Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Fanholes Side Story #15 The Other Wonder Woman
Issue 90 is the beginning of a new storyline that introduced the character of Artemis. Previously, Wonder Woman’s home of Themyscira had been destroyed by Circe...or so she thought. In reality, Circe placed Themyscira in another dimension and let a rogue group of Amazons invade. Later, Circe betrayed the rogues and beset the island with wave after wave of demons. The two groups of Amazons pulled together and eventually overcame the demons and made peace.
As Wonder Woman returns her mother tells her that she has lost her way. That she should not get involved with the petty lives of mortals. That she should be doing great things, not wasting her time as she has been. Later, Wonder Woman meets Artemis and the two shoot arrows to see who is the better. At the end of issue 90 it is announced that there will be a new contest to determine who will be the new Wonder Woman.
The contest begins in issue 91. Queen Hippolyta has forbidden the rogue Amazons from entering the contest but after Diana gives a speech they are allowed to compete. Diana and her friends advance to the next stage. They work together with Artemis and defeat their opponents. They advance to the final round where they must win a race across the entire island.
After overcoming a whirlpool, harpies and medusa the race comes down, of course, to Diana and Artemis. Diana is about to catch up when she falls...Artemis wins. Next issue Diana gets in a argument with her mother and leaves the island. Artemis becomes Wonder Woman, now wearing the costume, and begins her super hero career by stopping some bad guys in Boston. Soon Diana also joins the battle in her new costume. Artemis goes on tv saying she will be a different, better Wonder Woman and the issue ends with Diana setting up a detective agency.
Next time we see Artemis she is at a shelter for battered woman. She tells a woman that she’d be better off dead than letting a man hit her, that she shouldn't be a coward. Just then the Chauvinist breaks in and attacks Artemis. After a lengthy battle she manages to defeat him, but a bystander who believes the hate the Chauvinist was spouting pulls a gun and takes aim at Artemis. He pulls the trigger, but the battered woman from earlier takes the bullet for her. Her dying words are that she didn’t want Wonder Woman to think her a coward.
Once Artemis becomes Wonder Woman she fights a steady flow of...well, some very 90s looking bad guys. You know what I mean. All extreme and hoped up on roids. Lots of guns, chains and shoulder pads. As it turns out all the people Artemis has been fighting were actors hired to make her look good. Diana finds out but is attacked by Artemis. After a brief battle, Diana decides she’s fighting the wrong person and heads to Paradise Island.
Finally, Diana learns the truth from her mother. Hippolyta had a vision where Wonder Woman was killed in a great battle. So, she staged a new contest in order to keep her daughter from dying. Artemis fights the demon but it is a loosing battle. Diana comes in and fights an insane Cheetah as Artemis fights for her life. Eventually Artemis lays defeated and asks Diana to take the Gauntlet of Atlas from her, which will increase her strength ten times. Diana takes it and manages to defeat the demon, but Artemis dies in her arms. She tells her to take back the costume, that she is the true Wonder Woman.
The introduction of Artemis and her assumption of the Wonder Woman mantle was another in a long line of shakeups DC introduced in the 90s. We had the Death of Superman, Bane breaking Batman’s back and the introduction of Azrael. Finally came Hal Jordon’s insanity and evolution into a villain.
What drew me to Wonder Woman was Mike Deodato Jr's artwork. At the time I was reading Avengers month to month and, while some of the stories from that era may not hold up, the artwork is still great. I discovered Wonder Woman through him and read most of his run. After he left, so did I. I’ll admit, I’ve never been especially interested in Wonder Woman. I grew up with reruns of Super Friends and the live action show. I enjoyed both but for some reason, never sought out her comics.
I seem to have this habit of falling for ‘lesser’ versions of characters. I really enjoyed Bucky Barnes time as Captain America. I thought Skaar Son of Hulk was a good comic. I liked Dick Grayson’s time as Batman. And yes, I stuck with Spider-Man through the Clone Saga. I even thought Ben Riley was a good Spider-Man.
I would have liked it if Artemis fought some classic Wonder Woman villains instead of these extreme 90s guys. Her time as Wonder Woman seemed rather short. Even though she held the Wonder Woman mantle, the book still focused on Diana. This is one storyline I feel could have been extended a bit. We could have had Diana run around playing detective while Artemis struggles with being a hero. If you want to check out some good Wonder Woman comics I recommend checking out these issues. It's much better than the recent JMS stuff.