Monday, July 4, 2016

Podcast: Wonder Woman '77 Special #3

Episode #3

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The currently but not indefinitely bi-annual Diana Prince Wonder Woman podcast returns to look at the third edition of the Wonder Woman '77 Special, as well as the February, 1978 cover-dated Wonder Woman Vol. 37 #240 by Conway & Delbo as a springboard for discussing the Amazing Amazon's long but unrecognized military career in observance of Independence Day 2016!

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Friday, December 25, 2015

The Six O'Clock Follies Wonder Woman

So here's a trivial bit of stocking stuffer: I'm checking out a post on one of my favorite surviving blogs, Armagideon Time about an early '80s media magazine, and he happens to embed the opening credits to The Six O'Clock Follies. It sounds like a sort of proto-Good Morning, Vietnam except done as a half-hour sitcom and absent any political objection to the war (plus it featured a very young Laurence Fishburne instead of a seven years less young Forest Whitaker.) Anyway, at the tail end of this already very odd and probably rather offensive-in-its-inoffense dealio, out comes Aarika Wells as a weather girl wearing the Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman costume from 1974. Sure, it's been modified (covered the embroidered golden eagle on the left breast with a U.S. flag patch) and re-accessorized (ditched the bracelets, belt and blue tights; traded black vinyl boots for white go-gos) but that hideous red vest-skirt-thing with star-spangled blue sleeves and yellow trim is unmistakable. It just goes to show how far geek culture has come that there was a time folks could get away with treating a super-heroine costume as just another garment in studio wardrobe to be recycled.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Podcast: Wonder Woman '77 Special #2

Episode #2

Five months later, the Diana Prince Wonder Woman podcast returns for a second installment! We'll discuss that, including plans to rev up the show's production in 2016. Diabolu Frank spends most of the episode dressing down The Cheetah, then moves on to the brief return of the 1970s Wonder Woman television series' digital-first comic book adaptation, as well as addressing your lengthy, lovely letters.

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We don't have a Magic Sphere, so if you want to communicate with us about the podcast...

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Podcast: Wonder Woman '77 Special #1

Episode #1

After a nearly year long hiatus, the Diana Prince as the New Wonder Woman blog is revived in podcast form! Diabolu Frank spends most of the debut episode prattling on about his lifetime experiences with the Amazing Amazon, but wraps things up reviewing the 1970s Wonder Woman television series' short-lived digital first comic book adaptation

We don't have a Magic Sphere, so if you want to communicate with us about the podcast...

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or Internet Archive

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