However, if Wondy is not US-centered, then I don't she why she would be wearing the stars-and-stripes costume at all.
A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!
I love Wonder Woman so this thread is great. As for the Diana/glasses thing I remember an issue (the one with her strapped to her a missile curiously enough) and she was complaining (and crying!) about how the man she liked did not have time for her. After all she was a Plain Jane compared to the dashing Wonder Woman. Personally I liked Diana with the glasses. Reminds me of Marilyn Monroe in how To Marry A Millionaire.
Wonder Woman #286
Robert Kanigher, Jose Delbo and Dave Hunt
backup: Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Bruce Patterson
Synopsis: Wonder Woman is att he doctor who tells her she has an inoperable tumor and has just six months to live. She swears him to secrecy.
Meanwhile, Steve Trevor parachutes down on a bunch of terrorists with the ransom they demanded. He was planning to gas them all as well, but instead they open fire on him. One of the hostages attacks the terrorists and they shoot him, but this gives Steve enough time to land safely. Wonder Woman shows up and fights the terrorists, defeating them.
Meanwhile meanwhile, a movie about Wonder Woman is underway and an actress gets rejected. It turns out she's actually the one with the tumor, not the real Wonder Woman; she just went in costume to the doctor. Her father is an old vaudville guy and she doesn't tell him she is sick.
Plus, by the way, there's yet another plot thread about some missing defense system plans that someone has stolen and is trying to get out of the country. That guy turns out to be a foregin agent whose heart has been replaced by a mechanical device.
Anyway, there's a big fire on the Wonder Woman movie set and Wonder Woman rushes in to save the people trapped insisde. Except, it's not the real Wonder Woman, it's the actress. The real Wonder Woman shows up and saves everyone, but she lets the actress go out to face the media and such, to take credit for it. Steve Trevor accidentally reveals she is the actress and not the real Wonder Woman, and based on this heroic act, she is given the job in the movie.
Wonder Woman finds out the actress is dying but agrees not to tell anyone. The actress gets really sick and is too ill to film the final scene, so Diana takes her place. This turns out to be really lucky, because the foreign agent attacks -- I guess he hid the plans in the movie studio or something -- thinking this is the fake Wonder Woman. She kicks his ass and the movie is a wrap.
Diana then rushes the actress to Paradise Island to try and save her with the Purple healing ray, but it is too late. She dies and Hippolyta buries her as an Amazon on Paradise Island. Months later, she is posthumously given the Best Actress Oscar, which Wonder Woman and her devastated father accept on her behalf. The end!
Backup story: Huntress is minding her own business when a giant guy festooned with weapons attacks her. His name is.. Karnage! And he's going to kill her in order to make a name for himself. They fight to a draw and then both parties flee. Huntress spends some time ruminating, then goes to the law firm the next day, which is suddenly attacked... by Karnage! To be continued!
Notes: First off, this is a really good cover from Andru and Giordano. They've had some pretty nice covers over the course of this run.
The main story from Kanigher is pretty good. It's actually a fairly moving tale, but it is undermined a bit by Kanigher's storytelling, which is herky-jerky. The first few pages are just confusing, with Wonder Woman being diagnosed with cancer, and then a different Wonder woman showing up, and Steve parachuting in and then some random cyborg showing up for two panels, then we find out the first Wonder Woman is fake... Once the story actually settles down, it's quite good and has some emotional weight, but the setup really undercuts things, which is too bad.
For whatever reason, there's no lettercolumn in this issue.
The backup story is, once again, just whatever. The best parts of this series are always Huntress thinking about or remembering her parents, Batman and Catwoman, or meeting up with other people from the Batman pantheon like Dick Grayson. But her actual stories are just kind of there, they don't do anything for me at all. I like the character, but how much of the interest in her is based entirely on the fact that she is Batman and Catwoman's daughter as opposed to being an interesting character in her own right? not that you can separate out the two, but really, I'm not sure there's a lot to her at this point in her development without the constant Batman reminders. I am rooting for this series to really grab me and it has been a let down pretty much all along except for the Joker/Robin arc, which again... Batman.
My Grade: Main story gets a B, should have been an A- but Kanigher just tripped all over himself trying to get the story out. Backup gets a C-. Boring.
Just a note about Kanigher (re: another story by Bob), I should say that I actually liked a lot of what Kanigher did. But like Murray Boltinoff as an editor or Bob Haney as a writer, he could leave me scratching my head. As the Facts of Live taught us: you take the good, you take the bad. Some of the Kanigher stories I love are great for all their craziness and because of all their craziness. And it was a treat to read some of the things he wrote into Alter-Ego as the cranky old man reflecting on his own genius. They don't make 'em like him anymore.
Kanigher also wrote one of my favorite "so wrong it has to be right" comics of all time, during his tenure as (amazingly) the man in charge of DC's romance line, namely Young Love #104:
Put me down as a fan of Kanigher's war stories, too. The man was clearly in his element there. Outside of that element, however, he wasn't always as reliable.
A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!
Wonder Woman #287
Marv Wolfman, Don Heck and Romeo Tanghal
backup story: Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Bruce Patterson
Synopsis: Wonder Girl has been summoned to a mysterious dockside meeting and Starfire comes along for fun. They are attacked and while Starfire is screwing around with some of the enemies, Wonder Girl gets knocked out and dragged off. One of the villains issues a set of demands to Starfire, who relays them to Dick Grayson.
Meanwhile, the perp behind this all is revealed and it is... Dr. Cyber! yeah! Now we're cooking with gas, my homeboys! She is using some kind of magic (?) to drain Wonder Girl of her powers or something.
Anyway, Diana gets a call from Dick and rushes to Teen Titans tower, except suddenly her robot plane is mentally taken over by Dr. Cyber using Wonder Girl's brain frequency or whatever. In a sequence that is disturbing now but of course meant nothing at the time, Wonder Woman's invisible plane crashes into one of the Twin Towers. The Teen Titans manage to save the bystandrs on the ground.
The plane finally lands at Dr. Cyber's base and Wonder Woman demands to be taken to Dr. Cyber. Dr. Cyber says that unless Wonder Woman consents to allow Dr. Cyber's brain to be implanted in Wonder Woman's body, Dr. Cyber will execute Donna Troy. Diana agrees, but before the surgery begins, the Teen Titans show up and a big fight breaks out. Dr. Cyber actually pretty much single-handed trashes the whole Teen Titans team, but then Wonder Woman kicks her ass. During the fight, Dr. Cyber releases a poisonous gas to kill Donna Troy, but Donna breaks free of her prison and escapes. Wonder Woman ties up Dr. Cyber and her assistant and flies them off to jail while the teen Titans stand around and talk about how awesome Wonder Woman is. The end!
Backup Story: Huntress is surprised when Karnage attacks her lw firm, but rather than fight back, she lets him clobber one of her paralegals and then allows him to run off. Anything to protect that all-important secret identity. She then decides to stop being such a pushover and she uses her sleuthing skills to figure out that the guy funding Karnage is the same mob boss she and Dick had threatened earlier. She threatens him again. Then she tracks down Karnage, kicks him in the adam's apple and calls it a day. The end!
Notes: I was not expecting to see Dr. Cyber in this issue, so color me excited. She's been absent since the end of the 12 Labors, when she apparently fell to her death off a ski lift. They don't bother explaining how she survived, which is totally fine, but now she's wearing a whole suit of robotic armor both to buff herself up and also to cover all the hideous scars she's developed from fighting Wonder Woman. I like the new look and the new powers. I do think she needs to have more of a motivation than getting back at Wonder Woman for wrecking her face, or even trying to trade bodies; originally she had a master plan and this grudge only developed when WW screwed it up. I'd like to see this vengeance play out as part of a larger plan for... world domination or whatever. Something. But it's cool to have her back.
The bit with the plane crashing into the Twin Towers was a bit cringeworthy to read now, but what are you going to do.
The Teen Titans were mostly superfluous in this story, to be honest, but it's interesting this story exists. Originally, the lettercolumn said the new era with Roy Thomas and gene Colan was beginning this issue, but in fact it starts next issue. This team-up is instead written by regular Teen Titans scribe Marv Wolfman, and the Titans get equal billing on the cover, This came out at the same time as New Teen Titans #15, so by this point Titans was already DC's hottest title. Seems like this was planned as a way to boost sales and interest in WW before the new era starts.
Speaking of the cover, there's no signature on it that I could find. The GCD lists it as being done by Andru, who has been doing all the previous voers (with a couple exceptions). However, I'm still a bit puzzled. he almost always signes his covers prominently, so why is there no signature on this one that I can find? Plus, more to the point, I would swear that Wonder Woman's face was drawn by Sal Buscema. Am I just crazy?
The backup story irked me even more than usual. One thing I hate is when superheroes allow people to be endangered because they don't want to risk their secret identities. it's a miracle Helena's paralegal wasn't killed in this attack, but that was a risk she was willing to take. I just am so over this sort of secret identity nonsense. I did like that she did some actual batman-style sleuthing and lived up to her name as the Huntress for maybe the first time in this entire series. But I am just not seeing whatever the rest of you were seeing in this series. The main WW stories have been superior pretty much across the board.
There's a two-page ad in this issue for DC Comics Presents #41, which I am going to address separately. The lettercolumn also says they are discussing a three issue Huntress mini-series. Did this ever happen?
My Grade: Main story gets a B pretty much entirely because I like Dr. Cyber. The backup gets a C, only saved from a worse score by the scene of her doing detective work.
And now, a few words about DC Comics Presents #41.
Now, I don't actually own this comic yet, though it is on my checklist. I do however think this has to be one of the weirdest and most back-asswards promotions I've seen. Basically, editor Len Wein brought in the new creative team of Roy Thomas and Gene Colan to take over Wonder Woman. As part of this, they redesigned her costume (replacing the eagle on her chest with a stylized WW symbol). it's not a full reboot like in #269-271, but it is a new era and is designed to be a jumping on point for new readers.
All of which is fine, except for this key part: The first issue of this new era of Wonder Woman isn't even in Wonder Woman, it's randomly stuck in an issue of DC Comics Presents, which as you can see features a story about Superman teaming up with The Joker.
Make no mistake, this is a) a full Wonder Woman issue (at 16 pages, it is just one page shorter than the 17-pages stories being run in Wonder Woman) b) introduces the new creative team and new status quo for Wonder Woman. So the fact that c) it doesn't even take place in an issue of Wonder Woman is beyond perplexing.
I can almost kind-sorta see what they were thinking here. they probably figured that readers of Wonder Woman would go buy Dc Comics Presents #41 to see what the new team was all about (#287 had a two-page ad for it and also mentioned it in the lettercolumn), while readers of DC Comics presents would be exposed to the new Wonder Woman series.
but if you are trying to get new readers to check out Wonder Woman for the first time, it just doesn't make any sense to debut the new status quo in some other random comic. The result is that Wonder Woman #288, which is the first real issue with Thomas and Colan, starts in the middle of a story -- continued from DC Comics presents #41 -- and has to spend several pages of flashback to catch readers up. So instead of a jumping on point, the first issue of the new team becomes just as or more confusing than basically any other issue of the series. It's a self-defeating effort here.
This isn't the only comic they did this with at the time; Roy Thomas, who clearly had just jumped over from Marvel and was given several titles, also had All-Star Squadron begin in an issue of Justice League of America, leading to the very odd circumstance where the first issue of a brand new title begins mid-story with flashbacks to a previous issue of a different series. but whoever's idea it was, I'm telling it, it was a really damn dumb idea.
Anyway, here's a brief rundown of the issue, based entirely on the lengthy flashback sequence in Wonder Woman #288. Which we are going to just have to assume provides all the information we need, just as new readers trying to jump aboard the new era would have had to have done at the time:
DC Comics Presents #41
Roy Thomas, gene Colan and Romeo Tanghal
Synopsis: Steve and Diana are escorting a secret briefcase full of... something... I dunno, Marcellus Wallace's soul? -- when they are attacked by enemy agents. Steve is injured in the fight, but Wonder Woman gets the briefcase, which she hides for safety. She then meets up with a women's group called the Wonder Woman Foundation which presents her with a new costume which they hope will promote equality for all women. She takes the costume and goes to paradise island for advice, only to find that the gods are there and have re-enslaved the Amazons. Wonder woman attacks, taking out Hermes and Hercules and frees them, re-acquiring the belt of strength for her mother. She then returns to America to see how Steve is doing.
Notes: That seems like a hell of a damn lot of stuff to miss by stowing it in some random title.
My Grade: Incomplete for the story since I didn't read it, F- for the truly stupid idea to stick the first issue of a new era in a completely random unrelated series.
UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE: You can read my review of this issue here.
Last edited by Scott Harris; 02-09-2014 at 06:12 PM.
Hmm... you might be a tad harsh with that grade, Scott, since the New Teen Titans were introduced in the same way. The NTT, however, didn't have their own title at the time, so I admit it is a little strange regarding WW.F- for the truly stupid idea to stick the first issue of a new era in a completely random unrelated series.
A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!
I don't have as big a problem with NTT and ASSq being introduced this way since they are new titles. I haven't read the NTT try-out, but part of the problem may be with the way Roy Thomas wrote the stories for the ASSq tryout and the Wonder Woman new era. If you're picking up ASSq #1 or Wonder Woman #288, you shouldn't have to be dealing with ongoing plots carried over from a different title.
A preview book should be just that: a preview of what they can expect, not a necessary first chapter that is required reading in order to make sense of the new title. Why confuse new readers? You should be welcoming them in.
Example: Imagine if the story in Thor #337, the beginning of the new Walt Simonson era, had been instead published in its entirety as a supplement in the middle of an issue of Marvel Team-Up featuring Spider-Man teaming up with Dr. Doom. Then when regular Thor readers pick up the next issue of their series, the story they get is #338, the second part of the Beta Ray Bill epic. How many people are just going to throw their hands up in complete confusion rather than try and track down some random issue of MTU? How much would that kind of beginning have completely undermined Simonson's new era? It likely would have completely derailed it before it even got going.
That's just what they are doing sticking this issue of Wonder Woman in DC Comics Presents. To me, the NTT thing is kind of like the New Mutants debuting in a graphic novel before their own series begins. This feels like something else. Something dumb.
Also, it occurs to me that this story was in fact intended to be in Wonder Woman #287 and was instead shangahied into DC Comics Presents #41 instead. The lettercolumn said that Roy and Gene would be taking over with #287, after all. I bet they wrote this comic for #287 and for some reason someone decided to do this "preview" gimmick instead. Just a hunch.
Last edited by Scott Harris; 11-08-2012 at 02:12 PM.
Since it worked for the Titans and the All-Star Squadron, I guess they hoped it would work for Wonder Woman. And I believe Roy Thomas was trying to evoke the sense of the Golden Age (as so many before him--and after him--but each goes about it in a different way). So that, just as Wonder Woman first appeared in an issue of All-Star Comics--rather random--Thomas and Wein were being clever by doing the same sort of thing. It was all done to evoke that sense of the Golden Age, which was already successful in All-Star Squadron. But in hindsight, it was probably a bad idea. By this time, most of us were suffering from fatigue, having been on this merry-go-round too long. But maybe they realized this--trying to sell yet another restart and creative revamp to the longtime readers wasn't going to go over--but they could sell it to potential new readers who were into Superman and Batman and had never given Wonder Woman a chance. The real problem with all this isn't the restarts, it's the lack of commitment to any creative direction over the long haul.