In honor of Mother’s Day, we look back to a time where Princess Diana’s mother had to step in to help her in the field. Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Wonder Woman #129 awaits!
Writer: John Byrne
Artist: John Byrne
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Letterer: John Byrne
Editor: Paul Kupperberg
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.95
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.00
Previously in Wonder Woman: The Crisis on Infinite Earths made a lot of changes to the DC Universe, from adjusting Superman’s power levels to streamlining all the alternate Earths into one overcrowded planet, but one of the most significant was rewriting Wonder Woman’s origins. Arriving in Man’s World years after Superman and Batman became active, she was established as being only 25 years old and learning her place both as an Amazon and as a hero. Ten years into the revamped run, John Byrne took over the book and lamented that Diana wasn’t hundreds of years old, so that he could retroactively inject her into the 40s adventures of the Justice Society.
But, he had a plan…
After a complex series of events (Hippolyta began receiving visions that Diana would die in battle, causing her to reconvene the tournament that chose Wonder Woman, which Diana then lost, leaving Artemis in the role of Wonder Woman while Diana took on her notorious black biker outfit, with the powers of Wonder Woman split between them, leading Artemis to die in battle, with Diana taking on the Wonder Woman mantle again, only to also fall in battle), Diana was welcomed into the Pantheon of Olympus as the Goddess of Truth. The other Olympians were concerned with her ties to the world of mortals, and engineered a situation where Donna Troy, Cassie Sandsmark and Artemis were endangered to teach her a lesson about divinity.
This issue’s narrative is incredible fragmented and hard to follow, moving back and forth in time from the recent past, wherein the gods present Hippolyta with her daughters uniform as well as a sword and shield (which are probably the origin of the modern Wonder Woman’s extensive use of those hand weapons) to the present, where she seeks to save Donna, et al from the machinations of Darkseid. Along the way, Donna gets her shirt ripped off, spending the whole issue in her bra, for some reason, while Cassie and one of her friends unravels the mystery of… EGG FU!
Diana, for her part, arrives just in time to suggest that her mother wear a skirt rather than the bathing suit trunks of Di’s usual Wonder Woman uniform, which is a bit condescending, if you ask me.
Oh, and this issue also features a return of the Invisible Plane, since Hippolyta doesn’t exactly fly. For those keeping score, this is AFTER Diana discovers the strange disc that can shape-shift into pretty much any conveyance but BEFORE they discover that the disc is actually sentient, attacks her, then becomes her floating base and, eventually, a part of Themiscyra itself.
In the present, Cassie, Artemis and topless Donna fight one another while Cassie’s hacker pal Georgia links into the servers of Egg Fu to find that it’s actually Apokaliptian technology. With a couple of jokes about the plot of ‘Independence Day,’ they manage to shut it down, summoning Metron from New Genesis.
There’s even a very meta moment wherein the characters call out the Deus Ex Machina ending of the issue, which doesn’t in any way help to ameliorate what a cliche the ending is. As the issue ends, Hippolyta is officially Wonder Woman, The Demon is about to sacrifice Cassie’s mother for some reason, Diana is the goddess of truth and the plot is officially a trainwreck. Still, it’s an issue that stands as a testament to the tenacity of a fictional mother, leaving Wonder Woman #128 with a very mixed 2.5 out of 5 stars overall, due mostly to some solid art and an interesting redesign of Hippolyta’s costume. With the new WW in place, future issues would have Byrne send her back in time to the 1940s, where she spent eight years serving with the JSA, thus returning a Golden Age Wonder Woman to the official timeline.
From our modern viewpoint, it’s one of several small steps towards the return of the multiverse seen in ’52’ and the Multiversity/Convergence/Rebirth DCU, where there are at least FIVE Earth-2s in play, which may be good or bad depending on whether you enjoy chaotic comics as much as I do.
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WONDER WOMAN #129
Muddy coloring and convoluted plotting mar a story that at least has some solid art in it. Happy Mother's Day!