Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wonder Woman #225

They like her, they really like her.
(Spoilers follow.)

I have seen champions come and go. Time and again felled by their own weaknesses...Their hubris, their ignorance, their base stupidity...But not this one... Diana of Themyscira endures.--Pallas Athena

Dramatically plucked away from her confrontation with the OMACs by Athena, Diana spends a brief time with the gods, who inform her that they are readying to leave, making way for the advent of new deities. After she returns to the world, Diana breaks the news to her staff that she intends to immediately shut down the Themysciran embassy. As Diana locks the building's door, she turns to acknowledge the presence of a supportive crowd, comprised of people who have gathered from around the globe.

WW #225 is the second part of Greg Rucka's grand farewell to Diana. (The title is to be re-booted in the spring with an as-yet-unnamed writer.) In the previous issue, Rucka let us see how Io, one of the Amazons, views Diana. In this one he provides the god's-eye-view. Many of the questions that the reader has been guided to ask about the gods get answered. (And some new ones get posed.) Why didn't they actively intervene during the battle with the OMACs? Why don't they just put a stop to the whole crisis? And, if Diana's so favored by them, why do they give her such a hard time?

Well, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, and she's fully aware of the questions and emotions that her actions have raised in her champion. Her explanation, expressed in a thought balloon, is disarmingly simple: "We gods are small beings of great power, nothing more. If any here is deserving of respect, it is she."

Rucka stresses the point that champions exist to be tested; that's the process through which their remarkable qualities emerge and are given purpose. Athena notes that although Diana has lost in the past, she has never been forced to deal with defeat. And Diana now faces an utter defeat. Themyscira is gone; her sisters with it. Her mission is at an end. The gods who have shown her favor have just vanished before her eyes. However, Diana recovers her self-confidence at the embassy by recognizing the source of the fierce loyalty displayed by her friends. (Athena: "She understands that their faith in her is greater than her faith in herself.")

She, in turn, inspires those friends to carry on with the message. However, they must do this on their own, since, she informs them: "I now must go to aid those friends of mine who no longer call me friend. I must offer my aid to end this crisis ... whatever the cost." Though the last part of her comment has an ominous ring to it, the issue is actually about the persistence of hope in the face of adversity and defeat. Diana explains to Athena that she chose to remain behind in this world when her sisters departed because she has hope for it's future. And at the close of the issue, her mere presence imparts hope to those uncertain supporters who have gathered outside of the embassy.

Rucka has definitely given Diana her due in these two issues. She emerges from issue #225 with a renewed sense of purpose, energized, and well-prepared to do some righteous damage in the pages of both Infinite Crisis and the "new" Wonder Woman title when it is re-launched in the spring.

I've been thinking more of Rucka's run. I wonder what DC was thinking by hinting at Diana's relationship with Io. I'm just shocked that it made it past the editors and publishers of DC.

I was excited to see it, and didn't see it as subtle at all. Rucka did such a good job presenting the story with honesty and respect.
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