Following on from the Cheetah issue, this second “Forever Evil” tie-in special focuses on First Born. Unlike the majority of the special “villain” issues featured during this month, this one actually ties directly into – and is a continuation of – the main Wonder Woman ongoing story arc. Azzarello achieves a clever trick of ensuring the pacing of his own story aligns perfectly with the Forever Evil crossover, so that Diana’s absence makes perfect sense along with the featuring of First Born.
Apollo is busy creating some graffiti art in Los Angeles with three oracles when his limo rolls up behind them, and from the back seat slumps the gravely wounded First Born. Apollo has come to these women with a question in mind: who was the First Born, besides being his brother?
The oracles explain that he was the first born son of Zeus and Hera. On the day of his birth, a witch told Zeus that his son’s destiny would be to rule Mount Olympus alone. Unwilling to give up his own rule over the gods, Zeus ordered that the witch put the baby to death, breaking Hera’s heart. Unable to disobey Zeus, but feeling for the Queen’s plight, the witch left the baby to die in the desert. A protective female hyena warned away any predators, raising him as her own.
With Olympus’ eyes turned away from him, he became one of the pack – though he surely wasn’t one of them. While the pack was concerned with survival, he was concerned with killing. Where his pack had learned to fear natural predators, he grew to hate them. And unable to be harmed by them, he was able to surround himself with the dead bodies of his enemies so that all would notice – but the Gods of Olympus never did.
Rumours began to spread among mortals of a god living among animals, and indeed, he had fathered hundreds of half-god half-hyena children. He wanted Zeus to see all of his grandchildren waging war against life. The First Born travelled the world, seeking out champions of life, and defeating them, fuelling his own hatred. He conquered the world, and made it a mirror image of his dark heart. Even so, Olympus paid him no heed, and this insulted him. So, he declared war on Olympus.
He led the biggest army in the world toward the Mount. At the foot of the mountain he introduced himself, and threw his sword into its stone face. Finally, the gods took notice, and Poseidon’s seas drowned his armies while Zeus’ lightning burned them. In a flash, the war had been ended, and Zeus stood before his son. Even defeated, the First Born mustered up the saliva to spit at his father’s feet. Zeus’ reaction was one of confusion, and so, rather than simply kill his son, he decided to condemn him. He wiped his son’s existence from history, stealing away the First Born’s source of pride, leaving only his hate. However, he left his son with a bargain: if ever he left the throne of Olympus, it would be the First Born’s to try to claim. With that, Hades opened a crater into which the First Born tumbled, and closed it over him.
It took the First Born 7,000 years to climb out of the pit. His ascension happened to coincide with Apollo’s own ascension to the throne of Olympus. Apollo swears that Olympus will remain his, despite the First Born’s return, but the oracles warn that there will be a great fire followed by a terrible war before the real fate of Olympus’ throne is decided. His fate is unclear to them, but they see that he will be there, and so will the First Born. One will be the victor, the other the victim. A third, though, will be present. A naked woman, who arrives too late – it will be his sister.
His fortune told, Apollo burns the oracles to death, and drags the First Born back into the vehicle, promising that the torture of his brother’s life is only getting started.