Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Darkstars #30 (April, 1995)

Darkstar Donna Troy and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner took in a picnic on Mars to help distract her from family troubles, and received plenty through a fight with Kalibak in a previous story. "It helped me forget that Terry's taking me to court over custody of our son... And that if I make the wrong move, I could lose him." A new pass time arrived through a flying tackle by the Manhunter from Mars, who had been contacted by his Justice League colleague Wonder Woman after she spotted something landing on his home planet while on monitor duty. "Concerned that someone was desecrating Mars, I came here to investigate... and found two costumed heroes frolicking on the graves of a venerable old race."

Once the dust settled, J'Onzz told the duo, "Believe me... I have no great desire to be here. My memories of this place are anything but joyful." Perhaps that's why he was so irritable on this adventure, which led the three heroes to track down the uninvited spaceship that first caught the Amazing Amazon's attention. It belonged to "The Syndicate," an interstellar criminal operation often at odds with the Darkstars. "...They've razed an entire quadrant of my people's dwellings... Clumsy fools. Don't they know what they're destroying? This is all I have left! All my people ever wanted was peace... and it eludes them... even in death."

The Manhunter launched into the hoods, but was repelled shortly thereafter by an energy cannon. Donna chided, "Damn it, J'Onn-- I never thought I'd be the one telling you to chill out. These syndicate-types aren't your garden-variety space goons. They pack a punch." Under Darkstar Troy's leadership, the group brought the Syndicate's operation down.

Martian Manhunter departed after a flippant remark from Kyle with a curt, "My method of relaxation is my own business-- just as this Syndicate installation is yours. All I ask is that you remove them as quickly as you can. I don't relish the idea of coming back here." As for Darkstar Donna Troy, "J'Onn's not half-bad once you get to know him. Remember, this was his planet once--before his people were wiped out. I think he feels the weight of all those ghosts."

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Donna returned to Earth to find that the deputies that she had inherited from Darkstar Colos were set to leave her company, one through promotion and transfer, the other resignation. Mo told Troy, "You turned out to be a better boss than either of us could have hoped for," while Carla added, "And you were filling some pretty big shoes." Donna decided to relocate the Darkstar's headquarters from Dallas to New Jersey, where the Titans operated. Her assistant Annie agreed to move, though she must have felt compelled to lie about "getting tired of Tex-Mex anyway." No one ever gets tired of Tex-Mex. It's why we're so fat.

Filed under "no respect," the Mike Deodato cover for this issue not only featured Kyle more prominently than Donna, but included a sizable "Green Lantern" logo. Even though J'Onn enters the story via a two page spread beginning on the second page, there's nothing so much as referencing his appearances on that same cover. Scripter Michael Jan Friedman showed an excess love for hyphens that transcends even my own, with pencils by Mike Collins and inks from Ken Branch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

JLA #4 (April, 1997)

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Inside Z'Onn Z'Orr, Superman finally deduced the Hyperclan were Martians, and because his prolonged exposure to Kryptonite hadn't killed him, that it was in fact illusory. "We thought J'Onn was the only one left. How can this be? Martians. I should have seen it before."

As the Man of Steel faced Protex, Primaid commanded Armek to guard the Justice League, whom she felt could still be eliminated in total. "I don't think so." Armek was revealed to actually be the Martian Manhunter in disguise. "Yours is not the only deception, Primaid. And I left the real Armek in the Gobi Desert. Did you really think I wouldn't recognize this city you've unearthed? Z'Onn Z'Orr, the most infamous name in Martian history?" Primaid screamed, "J'Onn J'Onzz! Betrayer! TRAITOR!"

Meanwhile, the real Armek and Züm were trekking to Antarctica:
"This is what happens when you deal with a Green Martian! They're all the same! What makes him think he can just steal a form I designed? ...I'll kill him!"
"We were going to kill him after he'd betrayed the JLA anyway... So he didn't betray his friends... The rest of the plan's still good."

Primaid lunged at the Martian Manhunter. "Now to finish what we started millennia ago." The Alien Atlas backhanded her across the room. Primaid chided, "You hit like what you are: a Green philosopher. I am a true Martian soldier. I can transform my body into a thousand battle configurations: the Flesh Vortex, the Storm of Hammers..." J'Onn J'Onzz reached a switch to release his teammates from captivity. "Of course you can. That was all the Pale Martians ever had to offer our culture: war and hatred and destruction. We reached out to you. You responded with genoc--UNGH!" Primaid melted her humanoid form into a stream of hail that assailed the Martian Marvel, launching him through the roof and out into the Antarctic.

Left flat on his back, Primaid assumed the predatory appearance of a White Martian warrior. "If you had any self-respect, any pride in your heritage, you would have joined us." J'Onn answered, "The Paratexts spoke at length of your tribe. They told us what you did to the Earth and how you were punished." Primaid snorted, "And this planet means so much to you, is that it? You can never be one of them. The best you can ever hope to be is a Green freak! Who cares for a thing like you? Where are your friends now?..."

Wonder Woman affirmed, "Where we always are. Right here." Flanked by Green Lantern, Flash, and Aquaman, the Pale Martians would finally be met with full vigor. The three males trounced Armek and Züm, while Wally West asked, "What happened to Primaid?" Gazing up into the outer atmosphere, Martian Manhunter replied, "Wonder Woman happened to Primaid. She went up there."

Superman bested Protex, ending the threat of the Hyperclan, but not the White Martian invaders. "We can't waste time. The invasion fleet has already arrived on Earth and Martian mind control has been overridden by terror." Martian Manhunter explained of a lab in Z'Onn Z'Orr, "These cameras are connected to every television set in the world. The Hyperclan intended to broadcast our executions. Everything's set up. Who wants to do the talking?"

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The Man of Tomorrow was the obvious choice. As flying saucers filled the skies and armored aliens set foot on our world, he spoke. "People of Earth! This is Superman. I know it's difficult right now, but try not to panic. You must fight against the invaders. We're on our way but we can't reach everyone in time. It's up to you to defend one another. They're afraid of fire! Use fire against them! Stand firm. Right now, courage is all that can light this darkness!"

Matches... cigarette lighters... these were all it really took to force the Martians' surrender.

In the Still Zone, an other-dimensional limbo where the invaders had been imprisoned thousands of years past, the JLA inspected the Pale Martian mothership. Superman learned that J'Onn J'Onzz knew who they were as soon as Z'Onn Z'Orr was revealed, but kept the information to himself. "Forgive me, Superman. I allowed personal feelings to endanger you and the others. I miscalculated. They were Martians. This is the last relic of the world I lost... I..."

"Forget it, J'Onn. We won. I'm more concerned about what we do now. This is your call. Who else can judge these people?"

"Martians are shapechangers, Superman. We're familiar with a wide range of mind control techniques. There are... methods. Punishments. You may not approve but I must be the final arbiter. You do not know the culture. You were not there."

The JLA visited the Sahara Desert, where the Hyperclan's work to create a new Garden of Eden had crumbled to dust, an unsustainable ecology. To safeguard the world, the JLA built a Watchtower on the moon out of parts mined from the Overmaster's ship, fortified with promethium and advanced technology.

Meanwhile, 70 "humans" in countries all around the world felt like they'd "been lobotomized with a corkscrew." They'd had strange dreams since the invasion, and felt in their guts they had "somehow lost something of infinite value." They worked jobs that brought them into regular proximity with fire, and served a sentence for crimes their memory implants would not allow them to remember...

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

JLA #3 (March, 1997)

Primaid promised that, with the kryptonite radiation pulses under the Hyperclan's complete control, they could subdue Superman indefinitely without killing him. Protex taunted, "Oh, Superman... all those people you've saved over the years: where are they now? No one is coming. No one cares. You are alone, at the end of the world. Completely alone."

Or not, as the Batman had survived his crash, deduced the Hyperclan's secret, and invaded their base. Flash fought a winning battle against Züm and Zenturion. Green Lantern defeated Armek.

Flash and Green Lantern entered the Gobi Desert watchtower, and the Fastest Man Alive learned to work their technology well enough to discover their orbital mind control transmitters were extra-dimensional. The heroes were then captured by Zenturion and Armek, who transported them to Z'Onn Z'Orr. As the pair were being prepared to join the rest of the JLA in being tortured to death, Armek explained, "When they realized their comrade was a traitor, the fight left them. It was easy." Protex continued, "You hear that, Superman? J'Onn J'Onzz, your faithful 'Martian Manhunter,' has betrayed you." Armek added, "Everything is ready for broadcast. The Martian Manhunter will join us shortly, to denounce his comrades as enemies of Earth." Of Wonder Woman, Protex stated, "It seems almost a shame to destroy this one... Still. The whole world is calling for your deaths, Superman, and we intend to oblige. Then, when you are gone, we will show our true faces to the world. Our ships will come from the skies. And the rivers will run red with the blood of mankind."

A-Mortal found that five defense drones had been disabled, and when he investigated, was humbled by the Dark Knight. Fluxus, Tronix and Zenturion followed, finding A-Mortal down and Batman waving a box of matches. "Super-strength, flight, invulnerability, shape-changing, mind control: You're Martians, aren't you? And when you brought down my aircraft you didn't dare search the wreckage because of the one thing which robs your people of their powers. Fire." The Hyperclan realized too late that they were standing in a circle of gasoline, and went down in a ring of fire. As they panicked, the Caped Crusader spoke to an unseen party, "Ready when you are."

Protex couldn't believe the trouble one powerless man was causing. He backhanded Superman, and called out orders to his fleet. "This is your commander! Emergency code T'ann T'azz! Target Earth cities! Initiate Operation Hard Rain. Seventy more of us, Superman! All with the power to level mountains! Seventy more! The gods have come to lay waste the world! We win! WE WIN!"

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

JLA #2 (February, 1997)

Taylor Mills reported for WGBS News from the Antarctic Ice Fields, which had been revealed to host "the global headquarters of the Hyperclan," the team had previously thawed out. Lisa Haymore was assigned to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier "Triumphant," in the Pacific Ocean near Midway Island, where the Hyperclan constructed another mammoth base in the blink of an eye. The same was observed by Dave Trimble in Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Back in Antartica, Primaid and A-Mortal were present with Protex, who said, "Call them Watchtowers. We intend to divide our forces into three groups, each of which will be permanently stationed in one of these headquarters. We want to be able to respond to any emergency as quickly as possible. This planet is destroying itself. Your people need help to build a paradise and that help has arrived. The Hyperclan is here to stay. You can print that."

Superman and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner could find no sign of mind control transmitters, but determined the flying saucer over Washington D.C. was just a sophisticated projection. Lantern asked for Batman's plan, but the Dark Knight deferred to Martian Manhunter. "We do what we always do; divide our forces and investigate the threat. Destroy their transmission facilities if need be. I suggest Batman and Superman travel to the Antarctic nerve center-- and perhaps you'd like to take a trip to the Pacific, Wonder Woman. [Kyle Rayner] and Flash can accompany me to the Gobi Desert. Superman complimented, "Good choices, J'Onn." With a smirk, J'Onzz requested as the groups set out, "Try to take this seriously, Green Lantern.

Wonder Woman flew from Rhode Island to the international date line in "just over an hour at the speed of Hermes-- currently Mach Three," to the Pacific watchtower. She noticed that the Coriolis force was not correctly impacting on a counterclockwise whirlpool below her, but not in time to prevent a geyser of Fluxus from striking her. The gray ghoul threatened the Princess and her world, so she sent him flying with a devastating punch. Meanwhile, a late arriving Aquaman turned up riding a whale, having previously disregarded JLA alarms. When Diana questioned the Sea King, he became aggressively petulant with his harpoon hand, which she seized. "Don't dare point that thing at me-- I've known you too long." Diana asked him to stop posturing, said she needed his help, and that world conquering aliens were unlikely to stop short of the ocean.

The discussion was interrupted by Tronix, who Diana chose to deal with while ordering Aquaman to try to stop the underwater transmission of the signal that was clouding humanity's minds. The Sea King was battered spectacularly by Fluxus, who charged in the form of a whale. Wonder Woman saw his plight, and it proved enough of a distraction for Tronix to blast her with laser vision. A steaming, blackened Amazon form fell limply from the sky. "'Wonder Woman'! Ha! I was looking forward to a fight!"

In the Gobi Desert, Flash and Green Lantern were overtaken by Armek, Zenturion and Züm after being seemingly abandoned by Martian Manhunter, who was having a secret meeting with Protex in orbit above Earth.

The World's Finest duo were attacked by the Hyperclan stationed in the Antarctic. Batman's plane was shot down, and he was left to die in the smoldering wreckage. Protex produced a Kryptonite nugget, and dragged the lame former Man of Steel off to torture him. "Every last detail of this operation was carefully planned. Including this... Batman is dead. Wonder Woman is dead. The Flash. Green Lantern. Aquaman. All dead. There's only you, and us. And a whole world on its knees."

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

JLA #1 (January, 1997)

In Washington D.C., the President of the United States was complaining about a variety of things, including Firehawk getting sick and being unable to serve as his superhuman escort in his meeting with "El Presidente or whatever it is this jumped-up bandit calls himself." Suddenly, a flying saucer appeared, a mile across, projecting a light onto the White House. Members of the recently decommissioned "Justice League America," headquartered in a space ship once used by the Overmaster, received a call concerning the matter. "How did we miss it? Freakin' thing came outta nowhere. We're talking major camouflage here." Metamorpho complained about the new JL "A-Team" and their egos pushing his group out of the way, while Nuklon studied the saucer and Icemaiden noted Fire had called in sick."

Superman arrived on the White House lawn just after eight large silver "eggs" had landed, from which exited a varied group of costumed super-heroes. "People of Earth! Greetings. Allow us to introduce ourselves... I am Protex. We are The Hyperclan. We've come to save the world... We have journeyed through space... for a world like this one. A world where we could succeed where we failed before. We are here to house your homeless. We are here to feed your starving and to repair the damage you have done to your biosphere. We are at your disposal. Bring us your problems and we will give you solutions in return. And if any of your native superhuman community wish to help us, we... welcome them. We would like to show you what can be done when the will is strong, the heart is pure and the mind is clear. Thank you for your attention." Both humans and superhumans watched this televised proclamation in awe, including Princess Diana in Gateway City, working at the museum with Dr. Helena Sandsmark and her daughter. A wide-eyed Cassie Sandsmark mooned over Protex. "He looks like Jim Morrison, Diana! He's gorgeous!"

Through their combined powers, the Hyperclan brought rain to the Sahara Desert and the appearance of potential for vegetation. However, Superman noted, "The Sahara is green today but can it be sustained or are people being given false hope in the name of spectacle? Is humankind really willing to become the pampered lapdog of superhuman beings and squander its own potential?" The question raised ire the world over, as people believed Superman and his fellows were jealous of the Hyperclan. Protex teased his willingness to discuss the matter with the Man of Steel. "If he wants to know where to find me, I'll be out 'fixing' the world." The worm really began to turn when the Hyperclan started executing super-villains like Judgment, which saw instances of "metacrimes" plummet, but alerted the JLA to the severity of the Hyperclan's threat.

Wonder Woman and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner returned to Overmaster's former ship, from which the Amazing Amazon had commanded the immediately prior incarnation of the League. Humanoid lifeforms in red space suits attacked the ship from the outside, crippling it with an electromagnetic pulse before breaching the hull with their fists. "Diana" asked GL to join her in space to confront the attackers, and to call her by her first name, as they were now in the same League. "Says you," Kyle muttered, " I can't handle this. It's like playing with the Beatles..." The other heroes aboard were trying to escape, but without functioning away craft, were forced to improvise. Metamorpho was left in an "inert" state from saving his fellows as they reentered Earth's atmosphere and crash landed. Lantern and Wonder Woman continued to battle their aggressors, who displayed super powers, but were neutralized still. However, Rayner and the Princess were distracted by an ultimately futile effort to save the Overmaster ship, and lost track of the guilty parties.

Meanwhile, Protex was in the Antarctic with his seven cohorts, who fired energy beams to melt the ice around a hidden city. "How long has it been? How long since we stood here for the first time? What was the human species then? No more than dormant potential in the genetic material of jellyfish! How little they have changed. But remember the barges heaped with spices and precious metals? Remember the music of the brass gongs and the toiling of the warmills? Life was good then. Life will be better. Join with me! Tear open the ice with your gaze! Unearth the ancient of days! Behold the glory of Z'onn Z'orr!"

The next day, the new JLA began coming together in a makeshift club in Rhode Island. Despite the blow they'd received, public opinion was still against their group, incensed at the slightest implication the Hyperclan might have been involved. "Protex, named 'the sexiest man in the universe' by readers of 'Sunday Planet Magazine,' answered, "The Justice League seems hellbent on manufacturing a confrontation. I pray it needn't come to that. I would rather we were allies in the service of this world and its people."

Martian Manhunter greeted Flash upon the speedster's arrival, a man who had issues with the already present new Green Lantern. Wonder Woman was also around, while Superman followed Flash in, and knew at this point Protex was lying. Green Lantern thought the indictment against the League's not having done enough for mankind might be true, but J'Onn J'Onzz affirmed, "They've taken lives. They've created superficial displays of power..." Batman was the last to arrive, but the first with the conclusion that the Hyperclan were broadcasting globally at the 7Hz wavelength of the human brain to control the population's minds. "This is a planned invasion. We're facing an unknown, immensely powerful enemy. We don't know how many there are and we don't know what they want. First blood goes to them but now it's our turn. This is war!"

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Superman: The Doomsday Wars (1998)

The Manhunter from Mars confirmed, "The distress call from the Georgia authorities was certainly warranted. Whatever tore through this area would present a formidable obstacle for any ordinary police force." Quite an understatement, as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Plastic Man, Huntress, Flash and Orion surveyed considerable damage to the landscape. A large object flew through the air at the team, with Diana moving to intercept. "A tanker truck? Who could be powerful enough to hurl such an object this far?" The Flash attempted to scout ahead, but unstable ground took him off his feet. The Scarlet Speedster observed that Doomsday was back, and the beast soon overwhelmed the Justice League.

Princess Diana lay on the ground near Flash and Green Lantern. Martian Manhunter dangled limply from his cape like it was a noose. Plastic Man was stretched out all over. Only an injured Huntress and a floating Orion were still on their feet to survey the damage. The son of Darkseid engaged Doomsday with the Astro Force, but was swiftly knocked out of the sky by debris and crushed under a tank. However, Orion had bought time for the other heroes to recover. J'Onn J'Onzz flew into combat while the League regrouped, Orion confessing, "Legs... too weak to stand..." Wonder Woman complained, "Bad enough Superman doesn't respond when I call him! But J'Onn shouldn't have charged off alone! The League should function better than this. Must be because we're not used to being beaten so badly!" The Manhunter cried in pain, and was next seen dangling from one of Doomsday's spikes. Diana braced for combat.

Wonder Woman launched into an ill-fated attack. "I never, ever thought I'd see anyone do that to J'Onn. You must have found some way around his phase powers! I know you nearly destroyed Superman-- and did the same to a weaker version of the JLA! But, except for our brief tussle earlier, you and I haven't ever fought it out!" Doomsday grabbed her left arm and landed a spike-fisted left hook to her chin. Plastic Man tried to come to the rescue of the "fairer sex," but Doomsday cast Diana aside and ripped the Pliable Paladin to rent pieces. The Amazing Amazon lassoed and attempted to command the beast, but he was shockingly immune to its magic. Doomsday used the lasso to pull Diana toward a knee spike.

"Enough! During my time on this world, I must have grown soft from holding back my strength, lest I gravely injure someone. But a monster such as you-- deserves no quarter-- no easy handling-- and not one degree of sympathy! Drop, you foul creature of death!" Doomsday stood firm against Diana's fiercest blow, then tied her ankles together with the Lasso of Truth and spun her like a bullroarer. "Impossible ...Strategic fighting such as this is far beyond your capac--UHN! How--? J'Onn himself tried to contact you telepathically but found nothing there! There should be no sense of reason... no... mind!" Doomsday replied, quite eloquently, "My own mental defenses barred your overconfident friend from the truth. To partially quote one of your human authors, the reports of my stupidity were greatly exaggerated!"

Earlier in the narrative, Brainiac had appeared to have been killed in a final battle with Superman, but he had instead been gravely injured, requiring a new body. Coluan time-travel technology had allowed Brainiac to save Doomsday from destruction at the entropy point after the events in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, and the villainous mastermind's intellect now resided in the behemoth's form. Trapped in customized restraints, the League were mostly unable to come to Superman's aid upon his arrival on the scene. He had been occupied with transporting his childhood friends Lana Lang and Pete Ross' injured premature baby to a top NICU in a last ditch effort for survival. The baby was in a containment cylinder that was bounced around like a fumbled football.

Brainiac had planned to introduce Doomsday DNA into Lana & Pete's baby, creating a new host body, since Doomsday would eventually reject the Coluan as a host. Meanwhile, with some help from Aquaman, the Man of Steel foiled Brainiac's plan to turn Earth into a new Colu, using Psi-Blockers from a previous encounter to drive the telepath from Doomsday's mind. Superman then lured Doomsday into a JLA transporter tube, which teleported the monster to the moon. The mucking about seemed to save the baby's life.

Wonder Woman had to be rescued from an energy sphere by Superman, but unlike the male Justice Leaguers, she was presented as some sort of damsel in distress rather than a teammate. The JLA went off to fight Doomsday on the moon, but Princess Diana was offered no real face saving there, either. The Martian Manhunter faired better, forcing Doomsday onto his back with a suffocating fist to the throat at one point. It was he and Orion that did most of the lunar fisticuffs. "Easy, Orion, Superman has a plan in mind-- and we would do well to follow his lead." Superman thought to himself, "One minute. That's about all I need. Harder than it sounds. Even for Orion and J'Onn, lasting a minute against Doomsday-- is practically impossible." In that time, the two Leaguers held their own, until Superman managed to divide Doomsday's form between four active transporter booths. "Never more than 25% integrated, unable to think or free himself." Manhunter immediately saw a flaw. "And if someone should try to take Doomsday?" Superman promised he would automatically be teleported, "to a location only I know of."

Dan Jurgens provided story and art, with a nice Image veneer by inker Norm Rapmund. I wonder if Jurgens' constant trampling of all DC super-heroes to show how much better Superman was than all of them combined played into his inability to maintain his profile at DC after the entire Superman line had a forced creator turnover? It's worth noting that Wonder Woman and Champion had fought a Doomsday simulation in the past, and that Diana shouldn't be written as Thor with bewbs by the future writer of Thor and creator of (ugh) Thor Girl.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wonder Woman and the Star Riders Kellogg's Cinnamon Mini Buns Mini-Comic (1993)

"East of the sun and west of the moon lies a magical place, home to five beautiful heroines, who have sworn to protect Earth... Wonder Woman, Amazon Princess! Ice, ruler of the frozen north! Starlily, gentle champion whose touch makes deserts bloom! Dolphin, denizen of the deep blue seas! Solara, child of the blazing sun!"
Princess Diana ordered the Star Riders to convene at their council room to discuss Purrsia the Sorceress' theft of magic jewels that "protect the sun, air, ice, and plants!" Earth was descending into eco-chaos, except the seas, as that jewel remained well hidden. However, Purrsia was spying on the meeting with her crystal ball and her dark pet Panthera. "When my collection of magic gems is complete, the Star Riders will recognize their true leader-- not that spineless Wonder Woman, with her ancient codes of justice! I will be the true protector of the Earth! The queen of the universe!"

Purrsia rode her flying jaguar to the Star Riders' lair, and using her magical mask, located Dolphin's gem in her vanity drawer. Dolphin sensed the theft, and rushed to her gem. A slumber gem took out the "sisterhood of saps," all except Dolphin, who shielded herself in a bubble and continued pursuit.

Dolphin took her white Pegasus "Cloudancer" to a land already ravaged by Purrsia wicked misuse of the gems, but was soon captured in a net by the sorceress. However, the other Star Riders were fast behind. While Purrsia blasted Ice with purple energy from one of her gems, Solara tried to make her "see the light" with rays of her own. Wonder Woman rescued Ice and let loose a cat pun while Purrsia continued to hurl invective against the Star Riders. "This battle will determine who is right and who is left... and that will be me!" Despite this proclamation, Panthera was frightened by an illusion of a larger cat projected from Wonder Woman's wand, and its mistress was arrested.

Bound by the Lasso of Truth, Purrsia expressed remorse and a desire to join the Riders, but Diana placed the condition of fixing the damage she had done first. While the Star Riders used their gems to fix the Earth, Purrsia used hers to manifest a thunderstorm, re-appropriate Solara's gem and escape. Starlily cursed, "She purred her way into our home, then betrayed our trust!" Purrsia was bound to retake the gems in the future, but Wonder Woman was equally fervent to not only stop her, but to someday redeem Purrsia.

For more on Mattel's aborted Wonder Woman and the Star Riders toy line/cartoon/comics, look no further.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2012 Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues: Wonder Woman and Captain America #219

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Captain America had a movie serial is 1944 and thirteen installments of his own animation segment on The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966. Wonder Woman had a failed pilot in 1967, a TV movie in 1974, and three seasons of her own series in 1975-79. Cap scored a couple of TV movies in 1979, and had a box office bomb that was never even shown on U.S. screens in 1990. The Amazing Amazon got another failed pilot in 2011, while attempts at more TV and a feature film bid haven't panned out. The First Avenger reaped $370M worldwide, while Cap's current blockbuster, The Winter Soldier, is poised to match the total box office of Man of Steel while having cost significantly less to make/market. Wonder Woman will finally hit the screen in Steel's sequel and the Justice League film to follow, but it's still sad to see how Diana Prince owned the airwaves of the '70s, but has been left in the dust by the Star-Spangled Sentinel of Liberty since. That can be hard on a relationship, plus the United Nations Headquarters in the background kind of reminds me of the Triskelion, so it seemed a natural cover to showcase. Great work, Ross!

...More Lost Team-Up Issues...

Friday, April 18, 2014

2012 New 52 Wonder Woman art by Simon Fraser

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Or, if you prefer, some Starfire & Wonder Girl Donna Troy.

Simon Fraser

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2012 New 52 Animated Style Wonder Woman art by Eric Guzman

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If you like this, the artist also did a color sketch, plus a cool Amazon pose which he then converted into a DC Trinity piece.

Eric Guzman

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 Wonder Girl “We Can Be Heroes: Growth” silhouette by Steve Garcia

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Two years ago, DC Comics radically altered their continuity with the New 52. Two months ago, Steve Garcia posted this Pre-Flashpoint inspirational silhouette of Cassie Sandsmark to his Instagram account. I'm guessing that's because Cassie's casual cosplay look was more recognizable and preferable to her fans. Her current Angry Red Riding Hood get-up is more like something a model working the Zenescope booth at a con would turn up in. Not so inspirational. But hey, DC is doing a good thing with its We Can Be Heroes campaign, whose promotional materials is what launched all of these related Garcia pieces in the first place, so there's that.

Talking of that variety, Garcia has done several additional Wonder Woman variations since the post from last year linked below. Check out Warrior Woman or Star Sapphire Wonder Woman, if you're so inclined. They're not really my bag, but I'm still watching out for you. I'm considerate like that.

“We Can Be Heroes”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 "Fan-Casting DC's WONDER WOMAN" by Ryan Daly

Ryan "Count Drunkula" Daly of the Black Canary blog Flowers & Fishnets has played casting director for a Warner Brothers Amazing Amazon film! Being a typical nitpicky Wonder Woman fan, I will now pick nits. After all, I've been doing my own glacially paced fancasting on this blog that is above reproach highly dubious.

Admittedly, three years on, my pick of Jessica Biel as Diana Prince would probably be swapped out for the more popular selection Olivia Wilde, who is stunningly similar box office poison who would surely take the same popcult deflation as poor Gal Gadot's bosom. I'm not ready to join Daly on the Bridget Regan wagon, another oft-mentioned option, because I find her as boring as many fans dismissively disregard Diana. Likewise, I've been struggling to deal with the Xenafication of Diana since the '90s, so mentioning Lucy Lawless in any related context sets me off. I'm relieved she aged out of the main role, but I don't welcome her as Hippolyta, either. I haven't picked a viable option of my own, so we'll stick with honorary standby Lynda Carter for now.

Anna Popplewell grew up well, but still strikes me as too much of a toothy, befreckled, girl next door type for the statuesque Donna Troy. While probably a bit too old now, I went with Minka Kelly. I've never heard of Skyler Samuels, and she'd be too hot for the old school tomboy Cassie Sandsmark of Young Justice but seems perfectly suited for the Geoff Johns maturation of the young heroine of the aughts onward.

I'm going to make you visit Daly's heroes page for his choice of Steve Trevor, who he wanted to represent masculinity before the Amazons. I pegged Justin Timberlake (an In Time reunion?), so I was obviously going for a different thing. Fifteen years ago when nobody knew who Melissa McCarthy was, she would have been a perfect Golden Age Etta Candy. Daly chose someone more appropriate for today, but not too much less visible.

On to Villainy Incorporated! Lena Headey would inarguably suit Dr. Barbara Minerva, and would ham it up as the Cheetah. I felt strongly enough about Rhona Mitra to accidentally write her up twice (and have to later consolidate the entries.) She's a might bit Deborah Domaine though, an advantage for Headey. Meanwhile, I can see where Daly was going with Ares, but when a role amounts to voice acting, don't offer a Greek God with a Texan drawl. Conversely, Giganta is about visuals over vocals, so choosing a shapely actress above all isn't a problem.

I'm as big a Twin Peaks fan as the next nerd, but Michael J. Anderson is so far off the mark that it makes me take exception. Besides being a decade long AARP card carrier, Anderson's career has been defined by an essential humanity Dr. Psycho lacks. Peter Dinklage is a great actor who I want to see get some of that sweet comic book movie money, but there's a paucity of options available. Do we really want to waste The Dink on Oberon?

I can't comment on Daly's Circe, Doctor Poison or Silver Swan, since I'm unfamiliar with their work, though it's amusing that two of them are associated with Hannibal Lecter. He's more true to the Golden Age than I was, with my second hand suggestion of Pauley Perrette for Dr. Poison. Good on Ryan for stumping me!

Count Drunkula Casting Department

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2012 Strong Suits: Superhero Playing Cards Wonder Woman art by Craig Bostick

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While working on a deck of playing cards featuring DC Comic's Silver Age heroes, Craig Bostick hit upon the worst extended era of the character in my opinion, and wags his own finger at it on his blog. Regardless, he offers a classic and classy Amazing Amazon.

Craig Bostick

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Wonder Woman Movie Fan Casting: Minka Kelly as Donna Troy

When I was a kid, I read Phoenix: The Untold Story, and found Jean Grey to be an important, tragic heroine who perished (perhaps needfully) in an epic conflict. Then I continued to read X-Men comics throughout the '80s, where they never shut up about her. Her boyfriend married a lookalike, and then Phoenix turned out to be an evil duplicate, and the real Jean was alive inside a cocoon, and then Scott abandoned his lookalike wife and their son, and then the lookalike turned out to be a clone who became possessed by evil magics, and then Jean and Scott finally married, and the clone kept dying and reviving, and Scott kept screwing around with other telepaths, and then Jean died some more.

Suffice to say, I now hate Jean Grey. She's an irrelevant joke. And Donna Troy is the Jean Grey of the DC Universe, so it's amazing that I still like her at all.

Donna Troy was created by accident when Teen Titans writer Bob Haney was given permission to use Wonder Girl, the time-traveling teenage version of Princess Diana, without understanding that premise. Unlike Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman was a narcissist who teamed up with versions of herself (including Wonder Tot) and sometimes her mother. The Titans needed a girl to break up the sausage factory, so a separate Wonder Girl came into being, "Donna Troy," to serve that basic function. She became more than token eye candy in the 1980s, but she was still kind of the generic nice girl with a totally gross boyfriend/husband who was outshone by Starfire and Raven on through to Pantha and Mirage. Every major attempt to upgrade Donna just made her story more convoluted and distasteful. Where there was much hullabaloo about former sidekicks like Wally West and Dick Grayson growing out of the shadow of their mentors, Donna managed to recede further into the darkness after being replaced as Wonder Girl by Cassie Sandsmark, not helped by the atrocious codename "Troia" and a series of boring-to-ugly costumes.

The first thing I did when trying to fan cast Troy was to look at people suggested to play Wonder Woman in fan circles, set aside all the strong contenders, and focus on the pretty, likable, middling options I didn't feel needed to be saved for better developed heroines. Minka Kelly would look amazing in spandex with leather boots, could probably pull off some light martial arts, can serve as a totally agreeable screen presence, and would not threaten to take the spotlight from the actual Wonder Woman.

Diabolic Movie Fan Casting