When Wondy was Awesome, part 22 (Trial of an Amazon)
Once Rucka's run was over, there was, mostly, pain. INFINITE CRISIS pain, Heinboot pain, Shamazons pain, it was a dark time for Wondy fans. We snarked, we cursed, we railed, we wept, we prayed for some benevolent god to save us.
There was one small, bright candle in the darkness, though, and his name was Marc Andreyko - the writer of the then-ongoing MANHUNTER, a true gem of a series about a lawyer named Kate Spencer who strapped on a costume when the Law just wasn't enough. Much in the vein of Slott's SHE-HULK, Kate dealt primarily in metahuman crime. Unlike Shulkie, Kate worked very much on the edge of Acceptable Vigilante Practices, killing those rogues whom she perceived to be too dangerous to live; she spent much of her series defending metahuman criminals in order to get close enough to effectively take them down.
Guess who, thanks to Brother Eye, was considered a metahuman criminal after the OYL jump?
Kate, of course, does not choose to defend Diana just to get close enough to effectively take her down. In fact, Kate wouldn't even have gone near Diana if Diana hadn't, one day, walked into her office out of absolutely nowhere and inquired after her services.
Gah blue eyes dammit why aren't they grey razzum frazzum argh mutter
Kate is a bit bemused - no fight? really? - but happily takes Diana on, pro bono. Diana doesn't like the idea of not paying for Kate's services, but Kate says she can pay her by training her.
Naturally, because this is a superhero universe, Diana does this by dragging Kate out into the woods and trying to kill her.
... I'd make a comment on that final panel, but the sheer volume of choice has left me paralyzed.
I like how much Diana likes a good friendly fight, but I like even more the way she always likes a good friendly fight. Kate is not a match for her, not even close. Neither, for that matter, is Dinah, or Bruce, or any of her amazon sisters, or just about anybody we've seen her spar with on a regular basis, short of Clark (who is not a recreational fighter at all and clearly does it to humor her, which is sweet of him) or maybe Donna. But Diana is delighted to spar anyway, pretty much without fail. It's not about winning or competition, not when there's no challenge or question of the outcome if she went all out - it's just a really fun thing that she likes to do with her friends, like getting lunch at a good coffee place or taking a walk in a pretty park. That's how you know you're an amazon, when fighting is as natural as eating and you do it with the same range of attitudes and reasons.
Anyway, before there can be a trial, the grand jury has to decide whether it's worth the taxpayers' money, so off Diana and Kate go, to watch the prosecution present his case before the court. The prosecution plays the old "Lookit Diana snap a bound man's neck!" video that Brother Eye broadcast. Kate objects, and the judge reminds her there are no objections in a grand jury hearing.
Diana's reaction here actually says something kind of impressive about her, if you think about it. She is, after all, an incredible diplomat - it's as much a part of her definition as bending steel - but she doesn't really do deception or emotional manipulation any more than the average superhero uses a gun. Sure, she basically knows how, and she'll use it if it genuinely is the best tool for the job at the moment, but she's seldom going to perceive it to be - she has better, less harmful ways, and besides, it's just not her style. Which removes a huge part of any normal diplomat's arsenal. That she doesn't even need half the toolbox to be twice as good says a lot for her.
Nothing super-relevant on that page, I just think it's pretty.
Anyway, they go back to the courtroom after lunch, do more legal circus work, and the prosecutor spits at Diana a little bit. Kate gets angry, but Diana's just puzzled.
The press conference wears on a while as Kate continues to spin like a master and Diana continues to be silent and look regal (well, regally nonplussed), until it's suddenly interrupted by A Thing In The Sky!
I'm going to save you a lot of suspense and tell you right now, that's Everyman, masquerading as Ted Kord, at Circe's behest. See, most of Diana's defense is that Max demonstrated a dangerous pattern of behavior, and a large part of that pattern is the killing of Ted Kord, so if he's not dead, it hurts her case a great deal.
Diana knows this - in fact she's the one who explains it (to Fake!Ted, theoretically, but mostly to us the readers) - but she still clearly wants very badly to believe it's him, and heads off with Kate in the Bug with him to try to figure out what's up.
They get conveniently attacked by Madmen before they can question Everyman too closely, though.
Fake!Ted tells her just to pull the ripcord, and they jump out of the Bug, at which point Kate's parachute does exactly what you'd expect from a parachute handed over by an undercover bad guy.
What did I say a few chapters back about Diana catching people?
Anyway, they go to Fake!Ted's place and Diana has Batman come do a DNA test while she uses the lasso, and there's a really serious bout of plot-induced stupidity on all sides to prevent Everyman from blowing the game right there, but regardless, they leave him be and Kate goes home for the evening.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Sasha Bordeaux is watching the news.
Sasha is as unimpressed by people being skeptical of Diana's virtue as anyone should be.
So Kate, who apparently didn't know about any of this, goes to have a little chat with her client.
Ooookay, quibble time. First: it's ridiculous that Kate didn't know about this.
"Okay, so let's prepare our defense. First off, *why* did you kill Lord?" "He was a danger to others." "At that moment?" "Yes." "Well, how?" "..." "It couldn't be anything physical, you had him tied up..." "..." "But you do look pretty beat up in the video, so there had to be some kind of fighting..." "..." "... riiiiiight. Different tack, then. What was Superman doing there?" "..." "Can he at least testify on your behalf?" "..." "Well, do we need to worry about him being tried as an accomplice?" "..." "Lovely. You're very helpful. I'll just tell them to start researching magic-based lethal injection now, save us all some time."
And the argument itself is stupid. Superman gets mind-controlled all the bloody time, I'm sure the citizens of the DCU are used to it. If Starro hasn't ruined their faith in him as a symbol, if clones and white martians and he and Diana beating the tar out of each other on international television and Emoboy tearing up the planet haven't dented the public's sense of S-related security, I really don't think the knowledge that he beat up Batman at the behest of a guy who's now *dead* and can't do it again is going to raise a lot of concern.
Plus, doesn't everybody know this? How in the blue hell did Diana get an in absentia acquittal from the extremely hostile World Court without that detail? Absent the immediate danger of Superman, she has no defense. Was she just all pissed off at him at the time and didn't care during that trial, and now that they've made up post-ICk she's reconsidered taking the fall for him? I have a hard time believing even Diana would value a highly dubious prevention of a barely potential nick in Clark's reputation over her own life, given the death penalty is on the table.
That said, it's all a bit academic, because Kate calls the Daily Planet like, the second Diana is out of earshot.
Kate brings Clark, and the tape, to a closed meeting with the judge.
Good on Clark, here. Check out his phrasing. He's pretty effective at supporting Diana and avoiding any kind of condemnation while still not quite condoning a choice he feels was the wrong one.
Batman's news, of course, is that Fake!Ted is actually Everyman. Kate calls him over, confronts him, and ends up having to shoot him in the face with her boomstick, and he flies back home to Circe so she can set him up as Sarge Steel, who really should take out doppelganger insurance at this point. Fortunately for us, we don't care about any of that; we're just going to skip ahead to later that night and watch Kate and Diana have a heart-to-heart under the stars.
It's canon, people. Everyone's gay for Diana.
Aww, poor Kate. Cockblocked by Everyman. That's harsh.
Diana does show up the next morning to take Kate to court for the verdict, though. In a Humvee, no less.
"Um, you're Wonder Woman." Just sort of says it all, don't it?
I will say that, regardless of how little sense it actually makes, I think I get why Andreyko did the whole "Diana won't rat out Clark" thing. With that info, after all, it's a completely clear-cut case of self-defense, and there's really no legal way she can lose given the facts, so the only question becomes "do the jurors take Diana's word for what happened" (which, of course, throw in the undoctored video and any sane prosecutor wouldn't even touch the case with a ten-foot pole). But if Diana sits on Clark's involvement, then it's no longer about what happened (which, after all, the readership already knows and has made their own calls on some time since), but about a) how persuasive Kate is, and b) how much people trust Wonder Woman just because she's Wonder Woman. The story here is that the case never even makes it to trial, because a randomly-selected assemblage of average joes willingly take Diana's word that a guy who needed killing, needed killing. For all that Diana thinks people look up to Clark, it's her place in the public consciousness that this arc plays up as significant, even to that world-shaping degree.