Gail Simone’s more “jokey”, tongue in cheek style can occasionally polarize fans’ opinions. Simone used a structure to her run of alternating between serious, high drama story lines and more light-hearted ones like this issue, which next month would be followed by the highly anticipated (and much hyped) “Rise of The Olympian” six part epic.
In the meantime in this particular issue, once again she uses the opportunity to examine the potential pitfalls of Hollywood attempting to make a “Wonder Woman” movie without truly understanding the character’s heritage, history and motives. Ironically this would become all too clear in real life when David E Kelley tried to bring Wonder Woman back to TV screens with his totally misjudged pilot show, which met with overwhelming negative reviews and derision in equal measure.
This issue closes on a more personal, thought provoking note as Diana explores her feelings towards having children for the first real time since a conversation with Inza in Dr. Fate #40.
As the stunned camera crews on the movie lot continue to film the spectacle before them, Wonder Woman burst in to action and unwinds herself from the lassos binding her before pummelling the various other incarnations of herself.
Cherri, totally checked by events and wondering what has happened to her boss, asks the Queen of Fables what she is doing to Wonder Woman. She is told that Diana is not “Wonder Woman”, she is “Snow White”. The Queen then casually picks Cherri up by grasping her neck before hurling her high into the sky like some discarded piece of rubbish.
Meanwhile Diana continues to pick off her last opponents before leaping up to catch Cherri mid air before she hurtles to the ground. A grateful Cherri asks if Diana is an angle and when the Amazon Princess says no, Cherri replies “I prayed for you and you came…maybe you are and you just don’t know it”. Diana responds “Um…that is a complicated proposition.” She then ensures Cherri is safely away from the studio by dropping her off at the famous Hollywood sign.
As Wonder Woman races back to confront her nemesis she recalls their previous encounter…of how the Queen really is the nightmare from the children’s fables of an untold number of worlds, how she’s always seen everything through the eyes of her stories hating untold princes and cinder-maids, and of all the characters on every world she hates one most of all – The Princess. Raven haired and ruby lips. Snow White – whom she believes is Diana.
Wonder Woman swoops down and grabs the Queen, soaring back up into the sky, demanding that she ceases her attack as she had almost killed Cherri. The Queen replies that nobody cares if the blood of an incidental player is split and it merely sweetens the peril’s perfume. In the Queen’s mind, she sees Diana dressed in the trappings of a fairy tale princess as the Amazon tells her that before she uses the lasso to bind her, she wants to know how the Queen had made all this happen? What had happened to the real Laney Kirswel?
Wonder Woman is told that Laney was eaten by a big bad wolf. The Queen continues that she is the mistress of tales and who in all the lands tells more tales than these hollywood people. “Why shouldn’t I command them? I’ve even learned some new words like….CUT!”.
Suddenly, Wonder Woman finds herself standing on a Themysciran beach film set. She sees an actress playing Hippolyta kneeling in the sands, bemoaning how she has broken the laws of love. As an annoyed Diana tells her that she should stop this farce and that she has no right to mock her mother who is a living being. But “Hippolyta” cries out to that her baby Diana who she cradles in her arms must never know that Hercules is her true father. Wonder Woman thinks to herself “Oh my Goddess” This thing is going to be the biggest bomb in film history”.
The scene quickly changes again and this time the set becomes the royal palace where “Hippolyta” and a now slightly older “Diana” discuss with the Amazons the most dangerous beast in the world. The other Amazons explain to “Diana” that Man is full of horrible lust, hunger for raw meat, alcohol and sex. As Wonder Woman listens she holds her head in her hand in despair “I didn’t even know I was capable of having a migraine! Why is it that people feel that a belief in women equals a hatred of men? I can’t look!”.
The scene continues as the Amazons tell the young “Diana” that men love war, mistreat their women and worst of all, they leave the toilet seat up! With that they chant “Kill the men! Kill the men!” and Wonder Woman muses how this would be a diplomatic nightmare as the world already fears her people.
Just then a plane in flames hurtles across the sky and a lone figure parachutes from the crashing plane. “Diana”, now a young woman, races to aid the handsome pilot and tells her disapproving mother that she loves him. Wonder Woman rolls her eyes and wonders what Steve would think. Finally having heard more than she can take she cries out “Enough!” and warns the Queen that she will not stand by and simply observe while she slanders her people and loved ones. “Do you think I won’t stop you?”.
Sitting in a director’s chair surrounded by the faux “Wonder Women” she had created, the Queen says that Diana is right and that it is no fun unless the Amazon Princess participates in proceedings. She decides to skip ahead in the storyline and conjures up a huge Coliseum set in which Wonder Woman finds herself kneeling, wrists bound behind her back, in the middle of the arena as two axe wielding centaurs thunder towards her. “I give you the contest!”. bellows the Queen from her royal box overlooking the arena.
Wonder Woman ducks just in time as a Centaur swipes at her head and lops a small strand of hair from her. “Well, she got one small detail right” think Diana, “The Centaurs and I never really got along!”. With that, Wonder Woman leaps to her feet and into the air as another axe blow misses her. She takes a few seconds to assess her situation. Arms bound tightly by some twisted version of her own lasso. Two magically powered beings with a lust for her blood and magic axes from Hephaestus himself. And a phalanx of Amazons willing to shoot her if she tries to leave the stadium. “That’s entertainment.” Wonder Woman decides her tactics and as the two Centaurs charge her again she launches into the air and feet first kicks both creatures to the ground before they know what has hit them. One the of the axes sails into the air as it’s owner flails and crashes to the ground and as the weapon tumbles back towards the ground Wonder Woman positions herself underneath it. The axe slices right through the faux lasso and Wonder Woman turns to the royal box, challenging the Queen to a fitting climatic battle.
The Queen transforms herself into a dragon and reaches down for the Amazon Princess. In response, Wonder Woman defends herself with the two axes. which she uses to blind the creatures by striking both eyes. Howling in pain the Queen unleashes a magical purple fire striking Diana at point blank. Wonder Woman staggers, trying to regain her senses and grabs the creatures lashing tail. “You chose the wrong venue. Because we are in an arena. And in any arena, real or imagined…I am invincible!”. With that she tears the tail completely off and the Queen screams again, transforming back into her true form.
Wonder Woman stands over the blinded Queen and says “I’m afraid Queen, that I have to give this film project the thumbs down!” The Queen spits back that she will have her revenge and Diana know that in truth, she cannot really kill the villainess. But you can surely work up a good sweat getting near! She grabs the Queen who cries out “Nooooo!”.
A short while later after the Queen has made a hasty retreat and reality returns, the studio personnel pick through the ruins of the set and come to terms with the fact that the project had been over budget, Laney has been some demon witch all along, the cast refuses to work in case they are turned into zombies again and Wonder Woman does not support the project in any shape or form.
As Wonder Woman and her two ape bodyguards depart she tells the studio execs that waiting a while for a good movie is better than having a terrible movie today!
Several days later at the home of Allison Condero, Wonder Woman touches down on her balcony and is warmly greeted this time by the attorney who says she had been expecting Diana. Allison tells the Amazon Princess that she had been right about her back in the office that day when she had told the attorney “It’ll be al right if you stop now”. She asks Diana how she had known that Allison had a drink problem? Wonder Woman replies that she has a sense about secrets in people. As they go inside Allison says that Wonder Woman could have destroyed them all and ruined their careers for good with a few words to the press. Diana replies that her people have a saying “Don’t kill if you can wound. Don’t wound if you can subdue. Don’t subdue if you can pacify. And don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.”
Allison then goes on to explain that she had hit the bottle after her divorce, feeling so lonely and helpless as she was left to bring up her two small daughters on her own. Wonder Woman sees a crayon drawing of her on the wall and Allison says that both girls idolize her. She continues that she regrets her words in the office and that she had been resentful towards the Amazon Princess. She does her very best to make her girls happy and guess she wanted them to idolize her for a change.
Wonder Woman hugs the attorney and says that apologies are not necessary. “Forgiven and forgotten” she says. Allison begins to cry and says that while she is happy tonight, what does she do on the other nights when she has no Amazon visitor to keep her honest? “You find the Amazon that will never leave you” replies Diana. She then hands over a box containing toy Amazon bracelets and says that she will just leave these here for the girls but Allison insist that she wakes the girls up now as they would never forgive her for letting Wonder Woman visit without them saying hello.
They go up the the bedroom and the girls wake up stunned to see their idol standing in the room, smiling at them. She hugs them as Allison takes a photograph as a memento. A short while later Diana is saying her goodbyes outside and Allison thanks her once again.
As Wonder Woman lifts up into the night sky waving back at the them, she thinks to herself. “Children. Their joy is infectious, they laugh completely without reserve. My life is changing so much lately. I can imagine things duty would not allow, previously. Children. I wonder?”