Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wonder Woman #290 (April, 1982)

Silver Swan tore through a brick wall to get into Dr. Psycho's lab in Virginia, intent on murdering Colonel Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman. Setting her beau on an operating table (and setting aside a flashback for late arrivals,) Wonder Woman explained, "We don't have anything to fight about, Swan-- not unless you want to give me good reason by trying to carry out your threat. But I'm warning you, lady... if you do, I'm more than ready to take you on!" Swan asserted that Diana and her boyfriend were living on borrowed time, "and I've just called in the debt!"

If she had to fight a madwoman, Wonder Woman was set on doing it outside, so as not to harm Steve. The pair engaged in midair wrestling, but Silver Swan easily shook the Princess off, and there were no strong air currents for her to glide upon. Wonder Woman instead relied upon her robot plane for salvation, grabbing a wing before turning back to lasso Swan. The Silver Swan was compelled to obey the Lasso of Truth, halting the fight.

Meanwhile, Dr. Psycho was infatuated with the Silver Swan on sight, like most men. "I've hated women my whole life, just as they've hated my hideous countenance. But I feel the strangest... compulsion... to aid her..." Although he was unable to affect permanent change without his equipment, Psycho's ectoplasmic powers still worked through the medium of Steve Trevor's unconscious mind, so that Captain Wonder was reborn. "I'll deliver the Silver Swan from Wonder Woman's power, and then the woman will be mine. For what woman could resist me in this form... one of such beauty and power...?" Possibly because every single design flaw in Wonder Woman's costume was magnified a hundredfold by the ambiguously gay Captain Wonder?

The Psycho Wonder sucker punched Wonder Woman right off her plane, freed Silver Swan, then caught the Amazing Amazon in her own lasso. Swan thought the Captain was magnificent. "My whole life, men have disappointed me... I was... the ugly duckling-- too hideous for them to even consider loving me! ...I hate men for what they've done to my life..." Despite their jaundiced appraisals of the opposite sex, it was "love" at first sight for Silver Swan and Captain Wonder, Psycho finding Swan lovelier than even his departed wife Marva.

Wonder Woman, Swan and Psycho had all had lengthy flashbacks, so Steve Trevor demanded his turn. He dreamed of his mission, begun on Trevor's parallel Earth of origin, from which he flew a jet through a vibrational barrier to Earth-1. Existentially, Trevor was aware that he was not of this Earth, but he was held fast upon meeting his angel, the Amazon Princess...

Mars was sorely displeased that Silver Swan had yet to complete her mission, and compounded his demands. Besides killing Princess Diana, "I wish you to destroy it all-- their President and this puny monument to their pretensions of power!" By this he meant that he wanted the robot plane to make a kamikaze run on the White House, where President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy were walking the grounds with Secret Service agents. None were appropriately responsive to the thunderous invisible missile aimed for them, as the game Captain Wonder carried on with Silver Swan.

Steve Trevor began to wake from his dream, destabilizing Captain Wonder. Wonder Woman sensed his vulnerability, and yanked Captain Wonder off the wing of her plane by the lasso used to drag her along. The Captain fell through the branches of a wooded area, protecting Dr. Psycho long enough to survive before his ectoplasmic construct dissipated. Wonder Woman saw this from above, and with stronger winds near the White House, was able to glide back toward her jet. However, Silver Swan caught her from behind, savagely tearing at the back of Wonder Woman's head with her fingernails. However, this afforded the Amazing Amazon a grip on the psychotic siren, an advantage she pressed until she batted Silver Swan to the ground. Dr. Psycho was as horrified by the "bone-shuddering" thump of Swan's body as she had been at the apparent demise of her newfound "love."

Agent Tomkins ordered President Reagan to "hit the dirt," but Wonder Woman's telepathic rapport with her robot plane allowed her to halt it before damage could be done. "Well. So that's this Wonder Woman I've heard so much about... I can't say as I much care for her method of dropping by to say hello, though..."

Mars was upset. "With all thy power, still you grovel in the dirt in the humiliation of defeat!" Helen Alexandros protested that the fight wasn't finished, but Mars found her unworthy of being the Silver Swan, and stripped away her powers. Helen hoped to find consolation in the arms of Captain Wonder, but instead discovered Dr. Psycho. Their eyes locked across a clearing, "but you see this time not the spark of love... and as one, you shudder-- before hurrying apart... in search of that which never truly existed-- a beauty that's forever gone." Wonder Woman didn't have time to capture either of them, hurrying back to Steve Trevor, whose "lovely angel" had finally enabled him to resolve the cosmic tug-of-war that had threatened his life.

"Panic Over Pennsylvania Avenue!" was by Roy Thomas, Paul Kupperberg, Gene Colan, and Romeo Tanghal. I had no idea that there was a change in scripting duties until I checked the credit box for this review. Despite the excess of flashbacks, this was a good issue that brought home the reason for mingling the Silver Swan and Dr. Psycho stories. Hell, for all I know, that contrast and the villains' aesthetic hypocrisy may well have inspired Silver Swan's very creation!

The Bronze Age

No comments: