BHOC: WONDER WOMAN #224

Another book whose origins I’m a bit foggy on, which makes me think that it was probably purchased for my brother Ken and eventually wound up with me. A solid enough cover by Ernie Chua on this issue of WONDER WOMAN, a Julie Schwartz-edited title that I only followed intermittently.

It’s become pretty typical among fans to decry the work of long-time inker Vince Colletta, who also served as DC’s art director for a time around this period. But I have to say, right from the start I was never a fan of what he did. Here, he takes what I imagine was some lovely Curt Swan pencils and reduces them to something that feels more like a coloring book.

Like yesterday’s issue of FLASH, the story here didn’t really stick with me. It opens with Wonder Woman in custody, being interviewed by Lois Lane. Through the interview, we flash back to the events of the previous few days, where an Air Force jet flying through the Bermuda Triangle reported sighting something that appeared to be Paradise Island before being destroyed. In the aftermath, protestors swarm Wonder Woman while she’s making a public appearance to christen a new ship, and she allows herself to be taken in by FBI agents rather than cause anybody injury.

Finishing up the interview, Wonder Woman promptly escapes from custody by fashioning a replica of herself from her Magic Lasso and some blankets–it’s absolutely as preposterous as it sounds. She rockets towards paradise island in search of some answers (taking a few moments to update the reader on the fact that Steve Trevor was just resurrected by Aphrodite, so her love life is a bit mixed up as well.) Upon landing, Diana is accosted by a group of amazons who claim that her surrender showed cowardice, and who demand she be exiled. In a short battle, Wonder Woman discovers that her accosters are wearing fake bracelets–they’ve been unshackled from Aphrodite’s divine law.

These amazon rebels attack Diana and her mother, who succeed in defending themselves. Their leader, Panthea, flees, but Diana prevents her from drinking poison and forces the truth from her: she had been stargazing and lowered the defensive invisibility shield around Paradise island so as to be able to see the skies clearly. But her experiments caused a discharge which destroyed her bracelets, causing her to think erratically, and she raised the barrier again, destroying the air force jet.

Diana is given permission to turn Panthea over to the American authorities, and all is forgiven. And, presumably, Wonder Woman made the time to go back to her prison cell and retrieve her lasso. So yeah, it’s not really much of a story–I can see why I had forgotten most of it over the years.

Once again, the letters page of this comic was interrupted for the yearly Statement of Ownership report. According to the figures quoted therein, WONDER WOMAN was selling 132,546 copies on a print run of 327,630, for an efficiency of 40%. This would have meant trouble for the title had Wonder Woman not only been one of the few DC heroes during this period to be heavily licensed for merchandise, which made it imperative for her series to continue on.

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