In which Dr Psycho’s latest vendetta against Wonder Woman continues with the aid of a couple of members of the new Villainy Inc. Specifically, Sweetheart, the Bizarro Wonder Woman he’s created (via ectoplasm?), and bad old Dr Poison.
They cause chaos with explosions and toxins as Checkmate agents Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and Siegfried try to learn just what Dr Psycho – or Doctor Edgar Cizko, as he calls himself on his TV show – is up to. Diana’s longtime foe is using his talk show to sow seeds of doubt about Diana’s heroism, using the medium of, er, milk.
Dr Psycho has been pushing Milk X-Tra as something for men, ‘not little babies’, and the stupider of chaps have been lapping it up. There has to be something added, something that’s manipulating minds against Wonder Woman.
That was Siegfried, arriving to tell Etta and Steve about the protest; as for Diana herself, she was at the Hall of Justice with her super friends.
Superman and Green Arrow, World’s Tactless.
As Diana confronts the demonstrators, she’s shadowed by Sweetheart.
The bomb scatters everyone, protesters and protectors alike, giving Dr Poison a chance to ambush Steve.
And there’s more in an issue that’s odd, yet oddly enjoyable. Etta, Steve and Siggy are great fun, while Dr Poison chews the scenery with glee. Sweetheart, who looks set to take a turn to the light side, is sympathetic, while Villainy Inc’s other featured member, Professor Calculus, is far weirder than his Tintin namesake. The VI gang really are a wacky, rather than threatening, bunch… but that could change in an instant.
It’s a shame Wonder Woman isn’t more compelling, though. She’s a bit of a gloomy Gus at the Hall of Justice, and gets barely any action in the firefight. Much as I enjoy the Diana’s Pals and Gals vibe, I don’t want a WB-style Team Diana – the spotlight should be on the title character. Where’s that super-fun, commanding heroine series writers Michael J Conrad and Becky Cloonan were giving us in their Valhalla storyline? Her best moment this issue sees her not even in costume… well, not her Wonder Woman one.
Now that’s my Amazon. And doesn’t she look great as delineated by penciller Emanuela Lupacchino and inker Wade von Grawbadger, I love the Seventies stylings. OK, I don’t know why Diana is suddenly wearing specs, but maybe it’s just a Clark Kent thing – glasses equals privacy. Lupacchino is a good action artist, and she also has an eye for the absurd, like so.
Dr Psycho is trying something new. His regular misogyny is present and correct, as are his spiritualism leanings, but mind control via milk? Is that really going to beat Wonder Woman after her experience in the 2018 Milk Wars storyline? Maybe Conrad and Cloonan didn’t read this DCU/Young Animal event.
Did the editors read the screen of Sweetheart’s detonator?
‘Villiany’? I can forgive the artist if she wrote that, as English likely isn’t Lupacchino’s first language, but what are editors Chris Rosa, Brittany Holzherr and Paul Kaminski up to? That error appears twice in the art.
It’s surprising letterer Pat Brosseau didn’t spot and fix it, but he was likely very tired after squeezing in the million credits. He does splendid work throughout, with an especially fine…
Talk about bomb-bastic. Brosseau also grabs a chance to get creative when Siggy begins reciting Asgardian poetry.
Tamra Bonvillain can also be relied on to improve any page they touch and the work here is pretty solid.
A few random comments: there seems to be a biker branch of Etta’s old sorority named the Holliday Grrrrls, which amuses me. Villainy Inc’s offscreen mastermind communicates by old school landline, a clue maybe? The idea that a TV station would broadcast the ramblings of an obviously nutty known supervillain boggles the mind. Siggy, who looks amazing in his Kirbyesque stylings, continues to be a hoot. And one million points to our writers for use of the excellent British insult, ‘Numpty’.
I wish all the story pages of the $4.99 book were devoted to the Wonder Woman strip. Or that the book shrank the page count and price, because the Adventures of Young Diana strip, while fine on its own terms, really doesn’t belong here. It’s a kiddie strip in a comic for teens and up. It’s a pretty, two-minute read that I resent paying for.
The cover by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn is glorious, from the figurework to the swirl background design to the colouring. I see a trade paperback cover ahead. The only thing I don’t like is that New 52-era logo – why is it still hanging around after more than a decade?
All in all, this was a pretty decent issue. More Valhalla-style Diana, and more Diana in general, though, would be appreciated.