Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"The End" Week: Wonder Woman #329!

This is a "48-Page Final Issue!" but it still reads pretty quickly: Wonder Woman #329, "Of Gods and Men" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Don Heck.

It's a Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover issue, but it's more than just red skies here: Ares and Hades unite against Olympus, but Hades has a secret partner: the Anti-Monitor himself, who oddly seems to be sneaking around behind Ares' back.
Queen Hippolyta is losing faith, partially because the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons have wrecked up Paradise Island and a number of Amazons; but also because she feels guilty about trying to take away Diana's memory of Steve Trevor. Somewhat uncharactistically, Hippolyta seems to want the release of death, but Hades' wife Kore tells her it's not that great. (I thought it was Persephone, but Kore is a shorter alternate name!)

Wonder Woman is more than willing to forgive her mom, if she'll suck it up. They're interrupted by zombie Amazons...actually, it's more like shades of the fallen Amazon soldiers. "Zombie Amazons" would've been cooler. Eventually, Kore sends them back to the underworld, after Diana fights them for a couple pages.
Meanwhile, Washington DC is not weathering the Crisis that well. With what I first thought was Diana's magic lasso, Steve Trevor is trying to rescue Lauren Haley from a crevice, but she falls to her death. (Presumably, she was a recently introduced character.) Howard Huckaby and Etta Candy catch up with Steve, just in time for Diana to arrive. Even though things are pretty bad in DC, Diana describes it as "just a shadow of what the gods face above," and Steve joins her to scout the battlefield in Olympus. Etta has a feeling she'll never see them again, but not necessarily in a bad way...

Although two separate armies of Amazons are preparing for battle, Diana and Steve face a giant that takes down the invisible jet, before the arrival of Ares and Hades and their army. A number of the shades are namechecked, like Agamemnon and Odysseus, but they're just soulless automatons. The other gods are nowhere to be found, and Ares describes them as "bloodless and without passion" three times, which may be a clue.

The Amazons of Paradise Island, and the "mortal" Amazons of South America, then arrive; catching the army of the dead in a pincer. Ares seems mortified at the "tactical disaster!" but this is a pretty standard army of the dead scenario: the dead don't die easily, and any they kill join their army. Still, Ares plans to assure victory by killing Diana himself.

While Kore reconciles with Hades, and Ares and Diana fight; Steve realizes Ares was being ironic, and had turned the gods to stone statues. As Diana has Ares beat, Steve drops one of the statues on him, freeing the gods and ending Ares. Hades returns the dead to peace--apparently, the Anti-Monitor convinced him Kore never loved him? An odd plot from him...but even the gods seem to fear old A-M.
But if the future is uncertain, Diana isn't; and she wants to marry Steve. Zeus performs the ceremony, and Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor will "be together till the end of time." Pre-Crisis, anyway.

Sight unseen, this issue had to be more fun than any of Wonder Woman's other last issues. But the printing this issue isn't great: I want to guess this was when DC was upgrading to "flexographic" printing, and it was rough for a bit.

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