On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.
Wonder Woman #16, DC Comics, March 2013.
When last we left Wonder Woman, she was seeking out other hitherto-unknown children of Zeus to help her find the king of the gods’ latest offspring, the abducted baby of her friend Zola, stolen by Hermes in a previous volume. This brought her into conflict with Orion of the New Gods, showing up for the first time since the New 52 reboot because of some new threat to the universe.
So not only is Wonder Woman’s newfound half-brother Milan pretty clearly modeled after the late paranoid schizophrenic singer-songwriter Wesley Willis, but it turns out his power is pretty damn gross. Flies swarm out of his mouth and cover everyone, smothering them. Oh, he also has eye sockets full of maggots and can see everything everywhere, which is pretty useful for finding Zola’s baby—who’s apparently being kept somewhere with Hermes and Demeter.
Meanwhile, the First Born, the long-lost eldest of Zeus’s children, is being attacked by some kind of ice giants controlled by Hades. Why does Hades have ice giants? I have no idea. But these ice giants have a chewy meat center, judging from the massive sprays of blood that explode out of them when the First Born tears them apart. I’m not sure why that’s necessary, but it seems like you can’t have a superhero comic at DC anymore that doesn’t involve some serious gore.
Let’s see, what else happens? Newfound frenemies Zola and Hera run into Ares in a bar. Oh, and Dionysus is there as some kind of glam rock guy. And Strife is hanging around just to stir shit up, as usual.
Diana and Orion throw attitude at each other, and we find out a teensy bit more about what Orion’s mission is. “I’ve learned of a threat to the universe,” he says mysteriously. “That the end of time begins with the last of the line…at the hands of a new god.” Now, everyone interprets this as meaning Zola’s baby is the one Orion’s been sent to battle. But of course, Orion himself is a New God. Or aren’t they called that anymore, post-reboot? It’s so hard to make sense of anything now that DC has tossed out some things and kept others and nobody at the helm seems to be keeping track of which is which.
Wonder Woman #17, DC Comics, April 2013.
Due to Orion’s space-god tracking devices, Diana, Lennox and he find the bar where Zola and Hera are holed up, and there Diana’s reunited at last with her old mentor, Ares, and they don’t seem too happy to see each other. Zola palmed a knife at the bar, which it seemed like she was probably going to try to use on Hera at some point, seeing as how Hera tried to kill Zola and her baby not long ago. But no, she pulls it on Ares instead, in a misguided attempt to protect Wonder Woman. Pulling a knife on War is a bad idea to start with, particularly if you’re not much of a warrior. But Ares insists that he’s only there for a drink and a chat.
The First Born’s mysterious scholarly benefactor is revealed to be a woman with a cybernetic neck, a woman named Cassandra, but she’s no more forthcoming about how she got that way or why she’s so interested in helping the old guy out. Oh, and apparently his other uncle, Poseidon, is trying to kill him too. Whoever this guy is, he’s none too popular. No wonder he’s been buried for seven thousand years.
Ares agrees to take Diana to where the baby’s being held—but only Diana, and none of her retinue—and makes plenty of snarky small talk about old times along the way.
And, true to his word, Ares takes Diana straight to Demeter’s realm, where he gets taken down like a punk by Hermes. Hermes! Not even really a warrior god. I guess the old warhorse has seen better days.
Wonder Woman #18, DC Comics, May 2013.
So now Wonder Woman’s fighting Hermes, the First Born is fighting Poseidon, and the two of them still aren’t even aware of each other as far as I can tell. But hey, Orion comes to the rescue! Of Diana, that is. I guess one thing that’s still true of the New Gods—or whatever they’re called now—is that they have Boom Tube technology that will teleport them pretty much anywhere, only very, very loudly.
In fact, everything goes surprisingly swimmingly. Ares just takes the baby from Demeter, and everyone has a good moment of fright over that, but lo and behold, he took it back to Zola after all. Everything seems to be a-OK in the Diana household, except for that whole thing where the baby may or may not be going to bring about the end of time, and Orion may have to kill the baby to keep that from happening. You know, a happy ending!
Except, of course, nothing’s really ending, because hardly anything has actually happened in this book. Diana met some of Zeus’s other kids who are roaming around the earth. She met Orion. Zeus’s nameless First Born got free and started gathering his long-lost gear. Oh, and Diana found Zola’s stolen kid, which turned out to be surprisingly easy once it finally happened. Really, all that could have been covered in a single issue, but that wouldn’t sell nearly as many funnybooks as when it’s drawn out over a few dozen issues.