Week 4 of my teaching stint in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth summer program brings a new set of students. As they try to match the work output of the first class, heres my official unofficial researcher John Wells, with the lowdown on the DCU women named Fury?
- Fury … who is she? There’ve been confusing tales of this heroine since she seems to be sharing the same history and characters in the Sandman comics and Wonder Woman comics? Please straighten the record of Helena’s history…
- – email@example.com
What’s the story with the Fury in Wonder Woman and the Fury in JSA? I know one of them used to be in Infinity inc. and got messed up with the Wonder Woman Post-Crisis re-launch, but who’s the one in W.W.?
– David H. Rangel (Badp@netzero.net)
The Fury who appeared during Phil Jimenez’s run on WONDER WOMAN is Helena Kosmatos, who fought with the All-Star Squadron and, despite her age, has been restored into a young woman. The Fury seen in INFINITY, INC., SANDMAN and referenced in JSA is her daughter, Hippolyta “Lyta” Trevor.
It all started simply enough in the Roy Thomas-scripted WONDER WOMAN #300 (1982), when he introduced Lyta Trevor, daughter of the Earth-Two Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, who’d been fighting crime since late 1941. Lyta had her father’s blonde hair, her mother’s super-strength and shared a name with her maternal grandmother, Queen Hippolyta. And, when INFINITY, INC. debuted a year later, she fought crime, too, as Fury.
But then 1985’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS came along with its revised history of the DC Universe and decreed that there’d never been a Wonder Woman in the 1940s. So Roy created an EARLIER Fury who’d been around in the 1940s and, mysteriously, left her baby to be raised by a star-spangled heroine named Miss America. In the years that followed, Lyta was absorbed into Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN, ultimately playing a pivotal role in the series.
And then it was decided that there HAD been a Wonder Woman in the 1940s when John Byrne had Queen Hippolyta replace her daughter Diana in the present and travel to 1942 to join the Justice Society for eight years as Wonder Woman (WONDER WOMAN #s 130-133). She wasn’t Lyta Trevor’s mother, though. That continued to be the Fury of the 1940s, who returned in LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #s 30-32 before moving over to the regular WONDER WOMAN series.
And the Cartoon Network’s JUSTICE LEAGUE series has introduced a character with elements taken from both Helena Kosmatos and the 1970s character Nubia. This version was an orphan washed ashore on Paradise Island during World War Two who was corrupted by the war god Ares and became known as Aresia. The episode was entitled “Fury.”
Rather than confuse anyone further, allow me to simply present a chronological account of what we’ve eventually learned about the complex history of the Furies in current DC continuity:
Helena Kosmatos was born in Greece in the summer of 1925. By 1941, the country had been occupied by the Nazis and Helena’s father had been slain by Italian fascists. The fact that her brother Michael was collaborating with the Nazis was more than Helena could take and she confronted him in front of their mother. Horrified by the revelation, Mrs. Kosmatos suffered a fatal heart attack and Helena vowed that Michael would be punished. So she ran to “the nearby Areopagus, or Hill of Ares” and unwittingly invoked the Furies of myth. Which is how Helena became a vessel for “Tisiphone, the blood avenger, who punishes crimes of kinship.” Clad in gold chainmail, Helena had become Fury and used her newfound super-strength to fight off Nazis. But it was Michael Kosmatos who truly saw Fury live up to her name when his sister was completely transformed into Tisiphone and murdered him.
Rescued by a news photographer named John Chambers, the young refugee was brought to the U.S. (SECRET ORIGINS #12) and taken in by her Uncle George and Aunt Rose in Miami. And in the year that passed, Helena began to believe that her horrible pact with the Furies had never really happened. But it had and, while visiting her “Uncle” John in New York City in late April of 1942, she discovered that he and his wife were actually Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle (YOUNG ALL-STARS #1) and transformed into Fury again when they were attacked by Axis America (#2). There was no turning back after that. Emboldened by the other teen heroes who’d fought alongside her, Fury decided she wanted to join the All-Star Squadron. The Young All-Stars were declared probationary members of the core team (#3) and Fury embarked on a non-stop thrill-ride, one that included a romance with teammate Arnold “Iron” Munro. But there were ominous moments, too. Tisiphone eventually took complete control of her host, necessitating her two sister Furies to drag her from Helena’s body (#s 12-14).
The arrival of a time-traveling Queen Hippolyta as Wonder Woman in July of 1942 had a profound effect on the young Fury, who eventually convinced herself that the Grecian heroine was the actual reincarnation of her slain mother. Hippolyta, from all accounts, never seems to have grasped the depths of her protege’s maternal affection for her but she had an enormous amount of fondness and respect for Fury and they joined forces often throughout the entire decade (LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #31; WONDER WOMAN: OUR WORLDS AT WAR #1). Inevitably, Wonder Woman returned to her proper time period and Helena never got over it.
It’s believed that Helena entered a “brief and disastrous marriage” to Arn Munro during World War Two (DAMAGE #11) but she would eventually have a far more significant relationship with a man whose identity remains, to this day, unknown. Helena’s lover would ultimately be murdered in the late 1970s and, burning with a need for vengeance, she embarked on a quest to avenge him (SANDMAN #62). There was, however, a complication. Helena had given a birth to a daughter named after her beloved Hippolyta and she had to ensure the infant’s well-being. She sought out Joan Dale Trevor, an FBI liaison to the Justice Society (and reserve member) who’d been close to Helena during the 1940s, and asked her to raise the child in her absence — with one stipulation. Young Lyta must not be told her true mother’s identity (INFINITY, INC. #49). Joan and Derek Trevor formally adopted the girl five years later when Helena failed to return (SANDMAN #57).
After spending two decades stalking the man who killed her lover, Helena found him in England, destroyed his life and then killed him. “After my task was over,” she’d later say. “the life went out of me.” Helena settled into an English retirement home (SANDMAN #62).
Meanwhile, Lyta Trevor had grown to young adulthood, blessed with incredible super-strength that she assumed she’d inherited from Miss America. Her parents weren’t in a position to dispute her. Attending college in California, Lyta became romantically involved with fellow JLA brat Hector Hall (son of Hawkman) and the two hatched a plot to become super-heroes themselves. Hec called himself Silver Scarab while Lyta put together a red and gold outfit and declared, “I’ll call myself Fury — you know, like in mythology.” The Trevors were stunned — but kept their silence (INFINITY, INC. #s 1, 49).
Eventually, Fury and Silver Scarab ended up as part of a whole group of JSA-related teens lobbying for membership in the Justice Society. And after they were rejected, they founded the Los Angeles-based Infinity, Inc (INFINITY, INC. #s1-10). Hec and Lyta were subsequently outed as super-heroes at a press conference (#12) but they shrugged it off and announced their engagement soon after (#16). The fact that both of them had hot tempers made for a rocky relationship but it only became worse when Hec was corrupted by the reincarnation of Hath-Set, the eternal enemy of the Hawkman dynasty. In a matter of days, Lyta had been abandoned by her fiancee (#31), learned that she was pregnant (#32) and had a chance encounter with the Furies that revealed she was the daughter of Helena Kosmatos (SECRET ORIGINS #12).
What happened next is … complicated. [Okay — more than it already has been!!] Hector Hall’s body did not survive the attack by Hath-Set (INFINITY, INC. #44) but his spirit did. It was captured by aspects of the Dreaming and transformed into the Sandman. Though unable to materialize on Earth for more than an hour a day, Hec was determined to catch a glimpse of Lyta. To make a long story short, they decided to get married and set up housekeeping in “the Dream Stream” (#s 49-51).
When Morpheus, the true Sandman and master of the Dreaming, returned home after having been imprisoned on Earth for the better part of a century, he casually dismissed Hec as a ghost and sent him “to the place appointed for you.” Still pregnant after months in the Dreaming, Lyta was returned to Earth by Morpheus. As he left, the Sandman told her that because of her baby’s long gestation in his realm, he would one day claim the child as his own (SANDMAN #12). On Earth, Morpheus visited the newborn boy, whom, he informed Lyta, was named Daniel (#22).
Daniel Hall was later abducted and killed by Loki and Puck, a tragedy that drove Lyta mad and led her into an alliance with the Furies to kill Morpheus, whom she wrongly held responsible. Upon the Sandman’s death, Daniel’s spirit was transformed into the new personification of Dream (SANDMAN #s 57-61, 63-67, 69). In the Dreaming, Lyta was called before Daniel, who told her, “You have my mark on you, Lyta Hall. No one shall harm you. Put your life together once again. Go in peace” (#72).
And in the aftermath, Helena Kosmatos was empowered by the Furies once more but embittered towards them as well for their role in her daughter’s misfortune. Through unknown circumstances, Helena began stalking a millennia-old gigolo named Alcaemon and found her youth restored by the same ancient scrolls that he’d used to preserve himself. In the midst of this love-hate relationship, Wonder Woman (Hippolyta’s daughter, Diana) entered the picture, outwitting Alcaemon in a way that Fury had been unable to do. Insanely jealous of Diana for the simple act of being Hippolyta’s true daughter, Fury was escorted to the island of Themyscira in the hope that the Amazons could somehow rehabilitate her (LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #s 30-32).
Any hopes of a peaceful existence on Paradise Island were quashed when Fury was ensorcelled by Ariadne (posing as the Amazon sorceress Magala) and used to help fuel a civil war on Themyscira. Tisiphone, alas, was less inclined to being brainwashed than Fury was and mercilessly tore Ariadne’s heart from her chest, handing it to Hippolyta as an offering (WONDER WOMAN [current] #s 168-169). It was, in a demented way, the last bit of satisfaction Fury would have in her relationship with Hippolyta, who was about to abolish Themyscira’s monarchy. The former queen was fated to die soon afterwards in the catastrophic world war against Imperiex (#172).
Now in a state of deep despair, Helena endured a second blow when the power of the Furies was stolen from her body (#s 178-180) by Barbara Minerva, who, in turn, hoped to steal back the power of the Cheetah now in the command of Sebastian Ballesteros. With Minerva presumed dead in the wake of the battle, the essence of Tisiphone flooded back into Fury’s body (#s 186-188).
Meanwhile, Hector Hall had been literally reborn, an infant instantly aged to adulthood and entrusted with the power of Doctor Fate (JSA #s 3-4). For all his power, Hector was a novice in the art of magic and easily manipulated into believing that the comatose woman who gave birth to him was Lyta Hall (#19). In (as of this writing) a still-unfolding plot by the sorcerer Mordru, the woman believed to be Lyta Hall was revealed to actually be Dawn Granger, another DC heroine called Dove (#44).
There is an alternate account of Lyta Hall’s current whereabouts, one that describes her bouts with depression and violent outbursts in the wake of her son’s death but ultimately leaves her alive and well on Earth (THE SANDMAN PRESENTS: THE FURIES). But that 2002 graphic novel isn’t regarded as part of the mainstream DC continuity seen in JSA. Confronted by the mage Nabu in issue 48, Hector Hall was told, “Lyta has moved ON from this plane. To a place of dreams. She’s HAPPY, Hector. And … she’s NOT coming back. EVER.”
And that, for the moment at least, seems to be the last word on the subject. At least until DC decides to do something with Aresia.
All of this proving, I suppose that Hell hath no Fury like the DCU!
On that note, thanks again to John for filling in. Check out my daily Anything Goes Trivia at http://www.wordfamouscomics.com/trivia and be back here next week for a trip to the Golden Age and a look at the original Daredevil.