Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tie-ins, Part XXV: Wonder Woman and the Furies #3

Some random Wonder Woman books, Part 21
The Furies in action!

No, really! Why don't you believe me?

"Part Three: Cataclysm"
Writers – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciller – Agustin Padilla
Inker – Jose Aviles
Letters – Travis Lanham
Colorists – Val Staples
Assistant Editor – Darren Shan
Editor – Brian Cunningham
October 2011

Here we are at the final issue of the three issue series. The art is the same as last installment. The writing team has run out of places for this to go without banging it into the events in Flashpoint proper. The story has a conclusion panel that could come at literally any moment, meaning we have a short way to go and 22 pages to get there.

We begin with Aquaman destroying the planet by using the powers of Geo-Force, who is trapped in a tube contraption of some kind. The Amazons have taken over England, but Brion's little "earthshake" creates destruction all the way over in Rome.

Last issue Terra, Brion's little sister, joined the Furies. She is the ONLY one with more than just a speaking part. Here she detects the destruction her brother is causing…amid the pain Volko's device is causing him, by forcing him to use his Earth-moving powers to create a wave that would cover England.

Note Hawkwoman in the back? This is what the rest of the Furies are busy doing this issue: pointing out stuff and saying "Yes, 'mam" to Wonder Woman a bunch. What she is pointing out now is a huge tidal wave that is about to engulf all of the coast killing countless thousands but most of all them.

Terra counters it with a wall of rock…

…and then turns all of England into the rock of Gibraltar, jutting the whole mess half a mile out of the sea. Terra dubs it "New Themyscira" and passes out.
That was eight months ago. Now Terra is guarded around the clock by Furies who are mostly not in panel nor do they do anything. Terra is in danger because she is the only one who can counter Brion's powers. The next scene she is putting herself in harm's way because she is sitting next to a fountain while two Atlantian spys surveil her. They end up being Orm all decked out in his Ocean Master garb and a female Atlantian water bender. She mentions she could put a hard-water spike right through Terra from where they are viewing her from the floor above. Right about then the Amazon Penthesilea bursts in and a fight erupts.

Which lasts about as long as you'd expect.

Terra, who is a full floor below and outside the building, hears this somehow that is NOT explained and rushes off to warn the queen that Atlantians have come to murder her. So Wonder Woman, being a brilliant tactician, sends her Furies to fight the invaders, keeping Terra close to herself so they can protect each other in case there are more forces.

Except no. Hearing that Atlantians have infiltrated her palace to kill her, she goes herself to check in on her aunt and the attackers. A good general knows how to delegate sensitive tasks. And also how not to throw themselves into great danger, since risk to their life endangers the entire mission.

What she finds is Penthesilea in Orm's arms, of course, which makes completely no sense. Why would Penthesilea call attention to herself and then start snuggling with the enemy when she knewn Amazon forces were coming?

She has no one to "damn" but herself for this mess. 

As we've seen countless times, the Amazon Wonder Woman brushes Orm aside with an ease that shows how overpowered the Amazons are and then confronts her aunt. Penthesilea cops to it all, including atrocities found out in other books (Lois Lane and the Resistance) that she had been performing on the inhabitants of England since the Amazons took over. She feels the Amazons were meant to rule the world and the only thing missing here is a few "Bwah-ahh-ahh's" and some mustache twirling.

This kind of upsets Wonder Woman, as part of Penthesilea's plan got her sister, Diana's mother, killed. Wonder Woman "jogs" her memory.

The Furies burst into action, which consists of saying "My Queen!" and handing her cell phones and such.

The cell phone message is a news report sent worldwide from Lois on the horrible conditions in New Themyscira and all the awful experimentation Penthesilea has been doing to the inhabitants of the island nation.

And at this moment, we have a sudden tipping point for Diana. A place where she can right the wrongs of this world and use those powers of love and compassion to HEAL the wounds between all the parties.

And instead she is so filled with grief and remorse and some outmoded sense of duty that she decides to continue fighting. Now the Diana of the '70's and '80's wouldn't do this. She'd give herself up knowing that she had been duped all along. She'd see how pointless the battles are from this moment forward. She would be the diplomat, and make peace, even if it cost her freedom.

But this clearly ISN'T our Diana. She has some similarities, but she isn't her.

Instead she rushes off to fight Aquaman, in a fight he didn't start for reasons she knows are the fault of factions on both sides working to unseat both of them. And that isn't even going to be shown in this issue.

The Furies stand around.

And while they are, Penthesilea and Orm do a little bit of dirty work, namely setting off explosive charges in Aquaman's fleet, crippling it in a way that causes Arthur to blame the Amazons and continues to stoke his fire.

And then they escape by battling the Amazon guards while the Furies stand around for a bit more.

Watching. And checking Wonder Woman's twitter feed and Facebook page. Like one page they are there and the next they have disappeared. 

While Orm and Penthesilea kill all the guards and reminisce for three pages about how they first met. It's bloody sweet, and I don't mean that like an Englishman would.

They wander out, walking past the preoccupied Furies one would guess as the ladies were standing in the midst of the Amazons during the battle, yet at no time are they shown IN THE FREAKIN' FIGHT. Nor dead on the floor. So…where are they?

The only one of ANY use is Terra, or, as of this point in the story, WAS Terra, seen here as Orm points out that fighting off Brion's power has destroyed her mind. Now the pair overlooks their handiwork. Destruction of both Empires (and unbeknownst to them, the entire world as well). They are well pleased.

The issue ends with a "Concluded in Flashpoint number 5" which is all well and good.

That kind of fell apart along the way, didn't it? The first issue was humming and I still held out hope even in the second, however this last issue was completely DUMB.

Leave Orm alone instead of forcing him out onto the battlefield as a hostage or a prisoner along with your aunt? Horrible tactical move. Ignoring the atrocities committed in your name? Not any Wonder Woman I know would do such a thing. Create a band of superheroes that include Hawkwoman, Huntress, and Cheetah just to have them stand around for two issues and act like your personal assistants, answering phones and relaying information? Unforgivable poor plotting.

It seems clear the writers looked at this as a solo Wonder Woman project. The other heroes being relegated to cameos was a bad enough crime, but not finding them SOMETHING to do is a sin I can't let go of. Especially in a freaking WAR!

The personal story aspects break down around the end of issue 2 and they don't get any better in this book. Wonder Woman and Aquaman's grudge looks more and more looney the farther we get from the big events. Both should have suspected manipulation, especially in light of Garth's betrayal and factions in Wonder Woman's camp openly opposing the move to unite the two kingdoms.

However, the good news is that none of this was really the writer's fault. We can blame everything on Nora Allen.

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