Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Personal Archive, I

Wait, They Did What?

Though I wasn't a reader of DC comics when I was a boy, this cover certainly grabbed my attention. I knew who Wonder Woman was, of course, but had never read a comic book in which she played a major role. And, as I remember it, I hadn't yet discovered cynicism, because I actually paid for JLA #128 believing that I would soon learn of the circumstances surrounding Wonder Woman's demise.

The splash page sets things up in dramatic fashion:

However, careful observers will note that the Green Arrow isn't quite looking like himself, and neither is Batman. (In fact, they're both striking that Macauley Culkin pose from Home Alone.)

Before long we learn that Nekron's fear mojo has the rest of the JLA cowering for their lives to such an extent that they've all decided to quit.

So, following the "nothing is actually as it appears" rule, rather than a comic about Wonder Woman being cast out into the wilderness, she's pretty much the only character in the book who acts like a superhero.

As I said, I read this comic prior to my caring about being manipuated or jerked around. In fact, I followed the various twists and turns with interest, and I didn't feel cheated at all. I liked how Wonder Woman worked out what was really going on. And, even though the JLA rejected her, she turned it around, inspired them, and carried the team into battle during the showdown with the villain.

On another level, I was pleased to have consumed the book because it provided me with much-needed DC cred for those crucial out-of-school arguments about comics and superheroes. In future, whenever the discussion shifted to the DCU, I'd finally have something to contribute. Did you hear? Wonder Woman saved the entire JLA.

Man, I suppose that tells you how much I understood about schoolyard cred: Wonder Woman's actions got me absolutely nowhere in those testosterone-driven arguments about the coolness of particular superheroes. The Amazon princess was pretty much ignored by my circle of friends, until the Linda Carter TV show had its (ambiguous) impact and provided some measure of vindication.

I LOVED this issue, and the run on Justice League of America in that era in general. Whenever I have happy thoughts about my youth and comics reading, JLA and Dick Dillin's art is right on the top of my list.

Since Wonder Woman is my favorite character, I was immediately seduced by the fact she was coming back to the team after her "trials" in her book to prove her worthiness. At the time, this issue was just icing on the cake for me.

Good call, Melchior, and Happy Easter!
Thanks, Heidi!

It's funny that re-reading comics definitely conjures up specific periods in my life, too. (Kind of like hearing old music.)
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