WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Wonder Woman #76, from G. Willow Wilson, Lee Garbett, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Pat Brosseau, on sale now.
As DC's Year of the Villain rolls on, Lex Luthor is handing out weapons to more and more villains, empowering them to kill various heroes who could threaten his plan to bring doom to the universe. One of these lackeys is Cheetah, with Lex giving her the God Killer sword needed to assassinate Diana of Themyscira. However, with Wonder Woman only just reopening the gateway between Paradise Island and Earth, Cheetah gets the opportunity to murder the Olympian Goddess of Love: Aphrodite.
Aphrodite has been a sister to Diana over the years, living with her and Steve and helping them to understand their love for each other even more. A lot of their relationship's evolution is owing to her, and Aphrodite is learning to bridge the gap with humanity through them in return. But with Themyscira back in play, Diana's off trying to unite Veronica Cale, someone with whom she doesn't get along, and her daughter, Isadore, on Paradise Island.
She knows how hard it is not having a mom, especially as she was away from Queen Hippolyta for so long, only to now be reunited. And no matter what, seeing as Isadore can't leave the island, Veronica deserves to spend time with her in Diana's eyes. Diana's duty also hurts Steve, who wants to make up for lost time with Diana, but Aphrodite advises him to be patient. After her counsel, she starts reading a book -- The Island of Dr. Moreau -- at home as she waits for Diana to return. However, she encounters Cheetah for the first time in the DC Rebirth era.
Previously in DC lore, Aphrodite played a key role in the creation of the Amazons, but now she's been retconned to have more of a pedestrian role as a foil for Diana to riff off of. Cheetah's fascinated by her in their meeting, ordering her as a god to grant her passage to Themyscira. After all, Lex gifted her the sword to kill not just Diana, but all of the Amazons, and Cheetah desperately wants to go on a killing spree. Aphrodite tells her there are certain rules to travel there and while it's clear Cheetah doesn't meet the criteria, the villain is simply toying with the goddess. She asks Aphrodite to compliment her beauty, but in a blink of an eye, God Killer is plunged through the Olympian, killing her instantly.
Cheetah knows how close an ally she's been to Wonder Woman and this sends the perfect message. Of course, at some point, Aphrodite could be reincarnated, as is the case with Old Gods being reborn, but we don't know if God Killer's eldritch abilities energies been adjusted by Lex or Perpetua to prevent this. What's obvious, however, is Cheetah is enjoying murder for the fun of it, and doesn't care about blowing her shot at breaching the barrier protecting Paradise Island.
She's in full sadist mode and wants to torture Diana before engaging her in a fight to the death. Lex stole the mythological weapon from Grail, thinking Cheetah was always destined to wield it and she's certainly living up to expectations. It's something Lex was convinced of from their time together in the Legion of Doom, and Cheetah's not disappointing him at all. Ultimately, Wonder Woman just lost one of her best friends but with Cheetah striking this first bloody blow, the horn of war has been sounded and reprisal could be very imminent.
Wonder Woman #77 will go on sale Aug. 28.