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Remember the final conflict between Wonder Woman and Ares in the 2017 movie? You will see their literary conflict in this old Wonder Woman comic book drawn by the legendary George Perez which I’m about to review.
Before getting to the review, Ares in real life is the Greek deity of war and one of the Twelve Olympians. Within the realm of DC Comics’ superhero universe, the character was very similar to the real-life counterpart and made the first literary appearance in Wonder Woman #1 way back in the early 1940s.
In 1987, when Wonder Woman got rebooted along with the rest of the superhero universe of DC Comics (the Post-Crisis era), George Perez led a revision of the Wonder Woman mythos with a stronger emphasis of Greek mythology in mind. In Wonder Woman #1 of the Post-Crisis era, the deities of Greece were introduced and Ares stood out clearly among them given his nature for conflict. As if that was not enough, Ares appeared in a dark battle armor with a helmet clearly hiding his face (with red-colored eyes) which easily made him the most menacing deity of them all in Olympus.
Having reviewed Wonder Woman #5 (1987) which showed how Ares and his forces influence people of man’s world to engage in war with each other, the stage is set for Wonder Woman and Ares’ featured encounter in Wonder Woman #6 published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story co-written by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez illustrated the story with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson.
The story opens with a television news broadcast about the brewing tension that could lead to a war. The public is informed about the sudden takeover of a federal missile base organized by renegade military personnel led by an Air Force general. Over at the Soviet Union, a similar takeover of a missile facility got reported.
The narrative then shifts at the American military base where Wonder Woman, Julia Kapatelis, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and Matthew Michaelis just witnessed the arrival of Ares whom the traitorous general Samuel Tolliver referred to as master. Tolliver has several renegade soldiers carefully watching the heroes with guns pointed. Michaelis find the situation getting more insane which draws a response from Ares.
Julia (who researched a lot about foreign cultures and deities), Etta and Steve struggle to believe what they just witnessed. The presence of Ares, the deity of war in Olympus, is too much for them. As Diana whispers to Julia, Ares responds referring to her as Queen Hippolyte’s daughter. As soon as Areas disappears into thin air, Tolliver tells everyone that he will launch the doomsday missiles once he reaches the master control room.
Very quietly, Etta Candy opens a pouch behind Steve Trevor and pulls out to handy canisters. She passes one to Michaelis…
I’m pleased to say that the high quality of storytelling, characterization, art and spectacle that started since issue #1 has been well maintained here. Like the previous issue, this one is loaded with spectacle as it is a continuing story about tackling Ares and his influence on people engaging more in conflict instead of being calm and reasonable. When it comes to spectacle, there is a nice mix of fantasy battles and military action.
The highlight here, as already made obvious by the cover of this comic book, is the battle between Wonder Woman and Ares. To make things clear without spoiling the story, I should say that their battle together was executed differently from what was showcased in the 2017 live-action movie. To describe it here, I’d say it has a strong fantasy approach on presentation plus emphasis on Greek mythology. If there were any similarities between the literary Wonder Woman-Ares battle and their cinematic battle, it would be exposition done by Ares explaining details to Wonder Woman why he is doing what he’s pursuing, complete with visuals of how his influence impacts the people of man’s world. Ares’ poison of conflict also has a Cold War flavor here which is not surprising since this comic book was published during the 1980s.
Wonder Woman #6 is a great read! There simply was no slowdown nor a single hiccup with the engagement level of this comic book. With a little over twenty pages of content, this one was loaded with great stuff and its concept was indeed epic. If the battle between Wonder Woman and Ares in the 2017 movie astonished, then their conflict in this comic book will deliver the same impact to you. This one is a true Wonder Woman literary classic and its story even raised the stakes when it comes to Princess Diana’s existence and her mission in man’s world.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #6, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition cost $25 and $51 respectively.
Overall, Wonder Woman #6 (1987) is highly recommended! The conflict between Wonder Woman and Ares should encourage you to replay the acclaimed Wonder Woman movie of 2017.
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