My repeated observation (here and here) about reareding George Perez’ reboot of Wonder Woman is that the stories have been good but not quite as good as they seemed at the time. The run I’m covering now, from #20 through #35 is by contrast a lot better, though it doesn’t start off that way. “Who Killed Myndi Mayer?” has Wonder Woman and the Boston PD investigate the death of the flamboyant publicist for the Wonder Woman Foundation. It’s competently done, but it ends being an anti-drug preachment (cocaine! Cocaine is the killer!). And Myndi was such a mismatch with Diana, I’d have liked to see them spend more time together.
Next we get a story that will have repercussions for a while: the gods decide to leave Olympus due to Darkseid corrupting it (I forget which Big Event that was) and so with Wonder Woman’s help, they depart (Perez drew this one and the visuals are great) for a New Olympus. Hermes, however, stays behind, feeling that the gods should be doing more to help humanity rather than sitting on New Olympus gazing into their own navels. He sets up his own church in Boston, hands out miracles like Halloween candy, but unfortunately the last of the Gorgons and the ancient, accursed murderer Ixion have plans to exploit the situation … This leads to lots of discussion about gods, faith and religion but it doesn’t get overbearing. Afterwards, Hermes sticks around, eventually moving in with Steve, but stops trying to attract followers. Meanwhile the Amazons begin debating whether it’s time to open their island to outsiders, ultimately deciding yes.
Then we get a crossover with the Invasion! event, which brings Diana into the Justice League for the first time in post-Crisis continuity and lets her work with more of DC’s female heroes. And then we get a huge plotline that runs just about all of year three. It starts with Barbara Minerva, the latest version of the Cheetah, using two alien warriors left behind at the end of the Invasion to help her steal Diana’s magic lasso.
Setting off in pursuit, Diana winds up in Egypt where she gets the lowdown on the Cheetah’s origin from her aide, Chuma. She also discovers the existence of Bana-Mighdal, an isolated community of Amazons, vastly more brutal than the women of Themiscrya. They sell weapons and mercenary services, reproduce by kidnapping men (as most of the locals are Middle Eastern, these Amazons are dark-skinned) and dispose ruthlessly of anyone who gets in their way. Eventually Diana learns that when Circe arranged the murder of Theseus’ Amazon wife Antiope a handful of Amazons there completely misinterpreted events, turning them hostile to both the men and women of the outside world. Diana tries to explain the error but since none of them know Hippolyta is still alive, they don’t believe Diana’s claim to be her daughter — come on, she’d be thousands of years old! Wonder Woman has to battle the Amazons, the Cheetah and then when she finally wins over the queen, an angry usurper murders the queen and sends out Shim’tar, a seemingly ustoppable warrior woman who kicks Diana’s butt hard. Ultimately, with the help of Hermes, she discovers Shim’tar is powered by the Girdle of Gaia, linked to Diana’s lasso, so by pitting the lasso’s pure energy against Shim’tar’s tainted abuse of the Girdle, Wonder Woman destroys her foe. Bana Mighdal is apparently destroyed, though I believe it (or at least its former inhabitants) turn up again.
There’s a lot of spectacular action without losing any of the character bits Perez’ run was noted for. I do think the art goes down some after he stops penciling it, but overall this is a great stretch to reread.
#SFWApro. Covers by Perez, all rights remain with current holders.