Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Silver Age: Teen Titans (July, 2000)

In an adventure set during the early days of the Teen Titans, Wonder Girl Donna Troy was helping her friends read their fan mail, and said of one solicitation to take her to the prom, "Ha ha ha. Tell him my eight-foot alien boyfriend doesn't like me dating other guys." An autocratic lawman at the beachfront property of the ultra-rich Seaside used hi-tech mind control and a well armed masked gestapo to create a town of Stepford teens. Individual young people manage to temporarily rebel and send letters seeking the aid of the Titans. Wonder Girl suffered the archer Speedy's incessant flirtations while investigating with Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad. Soon, the team was forced to battle Sheriff John Law's police force, captured, and tortured. In Wonder Girl's case, she was held in space by magnetic poles repelling shackles holding her arms and legs. With Robin unable to think, Speedy came up with a plan that used Donna's magnets to help free the team. Donna complimented Speedy, which only invited more advances.

Meanwhile, the alien Agamemno caused the foes of the Justice League of America to swap bodies with our young heroes' mentors. Batman in The Penguin's body, Aquaman in Black Manta's, and Flash in Mr. Element's sought help from their charges, but found that they were off on a mission. Tracing the Titans to Seaside, the trip was unable to convince their wards of their true identities, and a three way clash ensued involving Sheriff Law and the Titans themselves being mind-controlled. Eventually, "The Penguin" helped Robin overcome his conditioning and capture Law's men, while the Sheriff himself appeared to perish and the "villains" made their escape. In a story largely centered on Robin, the Boy Wonder never does manage to figure out that Batman and Penguin have swapped places, despite some rather arch tells. "The Tyrannical Terror of Sheriff Law" was by Marv Wolfman, Pat Oliffe, and Andrew Hennessy. For my taste, there were far too many turnabouts without much actual progress, and the premise was exactly the sort of arch throwaway nonsense that makes me continue to avoid actual Silver Age Titans material. Oliffe draws a lovely Donna, but she isn't given much to do.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Episode #18

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Pekita Trotamundos joins Frank to discuss Angela Robinson's new film about Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, his wife Elizabeth, and their extended family member Olive Byrne (as portrayed by Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall & Bella Heathcote.) We also look deeper into the factual history of the Amazing Amazon's creation and charges of historical inaccuracy leveled against the docudrama.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Noble Pyrates All

Episode #17

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This episode, Frank covers the first major arc of the William Messner-Loebs run, "Exile in Space," which ran in Wonder Woman vol. 2 (1987 series) #66-71 (1992-1993.) Since nobody actually refers to the "Space Pirates" story by that name, we'll use the story title from #69 instead. This is one of Frank's favorite legends of the Amazing Amazon, featuring art by Paris Cullins and a host of inkers, with an especially epic series of Brian Bolland covers. This time, the show will run without commercial interruption.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Whom Gods Destroy featuring Chris Claremont

Episode #16

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This episode, we look at a pair of the very few Elseworlds out-of-continuity "imaginary stories" with Wonder Woman as a billed star. First we adapt previous coverage of 2003's The Blue Amazon one-shot special by Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier with art by Ted McKeever. The core of the episode is a fresh look at 1996's Superman/Wonder Woman: Whom Gods Destroy prestige format 4-issue mini-series by Chris Claremont, Dusty Abell and Drew Geraci. As a special bonus, coverage includes excerpts from a 2016 interview with the writer discussing this project.

This episode's non-paying advertiser: We don't have a Magic Sphere, so if you want to communicate with us about the podcast...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Darkness Within (1992)

Episode #15

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Eclipso and The White Magician are the focus of our newest episode and latest entry into a social media crossover, Best Event Ever 2017. Besides the William Messner-Loebs scripted Wonder Woman Annual #3, we also see Princess Diana in Justice League America Annual #6, The Adventures of Superman Annual #4, and Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2 plus the Justice League cartoon series episode "Eclipsed" from 2003. As a service to the event, we also look at the Eclipso-only stories from Deathstroke the Terminator Annual #1, The New Titans Annual #8, and of all things, Ambush Bug Nothing Special #1.

#BestEventEver Eclipso

  1. Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1

    Chris Is On Infinite Earths

  2. Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  3. Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #1

    Resurrections-An Adam Warlock Podcast Episode 61

  4. Green Lantern Annual #1

    For the Non-Discerning Reader

  5. Detective Comics Annual #5

    For the Non-Discerning Reader

  6. Superman Annual #4

    For the Non-Discerning Reader

  7. Justice League America Annual #6

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  8. The Demon Annual #1

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  9. The Flash Annual #5

    Coffee & Comics Podcast

  10. Action Comics Annual #4

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  11. Wonder Woman Annual #3

    Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman

  12. Green Arrow Annual #5

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  13. Robin Annual #1

    Chris Is On Infinite Earths

  14. Hawkworld Annual #3

    Pop Culture Palace Presents

  15. Deathstroke: The Terminator Annual #1

    Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman

  16. The New Titans Annual #8

    Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman

  17. Justice League Europe Annual #3

    Resurrections-An Adam Warlock Podcast Episode 62

  18. Batman Annual #16

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  19. L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 Annual #3

    I'm the Gun

  20. The Adventures of Superman Annual #4

    Professor Alan's Comic Book Reading Journal

  21. Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2

    I'm the Gun

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spirit of Truth & Justice (2001-2007)

Episode #14

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JLMay 2017-- The Justice maxi-series Podcast Crossover Event is over, but Frank offers a bitter little pill of an epilogue as he discusses Alex Ross' Wonder Woman work in Kingdom Come along with synopses of Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth (2001) and Justice (2005-2007).

From here follow JLMay 2017 to these fantastic podcasts! Each will cover a different issue of JUSTICE and each will come out in May! And don’t forget to use the hashtag #JLMay when discussing on social media!
  1. Aquaman and Firestorm: The Fire and Water Podcast ep. 193
  2. Super Mates 70: The Husband & Wife Geekcast!
  3. The Idol Head of Diabolu: A Martian Manhunter Podcast #30
  4. Views from the Longbox Episode 263: A somewhat regular podcast about comic books.
  5. Pulp 2 Pixel Podcast: Secret Sagas of the Multiverse #26
  6. The LanternCast Episode #279: The Foremost Green Lantern Podcast on the Internet!
  7. Shazamcast: Earth's Mightiest Captain Marvel Podcast
  8. Comic Reflections (Weekly Discussion of Gold, Silver, and Bronze age Comics)
  9. Silver and Gold 28: The Booster Gold and Captain Atom Podcast
  10. The Power of Fishnets 22: The Black Canary and Zatanna Podcast
  11. Waiting for Doom (The Doom Patrol Podcast) Episode 95
  12. Justice’s First Dawn: A Classic Justice League of America Podcast

This episode's non-paying advertisers:
  • Trekker Talk A fan podcast devoted to the adventures of 23rd century bounty hunter Mercy St. Clair from the pages of Trekker comics by creator, writter, and artist Ron Randall
  • Coffee & Comics Podcast with Caffeinated Clinton Robison
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Justice Volume Three (2007)

"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.

This 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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

"Justice, Vol. 3," collecting the last four issues of the 2005-2007 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.