Review: Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman: War of the Gods #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
War of the Gods was more than just a crossover event from the early 90s. It was a pivotal moment that set a new direction for magic and mythology in DC Comics. But what if all of that had changed in a spiteful twist of fate? In this Review of Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman: War of the Gods #1, we discover just how horrible the outcome could have been.
Positives — History Revisited
Vita Ayala’s starts off by identifying a critical moment in the timeline of the War of the Gods crossover. In what seemed like a tragedy Diana had sacrificed her life in battle with the witch Circe. In truth, she did not die. And the parts of her that survived lived amongst the representatives of many pantheons. Eventually, the bearers gathered together the parts of Wonder Woman. They added these to the form made from clay by her mother Hippolyta.
Diana’s return included ceremonial garb. Robed in rebirth Wonder Woman marched forward and defeated the witch Circe and her master Hecate. In this story, we see what happens if the Lasso of Truth had not thwarted Hecate. The result is a subconscious battle of wills. One that Diana believes she has won outright.
Much like the popular “it’s all falling apart” themes that were dominant traits of storytelling in the 90s, this narrative features a succession of tragic events. By the time they have transpired Diana has weathered the effects and is severely broken. The “All Is Lost” moment arrives.
Positives — Neverending Stories
Those Diana loved, those she cared for, and those that she fought for no longer existed. This combination of disasters allows Hecate to take control. A fiery rage unleashes Wonder Woman against the heroes she once stood side by side with. Included is Shazam who returned to the pages of DC Comics in this series after a brief hiatus. He would later star in the legendary The Power of Shazam! by Jerry Ordway.
But that doesn’t happen in this version. Instead, Wonder Woman and Hecate change his fate and the future of every superhero she once called a friend or an ally. For those who enjoy books like Injustice, or DCeased, this is a wonderfully violent romp. Especially when Diana eliminates the simpler versions of the heroes from that time. It is here and in the internal struggles that Ariel Olivetti’s art and Trish Mulvihill’s colors shine.
Another great positive is how it does not concretely end. Unlike so many of the books that are part of the Tales from the Dark Multiverse, this is not a standalone issue. It ends with possibilities that cannot be spoiled.
Instead, there’s only the suggestion of more to come. This is something that was demonstrated in the recent Dark Nights: Death Metal – Infinite Hour Exxxtreme story that featured Lobo. He followed that story with a significant role in Dark Nights: Death Metal #5.
Interestingly enough, this could lead to a new Wonder Woman appearing in an upcoming chapter of the current crossover.
The only problem with trying to capture the complexities of a crossover, one that touched on so many books, characters, and pantheons is that it is hard to make sure all of the characters and plots get fed. Inevitably, if there are things that cannot be included. Given how much was done in so few pages it’s a shame that this could not have been stretched out over a longer series.
Much like the Elseworlds stories that preceded them, the Tales from the Dark Multiverse allow readers to consider the implausible possibilities. It thrives on the road not taken and because of it the story that remained untold. Until now. In this issue, the best qualities of Wonder Woman lead to her undoing. It compounds the resulting tragedies and the destruction of the best that we can hope to be or even live up to.
In times like this, there is a minor consolation to the reader who only wants to see superheroes triumph. It might only be found in the comfort that despite all odds brave heroes continue to fight to the very end.
Even when this story comes to its last page Diana is still fighting. Eagle-eyed readers would do well to keep an eye out for the next chapter of her story.