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Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia Paperback – October 1, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Princess Diana, Wonder Woman's real identity, grew up steeped in the ancient Greek culture and society. As Wonder Woman, she's been through culture shock going from her distant home to the outside world. While she has adjusted somewhat to the differences, much about this world still surprises her. As the story opens, Diana is confused when a young woman comes to her and offers herself in the ancient ways of supplication. Diana isn't sure what to make of Danielle Wellys, but she accepts the woman as a supplicant and makes "Hiketeia," binding herself to protect Danielle. However, Danielle has problems that not even Wonder Woman may be able to guard her from. Danielle's been seeking vengeance since her sister was murdered, and her mission has involved everyone from the ancient Greek Furies to Batman. As Batman, Wonder Woman and the Furies clash over her fate, Danielle watches and makes a decision that will affect them all. Rucka just began a stint as the regular writer of the monthly Wonder Woman comic, but this is his first real exploration of the character. His treatment of the myths and lore associated with Wonder Woman/Princess Diana is impressive. Jones's beautiful pencils and attention to detail capture the characters' heart and emotion, as well as the soul of the cities and other background objects. This stand-alone story is a great introduction to the character and background of Wonder Woman, a seminal superhero who usually runs a distant third to Batman and Superman in DC's pantheon.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563899140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563899140
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Well ... I just had to write a review and give it five stars, despite being tired and sleepy (almost midnight as I write this). Only two persons had reviewed this book, and one of them gave it only one star, grossly skewing the average rating and possibly affecting what unsuspecting potential buyers might think of this GREAT book. The Hiketeia is a dark and depressing story, very much in the vein of classic Greek tragedies. Wonder Woman grants sanctuary to a young woman, Danielle Wellys, and becomes bound to give Danielle protection without realising that Batman is after Danielle for having murdered several people who caused her younger sister's death. The story resonates with Aeschylus's Oresteia, with its theme of duty and vengeance and their consequences - Orestes was commanded by the Gods, through Apollo's oracle at Delphi, to avenge the murder of his father, Agamemnon, by killing the murderer, his mother Clytemnestra. He duly performed this horrendous duty, bringing the wrath of the Furies, ancient goddesses who hound murderers of blood kinsmen, upon his head in the bargain. Orestes was in a no-win situation - had he failed to kill his mother, the Furies' wrath would have also descended upon his head for failing to avenge the murder of his father. While the Oresteia ended on a happy note - Athena absolved Orestes of any misdeeds and placated the Furies by appealing to their egos - Greg Rucka goes one step further by giving The Hiketeia a bleak ending without any deus ex machina plot devices often used by the ancient Greeks. While the characterisation of the Furies as scheming witches plotting Wonder Woman's downfall is contrary to what the ancient Greeks themselves would have thought of them, I greatly enjoyed this story for being true to Wonder Woman's roots in Greek mythology.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This "deluxe" hardbound book has some obvious similarities to Christopher Moeller's "A League Of One," also offered from DC Comics a year or so back. Lavishly illustrated and thoughtfully written, they both follow Wonder Woman in 'extra-curricular' (that is, outside the continuity of her monthly comic) adventures, and feature supporting heroes from DC's pantheon. Both books are fairly quick reads, and both deserve the occasional re-read. Unfortunately, both books have a somewhat hefty list price...one good reason to buy them at Amazon's discount.
"The Hiketeia," though it shares some of "League"'s artfully dark style of illustration, isn't written in the same epic manner. At times gloomy and drear, "Hiketeia" is more of a modern Greek tragedy, and has a predictably sad ending. In brief, this story follows a young woman named Danielle, whose sister has come to an untimely end at the hands of drug dealing lowlifes. Though Danielle has always emulated Wonder Woman's heroic ideals, to the point of teaching herself ancient Greek and studying Greek history, her life is changed by a visit from the Furies, a trio of Greek goddesses who thrive on vengeance. Also known as the Erinyes, these hellish goddesses convince Danielle it is her blood obligation to exact revenge upon her sister's tormentors and killers.
Danielle runs afoul of Batman, but escapes him to seek sanctuary with Wonder Woman. She is 'bound' to Diana by performing the ancient ritual of "hiketeia," and Wonder Woman agrees to protect Danielle and provide for her. Eventually Batman tracks the girl to her hideout (the Themysciran embassy), but WW prevents him from taking Danielle into custody. In doing so, Diana honors the sanctity of hiketeia, but defies the laws of modern society.
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Format: Paperback
If the purpose of The Hiketeia was to give us a closer look at Diana and what makes her tick, it did so in grand fashion. I love action and I'm happy I didn't know beforehand that this story is mainly devoid of it. There is tension, to be sure, but very little in the way of combat. Rather, this is a study of Diana of Themyscira and her motivations.

She is a character steeped in tradition and religion. With the Bam! Pow! action of super-hero comics in general, there haven't been great opportunities to explore her motivations in depth. That's not to gloss over what Perez and other excellent writers (excluding Byrne) have done in her series. By and large they've done well in presenting the origin and life that shaped and defined Wonder Woman. The elements that make her unique among her peers. However, sometimes, a quiet moment is needed for that really close look.

The Hiketeia is full of quiet moments. Diana sipping coffee from a mug with the Superman logo, making sandwiches for Danielle, signing autographs. We also see the Themyscira embassy, beautifully illustrated. None of this is boring as these quiet moments happen within the context of a powerful dillemma. Diana respects and obeys the modern laws of the United States. She also respects and honors the ancient laws of her religion.

She is clearly unhappy with the demands of her bonded duty. She doesn't want to fight Batman. She doesn't want to harbor criminals. So she grimly stays the course, honoring the Hiketeia and waiting for what will be.

She doesn't have an optimistic, "I'm sure it will all work out." approach. She feels that this will be tragic in one way or another. But, so be it.
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