Monday, July 26, 2004

Wonder Woman #178-180 (first series)

I am re-reading my Wonder Woman collection, and I just got done paging through issue 178 of the first series. It is a landmark issue in that Diana Prince, the Army chick, drops her "dumpy" ways and gets a hip new look. Of course this is an issue from Sept.-Oct. 1968, so this means that she gets groovy new threads.

Let me bring you up to speed on what goes down before I get into the op-ed part of this.

Diana must clear Steve Trevor's name after he is framed for murder. On the stand as Wonder Woman, she can't prove his innocence, so he goes to jail. Steve now hates Wonder Woman, so Diana Prince must step in and get an alibi for her honey. The only way to do so is to become hip and blend in with the hippy crowd.  Of course, Diana gets the job done, and all is well in happy town with the Amazon Princess and her man... Or is it?

The end of the issue finds Wonder Woman and Steve cuddling on the couch, while Steve muses that he should ask Diana out. Ohhkayyy?? Rather then be pissed and want to know why he would even suggest such a thing, our favorite Amazon wonders what she will have to do to maintain his interest.  What's next, lingerie shopping?

I realize that this issue is 36 years old, and we hadn't burned our bras yet, so I cut the ending some slack.  What I think is interesting is that the Wonder Woman of 2004 would be horrified by this whole scenario. Granted she doesn't have a secret identity, and the Steve Trevor of current continuity is married to Etta Candy, but I just can't imagine a subservient Wonder Woman in this day and age. I would imagine Greg Rucka, enlightened type that he is, couldn't either.

The greater irony of this ending is in the next two issues of the series. In issue 179, Diana must renounce her Amazon powers and cut ties with Paradise Island, as they are off to renew their mystical powers. She picks Steve over her family in essence. That's not even the worst part. In issue 180, Steve actually dies. Diana must start over in every sense of the word.

To add insult to injury for the longtime reader, in issue 181, Diana meets a new dude and is checking him out. By this time she is learning at the knee of her new mentor, the aged and wise I-Ching, so maybe her breathing and third eye exercises have chilled her beyond giving a damn.

If nothing else, Diana has been given a continuity reboot in these issues to make her hipper and more appealing to younger readers of that time period. In the meantime, 36 years later,  I sit here intrigued, but puzzled to a point. I love the character in all her incarnations, based simply on the notion of HER. To go "back in time" and revisit her is always as much of a journey for me as I am sure it is for her. I just can't say I agree with the notion of a woman jealous of herself. It works for the time, but not for being timeless.

If you ever read these issues, you will have to let me know what you think. I am continuing on my quest to read my run on my favorite character, which extends from a mish-mash of issues starting at 98 to a run starting at 167 of the first series. Funnily enough, I own my age in consecutive years of issues, and I would be hard pressed to trade these old treasures for just about anything else anyone could ever offer me. (Unless you have a couple of million dollars you want to trade- then e-mail me

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