Thursday, February 6, 2014

Girl Power: WONDER WOMAN #308

Once more, I draw inspiration from the 1976 Super DC Calendar for a segue into the day's post.  According to said calendar, February 6th is the birthday of the lovely Sue Dibny, wife of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man.  Though Sue does not guest star in this issue of Wonder Woman, Black Canary and Elongated Man do, so that's what I be reviewing this morning.

Wonder Woman #308: "Heritage" is written by Dan Mishkin with art by Don Heck.  It was published in October 1983.

The issue opens with Wonder Woman on Paradise Island, being led in chains to an altar by her mother, Hippolyta.  The goddess of love, Aphrodite, is summoned to pass judgment on Diana, who must pass the test of steel.

After breaking the shackles, Diana freely dons the Bracelets of Submission, pledging herself to Aphrodite and the Code of Love.  This ceremony is done to replace Wonder Woman's usual bracelets, damaged in the issue before.  Queen Hippolyta then calls upon Athena, goddess of wisdom, to repair Diana's Lasso of Truth.  Once done, Diana is dismissed so her mother can talk about her to the goddesses behind her back.

Once Diana has left, the queen expresses her concerns about Steve Trevor to Athena and Aphrodite.  They mention that Trevor has twice been brought back from the dead.  This revelation is shocking to Sofia Constantinas, the young Amazon (or woman living among the Amazons) who has been eavesdropping on the ceremony.  Just then, she's caught spying by Wonder Woman.

Meanwhile, Black Canary is on patrol in Star City when she finds a young woman accosting an old man.  When Dinah tries to intervene, the woman conjures a wall of fire!

When the seeming attacher is felled by the Canary Cry, the old man calls in some backup, which happen to be hairy Bigfoot-lookalikes.

Black Canary realizes she attacked the wrong person with her cry, but before she can correct her mistake, a mysterious and unseen event changes the game.

Back on Paradise Island, Diana walks with Sofia, explaining how she used to spy on her mother, too, and that it will take time to grow used to Amazonian customs.  Sofia seems receptive to the idea, but she asks Diana about the deaths of Steve Trevor.  This causes Wonder Woman distress, and she seems to forget where she is and what they were talking about for a moment.

Diana leaves Sofia so that she can take up monitor duty at the Justice League Satellite.  When she arrives, though, she finds Elongated Man knocked out on the floor.

Not the best endorsement for one of the world's best detectives to be caught unawares by Black Canary acting so out of character.

Planetside at the Pentagon, Etta Candy is disturbed to learn that another Air Force major is getting a high profile assignment that was supposed to go to Colonel Steve Trevor, who was wounded.

Back in the satellite, Wonder Woman and Elongated Man use the security monitors to track Black Canary to the League's arsenal.

With the hull breached, the artificial gravity fails.  "Black Canary" is sucked up toward the hole that would shoot her out into space.  Wonder Woman rips a piece of metal from the wall to create a patch, and Elongated Man stretches up to the hull to seal the hole.

Once they have Black Canary captured, Diana knows she's not the real Canary.

"Concentration camp... Then you're Jewish?" Ralph exclaims.  Man, again with the awful, awful detective skills on this guy.  Anyway, Zenna Persik explains that she is a gypsy.  Using her psionic powers that people call Gypsy Magic, she swapped bodies with the Black Canary, putting her mind in Dinah's body and Dinah's mind in hers.  Then Zenna was able to tap into Dinah's memories in order to get access to the satellite.  She needs a weapon that can destroy Dr. Schlagel.

Wonder Woman is more concerned with the fate of her friend, Dinah Lance, the real Black Canary.  Zenna suspects that as soon as Schlagel had her captured, he probably killed her.

However, back in Star City, Dinah wakes up in Zenna's body.

Dinah sneaks around the dark looking for an escape.  What she finds, though, is a nightmarish invention: Schlagel has a dozen children strapped to a machine that draws energy from their life-force.  At that moment, she is captured by the Bigfoot goons.  Schlagel comes at her with a syringe, threatening to kill her.

Next issue: Three women against a madman's menacing scheme, and a battle that must end with... "The Death of a Hero!"

The ceremony scene that kicks off this issue is a little confusing if you didn't read the issue before it, which I didn't.  But once Black Canary and Zenne Persik enter the story it's nonstop fun and adventure.  

Black Canary gets plenty to do in this issue, whether she's in the right body or not.  I love that the Canary is considered one of the two heroes of Star City, as if she gets equal billing with Green Arrow in that department.  I always love seeing her cruise around on her motorcycle, and later, when she's trapped in Zenna's body, she still manages to escape captivity and find the villain's weapon.  Her body sees some action, too (teehee), when Zenna uses it to attack Ralph and Diana.

I really like Zenna.  Her background as a gypsy's whose people were butchered during the Holocaust is terrific motivation, and her psionic powers are great for story and visual purposes.  Dr. Schlagel could be a worthy mad scientist when we learn what he's doing with the kidnapped children.  In any event, he's got hairy Bigfoot goons.  That's cool.

There's nothing really to complain about Don Heck's artwork.  His rendition of Black Canary looks good, though not as good as how Mike Grell, Mike Nasser/Netzer and other artists drew her in the '70s and '80s.  His Ralph Dibny seems to be lacking the signature schnoz that made Elongated Man so distinguished.

All told, a really good story.  I'll post the next chapter, Wonder Woman #309 next Thursday.


  1. I've never re-read this one, but yes, it's fun - I did like the Mishkin/Heck period a lot, and I still think it's a shame Sofia was lost to the Crisis, she was a great example of Wonder Woman making a hawk into a dove.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    Even though this was my introduction to the character of Sofia, from what little I've read up, I agree she did have a lot of potential. Actually, I'm surprised the concept hasn't been done again recently. This seems like a decent way to introduce Donna Troy in the New 52 continuity.

  3. I have to say I haven't read much of this era of Wonder Woman. And Don Heck isn't going to lure me today.

    Thanks for the recap. Nice to see heroes just team up easily like this.

  4. I've always thought Heck's art was just...fine. Never gonna blow me away, but never bad enough to turn me off an issue.

  5. Count, do you remember I mentioned these very two issues a few months ago, as Black Canary gave a very good account of herself in the Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman comic, esp when they were training together in a later issue.
    The whole Sofia storyline was really rather good, the whole Nazi experiment issue that was creepy, the slightly obsessive Sofia, the mind-switch which felt odd at first yet became more noticeable as it went along...WW books of this era had a tendency to be a bit lame but this had a keen sense of urgency,
    And for me Don Heck was awesome! He drew the book on and off for over fifteen years so he was hit and miss but he was a true original, one of the best ever imo.

  6. I do remember you talked about these issues! At the time I had only read Dinah's appearances in WW #291-293, but then you said she was in #308-310 so I eventually tracked these down. Thanks!