Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 0


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 0

General Info

Issue No:
0
On Sale Date:
August 1994
Cover Date:
October 1994
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Blind Eyes of Time

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Brian Bolland
Writer:
William Messner-Loebs
Penciller:
Mike Deodato
Inker:
Mike Deodato
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Patricia Mulvihill
Editor:
Paul Kupperberg

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Heracles
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Mala, Artemis, Trigona, Mala (The Keeper), Antiope
Other:
Hylas, King Etrystheus
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Comments

As part of the “Zero Hour” crossover event, “Wonder Woman” and many other titles were issued as special “0” issues. This issue includes a “re-imagining” of the Amazons’ origin. And yes…yet another superb cover from Brian Bolland!

Synopsis

A stunned Amazon Princess confronts her mother in the palace. She reminds Hippolyta that she had won the right to be Wonder Woman, but the Queen replies that her daughter’s recent behaviour has been violent and extreme and she is no longer sure Diana is worthy of the trust that has been placed in her. Wonder Woman responds that she has saved lives and fought evil and all the while thinking that she was the last of her race. Hippolyta recognises that she must have felt alone at the time and that is perhaps the reason why Diana has turned away from Amazon principles, towards the dark and bloody path of Patriarch’s World. Diana replies that she did not turn away and that the world is a dangerous place. While she endeavoured to use as little force as possible, sometimes one just has to make a stand.

But Hippolyta is unmoved by Diana’s words and states that the contest has been set and nothing can change that now. Wonder Woman asks her mother what will happen if she refuses to participate? The Amazon Queen replies that she will forfeit her costume and office. Someone else will take her place. She then adds that nobody is indispensable. “I think perhaps you have forgotten that.”

Diana explains that the people of Boston had welcomed her and supported her. She owes them her protection. But Hippolyta says that she also owes her mother – and her queen – loving submission. This city of Boston is merely a place she had been sent to. Diana is a daughter of the Amazons and they are her people and Themyscira is her city. “Is it?” Diana questions, before leaving the chamber…

A short while later Diana is changing into a more traditional Amazon gown as she tells Mala about the conversation with her mother. As she struggles to do up the fastening Mala gives her a hand and Diana thanks her, adding that considering the circumstances she feels it inappropriate to continue to wear her uniform for the time being. Mala reassures her that it will all be fine and adds that in fact it is very exciting! She herself has been involved in selecting the contest sites and everyone is so driven and focused preparing for the contest. It is the best thing that could have happened following all the trauma of recent years.

Diana raises her eyebrows at the comment and Mala quickly explains that of course it is not necessarily the best thing for the Princess and they all feel she has done a fantastic job as Wonder Woman.

Diana places a reassuring hand on her friend’s shoulder and says she knows that Mala is simply trying to say. They are pleased to have their Princess back and excited about the chance to compete and perhaps become Wonder Woman themselves. And Mala does not need to tread on egg shells when speaking with her friend. “But my mother is trying to destroy me and I don’t know why?”.

As they take a stroll, watching the preparations get underway, Mala says that even presidents and prime ministers in Man’s World are reconfirmed every so often. Plus, she would not want to be trapped into being Wonder Woman without the opportunity of another life would she? “Well, no..” murmurs Diana, as Mala continues that even though she knew she never had a chance, just having the opportunity to take part in the original contest had been the greatest thing that had ever happened to her. Diana smiles back that in that case, Mala should have this second chance and she is happy for her friend.

As they approach a group of Amazons trying to heft a huge pole upright into the ground ready for the contest, they are asked to give some assistance. As the women work together to set the pole straight Diana is asked if she recalls the original contest all those years ago? They then all think back…

Steve Trevor, whose mother had saved Themyscira fifty years previously, had crashed landed on the island and Hippolyta had decreed that one Amazon should be chosen to accompany him back to Man’s World and spread the Amazons’ message of peace and love. All the Amazons joyfully competed against each other in a contest to chose who that Amazon should be. It was considered the highest honour, even though the Amazon who eventually triumphed would have to leave the island and lose her immortality. But one Amazon was forbidden to take part. Diana.

No one was surprised that Hippolyta forbade her only daughter…her pride and joy.. from competing…particularly as the Princess was so unique in being the only child ever born on Themyscira. A wonder child, given to the Amazon Queen by the gods to assuage the loneliness she felt and fill the void left by the loss of her sister. Diana had been the perfect baby. A statue of clay brought to life by Aphrodite’s good grace and bestowed with gifts by the other Gods so she could defend the Amazon way of life. It was hardly surprising to the other Amazons that Hippolyta feared losing Diana.

But she had reckoned without her daughter’s will and resource. Diana had taken a sacred relic from the great library -the Mask of Proteus. This was the very mask that had first been used by Heracles to deceive the Queen and conquer the Amazons. Then later, worn by Hippolyta in turn when she posed as the Demi God, using it to repel Heracles and turn his own men against him. By donning the mask, its powerful magic disguised the wearer and Diana had thus used it to transform her own appearance.

And so Diana had taken part in the contest unbeknown to everybody. Nobody knew whether Hippolyta had ever perhaps guessed who this strange, new Amazon competitor was who could best everybody with ease. Even without her god given powers available to her on the island, Diana had still performed head and shoulders above her sisters. And when she triumphed in the final event, the trial of bullets and bracelets, it was obvious to all who the winner was and who would journey on to Man’s World as the Wonder Woman…

Finally the women secure the pole and a smiling Diana tells Mala that she is surprised how heavy it was. Mala replies that the Princess is just not yet used to only having her normal strength. Just as Mala asks if that fact will bother her in the contest, Artemis appears and snarls that Diana will not have to worry about anything now that she no longer has any real competition. The Princess asks her what she means by that and Artemis replies that Hippolyta has forbidden the Bana-Mighdall Amazons to take part in the contest. Artemis reads out the Queen’s decree before screwing it up in disgust and storming off.

Diana runs after her and Artemis snarls back, asking if she has come to lecture her again on showing the proper respect to the Queen? Diana diffuses her anger by calmly saying that she could at least wait for her to attack before striking back. As the two women walk together side by side towards a rocky range she tells Diana that her people had effectively been thrown out of paradise by Hippolyta. They had lived in exile on the harshest edge of the world and now that they have returned to paradise they are still forced to live apart.

As they reach an overlook Artemis gestures down into a relatively barren valley where the Bana-Mighdall dwellings can be seen. Diana is stunned by the crude conditions they are living in. They make their way down and into the village and as they walk Artemis is warmly greeted. One Amazon, Trigona, hands her a spear and says that she has repaired it, before adding that the “Keeper” wants to see Artemis. As they speak, Diana notices that Trigona only has one leg and asks her “sister” how she had lost it? Trigona replies that she had been part of the unfortunate mass that had acted as a human shield for the city against the demon hordes. She then snarls that she is also no sister to any of Hippolyta’s brood! She suddenly stops mid sentence though and stares wide eyed at Diana face. “Wait. It’s not possible..”.

Artemis grabs Diana’s arm and quickly drags her away, explaining that Diana will probably get a lot of that today. As they make their way to the Keeper Diana notices that indeed everyone in the village is staring intently at her. At last they approach the Keeper – a withered old hag – and Artemis asks “Mala” what she wants? The old woman says that she had heard Artemis had brought the Princess with her. Diana remarks that she too has a friend called Mala, as the old woman asks her to come closer. Diana can see under her shroud that the woman has an eye patch and is told that she had lost the eye to a demon spitting acid in her face. Mala touches Diana’s cheeks and says she would not have believed it had she not seen it for herself and that the legends were true after all. The Amazon Princess asks her what legends she is referring to?

Mala gestures for her and Artemis to follow her to a Tabernacle. As they walk she explains that inside is their most sacred icon. It is a statue…all that remains of their beloved first mother Antiope…sister to Diana’s mother Hippolyta. It was sculpted nearly 3000 years ago. And as they step inside Diana is stunned to see that the likeness staring back at her is her own!

As she walks towards it she is confused, wondering why her mother had never told her that she resembled Antiope so uncannily. She stretches out her hand to touch the bust but as she does so Mala and Artemis suddenly see a flash of light…and are stunned to see that Diana has disappeared!

Instantly Diana is transferred into Antiope’s body and she finds herself kneeling on the floor in a meadow as her concerned sister, Hippolyta, rushes over and asks if she is alright? Antiope gets up and says she is fine and that for a moment she had felt like she was someone else. Hippolyta tells her that she had been scared as Antiope was always so strong. Antiope smiles back that in turn Hippolyta has always been the clever one. She can hatch a hundred schemes while Antiope knows only the wisdom of the edge of her blade.

She again assures her sister she is fine and can see that Hippolyta is excited and bursting to tell her something. An almost giddy Hippolyta says that Heracles has agreed to marry her! Antiope is surprised at this revelation and says that he and his men have only been here a few weeks and wonders if Hippolyta can be so sure his proposal is genuine? Hippolyta replies that he is brave, handsome and strong. And not nearly as stupid as everyone says! But Antiope reminds her sister that they are supposed to keep Themyscira as a refuge for women and keep it free from fear and violence. Hippolyta responds that Heracles and his men can help in that task. They will create a pact – a joint kingdom between Themyscira and Argos. Together they will eventually bring all the other civilized lands under loving submission to their rule. Plus, Antiope has always said that they should be more aggressive in freeing their fellow sisters in Man’s World.

But Antiope replies that she does not trust Heracles as he is always asking about the Purple Fire and the Girdle of Gaea. Can she be sure he is not simply interested in trying to learn the secrets of their immortality? Hippolyta smiles back that she is quite certain that is not his motive because she had already told him the secret yesterday! Antiope is horrified, but Hippolyta places reassuring hands on her shoulders and asks her sister not to be mad as what harm can it do? The Purple Fire that gave the Amazons their immortality came only once and now it is gone. Heracles loves her only for herself.

Antiope is still unconvinced but Hippolyta says that he probably seems strange and devious to her because he is a man and that once she too is married she will feel different. Again, Antiope cannot believe her ears as Hippolyta explains that she must also marry Hylas, Heracles best friend. Antiope replies that she would rather marry a goat but as they make their way back towards the city her sister explains that all the Amazons must marry for the good of the alliance.

And so the wedding ceremony is held and each Amazon is wedded to one of Heracles men. Much singing and dancing follows and many toasts are raised to future happiness together. And as her marriage is consummated even Antiope feels that perhaps she has been unnecessarily negative about being married and that it does have its advantages! As she calls out for Hylas to return to bed however she suddenly find herself staring at the point of Hylas’ spear about to thrust into her. Luckily, Amazons still slept with their sword close at hand and Antiope quickly leaps out of the way and manages to clout the surprised Hylas unconscious. Her limbs feel like dead weights though and she guesses the wine must have been drugged.

She races to warn her sister, yelling that Heracles men mean to slay them all and that Etrystheus had sent them to steal her girdle. But as she bursts into the bed chamber she finds Hippolyta is calmly smiling back. She reassures her sister that she had already seen through the plot and that she has Heracles chained to a post in a darkened corner of the room. As Antiope steps forward to try and see through the gloom she is stunned to see her sister is chained there. Too late she realises she has been tricked as Heracles removes the Mask of Proteus and clouts her unconscious …

Back in the Tabernacle Mala and Artemis are shocked to see Diana suddenly reappear, lying motionless on the floor…blood streaming from a wound on her head…