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  1. #256

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    One other note. I mentioned a couple issues ago that Marv Wolfman had taken over as editor from Len Wein, without really any fanfare. I'm not even sure what issue it happened with. Well, at some point within the last couple of issues, Wolfman also left and was replaced as editor by Ernie Colon, who I honestly never knew had edited anything.

    I only know this, because #308 is Colon's last issue as editor and Alan Gold takes over with #309. He, at least, announces his arrival with a letter to the fans. But for some reason, Wonder Woman has gone through 4 editors now in the space of like 8 months or something. No wonder this book can't ever seem to maintain any consistency.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  2. #257

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    Wonder Woman #309
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: backup: Joey Cavalieri, Tim Burgard and Rodin Rodriguez



    Synopsis: Diana decides to team up with the gypsy lady who stole Black Canary's body, because she's the only way to find Black Canary and shut down the Nazi scientist. Ralph thinks this is a bad idea and I tend to agree with him.

    Meanwhile, the Nazi spends a couple pages explaining his operation to Dinah, who is trapped in the gypsy's body. She stalls long enough for Wonder Woman and fake Canary to show up, whereupon the gypsy switches bodies again. Black Canary and Wonder Woman attack and the Nazi sends out his mutated children to fight them. Wonder Woman brushes them off and goes right for Nazi guy, who erects a psychic dome around him using the captured energy of his gypsy child slaves. However, Diana just batters right through this as well, so he teleports away somehow.

    As he does, though irritating gypsy woman again switches bodies, this time with Wonder Woman, leaving her stuck in the gypsy body while the other lady is in Wonder Woman's body, off wherever the Nazi. This is easier to explain with pictures, trust me.

    Meanwhile, Steve is visited by the daughter of the disgraced landlord/senator guy from a couple issues ago. This takes up two pages, so I assume it is setting up something in a future story, but what I have no idea.

    Back at the ranch, Diana discovers she can still mentally control the invisible plane, so she and Black Canary fly out to a government base she is sure the Nazi was heading for. Sure enough, he is there and has Wonder Woman caged, because the gypsy didn't know how to use her powers and got herself caught like the useless jerk she is. The Nazi fires a giant missile off to blow someone up, so Diana jumps up on top of the plane -- for some reason, she still has her lasso -- and she lassos the rocket, even though she now has no Wonder Woman superpowers. Down below, the gypsy sees this and at that last second switches bodies again, so when the rocket explodes, it kills her instead of Diana. The end!

    Backup story: We discover the guy in charge of selling babies is named Earthworm, he lives in the sewers and controls a horde of rats. Above, Huntress saves a baby, beats up a thug and essentially learns the same info.

    Notes: Okay, so this two-parter is kind of interesting. The gypsy lady is a little intriguing because on the one hand, she's trying to stop a Nazi scientist monster a-hole and she also is trying to get revenge for her family members, who this guy killed during the holocaust. On the other hand, she callously leaves Dinah to die in her swapped body with no remorse at all and almost does the same thing to Wonder Woman at the end. other than her last second redemption, she is shown as basically being almost completely devoid of compassion or morality; all that matters to her is her revenge. It's hard to decide whether to root for her or sympathize with her or not. So that is interesting.

    The rest of the story, not so much. Black Canary is almost entirely superfluous, which is a shame since she is awesome. One thing that struck me: At one point, the gypsy, during the brief time she was in her own body, used pyrokenesis to start a wall of fire. So she has super powers of her own besides the body switch thing. Could Diana not have used these powers to destroy the missile? Or, if she didn't know how, couldn't the gypsy have switched bodies and done it herself?

    The backup story is more of the same, only with yet another random artist.

    My Grades: Main story: C, unfortunately. Use Canary better next time! Maybe the worst Mishkin issue so far; mediocre action without the good character work and subplots from previous issues. Backup gets a C-.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  3. #258

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    Wonder Woman #310
    Dan Mishkin, Mark Beachum and Pablo Marcos
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Tim Burgard and Rodin Rodriguez



    Synopsis: Diana tells Wonder Woman a story to explain why she wants to reveal her secret identity to Steve. The story is about the original Wonder Woman, Artemis. Heading to man's world, Artemis saves a guy from dying. He falls in love with her. Mars, however, appears to him and tricks him into attacking her, as he claims it's the only way to impress an amazon.

    Artemis is also besotted, but when he attacks, she figures she better play it close to the vest. Eventually they patch things up. He wants to conquer the world, including Themyscira; she does help him conquer the world, but refuses to betray her sisters.

    Mars, however, tricks her into accidentally leading her boyfriend's armies to Themyscira. Hippolyta and the others believe Artemis has betrayed them; this angers her so much she does indeed join the men in attacking the amazons. She even fights Hippolyta. When her lover's aide begins to implore her to kill Hippolyta, though, the queen realizes something is up and reveals his true identity: Ares.

    Artemis realizes she has been duped and throws down her weapon, leaving Themyscira in disgrace. Diana's takeaway from all this: If she had been open about her feelings at the start, there wouldn't have been all the pretense that eventually led to her betrayal. Hence, Steve.

    Backup story: Earthworm buys a baby. Helena takes the baby she saved to Harry, who makes some snide comments about her tender side. The TV reporter interviews some a-hole who incites people against Huntress. Huntress goes into the sewers to find Earthworm and instead gets attacked by a bunch of alligators.

    My Notes: It's nice to see Black Canary again, even if just as part of a frame story. This is clearly some kind of fill-in issue, though it is written by Mishkin, so it still fits into his overall scheme of things. But just for this issue there's a new art team, so I don't know if Heck needed time to catch up or what.

    The story itself is cooler than I thought it would be, delving into the history of Artmeis, who appeared back in #301-302. The backup story keeps chugging along, but at this point I'm not sure I'm ever going to have anything good to say about it. 30 straight issues of mediocrity will do that to a guy.

    The logo gets a tweak again, and in the future they'll basically bounce back and forth between this configuration and the previous one. This issue also introduces the 75 cent price point as well as a slightly new cover design to go with it. This is what I consider the classic DC look, mainly because this is what their comics looked like when I started reading them. But that prejudice aside, I do like this look better, I think it is cleaner, cripser and more modern.

    Note that they called the bad guy Ares in this issue instead of Mars, as he has been called in his previuos appearances.

    My Grades: Main story gets a B, it was suprrisingly decent. Backup gets a B-, but still has a long way to go to get good.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  4. #259

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    Wonder Woman #311
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Tim Burgard and Mike Decarlo



    Synopsis: The invisible plane runs amok! Unable to control it, Diana catches a ride with Steve in his jet and they chase the invisible plane up into a airborne graveyard of wrecked aircraft. Yes, floating way up in the sky is a bone yard of missing aiplanes from a century of aviation. And above it all looms... a giant spaceship.

    Just then, gremlins dismantle Steve's jet! Whoops! luckily, he and Wonder Woman manage to escape and board the spaceship. Inside, they find some giant alien jerks who start shooting lasers at them. Diana deflects one into the wall and Steve widens the new hole to create an escape route. They jump in, only to find themselves stuck in a giant pile of mechanical parts... which is being incinerated! Uh oh! To be continued!

    Backup Story: Helena fights a bunch of alligators and defeats them. Meanwhile, the Tv reporter and the a-hole crusading against Helena get a surprise: a free baby, courtesy of Earthworm.

    Notes: Last issue, the lettercolumn promised this would be an offbeat adventure. Which it is, with gremlins and air graveyards and aliens and whatever. I don't really have a problem with change of pace, offbeat stories -- I think they are nice from time to time to keep things fresh -- but I'm not so excited about when they go for multiple issues. Mishkin is a bit hampered by only having 16 pages to work with, so I can't entirely blame him, but I would have preferred if this had been tied up in one issue.

    The most interesting change of pace about this issue isn't the plot, though, it's the fact that it's narrated by Steve Trevor. I really like this idea, it gets us inside his head and mixes things up by giving us his point on view on both the adventure and what it's like playing second fiddle to a superhero like Diana. Someone should have thought of this a long time ago!

    Don Heck is back. It's amazing how much more I appreciate his art now than I did in the 80's when he was still working. I'm not saying it's great, but it's very solid and for me doesn't detract one bit from the series at all.

    The backup story is pretty boring this time around, with like five pages of Huntress fighting alligators in the sewers. Ho hum. The splash page opens with a in-your-face crotch shot, so it's good to see they are still keeping it classy with this backup feature.

    T.M. Maple writes and and says the main feature has a long way to go to match the level of the Huntress backup story. C'mon, T.M.! You're better than that! Don't give in to the power of the crotch shot!

    My Grade: Main story gets a B, mainly for the Steve Trevor narration. Backup gets a C-.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  5. #260

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    Wonder Woman #312
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri and Dan Spiegle



    Synopsis: Diana and Steve escape from the trash incinerator and find a bunch of gremlins building something. They catch one, but then the big aliens attack. However, Diana clobbers one only to find out it's just a hollow suit with more gremlins inside. Steve and Diana grill their captive and discover that the gremlins basically hijacked the giant spaceship only then they accidentally crashed it in Siberia 75 years ago. Ever since they've been scavenging parts from planes to try and rebuild it and make it run again. The giant alien suits are what's left of the people they stole the ship from.

    Meanwhile, in Washington, General Darnell reveals to Lisa Abernathy (that's the newscaster daughter of Diana's landlord) that Keith Griggs is in trouble on the mission hehe got that Steve was supposed to get. Sure enough Griggs and another guy are being chased through the jungle by a bunch of weird animals, when the other guy suddenly is turned into a beast... by Circe!

    Okay, so Steve and Diana convince their captive to rebuild the invisible plane for them, which had been taken apart for scrap. A bunch of gremlins attack, though, so Diana distracts them while the gremlin finishes the work. Steve launches the jet, Diana manages to get aboard and they fly to safety. However, they still have the gremlin with them -- and the rest of the gremlins are gone back to space, having finally finished rebuilding their ship. Ooops.

    Anyway, Diana finally takes this chance to tell Steve her secret identity... except he tells her he doesn't want to know it. So she doesn't tell him. yes, you can expect a giant rant about this in two paragraphs. Meanwhile, back on Paradise Island, Sofia finds a memory disc that contains Wonder Woman's memories of Steve Trevor -- the ones she had erased by Athena. Uh oh...

    Backup story: Terry Marsh, the a-hole who got a free baby last issue, is confronted by Earthworm who reveals that marsh is their go-between for the baby selling ring and his grandstanding on television about the Huntress being a danger to society is throwing a wrench in their operation. Speaking of which, the idiot newscaster lady holds an anti-Huntress rally that draws a giant mob. Huntress shows up to watch, they see her and they attack her. To be continued!

    Notes: Okay, there is a lot to talk about here. But of course we have to start with Diana not telling Steve her secret identity. This massively pissed me off. Diana has been talking about her decision to tell Steve in every issue since #303. It has been a major driving force for both subplots and main plots. And that's just since Mishkin took over; it's been teased and hinted at ever since the reboot in #269.

    And what's the payoff? Nothing. There's no payoff. DC just keeps teasing you and then jerking you around. This isn't even the illusion of change, like at Marvel, it's the pretense of the illusion of change. They don't even change anything, they just tell you they are going to and then they don't. I have to wonder if this decision not to reveal her identity was mandated by editorial, because everything Mishkin has been doing and continues to do (see: Sofia subplot) suggests he was going to have her reveal his identity. This switcheroo is reminiscent of the worst that Wonder Woman has been over these past 100 issues. It's just the same infuriating garbage.

    Plus. PLUS! Steve's reason for not wanting to know her identity? And I quote: "You're my angel, angel, and that's how I want you to stay, not turn out to be someone who sweeps up at the Pentagon at night!" What the eff, dude. So let me get this straight: He's totally in love with her and everything, sure, but only as long as she remains his fantasy woman, not, you know, some lowly underling. He doesn't want to know the truth because he doesn't want to find out she's a normal person? My god, what an insufferable, patronizing, obnoxious, complete jerkweed thing to say. What an utter jackass! Once again, just when Steve was seeming kind of cool thanks to two issues of him narrating the book, they make Steve look like the biggest frigging jerk in the entire world. This might even be the worst instance yet. He doesn't want to find out she's just some janitor. Go screw yourself, buddy.

    Arrrrrrrrrgh.

    This is really too bad, because Mishkin does some very good stuff with the subplots. Everything is really churning now. Griggs captured by Circe! Sofia discovers the truth about Steve and Wonder Woman! Everything is really building to a climax, with subplots (Griggs and Circe) intertwining. It's all very exciting other than the crap they just dumped on the reader with this secret identity nonsense.

    A couple other minor notes here: Gil Kane comes back with a yellow cover, which is never bad even if it does feature gremlins riding missiles. The story the gremlin told about crashing the ship into Siberia 75 years ago is a reference to what is nkown as the Tunguska event, where what scientists believe was a giant meteor or comet crashed into Siberia in 1908. The resulting explosion is estimated to have been 1000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, with a blast radius covering 830 square miles. The shockwave alone is estimated to have been equal to a 5.0 earthquake on the Richter scale. Indeed, if the impact had happened basically anywhere else on Earth, the devastation would have been catastrophic, but it happened to hit in the one unpopulated area that could absorb such a blast without much loss of human life or collateral damage. The event has since been used in numerous stories in tv, film and whatever, usually with aliens somehow involved, like in this issue of Wonder Woman.

    The backup story also took a huge step forward this month as Dan Spiegle took over the art. It's just a quantum leap of the C-listers that had been rotating in and out. As soon as I saw the splash page I had to check the credits, because it was like night and day it was so much stronger and more powerful. The story was still just whatever for me, but this is a step in the right direction if they keep him on board.

    My Grades: I don't even know what to say. I'll go with a C- I guess because there was a lot of good to slightly balance the terrible editorial double cross of Diana's identity. The backup story gets a B for Spiegle's art.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  6. #261
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    Whoever was responsible for the covers should have realised that the Invisible Plane was never going to provide a good visual effect. Being, you know, INVISIBLE, and everything.

  7. #262

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    Wonder Woman #313
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Tim Burgard and Gary Martin



    Synopsis: A bunch of stuff happens in quick succession. Wonder Woman explains to Hippolyta that Steve ended up not even wanting to know her identity, which is a relief to Hippolyta, but Sofia knows differently given, as she knows Hippolyta is hiding something. Just then, Diana's invisible plane goes haywire again, as the gremlin bugs aren't all out of it, but she manages to keep herself from crashing. Meanwhile, Circe turns Keith Griggs into a goat-man.

    Diana returns to the Pentagon and is given the mission to go rescue Griggs. But! She's going alone! Darnell is ticked off at Trevor, so he's grounded. Instead, he gets to stay and mind the office while Darnell goes to testify to congress about the usefulness of his intelligence team (which he has kinda been doing for the last 2 issues in scenes too short to warrant inclusion in the synopses). So Diana finally gets a plum assignment while Steve cools his heels. Suck it, Steve!

    Back on Paradise Island, Sofia heads to Science Island and secretly reviews Diana's memory tapes. She is caught, but she manages to knock out the Amazon who finds her. Meanwhile, in South America, Diana's jet is attacked by dinosaurs. She ejects and turns into Wonder Woman; upon landing, more big animals attack her. She knows what's what: it's Circe again. Suddenly, Circe somehow fuses Diana's bracelets with a lightning bolt, and then she sics goat-Griggs on Diana! To Be Continued!

    Backup Story: Helena escapes the angry mob, shakes down the politician guy for info on his partner Earthworm and head sinto the sewers. She saves another baby, but Earthworm manages to get away.

    Notes: Now we're cooking with gas. I'm still irritated over the ending of the last issue, but Mishkin addresses it right in the first scene. Diana says that she was miffed because Steve wants to keep her on a pedestal, but from her perspective she's become okay with it since Diana isn't her "real" identity either, so for her it doesn't matter that much. Okay, I can kind of see that. For me, though, he's still a huge dink.

    Not to jump ahead, but in the spirit of striking while the iron is hot, I've read some of the later lettercolumns where people write in about last issue and there are a lot of complaints bagging on Steve for being such a tool. Which, good. The response from editorial is that Steve is just being honest with himself, as he realizes he can't have a "normal" relationship with Wonder Woman since she's not a normal woman, and so he doesn't want that pretense. They couch it in terms of him just keeping it real, but I still find his realness to suck. So there's that.

    But anyway, this issue really clicks on all cylinders. We have several plots churning all at the same time. Steve being grounded, Darnell going to congress, Sofia fighting Amazons to find Diana's secret, Diana actually getting a plum, key assignment on her own and finally Circe's long simmering subplot coming to a head, with Griggs involved. Everything Mishkin has been setting up since he started on the book in #297 is coming to a head beginning with this issue and it really shows, as the pacing is fast and intense. I've felt like Mishkin had a plan all along, though at points the setting up part was a bit of a plod. But it's paying off for real here.

    The backup story... yeah, so Dan Spiegle was only there for one issue. Now we're back to some nobody again and the result is a really lame and hasty ending to this storyline. Which is fine I guess. But this whole mob action, anti-vigilante thing seems to have gone nowhere after a lot of buildup. Just like... the entire series. It continues to boggle me that people are writing in to say how great the backup is compared to the main story, when the opposite is true for me and has been true for 25+ issues now. It feels like people just have Wonder Woman fatigue from how bad the past decade was, and they loves themselves some Earth-2 goodness and as a result, people are blinded to the actual stories they are reading. But maybe I'm the one missing something.

    Someone writes into the lettercolumn basically complaining that T.M. Maple gets letters printed all the time while they have been writing tons of letters and never get published. They accuse the editors of favoritism, which leads to a long essay on why they only print letters that don't suck. Something that T.M. Maple was very good at writing.

    My Grade: Main story gets an A, I really dig the threads all coming together and paying off. There's suddenly some narrative momentum going on, big time. Backup story gets a C-, everything fizzled. it's like night and day in this issue between the lead and backup stories.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  8. #263

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    Wonder Woman #314
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Mark Beachum and Gary Martin



    Synopsis: Goat-Griggs attacks! Diana pleads with him to remember his humanity. In response, he headbutts her... right in her fused manacles. The manacles separate, Diana regains her powers and Griggs turns human again thanks to his resistance of Circe's compulsion. Then, a bunch of animals attack them both.

    Meanwhile, Steve gets bored watching the office and decides to take the invisible jet for a spin, as in #312 Diana had ordered it to respond to Steve's commands. Etta thinks leaving the office is, well, complete dereliction of duty, but he bags out, leaving Etta in charge of the office by default. Also, out of nowhere, Steve asks Etta out to dinner. Um, what? Also, on paradise Island, Sofia begins using a mental radio to try and contact Diana.

    Back in the jungles of South America, Diana fights Circe, who is ranting about some prophecy that Diana will destroy her. Apparently this prophecy is why she has been attacking Diana. It turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because during the fight, Circe does, in fact, manage to get herself destroyed. All of the animals about to maul Griggs turn back into humans. Except, that is, a jaguar that instead turns into... Tezcatlipoca, the mad trickster god. Turns out he's been manipulating Circe all along. Now he uses some of his mad mirror-based powers to turn Wonder Woman back into a powerless Diana Prince. Then, when griggs shows up, he somehow beams them to a hidden city, where they are captured...

    ...by Amazons! What?! To be continued! [Oh, and there's also a scene where Steve takes the jet up for a spin -- and he's joined by his gremlin buddy, which nobody else can see -- and while up in the air they get a call on the mental radio... from Sofia!]

    Backup story: There's a car chase. Some thugs get away from the cops by means of having a flying car. That's handy. They fly to the ocean where they rendezvous with a submarine, commanded by a jerk named Sea Lion who then kills them both. Meanwhile, Helena visits the hospital to see how her rescued baby is doing and she learns that someone is secretly stealing top secret research from the hospital.

    Notes: More action! I'm not entirely sold on the gremlin becoming a permanent part of the cast, I think he's kind of too goofy to really work in this context. But that aside, things continue to go full steam ahead. Sofia's subplot is getting closer to becoming the main plot, as she gets Steve involved in things. How will he react when he discovers he's supposed to be dead?

    There's not too much time to worry about that, though, because the main tale is still ripping ahead too. Circe turns out to be the author of her own demise, as her prophesy comes true entirely because she attacked Diana in an attempt to prevent it. Having her be a dupe of some random Aztec god is, well, a bit random, but I kind of like the cut of this guy's jib. His powers are a bit undefined as yet -- he can turn into a jaguar but he also uses mirrors or something? But I like the mad god bit, it seems like it might be a good contrast to Diana's more buttoned up ways.

    The backup story is almost unreadable. This new artist is not great and there are a couple sequences that just kind of jump because the storytelling isn't there; as a result I had a bit of a hard time following a couple sequences, which is a problem when you're only working with eight pages. Also, Sea Lion, really?

    This issue contains the statement of ownership, and holy crow, this title is going in the tank. Last time the Thomas new look era had slightly boosted sales from around 83k up to 94k or so. Now, however, they are way, way down, all the way to 73k. That's terrible. And it's also too bad because, as I think has been clear from my reviews, I think Mishkin's run has been pretty strong, stronger in fact than the Thomas run. Fans don't seem to be responding for whatever reason, though. By my count we should get one more statement of ownership before the series is cancelled, so it should be interesting to see if sales rebound at all before the end.

    Still, 73k, that's terrible. I have to guess that if this wasn't one of DC's flagship books, it would have been canceled long ago.

    My Grade: Main story gets a B+, backup gets a C-.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  9. #264

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    Someone writes into the lettercolumn basically complaining that T.M. Maple gets letters printed all the time while they have been writing tons of letters and never get published. They accuse the editors of favoritism, which leads to a long essay on why they only print letters that don't suck. Something that T.M. Maple was very good at writing.
    As someone who wrote into DC--off and on--in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, I admired letterhacks like T.M. Maple and Uncle Elvis (and earlier LoCers like Bob Rodi, Bob Rozakis, Marty Pasko, Rich Morissey, Gary Skinner, Guy H. Lillian, Mike Friedrich, and Irene Vartanoff). From experience I knew the dedication that it took to get your letter published. The letters that saw publication probably only represented 10% of the total number of letters those folks actually wrote. It was a studied skill. I started out writing rambling letters, but I learned from the letters in the columns and taught myself to keep it short and get to the point. Also be clever, use good turns of phrases, but don't be too esoteric (and don't use too many words like "esoteric"). If I wanted my letter to see print, I would do several drafts, until I had a finished, type written copy that I felt proud of. Not many of those did see print--some of the ones I thought were really good didn't. Some letters were cut down to one or two sentences or even a phrase. Sometimes I wrote longer letters, fully aware they would never see print, because I wanted to spend the time to elaborate on something about the comic. Occasionally I got cards or letters from the assistant editors who put together those columns, even when my letters didn't see print. If the editors played favourites, they had good reason to as those letterhacks like T.M. were really good at it.

  10. #265

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    Yeah, I agree. When I was a kid and first getting into comics, reading the lettercolumn was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved that DC had 2 pages instead of just the one that marvel had. And I would specifically watch to see what T.M. Maple had to say every issue.

    It's good to be seeing his name again in these lettercolumns, it brings back memories.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  11. #266
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    Same here, guys. Bob Rodi, Barb Long and Al Schroeder III were my favorites. I enjoyed reading what they had to say almost as much as the stories themselves.
    A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!

  12. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    Yeah, I agree. When I was a kid and first getting into comics, reading the lettercolumn was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved that DC had 2 pages instead of just the one that marvel had. And I would specifically watch to see what T.M. Maple had to say every issue.

    It's good to be seeing his name again in these lettercolumns, it brings back memories.
    Same here. I'm actually crazy enough to wish they would do a DC letters showcase book. But I doubt they are crazy enough to make one!
    Life looks better in black and white.

  13. #268

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    Wonder Woman #315
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Mark Beachum and Gary Martin



    Synopsis: Diana and Keith Griggs manage to free themselves form their Amazon captors, even though Diana no longer has her powers, but when some Aztec reinforcements arrive, the duo takes the better part of valor and escapes into a nearby pyramid. Griggs compliments Diana on being so kick-ass.

    Meanwhile, Sofia manages to get through to Steve (though she was trying to reach Diana) on the mental radio and mentions Steve is supposed to be dead, which naturally he is surprised about. Back at the Pentagon, Etta begins to suspect someone is spying on her. But who and why?

    In the pyramid, Diana finds a doll of the mad jaguar god, but it zaps her, so she drops it. She and Griggs leave the pyramid and knock out some guards. They then decide to split up to cover more ground. Diana comments that she's used to Steve being over protective of her on missions and Griggs says he's obviously a moron since she can clearly handle herself just fine. Diana likes this attitude.

    Back in Washington, General Darnell is being grilled by congress and it is not going well. During a reces he calls back to check on how Steve is dong at the office, but since he isn't there, Etta has to cover for him. She is not pleased by anything going on.

    Diana manages to sneak into a big temple and sure enough, the mad jaguar god is waiting there inside a hall of funhouse mirrors. Griggs also gets inside the temple and seeing Diana is trapped by the god, he tries to attack, only to be shunted right through a mirror into oblivion. Diana gets ticked and decides to take charge of her fate; she reaches out to one of the mirrors that shows her as Wonder Woman instead of Diana Prince and this turns her back into Wonder Woman. Now she is ready for a major throwdown for sure.

    To be continued!

    Backup story: Helena figures out who is stealing the info from the hospital and selling it to Sea Lion, but this only allows Sea Lion to capture her faster. He brings both Helena and the hospital mole back to his submarine and injects the other guy with some goop that begins reverting his DNA to primordial ooze, which will then allow sea Lion to reprogram it or something. To be continued!

    Notes: This arc is rocking and rolling. There's action going on in every storyline; we've got Keith and Diana in the main story fighting for their lives; Steve flying to rescue Sofia from paradise island; General Darnell being attacked by congress; and a mysterious figure apparently spying on Etta. Jumping back and forth between them all just heightens the tension for each plotline and Mishkin does an excellent job of juggling everything. It's all really paying off now; it took Mishkin more than a dozen issues to get everything set up, but now that it's all going, it's going very well.

    As part of this, it's finally apparent what function Griggs is serving. His addition to the cast seemed to be a bit of a head scratcher, as on the surface he is so similar to Steve: a heroic, manly and handsome Air Force pilot who works alongside Diana. But this surface similarity is part of the point of the character, as he is meant to contrast with Steve, specifically in how he views Diana. We saw three issues ago that Steve has Wonder Woman on a pedestal and wants her to stay there. Griggs, on the other hand, respects Diana as both a woman and as a fellow officer and he treats her with respect by suggesting they split up as he knows she can handle things herself. Diana immediately comments on how much she likes this compared to the way Steve treats her on missions. It took awhile to set up, because first we had to really get inside Steve's head regarding the way he views both Diana and Wonder Woman, but now that Mishkin can contrast his attitude with Keith's, it sets Keith up as a very interesting alternative to Steve.

    I don't expect that Diana will actually end up with Keith instead of Steve, but this kind of contrast can, if done well, allow Mishkin to examine Steve and Diana's relationship. Combined with a couple cryptic notes in the lettercolumn -- one about Steve distancing himself from Wonder Woman on a personal level -- and I wonder what Mishkin has in store for these three characters. Whatever it is, I'm definitely interested to find out (though I suspect the impending end of the DCU in 14 issues may truncate or drastically change his plans).

    The backup story, on the flip side, is a colossal mess. I have been reading comics for a long time, but even with my experienced eye for sequential art, there were parts of this story that totally lost me in terms of simply trying to follow the narrative. There's one sequence where she goes into an art dealership or something and the lighting changes so drastically from one panel to the next that I thought she had left and gone to another building hours later. Then in the next panel, Sea Lion suddenly shows up and is fighting her. I had to re-read it multiple times to figure out it was all in the same sequence, just so badly done that it became gibberish. The individual panels were well drawn enough, but together it's just a mess. The strip has become a training ground for new talent, which is not what you're really looking for from this strip I don't think.

    My Grade: Main features gets an A-, backup gets a D- for just sucking. SLURRRRRRP.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  14. #269

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    Wonder Woman #316
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Mark Beachum and Gary Martin



    Synopsis: Diana faces off against Tezcatlipoca, the mad jaguar god. He summons more amazons to assist him and Diana is confused wtf is happening. Meanwhile. Keith Griggs finds himself in a random jungle. He quickly deduces that some crazed weirdos are about to perform human sacrifice on an army dude, so he stages a rescue. The rescued guy tells Griggs that they have to get to the capital before the rebels attack, otherwise the mad god's power will unbalance everything and throw the country into chaos.

    Back in said god's temple, Diana realizes the Amazons are being controlled somehow through a totem -- an eagle in a cage. She frees the bird and it also frees the Amazons. Tezcatlipoca summons some golem minions and Diana leads the Amazons in an attack.

    Meanwhile! Hippolyta has discovered Sofia's treachery (or is it loyalty to Diana? or both?). Sofia bluffs that she will erase them mind of the Science Island lady she knocked out two issues ago by strapping her up to the memory machine. Hippolyta backs off, while above the island, Steve flies the invisible jet right into a swarm of Amazons on hang gliders, who command him to land or else they will attack.

    Meanwhile! Holy balls, things are happening here. A) Diana smashes through the temple wall and finds herself in the room where she and Griggs discovered the electrified doll of Tezcatlipoca. She deduces this may be the source of her power, so she carefully scoops it up with her lasso. B) Griggs and his new army friends race to stop the rebel attack on the city. C) In Washington, Etta Candy realizes Steve has brushed off their dinner date, but she meets a new guy who wants to chat with her over dinner -- the same mystery guy who may or may not actually be spying on her!

    Diana attacks Tezcatlipoca. he freely admits the doll is the key to beating him. Diana smashes it and he disappears. However, before he goes, he says this isn't even really a setback, because he's already planted the seeds of chaos. Case in point: Griggs and his guys tip off the defenders, who unleash a rain of fire on the approaching rebels. Tezcatlipoca doesn't care who wins, as long as someone loses. Diana mulls over this, but then the other Amazons approach her -- and they think she is Artemis, the Wonder Woman of 3000 years ago! What's going on?! To be continued!

    Backup Story: Sea Lion tries to inject Helena with his DNA reversing serum, but he accidentally injects the straps holding her down to the table, because he is just that big of a total loser. As they are leather straps, this rewrites their DNA, turning them to mush and allowing Diana to free herself. She rescues the traitor doctor guy, then clobbers Sea Lion, ending one truly horrible story.

    My Notes: So I really liked this arc. If you take just the main story it is a solid and somewhat fun action arc. Good but not great. Probably not as fun as the Etrigan arc. But good.

    However, this arc had was no other arc or story has had in the entire 12 year period I have reviewed so far: intertwining and advancing subplots. Mishkin isn't just telling one story; he's telling four or even five stories, setting up the next arc, developing characters and everything, all without losing the main thread. In other words, he's turned Wonder Woman into a fully functional, modern superhero comic book. He's developed a supporting cast that was almost useless under previous writers and done so in unexpected ways. He has set wheels in motion that have paid off down the road. In short, he is a writer who actually knows what he is doing and seems to enjoy doing it on Wonder Woman, which was not the case with any of the previous writers the book has seen so far.

    He's also developing a lot of stuff that will bear greater fruit in the future, under other writers. I've already mentioned things like Circe, Ares and Artemis. Well, in the post-Crisis run, that version of Artemis came from a splinter group of Amazons who broke off from Hippolyta's tribe long ago and developed along their own path. What we see here in this issue with the introduction of these other Amazons -- who mistake Diana for Artemis -- is the introduction of this idea. We'll see a lot more of it next issue and I am very interested to see if Mishkin is able to do anything with this idea before the series ends. But it's very clear that when the creators were working on the new post-Crisis Wonder Woman, pretty much the only pre-Crisis run that they really utilized (of those I have reviewed) was Mishkin's. And for damn good reason.

    Still not sold on the gremlin being part of the cast, but that's the only misstep Mishkin has had (other than the thing where Diana didn't reveal his identity to Steve, but he's even using that jerk around to springboard to interesting new storylines).

    The backup story, on the other hand, was total ass. I don't even want to talk about it.

    My Grades: Main story gets an A-. Backup gets an F. Someone put this out of its misery or get a new creative team, please. I am begging you, 1984 DC.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  15. #270

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    Wonder Woman #315
    Dan Mishkin and Don Heck
    backup: Joey Cavalieri, Mark Beachum and Gary Martin


    This is a freaky cover by Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano, but I kinda like it. Not having read WW 315, I can't say for sure, but it seems to be referencing (on a meta level) two earlier Wonder Woman comics...

    "The Mirage Mirrors"--Wonder Woman 130...


    ...and "Menace of the Mirror-Wonder Women"--Wonder Woman 134
    Last edited by An Ear In The Fireplace; 11-13-2012 at 11:10 PM.

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