Wonder Woman – Volume 3 – 602


Wonder Woman – Volume 3 – 602

General Info

Issue No:
602
On Sale Date:
August 2010
Cover Date:
October 2010
Era:
Modern Age
Story Title:
The Odyssey: Part Two - Whispering Gods

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Don Kramer, Michael Babinski
Alex Garner (Variant)
Writer:
J. Michael Straczynski
Penciller:
Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica
Inker:
Michael Babinski, Jay Leisten, Ruy Jose
Letterer:
Travis Lanham
Colourist:
Alex Sinclair
Editor:
Sean Ryan (Associate), Brian Cunningham

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Aphrodite
Amazons:
Alera
Other:
N/A
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Comments

During San Diego Comic-Con, Straczynski made a point during one of the panels of saying to those who were critical of the costume that they should give him a chance and that when they saw issue 602 he would “win them over”. So, we get to see what he meant by that statement.

She takes of her jacket.

It was a start I suppose…

Synopsis

As the men survey the temple they have surrounded, with the corpses of dozens of valiant Amazons lying in front of it after having put up a valiant fight to keep them at bay, it is estimated that there are probably only ten or twelve women left inside. One of the soldiers comments how it is weird that this place does not show up on any map. His comrade replies that it’s amazing how many of these places are not on maps. Sometimes the maps get erased…and sometimes the places come and go of their own accord. As they confidently assess they they have the situation in hand they hear an explosion behind them and realise in horror that their quarry must have got behind them somehow.

But as they turn to see smoke and flames billowing and an armoured jeep fly through the air sending men scurrying for cover they realise it’s not their quarry who is attacking them…but Diana!

As they open fire she tears through their ranks and makes her way through the hail of gun fire towards the temple before finally leaping through one of it’s windows and inside to relative safely.

As she makes her way through the the quite, tomb like temple she passes another of her dead Amazon sisters and at last reaches the inner sanctum where the survivors are holding out. “My Lady” one of them greets her in surprise and as the others turn in joy they crowd around her. “The Gods of have heard us” they declare. She asks them to calm down and listen to her, stating that if they have any chance of fighting their way out of here they have to go now before the reinforcements arrive. However, she is told that they cannot leave yet because their Priestess, Alera, was grievously injured during the attack and although they have administered life saving medicine to her, the healing process is a slow one. She is awake but if she is moved before nightfall she will die.

Diana replies that if they wait that long they will give the men time to muster their forces again and they will not be able to fight their way past them. The Amazons reply calmly that they understand the situation but it changes nothing. Just then Diana hears her name called and she walks over to the weak but conscious Alera. She kneels down by the priestess who looks up at her face and tells her she has her mother’s eyes. Diana asks what they are doing here in Turkey? Alera explains that this temple, like others around the word, was raised by the Amazons to honour Aphrodite two thousand years ago. But it was more than a place of offerings. Aphrodite herself would come and walk among the Amazons, hear their prayers and make them manifest. But when the Romans came and conquered the country they desired to make her temple a place for gladiatorial games…a sanctuary of peace would become a place of blood and death. And so, rather than see her temple sullied, she drew the very earth around it and using it like a shroud concealed it from view. Only the priestesses could summon its forth from its hiding place. Which they had done.

Diana asks why they had come all this way simply to pray? Alera replies smiling that they had come to pray for her…in the one last place on earth that their prayers might still be heard. They had come to pray for the Princess and that she would still be healthy and safe from her enemies. And that she would one day return the Amazons to their former glory.

As Alera slips into sleep again, a stunned Diana is lead away by one of the Amazons who tells her that the priestess still needs her rest. “I..I didn’t know” stammers Diana and her sister replies that there was no need for her to know. They had understood the great risks but had been prepared for it, knowing that sometimes the Gods require a sacrifice before they will answer. And many of them have been sacrificed this day and they wondered it it would indeed be enough. But then Diana arrived and they all knew their prayers had been answered by the Gods!

A skeptical Diana replies that the Gods had not brought here – a plane had – carrying a lot more soldiers too! “Just as a wind carries a leaf”. But her Amazon sister responds “But my Lady, that does not answer the question…where did the wind come from?”

Deep in thought, Diana and her guide explores the rest of the ruined temple. She sees an ornamental shield lying on the floor and the Amazon picks it up to show her the face of Hippolyta carved upon it. “I created it from memory” she tells an intrigued Diana. The Amazon Princess gently runs her fingers over the exquisite work and is asked what is on her mind. Diana asks what they had seen when they came here to pray to the Gods? She is told to explore the rest of the temple first – before it gets too dark.

The Amazon Princess wanders through the corridors but the place is deftly quite and she seems to find no answers. She sits on a plinth upon which once had stood a statue of Aphrodite – but which has since been shattered and just the head lies forlornly on the floor nearby. Just then though she hears a whisper. “Diana. Why did you deny that we brought you here?”. Diana stands up and looks down at the broken statue and replies that she had not seen the Gods out there – just the place. “But you know better” she is told. “Do I?” she replies coldly. She asks Aphrodite why so many have to die? Why is this happening? Why are they allowing this to happen? She is told there is a reason but they cannot explain and that she must trust them.

Annoyed, Diana snaps back that like every other god who claims that they “know what they are doing” they come out with the same lines but is that really the best Aphrodite can do? “No” she is told. “They show yourself ” a frustrated Diana challenges. “I cannot do as you ask” she is told. An increasingly skeptical Diana says that perhaps she is simply a voice in her own head – her own conscience speaking. Aphrodite replies that Diana has never heard the Gods in her head – it’s always been in her heart. She then adds that Diana will have to lead the others out of here to save them. Diana reminds the Goddess that the men outside have superiority in weapons and numbers – and even she can be killed out there. “I’m not sure I can save them all.” “Nor will you. Try as you may, you cannot save them all.”

A confused Amazon Princess asks what the point is then? “To learn to bear a Queen’s burden of life nd death, and not let it destroy you. And in doing so…save as many as you can.

Diana, now angry, points her finger accusingly and snaps back that the Gods should come down here in that case and choose who lives and dies. Come down from Olympus and join the Amazons in the dirt to help them. “It is not yet time. I cannot..” and with that the voice fades and Diana is once more alone in the quietness of the ruined temple.

Diana returns to the inner sanctum and asks of Alera can be moved yet. She is told that the priestess has slipped into a healing coma and she can be moved. The Amazon Princess tells them to prepare and to move on her signal. As she looks out she sees the men, now reinforced, are just holding at their positions – making no obvious signs that they are preparing to advance. She tells her Amazon guide that they do not have to make a move and just have to wait until the Amazons come out into the killing zone. But Diana is told that the Amazons may yet have a surprise in store for their pursuers. Diana is told that they have juts completed digging a passageway out of the rear of the temple – barely wide enough for one body at a time, single file. Diana reminds then that as soon as anyone emerges from the tunnel and army will hear it and move to intercept. So that means they will need to be distracted.

She tells her guide, who is now holding a sword and the shield she had made, to go and join the others but her sister insists that she cannot go out there alone. Bit a defiant Diana replies that she is to leave with the others because she wants all of them to live so she can spit in the face of the Gods and tell the that they were wrong.

Outside, the mean calmly bide their time, intent on starving the Amazons out but suddenly the night sky is filled with flaming fire as Greek fire shoots out from the temple windows and strike the camp. Flame engulfs men and machinery and in the chaos Diana charges out, her jacket now removed and her blood enraged as she leaps into battle. The last few Amazons who have not yet made their way through the escape tunnel watch in awe as the valiant Amazon Princess battles seemingly overwhelming odds. But there is simply too much gunfire even for Dana and a bullet hits her square in the shoulder. Crying out in pain, she crumples to the ground on all fours and the soldiers train his sights on her ready to finish the job.

The Amazon sister who had been her guide cries out in horror and leaping down from her hiding place, throws Diana the shield just in time for the Princess to use it and protect herself from the barrage of bullets. Seeing Diana still lives, the Amazon thanks the gods only to be struck in the heart by a sniper. She falls down dead and Diana screams out in horror “Noooooooooooooooooooo!!”. She stands up, sword and shield in hand and walks slowly and purposefully through the flames towards her attackers and with a battle cry falls upon them with no mercy.

As the sun rises a few hours later the Amazons, carrying their priestess, make their way to a new hiding place. They know that the men will pursue them and one day find them once more but after what they had witnessed the previous night they are filled with hope. Something has been born. In the footsteps of her ancestors the the temple of her gods. A birth that could only happen in this place…and there is always blood in birth. This may not have been the answer to their prayers…nor the answer they had wanted. But it was the necessary answer. For the Amazons have far to go and much darkness still ahead of them. And they need their Princess to be ready for the fight to come.

And not far behind, Diana watches them from a ridge, the smoke of a battle hard fought but nonetheless won still billowing behind her. She is ready for the next fight – as the Amazon warrior she was always born to be.