Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wonder Woman (Vol.1) #218 - July 1975

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The Phantom Stranger watches Wonder Woman perform one of her 12 trials to rejoin the Justice League!

This issue is broken up into two separate stories (both by writer Martin Pasko and artist Kurt Schaffenberger), the first one narrated by Red Tornado, the second by The Phantom Stranger:

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In the crystal ball, the JLA sees their old foe, Felix Faust, as he consults two demons as to why he has continually failed to gain control of America and make its people his slaves.

The demons, speaking in Etrigan-like rhyme, tell Faust that he must rob the American people of their liberty. To help him, they leave behind some ancient texts which Faust consults.

Later, in New York Harbor, Diana Prince is sight-seeing. She sees quite a sight:
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After roping the Statue of Liberty with her Magic Lasso, it shrinks and shrinks until its free of the lasso's grasp. It then takes off, flying away(!), and Wonder Woman gives chase in her invisible plane.

She follows the Statue to an out of the way building, where it is waiting for her. It blasts her, knocking Wonder Woman out. And when she wakes up, she finds herself in the clutches of Faust:

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Luckily, Wonder Woman is able to translate Faust's spell and reverse it, which frees her from her manacles. She chases after Faust, who runs away like a little girl.

Wonder Woman catches up him, and breaks Faust's spell controlling the Statue of Liberty. He tries one last thing, but:
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The Phantom Stranger just isn't a team player, is he?

As you can see, the Stranger does little else than intro this story and then disappear, one of many, many glorified cameos he will make all over the DCU in the next thirty years.

This whole "Trials of Wonder Woman" storyline was odd but innovative. Wonder Woman had to prove to herself and the other JLAers that she was "good enough" to return the team, something they never made Red Tornado or Green Arrow do.

That said, it was cool how each JLAer got their own issue, in a storyline that lasted almost two years, and extraordinarily long sequence for comics at the time. If these issues haven't been collected in a trade, they sure should be!


2 comments:

russell said...

I think this was the third place I ever encountered the Phantom Stranger, after he appeared in JLA #103 & 110. With these three appearances I really started to like him.

By the way, Rob, Wonder Woman herself insisted on the 12 trials, even though the JLA told her she didn't have to prove anything to them. :-) I always wondered if these issues of WW sold better than her normal issues, without the guest-stars.....

rob! said...

I forgot that WW insisted on the trials!

even so, someone at DC came up with idea, which is still a little odd to me, since like i said they didn't make GA, Hawkman, or Red Tornado go through all the rigmarole. :)

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