Release: March 1987
Writer: Greg Potter
Pencils: George Pérez
Inks: Bruce D Patterson
First off, let’s just take a second to appreciate that cover. It’s basically ripped straight out of that scene in the Heavy Metal movie where the dead soldiers in the WWII plane come to life and kill that guy. It’s very cool, very incongruous with the comic that’s come before, and I like it a lot.
Anyway, this is our introduction to Steve Trevor, who is a peacenik after serving in Vietnam and because of that has earned the ire of some general who with his warlike ways has opened his heart to Ares. This general orders him and a war-hungry copilot to take a plane to a remote part of the ocean, because Ares believes (right, it turns out) that a fighter jet can brave whatever mystical barrier separates Themyscira from the reach of the rest of the world, and intends to then drop an atomic bomb on it and get rid of the Amazons.
In the meantime, various gods have shown up to give Diana instructions on what being an ambassador to the world of men will entail. Hephaestus, under the command of Artemis, sends her the iconic golden lasso that compels truth and can’t be broken. And Hermes brings her to the blasted land of Ares’ domain, where she receives an amulet that is one half of the macguffin that’ll defeat Ares. So good job with that.
Most interestingly, when Diana is with Hermes, there’s a brief series of panels (seen above) where she’s shown questioning the infallability of the gods. Being the Greek pantheon, not only is this very sensible, but it makes sense in the context of this world. The Greek gods are basically only worshipped by the Amazons at this point, which doesn’t exactly ensure their potency, even when they have influence around the world. I like the idea of a spiritually doubtful Diana, because it takes a lot of guts to dare doubt the power of deities who literally had a hand in your birth and bestowed upon you superpowers.
Diana has guts. Diana dares.
She returns to the mortal realm just in time to watch Steve’s plane go down, and she manages to lasso the atomic weapon and throw it up into the sky where it explodes seemingly harmlessly. Steve is, as he is in all these stories, pretty fucked up though, and the Amazons are at a loss with what to do with him as they care for them. There’s an interesting bit here where Philippus, seemingly the only black Amazonian, wonders why exactly they are making any effort to save men when men are the sole cause of ruin for the Amazons and the last time they had any contact with men it lead to literal raping and pillaging for the Amazons.
Equally interesting is that the Amazons themselves offer Diana’s relaying the messages of the gods as reason enough to do what they find objectionable. But if Diana is doubtful of the gods’ infallibility, perhaps she herself doesn’t necessarily believe entirely in this idea. Equally, we wonder if maybe that’s not exactly the best idea. Saving Steve Trevor is basically writ in Wonder Woman mythos, but honestly outside of it being the hospitable thing to do there isn’t much reason for it, and I wonder just how much we’re supposed to believe that it’s actually the best course of action for them to take. It’s not like the gods’ guidance has brought them a whole lot of joy so far.
Either way, Diana puts two and two together and notices that her bathing suit looks exactly like the emblem on Steve Trevor’s uniform. This sounds stupid, but as she says this Athena shows up and commends her on her wisdom, before telling her that means she’s signed up to escort this guy back to the world of men. Which is how we get Diana off the island, literally carrying Steve Trevor in her arms (no invisible jets here), back to the mortal world as the comic closes out.
Interestingly, there’s a letter from DC editor Karen Berger about her history with comics and the ways in which comics had fallen down in appealing to women and girls. It could very well have been written today, in a lot of ways, and while I’m glad there are lots of great books and comics out there on the web and on smaller presses, honestly the big two still suck at this by and large. I offer it in full here for you. Until next time!