Now that we’re done with all the lenticular covered fun of Villains Month, Wonder Woman is back on track, picking up where we left off in August. Ares is dead, the First Born is captured, and Diana is the new god of war. With this new status quo now established, there’s lots to play out in the coming year, and Wonder Woman #24 sets up the major plotlines. It’s an uneventful issue, really, and somewhat awkward with so many pieces being put into place, but so it goes with set-up issues. Let’s chat about what happened, but first:
Everything that happened in this issue will be revealed!
Right after this warning, it will be spoiler city!
If you haven’t read the issue yet, stay away!
So let’s run through the threads this issue sets up for us. The biggest one is Wonder Woman’s new status as the god of war, which she seems none too pleased about. Apollo demands her presence at a meeting of the gods, and she’s very irritated to attend, half because Hermes was sent to bring her and half because of the intrusion into her day-to-day life. She refuses to take Ares’ seat, and to participate at all unless Hera is re-instated as a god. Apollo refuses, and Wonder Woman leaves in a huff.
This sets up one major plot: Apollo, through his oracles, knows a war is coming, and he decides that Olympus will face it without a god of war. That may not be the best decision. I’m curious to see what the war will be. Things seem relatively settled among the gods themselves, so I think their opponent might be Cassandra and whatever she’s up to (more on that momentarily), particularly given her connection to the First Born. He’s still alive, so you know he’ll get free and start some stuff at some point. My second guess would be a war with New Genesis, since they seem like a militant bunch, but Orion isn’t even in this issue so it’s a distant second for me.
The other big plot to come out of Olympus is that Strife has sworn vengeance against Wonder Woman. She’s planning to kill Wonder Woman and take the god of war mantle for herself. We’ve seen Strife’s powers before, and they’re considerable, though now that Wonder Woman has tapped into her divine abilities AND is the god of war, she’ll be a formidable foe to take down. And obviously, the book is called Wonder Woman so I doubt she’s going to die. Strife is always fun, though, and it could be an entertaining rivalry. Also, I’d love to see Strife as the god of war, through means other than Wonder Woman’s death. Having her as an Olympian would add a chaotic dynamic to the mix.
Down on Earth, Cassandra obviously has some sort of plot on the go, and step one is capturing her brother, Milan. He has the ability to see the future, so he’s a definite asset for any plan, nefarious or otherwise. From what we know of Cassandra, she’s a bit of an unstable sadist, once forcing dozens of people to kill each other just for the fun of it. Lennox pulled out her throat to prevent her from controlling people with her voice, and I don’t think we’ve seen any powers from her new mechanical throat, but my bet is that she’s definitely up to no good and is probably planning to spring the First Born and stick it to the Olympian gods.
Back in London, Diana, Zola, and Hera have found themselves a new apartment after their old one was blown up a few issues back. I doubt a housewarming party of some sort will be a big plot point, but a considerable chunk of this issue was devoted to Hera and her lack of godhood. Hera is still distraught about it, and Wonder Woman’s based her Olympian participation on her reinstatement, so I imagine this will be a recurring issue throughout the next year.
I’m also hoping that the rehabilitation of Hermes will be part of the book as well. I loved Hermes during Wonder Woman’s first year, and wasn’t sad about him stealing Zeke so much as I was sad that he was in the book way less. I understand why he did what he did, keeping the baby away from Hera, and he had been my favourite character since the book began. I hope he gets to play a bigger role this year, and that he ends up part of Wonder Woman’s team again.
Hermes also played in a role in perpetuating some of Azzarello’s less enjoyable tendencies. First, Wonder Woman only appeared in 11 of the book’s 20 pages. On the one hand, there was a lot to set up in this issue, with a lot of different characters. On the other hand, this happens ALL the time. Wonder Woman is lucky to show up in half of her book on a regular basis. I can’t think of another titular hero who so rarely graces the pages of their own series.
Second, we have yet another scene that makes Wonder Woman look bad. I understand that Wonder Woman isn’t perfect, and that mistakes and imperfections make her human and help her grow, but it seems like there’s at least one scene per issue where she is tricked or outsmarted or smacked down by some harsh truth. This time, it’s Hermes responding to Wonder Woman’s anger towards him. She threatens him with swords, kicks him out of her apartment, and generally treats him with belligerence and fury in response to his calm, reasonable stance. To Hermes, he was only protecting Zeke from Hera, fulfilling an oath he had sworn to Zeus, but Wonder Woman and Zola aren’t having any of it. His response is rather damning:
The annoying thing is, he’s 100% right. Hera DESTROYED the Amazons. Paradise Island is empty, except for snakes. She also tried, repeatedly, to steal Zeke, fully intending to kill him when she did so. But now they’re all pals, living together in London. If Wonder Woman and Zola can get past all of that, surely they can have some mercy for Hermes. That’s what so bothersome about the cutting remarks and verbal smackdowns Wonder Woman’s received during this run: They’re often rather accurate. I don’t want a perfect Wonder Woman, but one who doesn’t need a man to reprimand her for her behavior or point out her hypocrisy every other issue would be nice.
All in all, it’s a set-up issue so not a lot happened. I miss Cliff Chiang’s art because he always elevates the book, making a good story great and a meh, moving the pieces issue into something visually interesting at least. Goran Sudzuka is fine, and I like his art better than Tony Akins so far, but he wasn’t given much to do in this issue apart from a lot of standing around and talking. Things should pick up next month, though. I hope Strife coming after Wonder Woman is the first arc because Strife always makes the book more fun.