WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #41 by James Robinson and Stephen Segovia, in stores now.
Not only is the series shaping a new future for Diana and her family, it’s also diving deep into the character’s long and rich history to bring us some almost forgotten elements of DC Comics’ past. The action-packed issue not only featured the return of Darkseid and his ongoing machinations against the Amazons, it also saw the return of three classic villains from Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery: Zara, Blue Snowman and a female version of Angle Man who goes by Anglette.
Separately, these villains would make any Wonder Woman story a fun Silver Age throwback. But together, they tease at something bigger: the return of Villainy, Inc., a supervillain team readers haven’t seen in a very long time. Even more intriguing is that someone even more nefarious might be behind it all: Veronica Cale.
The issue is basically “day in the life of Wonder Woman” tale, as she recaps her recent adventure to Steve Trevor — an outing that included three separate attacks on Washington D.C. that she had to put a stop to. The first attack came in the form of the crimson flames of Zara, a character created by Wonder Woman’s co-creator William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peter. She made her first appearance in Comic Calvacade #5 in 1943, and traded blows with Diana Prince many times. However, in Wonder Woman #41, Diana mentions that Zara is a “new threat,” indicating that this Zara is part of the New 52/Rebirth continuity.
After defeating Zara, Diana goes on to fight the Blue Snowman. (Yes, Wonder Woman has a villain named the Blue Snowman.) While “man” is in the moniker, the villain is actually a woman, Byrna Brilyant, disguised in a robot suit. The character originally appeared in 1946’s Sensation Comics #59 by Joye Murchison and Harry G. Peter. In Wonder Woman #41, the Blue Snowman robot is much bigger and more technologically advanced than when we last saw it in action in 2010’s Power Girl series. Once again, the villain is unknown to Wonder Woman, making this the Rebirth debut of this version of Byrna Brilyant.
Finally, the Amazon princess’ third and final battle is against Anglette, a female version of a villain known as Angle Man, aka Angelo Bend. Angle Man has been a part of Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery ever since his first appearance in 1953’s Wonder Woman #62, by Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter. In Robinson and Segovia’s Wonder Woman #41, Diana does confirm that she has traded blows with Angle Man before, although she doesn’t know what has become of him of late. Now, the Anglette has risen to fill his void, with the same signature weapon in hand, the Angler, which can break the laws of physics.
Both Zara and Blue Snowman were once part of Villainy, Inc., a team of female supervillains hellbent on defeating Wonder Woman. The super-team debuted in 1948’s Wonder Woman #28 by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter and have made a few sporadic appearances since. Now however, the return of two of their members might be signaling a return of the evil alliance of female villains. While Angle Man was never a part of the team — considering the basic disqualifying factor of being a man — the rise of Anglette might indicate her eventual inclusion on the team’s latest incarnation Villainy, Inc.
A team of supervillains is nothing without a leader, of course, a financial backer who puts it all together and calls the shots. In this instance, the woman behind it all is Veronica Cale, whom Diana faces before issue’s end. Cale has had an important presence throughout writer Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman Rebirth tenure, and now it seems like the villain’s work is only just beginning. In Robinson’s story, she has just positioned herself as an overarching villain, one who appears to be bringing Villainy, Inc. back with her.
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