Back Issue Roulette: Wonder Woman No. 248

Well, I may be older but I am certainly no wiser. This week contained exactly zero post-related thought on my behalf, so today I wandered down to my friendly neighborhood comic shoppe and rifled through the back issues until I found the most interesting-looking one I could, so that I could glean wisdom from it. The winner:

Wonder Woman No. 248, "Crypt of the Dark Commander!" How, I ask you, could I resist the sight of a member of the US Armed Forces siccing a giant barbarian zombie on everyone's favourite princess? Plus! Battling Amazons!

Understand that I took a lot of this from context, but as far as I can tell Steve Trevor has died and then been brought back to life by Aphrodite. In a brilliant bit of subterfuge, Steve and Wonder Woman dyed his hair black, changed his name to Steve Trevor Howard and gotten him a job at the UN in the... let me check to make sure... yes, the security department.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Steve has been picked up by some intelligence types from the Army, who want to know just what his deal is. They take him to a top-secret base below a car wash and subject him to the most advanced of interrogation techniques:

Yes kids, the secret is to shout "WHO? WHERE? WHO? WHERE?" at them for four or five hours. But by all means: mix it up a bit if you want to know a "why" or "how" question.

In any case, this is all fairly reasonable: a man you think is dead, working at the UN with a cheap dye job? That spells "International Incident Waiting to Happen" six ways to Sunday! Military Authority Figure is merely looking out for the security of the US and the world at large, right? So he had to pick him up!

I know what you're thinking. Consider, though, that just because a man has a crazy giant skeleton warrior that he apparently worships squirreled away under his secret military base doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't love his country. It could just be a hobby, or a coincidence. He works toward national security from 9-5 and then tinkers away in his crypt until bedtime. You have to keep busy, after all.

Once more I am disappointed by a comic book character.

All I'll say about this scheme is that I know plenty of military types and not one of them would get excited by the thought of perpetual war. You want to get the Lieutenant on your side, buddy? Promise him perpetual, glorious beer. And barbeque.

Anyway, the Major manages to hook Steve up to a machine that transfers his not-being-dead energies into the Dark Commander - who at some point led demons in constant battle somewhere in the vicinity of prehistoric New York, remember - and the big guy comes back to life!

It was a low trick, what the Major done, but I guess I can understand his excitement - it's always a thrill when a big project comes together. Resurrecting an ancient embodiment of evil combat must have really put the fizz in his whiskers.

But of course nothing ever goes according to plan: the glue melts on your matchstick Eiffel Tower or the ant colony springs a leak or the tropical fish you were going to breed turn out to be gay... in the Major's case he just didn't consider that a demon with a sword might just go ahead and stab him. In all fairness: he was an idiot.

Never fear, though, as Wonder Woman soon shows up and wrecks the Dark Commander. Sadly, Steve Trevor Howard dies a second time as a result of the whole ordeal. We are left with this oddly dichotomous final panel:

I mean, isn't that little yellow box incongruously cheerful? It reads like Wonder Woman maybe took five minutes to grieve, then slung Steve into a dumpster and went out for ice cream and some time with the Sinister Seeker of Secrets (I looked ahead and it's crazy. Maybe I bought the wrong issue...)

BONUS: Just in case you were wondering, the Battling Amazons promised on the cover are from a series of tales about the history of WW's people and their voyage to Themiscyra, kind of like the backups in old Thor comics about what the Norse gods got up to back in the day. It's, well...

Well, I'd have to say that it's pretty T&A-riffic. I have no clue how fun or interesting the rest of this backup was, but one thing's for sure and that's that this installment contains what is hands down the best giant talking spider ever:

That's right, it's a super-depressed talking spider! It lives in a strange void between the worlds, spinning webs to capture its prey and have a good chat with them. This is possibly the most horrific thing I have ever read of - it's still going to eat you but first you have to listen to it tell you about how lonely is is and how it wishes that it had gone to business school while it could still get in on a football scholarship... Pure terror.

I'll leave you with a few final words from the spider, after having its head set on fire during a daring rescue. Good evening, folks.