James Robinson's current "Children of the Gods" story arc in DC's Wonder Woman comic has been building up to the reunion between Diana and her long-lost twin brother, Jason. In Jason, Diana sees a chance at strengthening her familial connections - and he gives Wonder Woman an opportunity to significantly expand its titular character's mythos in a meaningful way.
Image: DC Comics, Sergio Davilla, Scott Hanna, Mick Grey, Eber Ferreira
Though she is one of DC's most iconic characters and a central part of some of the publisher's most vital stories, Wonder Woman has never really had the same kind of iconic storylines or runs that people hold up as the definitive Wonder Woman stories. Wonder Woman has fought countless super villains over the decades, but she's never truly had a proper arch nemesis who repeatedly draws out and challenges the ideas of justice and order that define her as a hero.
One of the wilder things about that fact is that the circumstances of Wonder Woman's origin make for the perfect framework for what could be an interesting cast of allies and a deep rogues' gallery. In DC's current prime continuity, Diana is the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, setting the stage for familial drama to be one of the larger forces that shape Wonder Woman stories.
In Ares, Diana's found a recurring adversary who represents the deception and treachery that characterise so many stories about the Greek gods, but there's been little in the way of delving into what allies Diana may have hidden away in her extended family. Jason was the glimmer of hope that Wonder Woman's mythos was expanding in a novel way, but this week's issue #34 suggests that the Son of Themyscira won't live up to his potential.
While Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, has been tracking down Zeus' illegitimate children across the world and killing them to steal their life-force for her father (who is a currently a baby), Diana and Jason have been spending time getting to know one another in the seaside Grecian town where he lives. Jason explains to Diana that he's always known about her but was sworn to keep his existence secret by the immortal argonaut Glaucus, who adopted Jason as a baby at the behest of Hippolyta.
The twins' reunion is charged with emotion and the moment is laden with meaning that immediately jumps off the page. Though the specifics of their lives are wildly different, they immediately recognise themselves as slightly different mirror images of one another.
Like all siblings, they're able to find common ground in the complicated, messy feelings they have about their parents. Diana bristles at the idea that Jason would honour a pledge to their mother (through his adopted father) rather than immediately reveal himself to her. Though he isn't being combative about it, Jason carefully counters Diana by asking her why their mother never even tried to visit him as a child while she spent so much time being a parent to Diana.
The twins circle one another both physically and emotionally as they fly through the sky together, casually hashing out their family business.
As Jason reflects on the deaths of Hercules and Zeus' other children, his thoughts turn dark, and he insists that he and Diana are alone and vulnerable to Grail - but Diana responds by reminding him that they now have each other. The energy between the two of them is tense and uncertain, but their conversation settles into an easy back and forth about their personal lives. Diana wants to know what powers Jason has that she doesn't, and Jason wants to know what's going on with Diana and Steve Trevor. Diana deflects and asks whether Jason's got a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or if he's ever even been in love, and for the first time, they both feel as if they're at ease with one another.
Diana and Jason don't really know each other yet, but there's so much potential in their dynamic to tell the sort of story about Wonder Woman that we don't really see all that often. Theirs has the potential to be about siblings caught in the epic melodrama of a sprawling family tree of gods and monsters, fated to clash with one another for all eternity. Diana's had heroic siblings before in Donna Troy and Nubia, but those characters' relationships with her have never been so close - or long-lived - as to become crucial parts of her larger story as a character.
All of Jason's potential to become more than just another of Diana's dysfunctional relatives evaporates, though, when he reveals that he's working with Grail and actually harbours a deep hate for Diana. Just as Diana's finally beginning to think that she's found something good and pure to connect with, she realises that this is all just another example of her family being filled with shitty, unreliable men.
The issue ends with Jason vowing that he'll be the one to put an end to Diana's life and though the Amazon sees the situation as dire, you know that she's ultimately be victorious.
For a character such as Wonder Woman, the evil twin trope reads as even more uninteresting than it does for normal characters. Diana's already fought and eventually made up with her twin sister Nubia before, meaning that whatever trajectory Wonder Woman has for Jason has already been hashed out before. Hero or villain, Jason's going to end up becoming another reason Diana doesn't like going to family reunions, and that sucks.