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strangefate

Tower of Iron Will

All who enter the Tower regain 100 sanity points.

Currently reading

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die
Randall Munroe, James Foreman, K. Sekelsky, Camron Miller, John Chernega, David Michael Wharton, K.M. Lawrence, Jeffrey C. Wells, Vera Brosgol, Kit Yona, J. Jack Unrau, Jeff Stautz, Aaron Diaz, Matthew Bennardo, Yahtzee Croshaw, Douglas J. Lane, Brian Quinlan, Kate Beaton

Tragedy Tonight

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia - Wade Von Grawbadger, Dave Stewart, Greg Rucka, J.G. Jones

The Hiketeia presents Wonder Woman with a seemingly unsolvable problem, at least within her personal context. This is a graphic novel from 2002, but in case you have not read it spoilers follow.

 

Batman pursues a young woman wanted for murdering four men. The woman escapes to Wonder Woman's embassy (yes she is an ambassador) and performs an ancient Greek ritual which binds Diana to protect her, which puts Diana in direct conflict with Batman. To Batman this is a clear case of a fugitive from justice, but to Wonder Woman it is a sacred duty to protect a supplicant.

 

The Erinyes are near constant background figures in the story. In Greek myth the Erinyes are the goddesses of vengeance who drive relatives to avenge the deaths of family members, but also judge those who fail their duties to guests. The young woman was driven by the Erinyes to avenge her sister's death, the victims were the drug pushers, pornographers, and pimps who destroyed her sister's life. In turn the Erinyes drive Batman to bring the girl to justice and threaten Wonder Woman if she fails in her duty to protect the girl. This is nicely structured in the manner of Greek myths which often have a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" pattern. For example, Orestes is damned if he does not kill his mother for murdering his father and he is damned if he does kill his mother because she is his mother.

 

In the end the problem is taken out of Wonder Woman's hands in typically tragic fashion. No one gets a happy conclusion in this story, unless it is the Erinyes. If this were a typical superhero story I suspect all the parties would have worked out a reasonable solution involving a plea bargain and the Erinyes plot would have been frustrated, but a typical superhero story is not what Rucka is going for here. He is going for tragedy, which is quite rare these days and I applaud the attempt even if it is not entirely successful.