Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 50


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 50

General Info

Issue No:
50 (379)
On Sale Date:
November 1990
Cover Date:
January 1991
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Embrace the Coming Dawn

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
Jill Thompson
Inker:
Romeo Tanghal
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Tom Ziuko
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis, Inspector Ed Indelicato
Heroes:
Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Fire, Rocket Red, Superman
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Cydippe, Menalippe, Niobe, Penelope, Hellene, Iphthime, Myrrha, Euboea
Other:
Terry Long, General Yedziniak, Douglas Aanonson, Everett Aanonson, Edna Aanonson, Lt. Mike Shands, Asmund Lindel
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Comments

This special double sized issue celebrates the Amazon’s 50th issue by depicting the historic preparations and final arrival of Hippolyta and her Amazons into Man’s World. Also included are several pages of artwork containing various renditions of Diana by numerous artists including Sergio Aragones, Chris Bachalo, Brian Bolland, Adam Hughes, Cynthia Martin, Linda Medley, Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Marie Severin and Matt Wagner.
The issue acts as a fitting milestone in Wonder Woman’s history, for Perez positions this event as the culmination of Diana’s mission – to bring the Amazon ideals to Man’s World.

Synopsis

As the sun rises over Paradise Island, Queen Hippolyta kneels naked on the beach, praying to her gods. She wistfully uses her finger to draw an outline of a baby on the sand and lets the course grains trickle through her fingertips before looking up lovingly into the sky. High above, Diana flies gracefully among the birds, enjoying her own moment of peace and solitude.

Just then Cydippe interrupts Hippolyta’s gazes and announces that it is time for them to return to the temple. As she drapes a cloak around the Queen’s bare shoulders Hippolyta wonders how many dawns the Amazons have witnessed in their lifetimes. For immortals it is easy to lose count. She says to Cydippe that she can remember when the sun shone down on the shimmering Aegean sea as Lord Poseidon parted the waters to provide the Amazons safe passage here to Themyscira. And that other dawn when they first beheld this emerald paradise and knew they were finally home. And it was on yet another dawn like this that she first held her beautiful beloved Diana. As Hippolyta looks on she remarks to Cydippe how her daughter frolics amongst the birds and the clouds, despite all she has gone through to bring the Amazons to this historic juncture – Diana still seems so innocent.

Cydippe tells Hippolyta that she sounds melancholy today – almost apprehensive. The queen nods and replies that they are all a little nervous but some are better at concealing it than others. Cydippe then asks how Hippolyta’s talk with Menalippe had gone. She replies that the Oracle had told her she felt better and outwardly she does indeed appear to be fine. But Cydippe comments that while that may be true, there is still something missing in Menalippe’s eyes. Hippolyta suggests that perhaps the upcoming pilgrimage will rekindle the flame in the Oracle.

They ride back to the city and soon all the Amazons are gathered at the temple, dressed in ceremonial robes. Menalippe performs a ceremony in preparation for the Summit. She blesses the Amazon sisters who are about to venture forth into Man’s World for the first time in centuries, granting them strength and wisdom in their endeavours. The Amazons cross their wrist and the clang of several hundred bracelets reverberate around the temple as they perform the traditional salute. “For the glory of Gaea!”.

As the ceremony finishes and the crowd begins to disperse, Niobe comments to her Amazon sisters how passionless Menalippe’s voice had sounded, as if she did not believe what she was saying….as if she doubted the very Gods themselves. Penelope replies that Niobe is being ridiculous. Menalippe has kept their faith’s fire burning for centuries, even when the Gods chose not to manifest themselves physically. Niobe in turn retorts that this is different. Back then they at least knew where the Gods were and could still hear them. She adds that perhaps Menalippe going to Patriarch’s world is not such a good idea right now. Penelope snaps back, asking if she is suggesting that the Oracle is somehow not worthy?

Sensing the rising tensions between her two Amazon sisters, Hellene interjects, saying that Penelope knows in her heart that was not what Niobe implied and that being such a crucial time for Themyscira, everyone is just a little nervous. Iphthime then joins in, adding that Hellene is right and that others may share their Princess’ optimistic zeal but she for one still harbours grave misgivings about the venture. The Amazons are to travel to a world where neighbours can live beside each other for a lifetime without ever communicating! And without communicating, how can there be any sharing or understanding? Any society? If they will not listen to each other then why should they listen to the Amazons? Who can blame Menalippe for her incertitude!

Hippolyta overhears the conversation and interrupts, telling them that Iphthime’s words have only proven just how desperately they are needed on Man’s World. It is the Amazon’s duty to humanity to at least try. She then turns to Diana and says that all is now ready. Her daughter should return to the outside world and tell them that the Amazons are coming!

Later that morning in the Royal Palace Diana is dressed in her familiar red blue and gold armour as Myrrha hands the Princess her traveling bag. Diana thanks her and says that she had almost forgotten it, adding that the great significance of all of this is suddenly making her feel a little anxious too. Menalippe assures Diana that there is no need for nervousness. The Gods would not have brought them this far if it were not a just cause. Diana smiles and says that she is so glad the Oracle has come to see her off. She takes Menalippe’s hand as the Oracle replies that it is still her function to bless any new venture, if the Gods so will it. Diana says it means a lot to her.

She then turns to hug her mother who wishes her a safe journey back. Diana notices Hippolyta is trembling and the queen replies that when next they embrace, it will be on the shores of a land she has not stood upon for nearly 4000 years. As Diana lifts into the sky waving back, she assures Hippolyta that the embrace will be felt by the gods themselves.

Not far away Hellene, Penelope and Iphthime watch as the Princess rises high into the sky and Iphthime remarks to Penelope how fretful Hellene looks watching Diana depart. “How sadly she acknowledges the cosmic inconsistency of the scene”. When Penelope asks what Iphthime means by “inconsistency”, her friend replies that she refers to the paradox: Princess Diana, the Amazon’s ambassador of peace, proceeding to Patriarch’s World dressed in her battle armour…

The following day New York is abuzz with anticipation for the forthcoming arrival of the Amazons. As the radio warns of traffic chaos once the celebrations get underway, Vanessa Kapatelis stares excitedly out of her hotel room window at the street below. She asks Diana if Hippolyta will understand all the frenzy and the Amazon Princess replies that she is sure she will. Celebration is a pretty universal concept, although she hopes that the sheer magnitude of it all will not overwhelm her mother too much. Diana remembers how dumbstruck she had first been when she saw just how many people lived in a major city in Patriarch’s World!

Just then Julia enters the room wearing her new outfit for the occaision. Both Diana and Vanessa look on approvingly and a smiling Julia suggests her daughter shows them her own outfit. The giddy young girl skips excitedly into her room to change as Diana comments how relieved she is to see Vanessa her old self again. Julia nods and says that although she still has her low moments, she makes sure she is there for her daughter. She has felt guilty for spending too much time away from her and she sometimes feels that Vanessa resents not having a normal childhood.

Diana nods in agreement and says that she apologises for that. Julia tries to explain that she has not meant to imply anything about the Amazon’s involvement with her daughter, but Diana continues that her own mother’s imminent arrival has forced her to analyse her future. Once the Amazons have set foot in this world the mission Diana was born for – to open the world to Amazon principles and to bring about this reunion between cultures – will be completed. What will she do next? She cannot just keep imposing herself upon Julia and Vanessa, endangering them both with her very presence.

Julia replies that Diana knows full well that she and Vanessa would not trade any of the time they have spent with her, no matter the dangers faced. She then asks Diana if she has spoken about this with Hippolyta. Diana says that her mother has so many more important matters to tend to at the moment and she should not even be burdening Julia with this right now either.

Julia gently takes her hand and replies that Diana is insulting both Julia and Hippolyta if she truly thinks that and that there is more to this than the Amazon Princess is telling her. Diana responds that to be honest she really does not know. She then asks to use the phone and calls the home of Donna Troy.

Terry answers it assuming it is Donna and is disappointed when he realises it is Diana. He tells her he has not heard from his wife for a couple of days now. She replies that she hopes there is nothing wrong and asks if Donna and Terry would be attending the banquet tomorrow night, as she would really love to see them both. Terry tells her that he knows Donna really wanted to go but is not sure they will be able to now. His wife is probably off on some Titans mission and “they can take forever”. He continues that he wishes Diana and the Amazons the best for the ceremony and says goodbye before hanging up.

Diana puts the receiver down and says to Julia that she could hear the concern in Terry’s voice. She had so wanted Donna to meet Hippolyta. Just then Vanessa emerges in her outfit and Julia is taken aback by how grown up “her baby looks”. Diana adds that the outfit is perfect and that she looks a credit to Themyscira. She then bids them goodbye as there is still one final thing to attend to…

Elsewhere at Hanscom Air Force base in Massachusetts, Etta Candy is watching the TV reports about the Summit preparations. She switches it off and bids goodbye to one of her colleagues, who jokes that she must have connections to get an invite to the big event. She heads towards the exit glad her shift is finally over and hoping to get away before General Yedziniak spots her. But he catches up with her before she can make it out of the door and tells her that she is to report to a Special Monitoring Assignment tomorrow morning. She reminds him that she has been granted leave to attend the Summit but he responds that duty supercedes all other considerations. He adds that they have wasted too much on security for these “blasted foreigners already” and there is no need in America wasting any more. He tells her to be prompt before walking off down the corridor, leaving a fuming Etta to wonder how she is going to break this news to Steve…

Meanwhile in Enid, Oklahoma at the home of Everett and Edna Aanonson, Steve’s cousin Douglas remarks how calm Steve seems. Steve replies that he has spent so much time with the Amazons he has learned to develop nerves of steel. Everett compliments Edna on the lemonade she is handing out and suggests she take some out into the field where Diana and Hermes are talking, but Steve says he feels they are better left in private right now.

Out in the corn field Wonder Woman says to the God that he looks so weary. He replies that his decision to walk among common men may not have been a good idea. The Gods have always underestimated how much work it takes to be mortal and it is a humbling experience. He adds that all Olympians could benefit from being human for a while!

Wonder Woman tells him that it is therefore perhaps time for him to be a God again. She begs him to take back the Caduceus he had given her and let its power flow through his veins again and to help lead the Amazons to the turning point of their destiny. He shakes his head and says that it is more important that she keeps it. If the world is to greet the Amazons then it is best that an Amazon introduces them. “No!” snaps back Wonder Woman, taking Hermes by surprise. She tells him the Amazons have dedicated their lives to the Gods and even when they appeared petty and capricious they kept their faith. How can they now show humanity the Olympian ideal when the sole Olympian they have seen spurns his children at their hour of triumph? She adds that she has seen one of her sisters in particular plagued by doubts because she feels abandoned by her Gods. Diana for one will not allow Hermes to forsake her anymore!

Hermes replies that four millennia ago he would have smote Diana down for such impudence. But it is yet another lesson a God has to be taught. Despite his warnings that she would benefit from keeping the Caduceus, she still regards the greater need and not her own. She is a better human than he could ever be. With that he holds out his hands and a glowing energy surrounds Wonder Woman’s belt on which the Caduceus symbol resides. The energy also surrounds Hermes and back at the Aanonson house, they watch in awe at the transformation taking place…

Elsewhere at the apartment of Ed Indelicato, the inspector is trying to pack his things for the trip to New York while his partner, Lt. Mike Shands teases him. Mike picks up a manuscript which is a novel Ed is writing and jokes how many times Wonder Woman is mentioned. He smirks that anyone would think she is his partner and asks if Ed is going to New York for “research” purposes. Ed snatches it back and says that he going to give the Princess moral support. Mike then turns serious and asks his colleague how long it has been since he has been out on a real date. Ed scowls back that he had asked Mike to give him a lift to the airport and not to act as a matchmaker!

Many miles away in the city of Metropolis Clark Kent, better known to the world as Superman, is sitting at his desk reading the latest edition of The Daily Planet, whose headline is all about Hippolyta’s forthcoming visit. He muses to himself how Diana must be really nervous right now and wonders whether he should call her, as it has been a while since they last sat down and talked. His thoughts are interrupted by one of the staff who remarks that she is surprised to still see him here, assuming he would be in New York with Lois Lane covering the Amazon “bash”. He replies that he has other assignments and bedsides, this is Lois’ story and she has earned it.

At that moment on the TV they see Lois herself being interviewed by another reporter about the arrangements for the banquet at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Lois says how the Hotel management has pledged to outdo the Amazon’s own annual “Feast of the Five”. Hotel security has also been tripled to ensure that this feast has no unwelcome visitors live the evil Goddess Eris at the last Themysciran summit! Such measures may of course seem excessive in light of the fact that most of the famous super heroes have been invited including Superman, although the various heroes’ schedules are always unpredictable and so nobody is quite sure how many will be able to attend…

At the headquarters of the Justice League meanwhile, a skeptical guy Gardner switches off the TV coverage in disgust. “The Wonder Babe’s family trip is on every channel” he moans. Black Canary tells him to shut up and that he knows how important this Amazon trip is, which is why Diana wants them to be a part of it. Fire states “That Royal stuck-up has a lot of nerve asking us to the banquet if she thinks she is too good for the League!”. Rocket Red retorts that Fire has got it all wrong and Martian Manhunter agrees. They had inducted her into the League without even consulting her or considering her diplomatic duties. “Have we grown so accustomed to violence that we now treat Pacifists like Pariahs?” he asks.

Later that night on Themyscira, a sleeping Menalippe hears a man’s voice seemingly in her dreams. It tells her to awake. Groggily she opens her eyes as the voice continues that his light shall free her from the darkness at last. She sits up with a start to see Lord Hermes, resplendent in his traditional outfit and holding aloft his Caduceus, hovering over her bed surround by a blaze of light. Menalippe wonders if she is still dreaming but Hermes reassures her that he has returned. She bows her head in submission, saying she is not worthy to gaze upon his face as she has failed so miserably in the role of maintaining the faith he had entrusted her with. Had it not been for her doubts and weaknesses Eris would never have been able to deceive her. Paradise had almost died because her her.

Hermes tells her to lift her head and to stop blaming herself. It had been the Gods who had left her defenseless and had Eris attacked a less steadfast race she would have succeeded. But she did not. The great inner faith Menalippe so ardently nurtured, even when she herself felt stripped of it, thwarted Eris. When his fellow Olympians at last return they will learn just how justified was their trust in the Oracle of Themyscira. He then kneels down and hugs her, adding that it is not she who should seek forgiveness but the Gods. In their name he humbles himself to her and thanks her for her strength and devotion. She melts in his arms and weeps at first, but slowly her back straightens and her tears cease. Her sobs give way to sighs of relief as the darkness leaves her. Thousands of miles away in her New York hotel room, Diana stares up at the night sky and sees a twinkling star – another soul once again rising into the light and dancing to the music of the Gods. Diana smiles knowingly.

Dawn finally breaks and crowds gather round a podium set up at the United Nations Plaza, facing the East River. Lois Lane reports how the air is positively electric. Dignitaries of all nations number in the thousands to greet Queen Hippolyta, but the special guests are those who have already met the Amazons during the previous Summit. Among them sit Etta, Steve, Julia and Vanessa. Etta whispers to Steve that she still cannot believe how Steve had managed to get General Yedziniak to change his mind. Steve smiles and says that General Hilary owed him a favour and considerably outranked Yedziniak!

Just then Asmund Lindel steps up to the podium and welcomes everyone to the proceedings, his image also being beamed live around the world. He says that a few months ago he was privileged to visit a land that one usually reads about in fantasy novels…where the air is clean and the soil fertile. A land where war, prejudice and crime are non-existent. Where love, understanding and peace are the everyday tenets for living. In short – a Paradise – the home of the Amazons. Centuries ago they withdrew from our world because they were hated, hunted and murdered nearly to extinction. That is a lot to forgive. Yet when they greeted the U.N. delegates upon their shore that momentous day, it was with genuine hope and tenderness. That alone is a glowing testament to their courage.

As Asmund’s speech continues Diana listens in her Hotel room while adjusting her ceremonial cloak. She has some difficulty with the fastening and hears a familiar voice say” Need some help?”. She turns to see Superman standing on the window ledge. He smiles and helps her secure the cloak, saying that he thought he would drop by and give her one last pep talk. He tells her that no matter how much of the limelight her mother is getting right now, none of this could have happened without her. He then gives her a peck on the cheek and wishes her luck before flying out of the window.

On cue with Asmund’s introductory speech ending, Wonder Woman floats down into the Plaza area as the crowds cheer. She scans the masses and a strange feeling of relief lightens her heart. This is it at last. Her destiny’s goal attained! The crowd wait impatiently for her to speak but she utters not a sound. She merely gestures and in front of the awe struck audience, Lord Hermes emerges from the river, towering over them all!

He raises his Caduceus and the waters begin to foam and froth as they surge up. The briny curtains part and the crowd falls into a hushed silence. Through the pathway created by Hermes, a proud Hippolyta leads her Amazons towards their destiny. Wonder Woman looks on from the podium and cannot help shed a tear at the wonder of it all. A band plays in the distance as Hippolyta takes each measured step along the river bed floor towards the steps leading to the Plaza. She is almost at the first step of the ladder leading up to the Plaza area when she stops and turns to her Amazon sisters following behind. The crowd can hear her say something and watch puzzled as the Amazons lift their arms. The watching Wonder Woman assumes they are about to give the traditional Amazon salute but looks on in surprise as they instead remove their bracelets, letting them clatter to the floor!

Forty centuries ago the Goddess Artemis charged the Amazons to wear the symbols of their bondage as a reminder never to err again. And they have done so until this day. Now, these dark tokens of isolation and ambivalence tumble to the floor. The days of fear are over! There is no turning back now. The course is set!

Hippolyta turns and begins to climb the steps and as she reaches the top, she steps from myth into reality. She tells the waiting Diana on the podium that she has never seen so many people. As the crowd roars in adoration she adds that the last time she had heard the voice of Man it was dipped in hatred. Today it is full of kinship and affection. Lord Hermes gives a knowing wink before disappearing, leaving the stage to the Amazons.

Finally a respectful silence falls upon the Plaza as the crowd settles down. Hippolyta steps towards the multitude of microphones and raises her hand, welcoming everyone in their various native tongues. She thanks them for the reception they have given her and the Amazons. Asmund Lindel then steps forward and tells the Queen that they would like to give her a special gift. With that, Julia steps forward with a small casket and says that she hopes the Queen will accept it in the spirit in which it is given – “A symbol of our desire to redress all that has separated our two worlds for far too long.”

Hippolyta slowly opens the casket and gasps when she sees the object inside. “Sisters! Behold! The Goblet of Heracles!”. The watching Euboea whispers to Menalippe that she does not understand the significance of the cup and the Oracle explains that it is the one which Heracles used to drug Hippolyta the day the Amazons were captured.

Asmund tells Hippolyta that when last she drank from the Goblet it was laced with treachery and betrayal. Today, let them now both drink from the same cup through the Amazon Wine Ritual, to illustrate their trust for each other. Wine is duly poured and together they take a sip from the Silver Goblet – a simple act – a sign of peace.

Hippolyta turns back to the crowd and says that she echoes the wishes of Asmund Lindel. Man and Amazon walk the same Earth again. Let them march towards peace together, in unison! Let the lessons of the past guide them towards a New Dawn!

As she crosses her wrists in the traditional Amazon salute, she continues that from here on, their destinies are forever crossed. Let them unite, unfettered by the manacles of bitterness and dread. Let the Gods look upon them all and bless this day. “For the glory of Gaea!”

The crowd roars in approval and a joyful and weeping Wonder Woman hugs her mother. Neither is naive enough to think that there will not be obstacles and challenges still to be faced in the coming months. But for now, such thoughts are set aside. For now, at least, it is a time for rejoicing. A time of triumph!

For now…