Legends say that Princess Diana defeated all the other Amazons in a competition to become their ambassador to the outside world. But that wasn’t the ONLY time she had to earn her role… Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Wonder Woman #93 awaits!
Writer: William Messner-Loebs
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Paul Kupperberg
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $6.00
Previously in Wonder Woman: Centuries ago, the Amazon tribes split, with one group staying on Themiscyra and another moving to Egypt, where they founded the Bana-Mighdall tribe. By the 20th century, their greatest warrior was Artemis, a six-foot redhead whose ideas on justice are much more visceral than Diana’s. After seeing visions of a terrible death for Wonder Woman, Queen Hippolyta called for a new competition in the hopes of saving her daughter from death, leading to Diana being bested in combat by Artemis in the previous issue. As this adventure opens, Artemis is gifted with the tools she will use as Wonder Woman: Gauntlets of Atlas to increase her strength tenfold, and the Sandals of Hermes, allowing high-speed flight…
The real story of this series of events is a bit more mercenary: The Death of Superman replaced the Man of Steel with several other Supermen, boosting the sales and getting the attention of fans in a way that the staid DC heroes hadn’t been in those heady post-Image debut days. It wasn’t long before Batman was replaced with a new Dark Knight, just a few months before this issue, leading to another bump in sales and interest, leading to Diana’s turn in the “replacement hero” spotlight. Back in the story proper, an angry Diana confronts her mother, still unaware that Hippolyta is trying to protect her, angrily trying to figure out what her mother is playing at (and also fearing that rumors that her true father was Hercules are true, which would mean her mother has been lying to her all her life) before storming off in a huff. Returning home to Boston, Wonder Woman just wants to get back to her normal life, but since Artemis has now taken over a major part of that life, things go poorly. After a week, a super-villain attack in the city brings out its protector, Wonder Woman!
Version 2.0, mind you…
I’m going to be honest here, it’s REALLY hard to figure out what’s happening in the pages of Wonder Woman #93, as Deodato’s layouts are focused on doing wild, weird stuff without enough fundamentals to keep it all focused. Some of the full-page spreads are quite pretty thought, and the basic gist is a team of super-villains blowing things up while Artemis kicks the bajeezus out of them, until a giant rock-creature pops up to attack. Then, it becomes clear that Artemis isn’t working alone.
I admit it, that’s a pretty impressive page, even with the questionable proportions of Diana, and as dated as the biker-bikini look is, it’s not a bad looking suit. (At least, not a bad looking suit by 1995 standards.) Then, we get a weird moment wherein AFTER having gone into action for the first time, Wonder Woman is gifted the costume she just wore into battle by her friends.
While the old Wonder Woman worries about money, the new Wonder Woman moves to New York and signs up with a PR firm to get the news about the new take on the Amazons’ mission for peace with Man’s World. In a nice bit of foreshadowing of Artemis’ ideas on justice and violence, we get to watch this on a screen covered in blood…
This ends up being because Wonder Woman’s aforementioned private investigator friend is being beaten senseless by thugs. When Diana arrives, they mock her for her peaceful mission, only to have her kick the hell out of them in a rage before telling Micah the private eye that she is going to partner with him, in return for fifty percent of the take. Wonder Woman #93 is a book that starts awkwardly AND ends abruptly but has some nice moments in between, muted by an artist focused on channeling Jim Lee’s work on WildCATS rather than storytelling, earning an unsuccessful-but-not-terrible 2 out of 5 stars overall. The idea is a sound one, though, and I wonder what might have come of Artemis with a different art team or fewer echoes of Jean-Paul Valley as Batman.