Hippolyte


HIPPOLYTE


(or Hippolyta, whatever)


button to Hippolyta costume indexNumbers in parentheses are issue numbers. If they do not have a colon, they're from the second series. If they are noted as (3:something), they're from the third series.

THEMIE. (1) 30,000 years ago in a pre-incarnation, a white-skinned, brown-haired, extremely pregnant cavewoman who would someday be Hippolyte was killed when she offered sympathy to her injured, brown-haired, brown-eyed mate (ie, not Vandal Savage, sorry). Gaea took her soul (and that of her unborn child, who would become Diana) and placed it in the Cavern of Souls, also more poetically referred to as the Womb of Gaea.

In 1200 BC, the goddess Artemis proposes to her Olympian relatives to create a new race, composed entirely of females, to teach humankind to follow the Olympians, and to set an example of Gaea's plan for the sexes to live together (then why make an all-female race?). She leads a small group of gods to the Cavern of Souls and releases the souls of women whose lives were "cut short by man's fear and ignorance." The souls fall into a Greek lake and form bodies, the first of which to emerge is that of Hippolyte.

The second Amazon born is Antiope, always referred to as Hippolyte's sister, as in sister-sister and not female-companion-in-like-cause, as if the other Amazons born just after them did not bear this close a relationship. Hippolyte is made the chief queen of the Amazons by godly decree, while the gods instruct Antiope to rule at her sister's side.

Like Diana, all Amazons including Hippolyte receive godly gifts:

"Therefore does ATHENA grant you WISDOM, that you may be guided by the light of TRUTH and JUSTICE! I, ARTEMIS, grant you skill in the HUNT! DEMETER shall make your FIELDS fruitful! HESTIA shall build you a city and warm your heaths and it is fair APHRODITE who grants you THE GREAT GIFT OF LOVE! Forevermore, you shall find STRENGTH in these gifts. They are your most SACRED BIRTHRIGHT -- they are your POWER!"

Hippolyta and Antiope receive two more material gifts: Gaea's Girdles, with the instructions that they never remove them.

Apparently (reading between the lines) the Amazons live for quite some time on the Greek mainland, enough to start off strong and then withdraw from surrounding society, though even at this point none seem to age. Perhaps Amazons naturally have very long lifetimes?

When a maddened Heracles, who has been led by Ares to hear false rumors that Hippolyte has made fun of him, and his army arrive, Hippolyte faces him personally and invites him to join the amazons in peace. He calls her a "harlot queen." In reply, she says, "No mortal is your equal in BRUTE STRENGTH. yet, in wisdom and the art of battle, I am your SUPERIOR!"

He then tries to best her, but she throws him and asks him to end the battle. When Heracles attacks again, she reminds him that his mother was a mortal and "mortals MAKE MISTAKES!" (Perhaps she meant "human," since at this point Hippy is mortal, too.) She holds a sword to his throat and demands that he surrender or die. To Hippolyte's surprise, he laughs, declares that he's impressed, and that "the Amazons are worthy allies indeed!"

That night, Heracles and his army join in a party with the Amazons. Hippolyte stays with Heracles in his tent and says, "THIS is how men and women should face one another -- not with SWORDS, but with LOVE, LAUGHTER, and EQUALITY!" She drinks a toast with Heracles, but the wine is drugged. She clutches her stomach, loses her equilibrium, and Heracles pummels her into unconsciousness.

When she wakens, it is with Heracles beating her again. She is draped in heavy shackles, wearing only a flimsy piece of cloth. Heracles announces that he has raped her. He takes her girdle as a symbol of his conquest and declares that he'd love to "BREAK you FURTHER... to see you BEG and PLEAD! Alas, EURYSTHEUS' MADNESS leads me on!" Strange that he'd call his non-psycho cousin mad when it was Heracles who suffered from bouts of Hera-induced madness, but that may just be his point of view.

Lying in her cell, Hippolyta begs her goddesses (forgetting Hermes and Apolla, two of the Amazons' supporters) to forgive her for her failure. The goddess Athena appears and gives this confusing verdict:

"NO, daughter... you have betrayed only yourself. EXAMINE yourself, Hippolyte -- examine your race. Once, the Amazons dreamed of LEADING mankind! But you chose to WITHDRAW from humanity -- TO IGNORE THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH YOU WERE CRAETED -- and you grew BITTER and CORRUPT. Have you forgotten the SOURCE of your power? Have you forgotten the EXAMPLE you were to set?"

Hippolyte begs the goddess to free her so she can exact revenge. Athena replies, "Bloody vengeance is NOT the anwer, daughter! It is time for you to CLEANSE YOUR SOUL -- time to REDEDICATE yourself to that which GAEA gave you! ONLY THEN shall you be free!" Athene tells her to look upon Athena's face to see the truth, and then bathe in the light of her wisdom.

The light attracts the attention of her guard, who then comes inside her cell. She is naked now, and lures him closer only to flail him with her chains, ripping them out of the wall. She blasts her way through the army, freeing her sisters and cautioning them to remember the source of their power and Gaea's Way.

But the Amazons don't heed her warning. Retribution is bloody and pleasurable, especially to Antiope, who regains her own girdle. Antiope rallies the Amazons to ride after Heracles, reclaim Hippolyte's girdle, and slit his throat. Hippolyte tries to dissuade her and tells her that Athena herself waits at the shores of the Aegean for them.

Goodbye, Antiope Antiope asks where Athena was when Heracles murdered half the Amazons (very possibly an overstatement due to the heat of the moment). She asks why Athena hasn't supported them through the years that mankind has hounded and shunned Amazons. She gives Hippolyte her own girdle and then takes her followers and rides off, forsaking Olympus and the rest of the Amazons forever.

After all Athena said about having failed only themselves, she now tells Hippolyte and the remaining Amazons that they must perform penance. The Amazons are to be jailers of "unspeakable evil" for "all eternity." As long as they remain true to their duty "you shall live as IMMORTALS and your souls shall again become PURE." Poseidon clears a path through the oceans and for three months Hippolyte leads her people like Moses between the walls of the sea to Paradise. There, we see Hippolyte overseeing written plans for the new city they build, Themyscira.

Many years later, Hippolyte approaches Menalippe because of strong yearnings that have lasted many months. Menalippe informs her that she, like all "original" Amaons, are reincarnations, but that Hippolyte alone was pregnant when originally murdered. Menalippe gives Hippolyte Artemis' instructions for how to construct a daughter:

The birth of Diana
At sunrise, Hippolyte goes to the shore, kneels, and sculpts the statue of a baby from Paradise's clay. She then opens herself to Artemis "that the MID-WIFE OF ALL OLYMPUS may enter you! And with her guidance, let your spirit CRY OUT... unto the WOMB OF GAEA!" As the statue comes to life, Hippolyte "HONOR[s] her with the name of a GREAT AND HOLY WARRIOR": Diana.

"As for HIPPOLYTE, her heart glows as Diana grows more BEAUTIFUL daily. And she gives thanks in her prayers for this MOST PRECIOUS of ALL gifts..."

Years later, when the gods have sensed Ares' power suddenly magnifying a thousand-fold and being drawn to some power within Man's World, they command the Amazons through Menalippe to choose a champion to face Ares. The queen quickly says, "IF THE GODS WILL IT, IT SHALL BE DONE!" though she muses, "How can tthe BEST of us succeed... where the GODS dare not go?"

Diana come to her, wishing to be included in the great tournament. She says she has rights equal to her sisters. Hippolyte replies that she is but a child, and she has no intention of losing her -- ever. "SILENCE! I am your QUEEN as well as your mother! AND I HAVE SPOKEN!"

Hippolyte (flanked by Menalippe and Philippus) watches the tournament, yet never guesses that the uber-powered Diana is the winner until Diana unmasks. "NO! I FORBID THIS!" Hippolyte cries. Menalippe then orders the queen, "The princess WON her place rightfully. You cannot fight the WILL of the gods!"

That night the acquiescent queen silently observes as Philippus subjects Diana to the test of Flashing Thunder, initiating the very first game of Bullets and Bracelets. Having passed that, Diana has proven herself indeed the champion, but Diana exclaims at the terrible weapon: a gun. Hippolyte says, "This is no time for tales of HORROR, my daughter! You are ALIVE! That is all that matters!... Hush! I know that THE GODS ARE WITH YOU... AS AM I!"

At dawn the next day, Hippolyte cries to her people: "AMAZONS! HEAR YOUR QUEEN! Even as APOLLO'S sun gives birth to this glorious day, I have gathered you here... to witness a birth of ANOTHER kind! The CHAMPION has been chosen... The GODS HAVE BEEN SATISFIED!"

While the nation cheers the newly-unveiled Wonder Woman, "Hippolyte smiles NOT -- for her thougts are of ARES -- and of the WORDS she spoke just days before... 'How can even the BEST of us succeed... where the GODS dare not go?' And so the queen pulls her cloak around her... and SHIVERS 'neath Apollo's sun!"

Note that this first issue sets Hippy up to be an obeidient servant of the gods; kind, loving and wise; and a loving if slightly over-protective mother.

(90-92) We see an unrecognizable version of Hippy: stony-faced, overweening, unloving. You can chalk it up to being out of continuity, or of left over mind control by Circe. The result is: a new Contest is called by the queen, who makes sure (as we shall see) that the Bana Artemis becomes the new Wonder Woman.

(93) Hippy oozes love to Artemis and ignores her daughter as she sends Artie out into the world as WW. She gifts Artie the Gauntlets of Atlas, which multiply strength by ten, and the sandals of Hermes, which will allow her to fly. Hippy hugs Artie and says, "I also accept you into my heart, as a sister—and a daughter," knowing that Diana is well within hearing distance. That is so Circe, isn't it? But Artie's not interested in Hippy's blessing; she's only interested in trying out the sandals and flying.

cover of issue 99: Hippolyta grovels at Diana's feet(99) Still out of character: Diana discovers that her mother has gone a bit mad. She's moved the goofball bust of Antiope into a sacred clearing, and has been there flagellating herself ever since. Diana goes to her to ask why she's put her through all this. Hippy replies that she had had visions of the past, saw again how she'd betrayed everyone for the love of Herakles [no! out of continuity!]—and here she reassures Diana that she was indeed made of clay and is not Herk's daughter—but that she'd also seen into the future, and seen that Wonder Woman was soon to die. Therefore, someone else had to be chosen for the title, and who better than one of the Bana? (B-but... didn't Hippy refuse to let the Bana enter the Contest?) Thus Artie became the new Wonder Woman.

164: In this issue, the editorial view of Hippolyta drastically changes to portray her as an out-of-control bitch queen who cares little for her royal duties and prefers the carefree, adventurous life of a superhero, though she claims, "My people ALWAYS come first." This portrayal would continue until her death, which was also written (and some claim orchestrated, though he denied it) by Phil Jimenez.

In this issue we see that the Amazons have erected an open-air museum to Wonder Woman. Artemis muses that most of its space is devoted to Hippolyta's tenure in the role. (Which makes sense as her time in DCU years in the swimsuit was longer than Diana has yet seen.) Artemis is upset that Hippolyta has grown to love the work she's doing as Wonder Woman, when she was assigned to do it as penance for betraying Artemis and, ultimately, Diana. Diana is upset that Hippolyta seems to have filled her boots as well as she ever did.

When Hippolyta steps forward to help her daughter save the world from possible armageddon, Diana curtly refuses and takes instead only one Amazon with her: the non-powered Artemis. Diana publicly chides her mother as well before taking leave, and then, seeming to rub it in, cuddles up to Penelope, who has done her job well according to Diana's way of thinking.

In the midst of arriving for battle against this armadgeddon, Diana chattily tells Oracle, "Oh, and could you extend a 'Hello' from my mother and me to Black Canary? Let her know we both hope to see her soon."

Artemis defends her mother's actions, but Diana says, "The Amazons of Themyscira need a proper queen to lead them, not a part-time matriarch who plays at being a 'super-hero' in Man's World. It's time my mother REMEMBERED that."

168: Hippolyta (in Wonder costume) and fellow JSAers Flash and Black Canary work to free victims in "a sixteen-car pile-up on the 609 overpass." The queen directs Flash even as she saves the driver of a semi from an explosion, and then grabs a carjacker who caused the accident by the throat. "I hope CERBERUS rips you into a hundred PIECES for what you've just done." She tries to make him see the extent of his crime by reminding him of the deaths he has caused and the suffering left in its wake. When she slams him back on the ground, she says, "I won't do to YOUR mother what YOU have chosen to do to so many others." Black Canary says she wouldn't have been that lenient.

A rescued victim comes up to Hippolyta to thank her for the save, and to tell her about how Hippolyta's "mother" had saved his father from a kamikaze raid in the South Pacific. Hippolyta doesn't let on to him that he's got the wrong Wonder Woman. Hours later, Black Canary tells Hippolyta that Diana has to work through her wrong opinions about the queen, but Hippolyta says that she should return to Themyscira and "settle this matter once and for ALL."

She enters a great chamber in New Bana-Mighdall, where Diana and Donna Troy have requested a conference to inquire into the hostilities between Banas and Themyscirans. Philippus acts as Hippolyta's herald and bids all to "BOW in LOVING SUBMISSION to your queen!" Artemis declares that Hippolyta is not her queen, to which Hippolyta says that her power has been dictated by the goddesses. When Artemis accuses her of being a part-time queen with wanderlust, Diana says that her mother's presence would hinder the peace process and she should leave.

In Themyscira, Hippolyta screams at Diana that she has undermined her in public. "You made a complete MOCKERY of me and my nation." She reminds Diana that as princess, her duty is to support her. She accuses Diana of doing the same thing as she has by lying to her and entering the original contest to determine Amazon champion. Donna has to break them apart, suggesting family therapy. She says they have to lay off the diva act and start acting like diplomats. To this, Hippolyta says that she only adopted Donna because she held a part of Diana's soul, and that "if I'm such a disastrous FAILURE in your eyes, perhaps you should start calling your creator, MAGALA, 'Mother.'" Continuing her infantile rant, Hippolyta says, "If my two daughters think that I have been REMISS in my duties, then perhaps it's time for me to STEP DOWN... and for them to ASCEND to their PROPER stations.... Since it would appear that I am no longer CAPABLE of my duties, I will leave YOU to them."

Diana asks Philippus if she's ever seen Hippolyta behave like this before. Phillie says "Hippolyta is HURT and ANGRY... and I believe she's EAGER to return to Patriarch's World." Later in the issue we get a montage page of Hippolyta through the ages (note that Wildcat shows up with Hawkwoman [or is it -girl?], Black Canary and Flash I): She is HIPPOLYTA, QUEEN of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA... blessed by the gods with wisdom and strength and the heart of a champion -- one of the MIGHTIEST heroes ever to have lived. She has been a warrior, a queen and an ambassador. She has been a mother, a super-hero, and a Wonder Woman. Yet in all her millennia she has NEVER felt as free and fulfilled as she does here -- fighting alongside her comrades in the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. And she wonders to herself: how can she continue to act as the leader of her nation when her HEART brings her here... to the outer world she shunned for three thousand years? Does she even WANT to? And how will she repair this ever-widening rift between her and her daughter, whom she loves more than life itself?"

169: Hippolyta returns to find her daughters and Philippus unconscious and held prisoner in the royal stables. When Diana wakes and asks her what she's doing there, she says, "I came back to YOU, my daughter." Kneeling over her unconscious general, she says, "Philippus, my poor friend." Hippolyta says that the Banas have warred against the Themies since they first arrived. Donna tells her that some Themies are also involved in it. When Diana suggests that they have to "strategize and debilitate BOTH armies" Donna is the only one to actually do that. Hippolyta jumps on a horse and rallies her troops, ordering her battalion commanders to fight off the enemy. Artemis as the new Shim'Tar jumps her, and the two are presented as equals in hand-to-hand combat. Hippolyta hints that perhaps Akila wasn't worthy to be Shim'Tar. She reminds Artemis of the Banas' treachery through the years and that they deserve death for their actions. When Artemis tells her that she doesn't understand what the Wonder armor represents, Hippolyta has a change of heart. She confronts Magala/Ariadne, who admits to influencing the Amazon council to send Hippolyta to the outer world as Wonder Woman. "I knew that once you tasted the ADVENTURE of the outside world you'd forsake your duties here, Hippolyta. You've wanted that for THREE THOUSAND YEARS." At that, Fury rips the heart out of Magala and hands it to the queen as a gift. Fury's confused at the queen's shock, but Hippolyta merely says, "We'll speak of this later, Helena."

Now Hippolyta tells Diana that Ariadne has given her the insight to do what needs to be done to end the civil war. Diana asks her if she's sure this is the only way, and if she knows what she's giving up. Surrounded by the fires of Diana's lasso, Hippolyta is flown through the air above Paradise. She takes blame for failing the Amazons in recent years. She says it is time for all the Amazons to change and treat each other as equals. They must build a society that can stand as a symbol of perfection for the outside world. "Hear me, Amazons! I FORSAKE my crown and my throne! But I abolish not only my station but the SYSTEM that created it! In the name of change, of evolution: the matriarchy of Paradise Island, the royal family of Themyscira -- IS NO MORE!" She tosses her crown and scepter upon the ground.

Later, she checks with her daughters to see how negotiations are going, and tells them that she's returning as Wonder Woman to the outer world, to stay with Jay and Joan Garrick until she can decide if she wants to live in Washington, DC or Baton Rouge. She says that she no longer belongs on Paradise. "Paradise is YOURS to rebuild... I believe the Fates have other plans for me, other ways for me to repair the damage I've allowed to happen here."

(172) In a flashback Philippus and Hippolyta tell each other that they're best friends. (WW:OWAW) Rashira wants to know if Philippus loves the queen, but for some reason this shocks Phillie.

(WW:OWAW) We find out that the queen had a roommate during her time in Washington, DC in World War II. The roomie was a nurse and her name was Diana Prince.

191: At the altar of the goddess Hippolyta, Diana receives her missing tiara.

 

link to Wonder Woman Back to WW Central!
Post-Crisis Index
to Amazons Index










DC Comics
Wonder Woman et al are all trademarked and/or copyrighted by DC Comics, Inc. Buy their comics!