Wonder Woman: the Once and Future Story

By Trina Robbins, Colleen Doran & Jackson Guice (DC Comics)
ISBN: 1-56389-373

Every so often the intention to do good generates an above average comics product such as this one-shot created to raise awareness of domestic violence. A hugely important issue, and one that far too many unfortunate children are sadly aware of from an early age, it is also one of the oldest “relevant” topics in comic book history: Superman memorably dealt rough justice to a “wife-beater” in his very first adventure (Action Comics #1, June 1938).

Less visceral, but far more even-handed, is this beautiful, subtle tale-within-a-tale from Trina Robbins, illustrated by Colleen Doran and Jackson Guice. Wonder Woman is summoned to an archeological dig in Ireland by a husband and wife team to verify the finding of a 3000 year old tomb that contains the body and burial trappings of a princess from the fabled island of Themyscira.

As Wonder Woman translates the scrolls detailing the story of Princess Artemis of Ephesus, daughter of Queen Alcippe, who was taken as a slave by the Greek hero Theseus, she slowly realizes that the animosity of dig-chief James Kennealy is perhaps more than professional jealousy, and that his wife’s Moira’s defensive attitude and constant apologies mask a dark secret. Artemis’s brutal, painful quest to rescue her mother mirrors Moira’s journey to awareness as both women, separated by three millennia, take control of their so different, tragically similar lives.

Challenging, powerful but still wonderfully entertaining, this is a tale both worthy and worthwhile.
© 1998 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

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