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Comic Book Review: "Wonder Woman #8: Casting Shadows"
Wonder Woman Issue 8, “Casting Shadows”, written by Brian Azzarello art by Cliff Chiang, continues Diana “Wonder Woman” Prince’s quest to save Zola and her unborn child from the grasp of Hades, the god of the underworld. She's already gone to Eros and Hephaestus for help to prepare for going to battle. Now she’s ready to take on the god of darkness to bring someone she loves back from hell.
Issue 8 starts at Mount Etna with Diana preparing for the fight against Hades in the underworld. Hephaestus is arming Diana with anything that she needs from his armory. He feels that her choice of a sword and shield is “archaic”.
Lennox says that a mini-gun is a good choice. She says she going alone, but everyone (Lennox, Eros, and Hermes) protest. Hermes reminds her that she can only get to the underworld through death; unless she is escorted by him.
Hephaestus grab Eros’ two golden hand guns and gives them to Diana. Hermes transports the both of them to meet Hades in the underworld. Wonder Woman says it’s not what she expected it to look like. Hermes explains that the landscape of the underworld changes depending on Hades mood and whims; so it's different every time he’s gone there. He points out that Hades is expecting her; the underworld looks just like London, England.
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As they walk the streets of the "Underworld London", she muses that she expected the dead to be everywhere. Hermes tells her they are. The souls of the dead are the walls and streets. She thinks it’s despicable to be used like that, but Hermes tells her that being immortal is both a blessing and a trap. Here they have eternity to be anything they want. They can reinvent themselves and have forever to do as they please.
As they are talking, a statue of a mounted horseman starts to crack. The stone falls away leaving behind a skinless, muscled rider and horse. Armed with a sword, it rushes Hermes and Diana. Hands come up out of the street and grab at their ankles. They knock away the hands and Hermes swipes the horse’s underbelly as it jumps over them. He tells her to escape. She doesn’t want to leave him, but he reminds her why they are there: for Zola. He tackles the horseman as she jumps away into the trees.
Wonder Woman runs off and as she passes a monument of statues, they turn into skinless beings like the horseman and attack her. These skinless monsters speak to Diana as a mouth piece for Hades. They tell her to honor their bargain or Zola dies. Hermes joins the fight and they finish off the monsters and see a light in the forest nearby. They run off to see what it is. The trees, of course, are the dead souls twisted into branches, roots and trunks.
In a clearing, they see a farm house; Zola’s farm house. Zola comes out and is happy to see them. She knew they would come and save her. She never gave up hope. Not after the first day or week or even months. Diana tries to tell her it hasn’t been months since they’ve seen each other last. Hermes says they must leave. Hades starts speaking through the fireplace inside the farm house.
He appears and walks out of the fireplace. The house and the surrounding forest change forms into the individual souls of the dead. They begin to surround Diana, Hermes, and Zola. Hades demands to have the promise of a queen honored or Zola stays in the underworld. Her child will be born there; he’s interested in seeing how it all plays out. Diana won’t let it happen.
Hades says there is one way to get out of the agreement: give him Eros’ golden pistols and they may leave and all is forgiven. Diana agrees and tosses Hades the guns. As they are leaving Hades calls to Wonder Woman. As she turns to answer him, he fires a single shot. It penetrates her armor and she falls to the ground. Hades tells Hermes to inform everyone that there will be a wedding. Zola doesn’t want to leave Diana, but she weakly insists that Hermes take Zola away. As Hermes and Zola transport away, Hades gazes down at Diana, musing, "Can't you see she's in love?"
This issue give us a little more insight into what Hades motivation are for taking Zola in the first place. However, it also gives more questions: How does time work in the underworld for Zola? Why did Hades shoot Diana? When he talks about a wedding, what wedding? Does he still plan to try and marry Hera and is he going to try for Diana? Or is there something else even more sinister to take place in future issues? Either way, the story of the twisted world of Wonder Woman’s Greek gods is definitely getting more interesting. The layout of the underworld and how the soul become streets and tree is great imagery. The twists and turns of Hades keep us guessing how Diana is going to deal with this one until issue nine.