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This issue follows on from events in War of the Gods #1
and Dr Fate #32 as we skip from location to location
to cover the many threads of the storyline which are beginning to converge at
last. George Perez was criticised by some for writing a crossover that was simply
too dense and too layered, becoming increasingly confusing
to follow. The issues of "War of the Gods" itself are very
"busy" and certainly require the readers's full attention.
Otherwise, they might miss a key fact that will prove extremely relevant in
a future issue!
However, the job of comics is not just to entertain but also to challenge the reader on occasion. Personally, compared to some of the DC Crossover events that have taken place over the years, I found "War of the Gods" to be a satisfying, if at times overly complex, read. Plus, we got to see Diana depicted in some other DC Titles during this time and depicted by other artists. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much Wonder Woman (!) and it was satisfying to see her play such a pivotal role, instead of the all too common Superman or Batman focused crossover events we tend to see.
It is night time in Gotham City as Batman and Robin stealthily drop down onto a rooftop upon which an anxious Wonder Woman waits. The Caped Crusader reminds the Amazon Princess that she is in very deep trouble and is currently a wanted felon. Why should he simply not take her into custody right now? Wonder Woman replies that she had no choice but to seek his help and that Black Canary had convinced her that he would give her a fair hearing.
He growls that he remains to be convinced that Diana is innocent of the charges against her and her sisters. The attacks have spread worldwide now and the Amazons are wanted for international terrorism. Some believe the Amazons are also responsible for the recent supernatural occurrences which have cropped up across the planet - Gods..Demons..Flying Serpents...all appearing at the same time the Amazons went on the war path! "You have a lot to answer for!" he tells her.
Down below in the street meanwhile, Ed Indelicato watches events through his binoculars while sitting in a parked car. He can see Wonder Woman and Batman facing each other and can feel eternity ticking away with each beat of his heart. He is uncomfortable with Diana facing the Caped Crusader alone and had wanted her to wear a wire. But she had refused, saying that it was not her way. It would be betraying a trust and besides, Batman would have no doubt found it anyway!
Ed reflects on recent events since the distraught Diana had walked into his apartment begging for his help. She had told him all about the War of the Gods taking place in New Olympus and her efforts to reason with the attacking Roman Gods had resulted in them sending their own Champion against her. Captain Marvel had attacked her and they had fought. She and Captain Marvel had charged each other and had both been struck by a bolt of lightning. For a second she had thought it had come from Lord Hermes or Jupiter, but there was something peculiar about the bolt. It was as if that sudden flash of light had lifted a dark veil from her eyes.
She and Captain Marvel had then been transported into the Chaos Portal and as Lord Hermes and his Roman counterpart Mercury battled each other, Wonder Woman had taken the opportunity to ensnare her own foe in her lasso. She could not remember much after that, apart from screams and strange faces appearing in the clouds around them. For one brief moment she had been one with Chaos before finding herself back in Boston on Patriarch's world, unable to find a way back home!
Wonder Woman had sort out Ed for his help, explaining how she was certain that Circe was behind all of the current troubles, including ordering the raids on the Museums which had resulted in the death of Mike Shands. Ed had considered calling Captain Ablamsky as part of his duty as a cop, but he knew that his boss would have sent a S.W.A.T. team around within minutes to arrest Diana. Instead he had decided to throw away his career and help the fugitive Amazon Princess...
Meanwhile at Hanscom Air Force Base, Steve Trevor sits before a panel consisting of General Yedziniak and General Hillary. Yedziniak asks Steve whether he is aware of the severity of the charges against him and the resulting venalities if found guilty? Steve nods and says that he is therefore co-operating to the best if his abilities. He repeats that all his experience of the Themyscirans has revealed only an altruistic, totally peace minded society. General Hillary asks whether they had ever bore him malice since he had tried to bomb their island. Steve replies that the Amazons knew it had all been Ares doing and had forgiven him unconditionally.
An unimpressed Yedziniak continues that according to Steve's own report, it was only because of the War God's intervention that he had managed to pierce the defensive barrier that protects the Amazon Homeland. And yet Steve's own mother had somehow managed to do exactly the same thing without the aid of Lord Ares. She had apparently been given some Godly dispensation and Yedziniak wants to know what it is about the Trevor Family that makes them so special to these so called "peace minded" warriors? Had Diana Trevor not also been killed on the island, apparently murdered by some mythical demon according to the Amazons? Does Steve really believe that?
Steve snarls at Yedziniak not to bring his mother into this. She had been a hero to the Amazons and he will not hear her name besmirched. Yedziniak apologises and General Hillary stands up, thumping his fist on the table and yelling that he strongly objects to this line of questioning. What possible bearing could the Colonel's mother have to the case at hand? Yedziniak snaps back that while he is aware that Steve is a friend of Hillary, perhaps the general should remind himself that they are currently at a state of war!
He then turns to a puzzled Steve and explains that a military convey escorting three Amazon prisoners had been ambushed a few hours ago by a platoon of Amazons and the prisoners freed. There have also been reports coming in across the world of Amazons planting bombs in foreign embassies and airports. Steve replies that is impossible because the Amazons do not possess such sophisticated weaponry. "That we know of!" snaps back Yedziniak. The general continues that perhaps the Amazons have had such weapons all along and have been hiding them on Themyscira until the time was right! Steve responds that if the Amazons were so "gung ho" about overthrowing Man's World, why did Wonder Woman almost kill herself stopping Ares?
Yedziniak replies that the only evidence they have of Ares existence is an image on a TV monitor and such things can easily be faked. He suggests that perhaps the Amazons' original plans had gone wrong and they had needed to start over. And Wonder Woman had not actually died in the end. Steve continues by reasoning that there was no point in allowing the U.N. delegates onto their island if the Amazons were not intent on peace. The general says that those same delegates are currently being questioned by their respective officials on suspicion of collusion. Indeed, the KGB have already concluded that Dr. Vladimir Morakov had been brainwashed. Steve laughs mockingly at the assertion, further infuriating Yedziniak!
General Hillary shouts at them both to cease this petty bickering at once. Yedziniak regains his composure and continues with his questioning, asking about the night Steve had crashed on Themyscira and the Amazons had "treated" him. He asks Steve whether he has ever heard of their ritual called "Sending Forth"? Steve shakes his head and Yedziniak explains that according to their own writings, the Amazons had treated countless infants who were similarly cast upon the seas by various oceanic tragedies. Indeed, Professor Julia Kapatelis herself had been one of these infants and had been treated by Pythia, thus becoming an Amazon "sleeper agent". Ironically though, thanks to Wonder Woman, they may now have a chance to discover a cure for this brainwashing by nipping it in the bud...
Many miles away at Quincy Hospital, Vincent Anderson demands to be let into the intensive care ward to see his wife and child, but his way is blocked by sinister looking government agents. They assure him that the doctors are merely checking for any possible post-natal complications to make sure Wonder Woman had not done anything to them. An amazed Vincent reminds them that had it not been for the Amazon Princess, his wife and child would be dead! He demands again for them to let him pass but they warn him to calm down as they do not want to have to hurt him. They suggest he sits back down and let the doctors do their job, adding ominously "You have our word that your wife and baby are in the very best of hands!".
Meanwhile back in Gotham, Ed continues to mull over recent events. After Diana had told him all about Circe, he had gone out and shopped for some women's clothing in order for Diana to wear a disguise, apologising for not having been able to retrieve her own civilian clothes from Julia's house and saying it was still staked out by the police. She had thanked him and while he had averted his eyes, she had slipped out of her Wonder Woman costume and quickly got dressed. She had told him how the bolt from New Olympus that had blasted her back to Earth had illuminated the path for her. However, she was going to require help on many fronts - including the mystical - in order to bring an end to this madness. First on her list was Dr. Fate.
Diana had asked how Vanessa seemed when he had gone to the Kapatelis house and he had replied that she was doing as well as could be expected, considering her mother had disappeared. Diana had responded that she knew exactly how the young girl felt, considering her own mother, Hippolyta, had vanished without a trace too.
Finally Diana had finished changing and had asked for his opinion of how she looked. He had smiled and had told her that the tiara and the bracelets "kinda clash with that outfit!". He had continued to ask what the point of a disguise was if she was going to still look so conspicuous? She had replied that where she was going she doubted it would be a problem and besides, her tiara and bracelets denote her position as an Amazon Princess. Only her armour represented Diana "the warrior". Above all else she must convince Dr. Fate that she comes in peace.
He had nodded and said that the least he could do was to drive her to Dr. Fate's home in Salem as quietly as possible, as he would not recommend her flying anywhere. She had thanked him, adding that she did not know how she could repay him for his help and kindness, although she wished Lord Hermes had been there to help too.
As Ed now continues his impatient wait in the car, he reads a newspaper article about how Hermes was indeed back on Earth in Keystone City, having been involved in a battle with The Flash!
Thousands of miles away on Themyscira meanwhile, the island still trembles but not as violently as it had been. As a group of Amazons clamber over the rubble that lays at the entrance of Doom's Doorway, Iphthime suggests to Euboea that they return to the city to check on their sisters. Euboea replies that Iphthime can go if she likes but she intends to find Heracles. She calls out to him, saying that they want to help the demigod. Beneath their feet unseen, Heracles strains as he holds aloft the entire Island on his shoulders, yelling back at them that they should evacuate the island in their boats, because if these quakes persist even he will not be able to hold Themyscira together!
He tells Euboea to keep the other Amazons back because there is nothing either she nor they can do to help him. Iphthime asks if he really thinks the Amazons will simply abandon Themyscira? Where does he expect them to go? She suggests that the Son of Zeus is in fact delirious and they must save him before he succumbs to his madness! Euboea agrees but wonders how they can possibly aid Heracles?
Back in the city Myrrha is telling her Amazon sisters how Pythia had donned her armour and disappeared into the Chaos portal to rescue her soul child, Julia. Nearby Menalippe is leading the others in a prayer, saying that the Gods need their faith more than ever...
Elsewhere in the Amazon Rain Forest in South America, the witch Circe is resting after her spell casting. Her loyal aide, Mikos, is communicating via her magical crystal ball with Dr. Psycho, who is sitting on a bed hundreds of miles away in Boston, concentrating. Mikos scolds him for disturbing Circe's slumber and suggest he speaks to her at a more appropriate time. Psycho replies telepathically that he is trying to warn the sorceress about a traitor in her midst. Mikos cannot believe his ears and snarls that no one can dare cross Circe and live. He demands to know who it is but Dr. Psycho refuses to tell anyone other than Circe.
Mikos warns him not to try and enter Circe's head as she has already taken precautions to prevent him from doing so. In turn, Dr. Psycho warns Mikos not to threaten him and that Circe's precautions will be her undoing! He continues that he has done all that he was commissioned to do and that from here on, if Circe wishes to confer with him it shall be at his convenience! With that he bids Mikos farewell before breaking the psychic link.
Not far away deep in the bowls of Circe's tower, three Bana-Mighdall Amazons are discussing the situation. They do not trust Circe and do not believe she has done what she had promised them. They are beginning to think that their interests would be better served if they cut their ties with the sorceress altogether.
Suddenly they hear a noise down the passageway and before they can react Pythia attacks with her sword drawn. She had tried to sneak past stealthily but now that she had been discovered, she knows she has no choice but to kill or be killed! In a few moments it is over and the three Bana-Mighdall Amazons lay dead on the floor. Dr. Konrad Kaslak steps out from his own hiding place and compliments Pythia on her fighting skills. Barely able to understand his language, she warns him in her own faltering English that he had better not be fooling her. He assures her that her intervention could not have been more advantageous to his enterprise and indicates that Julia is being held just down the passageway.
Pythia rushes down the steps, sensing that her soul-child is close by. She finds Julia imprisoned in a shallow pit and rips away the bars covering it without a second thought. Smiling, she holds out her hands to help Julia climb up but the Professor cowers away. She tells Pythia that she will not be fooled again like she was by the false Horace Westlake and his strange, spiral filled eyes! She curses Dr. Psycho for sending yet another one of his delusions to torment her! A puzzled Pythia does not understand why Julia is afraid and begs her to trust the Amazon. She asks Julia to feel the link between them, adding that no delusion could truly subvert the bond between them. She would rather die than allow that to happen. Pythia again asks Julia to gaze into her eyes and into her very soul. The professor leans forward slowly and does so, suddenly seeing that her mistrust is unfounded! She hugs the Amazon joyfully as Pythia helps her out...
Back in Gotham, Ed cannot believe that Wonder Woman and Batman are still deep in conversation on the roof. He continues to read the newspapers which are full of stories of how the Gods seem to be everywhere, even in New York, where the God Thoth had gone on the rampage. Although Wonder Woman and Dr. Fate had stopped it, the press were already speculating that the Amazon Princess must have had something to do with Thoth's arrival in the first place. Considering her fugitive status, it is a miracle that Wonder Woman managed to get out of New York at all!
Suddenly he sees Batman swoop away down the street and leaping out of the car sees Wonder Woman touch down gracefully beside him. She apologises for keeping him waiting and adds that she had tried to convince Batman to let Ed assist in the investigation to discover the whereabouts of the Themysciran Goblet. The Caped Crusader had refused however, saying he worked alone. A disappointed Ed tells her that she has the greatest powers of persuasion he has ever known anyone possess and she could have convinced even the Batman if she had really wanted to. He adds that ever since she had returned from New York she has been shutting him out! If it had not been for the Press reports, he would never have known about that Egyptian God that nearly leveled Manhattan!
He remembers back to how Diana had returned to his apartment after her visit to New York and used his phone to call someone named Dinah Lance (unknown to Ed, the secret identity of Black Canary who is friendly with Batman).
He now snaps at Wonder Woman, saying that he has put his whole career on the line for her and they are supposed to be "partners". With that he gets into the car and slamming the door, screeches off down the street. Wonder Woman calls after him and as she sadly watches him go, she muses to herself that perhaps he was right and that she could have been more persuasive on Batman. But Ed has no super powers unlike Valerie Beaudry, better known as the Silver Swan.
She thinks back to her journey home from New York, flying across the skies totally invisible to the passersby below thanks to a spell courtesy of Dr. Fate. However, her cloak of invisibility had worked a little too well as she was accidentally struck by another woman flying across the sky, instantly nullifying the spell! She had watched as the stunned Silver Swan had spiraled to the ground and had rushed down to aide her, praying that the collision had not injured the blond woman. Helping the Silver Swan to her feet, Wonder Woman had asked her what she was doing in Boston and had been told that Valerie had been looking for her!
Silver Swan had then said that after everything Diana had done for her, she wanted to repay the favour and help Wonder Woman in her hour of need. The Amazon Princess had assured Valerie that she owed her nothing and while she appreciated the gesture, could not allow her to become involved. But the Silver Swan had insisted, saying that she wanted to aide the fugitive Wonder Woman because she too was once considered a fugitive. Now both of them had a chance to expunge their image!
But Wonder Woman had resolutely refused involving the Silver Swan and had flown away leaving a frustrated Valerie to watch helplessly.
First Valerie. Now Ed. Wonder Woman ponders how someone who is so versed in the art of communication as she is can be so inconsiderate of human feelings? How dare she be so prideful as to expect them to just sit back and do nothing!
Suddenly two police officers emerging from a Donut shop spot her but before they can draw their weapons she has flown away in a flash!
Elsewhere at Hanscom AFB, a frustrated Etta sits outside Yedziniak's office as the interrogation of Steve continues. She cannot believe that even an idiot like the general can surely believe Steve has anything to do with the so called Amazon attacks? If only Princess Diana had not escaped custody! That had only fueled Yedziniak's case against her! How many times had Etta warned Steve about that Amazon! She quickly chastises herself for beginning to sound like the rabble on the streets. She knows of course that Diana could never have done anything she is accused of doing. Not knowingly at any rate.
Just then the office door opens and a surly looking guard steps out, saying that Yedziniak will see her now...
Back in the Amazon Rain Forest inside Circe's Tower, Konrad Kaslak has crept back into the altar chamber, cursing that Pythia's arrival has nearly ruined everything and that Circe will only be asleep for a little while longer. He walks over to the altar from where the sorceress had unleashed the Hellfire Web, utilising the power of the tokens of Earth's varied Mythological Pantheons stolen by the Bana-Mighdall Amazons from Museums across America. He smiles and picks up one of the artifacts..
Not far away down the passageway Pythia suddenly realises Kaslak has slipped away. Before she can react though she hears voices from another chamber nearby. Julia says that she had heard them too but thought that she was simply hallucinating. Pythia recognises the tongue as Themysciran and peering down, sees a small barred window at the foot of the wall. She kneels and looks down into another prison chamber where Mnemosyne, Epione and Timandra lie in chains! It is clear they have been tortured and a single Bana-Mighdall Amazon currently holds one of them by the scruff of her torn gown, pointing a sword at her throat! She growls at her helpless Themysciran victim that as torture has clearly not broken their spirit, it is time they all died! "You pathetic excuse for warriors. There can only be room in the New World for one true Amazon race!".
Hundreds of miles away meanwhile two police officers are watching TV in the Kapatelis home as they guard Vanessa who is asleep upstairs. They are bored and hungry as their third partner has still not returned with the Pizzas he went out for an hour ago. Unbeknown to them he lies dead outside in a pool of blood, having been savaged by the Cheetah! She now clambers up a tree and peers through the bedroom window of the sleeping girl, salivating as fresh blood drips from her fangs and relishing the next kill...
To be continued in War of the Gods #2 and "Hawkworld #16"