Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Diana Prince Adventures - Part Four!

The fourth and final volume of Diana Prince - Wonder Woman is a raucous collection of stories which seemingly every other installment try to find a new way forward to our heroine. The artwork is shared by two greats following in the shoes of Mike Sekowsky who stepped away - Dick Giordano and Don Heck. The writing is handled by Denny O'Neil, who is also now the editor. Jeff Jones supplies some very memorable covers for the first two issues.

The first adventure by O'Neil and Heck has Diana teaming up with Jonny Double, a private eye with a glum demeanor to act as bodyguard for Fellows Dill, a publishing magnate and raging sexist who has a bevy of beauties surrounding him he dubs "Milkmaids". Trying to kidnap Dill is a cult who appear to defy his treatment of women as mere sex objects who call themselves the"Tribunal of Fear". After a helter-skelter adventure drawn by Dick Giordano, who becomes the regular artist,  Double and Diana lose track of Dill and fall into the clutches of the Tribunal. But escape only to find Dill has gone mad. The Tribunal as it turns out is a cover for an old enemy of Diana's, Doctor Cyber who has a convoluted scheme to wreak revenge on Diana and recover her former beauty. Cyber now hides her face behind a metal mask. All that comes to naught and Diana and Double escape.

Then they, along with I Ching are drawn into a wild adventure concerning a gem which seems to have dimensional-transportational properties. Discovery of a hidden land in the mountains of Nepal is only the beginning of the story which co-stars Catwoman as the gang are transported to the land Nehwon, a distant land inhabited by Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser.

In a story written by science fiction maven Samuel R. Delany, Diana, Double, and I Ching journey far in that land and discover they have been lured there by I Ching's disaffected daughter who still seeks vengeance on her dad. Much hectic action later they return home, barely, ready for more. Fafhrd and the Mouser think they want to stay in the 20th century but a glimpse of NYC and whiff of the polluted air and they return to their old haunts.

Then Diana finds herself again fighting for women as she finds herself battling a reprehensible retail magnate named Grandee (who looks remarkably like Carmine Infantino, then publisher of DC Comics itself). After subduing this character and his cronies and making a mark for women's equality in the workplace Diana's world again is turned upside down.

Don Heck returns as does Denny O'Neil, as writer. The story summarily kills off I Ching, and before you can say "Suffering Sappho", Diana Prince loses her memory and is driven by a compulsion to steal a jet and fly to the location of the dimensional-lost Paradise Island. She is reunited with her sisters and given a memory reboot thanks to Amazon technology before battling Nubia for the right to be called Wonder Woman. Again fitted with her old costume and old mission to aid mankind in the service of the Amazons, Diana goes to New York City and gets a gig as a translator at the United Nations, ready once again to wage superheroic battle against evil in her "second life", one which seemingly has no memory of the last several years.

These stories shift and turn like a whipsaw. Apparently the changes brought to the "New Wonder Woman" did not jolt sales or perhaps the folks in marketing just wanted to see the old red, blue and gold Wonder Woman back. Whatever the case, she is returned and the Diana Prince adventures are over.

No more to come...until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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  1. The next major change to the Wonder Woman came when the Lynda Carter tv series debuted.
    Because the tv show was set in World War II, the comic switched over to the wartime adventures of the Earth-Two heroine, which also included a number of appearances by various Justice Society members.
    But, when the tv series switched networks and "updated" to the then-present of the late 1970s, the comic returned to Earth-One.

  2. Samuel R Delany wrote WW comics. My mind is blown!


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