Things are getting dark on Themyscira! Some of the Amazons are in league with Hades, including immortals like Antiope and Melanippe, Alcippe is down for the count, and Hippolyta is on the verge of being overthrown. The times are surely perilous for the Amazons. If only they had some kind of champion who could save them from their troubles, but they’re not there quite yet; that will probably be a few issues down the road. Their future champion is still a rogue princess, hanging out with Pegasus and hiding dudes she finds on the island. She does know Antiope and Melannippe’s fiendish plan, however, so things should end up going very badly for them in the near future.
To be honest, I’m usually not a fan of the Amazons fighting with each other, especially these days. That’s all we’ve gotten from the Amazons since the New 52 relaunch four years ago, and it’s been pretty terrible. The Amazons comprise one of the only women-centric corners of any major superhero universe and there’s a wonderful power in that, as well as a great importance. To reduce them to squabbling and betrayal, with them constantly pitted against each other, erodes their legacy, undoing what has been great about the Amazons for almost 75 years.
That being said, Antiope and Melanippe trying to overthrow Hippolyta doesn’t yet concern me. This is because in the issues leading up to today’s big reveal of their Hades-assisted plot, Renae De Liz has crafted a rich, layered version of the Amazons that is very much rooted in the classic values of love and sisterhood. She’s taken the time to build up who the Amazons are and what they mean, which adds extra sting to this betrayal but gives me optimism about how things will play.
The New 52 takes on the Amazons didn’t do this at all. Not to pit the comics or creators against each other, but they’ve displayed markedly different approaches to how they’ve portrayed the Amazons. In Brian Azzarello’s initial run, the Amazons were jerks from the get-go, making fun of Diana and fighting amongst themselves. Soon after, they were revealed to be liars, rapists, and murderers. When the Finches took over the book, Meredith Finch immediately introduced a rebellion, with a group of Amazons teaming with a sorceress to create Donna Troy and all of the Amazons subsequently rallying around her as their new queen. In short, these Amazons suck. They’re mean and violent and weak-minded, and have been from the get-go. They don’t resemble their past incarnations in the slightest, and there’s not a lot of hope that they’ll change and get back to their roots because this is a whole new universe; there are no utopian roots to return too.
Here in The Legend of Wonder Woman, these roots have been on full display. This rebellion is cast as something that’s shockingly against the norm and an appalling betrayal. The standard of what the Amazons’ values are has been set, and Antiope and Melanippe’s behavior is clearly contrary to that. This gives me faith that the Amazons’ values will win out in the end; I think we’re already seeing that with Melaniippe, in her reaction to Antiope taking out Alcippe and in her insistence that no one be killed. Even as the villain of the story, she doesn’t want people to get hurt. She seems scared more than anything, swayed by years in the temple of Hades. Antiope appears to be the real bad egg, and I don’t think she’ll win. We know who the Amazons are, and in this universe they’re clearly strong enough to defeat whatever evil comes at them.
So yeah, this book continues to be a great take on the Wonder Woman mythos and, as always, I can’t recommend it highly enough. As a programming note, the next issue is currently scheduled to come out on Christmas Eve, and posts here will probably be spotty at best around the holidays so I doubt I’ll have a review the day of. I might do a two-in-one review when the following issue comes out or some such; we’ll see how everything shakes out.