Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wonder Woman #289 (March, 1982)

While flying over the Bermuda Triangle, Wonder Woman spotted a Russian fishing boat being attacked by a "gigantic, many-armed Kraken." She lassoed a tentacle while riding the wing of her jet, hoping to compel the beast to her will. The Kraken proved too brainless to be controlled, but still managed to catch Diana with another tentacle. The Amazing Amazon ripped herself free, then dove into the ocean to take the fight to the monster. It began to flee, but she wasn't done teaching the Kraken a lesson, tying one of its tentacles into a knot. As for the Russians, "If you want to thank me, comrade, you can ask your government to cut down its trawling activities a little-- so that you and the Japanese leave a little sea food for the rest of the planet. Hola... and fare well!" Diana of course spoke their native tongue.

The invisible robot plane continued on to Paradise Island, obscured at the heart of the triangle. Hippolyta and Paula were giving their kangas some exercise, or in the queen's case, Diana's neglected Jumpa. The Princess feared her beloved Steve Trevor might be dying, and a surprised Hippolyta demanded that she bring him to the island at once for treatment under Paula's purple healing ray. This permission was exactly why Diana had made the trip.

Back in Washington, D.C., Wonder Woman dove off the wing of her robot plane and soared through her bedroom window. As Captain Diana Prince, our heroine learned from Etta Candy that new roommate Helen Alexandros was a great cook before the three headed to the hospital to check on Steve. Prince was shocked to learn Colonel Trevor had been signed over to a private doctor by the top brass. A nurse explained that he was "A real weirdie, Captain... 'Doctor Psycho'! Funny-lookin' little guy, too!" Etta and Helen shared a cab home, the former wanting to catch An American Werewolf in London, the latter bowing out of the cab early. Diana Prince had a plane to catch...

In the hills of Virginia sat a veritable castle owned by Doctor Psycho, his surname created when "a semi-literate immigration officer shortened my grandfather's Greek name..." This was apparently the first Earth-One version of the villain, who thirty years earlier was the butt of schoolboy mockery and schoolgirl sneers. Even onto his brilliant medical school career, he was still looked upon as a freak. Lovely Marva had screamed slightly on first encountering him, but eventually embraced Psycho as a friend. The Doctor wanted more, and through his mesmeric research, managed to hypnotize her into loving him...

"That's when I discovered I had the unique power to use Marva as a medium-- one through whom I could bring living substance out of the spirit world!" Psycho could create tangible ectoplasmic illusions using matter from the spirit world. Dr. Psycho became handsome to all-- so long as Marva was in his presence. "Perhaps I did come to hate Marva a bit, because I was so dependent on her, even for my self-esteem. I weeped when she died, though... so I couldn't have caused her death, now, could I? It was she who stepped in front of that car... I was nowhere around. Even the jury that acquitted me saw how grief-stricken I was over her demise." Dr. Psycho mesmerized other women, either with his hypnotism or his checking account, but it was never the same. That was, until he located another medium: Colonel Steve Trevor! Working with his hunchbacked assistant Melvin, Psycho planned to use Trevor in a test run of his Electroplasmotron device.

Batting aside heavily armed guards, Wonder Woman burst onto the scene. Having heard everything with her Amazon-trained hearing, Princess Diana was fighting mad. However, with Psycho's machine in operation, the Doctor transformed himself into an idealized version of Steve Trevor garbed in a (somewhat) masculine version of Wonder Woman's costume. "Captain Wonder" had all the power Trevor thought Wonder Woman had, which meant his construct was actually stronger than the real thing. Worse, Wonder Wonder woman kept pulling her punches against this vision of the man she loved. Regardless, the Amazing Amazon was the better fighter and strategist, hurling Captain Wonder into the Electroplasmotron. Besides disabling the device, it also woke Steve Trevor up, evaporating Psycho's illusion. Just as Dr. Psycho was under control and Steve Trevor free, Silver Swan burst onto the scene, intent on murder!

"His Name is Psycho!" was by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, and Romeo Tanghal. Aside from the new, peculiar origin of Dr. Psycho, there really wasn't much going on in this issue. As much as I enjoyed all the balls tossed up in the air last issue, veering off into the Psycho story felt like a distraction from the Silver Swan one, and obviously the kraken was thrown in as filler. That trip to Paradise Island was just plain dumb, which explained Hippolyta's incredulous reaction, and reflects poorly on Wonder Woman. The plot has overwhelmed her time management skills and good sense!

The Bronze Age

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