It’s time for another retro review and, fancying a spot of pre-Crisis Wonder Woman, this cover popped straight into my head. It’s a typically wonderful effort by José Luis García-López, inked by Vince Colletta, featuring probably Diana’s most famous villain.
This issue appeared during the Seventies run of the TV show, specifically the first season, when Lynda Carter fought Nazi criminals in the Second World War. In a bid for extra sales, the comic moved from stories focused on Earth One, modern day Diana to tales centred on her Earth Two counterpart. Well, sort of… the hair and costume were identical to the contemporary version, Steve Trevor has Lyle Waggoner-style brown hair, there’s no sign of Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls, and Diana Prince is as wet as the early Silver Age version.
The Cheetah, though, is pretty Golden Age accurate, if you ignore Priscilla Rich’s hair.
The Washington DC banquet is interrupted by an isolationist attacking President Roosevelt. He didn’t expect Wonder Woman to make the scene!
Priscilla, meanwhile, is embroiled in her own drama.
Next day, resistance is useless as Priscilla’s personality is pushed away by the Cheetah’s nefarious needs, and an encounter with Wonder Woman engineered.
But how can the Cheetah possibly learn who her enemy is? She does what all organised folk do – she makes a list!
And then she makes a plan.
The villain may, though, be undone by her other self.
Priscilla doesn’t want Wonder Woman dead, but she would quite like to see the back of her… no Amazing Amazon, no trigger for the Cheetah to pop up.
And with that, Wonder Woman is locked away. A week later, though, Priscilla is perturbed to find that Steve Trevor is going to fill in for the missing heroine. Fearing he’ll fall victim to the bomb business, she has no choice but to bring back Wonder Woman.
Of course, that also means a comeback for her spottier self.
As the enemies grapple, the director calls ‘Cut!’ for a pretty peculiar reason.
Happily, Diana arrives in time to save the day before resuming the fight with her feline foe.
Soon, the Cheetah is heading for the Amazons’ Transformation Island and, hopefully, an appointment with sanity. And back at the office…
Well, that was a fun done-in-one from writer Martin Pasko, penciller José Delbo, inker Vince Colletta, colourist Jerry Serpe and letterer John Workman. The original Cheetah visual is pure comic book joy while the melodrama of a dual personality never grows old. The soapiness of the Diana/Steve interaction is pretty tiresome, but at least Wonder Woman is rightly confident in her abilities, jumping straight into what she rightly assumes is a trap. I love the cleverness of the Cheetah’s schemes and the gentler approach of her alter ego to removing Wonder Woman from her life.
José Delbo drew Diana for a massive chunk of the Bronze Age yet I never hear praise for his run. I’m a fan of his clean lines and there’s a terrific dynamism to his fight scenes. This time, I especially like his page of Cheetah in spy mode, that’s an effective layout. Vince Colletta’s inks are sharp… the keylines around figures are perhaps a little more defined than necessary, but not actively annoying. Jerry Serpe’s colours are fine, there was little scope for effects in the Seventies, but letterer John Workman is able to get creative with Cheetah’s clawed balloons.
The only thing I hate about this issue is the second line of the new opening legend that debuted the previous issue…talk about American exceptionalism!
Wonder Woman #230 could hardly be described as essential reading but it’s an entertaining time passer… worth a look, certainly.
12 thoughts on “Retro Review: Wonder Woman #230”
I miss this version of the Cheetah! I don’t think I ever really differentiated between the golden and silver age versions of the character (I mean… I think they were different characters, but they kinda blended in my head whenever I saw them), but I always enjoyed her. Perez’ version had its own charms while he was on the book, but in the time since he’s left the series, she’s just kinda become a little one-note. Or a lot one note. All cat… no woman.
I loved the Golden Age Cheetah, also Bronze Age niece replacement Debbie Domaine, I’ve a real liking for villains who didn’t choose that path, which covers both Priscilla and Debbie.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I loved the WW2 issues of Wonder Woman as much as I did the Invaders and was sorry to see it end. Both series trivialized Nazis and the war but as long as you kept that in mind, they were so much fun!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Indeed! And once the JSA-ers started showing up, things got even better.
Bronze Age Wonder Woman is the cheese in my Ploughman, yet everytime I go back to read a run of these issues, I understand once again why she needed rebooting post Crisis (though I am convinced that all she really needed was a great creative team, not a complete start over).
Jose Delbo suffered for most of his run on WW from uninspiring inking (I have seen other work by him from before his time on WW, and it is excellent), and Colleta was probably the worst of the inkers he was teamed with, though I am also pretty down on any teaming with Giella too.
I recently started reading the Jack C Harris issues, having a bit of a hankering for Diana as astronaut, but that was a mistake. I am next planning to jump ahead to the Conway run, and the intro of Debbie Domaine as The Cheetah; I am pretty sure, if memory serves, that those issues are at least decent.
How did you feel about the Dan Mishkin issue’s, Terence? I thought he did a wonderful job of capturing a modern Diana, I wasn’t happy at all that she was replaced by a childlike heroine. Plus, no gremlin from the Kremlin!
I don’t really remember much of the Mishkin run, but I have fond memories of Mindy Newell’s brief stint just prior to Crisis, especially how she developed the relationship between Diana (Prince) and Etta Candy. Once I’ve done the Conway run, I’ll jump over Roy Thomas’ turgid time on the Amazing Amazon (also not a fan of Gene Colan on WW), and give the Mishkin stuff a read.
I thought you might like to see this bit of info I came across about the Cheetah’s word balloons while reading an old issue of Back Issue…
“In the main comic, Pasko penned a different take on his Wonder Woman/Cheetah conflict, notable for the distinctive spotted word balloons used by the villainess. Issue #230 was done pencils-first, drawn from Marty’s breakdowns. Marty dialogued the story after it was drawn. The speech-effect was designed by Marty and masterfully executed by crack letterer and cartoonist John Workman.”
There you go!
Thanks so much for the great info, I must find that issue of BI. Darn though. I was convinced that would be all Workman, still, well do Pesky Pasko, who always has a place in my WW heart for the great Judy Garland story in #226-227.
I wonder if when you write of Mindy Newell’s brief run you’re also thinking of the Mishkin issue’s – her run was so brief it was just four issues and very much building off Mishkin’s work.
Yes, I did enjoy Pasko’s time on WW post the 12 Labours storyline, including the Judy Garland story. Unfortunately, the excellent work editor Julius Schwartz had done on revitalising WW, moving away from the unfotunate Robert Kanigher revival of the star spangled princess, was rudely brought up short by the Jeanette Khan mandated return to a WWII setting for our wondrous woman. By the way, the ish of BI, if you are looking for it, is No. 37 (Comics Go To War)
I may by conflating the Mishkin and Newell runs, but I don’t recall any Gremlins under Mindy. That would have been a plus.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The 70s World War II issues of Wonder Woman are one of my dollar box search items; I’ve got most of them now, I think, but there are a few that always elude me. Thanks for the great review!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Let me know which ones you’re missing, I can keep an eye on UK eBay!
Looked at my list — turns out it’s actually a bunch I don’t have! (I’m probably misremembering the elation I felt when I filled the final issues of the 80s Blackhawk revival.) Thanks for the offer of help, but the back-issue dives are part of the fun! If I get down to just a couple, I’ll take you up on it!