Wonder Woman w/o Powers Pt.1: Wonder Woman #178
Police arrive at Colonel Steven Trevor’s apartment with a warrant and a question: where was he tonight between the hours of 10 and one? They don’t believe his story that he was at the Tangerine Trolley with a girl… whose name and address he doesn’t remember. Before you know it…
Steve explains that at a farewell party for Roger Seely, Alex Block was drunk and made advances on Wonder Woman, so he punched him.
After a make out session at the lake, Wonder Woman goes out on “a crimefighting mission” and Trevor goes downtown to a hippie club to unwind. While there, a mysterious young woman catches his attention with a cat-face ring, then quickly disappeared.
The prosecuting attorney calls Wonder Woman to the stand…
Distraught over a guilty verdict, Wonder Woman believes it’s a result of her living two lives, “one as a crimefighter… the other as a nobody named Diana Prince!” Because she failed him as Wonder Woman, it’s Diana Prince that must try to save him.
Oddly, Steve does indeed blame Wonder Woman for putting him in prison and says that the only one who can help him is the missing girl… wherever she is. This reinforces Diana’s position that if she’s going to do him any good at all, it will have to be as Diana Prince.
A man (Buck) from the Tangerine Trolley takes Diana to a cemetery… a hippie land where everybody minds his own business. He tells her that a guy was lookin’ for that chick and offered him a bundle to make her disappear for a little while. Just as he’s about to reveal her location, the Stompers raid their gathering.
Diana transforms into Wonder Woman to end the scuffle, but afterwards discovers that Buck is dead.
The next day, Diana is able to track the cat-face ring to a pawnshop where the owner gives her the woman’s name and address. About this time, Diana learns that Roger Seely has returned from Europe. Unknown to her (because he’s Steve’s best friend), but obvious to us (because’s he’s drawn to look sinister), Roger is the bad guy.
On the way to the district attorney’s office, Roger pulls a gun and forces Diana to drive off a cliff with the mystery woman…
In the next two pages of the story, she plays a game of “bullets and bracelets” with Roger, then apprehends him. Suddenly Steve is released from prison and cuddling with Wonder Woman on the couch. He forgives her, but can never forget what Diana Prince did for him…
First, it’s important to note that at this point in continuity, Steve Trevor does not know Wonder’s Woman’s secret identity. It doesn’t appear, though, that Wonder Woman would consider the option of revealing it to him instead of going to the eventual extreme of giving up her powers…
…which she hasn’t done… yet. In this day and age, it’s incredibly disappointing that the catalyst seems to be love. I expected the storyline to be dated by its 60s vibe, but didn’t realize it would be so dated with its treatment of women. This is going to be an educating experience and I already know by the end we’re going to learn a lot about women’s lib.
Speaking of the 60s vibe, I’m loving it. You can see it in the panels that take place at the Tangerine Trolley and when Diana goes shopping. But you also read it with dialogue like…
Hey, you look all zonked out!
Shot down and flamed out, dad…
Greatness, that’s a fab ring you’re wearing…
Gotta blow this scene…
Great honk! Blow, kid… this is my trip!
It goes on and on.
Pre-transformation Diana Prince, as drawn by Sekowski and Giordano, is dressed in a stiff military suit and tie, with hair parted and resting in curls on her shoulders. With thick, arched eyebrows and pursed lips, she looks strict. Post-transformation, she’s dressed in colorful, shape-revealing tops, with hair brushed back and curls unfolding to chest level. The eyebrows aren’t much different, but her eyelashes look longer and thicker. This, to Diana, is gorgeous.
The story itself, written by O’Neill, is obviously laying the groundwork for what’s going to happen, so I’m not going to dwell on its issues. I am eager, though, for the complete transformation to be made to the white jumpsuit-wearing Diana Prince when, if the covers are any indication, she’s really going to kick some ass!
Title: Wonder Woman
Issue #: 178
Cover Date: Sep/Oct 1968
On Sale Date: 7-2-68
Writers: Dennis J. O'Neill
Penciller: Mike Sekowsky
Inker: Dick Giordano
Editor: Jack Miller