The Song of Creation

Issue #72, March '93: William Messner-Loebs—writer; Lee Moder and Ande Parks—art; Bryan Augustyn, editor.

the cover to issue 72

There ya are: one of the all-time greatest WW covers! It's by Brian Bolland, of course. I own the cheapo version of the statue they made from it.

We're in for a series of stand-alone issues that gradually unfold to a larger story. In the meantime we get a taste of DC's PTB's problems with the Perez WW. Fans have often heard rumors that William Messner-Loebs got instructions to deviate as much as possible from the Perez version. Why would that be? To turn sales around? To make it easier for new readers to jump on? Whatever, this order has been confirmed by Phil Jimenez, though as Judge Judy would say, "That's just hearsay!" Whatever. Bill, if you want to set the record straight, we'd all appreciate it.

I'll point the heresy out when it comes around.

Julia K. and Nessie are catching up with Diana about where she's been for the past year or so. They note that the White Magician, who'd caused all of Diana's problems (they don't know about Ares Buchanan yet), has now come out of retirement to grandstand as Boston's resident hero. Diana has decided not to confront him as it would do no good unless he does something bad.

Enter Quinn Thomas from the upper floor of Julia's house. She's been renting Diana's old room. Diana won't make her move out; she decides that this is all a signal for her to find her own place.

In the meantime, Quinn—as butch a character as ever appeared in the pages of WW, what with her burly frame, extremely short hair, one earring, suspendered jeans, and lumberjack boots 'n' big socks—is the excuse to get Diana to tell new readers about her origin. Quinn has heard stuff like Purple Rays and Mental Radios associated with Diana, which Diana assures her is not quite the case.

Then we go into an origin. NOTE: I WILL NOT MAKE MENTION OF THIS ANYWHERE ELSE ON THIS SITE, SINCE THIS VERSION IS OUT OF CONTINUITY.

Not in continuity sign

Diana mentions that "throughout the millennia, women died before their time." Gaea gathered those souls. Meanwhile, various demons and bad guys had been conquered by the gods, who forced them into Tartarus and sealed them there using an island as a cork.

Upon that island, Gaea's souls were released and given human forms again—all women. Aphrodite (now shown to be the single Olympian patron) appears to tell the ladies that they will be immortal as long as they stay upon the island and guard it, while creating "a civilization based on love and the teachings of the gods, rather than POWER and CONQUEST." Now tell me: if they're guarding demons, why wouldn't they make sure that a hefty bit of their civilization concerned power and conquering? Don't they need that to defeat their enemy?

But anyway one of the women, Diana's future mother, comes forward and to say that they can't build a civilization if they don't know the world. She makes a deal for Aphrodite to send them all out for ten years, and when they return they'll be ready to make that idyllic civilization.

Aphrodite does so, as long as "the world" is considered primarily Greece, plus colony city-states on the African coast. The women learn how women are treated in the world, though we never get the idea that they marry or otherwise truly incorporate into a society that would have them as some kind of property. Hippolyta (she doesn't have a name at this point) (for ten years?) spins yarn somewhere in Athens, and is horribly fascinated with friezes of the mythical Amazons being defeated by Heracles.

The women return to Themyscira and bring with them the cultures they have learned—greatly idealized, imho. Hippolyta decides to name herself after the Amazon queen who was involved with Heracles, and is elected queen. The nation calls themselves Amazons after the legends. (So these are wannabes and not the real thing.)

Now twist your brain around this: Hippolyta saw the friezes that told of Heracles and Hippolyta, right? That was part of the Twelve Labors. But now Heracles is shown to be in the middle of his Twelve Labors and ready to get the girdle of Hippolyta. That had already been engraved as those friezes. But here he is, all deja vu, and no one on the creative staff blinks twice.

Herk offers to make an alliance, his men helping to guard the island in return for good hunting grounds. The queen (who says she was not attracted to him) and he have wine, and it turns out her drink is drugged. She wakes up later in chains. Nope, no hint of rape or torture here, not for her or anyone else. She lets loose a brief prayer to Aphrodite about if they get freed they'll never allow another man on the island (making the eternal segregation the result of the Amazons' hatred of men, instead of an exile instituted by the gods as punishment), and her chains are zapped into roses. The nation turns savage as they defeat the men, but they only send them back to the mainland. Ho hum! And that's why Amazons still wear manacles, "as a warning against male bondage and treachery."

In this version, Doom's Doorway (not called that) didn't open until around WWII, when the Amazons find themselves hopelessly outnumbered by the demons that erupt from there. Then, "a miracle" (attributed to Aphrodite): Diana Trevor, an aviatrix who was "flying supplies to the loyalists in Spain," arrives. Her plane is filled with explosives and she rams Doom's Doorway in a suicide run. Before she does so, she sees that the Amazons are armed with guns and rifles.

Because of the victory, Hippolyta is granted a boon, which is the old making-a-statue-out-of-clay bit. But get this: the base soul that Diana was built from was that of the unborn child Diana Trevor was carrying when she died. So if Diana T. had lived, our Diana would have been Stevie T's little sister.

Anyway.

As compensation for the treachery of Heracles, Aphrodite and the other gods gift Diana with abilities, here undefined. That is the sole good thing about this version, that we no longer have to deal with vague "unity with beasts" and "sisterhood with fire" stuff.

Then later Steve Trevor crashes near Themyscira (an act also attributed to Aphrodite), the Amazons hold a contest to send a representative "to teach by example and thrwart the schemes of Ares," and Diana becomes Wonder Woman. Her "armor" is "based on the flag Diana Trevor had loved."

End of out of non-continuity crap.

Now. Diana wonders why her mother hadn't contacted anyone wondering where Diana was. No one has heard from the Amazons. Their embassy has closed. The JLE hasn't been able to contact any Amazon. The Mayer Agency is closed, their accounts frozen. With Quinn at the wheel of a broken-down Jeep, Diana travels to Boston's mid-town airport (Boston has a run-down mid-town airport?) and "Trevor's Way," Steve Trevor's hangar, only to find Etta Candy going after a pair of muggers who are bent on stealing some guy's valuable old stamps.

Etta is quite chubby and with medium-brown hairSee how Etta's portrayed here? Stick around as her looks will completely change over the next few months.

One of the thugs is a goofy sentient robot named Geof; the other thug is a woman, Moot, with a remote control. This is the first we'll see of a stream of minor crooks who've been given über-tech. When they're both trussed up in the magic lasso, Etta tells Diana that Steve isn't there because he's out searching for a clue. "Diana, you poor kid," Etta tells her. "Then you don't know...?"

We see Diana zooming across the ocean to discover Steve's seaplane resting on the water surface just outside the cloud barrier that hides Themyscira. When Diana flies through the clouds, she finds... nothing. The island has disappeared, along with everyone on it.

Letters: John Lachette, Stuart Brynian, Harry D. Hettmannsperger III, Pam Panagopoulos, Mark Phillips, Ana Patel.

Notes: Just don't bother to read the origin tale. Nevah happened.

The new art team is an interesting one. They can turn out some gorgeous shots in one panel and then the next make you wonder why they were hired. They portray superb body language, mostly interesting facial expressions which are definitely not run of the mill in the comics biz, but body torsos are often clunky and squat.

WML's characters remain colorful and odd, packed with real feelings.

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