Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 23


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 23

General Info

Issue No:
23 (352)
On Sale Date:
August 1988
Cover Date:
Early December 1988
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
A God Among Men

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
George Perez
Inker:
Will Blyberg
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Phobos, Euryale (Eury), Ixion
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Eileen Flowers, Lucy Spears, Horace Westlake
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Comments

This issue follows directly on from events in Wonder Woman Annual #1, in which Julia and Vanessa travel with Diana to meet her Amazon sisters on Themyscira. This is another quite “wordy” issue with little action taking place.

 

Synopsis

As a result of her visit to Themyscira, Vanessa finds herself the toast of the school as everybody wants to know the low-down on Wonder Woman’s home. For her part, the young girl soaks up the attention as if she was a movie star, signing copies of issues of “The World Today” whose cover depicts Diana and her mother, Queen Hippolyta.

Eileen and Meekins watch the scrum from a distance and the boy murmurs how Vanessa no longer has time for “the little people”. Eileen tells him to shut up. Just then Lucy Spears approaches them and asks whether Eileen might be able to persuade Vanessa to sign her copy of the magazine, as it appears Vanessa’s does not seem to like the new girl very much. Eileen snaps that the blonde girl has a nerve, especially after she stole Vanessa’s boyfriend from her.

A perplexed Lucy asks what she is talking about as Barry had told her that Vanessa was nothing but a friend to him. Suddenly realising she has been duped by him, Lucy storms off to find Barry.

Finally Vanessa wanders over followed by her adoring “fans” and Eileen asks her if she is ready to leave now. But Vanessa replies that she has been invited to a party at Joanne Albert’s house, the one with the horses. Apparently everyone wants Vanessa to show them how Amazons ride. Joanne adds that they only have room in the car for Vanessa so Eileen will have to stay behind.

Vanessa tells the disappointed Eileen that they can go out together to see a movie next week to make up for it. She then turns to leave as Meekins sarcastically murmurs how obviously broken up Vanessa is about being dumped by Barry Locatelli. Once more Eileen tells him to shut up!

Meanwhile across town at a newsstand the back packer is also reading the magazine and the annoyed newsstand owner asks him if he is gong to pay for it. When he gets no reply he tries to snatch it out of the back packer’s hands and succeeds in ripping it. He demands that the back packer pays for the magazine and the stranger replies that he had not considered he would need “currency”. The enraged owner attempts to man handle him but is sent flying by a blast of energy unleashed by a simple wave of the back packer’s hand! He apologises to the stunned owner and says that he can help if he has hurt the man. He then coughs and dollar coins fly from his mouth in payment.

As a result of the commotion a police officer arrives and confronts the back packer. The officer asks if the stranger is from out of town and is met with the reply that yes, he is from very far out of town! Suddenly the back packer is suffused with blinding light…

Elsewhere on TV’s across the nation, news bulletins report live from the United Nations Building where minutes earlier, Wonder Woman had given a stirring speech to the assembly. Speaking on behalf of her mother, Queen of the Amazons, the Princess Diana had announced the opening of Themyscira to the rest of the world.

“Too long have the weeds of fear and distrust been allowed to strangle our world’s garden. No longer must the sins of the past taint our hopes for the future. My mother, Queen Hippolyta, has charged me with the holy duty of selecting those who will represent Patriarch’s World as the next wave in what I hope will be a continuous tide of cultural exchange and mutual enlightenment.

I pray I am worthy of that trust as the Ambassador to your world, my duty is to demonstrate the sincerity of my nation’s goals: to teach, and to learn; to live together peacefully, and to honour all equally; to understand compassionately, and to love unequivocally. I’ve grown to cherish this new world, and all of you. Despite all our differences, I fervently believe that the age of Global Communion is just beyond the horizon.”

The response the Wonder Woman’s speech had ranged from the enthusiastic to the apathetic. The news reader then goes live to the U.N. where their on the spot reporter continues that Wonder Woman has not yet talked to the waiting Press. As already indicated, the reaction to her speech had been mixed, with the most negative comments coming from the Middle Eastern nations. However, further talks have been scheduled to discuss how each nation should…

The reporter is cut short as Wonder Woman emerges and the Press swarm around her. Bombarded with questions, particularly regarding some of the cynicism expressed by some of the Assembly members, Wonder Woman responds that she is of course concerned but not surprised. She has long ago learned that in this world new ideas are not embraced so readily. She remains however optimistic. She suddenly pauses, feeling an icy chill which stiffens her. She senses in the crowd something strange, yet vaguely familiar. She sees a figure wearing a Grecian hood emerge from the throng of reporters and tells the figure that she feels she knows the stranger somehow. The woman replies that it may be because Wonder Woman is the chosen one.

The Amazon Princess peers into the darkened cowl and can only see the twinkling lights of a pair of eyes. Wonder Woman’s eyes open in shock while the woman looks at a drawing of a young girl in her hands and realises that Diana is not the one she seeks. Swiftly, the hooded figure turns and flees and Wonder Woman cries after her to wait. The Amazon pushes her way through the crowd and lifts into the air in pursuit of the fleeing woman across the plaza. She yells after her that she means the stranger no harm, but before her eyes the figure disappears into thin air! (The identity of the woman is revealed in The New Titans #50)

Just then the reporter who had been broadcasting live rushes up and asks Wonder Woman to tell them more about her friend in Boston – the one with “the Winged Helmet”. On hearing this the Amazon’s eyes widen in surprise as the reporter continues to explain how the man claims to know her quite intimately. Wonder Woman immediately zooms up into the sky as the Press watch her go, while back at the studio the news reader says that it seems a new wrinkle has been added to the “Wonder Woman” enigma. He then goes live to his on the spot reporter in down town Boston while simultaneously the Amazing Amazon travels the distance between New York and Boston in a matter of moments.

She arrives above the city and is greeted by the smiling Hermes who tells her he has come to aid her mission of Proselytism. A God now walks among men! Let all humanity feast their eyes upon the glory and the spectacle of an Olympian! Wonder Woman asks why he is here and not with the other Gods. He replies that he had tried to reason with his fellow deities but they would not listen. How can humanity be expected to worship them without some tangible evidence of their existence. He gestures to the watching crowds below whose faces are filled with awe. He proceeds to remove his helmet and tips it up, releasing streams of gold and diamonds which scatter down to the ground. The crowd immediately scrambles for the booty as Wonder Woman asks him what is the value of faith if one has to purchase it. Hermes replies that they are mortals and to win their trust one must get their attention.

Suddenly a gun shot rings out and a woman screams. As Princess and God look down, they see a car making a get away with a stash of the gold and diamonds, having shot a young boy in the process. As the car speeds down the street the two thugs gloat about the amount of lot they have grabbed inside their bag. Just then they hear a voice from inside it and open it to see a tiny Hermes sitting on the pile of loot. He tells them that as the God of Thieves he appreciates their efforts, crude and amateurish as they are. However, true thievery is an enterprise best left to professionals – who know better than to steal from him. With that he waves his hand and the roadway in front of the speeding car suddenly peels up like a banana skin and the vehicle slams into the wall of tarmac, completely wrecking the car and critically injuring both occupants.

The TV news bulletins are soon buzzing with the day’s events. The robbery had left in its wake an eight year old boy with two bullets in his chest. As Hermes pursued the robbers, Wonder Woman and a team of paramedics had worked desperately to save the dying boy. It looked hopeless until Hermes reappeared and told everyone to stand back. He had then placed his hands on the child’s wounds and surrounded the boy’s body with a glow. The God had then reached into both wounds and removed the bullets. The watching crowd went wild as the boy stood up, completely healed. Although “Mr. Hermes” was eager to talk to reporters he was pulled aside by Wonder Woman who talked him into going with her so that he could heal the injured robbers. He did just that and the healed felons were then taken into custody.

At the Kapatelis home, Vanessa, Julia, Diana and Hermes watch the report, the young girl unable to contain her excitement as the report ends by saying that Hermes intends to appear on all the morning shows – simultaneously! Julia then tells her daughter to turn it off. Hermes asks her why and Diana can see that Julia’s expression is very sombre. Meanwhile the ecstatic Vanessa realises she will be even more popular at school now that she has a God staying with her. She asks Hermes if it is true he can conjure anything up. He says “yes” and she quickly asks if he knows what a Video Entertainment Centre is. A stern Julia tells Vanessa to be quiet and to go to her room to do some homework. When Vanessa says it is already done her mother says that perhaps she can go and phone Eileen instead, who has apparently been phoning all evening.

As Vanessa storms upstairs in a mood, Hermes asks Julia why she is so annoyed, as he would gladly have given anything the child had requested. She replies that with all due respect she would appreciate him not trying to buy her daughter’s loyalty. Being a mother is difficult enough without having to compete with an Olympian Santa Claus!

Hermes frowns sternly and asks if she is mocking him? As Diana tries to calm things Julia retorts that she is not flattered by Lord Hermes’ assertions that faith is chattel which humans would readily sell to the highest bidder. The God replies that the Professor has fire in her heart which he admires. But history has shown that reward is the cornerstone of faith, whether it is the promise of an Afterlife or something more tangible. He strokes her cheek and adds “Youth and Beauty perhaps?”. She glares at him and says “No deal!”, saying that what he talks off is ransom not reward. Is this what Olympus has become? That the Gods must now barter for the faith they cannot earn?

His eyes narrow with fury as Diana attempts to explain that Julia meant no offence. He is not convinced and Diana continues that Julia is her friend and mentor here. All she has learned about humanity she has learned from Julia. For her part the Professor asks Diana not to “beg” and Hermes begins to smile. He says that Julia is obviously jealous as she sees the time of her mentorship is ended. He realises this is her home and hearth and will not stay where he is not welcome. However, Diana must come with him.

Vanessa has been listening from upstairs and on hearing this shouts “no!”. Diana turns to Julia and explains that while she does not want to leave, Lord Hermes is one of her Gods and she owes her very existence to him. Can they not compromise? Hermes suggests Julia does not force him to take her friend away from her. All he asks is that she does not challenge his authority. There is silence in the room for a moment as everyone awaits Julia’s response, particularly Vanessa. But the Professor replies “I’m sorry. But I can’t do that.”

With that, Hermes raises his hand and transforms Diana’s clothing into a flowing Grecian robe. He declares that now she is suitably attired they will depart. Diana tells Julia and Vanessa that she loves them but she has her duty. What she does now she is compelled to do. With that she bids them farewell and the Amazon Princess and the Messenger God disappear in a blinding light. There is silence once more in the room as Julia looks up to where her daughter is standing on the stairwell. The hatred in her daughter’s eyes is clear as Vanessa turns and runs into her room, slamming the door.

A week later Julia and Horace are having lunch outside a street cafe. Horace is reading the front page of a newspaper regarding the Hermes and Diana “Miracle Tour”. Julia asks him to put it down and he replies that it is just so amazing. Hermes claims he can do anything except maybe raise the dead. She replies “yes, but only temporarily, unless you sell your soul to him”. She goes on to explain that she is very worried about Diana, as it is obvious that Hermes has out such a spell on her. People were starting to listen to her but now…

How can one preach equality when only the so-called faithful stand to reap the rewards? The God seems to have already converted Vanessa that is for sure. Horace responds that he has indeed noticed lack of motivation in her daughter recently. Perhaps Julia and Vanessa need some time away from Hermes and channel their energy into something a little less enervating. Julia holds her head in her hand and tells Horace that Diana is a grown woman after all. Maybe she is just afraid that the Amazon does not need Julia anymore.

Just then a glow fills the sky and everyone’s eyes turn to look skywards. Hermes and Diana appear in the skies above Boston once more and the Messenger God asks the Amazon Princess if she can feel the mortals below embracing them from afar. He uses his staff to tune in to the murmuring crowds below to here if their lips tremble with adulation and worship. But all they hear is…

“Do you think they’ll toss us some more gold?”

“I don’t trust them. They’re trying to take over.”

“I heard that Hermes is a fake, just like the Wonder Woman broad.”

Diana asks him to stop and he tells her not to worry as sometimes mortals can be a stubborn lot. She replies that some of them fear their goal is to rule over the people. He smiles and says that they are Gods…what else would they do? She reminds him that she is not a God and that they are her sisters and brothers. She is one of them. He in turn says that she is meant for greater things. Diana asks that surely teaching peace, love and above all equality is the greatest endeavour of all. That is her destiny surely? Hermes decides he has pushed Diana too fast and that she needs time to think…and to understand. He instructs her to fly to his temple and he will join her there shortly. First he must attend to the multitudes below.

Diana obeys and flies off, leaving Hermes to muse her statement that she is “one of them”. He curses his fellow Gods for doing nothing but confound Diana. All that potential being wasted so. If Diana is to teach amongst this rabble he will ensure they are worthy of her. He flies down to the ground and asks the assembled crowd what he can do for them today? As he basks in the attention a figure watches from the shadows, eyes peering through mirrored sunglasses. The woman moves forward and addresses Hermes in classical Greek with a voice as sweet and warm as honey.

Impressed that someone can speak his native tongue, he turns to the woman who kneels before him. She explains that she has spoken Greek all her life as has her father before her, and his father before him. She has prayed for this day to come and introduces herself as Eury. For centuries her family have kept the faith and now her heart overflows with gratitude that she has realised her family’s dream. Her joy is only tempered by her sorrow that her dear faithful father is unable to kneel before Hermes also because he is dying. Her father had pleaded with her not to bother the Olympian but she knew that the God would not turn away from one of his most loyal worshippers. She begs Hermes to find favour with his most devout worshipper so that he may live to shout the God’s praises for many more years to come. Flattered, the God lifts Eury up in his arms and declares that this is the chance he has been waiting for! He will not only save her father…he will make him a God! He instructs the watching news crew to follow him across town as he launches into the air carrying Eury with him.

A short while later the news crew catch up with the waiting Hermes and Eury in an alleyway. Together they all make their way down the alley towards a doorway and the sound man says to the cameraman that there is something strange about the building. Hermes assures them that there is nothing to worry about and no harm will come to them while under his care.

Eury then leads them down some steps into a dingy cellar. A withered old man lies in a bed and Eury rushes over to her father to announce their arrival. The old man weakly murmurs that he is not worthy. Eury begs Hermes to hurry as her father is slipping away and the God steps forward holding his golden Caduceus before him. He instructs the old man to take hold of it and to benefit from its healing powers. But as he does so Hermes suddenly lets out a cry of agony and the confused news crew watch as energy surrounds the writhing form of Hermes. Realising something is obviously wrong the sound man steps forward to confront Eury who removes her glasses. Instantly the sound man is turned to stone and the terrified cameraman drops is camera and runs for his life!

Eury meanwhile pushes over the petrified sound man, shattering him into hundreds of pieces. The struggling Hermes asks who they are and the old man transforms before his eyes into Phobos! Eury in turn reveals her true self to be Euryale and the God realises he has been lured into a trap! The floor suddenly explodes with a crash of thunder and the once mighty God falls into the darkness until he lands at the bottom of a vast cavern. As Phobos and Euryale peer down triumphantly, Hermes hears his name called by a rumbling voice and stares up in horror at the massive stone figure towering over him.

“It cannot be! Not after all these Eons! Ixion the Assassin!”