Wonder Woman just went through extraordinary means to save DC’s gods, although she simultaneously doomed another for eternity.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Wonder Woman #775 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Andy MacDonald, Nick Filardi, Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain and Pat Brosseau, on sale now.
When Wonder Woman first left her home on Themyscira, she was given her powers by the gods of Olympus. Her relationship with these Greek deities has always been a core part of her character and the inspiration for her strong sense of morality, while her many adventures have frequently involved aspects of Greek mythology.
The gods are powerful immortal beings, but even they can be slain by a powerful enough weapon, as happened recently. In Wonder Woman’s most recent adventure, she traveled to the Graveyard of the Gods to rescue the Olympian pantheon from death, but she was not prepared to pay the cost for her actions.
Wonder Woman died at the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal. She went onto the afterlife, where she spent her time not among the Greek gods, but rather with the Asgardian pantheon. One reason for this is that the Greek gods were slain by the Roman god Janus, who has since split into two distinct identities and has been wielding a weapon she stole from Hephaestus, the God Scraper. In Wonder Woman #775, she traveled to the Graveyard of the Gods to resurrect the Olympians.
With a name like the Graveyard of the Gods, it should be no surprise that this is the place where dead gods are laid to rest. The realm is looked after by a powerful being known as the Keeper of the Grounds, whose job it is to keep the deities from escaping their final rest. Considering just how powerful gods are, and that almost every dead god has been interred in the Graveyard, the Keeper must wield incredible power to keep all of the deceased deities in check. When Wonder Woman met him, she knew she could not overpower him, so she challenged him to a battle of wits. If she won, the Keeper would release the Olympians.
Wonder Woman successfully answered three riddles, thereby passing the test and securing the Greek gods’ release. However, there was still a cost to be paid for traveling through the land of the dead, known as Charon’s Obol (a reference to the coin given to Charon the ferryman in Greek pagan beliefs). She had to leave someone behind, and so she chose the god Chaos–the oldest of all the gods. While she did not hesitate to leave Chaos in the Graveyard, Wonder Woman whispered a vow that she would redeem the unpredictable deity. However, in practice, her decision was a final one, condemning Chaos to forever be bound in death.
Back on Olympus, the gods immediately tried to turn on the male aspect of Janus, but were stopped when Wonder Woman explained that it was the female half of the deity who was responsible for killing them. The fact that they stopped and listened to her shows how far she has come. Historically, Wonder Woman used to revere and worship these gods, and while was still willing to challenge them, it was usually done with reverence. However, the balance of power appears to have shifted.
Wonder Woman openly defied Zeus to his face, telling him she intended to stop Janus despite him insisting that she would die if she attempted it. But as she spoke with him and the other Olympians, it felt like an exchange between equals. In fact, when she departed, Zeus commented that she would do as she wished as she was a god who served her own will. After years of serving the divines, Wonder Woman has ascended to become one of them.
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