Release: November 1987
Writer: Len Wein
Pencils: George Pérez
Inks: Bruce D Patterson
Trigger warning for pretty explicit threats of sexual assault in this issue.
Diana is back on Themyscira, hanging with all her friends and telling them about how weird (both good weird and bad weird) man’s world is, while up above Zeus and Pan are being super creeps. It seems that Diana, in besting Ares, has managed to garner the attention of both of the gods. They manage to immediately be super creeps, especially towards Diana, who Zeus sees as the first target of his ‘love’. It is pretty explicitly about Zeus being totally down with rape, which checks out as canon to Greek myth, but is also a giant squick factor going into these comics.
The goddesses on Mount Olympus do their best to warn the Amazons of what’s happening, but not before Zeus manages to abduct Diana up into the sky where he quite literally stands there in a loincloth and is like ‘eh, eh? I’m a god, you’re a lady, let’s get it on!’ and it’s so so gross. Zeus is the worst. Especially since all of his come ons are coached in really icky patriarchal language. Zeus is the most daddy and that’s why daddy culture is the fucking worst. Don’t let oppressive-yet-seemingly-benevolent fathering be turned into some sort of backhanded kink. Not in real life. Not in my Wonder Woman comics. Diana is about being better than men, not being subjected to their worst impulses.
Thank Hera Diana immediately calls him on his bullshit, though even a superhero has to use the same sort of soft letdown diffusion tactics that women all over the world have to use to let guys down gently for fear of actual violence committed upon them for expressing agency. No, really, this is exactly how she has to coach an idea like ‘hey maybe don’t try to fuck women without their consent,’ as shown below:
Zeus handles this about as well as you might expect, and basically throws a huge temper tantrum and threatens to not only smite Diana, but destroy all of the Amazons. He even name drops his son Hercules as an example of what he will do. If you don’t remember, back in issue one we covered the myth where Hercules captured and raped Hippolyta and her people for daring to be stronger than him. Just sitting and thinking about that leaves me totally stunned. Fuck Zeus. Ugh. This is one of the gods they worship! Being an Amazon kind of sucks when you get into the quagmire of their religion being real and their gods not only existing but not having much better to do than actually show up and meddle with them.
Zeus gets talked down from this … reaction, as the goddesses assuage him enough that instead he offers Diana a challenge: she’s to go to the prison of all the mythological beasts kept under Paradise Island and fight them. If she succeeds, she’s free to go, her affront forgotten. If not, he’ll get with the destroying and pillaging. Not really much of a choice. Like I said, worshiping Greek gods sucks. Do not recommend. Like, I’m trying not to dwell too much on this situation, because these write ups often go on way too long as it is, but this whole sitch with Zeus sucks. It’s so horrible. Like how do you even walk back the head god of your pantheon being like ‘you’re all very good, thanks for being heroes, now I’m going to assault all of you as a reward’? I don’t know. I know this is the kind of shit that just doesn’t exist in mainstream media in 2016, but the idea that it was fine in 1987 is also unfathomable. I was alive back then. This shouldn’t be an okay plot point in what is essentially all ages entertainment in my lifetime. Rape shouldn’t just be a tossed off bad ending outcome.
Sorry. Rant on hold. Let’s finish this comic.
Diana does manage to get a very cool battle armor version of her costume, and all the Amazons do their best to be very supportive, but all involved agree that this whole situation is totally fucked. Diana descends into the prison, where she encounters a thousand-handed monster named Cottus who tries to devour Diana before she destroys him with her golden axe, conveniently crafted into the shape of a Wonder Woman logo. She descends deeper, only to encounter a lake of lava and emerging from it the hydra as the comic ends.