Some say that a true hero doesn’t need powers, a costume or any sort of “magic lasso” to fight against those who would do harm upon the world.  Diana Prince, former Amazon princess, is one of those people, but can she overcome the forces of Doctor Cyber single-handedly?  Your Major Spoilers (retro) review awaits!

 

SUMMARY

Pros
Dick Giordano = A+ art!
Fun, atypical stuff


Cons

Plot is a bit muddy.
Hard to change your expectations of a Wonder Woman tale…

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

READER RATING!

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WonderWoman200CoverWONDER WOMAN #200
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Dick Giordano
Cover Artist: Jeff Jones
Letterer: Uncredited
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 25 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $120.00

Previously in Wonder Woman:  After giving up her Amazon heritage (and the powers that go with it), Diana Prince relocated to the West Coast and started her own clothing boutique.  Though her intentions were to give up the heroic life, the world had other plans for the former Wonder Woman.  Under the tutelage of the enigmatic I Ching, Diana has become a student of Kung Fu and other disciplines, and run afoul of a number of lunatics.  She has also struck up an awkward friendship/courtship with one Jonny Double, a detective of ill-repute.  Last time ’round, Diana and Jonny tracked a mysterious criminal to far-off mountains, at which point their “employer” turned on them and shot Jonny in the chest!

Luckily, it wasn’t fatal…

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Her quick action makes short work of their assailant, but Jonny correctly assesses that the man has to have come from nearby, given his lack of protection from the cold of the mountainous region.  Trying to follow the trail, Jonny suddenly sees a dog in the snow, assuming it to be a Saint Bernard, trained to save lost travelers.  (As an aside, did anybody outside of comics and/or Woody Woodpecker cartoons ever actually DO this?)  Diana’s keen eye recognizes that something is strange with the beast, however…

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I…  it…  there…

…exploding dog.  Soooo…  that happened.  As odd as this seems, that particular plot point reminds me of one of the clear influences on this particular Wonder Woman run, the UK television series, The Avengers.  Steed and Peel’s overtones are also seen in the flirtation ‘twixt our male & female leads, as well as in Diana’s catsuits, and especially as they track their assailant to a small cabin, which hides a dangerous secret within.

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You have to love Dick Giordano’s art, especially the defiant pose and expression in Panel 4, giving Diana a sense of menace and purpose that was occasionally missing from her contemporary super-powered adventures.  After discovering that the cabin is full of painting of beautiful women, all of which have been defaced, (literally, the faces have been cut/scratched out) Diana and Jonny have a quiet semi-romantic moment before they track down the villains’ plane and get out of the freezing cold…

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Who is this mysterious shrouded madwoman?  And why has she set such an elaborate trap for Diana Prince?  And does she have any nigh-impossible death-traps set up to drop Wonder Woman into her clutches?

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Oooof course she does.  And, she also has a basement full of gorgeous young women, all seemingly hypnotized into unconsciousness…

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Diana is quickly bombarded by electric blasts from the ceiling, knocking her unconscious, and once again demonstrating our mysterious villain’s commitment to James Bond villainy, old-school.  Awakening some time later, Diana is faced with the one who put the whole plan in motion, a woman she knows, though the face isn’t quite familiar…

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She looks kinda like Princess Leia in Jabba’s palace, doesn’t she?  Either that, or a Breen.  Either way, Doctor Cyber reveals that her crusade against Wonder Woman (and her destruction of pretty girl paintings) are all behind her, as she has been capturing the most beautiful women she can, so that her associate Doctor Moon can put her brain in a new, beautiful body.  And now, she has the perfect candidate:  The Amazing Amazon herself!

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It’s kind of interesting to see Jonny acting like the traditional female companion to a hero, especially in this context, but more impressive is how Diana uses her newfound mastery of the Yoga trance to foil the villainous Doctors…

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Jonny Double leaps into action, and though chained, manages to drop Cyber’s goon squad before they can overwhelm Wonder Woman, leaving Diana to face her old foe mano-a-mano…

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Doctor Cyber’s madness causes her to flail wildly against her much-more-skilled opponent, and Wonder Woman responds by using judo to redirect the attack…

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…allowing Doctor Cyber to get the James Bond ironic demise, fitting the tone of the adventure.  Though some consider this to be one of the dark periods of Wonder Woman’s history, I wholly disagree, finding the use of 60s spycraft tropes and the Bruce-Lee-driven kung-fu craze to interesting ends, even without costumes and super-strength.  If you can get away from the expectations of a Wonder Woman story (especially the modern focus on her Amazon heritage), these tales can makes for good readin’, and this issue is one of the better illustrated one.  Wonder Woman #200 is odd, certainly, and perhaps the lack of red, white and blue costume is hard to get over, but once you do, it’s a good 70s-style chunk of story, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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2 Comments

  1. Oldcomicfan
    October 14, 2013 at 6:43 am — Reply

    I actually remember this story from back in the day. It was one of the better ones with the de-powered Wonder Woman, though now that I look on it again, the mod swinging hipster clothes and the mod hipster judo moves and mod hipster yoga really date the thing. It was if the writer was going down the check list of mod happening topics and making it a point to cram it all in. The fact that all the women have wasp waists and Cadillac bumper bullet chests is kind of annoying, too. It was like the penciller only knew how to draw one female body type.

    I didn’t keep buying this comic long after this particular issue, because a Wonder Woman without powers or an Amazonian heritage was really entirely pointless. You might as well have been reading a Modesty Blaise comic or watching Emma Peel in the Avengers – fine things in their own right but definitely NOT Wonder Woman. When I think back on it, I think I read these comics originally because I was curious about how long the stunt of taking away her powers would last – I figured maybe an issue or two at most – but the stories were surprisingly good, when all was said and done, but not good enough to overcome the basic flaw of taking away everything that made Wonder Woman special in the first place.

  2. caprice
    October 14, 2013 at 11:48 pm — Reply

    1968 to 1973 The storyline lasted five years…The biggest reader of this time was Jerry Lewis, the celebrity…that DC comics allowed to appear in Wonder Woman as himself which brought a huge amount of money even today sales on ebay. The Amazon without power. The reason why she without power,she had given up her Amazon strength her immortality so she could fall in love with a mortal Steve Trevor. If she had done without given up the gods would taken her powers her strength away from her and ability to block bullets with her bracelets…she was not allowed to have romance with a mortal male.

    Emma Peel from the Avengers was hot show, so was her clothes played by Jame Bond girl Diana Riggs. It was first British crossover to the United States.

    Fans at this time requested Wonder Woman have options to wear different clothes…tired of her wearing same clothes over and over.

    The last episode where she had gotten her powers back, she and Iching were exploring a mob’s mansion, it explores, she is in the hospital dying…Her mother Queen Hippolyta uses her powers her equipment she is on Paradise Island…when Wonder Woman had awaken she was back in the hospital and she knew she was back being full power Wonder Woman.

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