Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 32


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 32

General Info

Issue No:
32 (361)
On Sale Date:
May 1989
Cover Date:
July 1989
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Meanwhile...

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
Tom Grummett
Inker:
Steve Montano
Letterer:
Augustin Mas
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis, Ed Indelicato, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Penelope, Menalippe
Other:
Mr. Vicks, Lt. Mike Shands, General Hillary, General George Yedziniak
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Comments

Following on from last issue’s action orientated story line we see another of George Perez’s “montage” issues, where he depicts several situations involving key supporting characters, apparently unconnected but which will ultimately converge into a single plot line. This is much more a “talking” issue which only features Wonder Woman herself in a flashback sequence.

Synopsis

Meanwhile on Themyscira a hunting party lead by Queen Hippolyta sets out from the city. Accompanying the Amazon Queen is Penelope, Menalippe, Carya and Lydia. When they reach a certain spot Hippolyta instructs them to dismount and to continue their “Hunt of Honor” on foot. Penelope says that it is a pity that Diana could not be with them today. Hippolyta agrees, adding that her daughter’s duties in Patriarch’s World have required much of her time lately. However, she is hopeful Diana will join them later for the “Feast of the Five”.

Penelope then asks Menalippe if she is excited about the forthcoming hunt and the Oracle replies that she is actually a little nervous. It has been so long since she has hunted. Penelope tells her it will do her good as the Oracle has been so unsettled since the recent attempted Alien attack on the Amazon homeland.

Hippolyta asks the party if they are all ready. The Amazons then silently begin their journey up the Decian Hill, the start of a sacred ceremony dating back centuries. Upon reaching the hill’s crest they gaze solemnly into the lush clearing below them, where a marble column stands atop which rests a statue of the Goddess Artemis. Hippolyta suddenly feels Diana’s absence more acutely and it seems like only yesterday that she had stood here with a young Diana for her daughter’s first hunt.

They had made the same trek back then too, just in time to see the sun rise and seemingly peer over the shoulders of the Statue of Artemis. The column had cast a shadow across the clearing and Hippolyta had explained to Diana that the Huntress’ finger would extend and mark the offering’s face. As they had stood watching silently, a deer had trotted into the clearing and stopped under the shadow. Diana had commented how beautiful the stag was and her mother had reminded her that this glorious creature had been deemed worthy of Artemis’ favour. She then ordered Diana to unleash her arrow swiftly into its heart. The Amazon Princess had raised her bow but hesitated as the creature turned to stare at her. Encouraged by her mother, she had finally released the arrow which had fallen short of the target, startling the deer and sending it running back into the woods.

Diana had apologised for her poor aim to an annoyed Hippolyta, who told her daughter not to lie. The Amazon Queen knew full well that Diana was the best markswoman on the Island and that she had deliberately missed the target. The Princess had admitted her deception and explained that she had never had to kill a target that looked back at her with pleading eyes. Hippolyta had admonished her, saying that the sacrifice had been selected by Olympian decree. Diana had insulted the very Gods themselves! She had then ordered Diana to stalk the buck and complete the sacrifice!

Hippolyta remembered the look on her daughter’s face – it was a look that crushed Hippolyta’s heart. Diana had raced into the trees and as her mother watched her go, she told herself that Diana’s education was still incomplete and that this was one lesson her daughter had to learn for herself.

Diana had heard the Stag cry out in agony and rushing to the scene had been distraught to see that the creature had been severely wounded by a wild boar. A sobbing Diana had tried to heal the agonised Stag but her skills were not enough and she had had to listen as the beast cried out in its pain. At first, Diana’s soul had welled up in frustration but as it brimmed over, it was replaced by unbridled anger! The Amazon Princess had run after the fleeing boar and catching up with it, she had wrestled it to the ground. For the first time in her young life, Diana knew only hate!

As she prepared to kill the creature her mother had arrived on the scene and ordered her to release the boar immediately. Diana had hesitated before reluctantly doing as her mother instructed, allowing the frightened boar to scamper away. Hippolyta had asked her sobbing daughter what the matter was and Diana had replied that the boar would have made a suitable alternative sacrifice. Surely the brute had been more worthy of killing than the gentle deer. Hippolyta had then explained that she should not condemn the boar simply for being what nature ordained it to be. Artemis’ choices for sacrifice were never arbitrary. The buck had known that it would die this morning and it was that acknowledgement that led it to nestle in Artemis’ shadow. The creature’s eyes had been pleading for Diana to grant it a quick and merciful death.

On hearing this, Diana had realised that because she had questioned Artemis’ will, it had been left to the boar to fulfil the deer’s destiny. The pitiful deer was even now still writhing in agony because of her refusal to kill it. Drawing her sword, she had then set off to finish the task she had been given, telling her mother that she would pray over the beast, thanking him for his sacrifice and apologising to him for all the suffering she had brought. The she would end his pain.

As Hippolyta’s thoughts return to the present day, she muses how she had later begged Diana’s forgiveness for speaking so harshly to her and for not considering her daughter’s feelings more. It had been so long that the Queen had all but forgotten how traumatic a first kill could be.

Just then Lydia whispers to the party to look down into the clearing. There, within the shadow cast by the statue, was a wild boar. Hippolyta smiles and says that it is comforting to know that the Fates have a sense of humour. She asks Menalippe if she is ready and the Oracle nods. Raising her bow, Menalippe take aim and prays for Artemis to guide her hand. As the other Amazons watch expectantly the Oracle mentally prepares herself for the kill until finally she releases the arrow, sending it flying towards its intended target…

Meanwhile in Harvard University, Boston, Julia Kapatelis is finishing up her class and as the students file out of the room, Mr. Vicks enters with an envelope in his hand. She greets him as he explains that the letter was sent to his office in error. As he accompanies her down the corridor towards her own office he suggests that perhaps it is notification that her research grant has been approved. Noticing her unenthusiastic response, he comments that her passion about the grant had all but disappeared recently and wonders if everything is all right. She replies that she is a little preoccupied as she has heard no word from Wonder Woman in England. It’s just not like her. He responds that from what he has heard about the Amazon Princess, she is quite capable of looking after herself. He then adds as an after thought that he had noticed a couple of police detectives waiting for her in her office.

As they arrive outside the room he bids her good day and she steps inside to see Inspector Ed Indelicato and Lt. Mike Shands waiting for her. Shands asks her to close the door behind her quickly as they are already in enough trouble just being here. Julia asks them if they have learned something and Ed replies that they have – and she is not going to like it!

He then asks her what she can tell them about the crazy cat woman who had attacked Wonder Woman at their summer home last year. A little confused about what this has to do with Barbara Minerva, she nevertheless recounts how she had arrived just in time to shoot the creature before it killed Wonder Woman. She is certain she hit the target and saw the Cheetah fall into the lake, although Diana never actually found her body.

Ed then hands her a photograph of Barbara Minerva and says that there is a definite connection between the two women. As he continues to explain what they had learned Julia suddenly lets out an exclamation of horror. The detectives ask her what the matter is and she replies that she had not seen it before but now, seeing this photograph, the resemblance is clear. The Cheetah and Barbara Minerva are the same person!

A surprised Ed asks her how that can possibly be the case, considering Minerva is lame. The Professor cannot explain it but she is certain they are one and the same. She had attacked Wonder Woman as the Cheetah in order to gain possession of the lasso she had failed to obtain as Dr. Minerva the previous morning. It all makes sense now! And Diana has walked right into her clutches by going to England…

Meanwhile in Bedford, Massachusetts, Steve Trevor waits on a street bench. He looks at his watch and wonders where Etta has got to. He hopes she gets here soon as he is nervous enough about telling her the news he has for her. Just then Etta arrives and scowling, she greets him as “Stephen”. He asks her if he has made her mad at him but she replies that she has simply had a very bad day! She tells him she cannot make lunch today but that he had wanted to talk to her about something important. He tells her it can wait and asks what is bothering her. They sit down and she recounts the events of the past few hours…

She had been summoned to General Hillary’s office and had arrived to see the General packing his things. She had asked him if he was going away somewhere and he had explained that he was being transferred to Washington – a last minute directive from above. He had then turned to another General standing next to him and had introduced his replacement as George Yedziniak. The older man had managed a forced smile and had said that there was no need for introductions as he and Etta went back a long way. He had then commented that she had lost some weight since they had last met and stared at her with those eyes of his. Cold, mean eyes like a snake.

General Hillary had then apologised for not telling Etta sooner about the change but it had been so hectic with the aftermath of the alien invasion and everything. She had wished him well in his new position and as he departed he had thanked her for her support and hoped that they would meet again. As soon as Hillary was gone though, every bit of warmth had been sucked out of the office.

Yedziniak had ordered her to sit down as he told her that the fates had brought their paths together once again since the Hearings ten years ago. She had been so cocky back then, with all the purported evidence Steve Trevor had claimed to have unearthed. The subversive Colonel Trevor had tried to sully the reputation of three of the greatest commanders the world had ever seen. Between Steve, the love sick Etta, and the other traitors Scott and Michaelis, they had made a mockery of military justice!

Etta had not risen to the goading and had responded that if he did not find her suitable for the position he should allow her to be transferred. He had flatly denied the request and had added that he knew about her relationship with Steve. As far as he was concerned that made her a security threat. He therefore wanted to keep her here where he could keep an eye on her!

Steve listens as Etta finishes her story, hearing how Yedziniak had kept at her for over an hour. The General had even blamed Steve for the death of General Kohler and that the whole Ares Affair was an elaborate hoax. Steve tells her that “Yed” had been a butt head even at the academy but even so, he does not want to be the cause of work problems for Etta. She tells him that nothing the General says will stop her from loving Steve.

She then kisses him on the cheek and apologises for bailing out on their lunch date. They agree to re-arrange for tomorrow and she promises to let him have the chance to speak next time – and tell her his news – whatever it is. As he watches her walk away Steve thinks to himself that now is definitely not the right time to tell her about what had happened to him earlier that morning.

It had started when Hermes, the Messenger God, had materialised in his apartment and made the suggestion that the two of them become roommates! Hermes had explained to an incredulous Steve that he was being quite serious as there was much to learn about modern humanity. It had become apparent to the God that mere observation was not enough – he needed to experience it. Steve had asked why he had been chosen and Hermes had replied that it was because Diana trusted Steve and the God needed someone worthy of the honour of his companionship. Steve had responded that he was flattered but his job as an Air Accident Investigator kept him pretty busy. Hermes had assured him that Steve would never have to toil for any mortal again. Steve had then clarified that he liked his job and that it was part of what being a human was all about.

There was also the issue of his personal life with Etta. Hermes had replied that the true devotion between her and Steve was what made him so worthy to be chosen. The God would be able to learn all about modern womanhood from Steve.

Seeing that he had still not managed to dissuade the God, Steve had continued that Hermes was not exactly inconspicuous. The Messenger God had responded by lifting his Caduceus and before Steve’s eyes had transformed into a casual jacket and trousers! The smiling Hermes had then asked the dumbfounded Trevor what they should do first.

Now, as Steve sets off back home after his meeting with Etta, he wonders why he agreed to this craziness…

Meanwhile in New Hampshire, the Messenger God, wearing his new civilian attire, stands in front of the Temple he had constructed when first he had arrived on Earth. He thinks to himself that he will lament its destruction but re-building Boston had sapped his energies far more than he had imagined. Now he will reabsorb the temple and reclaim some of the power used to erect it. Although he has promised Steve to behave as a mere mortal from now on, he has learned that in this modern world a little extra godly power is not without its benefits!

He becomes misty eyed as he recalls his time here with Diana – her melodic voice…a fountain of wisdom far beyond her years…her face…a shimmering rainbow…beauty’s every hue merged in one radiant beam of light. To know Diana is to love her. Yet she only loved him as a God. Though she was ever attentive she never saw the all too human yearning within him. Her heart instead rested out there – beyond the temple walls; among the mortals who meant more to her than Godhood itself.

He decides to get on with the task and snaps his fingers to summon his Caduceus. Shards of energy race from the upheld staff and the skies darken and roar with the fury of a supernatural storm. He commands the temple to return to essence, return to power…return to him. In a flash of blinding light the temple explodes and Hermes cries out…in pain! But that is not possible – he is a God!

At that same moment on Themyscira, the hunting party is returning to the city after the successful “Hunt of Honour”. Carya says that she had had doubts about this year’s hunt, especially with the Gods away. Hippolyta replies that she too had been a little concerned but the hunt had been as great as any in the past. Penelope then compliments Menalippe on her shooting skills and the Oracle thanks her, adding that Themyscira still benefits from Olympus’ blessings even after the Gods departure because once given, a God’s gift is as eternal as the faith of their followers.

Hippolyta agrees and says that in a couple of days they shall celebrate that gift. By then, Princess Diana will have returned to sit amongst them at the “Feast of the Five” to commemorate the founding of Themyscira. As Menalippe replies that she is looking forward to it too, she suddenly lets out a cry of pain and topples from her horse. The others rush to where she lays, as if she has been struck by some unseen bolt. Her skin burns with fever and she struggles to say something to them. She cries out a name and simultaneously in New Hampshire the stunned Hermes, his clothes tattered and torn, staggers to his feet and issues the same cry. “Gaea!”.

Meanwhile at the Kapatelis residence, Julia is greeted home by her daughter. A weary Julia tells her daughter that she is not in the mood to be pestered about the concert Vanessa wants to go to, but the excited teenager says that it has nothing to do with the concert – Diana is on the phone! An overjoyed Julia rushes to the phone and picking up the receiver, says that she is so glad to hear from Diana as they have all been worried sick. As she continues to explain that they have found out something important about Barbara Minerva, she suddenly hesitates and scowling, demands to know who the person on the other end is. The stranger hangs up and a confused Vanessa asks her mother what is wrong. Julia says that although it had sounded like Diana, the woman on the phone was an impostor and had given herself away by mispronouncing a name that Diana has invoked hundreds of times before. “Gaea!”

Meanwhile in a shop on the outskirts of Syene Kesh, a Bana-Mighdall Amazon replaces the receiver of a pay phone and turns to her companion. The two armed Amazons stand over the body of the shopkeeper they have just slain and the first Amazon takes another look at a photograph in her hand. She tears the image of Wonder Woman and Julia in half, letting the two halves flutter to the floor. The Amazons then walk out and mounting their horses, ride off into the desert night…