Spoilers ahead for Wonder Woman #58.
In Wonder Woman #58, Ares, the God of War, has chosen to die again. But instead of Wonder Woman becoming his replacement, he’s now returned in a form that wants to fight alongside Wonder Woman on the side of justice.
He’s also got a new, heroic look too, actually resembling Diana’s boyfriend Steve Trevor.
But there are perhaps larger forces at work, as several Greek gods mysteriously linger nearby, having been displaced from their Olympus home.
Wonder Woman #58 is the first by the new creative team of writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Cary Nord, and it brings back a few concepts that readers haven’t seen in a while. Let’s take a look at spoilers to figure out what the new direction in Wonder Woman might mean.
The issue begins on Themyscira, where Queen Hippolyta and another Amazonian named Phillipus are descending into the underground prison where Grail and Ares are being kept.
Before they arrive, the two prisoners are exchanging odd, self-righteous quips when Ares tells Grail he’s done desiring war. He’s having an identity crisis of sorts, and he’s now totally into justice.
Ares asks Grail to kill him and she acquiesces. But his death doesn’t last long. By the time Hippolyta and Phillipus arrive, the body of Ares is levitating, his chains are breaking apart, and the Earth is shaking.
“I can hear the island screaming as if the world itself is being torn apart,” Hippolyta says.
“Noo!” Grail says, regretting her action.
Meanwhile, in Northern Virginia, Wonder Woman has a dream (or maybe it’s a memory?) of Steve Trevor leaving her bed for a mission. Their playful dialogue emphasizes how much they love each other.
But the end of the dream/memory is clouded with red blood, making Wonder Woman afraid that Steve is in danger.
The bedside phone rings, and Wonder Woman’s fears (and apparent prophesy) are fulfilled. She gets a call from Etta Candy telling her that Steve’s mission went bad and he was captured.
He’s now M.I.A.
Etta tells Wonder Woman to stay out of it.
But of course, if Etta wanted Diana to stay out of it, she shouldn’t have called her. Right?
Wonder Woman shows up in Durovia and immediately injures some people, which makes Etta unhappy because the people she beat up are allies.
Why did Diana beat up the dudes? Because there was a child involved, and she intervened to try to protect the child. (But oops - that child isn’t what he seems. Unnoticed by Wonder Woman, the child is hanging out with several displaced gods of Olympus, helping them hide within the Durovian city.)
At this moment (as the gods are revealed), Etta just happens to mention to Wonder Woman that the city has some of the “greatest Hellenic ruins outside of Greece.” (OK, that’s apparently connected to why the gods are here.)
As Etta and Wonder Woman are flown over the city in a helicopter, Diana questions whether the women and men of the U.S. armed forces might be fighting on the wrong side (and that includes Etta, who’s heavily armed for some Durovian a$s-kicking).
But Etta explains that there’s a treaty involved. (And it’s pretty obvious that this is one of those battles where there might not be a right side - just the lesser of two evils.)
Wonder Woman leaves Etta and starts smacking around some more soldiers, but they announce that “he is coming to teach you what justice is.”
It’s Ares, and he’s towering over Diana in his scary helmet, swinging his axe at her.
As they fight, he suddenly stops. He recognizes her.
“Kinswoman, at last,” Ares says. “Do you not recognize me? It is I.”
He takes off his helmet and reveals his new, Trevor-like look.
“It is Ares,” he says, “I’ve returned to find you and to battle alongside you against tyranny and injustice.”
The story continues in November 28's Wonder Woman #59.