After the action of the previous issues we get the chance to take a breather in this non-action orientated issue.
After the action of the previous issues we get the chance to take a breather in this non-action orientated issue.
A messenger dove from Themyscira makes its way to Man’s World and approaches the waiting Hermes, who stands stark naked on the rooftop of Steve’s apartment block. He lets the bird land on his outstretched finger and the dove updates him on the Amazon’s preparation for the Feast of the Five.
Just then Steve appears and is shocked to see the God’s lack of attire. He quickly asks the perplexed Hermes to put on a bath robe and explains that while he may not care less what the he wears, Steve’s neighbours will take a different view! Hermes asks Steve if these sameneighbours would care so much if he were “Miss November”, referring to a picture of a naked woman he had seen in a magazine lying beside Steve ‘s bed! An embarrassed Steve asks Hermes to accommodate his request and make sure he wears the bathrobe next time he wants to stand on the roof.
Steve then asks where the bird has come from and Hermes explains that it has brought a message from Princess Diana. The final preparations for the Feast of the Five have been completed and using his Godly powers, Hermes makes it possible for Steve to hear the message. Amazed, Steve listens as Diana’s voice explains recent events…
Excitement and anticipation grow daily amongst the Amazons as they prepare for the event. The banquet hall is being readied and the food for the banquet itself are hunted, reaped and fished accordingly. As Diana mediates her mother walks over and says that her daughter has put her in a most awkward position. A puzzled Diana asks how this is so and Hippolyta continues that Hellene, Ipthime and Oenone have requested an audience with them both. They come to voice concerns that many others secretly hold. As their queen and as an Amazon sheltered from the outside world’s horrors, Hippolyta herself is somewhat in sympathy with them. Yet she also understands Diana’s opinion who, as Ambassador of the Amazons, wishes to extend the virtues of their culture back into the world which rejected them.
Diana is still puzzled about why the three Amazons wish to speak to their queen and princess. As the Amazons approach, Hellene thanks them for attending to their request and with the formalities out of the way, Diana asks if she has done something to hurt or anger them. Ipthime replies that Diana cannot be serious when she suggests outworlders attend the festival. This is no time for strangers. Hippolyta replies that the Amazons had already let Man on Paradise Island so why is this any different. Hellene responds that they should wait before allowing others to come. Diana places her hand gently on her Amazon sister’s shoulder and says that Hellene had agreed to give Diana a chance. She reminds Hellene that at the time, she suggested that Diana could never truly understand and that she might sympathise but never empathise with the Amazon’s history. The Amazon Princess could not argue with this assertion, as she had never lived through those times. But she now asks Hellene whether the Amazons are to be forever mired in yesterday’s tragedies, or can they forge ahead as Amazons should, with courage for armour, humanity as a shield and love as their banner.
Ipthime says that it appears Diana is a woman of Sparta, wanting the Amazons to go forth into the world and return with their shields or on them. Diana scowls and replies that Ipthime twists her words. Her Amazon sister responds in turn, saying that she knows that Diana means but she should consider that the Amazon race has not changed in the Millennia since they had left the Aegean shores. Can the Amazon Princess say for certain that the outside world has?
Back in Massachusetts Steve asks Hermes if that is all that the message says. The God replies that the rest of the message is nothing important and simply relates to the fact that Princess Diana has arranged for Hermes to guide the United Nation’s representatives to Themyscira. They are to be guests of honour at the Feast of the Five. But Steve can see in Hermes’ eyes that there is something more…
Meanwhile at Harvard University, Julia Kapatelis is reading some papers in the library. Suddenly she hears her name called and Mr. Vicks enters. He waves an envelope addressed to her and she eagerly opens it. Overjoyed at its contents, she gives him a big kiss and rushes out of the room…
On Themyscira, the oracle Menalippe tosses and turns in her sleep. Her sweat drenched lips mutter unintelligible sounds and her friend, Penelope, enters the chamber and lays a concerned hand on the Oracle, asking her to wake up. Suddenly a charge of energy arcs through her body from Menalippe and sends her crashing backwards, smashing her head hard against the wall. Hearing the commotion, Phillipus and Euboea dash into the temple to locate Menalippe. Diana appears on the scene too and entering the oracle’s chamber, they find Menalippe kneeling by the unconscious Penelope who is lying on the floor. She tells them she had found her friend like this after awaking from her meditations.
Euboea checks Penelope and locates the serious wound on her head. Diana asks Menalippe what she knows of this and the oracle responds that she knows only what she had already told them. She then asks if the outside world has tainted Diana so much that she now brings her suspicion and distrust into Themyscira. She suggests Diana flies Penelope to the Isle of Healing straight away.
Diana lifts Penelope into her arms and flies out of the temple. As she heads towards the Isle she thinks to herself Menalippe seemed strangely cool for one whose friend may be close to death. Or perhaps the oracle is right and Diana has been corrupted by the morals of Patriarch’s World. If true, then maybe Hellene and Ipthime are also correct. Just then she sees the messenger dove approaching…
In Boston meanwhile, Vanessa Kapatelis and her friend Lucy Spears have just finished their English exam and are leaving the school. Vanessa bemoans the fact that they have had to do all their final exams in one day. Lucy tells her to chill and that at least they were all over now. Vanessa responds that Lucy has nothing to worry about because she is “Miss Brains!”. Vanessa on the other hand will be lucky to pass anything, especially Geometry. Lucy asks her why Mr. Westlake had not helped her studies and Vanessa replies that she had asked him for a couple of hints and he had responded that it would not be fair to the others! Lucy then asks if Diana had helped at all but Vanessa says that she had never asked the Amazon Princess. Diana would have said yes but she had had such a tough time in Egypt and now with this big Festival in Themyscira, it just did not seem fair to burden her with Vanessa’s problems too.
Lucy replies that she thinks Vanessa is the coolest person for being so considerate. They say good bye and Vanessa makes her way to where her mother is waiting in the car. As she goes she thinks to herself that she never thought a girl like Lucy would call her cool! She then spots Eileen Flowers apparently talking to some scruffy looking man and she thinks that her friend should know better than to talk to strangers. She calls out to Eileen and her friend gives her an icy response. Vanessa tells her she just wanted to check that everything was OK and that they were waiting to take her home. Eileen asks coldly whether by “they”, Vanessa is referring to her and her new best friend Lucy.
The man then smiles and says that Eileen will not be going with them and introduces himself as Mike Flowers, Eileen’s father. He shakes her hand and Vanessa cannot help noticing how dirty and smelly he is. He sees her reaction and apologises for his appearance. He explains that he is the Janitor and that the incinerator in the building had broken, meaning he has been up to his neck in other people’s garbage all day! He should have taken a shower first but time had ticked by so fast he had had to run and pick his daughter up. Eileen then adds that her father is the best building supervisor in Boston, but all Vanessa can think to herself is that her friend’s father is a lowly janitor!
She hears her mother call her from the waiting car and waving goodbye, she runs down the hill leaving the Flowers to make their own way home. As they watch Vanessa get in the car, Mike comments that she seems “kinda flighty” and Eileen sadly nods her head in agreement…
Meanwhile across the chaos void that separates Themyscira from the outside world, Wonder Woman makes her way through the storms and lightning. She emerges into blue sky and navigates down to where Steve Trevor’s apartment is located. As she nears she sees a gaping hole in the wall and floating through it sees Steve crouched on the floor, surrounded by debris. She asks him if he is alright and he jokingly asks her if she has ever had an Olympian as a roommate. Realising he is talking about Hermes, she says that the Messenger God is not destructive by nature. Steve nods, before explaining recent events.
That morning he and Hermes had been catching up on the latest news from Themyscira when the God had become suddenly pensive. Steve had asked him what was wrong and at first Hermes had brushed his questions aside. But Steve had persevered until he finally broke down and opened up. Hermes had revealed he is worried about his powers…his essence. Steve suddenly understood what Hermes meant as it occurred to him that it used to hurt his eyes when looking at the God’s Caduceus – but not anymore – it was no longer as bright.
Suddenly though the Messenger God had begun to grin inanely and transformed into his full mythological regalia. Before Steve could react Hermes had shot up into the sky. He had moved so fast, zooming here and there, performing turns of incredible velocity. Steve had seen a lot of pilots in his time including “Hot Dog” fly boys. He had also seen men still wet behind the ears, trying to control a hunk of screaming fuselage when they could not even control their own insides. They were the washouts…the ones who got left behind if they did not end up dead. And Steve felt that Lord Hermes had become one of those “left behind”.
As if to prove this fact, Hermes ploughed into the apartment wall. Steve had been angry at the time and had demanded Hermes fix the damage he had caused. But Hermes, who simply sat on the floor with his head in his hands had told Steve he could not repair the hole. As God of Messengers, the mortal world should be an open book to him and he should be able to pass through its realities, such as a simple wall, as easily as one turns a page. But it appears the Fates have decreed that this is no longer his gift. He who once they honoured is now scorned and made irrelevant.
Steve tells the listening Wonder Woman that the God had seemed so pathetic at the time. Hermes had then suddenly flown off into the distance and Steve could not blame him. Man or God, he has got to have some pride maintained. Hermes needs someone to talk to and Wonder Woman is the only one who can do it. That is why Steve had sent the messenger dove back to Themyscira in order to summon Diana. She has to help Hermes, who has become positively schizophrenic.
In Beacon Hill, Boston meanwhile, Julia and Vanessa are approaching their house. Julia tells her daughter that the National Geographic Society has agreed to fund her. It means that she now has the approbation of some of the world’s foremost archaeologists, who think Julia’s theory on the location of the original Themyscira is sound enough to invest in. However, Vanessa seems distracted and not particularly enthusiastic about the news. Julia wonders whether she does not want to accompany her mother on her expedition to Turkey. If so, who would look after Vanessa if she decided to stay behind?
As they enter the house Vanessa empties the mail box and opening one of the letters, becomes suddenly excited again. She has been accepted to attend Camp Monroe and dashes off to the phone to call Lucy. Julia calls after her that she might have had the decency to ask her mother first but realises she is talking to a brick wall. Smiling, she sees that Vanessa has obviously already sorted out where she is going to stay while Julia is away!
Several miles away above New Hampshire, Wonder Woman flies swiftly through the crisp air. She ponders that if Steve is right and that Lord Hermes does indeed suffer from some strange malevolence, then there is only one place in Patriarch’s World he would take refuge – his Temple. As she approaches though she is shocked to see that it lies in ruins. She spots Hermes sitting on the rubble, staring into space.
She touches down nearby unseen and wonders how she should approach him. She watches as he suddenly gets to his feet and holds aloft his Caduceus. He prays aloud, stating that he has performed all the rituals and that he now requests that his power is returned. He bellows “Restore Me!” and blazing energy arcs from his Golden staff, surrounding the ruined Temple. Wonder Woman prays quietly that the God’s wishes be granted. But suddenly there is an explosion of energy and Hermes is thrown backwards.
Wonder Woman rushes over to where the God lays motionless. She crouches down, asking if he is hurt but as his eyes open, he appears terrified and lashes out sending the Amazon Princess flying. He then gets to his feet and letting out a roar of anger and frustration, begins to hurl rubble around like a child having a tantrum. Wonder Woman watches him and realises that he is losing his mind. She cannot stand by and watch his pain and lifting into the air, she unhooks her lasso. She uses her expert skills to loop the olden coils around the unsuspecting Hermes and orders him to reveal his true self.
He immediately halts his rampage and smiles, saying “Diana. Beautiful Princess. Glorious Amazon. Wonderful Woman”. Hearing his words are filled with utter adoration for her, she realises that Julia had been right about the God and that he does harbour feelings for Diana. She holds tightly to the lasso and orders him to use the power of the lasso to free himself of whatever demon has hold over him. He murmurs “yes” and after a few moments sags to the ground, still bound in the lasso’s fiery coils.
He calmly tells her that she can remove the lasso and that he has recovered from his momentary lapse of reason. He assures her not to be frightened and that he will not hurt her again. She crouches down beside him and as she takes off the lasso, asks forgiveness for binding him so. Hermes replies that being wrapped in Hestia’s Fires was like being on Olympus again…the power…the glory. It was all there and he had tried to absorb it. But Gaea is selfish with her gifts. It seems her Girdle can be corrupted only once and that Barbara Minerva had already used that opportunity, leaving nothing for him.
He weakly adds that he feels so tired and the concerned Wonder Woman listens as he continues that there is nothing sadder in the Universe than a fallen God. She tells him that he is not fallen and that even now, her sisters back home are preparing the Feast of the Five in celebration.
He nods and says that he had promised to transport the United Nations dignitaries across the chaos void in order for them to attend the festival. He then asks Wonder Woman for her tiara. Puzzled, the Amazon Princess hands it over and he holds out his arm, using the razor sharp tiara to cut into his skin. Wonder Woman is shocked to see blood pour from the wound. He looks at her solemnly and reminds her that mortals cannot cross the chaos void which is why he was going to guide them…but that he is now just as mortal!