Back on Track

WW #212There was no place to go but up, and Wonder Woman bounced back into a lighthearted adventure mode. Julie Schwartz was the new editor, with a Len Wein story and Curt Swan/Tex Blaisdell art slated for his first issue, #212. In this story, the stage was set for the next series of adventures.

Diana was promoted by Morgan Tracy to be his associate at the UN Crisis Bureau; as Diana Prince she exhibited her full knowledge of her previous martial arts training. Plain Diana Prince wasn't plain any more, she just wore tinted glasses.

Diana met up with Clark Kent and asked why she'd hadn't been called to any JLA meetings lately. Superman, puzzled at the fact that WW had no memories of her life since she had left the League, explained what had happened to her over the past few years. She was shocked to find that she had led a life without super-powers. Confronted by her daughter, Hippolyte told Diana that memory tapes of that era just weren't available (a fact later writers ignored), but she told Diana that Steve was killed and that the Steve she'd been hanging around with recently was no more than a construct of the Memory Chair to help her relearn her powers and reacclimate herself to life.

The previous era had been Just A Dream. Shades of Dallas!

When Diana finally did go before the JLA, she refused to rejoin because she didn't know how her amnesia would affect her performance. Instead, she suggested a series of tests, much like the fabled Twelve Labors of Hercules, which the various JLAers would monitor. If she passed all 12 tests, she would join the League again and consider herself fit for duty as Wonder Woman.

Thus there were 12 adventures in which individual JLAers guest-starred. A changing staff roster handled the series: Len Wein, Cary Bates, Elliot Maggin, Marty Pasko, Curt Swan, Neil Adams, Dick Giordano, Dick Dillin, John Rosenberger, and Irv Novick, to name a few. These adventures packed lively super-hero action with a liberal dose of whimsy to create a breath of fresh air for the series. It seemed to be the start of something great.

There were a few downpoints. Some of the gods, particularly Ares, were still called by their Roman names. In fact, Mars was so weakly portrayed in issue #215 that he was felled by a karate chop from WW and placed in a "top-security interplanetary prison." How ignominious for a god!

WW #216And Black Canary found out what would happen if a man stepped onto Paradise Island: "Any Amazon seeing a man stadning on our island will instantly fall hopelessly in love with him -- so much so that they will fight over him ruthlessly... violently... until we, who base our society on love and respect, are reduced to barbarians over a man!"

Wonder Woman gained a new power for the space of one issue in order to extricate herself from a bind: a "hypnotic voice." There was an implication during the series that Diana was very old, maybe well over a thousand years or so. Paradise Island was now located in the Bermuda Triangle -- but probably not where the real Bahamian Paradise Island is.

With the Twelve Labors finished successfully and WW back in the JLA, the series went on under the capable hand of writer Marty Pasko. Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta handled the art. Issue #223 retold WW's orgiin. According to this version, Aphrodite did not create the Amazons, but she did give life to a clay statue of Diana. Nubia was not mentioned. We discovered that, should a man set foot on the island, the Amazons would also lose their immortality in addition to the doom Black Canary found out about.

Pasko made what would be one of the Big Mistakes in WW History: he claimed that Hippolyte had deliberately kept the non-super-years memories from her daughter back in issue #212. This was to have dire consequences later.

WW #227Aphrodite created yet another statue in issue #223 and imbued it with the essence of Steve Trevor. This Steve, who had been watching his love for years from "beyond the grave," finally knew Diana's secret identity and her Amazonian name.

The new Steve was decidedly different from the old one. This one was useful and capable, and not that daunted by Diana's powers. Nor did he pester her to marry him or even to give up her career. He dyed his hair and called himself Steve Howard, for he knew the world thought Steve Trevor was long dead. While Diana was reassigned to theh Special Services Department of the UN, he joined an intelligence unit associated with the organization.

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