|jupiterrhode (jupiterrhode) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2009-03-22 18:46:00
|Entry tags:||char: batman/bruce wayne, char: wonder woman/diana of themyscira, creator: greg rucka, in-joke: herodickery, series: when wondy was awesome, series: world of wondy|
When Wondy was Awesome Interlude--The Hiketeia
Basically the Hiketeia is a modern Greek tragedy with Diana as the youthful hero, Bats as the vengeful king, and a new character named Danielle as the one damned by fate. If that intrigues then...
So it turns out that the majority of the book is actually a flashback, and we begin with this scene of Diana once the events have already transpired.
What follows is Diana telling us what the Hiketeia actually is while a scene from Ancient Greece involving one instance it was invoked is playing out behind her words. Basically the supplicant gives up all personal honor and submits to the supplicated. The supplicated has total authority over the supplicant but cannot abuse it. For instance any question asked by the supplicated to the supplicant must be answered truthfully. If the supplicated chooses to call in the lifetime of service the supplicant has pledged to, the supplicant must obey. However, the supplicant gets perks too. All food and worldly comforts are provided and he/she can break the Hiketeia at any time. If the supplicated tries to break the ritual though, the Erinyes (Greek goddesses personifying vengeance, aka the Furies) will appear and tear the supplicated to shreds. Tough break. We shift into the actual story at this point.
The woman's name is Danny. Why she's killing these men we don't yet know. She jumps out the window and speeds away, but of course...
She tries to get way, but no mere mortal can escape the All Powerful Batgod (tm).
...or maybe she can. When next we see Danny she's in a crowd of people fawning over Diana as she lands on the steps of the Embassy. Diana remarks that she sees her, but doesn't notice her. Apparently young Danny has an unassuming presence. However the next time she sees Danny she falls to her knees and wraps herself around Diana's legs (and wouldn't you?). Well, you know what they say about assuming.
The page before this has Diana musing about whether or not she would have noticed the signs had she been paying more attention. Her last caption reads: But I am making excuses…
Diana, of course, accepts Danny's supplication and invites her into the embassy. She kneels in the place of servitude--beside the hearth--but Diana tells her there's no reason to take the Hiketeia quite that seriously. She also tells Danny to call her Diana, instead of princess. It’s kind of a running gag. Next we get a few more specifics of what the Hiketeia actually entails.
Notice that Diana leaves a fairly obvious opening for Danny to tell her what's up. But she never invokes her power over the woman and asks the question frankly. And of course she wouldn't, Wonder Woman would never ask someone what would bring them so low as to surrender all personal honor. At this point Diana notices the Erinyes are outside her window. She asks Danny how long they've been following her, but apparently Danny can't see them. Can you see where this is going?
In a ballsy display of badassery, Diana tells the Erinyes to shove off. Naturally, they don't take this well and reminds the "princess-once-goddess" that even beings such as she are subject to vengeance's laws. They also say that they aren't here for Danny at all, but Diana. If she breaks the sanctity of Hiketeia, they will personally feast on her flesh, or some such.
She's her usual chipper self the next day, however. Gods listing the various ways they plan to disembowel her is a fairly frequent occurrence in Diana’s life.
Anyway, Danny wakes up to Diana giving her new clothes and stuff. Although Diana has not invoked the right of tell-all, she has invoked the servitude. I can't blame her, if the woman's gonna be provided everything out of Diana's pockets she should do something to earn it. Diana informs Danny just what a day in the life is like. (United Nations, Amnesty International, consulting with some doctors, a lecture on non-violence at a school—which she expects to get interrupted by some kind of league emergency, and then an early dinner with the executive director of the International Labor Organization. This is, apparently, a “light day.”)
Danny asks Diana why she hasn't invoked her other rights. This is Diana's response: The Reason doesn’t Matter. Only the ritual. Diana expounds on the reason she gave Danny, albeit only in her mind. She also gives us the skinny on Greek tragedies, which usually involve conflicts between personal justice and society’s law. And then she notices the All Powerful Batgod (tm) at her window.
Diana can tell instantly something's up, notice her face and body language here.
The All Powerful Batgod (tm) informs Diana of Danny's crimes, even calls Danny herself out on them. I have to say, I love Diana’s response.
Batman: *beats chest* Aside, woman!
Diana: Bitch, please.
Okay, so that’s not exactly what she says.
I have to admit, the following two page spread are some of my favorite pages from the whole book. I’m a man of simple needs.
She tells him to back off and they'll speak of this tomorrow. That done, she goes inside. Danny's all braced for a confrontation but it doesn't happen. Diana tells her that they are still bound by the Hiketeia, period. Unless Danny feels like releasing her there's only one course of action available to her. Distraught, Danny runs into the room where Diana keeps her equipment. It kills her that Diana thinks the All Powerful Batgod (tm) was right. She asks Diana if she thinks Danny tricked her.
And we finally learn why. Danny’s sister, Melody, went to Gotham to make it big, but fell into one of those scams where a man offers to pay her way and then insists she repay him by making porn. Danny tells us that when Melody refused, they got her addicted to drugs so she’d have no choice. Eventually, Melody overdosed and none of the cops cared enough to investigate because she was “just another junkie whore.” So, Danny killed the men responsible herself because justice demanded it.
Diana holds her as she sobs and puts her to bed. Danny says she’s sorry, and Diana replies to just get some sleep. I think at this point Diana realizes that she should turn Danny over. When Danny told her it was the law, Diana responds "Three thousand years ago." Despite that, she can't help thinking...
She decides to honor the Hiketeia. During the night Diana is awakened by the Furies. They say Diana has failed her duty and they've come to see her "ripped, ragged, raped, and ravaged.” The Furies, apparently, are into some hardcore shit.
Diana sees that Danny has fled from her room. She goes to her equipment room and dons her costume before demanding of the Furies where Danny is. They tell her and Diana thanks them (as is only smart when dealing with goddesses) but they say not to thank them yet. They know how it ends.
Turns out Danny is in the industrial part of town down by some huge-ass water pipes. She sticks out her thumb and the batmobile, sorry, the Goddamn Batmobile pulls up. Well, if it's that easy why isn't everyone doing it? The All Powerful Batgod (tm) chases her to the end of the dock thing they're on, all the while telling her not to get hurt. Nice logic, Bats.
Diana, arriving just in the nick of time, smacks him down. Again. I believe the sensation you’re all feeling is schadenfreude. What’s that? It’s just me? Okay, then, moving on.
Wondy tells him she has no choice, and Bats tries to claim the same.
For such a supposedly brilliant man, Batman really doesn’t have any kind of understanding of Diana. If she had accepted his supplication, he would have had to follow all of her orders—including leaving Danny alone. Bats would have ignored her command, and would have been devoured by the Furies. If she, then, allows Batman to harm Danny she gets her entrails roasted instead (though I personally believe this is her secondary reason for keeping Danny safe), not to mention she fails her charge. Neither of these options are particularly in keeping with Diana’s code of ethics.
It's during this little episode they notice that Danny has climbed up higher on the pipes' platform, and can now see the Furies. Too late, Diana realizes that this has all been an elaborate plan by the Furies to get Danny to kill herself.
Back in the present, Diana grieves.
I defy anyone, Heinberg, Picoult, Didio himself to read that and tell me Diana isn't human. She's more human than any hero DC has to offer. She bleeds, she laughs, she cries. She fights bad guys, and fights for world peace. She'll defend a poor, broken hearted murderess, not just because her law demands it, but out of her compassion.
She's Wonder Woman.