War of the Gods – 4

War of the Gods – 4

General Info

Issue No:
On Sale Date:
November 1991
Cover Date:
December 1991
Dark Age
Story Title:
In The Beginning...There Was The End

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
George Perez
George Perez, Pablo Marcos, Alan Kupperberg, Phil Jimenez
Gordon Purcell, Dick Giordano, Frank McLaughlin
Albert De Guzman, Richard Starkings
Gene D'Angelo
Karen Berger, Tom Peyer


Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Superman (Kal El/Clark Kent), Guy Gardner, Flash (Wally West), Doctor Fate (Inza Nelson), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Robin (Dick Grayson), Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Troia (Donna Troy), Zatanna Zatara, Phantom Stranger, Spectre, Madam Xanadu, Hawkman (Katar Hol), Hawkgirl (Shayera), Starman, Power Girl (Kara Zor-El), Ice (Tora Olafsdotter) - plus numerous others
Heracles, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Eris, Zeus, Hera, Hades, Hectate
Menalippe, Epione, Hippolyta, Euboea, Pythia
Lilith, Terry Long, Pariah, Harbinger, Charon, Halciber Filius (John Mann), Lobo, Black Adam, Billy Batson (Captain Marvel), Phobos, Darkseid, Orion, Jupiter, Deadman, Mars, Shazam
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This issue follows on from The Demon #17 and Wonder Woman #61 as we reach the climax of the crossover. The issue is very dense and its pages are filled with with very small panels of artwork, as Perez attempts to cram everything he wants to tell into the final instalment. This is perhaps the weakest issue of the four as, on occasions, it begins to break down into a confused, contrived and overly complex narrative – leaving the reader unsure as to how exactly it was finally resolved.


As the war continues between the Olympian and Roman Pantheons, New Olympus floats above the Earth getting ever larger. Superman, Starman and the Guy Gardner circle it a couple of times, checking for signs of any activity. It appears to be expanding steadily, inching into Earth’s orbit. If they cannot stop it, New Olympus will destroy the planet and take its place. Superman believes that this is not what Circe had originally intended and hopes to reason with her. The assembled heroes back down on Earth are not so sure however. Hawkman tells Superman via the Justice League com links that if the sorceress really is unaware of the repercussions of her Hellfire spell, then nothing they say or do will convince her – and if she is aware of it then nothing they say or do is going to dissuade her! If the war is going to end the victory must be total and final.

The listening Martian Manhunter agrees and says that all they need is the signal from the assembled Mystics in Salem. Doctor Fate then states that the heroes must hit Circe all at once and pray that Pariah’s prediction can be averted. Terry and Lillith stand nearby, having contacted the Mystics after Pariah’s appearance in Troia’s bedroom. Lillith tells Terry that he should not write off Donna just yet and that they would not have had this chance to save her had he not managed to connect with Pariah.

In Gotham, Batman and Robin stand atop a roof and look up at the ever expanding bulk of New Olympus in the sky. Batman receives a transmission from Aquaman in the waters around Themyscira, who asks if he is ready. The Caped Crusader replies that he is indeed, but that he hopes Doctor Fate’s theory is wrong. Aquaman reminds him that Gotham City was where the power of the Themysciran Goblet was unleashed and that the Mystics believe Circe chose it for a reason.

As he waits, Aquaman ponders how just a few months ago the Amazons had destroyed most of their weapons, thinking that the time for warriors was past – but now the forges are working again and the metal smiths sweat to create new spears and swords. How ironic that centuries ago they took up arms to defend themselves against Mankind. Then they came to this island and were protected by the Gods from the violence of Patriarch’s World beyond. Now the time of the warrior has dawned again, but this time the Amazons must side with that same Mankind they once feared – against the Gods they once relied so ardently upon!

On the beach meanwhile, Menalippe stands and gazes into the flames of Wonder Woman’s funeral pyre. Heracles approaches and tells her that her sisters are ready and await her to lead them in the battle prayer. She replies that she has asked Penelope to speak in her place instead. She must remain here with Diana. She tells the puzzled Heracles that the fire burns very strangely. Even now, with the pyre almost totally consumed, the flames still dance as if young. As if they refuse to die. It is a sign – she is sure of it.

Pythia then steps forward and tells her there is nothing more she can do – their Princess is dead and her murder must be avenged! But Heracles advises Pythia that she leaves the Oracle alone because they must all shoulder their sorrow in their own way. For Menalippe it is with prayer – but for Heracles it shall be with blood!

High up on a ridge overlooking the beach, Power Girl tells the watching Hawkwoman and Ice that she is nervous. The Amazons may well be about to be killed while they are simply going to wait here. Hawkwoman replies that it is not any easier for her to stand idly by and do nothing either and that she has never run away from a fight in her life. But they must – it is their only chance. The skeptical Power Girl asks how they can trust the word of Pariah – who may well be insane.

In the nearby temple on the Island of Healing, Hippolyta suddenly stirs and Epione asks Harbinger, who has joined them, what they must do now. Harbinger replies that the queen must be revived completely and quickly if she is to play her part in Circe’s defeat. She must return to the main island before the funeral pyre dies, otherwise all they have ever known will be no more!

Meanwhile in the dark void known as Gaea’s Womb, Diana can hear voices all around her and wonders why everything is so dark and why she cannot feel anything. Then she remembers. “Circe! Great Gaea…I’m dead!”. She hears a voice reply “No Diana. Not totally anyway.” and she asks them to identify them self. Below, where Diana’s soul twinkles like a star in the sky, Deadman introduces himself and Diana becomes aware that he is also joined by the Phantom Stranger and The Spectre. She tells them she does not understand what is happening. Deadman explains that Circe’s spell had not worked out exactly as she had planned. She never counted on it being sabotaged by the Witch Boy named Klarion. They are here to ensure that she does not find Diana before their preparations are made. Although they doubt very much the witch would ever have reason to enter Gaea’s Womb.

Diana replies that it is impossible – she cannot be here. Suddenly she feels something – a voice tunneling through the darkness and reaching out to her. She recognises it as belonging to Troia…

Back on Earth Lillith makes psychic contact with Troia too and the Mystics advise Superman and the other heroes that the plan is a go! Simultaneously the disparate groups of super heroes attack the outer defenses of new Olympus. Superman tries to persuade the Olympians that they are being deceived but has little success. As Starman and Flash race up to rescue the trapped Troia they find their sense of direction skewed by the multi dimensional nature of New Olympus and fail to reach her!

As super hero battles God, the Amazons on Themyscira hear the clamour of battle in the heavens above before making their way deep into Doom’s Doorway. Heracles races ahead towards the entrance to the Pit of Tartarus. As he opens the door he is confronted and attacked by Charon and has to slay the ferryman. As the other Amazons arrive he tells them that they must stay back as they cannot risk contact with the River Styx because any such contact is fatal to a non Olympian.

He had hoped to commission the ferryman to get them across but will now have to improvise. He topples a huge stone column and sends it crashing across the river, bridging the divide. He then leads the Amazons across, weapons drawn, heading towards the alternative entrance to New Olympus…

Back on New Olympus, Aphrodite struggles to pull Hephaestus away from Hestia’s Hearth but he is compelled to keep it burning at all costs..

Under the sands of the Egyptian desert meanwhile, Halciber Filius sends Lobo into a deep sleep before leading Black Adam into the room where the lifeless body of Billy Batson, otherwise known as Captain Marvel, lies on a stone slab surrounded by the Metal Men. The Wizard Shazam explains that when the Roman Gods had taken over Billy Batson to fight as their champion against Wonder Woman, the conflict began neutralising the spell which Shazam had originally cast, using the powers of six different deities in order to create Captain Marvel. When Halciber Filius had transported both he and Wonder Woman away from New Olympus, a random telepathic contact with a being from Lobo’s planet diverted Captain Marvel’s path after an errant bolt from the God Mercury dislodged him from Chaos.

After being dragged back across the galaxy his powers are now pretty much spent. The only way to save him is to recreate the original spell and so Halciber Filius and Harmonia had kidnapped the six deities away from Circe’s influence and captured each spirit inside the robots known as the Metal Men. Now all they require is Harmonia to bring them Wonder Woman in order to complete the joining.

At that moment Harbinger enters the room and tells them that Diana will not be arriving anytime soon. She explains that Wonder Woman is already dead and Halciber Filius must return to New Olympus because Circe’s actions may have had more serious consequences then even she imagined. The Roman argues that this is why they are here, just as the Fates had instructed Harmonia. Harbinger tells him that the Fates had only revealed part of the story and she had learned the rest thanks to Pariah. Reviving Captain Marvel is just one piece of the puzzle. There is still one more who must be freed from New Olympus.

Halciber Filius asks how he is supposed to accomplish such a task. The witch must already know about him and has already easily taken control of all the other Roman Gods. Just then he pauses though and staring down at the sleeping Lobo murmurs “It’s crazy…but it just might work…”.

High above New Olympus meanwhile, Circe floats on a throne gloating at the chaos of combat all around her. The efforts of the super heroes only serve to fan the fires of the God’s dementia. Atop a nearby column, Phobos grovels that it is thanks to him that their panic is manipulated and he does not want her to forget his part in her scheme. Circe tells him that she appreciates his work – just as he should appreciate what will happen should he fail. She gestures with her hand revealing Eris who is trapped in a bubble. The weakening Goddess begs for mercy, saying that Circe is draining her life away from her and that she has no more power left to give. Why does she not use Troia instead because Eris senses the girl has great power? The Sorceress however responds that she is not prepared to take any risks until she knows just how and why Troia was brought here in the first place.

Eris pleads that had it not been for her, Circe would still be trapped in the Tomb of Cronus. The witch smiles back that she is grateful, but that it was such a long time ago now. Anyway, Eris only has herself to blame. If she had brought the Apple of Discord containing the War Gods’ power as she had been instructed to, Circe would not now need to drain it from Eris instead. Phobos gloats at his sister’s pain and assures Circe that he will not fail her. After all, it was he who had killed Harmonia..

At that moment on Areopagus, a grieving Ares cradles his beloved Harmonia in his arms and bids her a fond farewell. “Though I have done nothing to deserve you, no father could have asked for a better daughter.” Her body then transforms and she departs to the place beyond all Olympian knowledge where Gods go when they die. As he watches her disappear he swears he will be worthy of her sacrifice!

Just then Mars steps forward and demands that they end this fight here and now! But Ares replies that the battle has all been for naught. He has lost the daughter he loved most and will not allow this folly to continue. The battle is ended. A furious Mars orders Ares to fight or die. Ares calmly replies that the Roman God will die too. There will be no victor in this battle – no spoils of war – no Olympus to win. “Behold the final request of a Goddess who sacrificed everything to deliver it.” As Harmonia’s amulet appears in his eyes, Ares instructs Mars to stare deeply into it…see the truth…and believe…

With the war between the various Pantheons having spread as far a field as the New Gods on Apokolips, Harbinger requests Orion’s help in stopping Circe’s plans by joining together…

Meanwhile in Gotham, hordes of flying bestiamorphs attack and Batman curses the fact that Doctor Fate had been right all along and that Circe had decided to start her assault on Earth in his city. As Batman, Robin and assorted other heroes try to force them back, Circe feels something is not quite right – as if a fog is lifting. The ever weakening Eris tries to warn her that it has something to do with Troia and Diana but before she can say another word she is slain by a godly blast from none other than Halciber Filius! He then confronts Circe, saying that she may have turned his fellow Gods against him but he still has their powers and he is going to make her pay for the sacrilege she has perpetrated!

Circe however is unimpressed and replies that he should have remained in the River Styx where she left him. He would have died more peacefully there. As she raises her hand, she quips that he is “exactly the medicine Doctor Circe ordered!”. She then blasts him with a surge of Hellfire energy, killing him! Nearby Hephaestus cries out and the flames at last engulf him!

Down on Paradise Island Harbinger senses the moment has arrived and tells Epione it is time to bring Hippolyta…

In Egypt the Wizard Shazam begins the creation spell to revive Billy Batson…

Back on Themyscira, Pariah watches as Harbinger leaves his side to join the battle. He begs her to stay and keep him company but she replies that the veil is lifting and soon Circe will see what they are up to. Whatever the outcome ends up being though, she thanks him for his courage.

Up on New Olympus Lobo, who has also now joined the fray, suddenly goes berserk as Circe steps forward and stares down in triumph at where the dead Halciber Filius lies, preparing to draw away his godly energy for her own use. But as she prepares to “feast” she suddenly finds his body is gaunt and shriveled. In horror she realises his body is merely an empty shell and that she has in fact been tricked! Before she can react she is blasted to the floor and as she looks up at her attacker she sees Lobo standing over her.

He also holds in his arms the body of Troia and the other heroes, unsure what is happening, fear for her safety as Circe prepares to strike back at Lobo. However, in a flash of lightning both Lobo and Troia disappear and the witch realises that it was all a ploy to save the girl. Eris had been right about Troia’s importance!

Phobos then brings her attention to the suddenly darkening skies over Olympus and as everyone looks up they see the face of Ares appear, accompanied by War Gods from all the other Pantheons. Ares’ voice booms out that the War Gods duly declare the war is over! With every blow the Gods hasten the day of their own destruction. But now they must cease!

An incredulous Jupiter demands to know why his own son, Mars, is a party to this outrage! “What of Olympus? these Greek miscreants destroyed our home!”. Mars replies that this is not in fact the case. While it is true that when the Greeks destroyed their own Mount Olympus the Roman’s home was consumed as well, that chain reaction was in fact caused not by the Olympians but by Circe and another ambitious Goddess named Eris, who has already paid for her crimes with her life.

Circe knew that the Gods needed a cause to go to war against each other and so she gave them New Olympus. Ares adds that he, like the others with him, are Gods of War and thrive on conflict. Do the other Gods really believe that they would all call for peace if there were any possible alternative?

Hera nods in realisation that they speak the truth and commands the other Greek Gods to put down their weapons. Nearby at the secret entrance to New Olympus, Heracles and the Amazons have arrived and watch as events unfold. Heracles is worried that even after Ares declaration, Circe appears as confident as ever. Suddenly they find out why!

Hades lets out a cry and tells the others that he feels a tearing in his soul and tells his fellow God of the undead, Pluto, that it appears Hectate, his spurned lover, is meting out her personal vengeance on him at last! Through Circe she is ending control over the last bastion of Olympus – the one kingdom she considers hers by right – the Underworld!

Below, the River Styx foams and froths and skeletal hands emerge from the churning waters as the dead rise again! Gods, heroes and Amazons find themselves under attack from loved ones from their past who have risen from the grave to do Circe’s bidding and continue the war!

On Themyscira, Hawkwoman, Ice and Power Girl watch helplessly as hordes of demons emerge from the entrance of Doom’s Doorway and lay into the Amazons guarding the portal. Power Girl says that they have to help them and “to hell with the master plan!”. Ice suggests that perhaps they can assist without jeopardising Doctor Fate’s scheme. She then uses her powers to create an ice wall blocking the cave entrance and trapping the demons inside. The others congratulate her but she warns that in this tropical heat, the wall will not last very long. Above, Doctor Fate suddenly arrives and says that it will not have to because one way or another this is all going to end very soon!

She then asks if there is any news on Hippolyta and is told that the Amazon Queen is being lead to the funeral pyre as they speak. As Hippolyta kneels down on the beach she begins to mold the clay just as she had done centuries before, sculpturing the shape of a body…her daughter’s body…

Simultaneously in Egypt, Shazam performs his own spell, transferring the energies of the six Gods trapped inside the Metal Men into the body of Billy Batson…

But as Hippolyta nears completion of the ritual by placing Diana’s helmet on the clay head and Billy begins to feel his powers return, Circe finally manages to break through the psychic fog that the Mystics had been generating to cloud her vision. She realises what they plan and unleashes a huge Hellfire bolt aimed at Themyscira, intent on completely leveling the island!

Superman sees what she has done and races after the fireball, knowing that everything rests on him stopping it! He manages to pull ahead of it and puts himself between it and the island, but the power of the magical bolt is too great even for him and he is blasted out of the way. Significantly lessened, the nevertheless still deadly bolt continues streaking down towards where Hippolyta kneels on the beach!

Menalippe sees its approach and without thinking runs towards the Queen and puts herself in its path. As the bolt strikes and kills Menalippe instantly, Billy Batson in Egypt issues the immortal phrase “Shazam” and transforms into Captain Marvel! Instantly Circe disappears from New Olympus before the eyes of the terrified Phobos and the witch finds herself once more transported back into the Tomb of Cronus!

She curses the Gods, asking why the fools have again tried to trap her here. Have they not yet learned it is futile? But she hears a voice reply “Well, you know what they say Circe, third time lucky!”. The sorceress looks up to see Troia standing there and snarls that she does not stand a chance against the witch. “I’ve killed a God! What chance do you think you’ll have against me?”.

Just then another all too familiar voice says “Alone? Not much. But Troia is far from being alone.” A stunned Circe turns to see Wonder Woman standing there, garbed in Amazon armour. “This is impossible” Circe screams. “You’re dead! Damn you! YOU’RE DEAD!”.

Back in Egypt meanwhile, Captain Marvel finds himself surrounded by the six Gods who, now they have been freed from the shells of the Metal Men, tell him that Gods and heroes are now united as one – as embodied by him. if Circe is not stopped then all of this will have been for nothing. He will therefore represent them in the great bonding to come. With that they disappear in a flash of Godly light leaving a confused Captain Marvel. Just then Harbinger arrives and says that everything will be explained to him on Themyscira. For now he must trust her. He nods and with that she transports them both to Paradise Island.

They are greeted by Ice, Hawkwoman, Power Girl and Doctor Fate who explains that he, together with several other assembled individuals representing various Pantheons, ranging from the Mayans, Babylonians, Aztecs and the New Gods from New Genesis and Apokolips, have been brought together to combine their powers. Even the Romans are represented, not by Halciber Filius though but by his proxy – Lobo! It seems not even Circe expected that Filius would conceal his power within the alien!

With the elements all in place, Harbinger announces that they have now done all they can. She sees Pariah looking at where the sobbing Amazons kneel by the smouldering corpse of Menalippe. She tells him that the Amazon Oracle had sacrificed herself and if they succeed she will at least rest in death. As a tear forms in his eye he remarks “Either way, her suffering is over. How I envy her…”.

Back in the Tomb of Cronus, Circe blasts Wonder Woman with energy bolts and the Amazon struggles to regain her feet. The sorceress rages that even in this limbo Hectate’s power is supreme. She had even killed an Olympian God in this place, so what chance does the Amazon Princess think she has against that sort of power? As Troia watches the fight helplessly, she begs to help but Wonder Woman, using her bracelets to deflect another barrage, tells her to keep her own shield up and to see the plan through as agreed.

Suddenly Troia says that she can feel it starting and Wonder Woman instructs her not to lose control and to keep the portal in her tunic open. The only way they can get to the others if through her…

On New Olympus Phobos decides the time is right to flee as he fears his father’s retribution…

Pariah holds his head in pain and sorrow as New Olympus and Earth draw ever closer to colliding…

Wonder Woman orders Troia to drop her shield on her command and taunts Circe, saying she is a mockery and cannot even kill one solitary Amazon! Perhaps Hectate had chosen wrong and perhaps it is truly Diana who deserves her birthright! Furious, Circe screams “Then you shall have it arrogant fool! I’ll ram it down your accursed throat!”. With that the witch unleashes a huge blast aimed at Wonder Woman, but at the last moment the Amazon Princess holds aloft the Talisman of Harmonia, which had helped give life to Pandora from whose clay Diana herself had sprung from. As the blast hits the talisman it is deflected directly into Troia’s tunic.

As Circe watches her seemingly absorb it, Wonder Woman explains that in fact it is the powers beyond the portal that are absorbing it! Circe continues to blast at Wonder Woman, ranting that Hectate’s Power is supreme but suddenly hears the voice of the Phantom Stranger tell her that “supreme is a relative term among Gods”.

He continues to explain that she measures Hectate’s supremacy by her contemporaries, all one generation removed from those who sired them and who themselves a generation removed from what supreme power sired them and so on ad infinitum until the ultimate supreme creation. Hectate grew to realise this and it maddened her. From the aftermath of the Titan-Olympian War sprung forth many Pantheons and many New Gods, who now unite against Circe, calling for aid to the supreme that begat this supreme. With that he conjures a vision of Lobo, Captain Marvel and the other assembled representatives of the various Pantheons.

As Wonder Woman continues to channel the energies through Troia’s tunic, the Phantom Stranger tells Circe that they all know what Hectate refused to accept…that negating creation also meant negating herself. Circe has been part of one cosmic case of self-deception! The witch cannot believe this though and accuses him of lying, vowing to destroy them all. “Hectate will not fail!”.

But she is too late. In every location, the army of the dead begin to crumble to dust. Circe herself begins to wither and she screams “No What is happening to me!?”. Wonder Woman replies that sorceress is dying. Hectate is though with her! Had she not yet figured out why the Tomb of Cronus was chosen as the final battleground? It is upon Cronus himself that Circe now stands. He who sired Lord Zeus. He whose Godly essence is that one step closer to the ultimate supreme. Cronus has now linked to his brethren to call their errant grandchild Hectate back into the fold!

As Circe finally crumbles to dust though the sprit of Hectate is released and tells Diana that she has forgotten the prophecy. “Upon the death of witch and the birth of witch, Hectate, by name and choice, shall repossess her soul!”.

But as she advances towards where Wonder Woman stands yelling “Your soul is mine!” she finds herself encircled by the lasso of truth. Wonder Woman uses the fire of Hestia’s golden rope to burn the deception away once and for all. “Lord Cronus! Take her! Hectate’s yours!

As Hectate screams in futility a colossal explosion of light and energy fills the tomb which is visible in the skies over New Olympus. As the watching Gods wonder what it means they see Lord Zeus, together with the other five deities, materialise and announce that the War of the Gods is ended and a new age of greatness has dawned upon them. A grateful Hera is overjoyed to see that her husband is alive as he tells the Greek and Roman Gods that he has returned far wiser than before. There is a great destiny that awaits them all but they must be swift if they are to embrace it!

The day of Godly intervention is passed. He can see that clearly now. It was not the Gods who bested Circe. It was their blessed children who truly destroyed her. The Gods have taught them well. Whatever happens, the Gods’ light shall always be with them. As for the Gods, a whole cosmos awaits them!

As a smiling Troia appears in the sky above, Zeus tells the others that as Cronus embraces Hectate’s power, he also invites them to cross the portal, beyond which their ancestors await! The Titans have founded a new society…new worlds in need of guidance…in need of the Olympians. Parent and Child shall be reunited at last!

As Hera and Zeus clutch hands tenderly, Jupiter asks that there is surely much they can still do here? Zeus replies that he bequeaths New Olympus to the Romans. Holding hands in comradeship, Jupiter vows to Zeus that they will take care of it.

At the entranceway, Euboea tells Heracles that they must leave before Olympus returns to its mystic plane, but he replies that he is staying. The Earth no longer has need for the likes of him, now that it has these “super heroes” to protect mankind. He asks the Amazons to tell Hippolyta he shall remember her fondly – and hopes she will do the same of him. As Amazons and heroes depart on mass, New Olympus fades from view and the Earth is finally safe.

A short while later above Themyscira, Harbinger tells Superman that she knows how magic can harm him and what he had done had been very brave. He replies that it is the Amazons who represent true bravery. They lie exposed to the outside world now that the Chaos Barrier has disappeared forever. Vulnerable for the first time in over three thousand years. And their Gods no longer around to protect them either.

Harbinger responds that they will never be alone. He and the other heroes have proven that they need never be alone again. He watches from offshore as Wonder Woman, who has returned from the Tomb of Cronus, together with the other Amazons and heroes help carry Menalippe away from the temple to her funeral pyre. Harbinger suggests Superman joins his friends but he is unsure. He cannot help feeling partly responsible for Menalippe’s death. If only he had deflected Circe’s bolt. Harbinger replies that he had lessened its potency significantly – otherwise it would surely have destroyed the entire island and thus thwarted their plan to bring Wonder Woman back from the dead.

As the world returns to normal the Phantom Stranger holds a final audience with The Fates. He asks whether Ares’ mourning would be assuaged if he knew his daughter Harmonia’s spirit was at peace? She took what little she learned and acted upon it unflinchingly. As did the wizard Shazam, who has now returned to his resting place while the desert sands erase all trace of him and the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall. And what of poor Pariah – who gave up his one chance to end his tortures so that more futures can live and die? It just seems so unfair.

The Fates reply that the Phantom Stranger should know by now that Fate is never fair.

“Fate is inevitable. Fate’s survival paramount. What was done had to be done. Such is Fate”.

The End