Another stand-out, powerful cover from Brian Bolland.
Another stand-out, powerful cover from Brian Bolland.
As Wonder Woman struggles to hold onto the thrashing Circe who is still coiled in her lasso, the Sorceress smiles and greets Diana, before adding that since their last encounter she has learned some new tricks. To Wonder Woman’s astonishment Circe grabs the golden rope and breaks it, freeing herself! “That’s impossible…” murmurs the Amazon Princess before she is blasted by Circe’s magic. As Circe watches the stunned Wonder Woman plummet into the ocean, she jokes that the whole “unbreakable lasso” thing is something she too had always believed was true, but today was a new day and she in turn has brand new spells!
Wonder Woman finds that the energy she was hit with is alive and she begins to sink beneath the waves as it tries to engulf her. As she tears it from her body she thinks that Circe is clearly more deadly than ever and chastises herself for letting her guard down – being too distracted on the hope that her mother and Amazon sisters were still alive. What other reason would Circe have gone to such extremes for to replay the vision of Themyscira’s destruction over and over again. The vain witch simply could not stand the Amazon Princess not knowing that she had been tricked.
As Wonder Woman shoots back out of the water and up into the air, Circe remarks that she knew Wonder Woman would make her “have to work for it”. A furious Amazon vows to get answers to her questions even if she has to pound it out of the witch. Suddenly though dozens of columns of water burst up from the ocean surface and she finds herself surrounded and overwhelmed by water demons. She tells herself to wake up and finally reaching the end of her tether, cries “Enough games!” and uses her lasso to ensnare the demons. As she pounds them, she tells Circe that they both know these attacks are simply to try and convince Diana of her sincerity so that her actions will somehow lead to Circe’s true goal. “So let’s just cut to it. You give me what I want and I’ll consider whatever it is you’re after.”
As Wonder Woman hurls the battered demons at Circe the witch creates a force field and they disintegrate as they hit it. She replies that all she has ever wanted was Diana’s head. Wonder Woman reaches through the force field and wraps her arms around a smiling Circe, who points out to the Amazon Princess that the force field is burning her up. “I’ll take my chances” replies Wonder Woman. As the Amazon’s skin crisps and burns to the bone, Circe grunts that the Amazon is nuts, but Wonder Woman replies “Perhaps. But maybe I’m just confident in my belief that my mother would not lie to me.” A struggling Circe cannot fathom what she means and Diana, who is now little more than an animated skeleton now, responds “My lasso witch. She told me it was unbreakable. I believe that still to be true…in which case everything else that has transpired here…was a lie!”
In an instant Wonder Woman has returned to normal, the force field vanishes and Circe is revealed to still be bound by the lasso. The Amazon sarcastically compliments Circe on a “nice spell” and states that the witch had purposely let herself be bound in the rope when posing as Dr. Fate so she clearly wants to tell Diana something. She then asks if her Amazon sisters still live? A smiling Circe replies “Maybe. Maybe not. That’s up to you.” She continues to explain that she had overestimated how much pleasure she would gain from getting rid of the Amazons and that it was “not quite the buzz” she had hoped for. At first it had been fun with Wonder Woman thinking her home had been destroyed and Circe along with it. But without the Amazon Princess knowing what Circe had really done it all seemed a little hollow. So she decided it would be much more exciting if Wonder Woman dies instead!
Wonder Woman punches Circe in the face and replies that it appears the witch has now blown that idea too. As Circe begins to purposely let herself fall into the ocean dragging Wonder Woman with her she says “Maybe. Maybe not” and continues that she had purposely gone to all this trouble to offer Diana a deal. “Your life for theirs.” she states.
“Just like that?” replies Wonder Woman. “You bring the island back and I let you take my life?”. As the two women splash into the ocean Circe begins to zoom across the water back towards Boston, continuing to drag Wonder Woman behind her who is determined not to let the witch go. Circe says that killing the Amazon Princess may be a taller order than she first thought, so she may need the Amazon’s help! She explains how she had used a very old and powerful spell to move Themyscira to a realm of fire, where the Amazons have been fighting for their lives every single moment against demons and monsters. The spell can only be undone during specific psychic phases and they just happen to be in one right now.
But Circe wants something in return if she is going to bring the Amazons back. She wants Wonder Woman dead. But not simply a physical death…she has something far worse in mind. She wants Diana to suffer a spiritual death. She wants Wonder Woman to live knowing she has perpetrated a hideous crime. The killing of an innocent soul! “Sacrifice an innocent to my evil and I will return your homeland to you.”
As they crash down into a street Wonder Woman states that the witch is insane. Circe agrees, but reminds Diana that she has said all of this while bound in her lasso, so the Amazon knows that the Sorceress will keep her word if Diana agrees. Wonder Woman knows she is right and desperately wants to save her mother but..to kill an innocent to achieve her goal? She ask for more time to consider Circe’s deal and the witch gives her until midnight, when the psychic phase ends. As she begins to dematerialize leaving Diana alone on the street, she smiles “The blood of an innocent by midnight Diana. Or you may never see your precious family again!”. Wonder Woman cries out after her, asking how she is supposed to know who to choose and Circe says “You’ll Know. Later Diana! I’ll be watching”
Wonder Woman launches into the night sky and flies across the city deep in thought. She must save her mother and her sisters but how can she take an innocent life to achieve her own selfish ends? “How do I weigh one life against thousands?” As Wonder Woman continues on, wondering how she is even supposed to choose this “innocent”, she muses that it seemed as if Circe had almost alreadychosen the individual and that she could be flying around all night fruitlessly trying to find this person. But as she glances down momentarily she thinks “Or perhaps not…”
She notices a prostitute working the street below, wearing a rain coat over a Wonder Woman Halloween costume! As the young woman tries to persuade another kerb crawler to invite her into his car, Wonder Woman touches down and advises the driver to move on. He tells her to get lost and Wonder Woman casually uses one hand to lift the front of his car high off the ground. “Maybe you didn’t hear me. I said move on.” As the terrified driver speeds away down the road in a screech of tyres she turns to speak to the woman but finds she has run off. Believing that this woman wearing her “costume” must be some sort of sign she determines to find her….
Not far away the woman runs through alleyways and clambers up a fire escape before finally arriving breathless at her small apartment. As she enters however she finds Wonder Woman casually sitting inside looking through a photo album. She asks the woman what her name is and is told “Jane. Jane Really Doe. That’s what they will write on my toe tag when I’m dead.” Wonder Woman smiles back and introduces herself as “Diana”.
Jane pulls at a knife and warns her that she is not into “flying chicks” and to let lost. Wonder Woman asks her why she is so afraid. Avoiding the question, Jane replies that some Justice League chick has just landed in her patch and scared all her punters away. But Wonder Woman perseveres, asking Jane again what she was so afraid off that made her want to leave her home? Jane starts to clamber back out of the window to escape but suddenly finds herself wrapped in the golden lasso.
Wonder Woman tells Jane she has a lot of questions and will go to extreme measures to get answers. In turn she secretly hopes to herself that somehow this will help her save her people. She continues that in the album was a photo of a house and a dog. Why had Jane left that to come here? Jane replies that the house and the dog is actually her Grandma’s. Wonder Woman then asks her who had given her the costume to wear? Jane replies that Rodney, her pimp, had given it to her. As The Amazon Princess asks Jane where she might be able to find this “Rodney” she hears a voice yell “Right here bitch” and whirls round to block several bullets fired at her by Rodney.
She tells him that this precious child is nothing more than a cash cow to him. “I’m going to show you how I feel about that Rodney.” Just then she hears Jane cry out for her to watch what she is doing, as the young woman narrowly avoids a ricochet. Wonder Woman suddenly fears she may inadvertently kill Jane while trying to protect her! Swiftly changing tact she removes her tiara and throws it at Rodney, knocking him to the floor. She asks the woozy pimp where he had obtained the costume? He replies that some woman had just walked up and given it to him and Diana surmises that this must have been Circe.
As she helps Jane to her feet she explains that the young woman has been targeted for death and that she is trying to find out why in the hopes that this will help the Amazon solve another problem. Surprised at this revelation, Jane says she has never hurt anyone and Diana again asks her what it is that she is so afraid of then? Jane replies that it is her step dad. She adds that she has been working to save for a plane ticket to go and visit her grandma in Oregon, but every time she has almost enough cash Rodney steals it.
Wonder Woman offers her a ride to her grandmas but first recommends Jane changes into some other clothes! Soon they are zooming through the sky and an amazed Jane cannot believe how beautiful the world looks below. As Wonder Woman carries the young girl in her arms she thinks how easy it would be to simply let go and let Jane fall to her death. She quickly chastises herself and hates Circe for pointing out such evil within her own soul.
A few minutes later they touch down outside the house and Wonder Woman resolves that there is no way on Earth she can agree to Circe’s bargain and she will just have to force the witch to return Themyscira by any other means possible. Jane excitedly knocks on the door and a sweet old lady opens it, smiling at the sight of her grand daughter on the step. But before Jane can even say a word Wonder Woman punches the old woman hard, sending her flying through the air and onto the front lawn!
Jane screams but the old woman smiles back and tells Wonder Woman that she is getting good at seeing through her illusions. Wonder Woman stands over the witch, telling Circe that she in turn is getting sloppy and that the girl’s name is not Jane – it is in fact Cynthia. Wondr Woman had seen it written under a photo of her in the album.
Circe suddenly summons two of her bestiamorphs which launch from the top window of the house and land on Wonder Woman. As the Amazon Princess struggles to grapple them off of her and avoid their snarling fangs, she spots a terrified Jane making a run for it. She cries out that it is not safe and to stay close to her, but is helpless as she watches the girl run into the street and is hit by an oncoming pick up truck. Wonder Woman screams “Nooo!” and hurling the two creatures off in fury, runs over to where Jane is lying bloodied in the road.
She cradles the dying girl, who looks up at the distraught Amazon and smiles back, murmuring “Don’t sweat it Diana…at least you got me home…”. Wonder Woman carries the girl back to the house as Circe transforms into her normal guise. She tells the furious and frustrated Amazon Princess that before she asks, the witch had simply picked this girl randomly out of the crowd. As Circe begins to dematerialize again, she bids farewell and says she has an island to bring back. She adds that she could of course double cross Wonder Woman…”But no…a deal is a deal.” She vanishes leaving a sorrowful Wonder Woman alone with Jane’s lifeless body, contemplating those words….
A short while later after having attended to the girl’s funeral arrangements Wonder Woman flies back to the location of Paradise Island, not knowing for sure if Circe has really met her side of the bargain or not. But as she approaches the location her eyes fill with tears and she sees her beautiful homeland has been reinstated. But as she looks down upon Themyscira though, she wonders at what cost…?