Yes, it’s Weekly Wonder Woman – keeping you up to date on pretty much anything involving DC Comics’ premier superheroine, including which Agatha Christie detectives she meets
It’s been a quiet-ish week for our Diana, now that the Blu-Ray release of Wonder Woman is finally done and dusted. James Cameron doubled down on his critique of the movie, but no one cares about that, do they? Meanwhile, with Justice League coming soon, Gal Gadot and the rest of the movie league have been explaining their characters to the Japanese.
— ワーナー ブラザース ジャパン (@warnerjp) September 26, 2017
But that was it really, as far as news went.
Still, over in comics, we had the conclusion of the Justice League/Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers team up and there’s a new author on Wonder Woman – James Robinson. He’s picking up that Grail/Diana’s brother storyline that you thought had got left behind back in the nu52 at the end of ‘the Darkseid War’.
Here, let him explain what’s going on. See you in a mo.
Justice League/Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #6
The Justice League and the Power Rangers defeat Brainiac and co using a combination of computer viruses and twatting them when they’re either very large or normal sized.
What does Diana do?
Fight a bit.
Save the city from giant falling things.
Get zapped by magic.
Drink some juice.
On the whole, a fun little crossover series, which even if it didn’t have an especially awesome ending for Diana still provided a few very decent moments.
Rating: 5/7 (Artwork: 5/7)
Wonder Woman #31
Grail’s back and she’s trying to nourish her dead father (Darkseid) back to his former self by killing off the children of Zeus – Diana’s brothers and sisters – and feeding their godly energies to him. She starts by tracking down a ‘Paul Jackson’. Diana’s brother? Yes, but not the one you’re thinking of because it turns out to be… Hercules!
What does Diana do?
Not a huge amount, actually. She does beat up Giganta, which is a nice change for her, she says, after all the ‘truth v lies’ worries of late.
She then discovers from someone who looks suspiciously like David Suchet’s Hercule Poirot that she’s inherited something from Hercules. (Do you see what Robinson did there?)
But that’s it.
A big sea change from Shea Fontana’s run, and a reasonably decent start from new writer James Robinson and artist Carlo Pagulayan, as they set out their stalls for something far closer to the nu52 in tone than Fontana was aiming.
Lots, of course, of interest. A corollary of the ‘Diana’s brother’ storyline still being valid is that Diana must still be the daughter of Zeus, despite Greg Rucka’s retconning. What that means in terms of her base powerset is something that should be interesting to see.
Robinson and Pagulayan do a fun job of psyching us out. We know that Grail’s about. We know this is all about Diana’s brother (the first page of the book makes that very clear):
And when Hercules does show up, there’s a passing resemblance to Diana at first around the face (something very close to Tony Daniel’s artwork for Diana, in fact), suggesting that maybe he’s the long lost brother.
Within Wonder Woman, Hercules has been a somewhat ambiguous character. George Perez made Herakles (to give him his Greek name – an important point at that time, since the Roman gods were up and at it at the same time in the DC Universe, including Hercules) a nasty misogynist at the start of Volume 2.
Johnny Byrne redeemed him as a would-be lover of Diana going by the name of ‘Champion’:
And then he came back evil again in Volume 3 during Allan Heinberg’s run, conspiring with Circe against Diana.
Post-nu52, he showed up in issue #7 of Aquaman but in a very different guise:
In the recent revamp of the DC Comics continuum, Hercules is reintroduced in Aquaman Vol. 7 as a maddened prisoner alongside the monstrous children descended from Titans called Giant Born. It was revealed that thousands of years ago the son of Zeus sacrificed himself so that Atlan, King of Atlantis of the bygone era, could trap them within a hellish penal dimension opened using the Maelstrom. An extra-dimensional translocation gate way which enabled the Atlanteans of old to traverse the world as well as to other worlds. When accidentally released from their tartaran prison by a misguided archaeologist, these fiends of old are intercepted by Aquaman and sent in their former jailer; whose mind had been corrupted by their torment and dark magics over the years to do battle with him while they made their escape. After a lengthily battle between him and the sea king Hercules was bested when he tried to drown Arthur who dragged him into the sea beating him into unconsciousness before sending him back through the Maelstrom into a maze of the minotaur like dimension.
But that was his only appearance. Until now.
However, elsewhere in the DC Universe (and the fact that Hercules can speak in Logo in #31 should have been a clue if you didn’t know already), he had his own comic in 1975:
And it’s this version that’s apparently being referenced, given the dialect of Logo he speaks. Kudos to Robinson on his comics nerding. And kudos for killing Hercules off so quickly, too! I’m sure there were a few Hercules fans who were very excited for almost five pages there, before he got killed off – rather easily – by more or less a single zap of the Omega Beams, in fact.
The fact Hercules can be killed by Grail is, of course, interesting. Is he god or demi-god? DC tends to use the terms interchangeably. But not always. He’s alive and well (or was) in modern times, so is he a god? Or do demi-gods get immortality, too, in the DCverse? The fact that Grail kills him for his god juice suggests he’s a god, but if she comes after Diana and her brother, that suggests demi-gods and -goddesses have the same energy.
Anyway, it might mean something for Diana. Or it might not.
Also of note is that Grail claims to have a scythe that used to belong to Hades, although Hercules points out that Hephaestus was probably its maker.
Not sure why Hades needs a scythe. Or maybe he was jealous of his dad’s?
Last point: Darkseid says that “Zeus has many children here on Earth”. We know a few already from Brian Azzarello’s days, so maybe we’re going to find out just how much of the nu52 was an illusion after all, or even meet a few new ones…
Dialogue’s a bit ropey, shame Hercules was finished off so easily, too (although you never know if he’ll be back – it’s comics). But overall, an interesting, novel story, with some really good artwork, if a bit Diana-lite. It’s obviously going to have ramifications down the line and has huge possibilities – Diana fighting Darkseid by herself? Impressive.
A good start.
Rating: 6/7 (Artwork: 6/7)