To appease the vengeful desires of her matron goddess Hecate, Circe set out to destroy the Earth goddess Gaea. War of the Gods was a four-issue limited series published from (cover date) September to December of 1991. The series was written by Wonder Woman series writer/artist George Pérez who also provided the layouts. Finished art and embellishments were provided by Cynthia Martin and Russell Braun. Each issue of the series was forty-eight pages in length and included centerfold bonus pin-ups illustrated by Chris Sprouse and George Pérez. The storyline crossed over into most of the mainstream titles published at the time and culminated in an unofficial epilogue in Wonder Woman #62, which also signified Pérez's departure from the series.
Although the title featured many heroes that populate the greater DC Universe, "War of the Gods" focused heavily on Wonder Woman and many of the supporting characters from her title, specifically, the Gods of Olympus. The plot involved Wonder Woman's most notorious adversary Circe and her ambitious goal to satisfy the vengeance of the goddess Hecate by destroying and ultimately remaking all of reality. Circe's motivations were predicated by an ancient prophecy that foretold that Hecate would repossess her soul upon the death and birth of witch.
Circe enlisted the aid of the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall who longed to take Themyscira as their own, as well as Dr. Konrad Kaslak who stole several mystical artefacts for her. Circe also had the cooperation of Eris, the scheming daughter of Ares.
Circe used the artefacts to wave the Hellfire Web which blanketed the entire world, at the same time waking the gods of several pantheons. Through the artefacts, she was able to spur the gods to make war against one another. The spell was powerful enough to affect even the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips.
On New Olympus, the Roman gods took arms against their Greek counterparts in a bid to reclaim their lost legacy. Though the Romans had sought to use the Son of Vulcan as their champion he had refused, realising something was not right. Instead, they used Captain Marvel in battle against the champion of the Greeks, Wonder Woman. The two champions fought before both were cast from New Olympus, each ending up in different locations.
Through all of this, New Olympus pierced the veil between worlds and appeared in the skies above Earth. This caused widespread geological disaster across the globe, forcing Earth's heroes to band together. Circe intensified the strength of her Hellfire Web, placing a stranglehold on Gaea herself. To combat the heroes of Earth, she sent forth her Beastiamorphs that attacked several American cities including Chicago, Boston and Gotham City.
In the Tower of Fate in Salem, Doctor Fate gathered several powerful mystics, as well as Geo-Force and Animal Man, in an effort to create a counter-spell to reverse the effects of Circe's magic. Circe had expected this, and planned on cultivating the energy from the spells the group was now casting – but her plan backfired and her spells were undone.
Tracking one of the artefacts, Wonder Woman discovered the Bana-Mighdall temple and fought their leader, Shim'tar, who was revealed in defeat to be her mother Hippolyta, under a spell. With her mother rendered unconscious in the battle, Wonder Woman took her to Themyscira to heal.
Driven from her fortress by the Suicide Squad, Circe headed to Themyscira and drew Wonder Woman out to the same beach where she had been formed by Hippolyta years before. To avoid incurring Hecate's curse, Circe reduced Wonder Woman to clay rather than kill her and, convinced she had finally defeated her, left for New Olympus to recreate the entire universe for Hecate.
Superman, meanwhile, led the charge against New Olympus itself, where the confused Greek and Roman pantheons were still committed to destroying each other. Ares, having been told of Circe's manipulations by his daughter Harmonia who had paid with her life to get the information to him, appeared with the other pantheons' war gods and declared the war at an end.
Undeterred, Circe called on Hecate to bring forth several dead heroes from the realm of Hades and set them against the heroes. As the battle against the undead heroes raged, the Son of Vulcan and Lobo (following a plan devised by the wizard Shazam) worked together to free Troia who had been held prisoner on Olympus since before the war began.
Circe was transported back to the tomb of Cronus where she found both Troia and the resurrected Wonder Woman. They fought upon the body of Cronus while on Themyscira, the Phantom Stranger collected representatives of the various pantheons that Circe had deceived. Using Troia as a conduit, those pantheons appealed to Cronus to strip Circe of Hecate's power and, as Hecate herself attempted to destroy Wonder Woman, Cronus took her life also.
With the war over, the Greek gods left to join Cronus and the other Titans of Myth, leaving New Olympus to the Roman gods. The Amazons of Themyscira mourned their fallen comrades and celebrated the return of Wonder Woman as New Olympus left the skies of Earth and life returned to normal.
Main Story and Tie-Ins
- War of the Gods #1
- War of the Gods #2
- War of the Gods #3
- War of the Gods #4
- The four-issue miniseries and the Wonder Woman Tie-in issues are collected in Wonder Woman: War of the Gods (Collected)
- In Superman (Volume 2) #51's letter column, this miniseries is referred to as "The Holy Wars".
Links and References
The events from this issue or series are related to War of the Gods, which involved... a war between the gods.