All I can say is: It was the Sixties.  Things were different then.  Your Major Spoilers (retro) review of Wonder Woman #157 and #158 awaits!

WW157157CoverWONDER WOMAN #157/#158
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Penciler: Ross Andru
Inker: Mike Esposito
Editor: Robert Kanigher
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 12 Cents/12 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $160.00/$160.00

Previously in Wonder Woman:  The Silver Age of Comics was an… unusual time for speculative fiction.  Nearly 30 years into the superhero genre, comics sales were once again on the upswing, thanks to upstart Marvel Comics and their more realistic (which is to say angstier and somewhat less formulaic) story-telling.  A rising tide lifts all ships, though, and DC Comics was feeling its Silver Age oats as well, with new characters, fresh creators and cool ideas rushing about.

And then, there was Egg-Fu.  Before we get too far into this’n, I want to address an elephant that’s about to enter the room:  Egg-Fu is a ridiculous character who demonstrates some unpleasant stereotypes of behavior and accent, which are terribly dated and potentially offensive.  Please continue at your own discretion, ’cause it’s gonna get dumb in ways that we usually don’t here in Retro Review corner.  We begin with military ace pilot and all-around standup guy Steve Trevor being given a seeeecret mission…

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Before Diana can swing her magic lasso and transform into her Amazon alter-ego, Steve Trevor bursts into her office with a shocking (and, to be frank, REALLY unfair) request: Knowing that this mission is likely his last, he wants Lieutenant Prince to stand in for his lady-love, Wonder Woman long enough for him to say his goodbyes and romantical finalities and such.  I have a great deal of trouble imagining that this is acceptable Air Force protocol, to be honest, but soon our hero and her paramour are alone on a deserted beach…

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As the villainous soldiers from an unidentified-but-almost-certainly-mortified country attack, Diana is thrilled that the distraction will allow her to transform and say goodbye to her boyfriend properly.  Before she can do so, though, one of the saboteurs catches her in the temple with a lucky shot, knocking her out.  Steve Trevor wades into the surf and defeats all three men, only to find that they are each booby-trapped to EXPLODE if captured!  With his quarry out of reach, Trevor returns to his injured lieutenant…

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In the year 2014, the idea of a soldier using one of his comrades as a romantic proxy is troubling, but having just watched Trevor spout non-specific racial slurs for a page-and-a-half, I’m not particularly in his corner anyway.  Steve sets off for his classified mission, while Diana transforms to her super-heroic self and trails him into the field in the hopes of keeping him safe from whatever threat awaits him…

The threat known as…  Egg-Fu.

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Oy gevalt…  Thankfully, they never identify specifically what nationality Egg-Fu is “supposed” to represent, and while it’s pretty easy to puzzle it all out, I prefer to think of Oolong Island as a lost tribe of orange Venusians, distantly related to J’onn Jonnz and J’emm, Son Of Saturn.  Steve Trevor enters aerial combat with the pilots of Oolong, and Wonder Woman is quickly drawn into the fray as well…

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Wonder Woman is side-tracked fighting a submarine that fires torpedoes that fire smaller torpedoes.  That’s not a typo, nor are you having some sort of attack.  It’s literally the plot.  While she’s occupied, Steve Trevor sacrifices his plane to get up-to-date intelligence on the army massing at Oolong…

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Our intrepid pilot is captured and brought before Oolong’s leader, and…

…remember how I warned you that things get dumb?

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Egg-Fu uses his mighty powers to infuse Steve with… Atomic Explosive Force.  Which, in turn, turns Steve into an atomic bomb and gives him the ability to fly, which allows him to escape Oolong Island and even use his newfound super-powers to chase down Egg-Fu’s nefarious rocket, aimed at the United States.  Then, our hero returns from her undersea adventures…

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Steve and Wonder Woman combine their powers to smash Egg-Fu’s atomic weapon, and are utterly annihilated in a heroic blaze of glory!  Fortunately, Queen Hippolyta keeps her daughter’s atoms numbered for just such an emergency…

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After reconstitution, Wonder Woman and Colonel Trevor are both so charged with atomic power that the slightest touch sets off a massive explosion of pure force!  So, of course, they immediately begin forgetting about this fact, and constantly blowing $#!+ up so they can canoodle…

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Wonder Woman *is* able to get her beau off the island without triggering Athena’s wrath (and, coincidentally, ending her super-powers and the immortality of her people) but Steve once again forgets about the whole “blowing up if I touch her” part and goes in for a kiss while Wonder Woman is unconscious (which is actually pretty disturbing in and of itself.)

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KA-BOOM!  ATOMIC KISS POWER ATTACK!  Of course, she immediately grabs his hand to check that he’s okay, causing another massive explosion…  It’s like watching the monkeys at the base of the Monolith trying to play chess, I swear.  Our (atomic) Power Couple remember not to touch long enough to set off for Oolong again, in the hopes that Egg-Fu can help them discharge their energy safely.  Egg-Fu, for his part, is prepared…

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Together, Steve and Diana decimate Egg-Fu’s forces, whose dialogue is so incredibly dull-witted and stereotypical that I can’t even show you the fight in good conscience.  Suffice to say, it ends with our idiot heroes kissing again, having forgotten for the FIFTH TIME in less than five hours that they’re explosive.

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Chop Suey…  is actually an American dish.  Well-played, Soldier Of Oolong!  Maybe you guys *AREN’T* all big dumb Yellow Peril archetypes, after all!  Of course, Steve Trevor immediately kicks in his casual racism right afterwards, which kind of kills any of the goodwill writer Bob Kanigher might have created with that moment of self-awareness.  Wonder Woman makes short work of the phalanx of tanks, smashing them with her bare, magical, now-atomically-charged hands before she and Steve are ambushed by Egg-Fu…

Let me reiterate: They are ambushed.  By a completely STATIONARY, fifty-foot-tall cyborg egg.  Our hero is NOT putting in a very good showing this time around…

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Knocked silly by the repeated explosions she’s weathered after impacting her nuclear boyfriend, Wonder Woman barely awakens in time to realize that there’s a piece of anti-matter…

…I’m sorry, I’ll read that again.  Wonder Woman revives just in time to find a piece of anti-matter hurtling at her from…  Space, I guess?

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The anti-matter reacts with their atomically-infused power and something something Stephen Hawking is probably crying, we’re all back to normal!  Wonder Woman then seemingly realizes that there’s only a page left in the story and…

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…crushes Egg-Fu’s skull with her magic lasso!  That is HARDCORE…  The story doesn’t really definitively explain what it is that kills Egg-Fu, other than “force”, but it leaves us with the strong implication that Wonder Woman literally crushed his head, then flew away smiling with her no-longer-explosive boyfriend, and based on their faces in that last panel, I suspect that there may be a little Wey-Hey-Hey-Hey in their future.  Either way, the upshot of it all is: This is one DUMB comic-book.  I have always tried to keep historical context in play when we review the comics of far-away times, but there’s little excuse for this.  When this book came out in 1965, Spider-Man was warring with The Green Goblin; The X-Men were meeting up with the Sentinels for the first time, on their way to becoming a metaphor for oppressed populations; Metamorpho was having swinging adventures, The Fantastic Four had just met the Inhumans, and Nick Fury was fighting World War II with a fully-integrated force of Howling Commandoes…  In short, it was FAR past the time in which a rock-stupid and racially insensitive villain could show up in an issue full of strange gender-politics and bone-headed plays by a hero who really should have known better.  Wonder Woman #157 & #158 were followed IMMEDIATELY by (and this is not a joke) a full-scale reboot of the character, her cast and her adventures, which should really tell you all you need to know about Egg-Fu, and leaving these issues with a combined 2 out of 5 stars overall.  At least Ross Andru put in some lovely work on the art…

All I can say is: It was the Sixties.  Things were different then.  Your Major Spoilers (retro) review of Wonder Woman #157 and #158 awaits! WONDER WOMAN #157/#158 Writer: Robert Kanigher Penciler: Ross Andru Inker: Mike Esposito Editor: Robert Kanigher Publisher: DC Comics Cover Price: 12 Cents/12 Cents Current Near-Mint Pricing: $160.00/$160.00 Previously in Wonder Woman:  The Silver Age of Comics was an... unusual time for speculative fiction.  Nearly 30 years into the superhero genre, comics sales were once again on the upswing, thanks to upstart Marvel Comics and their more realistic (which is to say angstier and somewhat less…
An unusually tense and romantic issue, but... Oy vey, Egg-Fu!

WONDER WOMAN #157/#158

Writing
Art
Coloring

An unusually tense and romantic issue, but... Oy vey, Egg-Fu!

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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. October 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    Wow, Egg-Fu beats even Flash curly ‘stace villains. Also, it proves that you can put “Fu” in pretty much everything. Oh, I also noticed that Wonder Woman sure cries a lot in these comics. I guess its the idea of her being woman, thus shes sensitive emotionally..

    • October 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm — Reply

      I can forgive her for the crying here, given that the man she left her entire world for was likely to die a horrible, unseen death…

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