but it’s not just physical damage. Genocide is gone, but there’s a lingering bit of psychic damage. John Stewart, having saved what few that he could, tries to tell Wonder Woman that this wasn’t her fault, but that does nothing to assuage the guilt that she’s feeling. Next, Donna Troy just goes off on her, blaming her for the death of her husband and child. She flies off, threatening to kill Wonder Woman if she ever sees her again. Lastly, Agent Tresser tries to snap Wonder Woman out of the pity party she’s throwing for herself, pointing out that there’s still people in the sub-levels that need saving.
Well, Jason and the Argonauts were able to capture that battleship. Apparently, it wasn’t even much of a fight. We get a brief message from Jason stating that their canons couldn’t dent the Argo, and the bullets aren’t doing anything either. Seems like being chosen soldiers of Zeus has given the invincibility cheat code. Jason is trying to speak with the captain of the ship, but is running into a stubborn first officer, and then Jason threatens him with a kraken. I kind of wish we had gotten a page of the Argo assault rather than a splash of the kraken. Previous issue, you teased this moment, and then the moment just happens off panel, and we’re left with the boring aftermath. And a kraken that has grabbed the battleship. But, Jason and his people are still on the battleship, so why is the kraken attacking it so ferociously that people are flying off of the deck?
Zeus pays a visit to Kane Milohai, and starts off their conversation very cordially, asking for one tiny, insignificant, trifle of a favor, from one god to another. He wants Kane to renounce Diana’s faith in him. Kane respectfully declines, saying that a human’s faith is not something for gods to barter. Zeus, being the god of reasonable reactions is perfectly fine. Wait, that’s not Zeus’ reaction at all. Zeus attacks Kane with a sucker lightning bolt. And even though Kane does put up a decent fight, at one point raining fire down upon Zeus, Zeus ultimately wins the fight after pulling Kane’s heart from his chest.
While this is going on, Wonder Woman finds Cheetah in the sub-levels of the DMA HQ. Previously, Cheetah had sent “Director Steel” and “Dr. Psycho” away, and was waiting on Wonder Woman. Cheetah uses her speed and the darkness to control most of this fight. After all, Wonder Woman just got out of the fight with Genocide. Cheetah, even though she was trying to be stealthy with the darkness, wasn’t being very stealthy with her noise. Maybe she forgot that Wonder Woman had ears, or something. Knowing where Cheetah is, Wonder Woman has another DMA agent above her fire a rocket at her, which she then deflects in the direction of Cheetah. This turns the fight to Wonder Woman’s favor. However, before she gets knocked out, Cheetah tells Wonder Woman that Etta Candy has been taken by Genocide. Which is really just the answer to the question Steve Trevor asked prior, when confronting “Director Steel.” Wonder Woman finds Steve, who tells her that he’s taken over the DMA, they are no longer hunting Wonder Woman, and everything will be okay, just go find his wife.
Genocide is using the lasso on Etta to torture her, trying to get information about Wonder Woman. Seems like Genocide is searching for the exact buttons to push to really tear Wonder Woman down. But Etta is being stubborn and loyal, and refuses to tell Genocide anything. Genocide even tries to bring Steve’s love of Wonder Woman as a wedge, but Etta will still not break.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is interrogating Cheetah, attempting to find out where Genocide has Etta. Wonder Woman makes the threat of snapping her neck, like she did to Maxwell Lord, but Cheetah calls that bluff. Wonder Woman throws her tiara, which cuts Cheetah’s face, before bouncing back to Wonder Woman. Cheetah kind of freaks out that Wonder Woman cut her face. I’m not sure exactly why. It’s just a very odd reaction, as if it was some type of war crime to do so. Wonder Woman then threatens to cut off Cheetah’s tail. And I know that she’s really evil, but this just seems cruel.
Jason and his peeps return to Zeus after a successful mission, bringing with them some type of missile. Probably of the nuclear variety. But importantly for now, they’ve returned just in time to see Zeus create his new champion. Whereas Hippolyta made Diana from boring old clay, he’s going to make his champion with totally awesome fire. And also the heart of dead god. And so, Achilles, King of the Olympians is born. And finally, over halfway through this long story, we finally have the Olympian who is supposed to rise, as foretold by the title of this story. I’m assuming. If the newly created Achilles isn’t the Olympian foretold by story titles, then I don’t know what anyone is doing anymore. Achilles seems like an odd choice, to me. Like, if any Greek hero of legend is going to be brought back from the dead, I would think Hercules. Although, with what Perez did with Hercules in his run by redeeming him (as far as I have read), that probably isn’t the best choice. And Achilles does have some name recognition, so maybe it is a fine choice. But do you keep the weakness that everyone knows Achilles has. That dang heel is kind of his thing.
On Themyscira, Hippolyta is praying for her sisters safe return, when Phillipus is the first to show up. Then some of the Bana Mighdall Amazons show up and ask if they are welcome as well. This is a group I’ve learned about some in reading the George Perez run of Wonder Woman. In short, this group is descended from an offshoot group of Amazons that had followed Antiope, rather than Hippolyta. In greeting Hippolyta, they admit that they had lost their way and strayed from the path, but Hippolyta is in a forgiving mode and invites them home.
Dr. Morrow and Felix Faust see Wonder Woman making her way into the Secret Society’s not-so-secret secret headquarters, and Faust is all, nope, I ain’t dealing with this. Apparently, Cheetah wasn’t nearly as stubborn and loyal as Etta. Or, at least just not as loyal. Or maybe Wonder Woman finding the Society’s base was all part of some master plan. You never know with villains sometimes. After Wonder Woman takes out some E or F-list villains, Morrow approaches her. He gives her the details on how Genocide was created. In a nutshell, they used the dirt from where dictators had committed genocide, and used that with a body that was already pulsating with energy, adding a final touch of only Cheetah being able to control the creature, and that’s how Genocide came to be. I assume that the dirt would contain some of the residual essence of the atrocities that had happened upon it, which is why Genocide is a merger of magic and science. I guess. There are definitely simpler paths that could have been traveled.
Wonder Woman flies up to the top floor and finds Etta, tied up and non-responsive. When she comes back down, she tells the few Society members that they are done. They’re like, you can’t tell us what to do, which is the wrong thing to say to an already pissed off Wonder Woman, that is on her way to get help for her dear friend. To this, she topples the building into the river. Morrow however has hung around, because Cheetah insisted. He tells Wonder Woman that this has all been a part of Cheetah’s friend, because she wanted Wonder Woman to see her friends suffer, because that is her weakness. However, Morrow has now had a change of heart, and wants to help Wonder Woman destroy his creation.
On Themyscira, Alkyone looks on with disdain from a distance as Hippolyta welcomes the Amazons of Bana Mighdall. Alykyone’s bigger concern is Zeus, and his “gift” of death to the Amazons. After all, she made a blood oath that she would always protect the Queen, and that oath is not something she can break. All of this re-emphasizing who Alkyone is, and how certain of her rightness she is, seeing no contradiction in her quest to kill Diana, while still protecting the Queen. To save the Queen, Alkyone has made some bargain with Ares, who after ordering her to kneel, presents her with gift.
Wonder Woman has taken Etta to Montgomery General Hospital, and the news is not good. Etta is in a catatonic state. She physically stable, but is mentally absent. The hospital staff, with an accurate reference to HIPAA, tell Wonder Woman that it seems like someone ripped her heart out, with their fingernails. That last little bit about the fingernails add much to the moment. We’ve all used the phrase “had our heart ripped out” at some point. So that statement alone may not evoke much of a reaction. But that extra line about fingernails adds a visual that we can imagine and react to. The thought of someone take their fingers, and just clawing out your heart is more powerful than simply having your heart ripped out.
While at the hospital, Wonder Woman runs into Tom, and he fills her, and us, in on everything that has been going on in the rest of world as they walk to Etta’s room. How does he know what’s been going on since he’s in a hospital? Well, because what else are you going to do in a hospital besides watch the news? Have you ever been to a hospital and not watched the news? I’m fairly certain it is impossible. But Tom tells Wonder Woman that these Greek dudes keep showing up at military stockpiles, and just shutting them down. Achilles even broke into the UN General Assembly, telling those gathered that they have basically forgotten the old ways, and should get used to bowing.
While visiting Etta alone, Athena uses the nurse from earlier to drop some knowledge on Wonder Woman. Athena tells her that it’s actually Ares at the heart of all of her issues. Of course it’s Ares. He’s manipulated, in subtle ways, everyone that created Genocide to create her. Ares is doing all of this because he hates his father Zeus, and part of his plan is to use Zeus’ newest creations to bring about the final conflict to destroy the world. But wait, there’s more. Genocide is some future corpse of Wonder Woman that was brought back in time and experimented on. That’s how it was able to wield the lasso that was specifically created for Wonder Woman. Athena’s last bit to her is to just accept this news, quit feeling sorry for yourself, and go do your duty.
Wonder Woman flies off to Russia, and confronts Achilles. During their fight, she notes that it’s not exactly that he’s invulnerable, he just knows where to go to not get hit. So, she switches to grappling. I found this little tidbit in the fight interesting. Knowing where to go to not get hit is far more interesting than just dodging everything. Achilles, with this great look of annoyance, tells Wonder Woman that he has her measure, but they’re not here to use the weapons, but destroy them. Of course, at that moment, someone launches nuclear weapon. Wonder Woman flies off and destroys it before it can do any damage, but the Olympians are gone by the time she gets back.
And now suddenly, Wonder Woman is fighting Genocide in Washington, D.C. Now, I mean suddenly. Suddenly enough that I had to double check that I didn’t skip an issue. Granted, I don’t think adding a transition to show how we got here would have been better, but it is very jarring. This fight goes on for quite some time, so I’ll just hit some of the highlights of it.
There’s a moment where Genocide lets Wonder Woman know that Etta gave up names a locations of many people that Wonder Woman knows and cares about, and that she’ll be going to each of them later that day. As luck would have it, one of those people, Tom Tresser, has shown up in a helicopter with Morrow, and some type of missile they have taken from Amos Fortune. They fire it at Genocide, and have a bus thrown at them in response. Since neither buses nor helicopters that have been hit by a bus can fly, both come crashing down. Wonder Woman makes the strategic decision to save the bus, as more people are in it. This gives Genocide the opening to get to Tom.
In exchange for Tom’s life, Genocide forces Wonder Woman to admit that she never really loved Tom, and was just looking for a mate to remake her lost people. This sends Wonder Woman into a rage. She flies Genocide to space, and they both come crashing back down, but that doesn’t kill her. Finally, Wonder Woman gets this awful, no good, vengeful idea. An idea that she regrets, and Genocide is shocked to see the sudden feeling of regret. So, what is this action that Wonder Woman is going to regret, you ask? Well, she tears the lasso out of Genocide, and just lets her now fall into the ocean. A really deep part of the ocean, without have control of her arms or legs, presumably because the lasso was just ripped out of her. Wonder Woman just watches her fall, knowing that she’ll drown, pretty much counting on it. That is cold.
Moments later, Wonder Woman decides that that is not who she is, and dives into the water to pull Genocide out. However, Genocide is no longer in the water. She has been recovered by Euphemus, son of Posidon, member of the Argonauts, but more importantly, follower of Ares. So now, Ares has Genocide’s body. One last thing to note about this fight is that while it was happening, Zeus had Achilles sit back and watch it, so that Achilles would know the expectations of the mantle he was to be taking on.
Back on Themyscira, a giant seashell containing one Wonder Woman comes crashing onto the beach. (Can you tell where a new issue begins?) Wonder Woman is in rough shape. Badly beaten, her hands are severely burned from where she had grabbed the corrupted lasso. All around rough shape. Hippolyta comes to her, and orders Phillipus to take Diana back to the caverns, and never leave her side. Never ever. Even though the island is about to be attacked by some giant, freaking monsters.
Hippolyta orders the megalodons to stand down, but they decide not to do that. And then are promptly massacred by the approaching monsters. Hippolyta sees this and decides to take off on her Pegasus and fight the creatures herself. And this does have slightly more impact than the megalodons. But still, the queen ends up getting knocked out of the sky and come crashing down upon the beach. This brings out Alkyone and her group, still clinging to their mission of protecting the queen.
Wonder Woman is doing a bit of wallowing in self-doubt to Phillipus, explaining everything that Genocide had done, but the sound of the giant cannon being fired snaps her out of it, and inspires her to rejoin the fight. With both of her hands severely burned, Wonder Woman has Phillipus bind the lasso and axe to her hands. What ends up is something that reminds me of that awful time Aquaman had a harpoon for a hand, but thankfully, this isn’t permanent.
So Wonder Woman rejoins the fight, and there is this funny moment where she scolds Alkyone on her ability to guard the queen. Three monstrous creatures had gotten close to Hippolyta, and Wonder Woman gets on Alkyone about this, and Alkyone just takes it. Here is a person she has promised to kill scolding her, and she just takes it. It’s a very small moment, but a telling one. It’s further evidence of Alkyone’s motivations. She is certain her cause is just, and her duty remains to protect the queen. The fact that Wonder Woman is pointing out the failing is meaningless, because Alkyone has to accept that this is a failing of her duty, and do better.
Wonder Woman binds the monsters with her lasso so that they get annoyed with each other, and attack themselves. Ares sees this, and has Euphemus order his monsters to retreat. However, that retreat is really to just go attack Zeus’ Olympians, because…well, I don’t really know why exactly. Ares just wants war, or something. Maybe an opportunity to bring the Amazons and Olympians to the same spot? Achilles sees this and leads his Olympians on a charge. The Amazons see the retreat, and question why, when Athena tells them that they’re going after the people Zeus seeks to replace them. Hippolyta decides that they will aid the men in the fight against their common enemy.
While everyone else is fighting the monsters, Wonder Woman finds Ares and bonks him on the head with her axe. I guess you’d call that cleaving. Ares’ helm is destroyed, and he may be dead. Wonder Woman does point out in his dying moments that this wasn’t vengeance, it was a war in which he started, and sometimes war calls to blood. Really, this is just the justification for why Wonder Woman killing an enemy in this instance is okay, whereas other heroes really should never be doing the killing.
Next, Zeus comes in and runs his big mouth. He tells Wonder Woman that he had done all of this for her people to finally rest easy (die), reuniting all Amazons in the process. He’s also raised a champion to replace her, so that she can get in the kitchen and start birthing babies to whichever man she deems worthy. Well, those weren’t his exact words, but the implication was there. Lastly, he tells her that he broke the pact she had foolishly made with a peasant god, and put that god’s heart into Achilles. At this point, Diana punches Zeus.
If you’re at all familiar with Zeus in any medium, other than maybe the Percy Jackson stuff, then you know Zeus does not take kindly to any type of insult. He reacts with telling Wonder Woman the she owes him her life, and that Hippolyta will still step down, but now the rest of the Amazons will continue to serve under Achilles. This is his decree as her God. Wonder Woman hears this, and goes fine, I will have no gods and she will no longer be an Amazon. Hippolyta pleads for her to stay, but Wonder Woman is undeterred. She says her good-byes and leaves. As Wonder Woman leaves, Alkyone watches on, and shows her group that Ares had gifted her a daughter, and it’s this little goblin-looking figurine.
That was some trip. Through the course of this story, Wonder Woman’s world completely falls apart. Because of Genocide, all of her relationships are crumbling. Etta is comatose, Tom knows that Wonder Woman didn’t really love him, and Donna is blaming her for the loss of her husband and daughter. And now because of Zeus, she is separated from her mother and sisters. All in all, it’s been a terrible time for Wonder Woman. But as a reader, crumbling is good. When things are torn down and broken, there’s opportunity to rebuild, and I’m still looking forward to how things get rebuilt.