After extremely loving the first two volumes and being majorly disappointed with the third volume, I approached this one with a lot more caution and fewer expectations.
The volume begins with Apollo finding out that War is helping Wonder Woman, and he, naturally, feels uneasy about this. Switch over to Earth, Zola and Hera are attempting to select a name for Zola’s baby. I suppose that although the end of the world is still looming, having a chance to sit down for a brief moment reminded Zola that her endangered baby lacked a name. Upon throwing a few choices out there, Zola suggests the name Zeke and Hera responds that the name is too common. Really? Zeke is not common at all, especially compared to the previously suggested generic names, yet it is this supposed commonness that makes Hera love this name. Yet what would I expect from the same woman that held grudges against babies because her husband constantly cheated on her. Apparently Zeke means “God strengthens,” which is befitting for the child believed to murder the ruler of Olympus. This is the reason the name was chosen, not because of the nonsense Hera tried to feed us.
Now we are back with Poseidon, the First Born, and Cassandra. Poseidon attempts to wager with the First Born offering to return his sword if he promises to leave the sea and hell alone in his conquest. Instantly, the First Born calls checkmate as he raises his sword to Poseidon’s neck. Wait, how did he get the sword that was secure in Poseidon’s possession? The question remains ignored as Poseidon flips the script and tells the First Born that he will be trapped in his corpse if the First Born murders him. The First Born lowers his sword and Poseidon informs him that Hades will return his army to keep hell and the sea free from the First Born’s grasp.
Meanwhile, Lennox debates if he wants to retire from the team because he believed that he has done his part. Orion continues with his insensitive remarks towards Wonder Woman so she responds in a true superheroine fashion:
Basically, if you want to continue being ballsy, I’ll remove your balls. As for walking up to him and kissing him, I don’t understand why that was included. Here she is being a complete badass, but before she can fully be one she must assume the role of the temptress, you know, so she still racks up sex appeal and doesn’t come across as too aggressive. Surprisingly,this mixed-signal message does not have the desired effect upon Orion as he makes as sexist remark immediately after. This time, Wonder Woman turns around and punches him into some Dr. Jekyll and Hyde, as he attempts to stand back up, it is clear that Orion has transformed. He becomes angry with Lennox’s laughter as opposed to the fact that Diana punched him and storms out the room. I found myself struck by this scene, particularly because I found the whole thing utterly pointless. In my previous post, I talked about my disappointment in Orion’s character and how I believed he had no purpose in the plot other than granting Wonder Woman some romantic affiliation. After reading this volume, I honestly feel like his character offers absolutely nothing to the series. Yes, he is involved in some major plot points, which I will talk about later, but I need to rant about this scene first. My main point is, why have Wonder Woman make out with him and grab his crotch? Why not just skip straight to the part where she sucker-punches him? Or why does Wonder Woman even have to deal with a character that makes such sexist remarks? Just Why?
Return to story line: Poseidon informs the First Born about the prophecy of the Last Born and Cassandra and the First Born set out to find him. Poseidon and Hades decide to gamble on who will win in this war causing Poseidon to inform Apollo on the First Born’s return. After hearing this, Artemis volunteers to return to Earth and capture Zeke, because it worked out so well the last time, and Apollo allows her to, because once again, it worked so well last time. Artemis taunts Wonder Woman by trying to get her to remove her cuffs and unleash her full power to which Wonder Woman responds: “Why should I abuse my power when I can use yours?” and destroys Artemis instantly, just like last time. Yet this time, Wonder Woman attempts to go in for the kill only to be prevented by War, who brings Artemis back to Apollo.
While escaping from the fight between Wonder Woman and Artemis, Lennox, Herra, Zola, and Zeke coincidentally bump into the First Born and Cassandra. Luckily, Wonder Woman arrives just in time to save them and begins to fight First Born. This gives Zola the opportunity to escape yet she is followed by Cassandra. Zeke opens his eyes, and this somehow saves his mother because Cassandra is seen on the floor. Orion zaps in, helps Wonder Woman and Lennox, and gathers the rest of the gang to retreat through his tube. However, the First Born keeps the tubes open preventing them from leaving and because of this, Lennox sacrifices himself singing “No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care“and pushes the First Born out of the tube.
Everyone else makes it safely to New Genesis, to which Highfather, Orion’s *gasp* father, is not happy that foreigners are brought into paradise. To sustain her injuries, Wonder Woman is induced into a coma for three days and once she wakes up, Highfather approves her request to leave. Yet in the comic realm, leaving a foreign planet is never that easy. Before releasing them, Highfather places cuffs onto Wonder Woman and demands Orion to kidnap Zeke. Wonder Woman shouts words of justice as she and the others are forced to leave. With Zeke in his arms, Orion chases after them and apologizes to his father for disobeying him. This scene ends with the Highfather wishing Orion the best of luck. Was he so moved by Orion’s actions that his entire demeanor changed? Did the writers forget that Highfather was villainous two panels prior? Was kidnapping Zeke some plan that Highfather concocted for Orion to prove himself?
When returning to Earth, they conveniently arrive near First Born. The city is in ruins and First Born is sitting upon a throne, tossing Lennox’s head to Wonder Woman, and unleashing his army of werewolves. War arrives and opens a door that contains soldiers of the ages to fight against First Born’s army. Wonder Woman gives into her rage and removes her cuff links despite War’s warning and is immediately taken down by First Born. War attacks First Born, but he is not match for him. Wonder Woman uses a spear to pierce through War to attack First Born. She apologizes to War telling him that there was no other way and he claims to be proud of her. I mean I suppose only someone who is the God of War could be proud of such an action resulting in their death. With War gone, Wonder Woman assumes the role of the new God of War. Hades comes to collect War and Wonder Woman asks about First Born. Hades tells her that he can only take First Born if Wonder Woman kills him but she refuses since there was “too much killing already.” Hades and her head to the Underworld while Apollo appears and probably takes First Born.
Unlike the previous volume, this volume was less sporadic and I appreciated that. Although there were multiple plots occurring, they were woven together more uniformly and coherently in this volume so the transitions were a lot smoother. As I previously mentioned, I still remain bothered by the make-out scene. I truly think Orion is a character meant to illuminate Wonder Woman’s “feminine” qualities: her sex appeal through his remarks and their quick make-out session; her desirability through their implicit romantic feelings for one another; and her nurturing side as she comforts him after his fallout with his father. I feel like at times the writers struggle with having Wonder Woman so short-tempered and attempt to make up for it through creating frivolous scenes in which she is more motherly. I understand her aggressiveness and short-temper are most likely related to her new role as the God of War, but I think there are plenty of moments in the series in which she shows her capability to control these traits – I don’t think a sexist loudmouth is needed to do that. I was also a bit disappointed with the deaths of Lennox and War, they seemed so sudden, but part of me believes that this was to illustrate what actually occurs in a war. It was a bit unfortunate that Wonder Woman finally removed her cuffs and lost faster than she typically does, it kind of felt like when you wait an hour on line for a roller coaster and the roller coaster itself is two seconds, except the roller coaster is more thrilling, and instead of one hour you invested money in buying the books and hours in reading the series. However, I am highly interested in the parallel prophecies of the First Born and last born, Zeke. I may sound over critical of this volume, but it was excellently done otherwise because it explained why Volume 3 had to be structured the way it was, provided certain answers, and created many more questions. I am highly excited to see how Wonder Woman assumes her new title as the god of War.