On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments, including Greg Rucka’s run, the earliest 1940s comics, and the current “New 52” era.
Amazons Attack!, DC Comics, 2007.
Last week we took a look at the first half of Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods’s miniseries Amazons Attack!, universally decried as a load of old bollocks. Freshly resurrected by Wonder Woman’s nemesis Circe, Queen Hippolyta had attacked the United States because her daughter Diana had been taken prisoner. And even though Diana was released almost immediately, she’s determined to conquer America. Oh, and some other crap happened.
Amazons Attack! #4, DC Comics, September 2007.
This issue takes up not only where the last one left off, but also where Jodi Picoult’s brief run on Wonder Woman ended—with Diana challenging her mother to kill her if she wants to win so bad. Well, we’ll never know how that one was going to work out because Superman sword-blocks this tender moment.
So let’s see: What kinds of things happen in this issue? Well, the air force fires a missile at Wonder Girl while she’s standing on the nose of Air Force One, because there’s no way that could go wrong. Cassie comes flying right through the hull of the plane, and nobody’s hair is even mussed by the explosive decompression, though the president certainly scolds her about it.
Speaking of scolding, apparently the whole idea of this stunt is just to get the president and Hippolyta in the same room so they can hug it out. Which sounds all well and good—never mind that Hippolyta has already said she wants the guy’s head on a pike—and the president agrees, but uh-oh, Amazons…let me see here…attack! They spear the pilot and bring down the plane, but Supergirl is already carrying the thing to ground, so it’s not clear that makes much difference.
Wonder Woman says if someone’s using tech on the Amazons’ side, it must be the Bana, the lost of tribe of Amazons who mostly rejoined the Amazons a while ago, except for a group of spiteful holdouts. Never mind that that makes no sense, and that the Bana who have reassimilated also can work tech just fine, and for that matter the main culture of Themyscira has some pretty advanced technology itself. People are saying stuff, so it must be true.
And hey, sure enough, it’s some hitherto unseen group of Bana Amazons carrying out terrorist attacks, led by some warrior woman named Karna. They all wear tribal facepaint and are apparently recruiting non-Amazon women into their ranks, because Karna asks Grace of the Outsiders to join them. Now, she says they hate the Amazons, but they’re also clearly working with them in the attack somehow,
Superman tries to tell the Amazons who downed Air Force One to knock it off, that this isn’t like them at all. His stern talking-to seems to be getting through to them, because after all everything they’ve been doing has been painfully out of character, but uh-oh, the armed forces happen to take this moment to finally get around to fighting back and gun them all down. Superman pouts at them because they’re blind fools and ruined everything, but he’s pretty clearly in the wrong here because everyone has done nothing so far but bend over and let Hippolyta’s hordes ream them.
Hippolyta is about to become disheartened when her Amazons don’t come back with the prez as their prisoner, but hey! A magic force field mysteriously comes up around Washington DC! She takes it as a sign that the gods are on her side after all, and hey, there’s Circe, who we last saw with Hippolyta’s sword sticking through her for no apparent reason. She’s alive! I’m sure we’re all really shocked about that.
Amazons Attack! #5, DC Comics, October 2007.
Well, Superman can’t get through the force field, which pretty much says it’s made of magic. Wonder Woman is apparently back on Themyscira looking for a cure for Nemesis’s bee stings, which is exactly what she said she didn’t have time to do a couple of issues ago, but I guess when she realized no one was doing anything useful to stop the invasion anyway, she found the time.
Grace Choi apparently also decided that she had nothing better to do than hang out with Karna and her Bana despite refusing to do so in the last issue, and Karna makes the stunning revelation that Grace is a long-lost member of that long-lost tribe. Apparently Karna took some of her skin cells and had them tested during, um…shut up, that’s when.
Wonder Woman returns and Batman tells her that this magic shield is apparently so strong that it must be Circe’s work. Because clearly none of the other thousand powerful sorcerers clogging up the DC universe could possibly do such a thing. Diana says that’s impossible because Circe’s dead, and Bats just stares at her like she’s an idiot because, fair enough, that’s an idiotic thing to say. Of course Circe’s not dead. She should know that better than anyone.
Superman confronts the Bana with all that terrorist stuff they’ve been doing, but Karna just holds a knife to Grace’s throat so he’ll let them get away, because clearly the guy with super-speed and a million other powers can’t get around a knife to the throat. Puh-leez. As soon as the Bana are back on the safe side of the force field, Karna shivs Grace anyway, because that’s what sisters do. And hey! The Bana and the Amazons are apparently allies just like they’ve seemed to be all along! I can’t even tell if that’s supposed to be surprising or not.
Speaking of not being able to tell if anything’s supposed to be surprising or not, it looks like Amazons with faces shrouded in shadow aren’t actually supposed to be mysterious—they’re just not important enough to have faces. Case in point, one waiting on the supposedly-dead Circe; one might think maybe it’s someone in disguise or something, but no, that would be too clever. But hey, the faceless Amazon gets taken out by Batman, who’s learned an incantation to cancel out Circe’s magic. Convenient! Because you know, learning magic is totally Batman’s thing. And how’d he get through the force field? Shut up, that’s how. Anyway, the shield is down now that he’s clocked Circe, which means it’s time for the final battle! Which is another way of saying, it’s time for the superheroes finally get around to fighting the Amazons at all!
Amazons Attack! #6, DC Comics, November 2007.
Now it’s time for Diana and Hippolta to beat the crap out of each other again, just like they did in Wonder Woman a few months ago. And hey, it even ends the same way, with a sword to Diana’s throat and her goading her mom to kill her.
I guess we’re all taking it for granted that Circe’s been making everyone act like idiots with her magic all along, presumably starting with Pfeifer and DC editorial, but Batmage has canceled out Circe’s magic, so Hippolyta is left to actually think about what she’s doing, and she finally knocks it off.
And hooboy, is Circe pissed. I guess right after she and Ares went off together with their daughter at the end of Rucka’s run, Ares ran off with the kid by himself instead, and this is all her incredibly complicated plot to get back at the gods by wiping out the Amazons in a senseless war.
But not so fast! Athena shows up with a loud BOOOM and casts Circe down to Hades. Holy deus ex machina! And then she scolds all the Amazons for falling for this crap, punishing them by scattering their essence all over the world and forcing them to live as amnesiac humans. Not that she tells anyone that’s what she’s doing. Even Diana shuts up and just accepts it when Athena tells her what she did with her mother and all her sisters is none of her concern. Because really, that’s totally something that Wonder Woman would just roll over and accept.
Just for the record, absolutely nothing came of the introduction of the new group of Bana. Same with the president’s internment camps. It’s all just stuff thrown into the mix seemingly just to fill up pages.
And now, here comes the masterstroke. If all the stupid shit that’s been going on all series isn’t enough, Pfeifer has to cap it all off with the most cockamamie twist ending ever. This is a spoiler warning, because I’m just going to spell it out right now. You ready? Here it comes.
Athena is an imposter! One who’s imprisoned the entire Greek pantheon and stolen Athena’s identity—and let’s not forget, when last we saw her Athena had taken Zeus’s place as ruler of Olympus. Who could have such power? Who else but…Phyllis Diller!
Well, basically. It’s Darkseid’s sidekick Granny Goodness, the torturing caretaker of the orphans of Apokolips. That’s right, one minor New God managed to take out an entire pantheon of the old gods. And what does this even have to do with anything? Was she somehow behind Circe’s plot all along? It doesn’t look like it. Fake Athena pretty much stayed out of it till the end. But I guess dumb luck and opportunism must be Granny’s superpower.
Now, this is just setting things up for some equally stupid storyline in Countdown that involves Granny Athena recruiting new Amazons from scrappy humans, dragging Harley Quinn and Catwoman’s pal Holly Robinson into the mix. And that, in turn, leads into the Death of the New Gods, an even more terrible storyline, which leads to their rebirth in Final Crisis, and you know what? I guess there’s one good effect that the New 52 reboot had, which is to get rid of all the stupid shit that the same DC editorial regime was doing in the few years previous. Sure, it turned out to be basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater, tossing out pretty much all the established continuity in the process, and sure, they put the same guys in charge of the new universe who screwed this one up in the first place, but lord knows something had to change. Because this stuff? This was some bullshit.