War Of The Gods #1: Hellfire’s Web

  • Writer: George Pérez
  • Penciller: George Pérez
  • Inker: Cynthia Martin
  • Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
  • Letterer: Albert De Guzman
  • Cover Artist: George Pérez
  • Editors: Karen Berger and Tom Peyer

Cover: Left to right in the sky are Hawkman; Hawkwoman; and Firestorm.

Standing on pillars are Etrigan; Lobo; Pariah (miscoloured in a white robe – check the House Ad page to see how he should have looked); and Batman.

The group of background characters to the left of the cover are Captain Boomerang; Power Girl; the Metal Men Platinum; Lead; Mercury; then Aquaman; and the Flash.

The group of background characters to the right of the cover are Robin; Animal Man; possibly Cave Carson and Bulldozer; then moving forward are Ice; Troia; and Son of Vulcan.

Front and centre are Dr Fate; Captain Marvel; Wonder Woman; and Superman.

Page 1 – Panel 1: Handily, the four Fates are named here in the caption: Ananke, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. They’ve summoned . . .

Page 1 – Panel 2: Harmonia, the goddess of harmony and peace.

Page 1 – Panel 4: The Fates refer to her as “daughter of Ares“, the Greek god of war. They go on to confirm they have summoned her, something that has never happened before, which means the reasons behind it must be dire.

Page 1 – Panel 8: The Fates stand upon the Earth which is in danger of breaking apart.

Page 2 – Panels 1 to 6: In the Amazon jungle, a conversation sort of takes place between two people speaking different languages, one Greek, the other an unknown Middle Eastern language. At first it may seem that one of speakers is called Phthia, but I’ll come to that in a moment.

Page 2 – Panel 6: The bird that flies through the panels is the Mikos to which the speakers refer.

Page 3 – Panel 1: The speakers are a man speaking Greek and a woman speaking the Middle Eastern language. She is one of the Bana-Mighdall, a breakaway tribe of Amazons that live apart from Wonder Woman and her ilk on Themyscira. He appears (at least in the trade as I’m using that at the moment) to be a white man . . .

Page 3 – Panel 2: . . . who appears to change into a black man in this panel. His name is revealed to be Guillermo by someone in the foreground pouring potions into a cauldron. There is another Bana Amazon, Amaya.

Page 3 – Panel 3: Amaya refers to a “man-hawk” and a “goblet” – the “man-hawk” is Mikos who has the ability to turn into a bird; we’ll come to the “goblet” in a moment.

Page 3 – Panel 4: And here’s Mikos in his human form who reports that his mission has failed.

Page 4 – Panel 2: Circe revealed

Page 3 – Panels 5 to 8: Amaya’s not happy but her hostess isn’t putting up with any insults and lashes out with some form of energy.

Page 4 – Panel 1: Amaya’s fellow Bana Amazon’s arrive (one of them using the exclamation “By Phthia” – a city in ancient Thessaly) armed with modern weapons rather than traditional swords or spears.

Page 4 – Panel 2: And here’s the first full sight of the series’ villain – Circe, the sorceress who has been a thorn in Wonder Woman’s side for many a year. As she says here, her intention is to start a war among the gods, the spoils of which the Bana Amazons hope to enjoy.

Page 5 – Panel 2: Working with Circe is Dr Konrad Kaslak, an enemy of Hawkman’s who is both an archaeologist and magician.

Page 5 – Panel 3: Here he mentions “appropriate relics” which, presumably, refers back to the “goblet” that Amaya was asking about.

Page 5 – Panel 6: With references to “that blasted alien” and “solitude” it’s not difficult to determine that the figure here is in the Antarctic looking for either Superman or his Fortress of Solitude.

Page 5 – Panels 7 and 8: Phobos, god of panic and son of Ares, handily identifies himself; the “favoured of Hecate” he refers to is Circe herself. Clearly he is waiting for her to do something.

Page 6 – Panel 3: This, as the disembodied voice says, is Ronnie Raymond who at this time used to be one half of the hero Firestorm.

Page 6 – Panel 5: The disembodied voice refers to “the Orisha-Nla“, the elemental gods of Africa.

Page 6 – Panels 9 to 11: The voice is revealed to be the elemental version of Firestorm, the transcended Martin Stein who was then wandering in deep space. He knows the war of the gods is coming and needs Ronnie’s help to combat it.

Page 7 – Panel 1: Harmonia pays a visit to Areopagus, the home of her father Ares, the god of war.

Page 7 – Panel 4: Fancy a bite?

Page 7 – Panel 3: But finds her sister, Eris, the goddess of discord, seen here with a batch of golden apples . . .

Page 7 – Panel 4: . . . one of which she offers to her sister.

Page 7 – Panel 5: Harmonia refers to Circe’s “insane plan” which implies the tapestry of time that the Fates showed her back on page 1 gave her knowledge of the sorceress.

Page 8 – Panels 1 to 4: Harmonia insists Ares will side with her when he learns of Eris’s involvement with Circe, while Eris is convinced that Ares will be unable to stop events and that she will end up ruling Areopagus.

Page 8 – Panel 6: On Themyscira, Iphthime of the Amazons calls for them to go to war with man’s world.

Page 8 – Panel 7: Euboea, another Amazon, counsels caution.

Page 8 – Panel 9: Iphthime turns accusingly to the Amazon’s champion who is, of course . . .

Page 9 – Panels 1 and 2: Wonder Woman

Page 9 – Panel 1: . . . Wonder Woman. To the right is Pythia.

Page 9 – Panel 3: Wonder Woman refers to Hellene, an Amazon (and obviously close friend of Iphthime) who was killed by Diana’s enemy the Cheetah in the pages of WONDER WOMAN #56 which precedes WAR OF THE GODS. Wonder Woman had led Hellene and other Amazons into New York in order to further relations between Themyscira and Man’s World but, due to the machinations of Dr Psycho, it had all gone terribly wrong, resulting in Hellene’s death. Diana’s mother, Hippolyte, also went missing during the same time.

Page 9 – Panel 4: Pythia, too, talks of caution.

Page 9 – Panels 7 and 8: Menalippe, oracle of the Amazons, rushes in from the healing room where she had been recuperating following being injured by one of the Bana-Mighdall Amazons. The gods had previously left the earthly plane but, as Menalippe says, have now returned.

Page 10 – Panel 1: The caption makes this almost redundant, but that’s Hermes on the left and Heracles on the right.

Page 10 – Panel 4: Heracles wants Diana to join them on Olympus . . .

Page 10 – Panel 5: . . . but with everything that’s going on (as mentioned above) she’s understandably reluctant.

Page 10 – Panels 6 to 8: Yet Hermes gives her no choice.

Pages 11 and 12 – Panels 1 and 2: Wonder Woman travels through the realm of Chaos that surrounds . . .

Pages 11 and 12 – Panel 4: . . . New Olympus in all its weird, Escher-like glory.

Pages 11 and 12 – Panels 5 and 6: I’m unsure what these speech bubbles refer to at the moment, with the exception of the mention of “The spectre in green” which seems to refer to the Spectre or possibly someone else we’ll meet in a moment.

Page 13 – Panel 3: The Greek Gods

Page 13 – Panels 1 and 2: Wonder Woman regains her senses as New Olympus becomes more manageable by “human perceptions“.

Page 13 – Panel 3: Most of the Greek Gods appear before Wonder Woman. Left to right in the front row (those that are coloured) are Artemis; Aphrodite; Poseidon; Athena; Apollo; and on the far right Hephaestus. In the back ground, those in blue, are others that are indistinguishable with the exception of Hades on the far right. Note that Athena’s robes are white here . . .

Page 13 – Panel 4: . . . while here they’re blue. This colouring mistake isn’t corrected in the Collected Edition.

Page 13 – Panels 7 and 8: Apollo points to a temple where we find . . .

Page 14 – Panel 1: . . . left to right are Hera; Wonder Woman; Apollo; an unnamed attendant; a comatose Zeus on the table; and at the right, the “spectre in green” mentioned on Pages 11 and 12 who is revealed to be . . .

Page 14 – Panel 2: . . . Pariah, the foreteller of doom from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

Page 14 – Panel 3: Diana says she knows him from her dreams; he had appeared to her in WONDER WOMAN #53, a couple of months before this series began.

Page 14 – Panel 6: Atop the temple where Zeus lays comatose is Donna Troy, sometime sister of Wonder Woman, sometime new generation Titan – Donna’s origin at this point in time was all over the place. In this outfit she’s also known as Troia.

Page 15 – Panel 1: Harmonia uses the wonderful method of exposition to explain not only where she is but why.

Page 15 – Panels 2 and 3    Charon, ferryman of the Styx (and in some stories the Acheron) who is carrying Harmonia to the entrance to New Olympus that the Fates (off-screen) directed her to, where a group of figures are waiting.

Page 15 – Panel 5: The figure she thought was Hades is someone else – we’ll find out who in a little while.

Page 16 – Panels 1 and 2: Charon strikes Harmonia, sending her into the Styx.

Page 16 – Panel 3: Watching everything is Klarion the Witch Boy and, behind him, his feline familiar, Teekl. The “Uncle Jason” he refers to is Jason Blood, the human host of Etrigan the Demon; he and Klarion’s lives have long been entwined.

Page 16 – Panel 5: The “gauze-wrapped creature” Klarion has discovered is obviously Charon, meaning the one that cast Harmonia into the Styx was a different version.

Page 17 – Panel 2: In San Francisco, the magician Zatanna handily identifies herself for us – a trait of Perez’s writing that is becoming pronounced and annoying.

Page 17 – Panel 7: And here it is again as Starman has problems controlling his powers.

Page 18 – Panel 4: Hellfire’s Web!

Page 18 – Panel 2: The Bana-Mighdall Amazons claim Circe has lied to them as Mikos sits drinking. There’s mention again of the “goblet” that Mikos was supposed to get.

Page 18 – Panel 4: Circe casts the Hellfire’s Web spell from which this issue gets its title. She mentions “tokens of pantheons” which are the relics Dr Kaslak has procured for her. Circe is using the relics to raise gods from other pantheons.

Page 18 – Panel 5: And, like all good villains, Dr Kaslak reveals he has his own agenda to gain some power from Circe.

Page 19 – Panels 3 to 5: As Harmonia falls into darkness, she is grabbed by someone.

Page 19 – Panel 6: This is John Mann, the Son of Vulcan.

Page 20 – Panel 2: Harmonia finds herself back on the shores of the Styx, as she handily narrates for us.

Page 20 – Panels 3 to 5: Mann introduces himself to her prompting Harmonia to equate Vulcan with Hephaestus, to which Mann replies that the two are very separate beings.

Page 20 – Panel 6: Mann refers to his gods desire for a champion; after he turned them down they found another whom we’ll meet shortly.

Page 20 – Panel 8: Back on New Olympus are Wonder Woman, Troia and Athena.

Page 21 – Panel 1: Kneeling before the robed figures is Persephone while the speaker is Jupiter, king of the Roman gods. While he is shown bearded in just a couple of panels, here he appears clean shaven – probably a colouring error which, surprisingly, isn’t corrected in the Collected Edition. Note Persephone’s comment that one of the Roman gods “seemed so much like” her own husband, Hades.

Page 21 – Panel 2: And here is Hades himself, Persephone’s husband, along with her mother, Demeter, with Aphrodite behind them.

Page 21 – Panels 5 and 6: Roman Gods

Page 21 – Panel 3: And here are their Roman counterparts, Pluto and Ceres. Pluto is clearly bald and bearded while Hades has a full head of hair and is clean shaven . . . and yet Pluto “seemed so much like” Hades.

Page 21 – Panel 6: Jupiter reveals the Roman gods in all their glory. Left to right are Hercules; Diana; possibly Apollo; a goddess with a sword; Jupiter; Mars; Neptune; and an unarmed goddess. Up till now, characters have been dropping their names into conversation all over the place but when it would be useful, Perez stops doing it.

Page 22 – Panel 1: The Greek gods aren’t going to take that lightly. Left to right are Aphrodite; Apollo; Poseidon; Hera; Artemis; Hades; and Hephaestus in the background.

Page 22 – Panels 3 and 4: Hercules introduces himself for our benefit. Jupiter mentions having their own champion – this refers back to John Mann, the Son of Vulcan’s claim that the Roman gods had chosen a new one. And who is it?

Page 22 – Panels 8 to 10: Only Billy Batson who, upon uttering the word “Shazam” transforms into . . .

Page 23 – Panel 1: Captain Marvel. The Captain’s powers come from six sources: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. This apparent contradictory combination of Greek and Roman gods as well as the famed Israelite king will be addressed as the series continues.

Page 23 – Panel 3: Marvel’s transformation has awoken Zeus.

Page 23 – Panel 4: Pariah leaves just as Zeus has questions for him. Note the handmaiden in this panel is exactly the same as the one in the previous – she’s been cut and pasted from one to the other!

Page 23 – Panel 5: Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman face off; around them are what appear to be generic Olympians.

Page 24 – Panel 1: Jupiter refers to “the sorceress” – clearly this is Circe which means she’s behind the Romans’ attack on Olympus.

Page 24 – Panel 2: A reinvigorated Zeus (with Troia still trapped in the background) pledges to fight.

Page 24 – Panels 3 and 4: As Diana attempts to stop the war (having caught Jupiter’s mention of “the sorceress“) Captain Marvel attacks her as Zeus and Jupiter battle, the War of the Gods beginning in earnest.

Page 25: as Dr Kaslak looks on, Circe’s spell births an immense ball of energy which she sends skyward.

Page 26 – Panels 1 to 3: This energy breaks apart and spreads across the Earth, becoming the Hellfire Web which causes Gaea, the spirit of the Earth, agony.

Page 26 – Panels 4 and 5: Captain Atom feels the Web attempting to tap into his powers and manages to prevent it.

Page 26 – Panels 6 to 8: Egypt, America and India all suffer from the effects of the Web.

Page 27 – Panels 1 to 5: In Markovia, Prince Brion aka Geo-Force, wakes from a nightmare where he was unable to control his Earth manipulating powers to find that he has caused a devastating earthquake in his own country.

Page 28 – Panel 3: Dr Fate

Page 27 – Panels 6 and 7: In Norway, the Web strikes in some frozen wastelands “where no man has ever set foot . . . except for an electrical engineer named Rod Schoendienst.” which is a really obscure way of referring back to Secret Origins #33 from 1988 which details the discovery of Ice (or Icemaiden as she was then) and her fellow Norse gods by the aforementioned Mr Schoendienst.

Page 28 – Panel 1: Dr Fate’s Tower near Salem.

Page 28 – Panel 2: Kent Nelson, sometimes Dr Fate, calls for his wife Inza . . .

Page 28 – Panel 3: . . . who is currently Dr Fate and who is having something of a hard time as the spirits in Fate’s helmet are causing her distress.

Page 28 – Panel 4: Those spirits are referring to the ancient Egyptian Gods Amun and Seth and that Fate needs to prepare.

Page 29 – Panels 1 and 2: Circe celebrates the success of her spell and plans to become more powerful than the gods she has raised.

Page 29 – Panels 3 and 4: Dr Kaslak worries that Circe will discover what he’s been up to but before he can get to the altar, he’s interrupted by . . .

Page 29 – Panel 5    . . . Pythia, one of the Amazons of Themyscira whom we last saw on Page 9 counselling caution. How did she get here? Check out Part 2 of the WAR OF THE GODS in the Crossovers pages.

Page 29 – Panels 6 to 9: The Thanagarian exhibit in the Edwards Museum in Chicago; the last panel features a portrait of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who are based there.

Page 30 – Panels 1 and 2: Metropolis and the offices of the Daily Planet.

Page 30 – Panel 3: Clark Kent who is, of course, Superman, and Lois Lane, both listening to the news reports concerning the strange events.

Page 30 – Panel 4: Lois refers to “the Krypton Man“, a character that had given Superman a hard time not long before these events and who was connected to the Eradicator. Superman, being the hero he is, decides he needs to check things out.

Page 30 – Panel 5: Jimmy Olsen asking for a job reference.

Page 30 – Panels 7 and 8: And Superman flies off.

Page 31 – Panel 5: Troia in trouble

Page 31 – Panels 1 to 4: The “babe” who crashes the van is Lilith Clay, aka Omen, a member of various incarnations of the Teen Titans. Her friendship with Troia allows her to realise she’s in trouble.

Page 31 – Panel 5: Troia is still in torment on New Olympus as the Greek and Roman gods clash around her. Many of the gods depicted in the backgrounds here and in subsequent panels are difficult to identify.

Page 31 – Panel 6: That might be Diana (the goddess, not Wonder Woman) firing at another goddess.

Page 31 – Panel 7: Hephaestus in the top right sends flames towards what might be Vulcan, his Roman counterpart.

Page 32 – Panels 1 and 2: The bewitched Captain Marvel battles against Wonder Woman.

Page 32 – Panel 3: Zeus thinks he knows Captain Marvel – a reference to the fact that Marvel draws on Zeus for part of his power.

Page 32 – Panels 4 and 5: A bolt of lightning strikes both Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, with Zeus and Jupiter blaming the other.

Page 32 – Panel 6: When it turns out it was the Son of Vulcan all along who threw the two champions away from Olympus.

Page 33 – Panel 2: Apokolips, home of . . .

Page 33 – Panel 3: . . . Darkseid and his sycophant, Desaad. There’s a few figures in the foreground but as they have their backs to us, it’s difficult to see who they are.

Page 33 – Panel 8: Telepath, a member of LEGION, and his fellow member . . .

Page 33 – Panel 9: . . . Lobo. This being the 90s, Lobo appeared in everything. The “Dox” Lobo mentions is Vril Dox, leader of LEGION.

Page 34 – Panels 1 to 3    Son of Vulcan’s blast has thrown Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel into the realm of Chaos where they are separated by a blast of energy.

Page 34 – Panel 6: Mercury (on the left of the panel) battles Hermes, the Roman and Greek messengers of the gods respectively.

Page 34 – Panel 7: Mercury refers to himself as one of Captain Marvel’s “mystic sextet“, a reference to the Captain having the speed of Mercury.

Page 35 – Panel 1: The Lasso of Truth

Page 34 – Panel 8: Captain Marvel, long portrayed as one of the more innocent heroes, seems confused by Mercury’s commands for him to destroy Hermes.

Page 35 – Panel 1: Attempting to break whatever spell is over the Captain, Wonder Woman lassos him.

Page 35 – Panels 2 and 3: That doesn’t work, however, and simply seems to cause more problems.

Page 35 – Panel 5: Captain Marvel surrounded by (presumably) the spirits that he draws on for his powers; there’s only five clear faces and the one that Wonder Woman recognises would be that of Zeus.

Page 36 – Panel 1: Wonder Woman’s actions appear to cause Mercury pain due to his connection to Captain Marvel.

Page 36 – Panels 3 to 5: Mercury causes the four of them to leave the realm of Chaos, sending Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel through separate holes in reality, while he and Hermes go through another.

Page 37 – Panels 1 and 2: Lobo and Telepath in the alien bar with Lobo spoiling for a fight with someone.

Page 37 – Panel 3: Captain Marvel crash lands right on Lobo.

Page 37 – Panels 4 to 8: Marvel’s head is cleared being so far away from the influence of the Roman gods although he has a new problem as Lobo recovers.

Page 38 – Panels 1 to 4: Aquaman receives a message from Poseidon’s attendants that Atlantis is in trouble and heads off to help.

Page 38 – Panel 5: Justice League Europe: left to right are Rocket Red; Crimson Fox; Elongated Man; Metamorpho; League liaison Catherine Cobert; and Power Girl. Rocket Red is from Russia, hence his desire to help his family.

Page 38 – Panels 7 and 8: Power Girl’s psychic summons

Page 38 – Panel 6: Flash, a member of the JLE, calls in, mentioning “a couple of hurricanes duking it out.” More info on that in the Crossovers Page.

Page 38 – Panels 7 and 8: Power Girl is receiving a psychic urge to travel to Atlantis. At this stage in her history, Power Girl wasn’t the Earth-2 Supergirl, but the grand-daughter of the Atlantean mage Arion.

Page 39 – Panels 1 to 5: In the Washington DC Institute for the Criminally Insane (makes a change from Arkham Asylum) we find Azure, an enemy of Hawk and Dove, praying for her god Huitzilopochtli to possess her.

Page 39 – Panel 7: Bulldozer and Calvin “Cave” Carson in the Antarctic, witnessing the effects of the Hellfire Web.

Page 39 – Panel 9: Pariah, last seen on Olympus, appears in the distance.

Page 40 – Panel 4: A massive serpent explodes from the ice below Bulldozer and Cave Carson; while not named here, this is Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican deity.

Page 40 – Panel 6: Phobos, the god of fear we saw earlier, sends the serpent off to Metropolis.