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Comic Book / The Hiketeia

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Batman's first lesson in "Loving Submission"

Batman: "Don't make me go through you, Diana"
Wonder Woman: "You can't go through me, Batman"
—Diana giving Bruce his first warning.

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, first published in 2002, is a one-shot graphic novel by writer Greg Rucka note  and artist J.G. Jones. When a young woman called Danielle "Danny" Wellys comes to Wonder Woman's doorstep and invokes the ancient ritual of the Hiketeia, Diana finds herself honor-bound to eternally protect and care for her by the ancient tradition. Watched over and warned by The Erinyes note  of Classical Mythology should she fail to uphold the ritual, Diana soon finds herself in a no-win scenario as her oath and sense of compassion brings her into conflict with Batman, who looks to bring Danielle to justice over the events that brought her to Diana in the first place.

Greg Rucka would soon go one to write the main Wonder Woman book in the following year.


This Storyline provide these examples:

  • Arc Words: "It was never this cold on Themyscira".
  • Adult Fear: Melody's death in Gotham wasn't because of the latest scheme by the Joker or Riddler but rather a rapid descent of being blackmailed into forced prostitution and eventually dying via an OCD on drugs her abusers got her addicted on in the first place
  • All-Loving Hero: Diana, as usual, is portrayed as this. It's actually partly this that leads to the events of the book as she took in Danielle without knowing why she sought protection until after she's forced into a confrontation with Batman.
  • Ambadassador: Diana at this point has become Themyscira's official ambassador to the U.N. and America in addition to her time as a superhero. Her New York residency serving as the Themysciran embassy.
  • Badass Boast: The Erinyes give a villainous one to Diana when she first confronts them, thinking they're here to punish Danny;
    "Princess-once-Goddess, you forget yourself. We are the Erinyes, and we are far older than thou. Pay us the respect we are due, child of clay or suffer our torments."
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  • Badass Normal: There's Batman, obviously, but Danny shows signs of this, managing to escape from Batman twice and her one-woman Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the men responsible for Melody's death.
  • Batman Gambit: The Trope Namer himself tries on Diana but it gets him a boot to the face. More specifically, he tried to invoke the Hiketeia ritual and have Diana become his protector so she couldn't stop him from taking Danny. Diana then reminds him that she has the right to refuse and proceeds with said boot to the face
  • Battle in the Rain: Bruce and Diana's second confrontation in the story is this.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Sadly deconstructed with Danielle as as her anger over the death of her sister Melody, courtesy of pimps and drug-dealers, is what leads her on her path of committing several murders
    • Implied to be partly the motivation of Diana for her still wanting to watch over Danielle once she learns why she needs protection. Thinking how she would have acted had what happened to Melody happened to Donna or Cassie
  • Book-Ends: The story begins and ends with Diana commenting on the harshness of Patriach's World in comparison to her chilhood growing up on Themyscira.
  • Broken Ace: Diana is presented throughout the story as an incredibly moral and compassionate person, as well unbeatable in straight up fight but she is in tears by the end of the book for her failing to protect Danny and her subsequent suicide..
  • Cosmic Play Thing: Danielle, Danny, is this to the Erinyes who informed her of what happened to her sister, Melody, and that she needed to avenge her. Knowing that her Hero Worship of Wonder Woman would drive her to seek out Diana out for sanctuary from Batman and the authorities. Thus bringing Diana into conflict with her friend/ally, Batman, as well as also becoming a potential target of the Erinyes should she fail to uphold the Hiketeia and protect Danny
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Batman vs. Wonder Woman.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Played for tragedy. When Danielle arrives and begs Diana for protection via the Hiketeia, Diana doesn't asks Danielle for her reasons (she thinks it's best to allow Danielle to reveal it whenever she feels ready). Of course, when Batman arrives and tells Diana about Danielle's crimes and she is forced to kick Batman out for trying to take Danielle, Danielle notices that Diana feels like she's been set up for this and (in tears and even smashing the glass covering the Lasso of Truth and binding her arms with it) tells Diana that she should have asked earlier and pleads her to do so now and just get it over with.
    Danielle: All you had to do is ask! Ask me! Ask me and I won't lie! [binds her arms with the Lasso, on her knees] Please... just ask... just ask a-and I won't lie and you can trust me again... please...
  • Continuity Nod: Diana is referred to as "once-goddess" by the Erinyes. This is referring to her brief time as the Goddess of Truth.
  • Covers Always Lie: Defied. Batman and Wonder Woman's second and final confrontation at the climax of the book sees Bats on the losing end and finding himself in the situation depicted on the cover.
  • Crapsack World: How Gotham, and Man's World in general, comes off in the story. Diana makes a note in her narration of sometimes she wishes she could give up her duties and go back to Themyscira when comparing the two.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Subverted. Batman eventually researches the method to invoke Hiketeia to try to pull a Loophole Abuse on Diana but Diana doesn't falls for it and keeps fighting.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Batman is on the receiving end of two of these in his attempts to bring Danny to the authorities. In his first confrontation with Wonder Woman over taking Danielle to the authorities, Diana sends him flying across the street with one punch for his troubles after trying to barge into her house. He fares a little better in his second one but as the book cover/page image indicates, it doesn't end well for him there either.
    • Diana is also on the receiving end of a minor one courtesy of The Erinyes. When they first show she appears before them giving them a warning not come for Danny but they quickly toss her to the ground using just their snake hair.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: This is what brought Danielle to Diana in the first place. She murdered four people, all of whom were in one way related to the abuse and death of her sister, Melody.
  • Declaration of Protection: Diana does this as per her requirement of the Hiketeia to show she accepts and believes Danielle's prostrations are genuine. The ritual requiring the person being supplicated towards to announce said supplicant is under their protection.
  • Determinator: Both Diana and Bruce exhibit this in their separate missions to defend Danielle (in Diana's case) or turn her over to the authorities (in Bruce's case) and what brings them into conflict eventually.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The reason Danielle was accepting of the Erinyes' manipulations that cause all of this tragedy: her sister Melody was killed by some asshole pimps, and a dead OD'ed hooker in Gotham City? Not only cops do the cops not care, but for all of Batman's relentless pursuit of Danielle for trying to get justice, it's quite notable that it's never shown if he tried to investigate himself.
  • Didn't Think This Through: One has to wonder what Batman thought would happen when he tried to barge past Wonder Woman after being warned she wouldn't let him take Danielle, all while sporting a rather abrasive attitude and mockingly calling Diana "Princess".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The fate of anyone who agrees to take in a supplicant as part of the Hiketeia ritual but either fails to protect their supplicant while still under oath or abuses their position of power. A flashback to Ancient Greece shows a man being torn and eaten apart by the Erinyes for killing his supplicant.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Diana makes it clear in her altercations with Bruce she doesn't want to fight him and warns him not to push his luck.
  • Downer Ending: Tired of living in fear and ashamed for the trouble she feels she brought Diana, Danielle commits suicide by jumping off a bridge but not before releasing Diana of her ritual obligation towards her so as she won't be punished by The Erinyes for failing to protect her. Bruce and Diana part ways with neither proud they had to come to fisticuffs with one another. Diana ends the story commenting on the coldness and harshness of Man's World compared to life growing up on Themyscira
  • Driven to Suicide: Feeling ashamed for not telling Diana the truth earlier and the trouble she feels she brought Diana, Danny jumps off a bridge at the climax of the story.
  • Empathic Environment: Much of the story is set at night with it either raining or winds blowing that carry dead leafs to fit the somber mood of the story. At the end of the story it overlaps with Snow Means Death as it starts to snow following Danny's suicide.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Diana taking Danny under her protection despite just meeting her and not knowing why she seeks Diana's protection in the first place.
  • Failure Hero: Diana is ultimately this as she fails to protect Danielle. According to Rucka this was intentional as he wanted to focus on the more somber and tragic side of Diana's character/world
    • Batman, from his POV, even more so as he fails to bring Danielle to the authorities for her murders and only got two No Holds Bar Beatdowns from his friend to show for it.
  • Fangirl: Danny was this of Diana when she was younger. It's also why the Erinyes singled her out and informed her of her sister's fate as they it would drive her to seek Diana for protection and thus bring her into conflict with the authorities going after her
  • First-Name Basis: Diana tells Danny to call her by her first name rather than "Princess".
  • Flash Back: One of the early scenes in the story is a flashback to the time of Ancient Greece that serves as exposition for what the Hiketeia is and it entails, the religious importance of it, and the consequences of what should happen if someone fails to up hold it.
  • Go Through Me: Diana actually tells Batman he can't go through her but the message and idea is the same.
  • Hero Antagonist: Batman is this in the context of the story. He does ultimately just want to bring in Danny for her multiple counts of murder but is shown as largely unsympathetic/uncaring for the reasons that drove her to it in the fist place. He also is agitated that she's already gotten away from him twice.
  • Hero Worship: Deconstructed with Danny, who has this for Wonder Woman. The Erinyes preyed on her admiration and desire to be like Diana into killing the men responsible for what happened to her sister, thus getting in the crosshairs of Batman/Gotham PD and Danny seeking out Diana for sanctuary.
  • Home Base: The Themysciran Embassy based out of New York City, which would continue to appear when Rucka took over the main book. Overlaps with Cool House as Diana lives there. It also has a massive room that functions as a portal to Themyscira as well as containing weapons, a variety of costumes on display, and imposing statues of the Greek Gods.
  • Home Sweet Home: Diana's narration states that there's days where she fantasizes about giving up her duties as a superhero and Themyscira's ambassador to go back to living on Themyscira.
  • The Intern: Danielle as Diana's supplicant becomes Diana's de facto intern to her role as Themyisciran ambassador.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Erinyes can only be seen by those who they either chose to appear before or those under the Hiketeia ritual obligation.
  • It's Personal: While Batman is just looking to bring Danielle in for her murders, that he mentions she already got away from him, twice, and she doesn't get a third chance suggests he's suffering a bit of a bruised ego over this regular person with no powers or training getting away from him.
  • Jerkass: Batman is very much written as this in the story. Showing a rather large amount of contempt for Danny when in comparison to his other far more despicable rogues and derogatorily calling Diana "Princess".
  • I Kiss Your Foot: Justified. As part of the Hiketeia ritual, a potential supplicant must prostrate themselves and this involves kissing the foot and thigh region of the person they wish to protect them.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Danny has four murders to her name but giving what they did to her sister it's doubtful anyone would shed tears for them.
  • Let's You and Him Fight Thanks in part due the manipulations of the Erinyes, their conflicting morals in regards to the situation and Diana's obligations as part of the Hiketeia; Wonder Woman and Batman end up coming into physical confrontation twice in the story. Although calling it a "fight" is rather generous.
  • Loose Canon: This was Rucka's first gig at writing Wonder Woman and so while this story wouldn't be referenced again, it introduced some stuff that would be later picked up on when he took over writing the main book in the following year (mainly Diana acting out of the Themysciran Embassy). Making it debatable over whether this is in continuity or not with the then-current Wonder Woman book.
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: Dead hooker in Gotham City? Nobody in law enforcement cares. Not even Batman is shown or so much as mentioned to have tried to investigate. But hooker's sister tries to get justice? Batman hunts her down with a zeal usually reserved only for people like the Joker, especially because Danielle got lucky enough to get away from him twice, and he's taking it personal.
  • Male Gaze: A few panels of when Diana is in costume have a focus on her rear.
  • Mama Bear: Diana displays this attitude when thinking over what Danielle finally tells her the reasons for what got her Batman and the police's attention in the first place. Thinking how she would would have reacted had it been Donna or Cassie in Melody's situation.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Diana's Eagle-themed Golden Armor from Kingdom Come can be seen on display in a room in the Themysciran embassy.
    • As well as an outfit reminiscent of her Golden Age-skirted costume.
    • A panel shows Batman swinging across the night sky in shadows with lighting striking behind him that evokes the iconic cover of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
    • The Erinyes mockingly make reference to Diana having “Hermes' speed, Athena's wisdom...”. This is a portion of Diana’s epitaph commonly used in the Golden Age.note 
  • No Sympathy For Grudge Holders: If he's aware of Danny's situation and what brought her to Diana in the first place, Batman shows no sympathy for her either way.
  • Prehensile Hair: The Eryinyes sport Medusa-like snake hair and are able to use it to ensnare Diana temporarily when she first appears before them.
  • Punched Across the Room: Punched across the street in Bruce's case.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The story is book-ended with Diana's narration commenting on the cruelty of the Erinyes and the events they set into motion simply because they get delight in playing with mortals.
    Wonder Woman: Does this satisfy you, my cruel sisters? Her blood and my tears? Is that what you wanted? Isn't this all you've ever wanted? And to Hell with the rest of us? It was never this cold on Themyscira.
  • Reality Ensues: The centerpiece of this tragedy. Turns out that going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge will get you a charged with multiple murders and cops (or in this case Batman) coming to get you come hell or high water.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At the encouragement of the Erinyes, this what Danny does to the four men most directly responsible for her sister's death. She's first introduced in the story at the tail-end of it actually, killing off the last one
  • Sacred Hospitality: What the titular Hiketeia ritual essentially is. A potential supplicant comes before and prostates themselves towards an individual pleading for protection and hospitality. If they accept, the supplicant comes under their protection and hospitality. The only real power the supplicant actually retains in the relationship is only they can discharge their benefactor from their oath. If their benefactor fails to protect them or recants on their oath without being discharged, they incite the wrath of the Erinyes upon them.
    • Notably, while stated to rare or unthinkable, a person can refuse to accept Hiketeia if they so chose. Batman himself tries to invoke the Hiketeia so that Diana wouldn't be able to stop him from taking Danielle without breaking her oath, but she informs of this fact and gets a kick in the head for his troubles. It only applies once she accepts it in the first place, as she did with Danny.
  • Shown Their Work: The Hiketeia ritual is an actual, if obscure, custom from Ancient Greek mythology. Bruce and Diana are referring to an actual event The Iliad when Bruce brings up Lykaon prostrating themselves before Achilles.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The Erinyes, the triple Goddesses of Vengeanc from Greek Mythology, evoke this with their Medusa-like snake hair.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The climax of the story takes place with the onset of a rainstorm.
  • Stutter Stop: Danny speaks in a stutter for most of the story but when she reveals what happened to her sister and her murders of the men responsible she speaks fluidly.
  • Superdickery: The provocative cover of Wonder Woman's boot on Batman's head, evoking Dominatrix-like imagery, certainly suggests this. In the actual story, this is the end result of a rather Jerkass Batman on the losing end of a fight after ignoring several of Diana's warnings/pleas not to push his luck.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Averted. Batman goes rather out of his way to chase down Danielle, a rather low level criminal in comparison to who he's usually up against. Given how it ended up for him, it might also explain why he keeps to Gotham.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Danny murders the men who raped and abused her sister Melody.
  • Take a Third Option: Danny's solution to the no-win scenario she's found she's placed Diana in is to commit suicide but releasing Diana from her obligation so as she won't be killed by the Erinyes.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Batman in this story has many of his worst qualities amplified, displaying little sympathy for Danielle and derisively referring to Diana as "Princess". It's possible he's suffering a bruised ego over a regular person like Danielle escaping from him twice.
  • Trauma Conga Line: What happens to Melody, Danielle's sister. She originally went to Gotham looking to become an actress that almost immediately turned into taking risque photos for the man who originally put out the Wanted ad she answered as she had no money, following that she she was drugged and raped in her sleep. Using the photos as blackmail, this quickly led to her being forced into becoming a porn star and getting physically abused often to keep her in-line. When her value there was deemed dried up, she was sold off into prostitution where all her earnings went to her pimp. All throughout this becoming addicted to drugs that ultimately kills her.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: By the end of the story, it's obvious that Batman and Diana will keep fighting over Danielle, for while Batman has gotten his ass kicked by the Amazing Amazon all of this while he's not willing to let go of his quarry even if that means dying. Danielle ends up Taking a Third Option and she kills herself.
  • Workaholic: A montage shows a brief glimpse of a day in the life of Diana where she's both a full-time superhero and Themyscira's ambassador to the U.N. and America.
  • Wretched Hive: Gotham, as usual is portrayed as this, but the focus here is on more real-world evils than colorful villains.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Erinyes set things into motion that any of the potential outcomes where to their benefit/amusement:
    • Them pushing Danny into seeking out and killing the men responsible is what put her in the crosshairs of Batman and the Gotham P.D. and she didn't seek out Diana for protection, or if Diana refused the Hiketeia, she would have eventually been likely apprehended by Batman.
    • Diana accepting the Hiketeia ritual then put her into a immediate collision course with Batman, and potentially the Gotham and N.Y.P.D. Thus inciting the wrath of the Erinyes should she fail to protect Danny.
    • The end result also coming at their benefit as ultimately Batman and Wonder Woman come to blows only for neither of it to matter in the end as Danny commits suicide out of of a combination of fear and shame.


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