If some people though that by having the first regular female writer on the title the story lines would take a more “hearts and flowers” approach then they would be sorely mistaken. Gail Simone had already stated that she intended to depict Diana as the ultimate and toughest warrior in the DC Universe. So following on from the brutal fight depicted in “The Circle” story line, Diana this time first bests a Green Lantern in combat but then allows herself to be beaten to a bloody pulp by him in order to prove a point of honour!
A nice cover provided this time by Bernard Chang.
Wonder Woman asks the Green Lantern to stand down and when he refuses she asks if he makes a habit of fighting battles he cannot win. His response is to form a huge battering ram with his ring and smash the Amazon Princess into the side of the cavern wall! As she gets to her feet she realises this will not be solved by diplomacy alone and as he fires spears at her. She dodges two and catches the third and as she hurls it back at him, she muses to herself that her foe possess the most powerful weapon in the universe and cannot be harmed. She is going to need to use her brains to defeat him.
Etta wonders why a “good guy” like a Green Lantern would be fighting her and Diana replies that no two countries on Earth define “good” the same way and this is no different. She then tells her friend to find a way out of the cavern and get out of the danger zone as she unhooks her lasso and then punches the Green Lantern’s shield, shattering it!
Meanwhile back on Earth at the department of Meta Human Affairs Tom Tresser is returning from a mission accompanied by his strike team and a new recruit by the name of James Yarbrough. James cannot understand why when they stormed another supposed hideout of the Injustice Society it had not been fortified in anyway? Tom replies that if their intel is worth anything, Gorilla Grodd is definitely trying to reassemble the Society. As the two men undress and freshen up in the communal shower facilities James continues that they had managed to catch several members though. Tom replies that they were all second stringers and that he believes the whole thing was some kind of feint.
As they get dressed in the changing rooms James spots the bracelet and necklace given to Tom by Wonder Woman. A slightly embarrassed Tom explains them away as some herbal vitamin nonsense his mother begged him to try. As he bids good day to James and makes his way to his office he ponders how he had not asked to be courted by Wonder Woman – or to be loved by her. He sits at his desk and picks up a photograph taken of him and the beautiful Amazon Princess. “Maybe this is part of it” he muses. “Maybe I’m supposed to doubt.” But he realises he is trying to kind himself. He is angry because he knows he does not deserve her. Because everything about her from the inside out is about finding and uncovering the larger truth – whereas he is without doubt a liar to his very soul…
Back on the Khund home world in the ruins of the capital city, Kharhi is informed by one of his aides that his daughter, Kho, has stolen a hover speeder and raced off to save Wonder Woman. Kharhi takes the news coldly and calmly and when the surprised aide reminds him of the dangerous Ichor and how it will burn her alive he is told “so be it”.
Back in the cavern the fight between Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern continues. She persists in trying to reason with him by stating that the Ichor ship is murdering millions of Khund. “Is that the Oan principle of mercy now?” she asks. Further enraged at this, he lashes out at her and she dodges the blow and quickly assess the situation as the excellent tactician she is. So far he has made two mistakes. Whenever she mentions the Khund he falters and his manifestations become less detailed. Secondly, he has made this personal and put himself inside his creations – which means he can be touched.
She proceeds to launch a powerful attack on him, smashing her way through his manifestation and working her way towards where he resides. Finally he is overwhelmed and she smashes completely through his defences. As his creation dissolves she stands over the weakened Green Lantern, him victorious. “I’ve won the war” she thinks to herself. “But now I’m in danger of losing the peace.”
She then proceeds to hold out her hand to him and asks him to take it. His response however is far from peaceful and he instead forms a huge spiked fist and punches her across the face sending blood flying. He hits her hard again as she stands there but does not defend herself. Clearly mindless with rage he continues to pound her again and again but although her face swells from the bruising and bleeds from the multiple lacerations to her skin she refuses to fall. Finally the onslaught ceases and he is left staring in bewilderment at the beautiful Amazon’s pulverised face as she holds her hand out to him again in friendship…
Back in the capital city, Kharhi boards his personal ship and is bid a fond farewell by his men as he embarks on what will be his last act of honour…
In the cavern Kaa turns his head away in shame but Wonder Woman assures him that is not her intent and asks him to take her hand. He replies that as a Green Lantern he is responsible for this sector of the galaxy – which includes much of the Khund Empire. The Khund conquer worlds and enslave their people, making them assist in their own genocide. The planet’s resources are plundered and whole cities raised to the ground. They had attacked Kaa’s own home world while he had been away on a mission. His daughter had died in the attack. She did not believe in war but they found her anyway. The Green Lantern’s believe in justice but he is uncertain if he still shares that belief now.
Wonder Woman places a comforting hand on his shoulder and says that she is sorry for his loss. She adds though that if such a loss makes him doubt his belief in justice then he had never trulybelieved in justice at all. Kaa then responds that the Ichor are extremely powerful and he is not sure even the combined might of the Green Lanterns can change their mind. It is said that they are blood relatives of the Gods of a hundred different worlds and if they judge the Khund deserving of extinction…
“…then they are wrong and I will fight them” Wonder Woman calmly replies.
Kaa tells her she would die in an instant but she says that is not the point. Suddenly they hear a shout as Kho rushes towards them. Kaa points an accusing finger at her and snarls that her father had been the one responsible for ordering the attack on his home world. As Etta asks him to calm down and let her speak, Kho frantically tells the Amazon Princess that her father intends to launch a radioactive suicide bomb to wipe out the whole Khund planet and take the Ichor with him. Wonder Woman says she will try and stop him but Kho replies that if he sees her approach he will simply detonate the device sooner. He had sent Diana here to distract the Green Lantern and understanding, Wonder Woman takes Kaa’s hand and holds it up to show him the ring on his finger. The guardians had given him this for a reason. “This ring you bear it watches you. Your actions today will echo for eternity.”
“But my people…my daughter” he falters. Wonder Woman responds that they are all part of this. He will help her stop Kho not in spite of them but because of them. Will he dishonour them by aiding the theft of life or will he instead fight to preserve it?
High above in the atmosphere Kho positions his ship ready to detonate. Wonder Woman and Kaa suddenly streak into view and Diana smashes the cockpit..
Back in the cavern below Etta and Kho have been left alone. Etta decides to make herself useful and addresses the Ichor ship…
Impressed by her strength and tenacity, Kho nevertheless manages to press the detonator and his ship explodes raining down radioactive particles…
Etta tells the Ichor that while she understands they may think they are doing something good by wiping out the Khund so that they will be prevented from destroying future civilisations, but will their actions not simply continue the cycle of revenge and killing?…
Wonder Woman instructs Kaa to use his ring and ensure he catches every last particle. The Green Lantern desperately tries to do as she says as the deadly debris falls ever closer to the planet’s surface…
Etta continues that they cannot destroy a planet in the name of compassion. She recognises she is just a lieutenant colonel from a small planet a long way away but even she knows that. How can they be so powerful, so great, and not know that? She adds that while she understands they cannot stop the Ichor – have they not already shed enough blood today? Etta is then shocked to suddenly hear a voice emanate from the ship. “A “lieutenant colonel” must be a grand thing indeed, small one.”
A few minutes later Wonder Woman returns carrying a weak Kaa. She says that the Green Lantern showed his true colours today and served with honour. Diana tells Kho she was unable to save Kharhi and is told that he had died to save his people’s honour and that no regret is needed. Wonder Woman suddenly realises that the Ichor ship has gone and Etta explains that she had tried to reason with them. They had told her to tell Diana what a wise friend she had and that the Amazon Princess was now personally responsible for any interplanetary crimes committed by the Khund Empire.
“And one more thing they told me to tell you. They said they’d be back. For you.” Etta adds that she does not know what they meant by that last part and Diana says she is afraid to speculate. Just then Kaa stirs and says that by helping the Khund he too has now put his own world in danger. Once he has taken Wonder Woman and Etta back to Earth the Khund will surely regroup and finish the job they started there. Wonder Woman thinks for a moment and replies “Perhaps not Procanon Kaa. Perhaps there is another way”.
The wise Amazon Princess them explains that there is an ancient way by which feuding kingdoms ceased hostilities. But that it takes a complexity of heart that few beings possess. In other words, they form a treaty…a merging by decree. Kaa has no daughter and Kho has no father. “Be kind.” Wonder Woman says. “Find it within you to show compassion. That symbol you wear will not allow you the luxury of revenge.”
Sometime later after returning Etta and Wonder Woman back to Earth, Kaa begins to instruct his newly adopted daughter Kho the ways of the Oan and the Green Lanterns!