Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 82


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 82

General Info

Issue No:
82 (411)
On Sale Date:
November 1993
Cover Date:
January 1994
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Path to War

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Brian Bolland
Writer:
William Messner-Loebs
Penciller:
Shawn Atkinson
Inker:
Andre Parks
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Patricia Mulvihill
Editor:
Brian Augustyn

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Ares Buchanan, Donna Milton, Asquith Randolph (The White Magician)
Olympians:
Ares
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Lieutenant Jefferies
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Comments

This issue is narrated by Ares Buchanan, who explains to the reader the events leading up to this issue by way of flashback sequences. The final reveal is a full page splash of Wonder Woman gagged and bound on a chair – a rare post crisis bondage scene. The pre-crisis version of Diana was constantly finding herself in such predicaments but the modern day DC for the most part avoids such plot devices to put Diana in peril and at the mercy of her captors.

Another fantastic Brian Bolland cover pays homage to the beautiful George Perez cover for issue 6

Synopsis

Buchanan recounts how he had been a weak and slow witted boy who was always being picked upon by kids in the neighborhood, including a girl who would later grow up to become the thug named Moot.

But worst of all Buchanan was not very decisive. He always dithered which got him into trouble. As he grew up he learned the hard way that fighting one’s own battles is a mug’s game, as he continued to be the victim of Moot and her android, Geoff.

During this time he also learned to hate women too. One time he was beaten up by Moot, who was representing the local crime syndicate and warned him not to skim from the profits of his little fencing racket and to be grateful for what the organization provided him. She let him live this time but warned him to watch his step or else.

As he lay bleeding in the alleyway a crooked police lieutenant named Jefferies walked up to him, looking down at the pathetic Fence. Jefferies had been forcing Buchanan to pay for a protection racket and Moot suspected Buchanan might be in cahoots with him. Jefferies warned Buchanan that if he wanted protection he had to pay for it – or else he would just end up another dead thug in an alleyway. The cop then walked off leaving Buchanan to ponder his words.

The sad thing was that Jefferies was right. Buchanan was unable to connect. He could not make things work for himself. All around him there were others who were bigger, faster and stronger than he was and could help him out of his hell – if they had but noticed him – but he was simply too small.

As he shrunk into a fetal position in the alleyway he could feel himself bleeding inside from his beating and wondered if he would die in this alley today. If only he knew how to become one of the powerful ones in life.

And then it happened. A figure wearing a helmet and a billowing cloak appeared before him surrounded by blinding light. The stranger tells Buchanan that if he wants power he can give him power. Power is never the problem – for one simply must have the will to seize it and it is theirs for the taking. The stranger then holds out his hands to Buchanan and for once in his life the Fence makes a decision…and takes it. He chooses power! Or…perhaps in truth…power chooses him.

Buchanan suddenly finds himself floating in a starry void as the monstrous figure of Ares the God of War towers over him! A stunned Buchanan cannot believe his eyes as the War God explains that Zeus has ordered all the Gods to leave this sphere and even Ares cannot disobey. But he cannot leave just yet, as the world with its turbulence and inequities is the perfect breeding ground for war.

He then tells Buchanan that he will join…merge with the Fence, so that he can continue his work and share his power. A terrified Buchanan asks if there will be anything left of him after the joining and Ares replies that there will be enough to appreciate the sense of being amplified.

And then in an instant the deed is done. As Ares turns to leave, bidding “Ares Buchanan” goodbye, the human calls after him asking what the God expects of him as he does not know what to do and that the only talent he has is the ability to make other people mad at him! But he suddenly finds himself alone back in the alleyway.

He manages to stagger back inside his apartment and sleeps for several hours. When he awakes he no longer feels any pain and as he takes a shower he tries to figure out what to do. He had been playing both sides up until now. Skimming modest amounts from the mob money he was laundering as well as putting feelers out to the DA’s office about a deal. He needed to make a decision before Moot and Geoff came back for him.

But the luxury of time was not his as suddenly he is violently yanked out of the shower cubicle by Moot and Geoff! As Geoff holds him Moot jabs him in his naked chest with her finger, snarls that they know he has been talking with the DA. As she draws a knife she tells him she needed to make her “point” but as Buchanan’s childhood flashed back before his eyes – as he was beaten and bullied by her – he suddenly lashes out.

Suddenly everything was very clear to him. He was strong and fast without any panic. Every move, every form or martial art was his to command. He knew all the military tactical wisdom of the ages. He fought with controlled fury and a growing lust for victory. Nothing could stand in his way now – even the powerful android Geoff!

As he leaves a battered Geoff and Moot on the bathroom floor, he warns the woman he will break her in half and demands to know where she had laid her hands on the android. She explains that a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs is selling all kinds of high tech stuff pretty cheap.

A short while later Buchanan tracks down the technician who had managed to rack up large gambling debts and was financing his habit by selling imperfect tech to the locals.

It seemed S.T.A.R. Labs developed a lot of failed tech that sometimes were not entirely defunct. Sometimes the tech worked sporadically; or had side effects; or were prone to breaking down at any moment. The technician had figured out that criminals were not after total perfection as long as the device helped them rob a bank or whatever crime they were intending to commit.

It did not take much persuasion on the part of the new, improved Ares Buchanan for the technician to agree to become part of his new criminal machine along with Moot and Geoff. And Ares Buchanan realised that with all this hi-tech weaponry he could flood the world with war!

In a series of lighting raids Buchanan dried up all the existing channels supplying illegal weapons into the city, leaving his own as the only source. Soon even the various mob factions were having to come to him for their weapons. It was enormously profitable for him too but oddly this was not his prime motivation. He increasingly become obsessed with armed conflict for its own sake. He needed the city to be at war…and for that war to be spread.

Only two heroes stood between Boston and utter chaos. One was Wonder Woman. The other was the White Magician, the famous hero from the 40’s whose power was not to be trifled with. Against such a legendary figure Buchanan knew he would need to be prepared with an overwhelming display of power, but in the end Randolph was more than willing to be corrupted and quickly became one of Buchanan’s most trusted agents.

But Wonder Woman was a different story altogether. He used the White Magician to try and maroon her permanently in space. But she fought her way back! Worse than that, she was actually beginning to dampen down the bloodlust that had taken hold of the city. And even worse still, she had a talent for turning enemies into allies. It was no wonder that the War God had found the Amazon Princess such a dangerous opponent!

Buchanan had then tried a different tack and had hired Mayfly, the world’s most deadly assassin, to kill Wonder Woman. But the Amazon had survived and Buchanan was forced to eliminate Mayfly – but not before she had left a clue to his true identity. Wonder Woman was now hot on his trail and in the coming months would close in on him like a bird of prey. His only option was to instead set a snare for her.

He had his own “Wonder Woman” in the form of Donna Milton, the sexy assistant DA who was every bit as fierce, ambitious and as ruthless as he was. She had become his lawyer and shortly afterwards his lover.

It was her suggestion that she “go behind enemy lines” becoming Wonder Woman’s confidante and friend. Trading on the Amazon’s weakness and naivete…becoming everything to her…and then destroyingher. Even Donna’s pregnancy become a tool to disarm suspicions. It became normal for her to go everywhere with Wonder Woman, following as the Amazon Princess went from clue to clue, subtly guiding her towards Buchanan’s power base…

“Where she guilelessly, stupidly fell into my trap. Just like a woman!”.

He gestures to where a helpless Wonder Woman is gagged and bound to a chair – totally at his mercy!