We continue the countdown of YOUR picks for the greatest Wonder Woman stories ever told! We continue with stories #35-31!
35. Space Pirates (Wonder Woman Vol.2 #66-71)
In this clever twist on 1970s female exploitation films, William Messner-Loebs, Paris Cullins and Robert Campanella sent Wonder Woman into outer space to help rescue a Russian cosmonaut. Instead of saving the other woman, they both were captured by a race of alien slavers who throw the two women on to a planet filled with slave women of all sorts of alien races (in a bit of a throwback to early William Marston/H.G. Peter stories where Wonder Woman was constantly getting involved with things where women ended up as slaves).
Things were rough for them on the planet, but Wonder Woman eventually fought back and made an awesome pledge…
Sure enough, Wonder Woman eventually led a revolt that toppled the slaver regime.
34. Birds of Paradise (Wonder Woman Vol.3 #34-35)
After the end of the “Rise of the Olympian,” Wonder Woman was on the outs with the rest of the Amazons and was feeling really down on herself. So, when she got a bead on a sort of superhero bloodsport thing going on, she needed to get involved to take her mind off of her troubles (and do some good, of course). She turned to her Justice League teammate, Black Canary, which allowed then-Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone to write Black Canary again, who Simone famously wrote in the pages of Birds of Prey. Dinah and Diana’s interactions are hilarious…
Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan handled the art duties in the story that also involved the daughter of a dead god coming after Wonder Woman for revenge. All this, and Doctor Psycho to boot!
33. Traces (Wonder Woman Vol.2 #17-19)
While Circe had existed as a villain Pre-Crisis, George Perez dramatically reworked her as longstanding Amazon nemesis who had a particular hatred for Wonder Woman (as the ambassador of the Amazons). He did a particularly cool job developing the whole “turning men into animals” power that she has.
Check out her awesome introduction in Wonder Woman #17 (by Perez and Dick Giordano. Giordano’s old Charlton associate, Frank McLaughlin, inked an issue, as well).
Circe would become a key villain in Perez’s run.
32. Mission’s End (Wonder Woman Vol.2 #226)
The conclusion of Greg Rucka’s first run on Wonder Woman was an interesting one. It was a tie-in to Infinite Crisis, and obviously the major story leading into Infinite Crisis was how Wonder Woman and Superman had just had a battle practically to the death which had ended with Wonder Woman snapping Maxwell Lord’s neck in front of the world (Lord was mind-controlling Superman). This issue, then (with art by CLiff Richards and Ray Snyder) goes back and looks at the evolution of Wonder Woman’s friendship with Superman by looking at various points in their careers together (highlighted by a magazine that tells a lot of BS stories about Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship)…
While it was surprising to see Wonder Woman’s final issue of her series be about her relationship with another superhero, it was a very well told story by Rucka.
31. Chalk Drawings (Wonder Woman Vol.2 #46 )
This was an amazing and complex one-shot story dealing with the suicide of a former friend of Vanessa (the awkward teen girl whose house Wonder Woman lived in at the time due to Wonder Woman’s friendship with Vanessa’s mother). The book goes back and forth through time, sometimes on the same page, making it a truly impressive piece of storytelling by George Perez, Mindy Newell, Jill Thompson and Romeo Tanghal. The title comes from a chalk drawing that Vanessa and her friend Lucy had made of themselves based on a snapshot that they had. Lucy then becomes popular in school and snubs Vanessa, but she is harboring a dark secret based on her jealousy of Vanessa’s relationship with Wonder Woman (a jealousy that led to Lucy’s mother initially blaming Vanessa for driving her daughter to suicide)
What is perhaps most impressive about the issue is that it is does not shy from some dark humor, like Vanessa’s cheeky comment to her dead friend at the funeral. It’s also impressive how well they seemed to capture the voice of teens (Newell deserves some special credit there as the scripter of the comic). The art is stunning, as well. An excellent one-off issue.
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