Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Laura Martin’s “Wonder Woman” #11 wraps up, “The Lies,” the first present-day storyline in the DC Comics “Rebirth” era. But even as Diana discovers the exact nature of the lie that’s been troubling her these past few months, two other established Wonder Woman characters face off as another villain pushes into the foreground.
Secrets and Lies
With the revelation in “Wonder Woman” #9 on how Wonder Woman could find her way back to Themyscira — passing through the dimensions where the barriers are at their weakest — it set up the revelations that were to come this month. Up until now, the impression has been set that the Olympian gods were in some way responsible for her being barred from Themyscira. In doing so, it’s set up the potential for most of her adventures in the “New 52” era of DC Comics to be erased.
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s three year run on “Wonder Woman” focused a great deal on the Olympians, after all. It featured the death and rebirth of Zeus, the shift of Hera from enemy to ally, the revelation of the First Born son of Zeus who tried to destroy all of Olympus, and Wonder Woman gaining the portfolio of the Goddess of War after the death of Ares. With so many villains cropping up from one nook and cranny of Olympus to the next, the list of who could have been blocking Wonder Woman from returning home was almost endless. And with the specter of a fake Olympus looming overhead as the obvious candidate for a big lie, it would call into question if Wonder Woman really was the Goddess of War, and if any of her adventures connected to Olympus over the past four years had been real.
Here, though, the book quickly shifts into a more disturbing revelation. At first, readers can merely chalk it up to artistic interpretation on the part of Sharp. Themyscira is not the gleaming, perfectly preserved island of the Amazons that we’ve had in past depictions of the island. It feels almost run down, with rubble and vegetation everywhere the reader looks, and a decidedly low-tech (even for the Amazons) atmosphere pervading the island. Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor’s visit to the island is greeted with great cheer and celebration, though, and as a result you’re willing to put all of these moments that don’t feel quite right off to the side. At the end of the issue, though, there’s no denying what’s been going on all along. The central lie wasn’t that Olympus was a fake. Rather, every time Wonder Woman has returned home since her initial departure has been the lie. Wherever she’s been travelling, that Themyscira has been the fake. In reality, Wonder Woman’s never had a homecoming until now. Only by travelling to the weak point between dimensions has Wonder Woman finally been able to bypass the fake Themyscira and arrive at the correct endpoint. The question now, is, who’s been creating the fake Themyscira and why is Wonder Woman no longer being routed to it when she tries to go home?
All Hail Cale
At the same time, back in the United States, Veronica Cale has been making a triumphant return to the DC Universe. Seen briefly in “Wonder Woman” #9, this storyline is the first time the villain has been seen since the reboot of the publisher’s comics in 2011. Cale prior to the reboot was a ruthless businesswoman who waged a war on Wonder Woman — a figure she felt did not earn any of her accolades or abilities — as much via public perception as she did using dubious allies like Dr. Psycho. During the year-long “52” series, Cale became a bit more of a traditional bad guy, part of the think tank of evil scientists imprisoned on Oolong Island and forced to create the Horsemen of the Apokolips (before later destroying them herself). Since then, she’s been absent from the publisher’s comics.
Here, Cale is firmly established as Sasha Bordeaux’s mysterious controller, manipulating the agent in order to gather up power. Sasha is ordered to bring the remnant of the god Urzkartaga to Cale, a moment that is disrupted by a mistrusting Etta Candy. As it turns out, Sasha has been mechanically augmented by Cale, although it’s still not clear on if this is OMAC technology (as happened to Sasha pre-“New 52”) or something entirely new from Cale. Cale herself is shown to be as unflappable as ever, though; when Candy guns down the cyborg Sasha, Cale’s prompt response is to unleash her two augmented hounds Terror and Panic upon Candy.
In doing so, Rucka may have deliberately tipped his hand on Cale being the mastermind behind all of the lies. The names of Cale’s dogs are also how the names of two of Ares’ children — Deimos and Phobos –translate into English. With another one of Ares’ children, Strife (aka Eris), being such a large part of the Azzarello and Chiang run on “Wonder Woman,” to say nothing of Wonder Woman having Ares’ powers, could we be heading towards a revelation that those stories were also partially a lie? With the initial lie of Themyscira revealed, anything could be in store for our favorite Amazon. And based on this issue, the only thing we know for certain is that nothing’s certain. A fitting end for a storyline titled, “The Lies,” indeed.