Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 329


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 329

General Info

Issue No:
329
On Sale Date:
November 1985
Cover Date:
February 1986
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Of Gods and Men

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Writer:
Gerry Conway
Penciller:
Don Heck
Inker:
Pablo Marcos
Letterer:
Helen Vesik
Colourist:
Nansi Hoolahan
Editor:
Alan Gold

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor, Etta Candy
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Hades, Kore, Ares, Zeus
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Atalanta
Other:
Lieutenant Lauren Haley, Howard Huckaby
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Gerry Conway returns for a ficrisis-panel-1nal time to take on the huge responsibility of writing the last ever pre crisis Wonder Woman story. This extra sized 48 page issue sets the scene for the forthcoming events in the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” crossover story line. In one stroke, DC completely obliterated all that had been before and ‘re-imaged’ the DC Universe anew. Many heroines fell victim to this “out with the old – in with the new” revamp including well known and popular characters such as the Huntress and Supergirl, but the biggest casualty was surely the iconic Wonder Woman herself.

In the twelfth and final issue of the series, the Earth One Wonder Woman was blasted by the Anti-Monitor and apparently killed. For such an iconic character, her death takes up one small panel and barely registers further mention. This compares with the death of Supergirl who dies heroically in combat with the Anti-Monitor to save Superman’s life. We even see the world mourning Kara’s loss afterwards and the heroes of the planet attending a solemn memorial service. Poor Diana on the other hand gets zapped and that is that!

However, all is not what it at first seems because at the end of the issue we are told how Wonder Woman was not in fact killed, but was instead somehow sent back in time, devolving into clay again which spreads itself across Paradise Island. As time continued in reverse, the rest of the Amazons returned to the Grecian Isle from where they had originally fled. Meanwhile on Mount Olympus, Zeus decided that an injustice had been dealt upon the Earth Two Wonder Woman, and both she and her beloved Steve were brought to the Home of the Gods where they lived happily ever after.

crisis-panel-2Rumours had been rife at the time that with the cancellation of her book she was going to actually be killed off for good in “Crisis”, never to return. Certainly her recent sales did not seem to justify keeping the character in print any longer. However, DC thankfully realised that she was still a potent marketing icon, being the most famous and recognisable female comic book heroine in the world. Instead of letting her die, they saw she still had potential and had already boldly decided to resurrect and create an entirely new origin for her. She would in the process discard some major elements of her mythos, such as her “Diana Prince” secret identity, her invisible plane, the vulnerability of losing her strength when bound by a man etc. In turn though, she would gain some new abilities – in particular the power of flight and update herself for the modern age. Ironically, many years later much of this would be subsequently undone and there would be a nostalgic return to some of the pre-crisis elements of the character!

But this was all in the future. For now, her fans simply knew she faced her greatest ever challenge and not even the Gods knew what fate had in store for her. They asked themselves – was this really the end for Diana, Princess of the Amazons, otherwise known to the world as “Wonder Woman”?

Synopsis

Prologue:

The God of War Ares and the God of the Underworld Hades are conferring in a flame filled cavern. Hades has just agreed to provide Ares with the warriors he has requested and in return the War God will repay him with half of his new-won kingdom. But Hades warns the jubilant Ares that they may be allies but he is not the War God’s friend. Hades watches Ares depart and once gone he turns to a strangely garbed figure who emerges from the shadows behind him. Hades tells the Anti-Monitor that while Ares is a swaggering fool he shall prove useful to him yet. The stranger replies that he looks forward to the moment soon when Hades destroys Ares!

End of Prologue

On Paradise Island the fires are at last going out but the smell of smoke still lingers on. Wonder Woman is talking with her mother as they survey the ruins of their city and the many dead and wounded Amazons strewn around the place. Diana says to Hippolyta that they must go on and that they cannot stop fighting now. Not just Paradise Island, not just our world, but the entire Universe itself is at stake! Her mother simply replies that “what must be will be”. All her life she has struggled with destiny but those who defy destiny are destroyed. She gestures for Diana to look around them and adds that her daughter should admit the truth of what her eyes tell her – that the Amazon adventure is finished and the dream is dead. But Diana refuses to accept her mother’s defeatist talk. She responds that Hippolyta had always taught her to challenge destiny. Her whole life is a defiance of fate! How can the queen turn her back on those lessons now? A sad Hippolyta asks that wasn’t it she who stole Diana’s memories of the first Steve Trevor…an act that defied fate? She had thought she was sparing Diana needless pain but instead she drove a wedge between them that yet keeps them apart. This destruction the Amazons have suffered at the hands of the shadow creatures is her final punishment. She sobs that she has brought ruin upon her sisters and lost the child of her heart. She cannot go on and death will be a blessed relief for her.

Kore then interjects saying that Hippolyta would not say so if she knew the sorrow in Hades kingdom. Kore has spent half of every year in that cold place, only returning to the world of light at Winter’s end. Death is no “release”. It is a waiting without end. Or so it was till the Underworld fell to the Anti-Monitor’s Dark legion. Now the damned are twice damned, while her husband Hades is in thrall to a shadow greater than his own. Hippolyta will find no succour there.

Diana turns to her mother and says that what Kore says is right. Whatever happened between mother and daughter, whatever feelings they have – they must deal with it here in this life. Her mother says that she has lost her daughter’s love but that is not true. She tells Hippolyta that she loves her…more than ever now, when they face their greatest challenge. And if her mother truly loves her in turn, she will rally the Amazons as only she can and lead them into battle! Hippolyta asks her daughter when she had become so strong? Where is the child she had once held upon her knee? Diana steps forward and throws her arms around a surprised Hippolyta, replying that she had grown up and become the woman Hippolyta had made her. But she is also the child who will always need her love. Overjoyed, Hippolyta hugs her daughter tightly but their warm embrace is cut short by a monotone voice stating that their master requires the queen’s death. Wonder Woman and the Amazon queen turn to see that the dead Amazons have been possessed and are advancing zombie like towards them with swords raised!

Wonder Woman immediately leaps into action pushing her mother out of harms way and deflecting the first sword that slashes down on them. She charges down two of the advancing Amazons but is ensnared in a net by another Amazon who has crept up unseen from behind. However, Wonder Woman swiftly throws both net and Amazon away before finding her leg grasped by one of the Amazons she had floored. She kicks her aside but just as quickly finds her arms grabbed by another two warriors. She swings her arms to the front and crashes their heads together. Hippolyta cries out a warning and Diana finds herself surrounded by even more of her sisters. But just as they close in Kore cries out “Enough!” and raises her hand, crying out “Warriors of the Underworld, hear the voice of your Mistress! Cease this attack!”. She commands them to return to their place of memories and yearning as their time in this world of possibilities is over. The Amazons keel over where they stand like puppets and Hippolyta asks Kore who was responsible for this evil act? Kore replies that only one being can release the inmates of Eternity – her erstwhile husband, Hades! He has obviously taken the Anti-Monitor as an ally even more hostile than he to the world of the living. Diana asks Kore what they will do together? She replies that if she knows her husband, the attack on Paradise Island was nothing more than an afterthought. His true target remains what it has always been ever since he and his brothers overthrew the ancient Titans and divided up the kingdoms of the Universe…Mount Olympus, home of the Gods!

Meanwhile in Washington D.C. not even the capital of the world’s most powerful nation is safe from the ravages of a world going mad. Thunder, lightning, hail, meteors…it truly is an apocalyptic sight. As people flee for cover Steve Trevor struggles to hold onto a rope from which Lieutenant Lauren Haley desperately hangs for grim life within a gaping chasm that has opened in the ground. He yells to her to hang on but her hands are so bloody they start to slip. Suddenly she loses her grip and with a scream plunges into the fiery pit below! Just as quickly the chasm closes, snapping he rope and sending Steve tumbling backwards.

Hearing the commotion, Etta and Howard who have been searching for Steve make their way over through the howling winds. They find Steve staring down at the ground and ask him whether he has seen Lauren as she had run this way when the storm broke. He replies that she is dead after stumbling into the crevice. He could not save her. He hardly even knew the woman and now she is dead. Howard tries to snap him out of his morose state by explaining that ever since Major Prince had transformed into Wonder Woman and taken off, things have gotten weird and deadly. The storm started first. Then the earthquake. Things started exploding and people are dying all over the Pentagon. Etta interjects, saying that Steve knows all of this as he has been trying to help, dashing everywhere around the compound to try and save people where he can. But she adds that they have further bad news. They have now heard through the defence network that it is not just Washington that has been effected…the whole world is coming apart! She and Howard thought that perhaps if Steve could reach Diana Prince, in other words Wonder Woman, she could do something. Steve replies that he wishes he knew where she was as she has not left his thoughts once during this madness.

He hears Diana’s voice respond “Nor have you left mine, Steve Trevor” and turns to see Wonder Woman standing there. They rush towards each other and embrace passionately. Howard and Etta look on in amazement as the couple’s kiss seems to last for eternity. At last their lips pull apart and Steve tells her she really is an Angel. She replies that they have been fools for too long, playing at love like children when life is so short. If they ever have the chance again, she wants them to seal their love as Man and Woman. He asks her what she means by “if” and she tells him that the Gods are at war. Them, and those who may be greater than the gods. She gestures to the chaos surrounding them and adds that this is just a shadow of what the Gods face above. Hades plans to rule in Hell and in Heaven unless the Amazons find the strength to stop him. As she climbs aboard her invisible jet Steve follows her and asks “Great, when do we leave?”. She seems surprised and he adds that she did not really think he would let her out of his sight, especially after her speech about love. She smiles and says that she would never have asked him to come – it had to have been his choice. But she is glad he is coming! He in turn smiles back at her and replies “What choice?. You’re the woman I love”.

Once they are both on board, Wonder Woman takes off into the raging skies and as Etta and Howard watch them go, Diana’s roommate tells Howard she has a feeling they will never see Steve and Diana again. But she adds that she is not sad because somehow, no matter what happens, she believes they have a chance to be happy together at last…

Meanwhile inside the robot plane, Steve asks Wonder Woman what the plan is? She replies that Hippolyta and the other Amazons await her signal which she will give once they have scouted out Olympus. In the meantime the Goddess Kore will try and enlist Atalanta and her mortal Amazons from South America to their cause. If Hades is indeed raising the dead to war against the Gods they will need every fighter they can find.

At last they over fly the fabled home of the Gods but looking down they cannot see a single soul. Wonder Woman had thought the war would have begun by now. Suddenly a booming voice cries out that the war has begun…and been fought and won! A massive stone statue in the form of Ares then grabs the plane flipping it over. Wonder Woman uses one hand to grasp Steve’s as he topples out of the cockpit, while grimly holding onto the plane with her other. As Ares turns the plane again flipping them loose, he tells them to either swear allegiance to himor die! As the Amazon Princess and Steve fall earthwards, she swiftly removes her lasso and expertly loops it around the statue’s head, slowing their fall. As they touch down safely on the ground, Wonder Woman then tugs the golden rope with all her might bringing the statue smashing to the ground.

As she and Steve survey the rubble, Wonder Woman muses that they had believed it was only Hades involved in this attack but they were obviously wrong. The God of death has an ally in the God of War! But she wonders if Ares knows that Hades has another, hidden ally in the Anti-Monitor? Still, more importantly where are the gods of Mount Olympus? Steve points towards an advancing army of the dead lead by Ares and Hades on horse back, presuming they probably have the answer to that question! The shadow army is made up tens of thousands, containing noble and true heroes like Agamemnon, Achilles, Odysseus and Ajax. All of them raised from shadow to battle once more for Gods against Gods in the name of hatred and ambition.

Ares sees Wonder Woman and Steve atop a nearby roof and shouts up that he sees they found his little enchantment less than amusing. In honour of the battles they once fought, he offers her a second chance to surrender or suffer his Godly wrath! She replies that his threats do not frighten her. he feeds on war but it is a feast he has never prepared personally. She demands to know where he has imprisoned his brothers and sisters and the other Gods of Mount Olympus? He responds that Hades had given him the spell and he had done with them no more than they have already done to themselves. Bloodless and without passion have they been in spirit these two hundred centuries, forgotten by mankind and remembered only in legend. Time and again they ignored his demands for war against faithless humanity. Bloodless and without passion they were, in word and deed and bloodless and without passion they are now and will forever remain! For here, now and evermore Ares rules Olympus!

With that he raises his sword and fires a blast of godly energy at Wonder Woman. Steve grabs her and pulls her out of harms way just in time. Smiling, she thanks him and asks if he is ready? He nods and Wonder Woman calls out “Sisters and Cousins, Hola! For Olympus and Paradise Island, strike!”. From their hiding places two Amazon armies emerge pincering the shadow army. One is lead by Hippolyta while the other is lead by Atalanta. Kore arrives on the rooftop as Wonder Woman and Steve watch the attacking warriors below, telling Diana that the mortal warriors of Atalanta left their Rain Forest home most willingly to fight beside their sister Amazons in this time of need. The breach between mortal and immortal Amazon is healed by honour and from this hour forth there is but one Amazon family…one Sisterhood…onedream! Wonder Woman thanks Kore for all she has done and turning to Steve, asks him to stay with the Goddess and help her find the other Gods of Olympus. He replies that he is not going to leave her side now but she asks him if he believes in destiny? Their lives have been entwined by fate since before the world was born. Whatever happens…now or in the future…they will be together until the end of time. With that she kisses him passionately. Breaking away she looks at him for a lingering moment and then turns to dive off the roof into the battle that now rages below!

As Steve watches her disappear into the melee, he asks Kore if, as a Goddess, she can see the future? This Crisis that Diana has told him about, this conflict between Monitor and Anti-Monitor, between life and death, with worlds and realities hanging in the balance…does she know how it will end? Will he ever see Diana again? Kore in turn asks him whether he loves Diana? He replies “More than life itself.” He adds that he believes it is his love that had brought him back to her, time and again, even from death. Kore says that so too did Hades love her, once. Perhaps that love will yet redeem them both. He asks her again about the future but Kore fades from view and he wonders what she had meant by Hades’ love redeeming them both? He decides it does not matter at this moment because Diana is fighting for her life and for the lives of her sisters and her Gods – maybe for a whole Universe – and he has a job to do. Climbing down from the rooftop he believes has an idea where to find the Gods of Olympus…

Meanwhile in the midst of the ferocious battle there fights a legend. Daughter of Hippolyta, as lovely as Aphrodite, as wise as Athena, with the speed of Hermes and the strength of Hercules, she is the greatest of all the Amazons, a beacon of light in the gathering night! Unwise are those who forget the power she wields – the power of Hope, the power of Justice, the power of Truth restored. She is Wonder Woman…and this is her finest hour!

A enraged Ares looks on, cursing the Amazon Princess. He can see that inspired by her example, the other Amazon warriors aspire to ever greater heroism. But Hades tells Ares to calm himself and look closer at the battle field. Their soldiers may be falling but theirs is the army of the dead. They cannot die and simply rise again! What is more, those Amazons they slay then become their allies in turn. He tells Ares they cannot fail and that victory is already theirs. Ares however storms off, muttering that Hades has always been too much a defeatist for his taste and he will make the victory certain by slaying Wonder Woman himself!

As Hades watches him go he hears Kore’s voice behind him asking what this victory will win her husband? More souls to rule in hell? He spins round to face her, accusing her of treachery and demanding to know why she has come to him now? She replies that she has come to turn him away from evil. But first, she asks why he accuses her of “treachery” when she has been faithful to him since time began? He asks her where her faith was in the hour of his need? She had fled his kingdom and abandoned him to an unknown fate. The Anti-Monitor had told him why she had done so – because she hates him and always has! She calmly replies that it is his heart that is twisted by hate, not hers. It is true he has been more a warder to her than a lover, yet she has given him fidelity and understanding and, more than anything, she has given him her love. If he will not believe her words, then believe this. With that she leans forward and embraces him, kissing him tenderly on the lips…

Meanwhile Ares has sought out his foe and demands her to face him. He advances toward her with his axe raised and she tells him she had a feeling it would come to this. She defends herself with her bracelets as he brings the axe down upon her…

Elsewhere, Steve Trevor has climbed atop a massive Marble statue of Zeus. He has an idea what Ares words had meant about “bloodless and without passion” and using his legs as leverage, pushes against the wall to try and topple the statue…

Down below Ares and Wonder Woman fight, grunting but wordless, for there is nothing to say. Neither will be satisfied with less than total victory. Ares kicks Wonder Woman in the stomach sending her sprawling to the ground. Sensing victory, he raises his axe to smite her but she rolls away in time to dodge the blade, before elbowing the War God in the gut…

Not far way Hades holds his wife in his arms, realising the Anti-Monitor had lied to him about Kore forsaking him. She tells him the Anti-Monitor is the master of lies and Hades should no longer serve him. She asks him to break his pact with Ares and let the dead have their peace. As Hades raises his hand to cast the spell, he reminds her that the Anti-Monitor still holds the Underworld. She responds that they will face him together and what will be will be. As the enchantment is removed, the dead warriors begin to fade and as the surprised Amazons look round them they realise that their enemies have gone – and they have won!

But not all the fighting has ended. Wonder Woman and Ares are still grappling with each other to the death. The Amazon Princess bowls over the War God, yelling that Hades has abandoned him and that he has no army left! It is over! But Ares replies that he still holds the Gods as hostages. Not even Hades knows where they have been imprisoned and that only he has that knowledge. She tells him he has nothing except his own brittle hate. With that she punches his axe, shattering it! Just then they both hear a creaking sound and looking up see the massive statue of Zeus tottering. Steve yells a warning to Wonder Woman as Steve leaps clear and she dives out of the way just in time as the statue smashes down on top of Ares.

Steve rushes over to tell her that Ares had hidden the Gods inside their own marble statues. Now that Zeus has been freed they have won! As Zeus rises from the rubble though he tells Steve that they have won a battle but not the war. The Anti-Monitor has turned his attention away from their affairs but only for a time, he fears. Before another dawn, they will again be called to battle and what the outcome will be not even the Gods themselves can know. Perhaps they have come at last to the final darkness.

Diana turns to Steve and asks him if he remembers what she had said back in Washington? She wants to deal their love now and forever in the eyes of the Gods and in the eyes of her Amazon sisters. He asks her if she is sure, even after what Zeus has just said? They could all be gone by tomorrow? But she takes his hands and says that hasn’t that always been true? Haven’t they always faced an uncertain future, every day or their lives? what is so different about this? A smiling Steve turns to Zeus and asks him if he has ever performed a marriage before?

Just then Hippolyta steps forward on hearing this and for a moment turns her head away. Diana walks over and asks her mother to be happy for her. She loves Steve and she loves Hippolyta too. As mother and daughter embrace lovingly, the queen replies that she loves Diana too, the daughter of her heart, her only child, her dearest Diana…

Some hours later the skies above Olympus are clear again. Smiling Gods and Amazons look on as Zeus performs the marriage ceremony of Steve and Diana, declaring them husband and wife at last! That evening the newly weds retire to their chambers for some well earned sleep after the events of the past few hours. But Diana cannot sleep and walks over to the window. A short while later Steve realises she has got out of bed and walks over to where she stands, asking what the matter is? She replies that she had had a dream that the two of them were walking in the sunlight in a golden field with their child – all of them together. It was a lovely dream. Steve wraps his arms around her waist and she turns around to caress his head. Once more they kiss as Diana words from earlier echo in the wind…

“Whatever happens now or in the future…we’ll be together till the end of time.”

Dedicated to the memory of Dr. William Moulton Marston.

The End…Of An Era