'Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia' Review: The Themysciran Badass
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia is a one shot graphic novel written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by JG Jones. It was published in 2002, one year before Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman. It takes its inspiration from Greek tragedies, and uses both the story and muted illustrations to convey its message.
The Hiketeia is not your average Wonder Woman story. Diana is approached by a woman named Danielle Wellys while at her home in the Themyscira embassy. A fugitive on the run, Danielle reaches Diana wishing to partake in an ancient ritual, the Hiketeia. When she accepts, Wonder Woman is honor-bound to protect and care for Danielle for eternity.
As the story progresses, we find out that Danielle has killed several drug dealers and sex-slavers who are responsible for the murder of her own sister. Wonder Woman doesn’t find out about Danielle’s crimes until after she has taken a sacred oath to protect and care for her. So, now she has to choose between either turning her back on justice or turning her back on her own ancient roots.
One of my favorite things about Wonder Woman is her roots in Greek Mythology. So, bringing in an ancient ritual as a convoy to exploring that side of her character is always an excellent route. At first, we’re given examples from ancient times of The Hiketeia itself, and how the ritual is considered law; it is never to be ignored. It is a truly powerful event and its denial is unthinkable. How it is not simply hospitality is it to accept complete responsibility for the supplicant.
The Erinyes, aka the Furies, are also a part of the story. They watch Diana as events unfold, judging, waiting for her to make a mistake to take her life for failing to protect her supplicant.
It also forces her to cross paths against Batman. Bruce has been on the hunt for the murderer and has tracked her down from Gotham. We all know Batman is as stubborn as they come when it comes to seeking justice, so the fact that this girl is now under Wonder Woman’s protection is not going to deter him. Diana is forced once again to choose between turning her back on her own ancient roots, or on her long-standing Justice League teammate.
As Bruce appears to take Danielle into custody for her crimes, Diana is made aware of what she has done. In the first of two battles between Wonder Woman and Batman, Diana does not hesitate to protect her supplicant in the face of justice. Wonder Woman shows her skills by catching a batarang in mid air, then shows her strength by throwing Batman off the balcony to street below.
Their second battle comes in the climax of the story. Danielle flees the embassy, in regret for what she has done and for deceiving Wonder Woman into protecting her. She is found by Batman, and as he approaches to capture her, Wonder Woman intervenes. A fight ensues, which results in a Wonder Woman victory and the epic shot that was used as the cover with Batman face down with Wonder Woman's foot holding him down.
Danielle, still in grief over her actions, in typical Greek tragedy form, throws herself from a nearby cliff. In her dying moments, releases Wonder Woman from The Hiketeia.
Overall, an excellent story that focuses on Wonder Woman’s strengths as a character by emphasizing her Greek roots and using it to create internal conflict. Combined with illustrations that create the atmosphere and what is a relative quick read, its an perfect introduction to Wonder Woman.