The Legend of Wonder Woman #21 Review: The Wrath of Zeus


The Legend of Wonder Woman is a mini-series, and one that is in the back stretch of its run. It’s scheduled to go for 27 digital installments, and we’re at 21 now, so things are coming to a close pretty soon. I’ve read enough comic book mini-series to know that at this point the story is usually on cruise control; everything’s been established, the twists and surprises are out of the way, and everything is escalating to the final conflict with the big bad in which the hero will emerge triumphant. There’s usually a formula to these things, and while there’s often a final twist or shock at some point, a mini-series this far into the game has it’s ending semi-telegraphed just by virtue of being so far into the story.

But it turns out that The Legend of Wonder Woman isn’t following this formula, and I am loving it. Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, with two print issues still ahead of them, have thrown a massive wrench into things, leaving me totally unsure of how the story will wrap up. It could go any number of ways now, and I’ve got to assume we’ll end up with a triumphant heroine when the story is done, but how we get there? I’ve got no idea. It’s so much fun.

So last week’s issue ended with the Duke of Deception getting the best of Wonder Woman in a one-on-one battle. We pick up there for a couple of pages, with Wonder Woman using her visions of the young boy connected to the Duke’s past life to try to dissuade him from his villainous ways. He’s not having it, but then WHOOSH Wonder Woman is whisked away to some other realm where Alcippe is waiting, along with Zeus! Zeus delivers a lengthy spiel about the Titan (which is an alien!) and the gods splitting, with Ares and Hades teaming up to release the Titan, destroy the world, and remake their own. Zeus wants Wonder Woman to be his champion to challenge their evil plan, so cool right? Nope. He wants to destroy and then remake the world too, into something better, but now that Diana has seen the world, she refused to be part of its destruction. Cut to: Diana wakes up in her bed, her divine accessories now rendered powerless, with a very different life as a normal human potentially ahead of her.

I love the boldness of this move. First off, I am always on board for Zeus as a bad guy. One of the very few reservations I’ve had about the book is the Amazons’ devotion to Zeus and other male deities rather than just the female deities, as is their usual way. Zeus is always a questionable character to me. And it turns out, he still is. Moreover, Diana is wise enough to recognize this and to not be part of his genocidal plan. There’s nothing better than Wonder Woman staring down a god, and this time it’s extra powerful given that she’s been raised to respect Zeus above all of the gods. De Liz drawing Diana as a child at times during their conversation is a wonderful touch, and her switching back to being a grown woman as she defies Zeus is such a cool way to illustrate her personal growth.

Second, The Legend of Wonder Woman has been a distillation of Wonder Woman’s history in many ways, and now it seems like we might be getting a taste of what’s usually called her “mod era” from 1968-1972, in which she gave up her superpowers and became a normal human woman. This wasn’t a great time for Wonder Woman, but I’m fully confident that De Liz and Dillon will do something cool and interesting with it. Plus, the mod era was followed by Wonder Woman’s return to her powers and her emergence as a feminist icon, so if De Liz and Dillon follow that path then the ending should be amazing.

So the game has been changed, and with only six digital issues left we’re nearing the end of the series, but what will this ending be? I don’t have a clue. I see so many different ways it could go, but with Diana’s new status quo there’s no obvious path to any particular grand finale right now. I have a bunch of theories, and I can’t wait until next week to see where De Liz and Dillon are taking things!

Published by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, The Many Lives of Catwoman, and Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.

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