Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"I head the team that goes to Cheetah's city. Superman should not have put me in charge of this. I don't know how long I have left. How long before the Centaur's Poison undoes the blessing of the gods?" Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Batgirl, the Flash and Plastic Man went with Wonder Woman to the African-style plain, but she sent them away to evacuate. Diana sensed that they were being hunted, and wished to draw out and distract the Cheetah while the others did good. The former Priscilla Rich lunged at the former Amazing Amazon, tearing her armor. Diana removed her helmet to show the poison's handiwork, giving her cracked obsidian "skin" like molten rock and a wicked case of alopecia. "You can't hurt me anymore, Priscilla... Did you really think I would be patient forever? Did you really think I would let you take away the very people I left Paradise Island to serve? Did you... Cheetah?" See what she did there? See, Brainiac was going to turn everyone in the cities into Coluan organic robot thingees and Diana had all this compassion for Priscilla's mental breakdown but then the villainess crossed the line and Diana called her by her evil name and ooo sick burn! Also, Diana blocked one swipe of Cheetah's claws with her bracelets, then headbutted her unconscious, implying that Cheetah was a wimp who had only succeeded in the initial poisoning through Diana's misplaced grace. Way to neuter the kitty cat. The Flash helped Wonder Woman walk across a Plastic Man bridge as they led the exodus from Cheetah's city. "We'll stop this curse, Diana. We always do. We'll figure out a way. You don't have to die." "They're safe, Flash. Don't worry about me. They're safe." Nine pages later, Wonder Woman reappeared in a spread located on a Paradise Island beach. Diana had suffered death by reversion to clay #34, so Queen Hippolyte prayed to the gods, who restored Diana as part of a fresh mound of pale clay, leaving a black ol' husk behind. If the subtext is troubling, add to it the fact that Superman had spent the prior two pages reviving a helpless Zatanna through CPR after she nearly died in outer space. Were any male heroes rescued from certain death by heroines? Heck, there weren't even any non-female heroes at the brink of death in the rest of the series. Aquaman had a chunk of his brain carved out and just grew it back while laying on an operating room table. I should also mention that Diana 2 was of course naked, and that neither Steve Trevor nor Donna Troy were present at the revival ceremony, because it's all about maintaining the integrity of the character with these guys. "Chapter Twelve" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. I guess the moral of the story was that Diana was naive to think Cheetah's soul was salvageable, so once Diana was willing to give Priscilla up to damnation, the princess could herself be saved. All, she's selfless and stuff and things. Gods, what I'd give to re-segregate the DC Universe and allow creator's concepts to remain true to their intent. Praise Hestia I don't have to read any more of this pretty ugly self-important vacancy. Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Pencil art by Doug Braithwaite painted over by Alex Ross from the back pages of Justice #5 (June, 2006.) Text by Jim Krueger writing as Batman:
Her name is Princess Diana. Sometimes she hides her nature and identity, if such a thing were possible, under the name Diana Prince. By combat and contest she was chosen to represent an island nation of Amazon women who claim to be descendants of the Greek gods. She was one of the first members of the Justice League of America, and lives not to fight, but to work for peace. It is a mistake many make to categorize her as a warrior. She is far more than her training and skill suggest.GAH! I hate this series so much! Krueger just listed Diana's powers and accessories for two paragraphs, then turned it over to a shipping discussion. There's no insight into the character here, aside from being defined by her (lack of) prospect as a Superman love interest. ARGH!
Evidence of her divine lineage includes a number of gifts, like those in myth, given by the gods. She carries a 'Golden Lasso." It is unbreakable, and those confined by it are compelled to speak the truth. Its nature, by my inspection, is not scientific, but mysterious. I can find no reason for its properties. She wears bulletproof bracelets that she uses to defend herself, and has an invisible jet that allows her to travel the globe undetected, even by radar or heat-sensitive tracking devices.
Some have suggested that she is a perfect woman. And it is easy to see why popular speculation would see her as a possible mate for Superman. But I do not believe such a pairing ever to be possible. She understands too well the role we have chosen. She knows, unlike many in the League itself, that we cannot risk loved ones. They could become targets, our vulnerabilities.
The Batcomputer Files
Monday, October 28, 2013
Rhona Mitra is an actress who has often been fan-cast as Wonder Woman, which works on a purely superficial level. She has toned model looks with a sculpted face and action movie chops. Unfortunately, she's just not very charismatic or inspiring, which I think are far more essential qualities for the Amazing Amazon. Mitra is also prone to "good guy" roles, which just makes her subdued personality come across that much flatter. I honestly think she needs a nice, ridiculous, over the top villainess role to get in touch with her inner Liz Hurley. Mitra would probably most enjoy Barbara Minerva, so she could put on glasses and fake intellectual for a few scenes to feel better about hamming it up for the cat suit. I'd prefer her as the Alex Ross version of Priscilla Rich. That way, if the performance gets dicey, the creepy suit can do more of the acting for her.
Diabolic Movie Fan Casting
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Metamorpho, Red Tornado and Martian Manhunter all teamed up on Giganta, but she would not fall, and instead took the battle outside with Hawkman and Hawkgirl joining the fray. Green Lantern John Stewart freed everyone from Brainiac's mind controlling bugs, including Wonder Girl. Giganta persevered, until Elasti-Girl sucker punched her. Wonder Woman didn't visibly contribute to the burly brawl, and it even looked like Superman freed her from some rubble at one point. The Armored Amazon almost tangled with Solomon Grundy, but Green Lantern's destruction of Brainiac's mind-controlling technology removed the need. Wonder Woman was consoled by the rescued Steve Trevor, but did not remove her armor. Per Princess Diana's standard operating procedure, Donna Troy was nowhere near her. Wonder Girl joined the Teen Titans and other heroes in liberating the innocents trapped in Scarecrow's creepy city, instead. "Chapter Eleven" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. Call Justice what you like (I'd use "stupid, boring, pretentious, ponderous, and overall amateurish" in regards to the storytelling) but at least it respected Wonder Woman's villains. Cheetah was scary in earlier issues, and Giganta took on a whole host of JLA-listers. Too bad the Amazing Amazon herself was butchered in this series, overcompensating for her hawkishness in Kingdom Come through victimization here. Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
Friday, October 18, 2013
"This is a costly and compromised war. You are like me, but must disguise yourself as one of them. It disgusts me to look at you." Giganta was dressing in a black evening gown for a formal celebration of the Legion of Doom's presumed victory, as Gorilla Grodd continued to lecture her. Soon enough, the Hall of Doom was raided by heroes garbed in protective armor against Brainiac's miniature mind-controlling robotic worms. Wonder Woman's was especially hideous amongst a motley collection of fashion faux pas, and further couture demerits for Giganta destroying her elegant wear in favor of growing into her usual leopard print. At least Giganta was in the fight for the duration, whereas Cheetah joined other lesser Legionnaires in being tied up with Plastic Man (literally.) Outside, possessed teen heroes, including Wonder Girl, fought the Doom Patrol. Donna choked Elasti-Girl with her lasso. Wonder Woman spent some time tangled up in Clayface before he was called away on another matter, and Cheetah managed to evacuate to the city she controlled via transport tube. "Chapter Ten" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. The issue demonstrates the difficulty of juggling so many characters and plot elements. Wonder Woman pretty much drops out of the story from here, save two limp moments in as many issues, and Wonder Girl is just trotted out for a cameo. Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
- The Atom, Hawkman and Hawkgirl @ PotA
- Martian Manhunter @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu
- Aquaman, Elongated Man & more @ Justice League Detroit
- Flash, Doom Patrol, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary & more @ DC Bloodlines
Friday, October 11, 2013
"The first name I ever knew was 'daughter.' I remember my mother holding me in the dawn. I remember the sea. And I remember her telling me that I was a gift. And that I was beautiful." Hippolyta never wanted Diana to compete in the contest to become Wonder Woman-- Amazonian ambassador and champion for the world. Against the queen's wishes, her princess donned a mask and won the contest, but also broke her mother's heart with the deceit and the dangers ahead. "I swore I'd never wear a mask again."
In battle with the Cheetah, Wonder Woman's face had been slashed open in three places by claws dipped in the centaur's poison called "Heracles' Lament." Cheetah had exchanged some of her own blood for it from the goddess of the underworld Persephone. Princess Diana struggled against claws and fangs at her backside, until she reached her Lasso of Truth and ensnared her foe. A tear fell from Priscilla Rich's eye as her humanity was briefly restored, but the cat soon loosed itself from the leash. Wonder Woman had repeatedly reached out to Priscilla, trying to help, but failing that, she kicked the kitty across the alley. The Cheetah fled, but Diana could already feel an unmaking sickness within herself.
Giganta was responsible for two attempts on the Atom's life, before receiving a small comeuppance. The Mighty Mite then contacted Wonder Woman in her invisible jet, who explained the situation and asked that he join her at a secret League meeting place. Diana then landed in a jungle, and used her Lasso of Truth to guide her through an illusory stone wall into a cave. As it turned out, this was the Batcave, now infested by jungle vines and other greenery. The Amazing Amazon found the Dark Knight bound to a tree, and learned this was Poison Ivy's doing.
Attacked by a giant Venus flytrap and thorn-firing roses, Wonder Woman commented, "How much like men with guns you are, Poison Ivy," to no small offense. Creepers crawling on Diana, the villainess warned, "You snap one of those vines, and I'll snap your neck. By the way, I like the new look." The Amazon Princess tore herself loose, and freed her ally besides. Batman unexpectedly began electrocuting Diana with special gauntlets, her fresh facial wounds from the Cheetah glowing orange against the blue arc. The Amazon looped her lasso around the Caped Crusader's neck. Ivy cracked, "Is it too much to hope that you'll kill each other?" It was, as a spiritually freed Batman cold-cocked her. Wonder Woman survived the attack, and everyone was loaded onto the invisible jet.
While flying a lassoed but mentally liberated Batman to the outskirts of the Fortress of Solitude in her invisible jet, Wonder Woman received late word from Doc Magnus and the rebuilt Red Tornado about the Caped Crusader's mischief while mind-controlled.
While the pair waited for Superman's arrival to unlock the door, other heroes began to gather outside. The Flash asked Wonder Woman about the damage dealt to her face. "Cheetah's scars are nothing, Barry. Somehow our enemies discovered who we are..." This led the Flash to be concerned about the welfare of his wife, but the arriving Captain Marvel and Superman warned that mental domination awaited the Scarlet Speedster if he struck out on his own. Instead, the world's greatest heroes stepped into Superman's parlor to plan their response as a team...
Wonder Woman attended a meeting where Batman laid out all the information collected about the Legion of Doom's plot. Afterword, Captain Marvel gave Wonder Woman a hug, and asked what had happened to her. "We are both beings of magic, Bill. That is also where we are most vulnerable. And I've been cursed. I'm going to die from the same poison that killed Hercules."
"The centaur's blood?"
"But where Hercules' death returned him to the glory which was his by right of birth... I am returning to my origins. These scars are baking me from within. I was clay once, formed by my mother's hands. The goddess made me real in answer to my mother's prayer. I am becoming unreal again. I don't have much time left."
Batman was finally freed of the mind-controlling worms, and returned the Lasso of Truth with a thank you. "Of course, Bruce. I'm glad you're back."
Soon after, the League learned their supporting casts, including Steve Trevor, had been kidnapped. Further, they were held captive my mind-controlled teen heroes, including Wonder Girl Donna Troy...
"Justice, Vol. 2," collecting issues #5-8 of the 2005 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Missiles streaked through the skies, striking major cities the world over, killing everything in their eruption's wake. In Metropolis, Superman barely saved Lois Lane before setting her somewhere safe... except no place was safe, and Superman's Girlfriend was soon no more. The Man of Steel called on his super friends.
Wonder Woman, holding back a wall from collapsing on children, answered "I hear you, Superman. The same thing's happening in Rome. I don't know. I don't..." The Amazing Amazon's legs began to turn into stone, and the malady continued upward, until her face was a mass of fissures. "Hera help me. S-superman...?" Diana died first among her fellows, her smoldering corpse still leveraged against the wall.
An omniscient commentator criticized the heroes' performance as the Earth itself perished:
Some might say that I am being unfair. That mankind molded you into the beings you are. We made you into gods, like a potter would a piece of clay. You did not claim this for yourself. But I ask you, what were reasonable men to do in your presence?
Priscilla Rich awoke from her nightmare, nude in a luxurious circular bed, her twin cheetah companions unstirred in the penthouse suite they shared. Rich also shared the dream-- each of her compatriots in the Legion of Doom troubled by their nocturnal vision. Action would have to be taken, to save all of humanity from the coming failure of the Justice League of America...
A Wonder Woman conference was being held at the Meredith Hotel, and Priscilla Rich looked to be attending. Clerks at the front desk gossiped that “She’s just become one of the biggest supporters of the protection of animals in the world.” In a broad leopard print hat and trench coat, Rich seemed to be the one being protected, by the pair of cheetahs walking ahead of her on leashes. “Well, that’s one way to spend your money, I suppose. If she’s come to hear Wonder Woman, she better hurry.”
In her swank hotel room, the now nude Priscilla Rich knelt by the body of one of her cheetahs. She stroked its fur, and offered a prayer as she took a ceremonial dagger to the big cat, marking her face with its blood. “I call upon your spirit… I call with your blood to make a way for me… Blood for spirit. Flesh for eyes… So that the Cheetah can be reborn.”
In a ballroom downstairs, Wonder Woman gave the gathered female fans an empowering motivational speech about bettering the world. Outside, in the bushes, Priscilla Rich stalked-- wearing the skin of her feline companion…
The Legion of Doom’s membership had begun working to vastly improve the world as we know it through charity and scientific breakthroughs. They also publicly attacked the character of the Justice League of America, while privately attempting to murder the super-heroes in their secret identities.
Having finished her convention speech, Princess Diana walked backstage, where she sensed “Priscilla?”
“Who’s Priscilla,” the Cheetah answered, as she plunged from above. Snarling, the villainess slashed Diana’s left cheek with her claws. “Listen to me, Priscilla. We don’t have to fight. What’s wrong with you?” Diana defended herself against additional cuts with her bulletproof bracelets, as she stripped off her diplomatic robes to reveal her costume underneath. “I swear, Priscilla, I will help you. You’ve given yourself over to the dark gods again—why? I don’t understand! It doesn’t have to be this way.” Wonder Woman loosed her Lasso of Truth, but it failed to catch her foe, who tore at the right side of the Amazon Princess’ face. Wonder Woman fell to the ground on her side, a tear in her eye. “This… is wrong… Have to get to the JLA Satellite. What’s going on? Hera help me.”
In the first Justice trade paperback, an introductory piece was written in which Superman considered his fellows in the Justice League. Superman noted of Wonder Woman:
Diana is one of the Amazons of myth. For some, slavery can breed hatred, but not for her. Diana's love of freedom is so great that she fights for it at all costs, using all manner of Amazonian weaponry at her disposal.
Diana is perfect. She doesn't know it. And that just makes her more perfect.
"Justice, Vol. 1," collecting the first four issues of the 2005 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.