Amazon #1

Issue Date: 
April 1996
Story Title: 
Family History

John Byrne (writer / penciler), Terry Austin (inks), John Costanzal (letters), Patricia Mulvihill (colors), Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt (assistant editor), Paul Kupperberg (editor)

Brief Description: 

Many years ago, Professor Malcolm found a statue in the Mediterranean, unaware it belonged to the sea god Poseidon. His theft was punished by a streak of bad luck. Finally, he decided to return the statue to the oceans, a tale he tells the Munroe family on their ship. Too late, however, as Poseidon sinks the ship. Everyone drowns except for the child Ororo, who is saved by the Amazons and adopted by their queen, Hippolyta, to grow up alongside her daughter, Diana. As the girls grow up, though, they don’t get along. Eventually, Ororo inherits the mantle of Wonder Woman. In the present, Wonder Woman is attacked again by Poseidon, who considers her a thief. She learns the whole story and tells the god how foolishly he acted as people like Malcolm are the only ones who try to keep faith in and respect for the old gods alive. Poseidon finally sees she is right and lets her go. Meanwhile, Ororo’s housemates are visited by a very bruised Dianan, who is looking for Ororo’s help.

Full Summary: 

Ororo Munroe aka Wonder Woman flies across the Mediterranean ocean. A moment ago, the sky was clear, the ocean calm, a mirrored glass. But even then, she knew the moment was illusion and that day would end in tragedy.

She tries to battle the sudden hurricane with her mutant powers but in vain. There is in every gust, in every flash of lightning, the hand and mind of a vengeful god. She falls into the freezing water. Ancient primal fear reaches out and, as if to torture her further, the moments before her defeat replay themselves before her eyes.


The seagod Poseidon admits she has great power but not so great as his. All the powers of the ocean are at his command. Angrily, Ororo retorts he is facing an Amazon and no Amazon admits defeat until the last breath is crushed from her bones. She attacks with lightning. Angrily, he admits he underestimated her. A mistake he will not repeat.

The present:

Wonder Woman sinks further. Completely helpless, her mind is hurled back again to the origin of her fear: how as a young child she was drowning until somebody grabbed her arm and saved her.

But such thought and memory are swept away as she finds herself suddenly hurled from the chilly waters onto a dark and unfamiliar shore. She finds herself in a cavern lit by shimmering phosphor on the walls, a room full of ancient treasure and she realizes this is Poseidon’s throne room.

Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, Lousisana, in an old mansion:

A young African-American woman, Angelica, knocks at the door of Ororo’s apartment, asking if she is in there. Angelica’s mother tells her to leave it. She’s not at home. All the more reason to be concerned, Angelica believes. Her psychic flashes are almost never wrong. And something has been jabbing at her all day. She just knows Ororo is in some kind of trouble! She jimmies the lock, then hears someone moving in the bedroom. She enters to find a very bruised and beaten Diana of Themiscyra, stating she is not Ororo. As she faints, Diana asks for help.

Walking the throne room, Ororo wonders why Poseidon brought her here instead of killing her. She touches a small golden statue that seems strangely familiar.


A long time ago aboard a ship, Ororo and her parents admire the exquisite statue. Its owner, Professor Malcolm, explains to them it’s beautiful… and deadly. He is convinced it is the cause of all the tragedy that has stalked him since he brought it from the seabed of the Mediterranean.

Thief! Poseidon shouts and accuses her of being a common scavenger. The treasure of another is but a trinket in her thieving grasp! Ororo knows not what he means. She reminds him he brought her here. If he has reason behind this madness, state it now or kill her and be done with it! He orders her not to add lies to her crimes. That her eye and hand were drawn so instinctively to that, of all his treasures, proves it was no accident that brought her to the vessel he destroyed so many years ago! Ororo remembers…


A teenage Diana and Ororo are angrily fighting. Diana shouts Ororo can’t beat her. She isn’t even a real Amazon! Enraged, Ororo shouts back that she is. Queen Hippolyta and General Phillipus drag the two girls apart and demand an explanation.

Ororo explains Diana said she isn’t a real Amazon or Hippolyta’s daughter. Diana fiercely adds that’s true. She came from outside! Hippolyta sighs that she would have preferred to deal with this much later. Phillipus agrees, but now they have to deal with it.

Hippolyta reveals that Diana spoke truth, though she should have found a kinder way to tell her. Perhaps the wisdom of Athena deserted her today. Diana looks ashamed. Hippolyta tells Ororo she came to them twelve years ago, rescued from the sinking of a mortal vessel.

Hippolyta’s narration:

The Amazons looked for the sunk vessel and Hippolyta sensed a small life crying out to her. She jumped into the ocean. Groping in the darkness, she found toddler Ororo. The Amazons revived her and noted there was great power in her body and strength of spirit. Hippolyta decided that here she would learn to use that power wisely.

They searched the water but found no other survivors. Their only clue to her identity was the bracelet on her wrist bearing the word ‘Ororo,’ which they took to be her name. Phillipus adds it means “beauty” in some of the African languages.


Ororo asks if Poseidon destroyed the ship that bore her parents and her. By his hands more than a thousand people perished, consumed by the cruel sea.

Uncaring, Poseidon admits it. Is he not a god? Are his needs not superior to those of a mortal? And does she still deny her part in this? Deny knowledge of the man who stole from him the mate of that statue that she know holds?


It was more than twenty-five years ago. An African-American scientist, Malcolm, searches the seabed after a recent earthquake and finds a load of treasures, among them the statue. He senses an aftershock and swims upward with the statue and back to the ship.

One of the sailors is nervous. Forty sailing years and he has never seen the sea like this. It’s like the waves are angry! Malcolm calls them crazy. It’s just an aftershock. The sailor tells him he is from America, a new country. These are ancient waters. The old gods still make their presence felt here. He shouldn’t mock what he doesn’t understand.


Poseidon narrates that Malcolm escaped him that time but he set a curse on him.


Malcolm moans it’s as if something has taken control of his life. As if every move he makes is twisted by some outside force. His colleague tells him it’s just a streak of bad luck. Angrily, Malcolm reminds him his wife left him, his father died, his funding has been cut off. And it’s not just the big things… it’s like his life has been divided into small segments and something has gone wrong with every single one. He decides he knows how to fix it. It started the day he brought this artifact from the floor of the Mediterranean. He’s going to take it back. He’s booked a passage on the Arabian Princess.

Sometime later, he tells his story to fellow passengers David and N’Dare Munroe. David is doubtful but Malcolm asks him what will he have lost if he’s wrong?

Suddenly, the ship lurches. A storm comes out of nowhere. They turn to see Poseidon, who calls him a thief. As long as he remained ashore, he could do nothing but now he is in his domain.

And the ship is shattered.


Is this some mad joke? Wonder Woman demands and calls him a foolish old god who has forgotten his place in the universe. Poseidon promises her a long and lingering death for that insolence. She is grabbed by magical tentacles meant to tear her apart. Angrily, she asks if this is how a god behaves. Furiously, he snaps that if she still has voice for effrontery. Does she not understand that her agony is but a fraction of what he can unleash upon her?

She groans then tells him he doesn’t understand. She calls him a fool. Once his race towered over all that lived as the most powerful beings on Earth. Theirs was the power over life and death. But, as the world progressed, as humans became more and more masters of their own world, they turned away from the gods. The tales of the gods’ lives, their exploits, had satisfied their need for knowledge only for a while. Other gods replaced them. Greater knowledge usurped them.

Now the only places mortals remember them at all is in museums and schools of antiquity. And when one man sought to rekindle in the mind of his fellows the memories of their deeds and works, in his pettiness and greed Poseidon saw him only as a thief and destroyed him. Her Amazon sisters and her still worship the gods of Olympus but for the rest of the world their time has passed. Humankind has moved away from them. It is not for her to say if that move was wise. But if this is how he treats the last few who have any respect for him at all…

Poseidon asks her to stop. Her words slice to the very center of his being. She is right. He is a foolish old god. He has let pettiness and greed shroud his mind. He releases her.

Just like that? Ororo asks. No penance paid, no punishment exacted for the slaughter of a thousand innocents? He says she is right but does he truly think so? How long before his temper flares again? How long before he forgets what she has told him in favor of more familiar patterns of thought?

That no one can say, Poseidon replies. Suffice that he has learned this day a bitter lesson. Suffice that she has had some small vengeance in being the instrument of his enlightenment.

Hardly enough, she tells him as she flies off. But if this is all she can take from this, she shall accept it. And hope the ghosts of her parents and a thousand others rest at least a little easier because of it!

Characters Involved: 

Wonder Woman / Ororo Munroe



Angelica and her mother (Ororo’s housemates)

in flashbacks:





David and N’dare Munroe

Professor Malcolm

Story Notes: 

The Amalgam line was a joint-effort crossover event between Marvel and DC to combine the two universes. There were a number of different comics (one-shots) that came from this pairing that introduced a number of combo-characters.

Diana probably needs Ororo’s help as her son has been kidnapped, as told in the one-shot “Bullets and Bracelets.”

Issue Information: 
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