I Would Have Done It Differently: Wonder Woman: Apex Predator (Act 2, part 1)

The first act set the stage. Barbara has become the Cheetah, an extension of the Mayan god of cleansing, frost, and punishment. As the second act opens, we see a couple of guys walking down the street. Their heads are down, and they look like they’re up to no good. A woman walks by – we can see it’s Barbara by the slumped shoulders and the panicky gait to her walk. The guys take a second look at her as she passes by. They see her as prey…so they turn around and follow her.

She smiles when she sees she’s being followed. She takes a turn down a blind alley. She stops at the end and makes a point to look frightened of what will befall her. She makes deals, offers money, but it’s clear that the men only want one thing. One of them rushes her to rip off her coat. Barbara smiles as he gets a handful of fabric.

“Purge.” She says with a smile. “Cleanse.”

And boy, does she.

She moves like Diana, but while Wonder Woman’s goal is to neutralize a threat, Barbara’s is pure sadism. She breaks bones, lacerates, and does everything she can to make these guys hurt. When all is said and done, she surveys what she has done and grins. “Payback’s a bitch. Am I right, fellas?”

Cut to…

Diana watching a news briefing on her tablet about events happening in the Middle East, particularly a coup in the desert nation of Kahndaq. As she silences the tablet, she stops. Cue ominous music as she catches Barbara staring at her with displeasure. When she turns around to face her completely, the hateful mien is gone, replaced by the permanently ‘flustered-outside-her-comfort-zone’ Barbara Minerva.

Barbara says that the artifact that they’ve been working with was a temple stone – more than likely a meteorite gathered up and made an object of worship. The monetary value isn’t that much. The composition of the meteor is nickel, and not worth a whole lot…maybe a few hundred. The worth of the artifact, however, is so much more. The people robbing the pace would have no idea what they had in their possession. As Barbara is talking, she’s picking up the artifact and is holding it like she would her lover. Diana takes note of this – she understands completely that there are forces out there just beyond mortal comprehension.

“Barbara? Are you all right?”

Barbara blinks a couple of times, then gives Diana some shade. “I’m fine. Just the idea that those people would have just thrown this away because there was no gold. No fancy gems…just this citrine. People like that need to be gotten rid of. They’re just trash.”

Diana feels like there’s something else behind the voice. “Hey…let’s get lunch together. My treat.” Barbara agrees and they continue with their respective jobs.

At lunch, Diana gently feels out Barbara’s personality. She’s skittish at times. She says that when she was growing up, she was the last one picked for sports, the one who couldn’t handle public speaking…the one everyone teased and picked on and bullied. Diana listens with sympathy – even though she was popular, she never knew of the people around her were real friends or trying to cozy up to her mother. When Barbara asks what her mother did…Diana smoothly colors the truth and says her mother was the mayor of her hometown.

In one of the TVs, we see in the restaurant, we get an image of two men being carted into ambulances – the two guys from earlier – but Diana and Barbara don’t see this. We then get one of those moderated, triple split-screen with a moderator, a local politician…and the “vigilante expert” and police commissioner from Gotham.

Barbara happens to catch this and smile, commenting on how it looks like those two got what they deserve. Diana catches this but plays it down, saying that there was a line overstepped. Barbara disagrees, stating that those were the type of people who made her life miserable growing up. They got what they deserved and the rest of those sorts of people should be—

“Purged?” Diana asks.

“Yes. If a person can’t be nice, or at least civil…then they can expect to be treated harshly until they get their act together.”

“I disagree. While there is a need for some corrective procedures, punishment is not the be-all-end-all solution.” With Diana going through World Wars, she knows what she’s talking about.

Barbara’s disgust becomes overflowing. “Said the pretty woman.” She reaches into her purse and tosses down a couple of bills. With that, she gets up and leaves before Diana can say anything. As this scene ends, we hear the vigilante expert from Gotham say this: “It’s never going to get better. It’s just going to get worse.”

We cut to night. Wonder Woman is taking up a watch over a place that’s been noted for several attacks on women. She has no sword or shield with her, just the lasso. A small group of guys start hounding a woman – shoving her back and forth, trying to grab for her purse and pull off her coat. We hear her cries…and know it’s Barbara.

The other guys get a huge surprise. She rips into them – maiming limbs and breaking bones. Wonder Woman charges into the fray, not to save Barbara, but to save the hoods. AS they fight, Barbara lays into Wonder Woman, for sparing the lives of these animals, punctuating the last three words with broken limbs.

“They deserve a day in court, and a chance to learn from their mistakes.”

“THEY DESERVE TO DIE!” With that, she breaks the neck of one man. Diana stands shocked and frozen. She’s no stranger to death, but this was beyond anything she’s comfortable to stand by. Barbara starts to leave, but Wonder Woman stops her.

“You can’t just leave.”

“You think it’ll stop here? What’s going to happen? Two men cops are going to show up. Family who didn’t give a shit about them are going to come out of the woodwork suddenly saying they were just boys caught up in a bad situation, and I am going to rot in jail. Me! Who did the world a service by taking out the trash!”

“You’re not—” Wonder Woman doesn’t finish her statement, as Barbara headbutts her and tries to escape. A new fight breaks out, with Barbara’s training matching Barbara’s berserker frenzy. Finally, she manages to escape into the night. As the red and blue lights of the police draw close, Wonder Woman swings away.

Now – there is going to be more to this act, but I’m trying to get something thrown up for today. Last week completely escaped me as I was put into quarantine and I was dealing with that stress. I promise (stop me if you’ve heard this one) I will be back on track for the foreseeable future. I’ve also got somethings to say about WandaVision as I am now caught up with it.

As always, be careful and buy me coffee or buy one of my books to keep me off the streets. Thanks, and take care.

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