After all the rumours regarding which “big name” writer would replace Gail Simone, DC finally announced that from issue 601 (following the anniversary issue renumbering), J.M. Straczynski would not only take over writing duties on “Wonder Woman” but would also be writing “Superman”. To whet fans appetites, he would be writing an introduction story for #600 alongside Simone’s ‘swan song’ story that would set the stage for his first story arc – and which according to Dan Dido during a convention panel “would involve the destruction of Themyscira – and things get worse from there.”
Each new writer obviously always wants to make a big impression in their initial story arcs, but destroying the Amazon’s homelands was becoming a little common. John Byrne’s much loathed run began with a similar’ destruction’ story line and fans were hoping that this was not an ominous omen for what Straczynski’s run had to offer. Time would tell.
For now, Simone gives us her final story arc – with a nod to Wonder Woman’s past (see issue 252, volume 1) plus the talented Nicola Scott gives us her lush artwork.
Green Lanterns Procanon Kaa, Thulka Re and Kho Kharhi approach a planet named Talcyion Omega. The planet is desolated but Kaa tells the other two Lanterns that when he had last visited this planet had been populated by artisans, farmers and fisherman. They had no predators and the climate and food supply was more than adequate. They had never known fear. They would not know to run or fight.
Thulka Re asks when Kaa had last visited this wasteland and he replies “seventy five minutes ago”.
He then instructs them to fan and out and search for survivors. Kho Kharhi uses his ring to scour the landscape and detects a faint signal – a single life form. They race over to a blocked cave and as Thulka clears the debris they see a small infant cowering at the back of the cave. The scared infant explains that the invaders came in great ships that dropped parcels, scarring the land with craters. The parcels scattered tiny fanged beings that crawled through their ears and mouths. She could see them eating her family, growing fatter, and she ran to hide. She watched as the creatures ate her people and grew fat, turning into huge snakes. Then they turned on each other until only a few remained – big as mountains. Then the ships returned for the remaining snakes and took them away.
Suddenly they all hear a hissing sound and see thousands of small snakes approaching the cave entrance. The Lanterns raise a shield but the creatures pass through and attack, piercing Kaa. Kho Kharhi bravely makes a stand and tells Thulka Re to make an escape with Kaa and the child. Reluctantly she obeys and manages to flee with the others leaving Kho Kharhi to be overwhelmed and devoured by the snakes.
A short while later on board the invaders ship, A mysterious woman wearing a hood over her head watches as a single, now very fat snake is brought onboard. A machine pierces it’s flesh and drains the blood it has devoured. She sees that some of the blood belongs to the deceased Green Lantern and licks her lips…
Meanwhile back on Earth, Steve Trevor watches as Wonder Woman assists in the clear up of the site upon which once stood the Department of Meta Human Affairs. He says she does not have to do this but she replies that many D.M.A. agents were killed here and that Amazons pay their debts.
He nervously asks if they had ever found the body of Genocide and Wonder Woman says know, although they had looked high and low for it. Steve responds that Etta seems like her old self again but that he does not want “that thing” coming back. She inquires if he is asking her to kill it next time? He says yes but she replies that she only kills when there is no other way. He nods in understanding but asks that she keeps looking for it nevertheless. He then adds that they are re-opening the D.M.A. and she still has a job. “We’re going international and be under U.N. mandate. Wanna don the white suit again Agent Prince?” She replies “Let me think it over Steve.”
Suddenly the skies darken with a green tinge and they look skywards…
On board the invaders ship, a lieutenant informs the hooded woman named Astarte, who she refers to as “Captain” that the green shield has been engaged over the city. Astarte orders that the first of the eggs be launched.
Down below Wonder Woman and Steve watch as hundreds of eggs rain down with fiery trails on Washington DC. She shoves Steve out of the way of one as it hits the ground. She tells him to take cover as eggs hit the ground all over the city with explosive force. Wonder Woman launches into the air and begins to punch the projectiles into pieces.
On the ship the lieutenant advises that they appear to have some sort of gifted champion as a first responder. Astarte asks if her abilities are technological and is told that it does not appear so. As Astarte prepares to go down to the planet she orders them to keep an eye on this individual. The lieutenant then says that she wishes to raise her objections to the Captain going down with the landing party. She is smashed across the face byAstarte’s gun and told in no uncertain terms to not question her leader again. She then leaves the bridge…
Elsewhere in the city Steve has made it back to the hospital where Etta is watching the falling projectiles. As one lands in the street below creating a crater, she watches as the egg opens up and a hand claws it’s way up to the surface. She asks Steve to get her gun…
Not far away Wonder Woman continues to defend the city and approaches the ship. But as she tries to smash her way in she is deflected back by a green shield. It becomes clear that the entire city is covered by the shield meaning that none of the Justice League will be coming to her aid any time soon. She recognises the shield as being Oan technology.
Suddenly a couple of fighters launch from the vessel and open fire on her. She uses her bracelets to deflect the energy beams which are also Green Lantern in nature. She engages with the fighter craft, smashing them from the sky…
Below at the White House, the President is being hurried down a corridor to the bunker but Astarte and her troops smash through the roof and confronts them, shooting all of the guards bar a female. The President ask what her demands are and Astarte replies that they have none. But there is a way for his world to at least be remembered when they are done. She then notices the American Flag hanging on the wall and asks what is its significance? The President replies that it’s the symbol of his nation. The stripes represent the original colonies in their union and the stars are the number of states in their land today.
He then again asks what she wants and is told that his world is merely food for them. Whatever technology they have will be eventually absorbed into their own. He is to select 100 of the most accomplished people of his planet. They will go with them and become civilised. All women. She gives him two hours to make the selections. The female bodyguard opens fire on the advancing Astarte but she is protected by another shield and she punches the guard – saying “Hmmm…not citizen material.”
Back up above the city Wonder Woman continues to smash her way through the ship’s defenses. As Astarte returns to her ship she is told that the Amazon is till causing them problems. Astarte orders them to fire the cannon. The Lieutenant reminds her that their own ships and pilots are still out there but a furious Astarte orders her to do it.
Outside, the cannon tracks Wonder Woman and the Amazon Princes hears the sound too late before being struck by the powerful beam of energy. She plummets earthwards, hitting the ground and creating a large crater. As she groggily gets to her feet she hears a voice and looking up, sees that Astarte is standing there on the crater rim. She says “Stay down Diana. You have one chance to live! I can’t show any favouritism. But you could easily be one of the few we take with us”. Wonder Woman replies that her opponent is a would-be conqueror and that she is not impressed. Astarte responds “Is that what I am? Is that all you se in me?” and removes her hood, telling Wonder Woman to take a good look. “Take a look in my eyes Diana. I am the one whom fortune did not favour. I am your aunt, Princess. Your mother is my sister!”