After the warm reception the first issue received, fans were eager to see what Azzarello had in store for issue two. This time Diana gets more panel time and we see a recap of her “origin” story.
We also see some more evidence of the changes that have occurred as a result of Flashpoint, with Hippolyta going back to being a blond as she was pre-crisis. Also, we see that Artemis has become a casualty of the changes, and although an extremely similar looking Amazon named ‘Aleka’ seems to have taken her place, it is unclear whether in fact this is supposed to be Artemis simply with a different name. Paradise Island itself seems a little more earthly and less majestic than previous depictions and many of the Amazons, including both the aforementioned Aleka and indeed Hippolyta herself, seem to be depicted as bigger women than traditionally – living up the name “Amazons”.
The biggest change of all however was revealed at the end of the issue, with a cliff-hanging revelation that rocks the foundation of the iconic established origin tale. However, it was all but ruined by DC’s rather strange decision to trailer the fact at New York Comic-Con that Diana actually may now have a paternal father – in the form of Zeus. As expected, this major alteration to canon set the forums buzzing – with some fans liking the change and others a little uncomfortable with the notion that this previously unique and “magical” character had simply become a rather more down to earth bastard child – albeit of a God.
When questioned by a fan at the Con as to why they had changed Wonder Woman’s origin, Azzarello replied that they had not changed it but simply enhanced it. This lead to further speculation that perhaps the “formed from clay” elements of the origin would still hold true and that perhaps Zeus would simply be the instigator, as opposed to the traditional portrayal of the entire Pantheon bestowing their gifts on the baby Diana.
Regardless of the final truth, the issue again met with generally positive and warm reviews – and after the first issue broke the 100,000 figure mark in sales for the first time in a good many years, Wonder Woman seemed to be enjoying the promised “re-birth” and “re-invigoration” promised by DC Comics.
But even those avid supporters of the “New 52” re-launch conceded that this was still very early days and that the notoriously fickle comic book readership out there can evaporate just as quickly as they can appear.
On Mount Olympus a furious Hera watches events back on Earth in rage, cursing Wonder Woman’s involvement. Strife, drinking a goblet of wine, hears her fury and ask what troubles her. She asks if Hera needs some love and that in truth the Goddess is no different from any one else. Hera replies that she is the Queen but Strife responds that this title is burdened with expectations and that perhaps this is why Zeus needs his “dalliances”. Hera reminds her that she is her father’s wife but again Strife slyly replies that even so, Zeus still has these numerous affairs and leaves behind so many offspring…all constant reminders to Hera how unloved she is.
Hera casually snatches the goblet of wine and tells her daughter that Hermes has enlisted the Amazon Princess to protect the latest bastard child. Strife offers to help by speaking with her brother Hermes but Hera replies that he is currently too occupied licking his wounds. Realising her mother means business, Strife listened as Hera adds that there is a price for laying down with her husband. Strife asks where he and the Amazon have gone to and Hera replies “That cockless coop, Paradise Island”...
Meanwhile, on the home island of the Amazon nation Wonder Woman, Zola and Hermes materialise on the beach. As Wonder Woman carries the still injured God towards the forest edge he tells her she should have left him behind and Diana replies that she had no intention of leaving him to bleed to death out in the middle of nowhere. Zola takes offence and says that the “middle of nowhere” was her home, but a smiling Diana reminds her that she had however considered leaving Zola behind.
As they converse Wonder Woman has been listening to the all but imperceptible whispering coming from the undergrowth around them and warns the hidden watching Amazon sentries that any attack will be met with force. As she is challenged “Who dares” she replies “Your queen’s daughter.” The Amazons emerge led by Hippolyta and Diana bows, acknowledging her queen with the words “mother.”
A short while later Wonder Woman attends a celebratory feast and sits at a table with her mother as the other Amazons eat, drink and hold a wrestling tournament. Having told her mother of recent events, she listens as Hippolyta warns that this task she has taken on is fearsome. Diana corrects her by saying that she is not certain she has taken it on and Hippolyta responds that she is right to be cautious as Hera’s jealousy is legendary. If she knows that Zola is carrying Zeus’ offspring she will stop at nothing and the outcome will be terrible and tragic.
Wonder Woman asks if she should therefore not try and prevent it? “Why side with Zeus rather than his wife scorned?” asks the queen. Diana replies that she is not siding with either – she is siding with the girl.
Meanwhile in a nearby chamber Hermes is resting after having his wounds attended to. Zola watches the revelry below from the balcony. Hermes ask out of curiosity how his father had manifested himself when bedding her? Zola is unsure if he had posed as a truck driver or pool hustler. Hermes says that it sounds as if the God did not need to change his form too exotically to curry her favour. Zola replies that she likes men and she will not apologise for that fact. “As you shouldn’t” he replies, “But while on this island you might want to keep the story to yourself.”
Zola sits by his side and says that while they’re on the subject of stories, what is Wonder Woman’s? She seems different to the other Amazons. Hermes nods, and recounts how according to legend Hippolyta, her womb barren but desperate for a child, fashioned a baby girl out of clay one moonless night and prayed to the gods for a miracle. She fell asleep exhausted on the beach but when she awoke the following morning she found a beautiful baby girl smiling back at her – alive and made real in the flesh. “Wonder Woman is the perfect Amazon…no male seed created her. “That’s weird!” remarks Zola. “Most legends are” replies Hermes.
Back in the plaza below Diana is approached at the table and challenged to a good natured sparring duel by Aleka. The Amazon Princess responds modestly that her skills are a little rusty but seeing that Diana is clearly keen to accept in truth, Hippolyta gives her blessing.
Standing on a set of tree stumps, the two combatants face each other. Aleka asks if she still prefers the staff for combat and Wonder Woman replies that for games, she does indeed. The two Amazons duel each other, leaping from stump to stump. Aleka seems to gain the advantage by using her sword to cut in half the staff, but Wonder Woman deftly uses the two pieces to swiftly disarm the surprised Aleka who loses her balance. Before she plummets to the ground however Wonder Woman holds out a friendly hand and helps her Amazon sister back up on her feet.
The watching Amazons cheer but seeing their queen looking distracted, Dessa asks what troubles her. Hippolyta replies that she is fearful…because if Hera knows that there is a bastard child on the island -what is not to fear?
Suddenly a fireball plummets from the sky and crashes in a huge explosion outside the city limits in the surrounding forest. Perimeter guards quickly rush to the scene of the blaze as Wonder Woman and the others head out to investigate for themselves.
The first Amazon on the scene sees a willowy figure emerge from the flames and challenges the individual. But with a flash of her eyes Strife mesmerises the guard.
A few moments later Wonder Woman and the other Amazons arrive on the scene and fan out to search the area. One by one, each Amazon sees what they think is the intruder and engage. But when Wonder Woman herself suddenly finds herself under attack from Aleka, who is convinced she is the invader, the Amazon Princess realises that the Amazon have been entranced into attacking each other. Disarming Aleka she yells at the top of her voice for the Amazons to snap out of their bewitchment.
Suddenly Wonder Woman finds Strife towering over her and says that now this sudden confusion makes sense. The Goddess replies that she does not take kindly to being charged at and Wonder Woman adds that normally it is Strife leading the charge – with her brother Ares at the rear! As Wonder Woman unhooks her golden lasso and throws it over Strife, the Goddess continues casually to add that poor Ares is lost in his own confusion and that she has actually come in “peace”.
Wonder Woman replies that Strife does not even know the meaning of the word, but is told by the Goddess that her words sting, especially as she has come here to embrace her little sister.
Assuming she is referring to Zola’s baby, Wonder Woman states “You assume the mortal carries a girl child then?” But smiling, Strife replies with the words…
“Ha…I have no idea what father has left crawling in her womb. No Wonder Woman, I speak of you!”
Back on Mount Olympus, a scowling Hera watches these events with interest…and surprise?