Wonder Woman #277
Gerry Conway, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella
backup story: Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Steve Mitchell
Synopsis: Kobra theatrically crushes a paper mache globe to show what he is symbolically going to do to Earth, then he makes some speeches to his men about taking over the planet.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman has captured four Kobra agents last issue and now she wraps them in her lasso and commands them to tell her their secrets. However, they have been programmed mentally to resist and instead... they friggin explode! In a burst of blood and skeletons and everything. It's really gross and pretty hardcore for a Wonder Woman story. Diana is very upset at being turned into an executioner and gets ready for some grim vengeance.
Back the the ranch, Steve Trevor explains to the Pentagon brass that Cobalt 93 is a superpowered dirty nuke that contaminates a region for 93 years and now a terrorist group has stolen it. Justthen, Kobra appears on TV with one of those broadcast-to-everyone-on-Earth things. He syas that unless Earth turns over half its gross of all precious metals to him, he will blow up the mmiddle east oil wells.
Diana heads home, where Etta is waiting around. Etta gets upset that Diana once again gives her the cold shoulder and Diana realizes she's been acting kind of douchey because she's always brooding about Steve or some need to save all humanity. So she decides to just skip working on the Kobra case for the evening and instead stays up all night having a heart-to-heart with Etta.
Then she goes to see a voodoo priestess, as one naturally does. Turns out her landlord mentioned this Mother Juju lady to her, because, of course he did. And it turns out the Mother Juju is both a wizard and a telepath, so she already knows what Diana is there for. She tells Diana that Kobra started as a mystical resistance force against the British rule of India but now they want to conquer all Earth.
Diana goes to India and finds the anciet Kobra temple, only to be caught in a Kobra trap: They were waiting and now she is surrounded by Kobra agents as well as actual, literal cobras. To be concluded!!!
Backup stories: Helena broods over what to do about the D.A. knowing her secret identity. Meanwhile, her secretary is still being blackmailed, but her loser husband as it turns out. Helena finds out and kicks the husband's ass. The end.
Notes: Stuff gets real in this issue, man. The stakes get majorly high and I liked the touch that with the Kobra guys dying, Diana is now playing for keeps. I also liked the extended sequence with Etta, as this has been building for a while in previous issues and we finally get some payoff in the form of some character development.
There were a couple hiccups again caused by the shorter page count. Having a major plot point -- like Diana being directed to a telepathic voodoo priestess by her landlord -- happen in a line of dialogue between panels seems like a cheat. It's also something I've seen Conway do a few times in his run and it's annoying. Show that stuff, man! It's important to the plot!
In the lettercolumn, someone writes in to ask why their UPC symbol is missing and the editors have to explain what the direct market is.
Oh, and a cool yellow cover! More yellow covers!
My Grade: Main story gets an A-. Things are cooking now. Backup gets a C-, that subplot went absolutely nowhere.