The Fast Contract

Issue #78, Sept. '93: William Messner-Loebs—writer; Lee Moder—penciller; Ande Parks with Aaron McClellan—inkers; Bryan Augustyn, editor. "The Fast Contract"

Issue #79, Oct. '93: William Messner-Loebs—writer; Carr & Skelton—pencillers; Ande Parks & McClellan—inkers; Bryan Augustyn, editor. "Taking the Spear"

Issue #80, Nov. '93: William Messner-Loebs—chief surgeon; Steve Carr & Daryl Skelton—residents; Aaron McClellan—head nurse; Bryan Augustyn, "Ben Casey." "It's Never a Good Day to Die"

Cover to 78: WW and Flash at Taco Whiz. Diana has a target superimposed over her head.cover to WW #79: Mayfly stands over Wonder Woman, who has her lasso around her. Flash lies crumpled behind them.

Through narrative we are introduced to a great new villain, Mayfly. This hitman has superspeed, and also utilizes high velocity rifles with explosive rocket slugs to carry out her various missions of assassination.

We see all this on a DVD (did they have DVDs back then?) that Ares Buchanan watches in his office with his lawyer, Donna Milton. Pay attention to Donna Milton. She's going to evolve into one of Wonder Woman's most interesting characters.

Etta Candy helps Diana clean up her new room in the boarding house. She teases Diana about a possible romance with Ed Indelicato. Diana's response? “Oh, please!”

They both wonder about Diana's new landlady, Camille Spry. Posters of the silent films star of the same-ish name (Camille Sly) decorate the apartment. A news clipping tells us that Camille Sly was born in 1889. “Often called the “female Fairbanks” Sly did most of her own stunts, even directing upon occasion. After the introduction of sound, she dropped out of sight…” That brings yet another joke about how "that would make her over 100.”

When Camille comes for the rent Diana has to dig under the couch cushions to complete the amount. Even so, Etta has to supply the final dime. As the two friends leave the apartment building, they don't know that Mayfly is watching them. She has a tendency to say, “bang!” but not fire.

Diana helps Etta choose a wedding gown. (Why is Etta choosing blue and green gowns?) Diana has noticed that Etta has been losing an alarming amount of weight. Etta says she's merely getting her weight under control, but she hasn't eaten in over a day. She wants to lose more. She faints for a moment, and when she revives Diana lifts her up and takes her to lunch at Sam's Salad Heaven. Once again, they are unaware that Mayfly is targeting them.

We find that Etta wants to look as slender as Diana, although by this time she seems skinnier than Diana. Diana shares that she will never look like her; genes are important. Etta should glory in her other gifts, which she will lose if she doesn't eat.

Enter the Flash (Wally West). Someone (who? We'll never know) has sent him to find Diana, and he snacks on Etta's salad as he explains. We see her outraged expression as he continues to eat out of her bowl.

Wally explains that someone has hired a hitman for Diana. He is there as a bodyguard because the hitman, Mayfly, has superspeed. There's an origin in here that involves the gene bomb incident, and I vaguely remember some sort of crisis/company event in which a bunch of regular people got superpowers from a gene bomb. Whatever. We also find that Mayfly is a hemophiliac, so if she is injured too badly, she will die.

As Etta angrily grabs her salad back from Wally a bullet destroys her salad bowl. They all hide behind a table. Wally explains that Mayfly must be taken alive, because her testimony could put away dozens of mob bosses. He runs out, boasting about how he'll mop up Mayfly, but instead is hit in several places. Mayfly is faster than the Flash!

Suddenly, Mayfly appears in the restaurant to stand in front of Diana, holding her in her aim.

Letters: Greg Armentrout, Nancy Champion, Jim Jackson, Jacques Viau, Bryan M. Ott, David Whitsett.

Etta picks up a plate and throws it at mayfly. Now all of a sudden for some very convenient reason Mayfly is too slow to get a solid shot off at either of them. Diana says this is because Mayfly is rattled. (Right.)They manage to escape outside, but Mayfly uses the unconscious, bleeding Flash as a hostage. While Diana distracts Mayfly, Etta uses a fire extinguisher to blast into Mayfly's eyes. Diana can then scoop up Flash and fly off with him.

When Diana lassoes Mayfly, Mayfly spins at super speed, gathering the lasso around her. She uses her feet to kick Diana 1000 times and then drags Diana behind her as she runs around the mall, so that Diana hits and grates against everything in the mall, injuring her badly. But when Diana lies defeated, Etta fires upon Mayfly with a firehose, saying, “So long, bitch.”

a good picture of Mayfly, and one of Etta delivering the line mentioned

Somehow they manage to retreat into a ladies lounge. The two women think the reason Mayfly has gone is because she is afraid of being injured. Etta has bandaged Diana and the Flash, but Wally is still bleeding badly. Diana explains to Etta that she will probably have to execute an Amazon concept called, “taking the spear.”

She explains: long ago, during the war with Hercules, the Amazons were being killed because their swords were just as long as the swords of Hercules' army. Hippolyta developed a desperate strategy: the Amazons dropped their shields slightly, allowing minor injury to themselves, and when their attacker came close to finish them, they dealt them a death blow. In this way the Amazons won the war.

Let us not dwell on how little sense this makes. People have been sword fighting for centuries and never had to resort to this. Besides, this is not the way the Amazons won the war against Hercules. Not in any version that DC has presented with any tip of the hat to continuity, not even to the warped version we'd be seeing in a few issues. Issue #1 had the Amazons drugged—no battle—when Herk took over. When they break free, it is through a fairly spontaneous rebellion, with zero time for this kind of strategizing. In the WML non-continuity origin, the capture of the nation is a non-violent surprise, and the freeing of the nation is also non-violent, relying on trickery.

Hello?

Handily, Ed Indelicato is able to call Diana inside the ladies lounge. He has tried every phone number in the mall. He explains that the mall has been evacuated (through this entire sequence there has only been one other person in the mall, thanks I think to lazy art, so the evacuation must not have taken too long), and there now is a small army of cops around the mall, all with orders from the President not to use deadly force against Mayfly. Even so, they've rigged the entrances with mines. No deadly force there.

As Donna Milton and Ares Buchanan watch from afar, Diana and Etta leisurely make their way to a sporting goods store. For whatever reason, Mayfly does not put a bullet into Diana, though she could. Diana chooses a bow and arrow. Etta realizes that for Diana to do whatever she is going to do, Mayfly's gunbarrel has to be aimed directly at Diana. In the best Klingon fashion (actually it was Crazy Horse who originated this), Diana declares, “It is a good day to die.”

Tear gas is launched into the mall and Mayfly runs out. But she is wearing a gas mask. She begins to aim at the officers, when from the roof Diana shouts, “Mayfly!” One would think Mayfly's speed would allow her to off many cops by the time the sound traveled down to her, but instead she turns, aims, and Diana looses her arrow.

Diana is shot several times (but she won't have scars afterward)In the time it takes for the arrow to travel down, many bullets strike Diana. But her arrow is true and jams Mayfly's gun. The cops descend on Mayfly. The Mythbusters scratch their heads and look doubtful.

Across town, Donna Milton, posing as a woman down on her luck, becomes the new border at Camille's house.

The final panel shows Diana lying in a pool of blood.

Letters: Jason Vester, Ryan Waters, E.J. Viveiros, Nancy Champion.

Etta watches over Diana as Diana lies in a hospital bed with many tubes coming out of her body but no real scars we can see. Suddenly Etta finds herself talking to her dead uncle Dave. But things begin to make even less sense as their conversation continues, so she quizzes him on World Series results. He is unable to answer, even though Uncle Dave was a big baseball fan.

Dave turns into a dragon, but that dragon is lassoed by a fully functional Wonder Woman. She urges Etta to use her suddenly-appearing gun to shoot the dragon. As Etta shoots, she comes out of her dream and notices that Diana is awake. “You are so melodramatic! You couldn't just wake up like a normal person.” This had been Diana's going-into-a-dreamworld ability gone a bit haywire. (Or it all might have been a last-ditch attempt to explain why the cover shows Diana battling a dragon.) Etta explains to Diana that Mayfly is in jail and spilling info like there's no tomorrow.

We switch scenes to that jail. Mayfly is visited by a woman lawyer who claims to have a mutual friend. This woman says that the friend is grateful that Mayfly has not chosen to mention him in any of her statements. The lawyer hints of help as long as Mayfly continues this. She is able to get the guard to pass Mayfly a sheet of paper detailing the charges against her. But that is not what the paper actually says.

Apparently the lawyer's paper has reminded Mayfly that she is as fast as the Flash, and thus should utilize that power. Now comes a bit of a confusing part. For while Mayfly speeds up, running in circles around her cell and exploding out of it, she does not have control. Instead she has convulsions and finds herself unable to stop running. (?) At super speed, Mayfly slams into a wall or perhaps she falls off a balcony or something, it's a little unclear, but there is glass involved.

Outside, the lawyer smirks and ducks into an alley, where she takes off the dark wig she has been wearing, revealing herself to be Donna Milton. She returns to report to Ares Buchanan, and then they have sex. Donna goes into a flashback–a flashback which a long time from now, we will find out is completely untrue–about how she was a simple, evil law student who started killing out of jealousy and then got involved with DAs who liked to operate on the wrong side of the law. Then one day the new, improved Ares Buchanan appeared on the scene, and Donna made herself available to him as his lawyer.

She is attracted to Ares' raw power and wants a piece of it as well as his money. Now she is pregnant with his child; his power will also be in the child. Whoever controls this child, controls Ares.

Back at the hospital Etta receives a phone call that informs her and Diana of Mayfly's demise. But as we flash over to the officers checking out the body, we see that as Mayfly died at super speed, she was able to take a piece of broken glass and carve a single word into her arm: “Ares.”

Letters: Kevin Sorensen, Greg Armentrout, Mytrice J. Williams, Arpana Patel, Melissa Page, Gary Halpin.

Notes: I always found Ares Buchanan to be rather ho-hum, but Mayfly was a wonderful (if brief) addition to Diana's rogues' gallery. Also, in this issue we first see Donna Milton, whose story would unfold in wondrous ways.

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