At last, Gail Simone finally makes her debut on “Wonder Woman”. The level of anticipation and expectation resting on her shoulders must have felt immense, as she takes over the title following one of the worst handled re launches of a major comic book character in years. Wonder Woman’s readership had dropped off alarmingly over the previous few months as even loyal fans began abandoning the book in numbers, following DC’s misjudged appointment of Heinberg, the subsequent erratic publishing schedule, Jodi Picoult’s obvious unfamiliarity with her source material during her own run and the almost unanimous derision heaped upon the “Amazons Attack!” cross over event. The suits at DC realised that drastic action was required before all hope of recovering the book was lost and decided that Gail Simone was the right person for the job. Simone was already a respected writer in the industry and had gone on the record in expressing her admiration and affection for the character of “Wonder Woman”. Many fans too felt that she was the perfect writer to handle such an iconic female role model.
And so, once the industry reviews and fan forum opinions had been collated following the publishing of issue 14, it became clear that the overwhelming consensus was that Simone’s debut issue was a resounding success. Using her trademark style of incorporating humour, intrigue and action, Simone managed to at last give Diana a voice, a sense of purpose and a clear direction. She even had the courage to hint at a minor ret con relating to Diana’s origin story – something that fans would normally have been up in arms about had it been tried by any other writer.
Simone, who also had writing duties on the “All New Atom” title, took the wise decision to include the Amazon Princess in that title for a few issues too, allowing other readers that would otherwise never pick up the “Wonder Woman” book a chance to experience her take on Diana.
However, only time would tell whether this period of acceptance would merely prove to be a honeymoon period, before the notoriously demanding Wonder Woman fan base began to take issues with her interpretation of their beloved character! For now though, many fans were daring to hope that with this issue, a new golden era for “Wonder Woman” was about to commence – something not experienced since George Perez’s acclaimed run in the mid eighties.
Alone on Themyscira after the events of “Amazons Attack!”, Hippolyta runs through the forest at night to a secret dungeon in the north of the island. She holds a lantern up in the gloomy corridor and asks the unseen captive in the dungeon if they repent. The answer comes back “No”. She then travels wets to another dungeon and asks the same question – receiving the same answer. She repeats this exercise in the east and south. At the final location however, as she turns to leave the captive reminds her that on the same day every year, the Amazon Queen goes through the same ritual. The answer she gets to her question never changes yet she continues to ask it year in year out. Hippolyta reminds the captive that it is the law.
The captive then hands her a tiara hand crafted from wood. The queen takes it hesitantly and reminds the individual who she refers to as Alkyone that she had killed and betrayed her people. Alkyone snaps back that it was in fact Hippolyta who had betrayed them all when she given birth to Diana. Alkyone then begs the queen to slay her daughter and make the Amazons a tribe again. Hippolyta replies that Diana is her daughter and Alkyone says that the queen should perhaps let Diana decide for herself after being told the truth. Hippolyta snaps the tiara in half and exiting the dungeon, responds that she will not tell Diana that which would break her daughter’s heart yet again…
End of Prologue
In the shallows of an African river, Wonder Woman confronts a group of super powered apes, who are intent on slaying her! Their leader tells her that they have been genetically enhanced by Gorilla Grodd and given extraordinary combat abilities in order to slaughter humans. They have been designed specifically to kill Superman and she will therefore prove to be a test case. The Amazon Princess casually replies “I’m honoured” and preparing herself for combat smiles, “Shall we?”.
The gorillas attack and Wonder Woman uses her well honed skills to comfortably battle her way through the mob. As their leader advances with a spear she catches the blade between her hands before using her lasso to snare him and hurl him over a waterfall! She dives down into the water after him and hefts him up, before dunking him back under again. She tells him she only wishes to speak and as his comrades close in to assist him, he at last orders his fellow apes to cease the attack momentarily. The leader introduces himself as Tolifhar and she ask him if Grodd had told him that all humans wanted them dead? He warns her not to mock him and snarls that they have seen the poachers at work and their comrades meat hanging for sale in the market places. She calmly replies that Grodd is adept at adorning lies with truth, but that she promises she will do her best to end such atrocities. Crossing her arms in the traditional salute she gives him her word as an Amazon.
She continues that Tolifhar and his kind were not meant for ambushes in the night. Grodd has made them see a darkness in every light. That is not the life for him or those he leads. Tolifhar responds that their own people will punish them for what they have attempted today and Diana assures him that she will speak to the council on their behalf and plead for leniency after a “cooling off” period – on the understanding that he and his comrades swear not to attack another human. He respectfully takes hold of the end of the lasso she offers him and giving his pledge, he and his comrades all bow their heads and kneel in subjugation to her.
As he gets back up Tolifhar says that Grodd had warned them that she would be vengeful. She smiles back that she knows exactly who she is and that vengeance is for those who do not. She adds that in the meantime, although the Gods have banned her from Themyscira, she might just have a for a place in which the apes can temporarily stay…
The next day Diana, now in her Agent Prince guise, prepares to go to work and says goodbye to the group of apes who have now taken up residence in her apartment. As she hears a knock at the door she asks her guests to make themselves scarce and opens the door to reveal Tom Tresser. As he barges his way inside for a nose around her apartment, she is relieved to find that the apes have hidden themselves and her work colleague suspects nothing.
As she and Tom set off together to the Department of Meta Human Affairs the apes, who have been hiding outside, comment that Diana and Tom have obvious chemistry and that they “will mate soon, if they haven’t already.”!
A short while later as Diana and Tom arrive at their office the Amazon Princess is surprised to find herself greeted by her colleagues who have sprung a surprise birthday party for her! As the celebration begins and Tom reveals he had snuck a look at her personal files to discover her date of birth, Sarge Steel interrupts proceedings to enquire how Diana had come across the intel regarding Grodd and his attempts to reactivate the “Society” cell based in Toronto. She replies “Just the usual chatter Director” and he agrees with her threat assessment, instructing her and Tom to take charge of a strike team to investigate the lead in Toronto further.
Steel then returns to his office where he is greeted by Lt. Colonel Etta Candy. He tells her that he has requested her as an outsider from the Department of Meta Human Affairs to investigate agent Diana Prince, whom he believes has connections to the Amazons who had invaded Washington DC and who as a result may pose a security risk. Candy assures him that if Agent Prince has in some manner betrayed America, she will make Diana “regret the day she was born”.
Later that night Diana and Tom break into a building which is believed to be being used by the Society. As they make their way stealthily through the gloomy offices they suddenly find themselves confronted by a brute of a man who introduces himself as Captain Nazi! He tells the agents that the other members of the society have been killed as they had no further use.
As Diana attacks the advancing Nazi with a mace it shatters on contact and Captain Nazi responds by punching her, sending Diana flying backwards into Tom! Captain Nazi then grabs Diana about the throat and holding her up against the wall, continues to explain that he and his comrades want a place of their own…a country where their beliefs are no longer outlawed…a country too foolish to have even the mildest forms of defense in place.
As the struggling Diana asks who his comrades are and he replies that he refers to his “genealogical brethren”, hundreds of miles away off shore a squadron of heavily armoured nazis are wading ashore as they begin their invasion of Themyscira!