Sunday, September 02, 2007

My Favorite Wonder Woman Story Arc: The Justice League Trials

Wonder Woman 216
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
When I first started reading Wonder Woman back in 1974, the first issue I picked up was #214. Green Lantern Hal Jordan was the "host" of the issue as the Justice League member monitoring the mission. Even cooler, there were several back issue reprints in the book. I read the comic at least 50 times until the cover finally came groaning off. That is serious comic book love.

The point to this is that I still find that the "Justice League" trials are my favorite story arc. As many of you know, Wonder Woman gave up her powers and got a bunch of groovy mini dress and Emma Peel style catsuits to fight crime in. She and mentor I-Ching traveled the world and Steve Trevor was murdered. A-list fan Gloria Steinem protested the change in the first issue of "Ms. Magazine" and Diana was restored to full power quickly and somewhat fuzzily.

The Justice League was ready to welcome back Diana with open arms, but she wanted to prove herself. She asked the JLA to monitor her activities to make sure she was still worthy of her position on the team. Much like Heracles centuries earlier, Wonder Woman wanted to win her place.

What followed in issues #213 to #222 was a very unique experience. Each issue, a member of the JLA would secretly monitor Wonder Woman's crime fighting to make sure she was worthy. I loved the individual narration, and the unique take each character had. With editor Julius Schwartz begrudgingly onboard, the book took on an entirely new tone of confidence.

It was a breath of fresh air. I see that now.

Prior to the trials, Wonder Woman had lost her way. She had been through so much and it was time to make her the star she should have been. Back at full fighting strength, Diana took her life back and in the process gained the admiration of her fellow leaguers. I especially loved the mission that Black Canary monitored, in issue #216. In my mind it was an early glimpse of the ultimate feminine potential. Both women were at their finest, and men were put on notice. The dialogue of that book really gets me to this day.

I would love DC to put out a trade paperback of this story arc. It holds up today as a masterpiece of sorts. There is a definite sense of watching history being made here, and as many moments in time, it didn't stay the same very long. Soon after Diana had many doubts resurface and went through another turn of life events. She lost her title and became and astronaut, but that is a story for another time...

Wonder Woman has been through a lot. She will always be my favorite superheroine. She has stood the test of time. Though I might not always like her current state, I know she will always be there.

In the meantime, Hola! and good day!


Carl said...

Yep, that's one of my fave story arcs, I think outside of the odd WW I got here and there, that was probably the first solid story I read. I had gotten a couple of those "spy" Wonder Woman issues and was like, what the hell?! I thought it was pretty cool, I was all into Greek and Roman myths as a kid and ate it up. But, growing up in the sexiest '60s and '70s boy it sure was hard to collect or even read Wonder Woman. "That's a comic for GIRLS!!!" my friends would say. Sheesh. Anyway, I loved much of the Wolfman/Perez run, even some of the John Byrne but most recently really enjoyed JLA: League of One, The Hiketeia and even the spin-off of Artemis, the would-be new Wonder Woman. But I loathed Amazons Attack (yeah, duh!) and gave up on the new series after it took so long. And I never, ever will believe that Batman and Wonder Woman briefly had a romance, that was just some brain-dead writing from Joe Kelly, who definitely never knew and never will know the JLA characters...

Swinebread said...

Interesting story. I know jack about WW as you can tell from my post about her.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, thank you for sharing- that is so awesome! Wonder Woman is what interested me in mythology, so I completely relate.

It is funny because Wonder Woman used to be perceived as such a "chick" comic and in reality I know it has a pretty mixed fan base. It just depends on who was writing on how much appeal it would have to what genre.

You are cool, Carl. Thank you so much!

Heidi Meeley said...

Swinebread, I loved your post! I am hoping to link it in the next few days!

You also rule, my friend!