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Wonder Woman w/o Powers Pt. 22: Wonder Woman #196

King, president, visiting dignitary – you wave to the cheering crowd lining the curb. And as you acknowledge their cheers, you know that in today’s world, where there are so many who believe in the jolting, smashing crunch of a bullet as a solution to everything – you still continue to smile and wave – yet, always in the back of your mind is the thought – has someone picked you as the – Target for Today?

As Diana is closing up shop for the night, she opens the door for a stranger that collapses into the store. Ching recognizes the phone number the dying man holds in his hand as that of General Stuart, for whom he has worked in the past and remains a good friend. During his last breath, the man mentions something about the ambassador from Koronia and an assassination.

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Just then, there’s a knock on the door and a gang of bandits enter, looking for the dead man…

After calling the police, Ching heads to Washington to see the general and Diana goes to the airport to watch for any action against the ambassador.

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At the airport, the ambassador arrives when a blind man releases the harness on his dog that then leaps toward the ambassador…

Afterwards, the ambassador wants to properly thank Diana for saving his life…

At the restaurant, Diana foils the waiter’s attempt to poison the ambassador. This time, he thanks Diana by planting a kiss on her cheek. When she returns to meet Ching, he’s waiting with General Stuart, who proceeds to recruit her into duty…

The next morning, the ambassador’s (Anatole) plane is attacked. Diana is able to safely land it. As three cars continue to race toward the plane, Anatole steers while Diana tosses a fire extinguisher onto the runway.

A tremendous explosion rocks the plane as it taxis full power on one engine, down the runway as the three cars converging on the off-thrown fire extinguisher explode in one giant ball of fire and flame.

The next day, Anatole sends Diana a bouquet of roses and she accompanies him to the White House. As the two men reach out to shake hands, Diana suddenly hits the ambassador…

Later, in a single panel, the president explains…

So, General, your agents found out that the party that was out of power in Koronia was willing to pull a trick like this – disguising one of their own people as a member of the opposition, knowing that had he been successful, the party in power would be immediately thrown out.

The general responds…

Yes, Mr. President – and the assassin even had a bomb on him – to blow himself to bits – making it impossible to prove he was a fake and not the real ambassador. They had already disposed of the real Anatole.

Thoughts

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The first thing I noticed about Wonder Woman #196 as I removed it from its short box was that it was thicker and heavier than most of the previous issues. Sure enough, the cover proclaims that it’s a “A Big 3 (Star) Issue,” featuring three stories (one “as new as today’s headlines!”) Then, of course, I noticed the new price tag: “ONLY .25 bigger & better.”

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The new story, summarized above, is Target for Today, which runs the normal 22 pages (of a normal 32-page book.) There is also a reprint of Introducing Wonder Woman from All-Star Comics #8 (6 pages) and an unpublished story, The Stormy Menace of Goblin Head Rock, by original Wonder Woman artist Harry G. Peter (11 pages.) With ads, the book is 48 pages long, but includes no letter column.

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Target for Today may be ripped from the headlines… in the 1970s or the 2000s. Either era seems to favor violent solutions to problems rather than peaceful ones. Assassinations don’t seem so much a 21st-century issue, although the subject remains popular on television. Diana is put into a situation that perfectly complements her new skill set as a badass bodyguard.

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The story has a twist I didn’t necessarily see coming, although I thought it was odd that there were so many repeated assassination attempts on the ambassador, one after the other. The only aspect that disappointed was the one that fairly regularly disappoints in the series: Diana’s crushes on the men that guest star. Here, she comments about how good-looking Anatole is.

Title: Wonder Woman

Issue #: 196

Cover Date: Sept./Oct. 1971

On Sale Date: July 1, 1971

Writer: Mike Sekowsky

Penciller: Mike Sekowsky

Inker: Dick Giordano

Editor: Mike Sekowsky


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