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.