In this issue we discover how Wonder Woman ended up in the situation she finds herself in at the beginning of Odyssey and why she needed to “find herself” during this past year. This is done in a flashback, in which a rather over confident Wonder Woman initially confronts the Morrigan by casually walking into their lair. Everything about the scene is off, with Wonder Woman being made to look like a rank amateur, almost as if she is surprised when her foes suddenly decide to attack her and almost kill her in the process, before Nemesis arrives on the scene and after barely a struggle quickly dispatches Diana.
Considering how much some parts of the story arc had been stretched out in order to fill fourteen issues instead of the original twelve issue arc, it would have made so much more sense for Phil Hester to devote considerable more panel time to fleshing out this sequence and perhaps making Diana’s motives and actions a little more true to character – and for her initial show down with Nemesis to be a little more heroic before so easily being “struck down” by her opponent.
The plot device explaining why Diana is “lost” is all rather predictable considering the very long build up to this finale, as we discover that Wonder Woman had subsequently been possessed by Nemesis but that a small part of Diana has been saved and kept hidden. Interestingly, Straczynski had used a similar plot device in his TV series ‘Babylon 5’, in which Ambassador Kosh hides a piece of himself in Commander Sheriden just before the Vorlon is killed by the Shadows. Later, this hidden piece of Kosh would re-emerge from Sheriden to “save the day”.
So, as both the story arc – and indeed this particular incarnation of Wonder Woman – finally approached its final issue, fans wondered whether it would be a finale worthy of this iconic character in what was supposed to be her 70th Anniversary celebrations.
Diana stares at Nemesis standing before her, wearing the red blue and gold costume that she had seen appearing throughout the past few weeks – on graffiti..on dolls…on children’s drawings. She knows that the woman standing before her is Wonder Woman – who she was meant to be. Diana is lost for words and immediately has to defend herself from Nemesis’ sword as her foe tells her that Diana has been among the mortals for too long and that it has corrupted her. As Nemesis follows up with a powerful kick sending Diana sprawling, the Amazon Princess realises just how strong her opponent is – so much stronger than she is.
As she continues to desperately defend herself against attack after attack, she knows that the Gods have abandoned her and that she is on her own now, whereas Nemesis draws her powers from somewhere very dark and unimaginable. She becomes aware that the phantoms that had attacked her earlier are surrounding the two combatants and she can see that even the ones she had destroyed have reassembled. She knows that they are not true dead souls though. They are too threadbare to hold the life force of an Amazon. They are merely husks. Shed skin. The ashen layers of resentment left behind by departed souls. Final cries of anger left hanging in space. Harvested and enslaved by Nemesis.
As she launches herself at her foe she manages to grab Nemesis’ sword arm, struggling to hold her steady as she tells the villainess that this must stop and that this isn’t what Wonder Woman is supposed to be. “It isn’t right. Can’t you feel it?” she pleads as she is forced to her knees. But Nemesis asks how she can dare question who she is when Diana does not even know who she herself is. She then slices across Diana’s back with the sword, causing the Amazon Princess to cry out in pain.
Just like before, when the blade had pierced her while she had been standing at the doorway and revealed a vision of her possible future, this time the blade shows her the past…the woman she was…
She sees Wonder Woman entering the Morrigan’s apartment and confronting the three Goddesses. As Enyo tries to attack she disarms the Goddess before telling them that she is not stupid and that with friends like Batman and Superman, did they really think she would not discover their plans to raise an army to attack Themyscira? “I expected more of the fearsome Morrigan.” Just then though Annan unleashes her song of death, blasting un unsuspecting Wonder Woman with her deadly green flames. As she struggles to stay on her feet under the onslaught, Enyo comes around behind and holds the struggling Wonder Woman in place by her neck. Annan gloats that their attack plans had been meant to draw the Amazon Princess out and bring her before their mistress.
Bellona, axe raised, leaps up ready to plunge the blade into Wonder Woman but Diana manages to lift Enyo off her feet, bending down in the process so that the axe blade instead embeds into the Morrigan, killing her. The remaining two Morrigan, distraught at their sisters loss, turn in fury on Wonder Woman who reasons with them to stop the fighting before more blood is shed. But Annan unleashes an even more powerful blast at Diana and though she tries to defend herself with her bracelets Bellona kicks her to the floor.
As she struggles to get to her feet again the huge wooden doors open and Nemesis enters the room, smiling. “Every slain soul cries out to the Goddess of Retribution…for vengeance. No mater what you tell yourself, no killing is justified unless it serves the will of Nemesis!” Standing over Wonder Woman, she strikes out with her flashing blade and although Diana manages to parry the first blow, the weakened Amazon is no match for the Goddess who plunges her sword deep into Wonder Woman’s back!
As a whirlwind of damned souls fills the room and Wonder Woman slumps, Nemesis roars that her blade does not bring death to the Amazon Princess but instead her life now belongs to the Goddess. “Your life…your form…and your power are now mine!” and with that Nemesis transforms into Wonder Woman.
As the dust settles the two remaining Morrigan crow that their mission is accomplished, but Nemesis replies that they are incomplete as a sliver of Diana’s essence has somehow managed to escape their grasp. As she turns to leave she instructs the Morrigan to continue with the attack on Themyscira and to wipe out the Amazons…
As the vision clears again Diana sees Nemesis standing over her still. Her opponent explains that some force had split Diana off and cast her in a new life and history. She had been cleaved away and sheltered by Fate itself. Diana gets to her feet and prepares for the next attack as Nemesis continues that although the forces of the Morrigan did bring down the Amazons, Diana has by then already been nurtured in their ways. As Diana ducks another sword attack she tells Nemesis that if she is such a powerful Goddess, why does she still need Diana? Her foe replies “To stay perched safely in this domain, no. But to bring my retribution to Man’s World, I must scour it of valour. Bring its greatest warrior to heel. Mankind makes murder. Murder makes the unquiet souls who cry to Nemesis. To end murder, and find rest…we must end humanity!”
Diana replies that murder can never bring peace. As she again takes another blow from the sword and falls to the ground holding her wounds, Nemesis replies that the real Diana of Themyscira came here armoured in confidence, fueled by warriors blood. She thought her strength would be enough. She thought her nobility would shield her. But she nevertheless fell to the sword and became one with Nemesis…for justice is easily bent to vengeance.
Diana continues to take a beating at her foe’s han d as Nemesis rages that Fate had rescued Diana’s innocent and spun it from her grasp. That as why she had ordered the Morrigan to decimate her homeland and massacre her sisters.
As Diana manages to grab her lasso and throws it at Nemesis her foe effortlessly catches it and begins to drag Diana towards her. As she does so she continues to explain that she and the Morrigan had hounded Diana while she was in Man’s World, knowing their murderous ways would turn her bitter. They had cut away those she loved one by one leaving her all alone amongst the mortals until she could see them as the Morrigan do – vermin who deserve to fall before the flashing blade.
Having dragged Diana closer, Nemesis punches and kicks the ever weakening Amazon Princess and as she does so she sees a slip of paper fall to the floor. Picking it up she sees it is the picture that Harry had drawn of Wonder Woman. The severely battered and bruised Diana tells the puzzled Nemesis that she is wrong and that pushing her into Man’s World did not make her hate the mortals…in fact, the more she lived amongst them the more she belonged among them. “The proof is in your hands. They are my brothers and sisters now.”
Unimpressed, Nemesis screws the drawing up and using the lasso drags Diana towards her, preparing to plunge the sword deep into her. Seeing that tears are running down Diana’s face, Nemesis says “Don’t weep little sister. Your worries are at an end.” But Diana replies “I..I’m not crying because I’m afraid. I’m crying for you.”
“Don’t bother!” spits Nemesis and thrusts her flashing blade into Diana! Nemesis though suddenly sees that Diana has managed to wrap Clotho’s second strand of fate around her wrist at the last moment. “Had to get close” murmurs the dying Amazon. “My life..our life. I won’t let it end this way. You won’t let it end this way. Let us be one again”.
As a blinding light surrounds the two women – and the strands of two disparate lives becomes a single strand again – Nemesis replies “No, not merely one again Diana….let’s be Wonder Woman again!” and with that Nemesis is exorcised and Diana is left standing there on her own, now healed and whole once more, triumphantly casting aside the sword. Nemesis cries out in rage as her essence swirls around now no longer contained in its host body. Wonder Woman tells the Goddess that her eternal burden has driven Nemesis mad and that her grand plan is nothing more than the thrashing fit of a lunatic.
“It didn’t work Nemesis. It could never work. The soul of an Amazon could never be bent to the merciless brand of hate. I could never be your champion.”
But Nemesis is not finished with Wonder Woman yet and reaching her abandoned sword, takes on her original form once more. Leading her phantoms in attack, she cries out “In that case, Diana of Themyscira, you can die!”