After the furore and rabid debate that followed the debut of Straczynski’s new story arc at the end of Issue 600 -and in particular, the introduction of the controversial new costume, he finally got the opportunity to try and re-focus attention back to the story he wanted to tell. During a panel at Comic-Con he explained what he had in store for readers. “Somebody changed the timeline so that Paradise Island was destroyed many years ago,” Straczynski said of “Wonder Woman”. He referred to Schroedinger’s Cat, the idea that there are two quantum possibilities which are both real until one is observed. “There’s something going on, and it involves Schroedinger’s Cat” he stated and indeed, in this issue, Diana sees a vision of her former home on Themyscira and her “other” self wearing her iconic costume – existing in another reality.
As Diana looks around her at the devastation that was once her former home of Themyscira, the Oracle explains how it is now too dangerous for what is left of the Amazon race to return here. She tells Diana that this was their home before the darkness fell. The vision then changes to show how life was before this dark time – where a joyous Queen Hippolyta watched adoringly as her daughter, Diana, played in the paradise of the palace gardens.
The Oracle recounts how the Queen ruled with a strong hand and a gentle heart. As she adds that it was her love for Diana that kept her safe, the Amazon Princess snaps back that she is fully aware of that love and that it is the only thing left to her to remember. She then asks how her mother had died. The Oracle hesitates but Diana insists, stating that all of this started with Hippolyta’s death and if she has any chance of staying alive and defeating whoever is trying to wipe out the remainder of the Amazons it has to start here. “Show me” she asks again, resolutely.
The Oracle complies and the vision changes to a scene of fire and destruction as the Amazons, dressed in their warrior garb and equipped with bow, arrow and sword, do battle against the marauding throng of men storming the island with machine guns. The Oracle tells Diana how, when Aphrodite removed her protection from Themyscira, it had not taken long for the World of Men to discover that the Amazons were now exposed and vulnerable. They had attacked in successive waves, each crashing against Themyscira’s shores harder then the last one. Many of the Amazons had left the island following Hippolyta’s orders to scatter to the four corners of the Earth in hope that some might survive the bloodbath to come.
The men’s’ weapons had been ensorcelled by forces unknown, making them capable of striking down even the strongest of the Amazons. Unable to imagine a world without their Queen, the Amazons had begged Hippolyta to flee with Diana but she would not abandon her home. Hippolyta instead ordered a few of her trusted circle to leave the island by boat at night taking her daughter with them and to protect her no matter what. In turn they had assured their beloved Queen that they would guard Diana with their lives and train her until she was ready and her powers were in full bloom. Waving a sad goodbye, Hippolyta had watched the vessel depart before taking up her arms and leading the final defense against their attackers.
Stirring her sisters to fight to the last she had cried out “Bring fire! Bring Steel! Bring pain! Bring death! This is our home and we will not submit! Bring rage! Bring Horror! Bring blood! Our lives are our own and we will not surrender! Bring all you have against us! But we shall…not…YIELD!”.
It was the Amazons’ finest moment. But in the end they had been defeated. The men captured Hippolyta and bound in a magic lasso, forced her to watch as they killed the wounded. Finally, their attackers’ leader, holding the lasso, had ordered the humbled Queen to explain where the remaining Amazons had fled to. In particular – her daughter. He had reminded the Queen that even with her undoubted willpower she could not hold out against the compelling power of the lasso wrapped around her. Hippolyta looked up at his face calmly and agreed that in time she would eventually have to yield – “A pity then that you shall not have that time”. With that she had then launched herself up off her knees and bowling him out of the way, had hurled herself into one of the funeral pyres. As the flames engulfed her she had cried out defiantly that her daughter would arise from her ashes and he would never know a day of peace again. In that moment, when he finally felt himself safe and had escaped his past..she would strike him down and all who served him!” In a final scream of agony she cries out “DIANNNAAA”…
He watched her death throes and as the lasso finally fell lose around her charred corpse he removed it from the flames and wrapped it around his upper arm, scorching his own flesh in the process as a badge of honour. He had then ordered his men to loot the island of its gold and diamonds as their reward and then burn the rest of the city to the ground.
The Oracle asks if Diana has seen enough. “Yes” she says quietly. She tells a stunned Amazon Princess that the past they had just witnessed isn’t the past that was. Something has happened and they have to put it right. “Something changed ” she says. In reply, Diana simply states “I’m going to kill them. All of them.”
The Oracle escorts Diana back towards the Amazons’ hideout and tells her that the other surviving Amazons are still being hunted. They are counting on Diana to protect them. “I will.” she replies. “But the best way I can protect them is to to get rid of those who want to hurt them.”
A short while later in a surveillance operation hidden inside a disguised ice cream truck, a group of men continue to monitor the surrounding area in hope of picking up Diana’s trail and any of the other Amazons. Although they’ve been looking for months it is like looking for a needle in a haystack and after another unsuccessful night they set off back to their headquarters – unaware that their quarry is riding atop the truck!
As they pull into the facility he leaps off unseen and up onto the roof. Peering down through the skylight she sees them talking about how the “Big Man” was going to be paying a rare personal visit tonight for a progress report. And at least they will have some good news for him for a change as they have discovered another pocket of Amazon survivors – who they have pinned down in a small desert area north of Ankara in Turkey. A team will be taking off from the runway in the next minute to finish the job.
Suddenly Diana sees a limousine pull up and realises it is her target – the mysterious leader of the men – but she has also sworn to protect her Amazon sisters and she must now make a choice. She does so and swiftly she leaps down, running along the runway before hurling herself onto the tail plane of the aircraft as it lifts off. Holding on tightly as she is buffeted by the air currents whipping around her, she smiles as she recalls a conversation with her protectors back in her teenage years. She had asked them why she was still not able to fly and they had explained that in time she would be able to fly – and that in another time she did fly – and when the day comes when the rest of her powers come into full force she would fly – but not today.
She drifts off into a brief slumber as the plane continues its flight to Turkey. In her dreams she sees a vision of herself wearing her iconic costume and wielding the lasso and she suddenly wakes up – confused by the vision she has seen now on numerous occasions whenever she sleeps. What does it mean?” she wonders. Just then she sees they are now flying over desert and hears the radio operator in the cockpit state that they are approaching their target. She leaps off and plummets hundreds of feet to the ground, effortlessly landing on her feet with the grace of a cat.
She sprints towards a hillside in the distance from where she can see smoke rising. Again, she hears the words of her protectors in her mind stating that it is down to her to protect her fellow Amazon sisters who await her return – and vengeance upon their aggressors. As she reaches the top of the ridge and looks down, seeing a badly damaged and burning Amazon temple surrounded by tanks and armoured cars she hears their final words. “They are waiting to be saved Diana”.