The Legend of Wonder Woman continues its stellar run today with its fourth issue, available now digitally though print readers won’t see it until February. I’ve really been enjoying what Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon are doing with this book. The digital issues aren’t very long, but after only four installments they’ve built a vibrant, layered world around their young Diana, and I especially love what they’ve done with the Amazons thus far.
Diana’s relationships with her fellow Amazons are complicated. Past weeks have shown that she doesn’t fit in with girls her age, partly because she’s the princess but partly because her mind is elsewhere. She loves her mother, but also has to hide things from her, while her mother loves her in return but to an overprotective degree that Diana chafes under. This week, we get to learn more about Diana’s relationship with Alcippe, the Amazons’ chief warrior.
Alcippe agreed to train Diana last week, but their relationship is a frosty one. Diana’s not much for beating around the bush, though, and calls out Alcippe on her bad attitude. It turns out, Alcippe’s coolness is rooted in her love for her queen; she’s worried that Hippolyta having a mortal daughter could harm the kingdom if, when Diana inevitably dies, Hippolyta no longer wants to live either. It’s a valid concern, and a heavy one to put on a child, but Diana understands it. She’s also got the perspective to know that there are more immediate concerns, with a dark force infecting Themyscira.
What I like most about the Amazons so far is that they are motivated by love, at all times. Diana loves her mother, her Amazon sisters, and her home, and strives to protect them all. Hippolyta loves Diana, even if she doesn’t show it well. And Alcippe loves her queen, but that love had turned into anger at Diana. So what does she do? Alcippe realizes the error of her ways and finds something to love in Diana’s warrior spirit, putting her issues behind her and continuing to train Diana. That’s how Amazons should be. It’s hard to capture the loving nature of the Amazons without losing conflict or complexity, but De Liz has found a great balance here. There are a variety of different, complex relationships, and all of them are rooted in the Amazons caring for each other.
Plus, on top of all of this fine character work, there was a Mare of Diomedes, the man-eating horses of Greek mythology, in this issue! What more could you ask out of a comic book? There’s also a great scene where Alcippe explains to Diana that the Mare isn’t all bad, once you understand her, and that trying to understand your opponent instead of lashing out at them is always the best path.
It looks like there’s going to be a time jump with the next issue, because this issue ends with a montage and Diana looking several years older. I will admit that I’m a little disappointed, just because the adventures in the montage looked really fun and I would have loved to see more of them. Young Diana exploring a cave of treasures or climbing a mountain to find golden eggs are stories I would definitely want to read. Plus I love little Diana; she’s super adorable. But I’m also excited about what’s next! We seem to be building up to the reveal of the dark force that’s infecting Themyscira and, with the passage of time, Diana is now trained enough to face it.
So what will the dark force be? Based on the trailer from a few weeks back, my best guess is that is has something to do with World War Two. Perhaps Ares is stoking the fires of war, and all of the hate and anger therein are bleeding into the usually tranquil Themyscira. But it could also just be something Themyscira-based, some sort of ominous force loosed from the bits of Hades that the Amazons have to vanquish. Whatever the case, I can’t wait to see what happens next!