Once again this issue shows evidence of “patching up”, as another varied art team endeavour to bring the book back on schedule after the interruption caused by Straczynski’s sudden and unexpected departure. Once more we see glimmers of the old Diana and more subtle imagery of her wearing her iconic costume.
Meanwhile, NBC Studios – who had picked up the rights to develop David E. Kelley’s new “revisionist” Wonder Woman TV show – announced that they had found their new ‘Diana’ in the form of relative unknown actress Adrianne Palicki, who many years later would star as Mockingbird in ABC’s “Marvel: Agents of Shield”.
Again, supposed leaked versions of the script sparked much debate and controversy – as evidenced when another actress’s audition tape appeared on You Tube, in which she was allegedly reading from the actual draft script. The scene seemed to depict a Diana wholly unrecognisable by most fans – a seemingly whiny, self conscious corporate executive who appeared to be body obsessed and who behaved and spoke more like “Power Girl” than she did “Wonder Woman”!
As the skeleton army attacks Diana launches a ferocious counter attack, her blood pumping and her anger boiling as she revels in the destruction of her enemy, who has caused her so much recent tragedy and pain. She knows that this “fire” inside her burns so savagely, that her Amazon sisters are almost fearful and in denial that such violence and vengeance can exist in one whom they see as being of such pure innocence. But Diana craves justice and she will not stop until she has achieved it!
After a minute or so of battle Orithia places a gentle hand on the Princess’ shoulder and says that enough is enough – lest she means to grind every last tooth into dust? Around them their skeleton foes lie broken and shattered on the ground, torn apart by Diana’s fury. She finally sags to her knees, murmuring how they had been trying to prevent her from saving Harry. She peers down into the pit from which the army had originally emerged and surmises that they had been protecting this pit because it serves as an entrance to the labyrinth below.
As Diana begins to clamber down inside, Orithia states again that this whole set up smells like a trap, but the Amazon Princess replies that she does not care and that they can stay here if they want but that she will not let anybody else die today because of her. Realising Diana is referring to Philippus, Orithia responds that the Amazon Captain had died they way all of them hoped to – defending their ideals and way of life. But Diana disagrees and states bluntly “No, she died because I was too stupid to take care of myself.”
Orithia replies that if she believes that, then she diminishes Philippus’ memory. Amazons are bound by something greater than blood, deeper than loyalty. “We call each other ‘sister’ for a reason. We are a family by choice and there is no greater honour than to fall in defense of your family. And you are our family’s last, best hope.” As Orithia and the others follow her down though, Diana says that Harry swore no such oath to the Amazons and she will not let him pay for her mistakes with his life. “Our honour demands no less.”
Realising that Diana’s mind is made up Orithia reluctantly replies. “Then lead the way Princess…”
Meanwhile back at the Amazon hideout a sentry is making small talk with the ensorcelled lions when suddenly an arrow flies from nowhere and cuts down the stunned guard. The Lions call the alarm and Artemis, flanked by Cheetah and Giganta, advance across the street towards the entrance. As the Lions prepare to defend the dwelling Giganta attacks, lunging at the statues with her axe and smashing them into rubble! As the other Amazons take up their arms and prepare to make a stand against the intruders, a smiling Artemis relishes the forthcoming slaughter of those she regards as her “traitorous” sisters…
Back in the depths of the labyrinth, Diana leads the other Amazons down a passageway decorated with wall mosaics. Holding up her burning torchlight she studies the figures, which seem to depict the Morrigan in battle with the Amazons, lead by a woman wearing a brightly coloured red blue and gold costume and who appears to be an Amazon herself. An intrigued Diana places her hand on the figure, realising it is the same woman as represented by the numerous dolls they had found scattered on the floor of the abandoned temple. The image almost calls to Diana on a certain level and she seems to be on the verge of making a connection when suddenly she hears Harry call out for his mother.
Snapping out of her fixation, Diana leads the other Amazons, racing down the passageway to a locked door which she immediately kicks open. Inside she finds the Minotaur holding onto the frightened child. As it stammers “I..I will not harm him” she punches the creature hard in anger, sending it flying across the room! She kneels down and hugs the shivering boy, promising that he is safe now and that she will take him back to his mother.
Just then one of the Amazons spots the Minotaur trying to make an escape and Diana swiftly unhooks her lasso and ensnares the creature around the neck. But he proves too strong for her and he drags her across the floor. In a rage she cries out “Stop! I said….STOP!”. Instantly the creature freezes on the spot, unable to disobey her order while encircled by the magic golden rope. The other Amazons stare in amazement, having only ever seen their queen, Hippolyta, be able to use the lasso in this manner.
As Diana instructs them to tie the other end of the lasso to a pillar, she stands over the creature and demands to know why he had taken the boy? Initially he remains silent but as she viscously yanks on the rope around his neck he cries out “The Morrigan!”. He continues to explain that they had taken his humanity and turned him into this creature. The Morrigan are the force behind the armies assembled against her…two twisted Goddesses in search for a third to share their power. “You, I imagine” he adds. He continues that the Huntsman and he had been sent to kill her, but he now believes that the Morrigan knew that they would almost certainly not be successful. Failing that, they were to goad Diana…anger her…and chip away at her nobility. “Make you more like them.”
He tells her that he had been ordered to slaughter the woman and child she sought to protect, but that he could not bring himself to do so. He had been a soldier when human and nota murderer. There is enough humanity underneath his beastly hide to resist that kind of atrocity.
“But you still abducted the boy” Diana reminds him. He responds that the Morrigan are cruel and to totally defy them is to open a gate to hell. He was tasked to lead Diana here to the boy’s corpse in order to distract her. Her eyes open wide on hearing this and she quickly asks “From what?”. He tells the horrified Diana and the other Amazons that an army has been sent to destroy her sisters. Once they are erased it will make it easier for the Morrigan to either turn the Amazon Princess to their side – or to kill her.
As the group try to radio through to the Amazon hideout they can get no signal and Orithia says that they must return home immediately. As Diana asks what is to be done with Harry, they see the lasso suddenly snap tight as the Minotaur throws himself off the edge of a precipice and hangs himself! Once more horrified by yet more death around her, Diana begins to haul the creature back up and asks the others to help her. But the other Amazons state that their fellow sisters may be dying right now across town and that she should leave his carcass here to rot. But unlike the others, Diana can see his pure, human soul still trapped in the body of the creature and bound by the lasso – and says that she must free him. Orithia tells her that according to legend Hippolyta’s lasso could bind spirits – and even destroy them.
The other Amazons are of the opinion that she should indeed destroy this one too, as he deserves no less. But as Diana looks on at the wretched soul which is begging for release and Orithia encourages her to kill it, she refuses -saying that is what the Morrigan would want her to do. She adds that her mother loved mercy and built an empire in its name. And when the queen fought she fought only to defend it. “She taught me that.” Diana murmurs, remembering her mother’s face.
And so, as she removes the lasso and tells the spirit it is free to depart, it replies that its name was once “Jason”. As she watches Jason depart to whatever judgment awaits him, she remembers once more the fire that rages inside her. Those arrayed against her want it to burn unchecked, to scorch everything around her…leaving her alone surrounded by ruins. But as she hugs Harry once more and promises him that he is safe now, she now knows that this fire can also be controlled…and bring warmth to those she loves.
Meanwhile the Amazon Priestess Galenthias – still in her Cat form – and another survivor of the massacre that has just occurred at the Amazon hideout, Lattea, make a desperate bid to escape down an alleyway. Lattea says that they should stay to help their fellow sisters defend the hideout, but Galenthias states bluntly that there is nobody left alive to help and that their priority must be to find Diana and then make it to the safe house in Brisbane undetected.
But as the two make their getaway Lattea is suddenly cut down by a blur of claws slashing at her. As Cheetah finishes off the Amazon she turns to find that Galenthias has hidden. Undeterred, she announces to the priestess that her escape is of little consequence as they have slain enough Amazons tonight to keep the Morrigan’s ritual pyre alight for many nights. She adds that should Galenthias ever come our of hiding she is invited to watch the ceremony – where her beloved Amazon Princess will either be dancing in triumph alongside the Morrigan….or burning atop the signal fire!