BHOC: WONDER WOMAN #225

If I had to guess, it was probably the influence of the Wonder Woman television show that prompted me to pick up this issue of her series. I don’t recall where I got it or under what circumstances–it may even have been bought for my brother Ken as happened on occasion, and I eventually wound up with it. It’s noteworthy for an odd comic book fact: when looking for a name for the new African-American super hero that he was assigned to create for DC, writer Tony Isabella saw this cover on the wall in editor Julie Schwartz’s office and took inspiration from it–christening his new hero Black Lightning.

WONDER WOMAN was still in something of a rebuilding phase at this moment. shaking off the last of the changes imposed years earlier when the decision was made to strip Diana of her powers and recast her as a Diana Rigg-style adventurer. This progress would be sidelined in a few issues when, thanks to the influence of the TV series, the setting moved to World War II–just in time for the TV Show to switch its focus to the present day! But that’s all business for another time. The important bit to note here is that, after a few years of being dead, Steve Trevor had been resurrected and was back in Diana’s life.

So when Diana is summoned to her job at the U.N. in response to a brewing crisis, Trevor feels like a fifth wheel, left behind–and he heads out on his own to do something about it after spying on Diana’s conversation with her superiors using her own mental radio. Meanwhile, Diana has learned that signals emanating from Hollow Mountain north of the city are jamming communications worldwide (though not the phone lines, apparently) and so she flies her invisible jet northwards to investigate. Hollow Mountain, as it turns out, is owned by a flamboyant millionaire named Maximus.

Approaching Hollow Mountain, Wonder Woman is attacked with a shot of black lightning–a bolt of electricity that is somehow also solid. She quickly lassos it and redirects it towards where a much-needed canal is being constructed, completing the work, but is knocked unconscious by the blast. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor has forced his way into U.S. Intelligence Headquarters and commandeered his own flight up to Hollow Mountain.

Trevor waylays Maximus who reveals that the reason he’s gone to such lengths is to capture Wonder Woman. Seems that despite being the most powerful and wealthy man in the world, he isn’t popular because he doesn’t possess any natural charisma. So he intends to analyze Wonder Woman, discover the secret of her charisma, and ten duplicate it in himself and his many robot doubles. And yes, that plan is as daffy and unlikely as it seems.

The battle between Wonder Woman and the android copies of Maximus takes them to the power room of the base, where an overload is triggered. Diana is able to get both Steve and Maximus out in time–hope there weren’t any other human beings inside that massive base, though, since it’s blown to smithereens. Maximus, though, is unconcerned–he’s so wealthy and his lawyers are so good that’s he’s confident that he’ll be released from custody before a day is out. And an editorial note confirms that Maximus will make more trouble for Wonder Woman in the future, though I have no idea if that eventuality ever came to pass. [Edit: Mark Waid confirms that Maximus never reappeared.]

In the wrap-up, Steve adopts the alias of Steve Howard as he cannot reveal that he’s Trevor back from the dead, and he goes to work for S.O.S., Spy-On-Spy, a secret counter-intelligence organization answerable only to the President (and whose security is so rock-tight that they’ll take on a guy who barged into their headquarters as an agent despite the fact that he won’t tell them his real name. Seems likely.)

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