Warning: SPOILERS for Wonder Woman Annual #2
Wonder Woman just became the leader of the Star Sapphires, the Violet Lanterns powered by love, in DC's latest Wonder Woman annual. It's an unexpected twist following straight on from issue #47 of the ongoing series, which saw Diana dragged away from Earth even as the planet was under attack.
In the aftermath of the Dark Nights: Metal event, dangerous new forces have been unleashed upon the DC Universe. These include the so-called "Dark Gods," cosmic deities who have been summoned by a wish Diana herself uttered during the event. She unwisely wished for the return of the gods - without specifying which gods.
Now, a brief trip away from Earth and into the Emotional Spectrum of the Green Lanterns shows why she's so important to DC's future.
In the latest Wonder Woman annual, Diana is taken to the planet Zamaron, home of the Star Sapphires. Where Green Lanterns are fueled by the force of willpower, the Star Sapphires are powered by love. It's not the first time that Diana has fought as a Star Sapphire, but this time she's been summoned in order to become their leader. It turns out the people of Zamaron are dealing with the same threat as Earth - one of the Dark Gods.
If any DC hero has the right to lead the Star Sapphires, it's Wonder Woman; she's DC's greatest symbol of love, a hero who will offer her all selflessly for the good of others. That concept became central to Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman film last year, and Jenkins has promised that no matter what story it tells, Wonder Woman 2 will be a "great love story." It's fitting that the latest Wonder Woman annual acknowledges this theme, making Diana the universe's ultimate champion of love.
The battle that follows is a fascinating one, and it gives a sense of just what these "Dark Gods" truly are. The being who has attacked Zamaron is known as Karnell, and she claims to be the Dark God of Love. Karnell represents a jealous love, self-serving and focused on its own desires. As the Star Sapphires explain it, Karnell "can detect any flaw in someone's love, any hint of pride or jealousy that might lurk deep within to taint its purity." And when she finds an impurity in a person's love, they are consumed in fire.
That makes the Wonder Woman annual essentially a battle between two different forms of love; the one selfless, the other carnal. It adds a fascinating philosophical edge to the superhero story, but it also serves a crucial purpose in the ongoing Wonder Woman arc. While Diana is on Zamaron, the rest of the Dark Gods are on Earth. And even if Wonder Woman can defeat Karnell, she'll find handling the five Dark Gods combined to be a far greater challenged.
Wonder Woman Annual #2 is available now from DC Comics.