WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Wonder Woman #36 by James Robinson and Carlo Pagulayan, in stores now.
After an issue that sent us back in time to show the formative years of Diana Prince’s twin brother Jason, Wonder Woman #36 picks up right where #34 left off. Diana is at the mercy of both Jason and Grail, who have formed a union against her. For the better part of the issue, Diana is held prisoner, talking with both of her captives about what motivates them — and with good reason. Wonder Woman was essentially betrayed by her own flesh and blood, a brother who chose to side with one of her worst enemies.
However, it turns out that Diana is only playing the role of the prisoner in order to get the answers she needs. When she realizes her brother is beyond help, she breaks free of her restraints and starts the battle anew. The fight takes an unexpected turn when Diana is blasted by the devastating Omega Beams, a blast that comes straight from Grail’s father, Darkseid. The former leader of Apokolips has slowly been growing, from infant to teenager, in the pages of Wonder Woman, and he now appears to have reached the stage of a young adult. Perhaps not fully-powered, but incredibly dangerous all the same.
Darkseid proves his might when he all but defeats Diana, in the hopes of stealing her life force to further grow. But before he is able to do so, he is interrupted by the unforeseen arrival of Diana and Jason’s own father, the ruler of the Greek gods himself: Zeus.
The surprise appearance adds a new wrinkle when it is revealed that Zeus has actually been masquerading as Blake Hooper, Diana’s lawyer. Hooper has sporadically appeared in the series since writer James Robinson began his run in issue #31. He was the one who approached Diana, informing her that she was the inheritor of the now-deceased Hercules’ fortune and, essentially, the one who involved Diana in this entire chain of events.
Zeus’ whereabouts have been unknown for a long while. We hadn’t properly seen him since before DC’s Rebirth era kicked off. It was unclear is he was missing, dead or if he had willingly removed itself from the affairs of man. It turns out that the latter was the case. Still disguised as Hooper, Zeus explains he had resolved to leave humanity alone, but that he couldn’t stand on the sidelines anymore. Zeus then revealed his true self, stating that he has returned to save his daughter.
The appearance of the mighty god at issue’s end comes with a promise: both old and New god will face each other in battle. Zeus versus Darkseid. Lighting versus fire. It’s a confrontation that we realize now makes a whole lot of sense, and one that should have happened a lot sooner. With Jason, Grail and Diana all in the middle of this battle, things have just become a whole lot more personal than just two gods fighting each other to see which is stronger. It’s a battle of gods yes, but it’s also a battle of families.
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