Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wonder Woman (vol.2) #20 (1988)


Wonder Woman (vol.2) #20 (September, 1988)
"Who Killed Myndi Mayer?"
Writer & Illustrator - George Perez
Based on an Idea by - Carol Flynn
Finisher - Bob McLeod
Letterer - John Costanza
Colorist - Carl Gafford
Editor - Karen Berger
Cover Price: $0.75

Here's one from the "check out that cover" collection.  Like, really... check out that cover!  Tell me that wouldn't just jump off the racks at you... 

Wonder Woman is not a title I really ever followed (with very few exceptions).  I grabbed this out simply because of its cover... in fact, this is one of those books that I will "rescue" from any cheap-o bin I find it in!

Can the story inside even hope to match the awesomeness of the cover?  Let's find out...

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We open with three Chinese gangsters fleeing from Wonder Woman.  They turn to fire their guns... shots that Diana effortlessly deflects with her bracelets.  She snares one with her golden lasso... and demands answers... the question of the day is...



We shift to a report being written by Police Inspector Edward Indelicato.  He recounts the recent events surrounding the murder of Myndi Mayer... the "Publicist of the Stars".  Her body was found in her office, minus her face... surrounded by photos of her clients... including one Wonder Woman.



A forensics specialist checks in, and informs them that she was holding a bloody letter-opener and that there was plenty of cocaine on Ms. Mayer's desk.  The cleaning lady (who reported the murder) gave an ID of a stocky bearded fellow wearing a "Common Sense" band jacket who happened to be on the scene.



Inspector Indelicado and his partner Lt. Shands decide to follow up on the tip, and pay a visit to Ms. Mayer's secretary... Christine Fenton.  They fill her in on the details, and show her the police sketch of the "Common Sense" fella.  She immediately identifies him as Steve London, Myndi's former art director... who was just canned one week prior.



It doesn't take long for London to be sought for questioning.  He's not a difficult man to find... as he's currently having his letter-opener wound treated at a local hospital.  The officers pull him away, and begin a semi-official interrogation.  The alcohol-stinking London claims to not be able to remember whether or not he killed Myndi... however, states that he can't imagine that he would.  He shares the events of his last day under her employ with Indelicado and Shands.



He describes Myndi as being something of a shell of her former self... her coffee reeked of booze, and it appeared as though much of the control of the company was now in the hands of one "Skeeter" La Rue.  Myndi is up in arms about the 153 recent lawsuits filed against her and her company.  She goes on to hand London his walking papers.  London claims that his former assistant Deni took the news particularly hard.



We shift to Wonder Woman checking in on what looks like a Chinatown gang lord, Mr. Choi.  She wants answers about Skeeter La Rue.  Choi plays like he hasn't the foggiest idea what she's on about, and orders her to leave.  His "heavy" gets involved... only to get soundly trounced.  Wondy cinches in the lasso of truth, and learns that La Rue is holed up in a Bedford Warehouse.  Before heading out she puts Choi to sleep.



Indelicado continues his report... behind Mayer's building a shotgun was found... covered with Steve London's fingerprints.  The Inspector and Shands decide to follow up by paying a visit to Ms. Deni Hayes, Steve's former assistant.  They ask her about being out drinking with Steve London just prior to Myndi's murder.  She claims that she took Steve out to tell him about Skeeter La Rue being a cocaine dealer... Myndi's dealer, in fact... which kinda explains how he's taken so much control so quickly.



Deni continues... she took the proof of Skeeter's dealings straight to Myndi, who was less than impressed.  She threatens to fire her if she doesn't cut the crap.  She claims that in sharing this story with London, he became enraged and stormed out of the bar... just moments before the murder.



Thinking the case is all but closed, Indelicado and Shands return to the precinct.  Once they arrive, they are informed that "someone" is there to speak with them about the Mayer case.  The Inspector opens his office door to find himself in the presence of Wonder Woman (and friends).



Out in Bedford, Skeeter is being guarded by a crew of Choi's bodyguards.  He's quite the skittish coke peddler.  Hearing noises, he sends his guards out to see what's going on.  From there, we watch him agonize as gunshots fire out in the distance.  Once that passes... there is a brief silence, only broken by Wonder Woman throwing a good through a nearby plate-glass window.



At the precinct... Wonder Woman asks who is believed to be behind the murder.  He shares what he knows, and it appears as though all fingers point to Steve London.  Wonder Woman feels that Indelicado doesn't quite believe what he's saying... and suggests that there is one true way to get to the bottom of this... and brandishes her golden lasso.



The Police Captain doesn't quite dig this idea... in fact, he thinks it's insane.  Wonder Woman, along with her companion Professor Julia Kapatelis are successful in convincing the Captain to at least let them try.  In a great line, Diana claims this is a matter of justice... to which the Captain replies "We're not talking about justice... we're talking about the law."



Shands is sent to fetch Skeeter, and Indelicado joined Wonder Woman with Steve London.  This is all a moot point, as London's legal council (and wife) don't allow him to get "tied up".  When Shands returns, he informs his partner that Skeeter's flown the coop.



The next day we learn that Skeeter's body was found... he died trying to hop an electrified fence... what a way to go!



Wonder Woman was present when this occurred... and in the moments prior actually performed her own interrogation on ol' Skeeter.  He confessed to having blasted off Myndi's face with a shotgun.  They had a contentious showdown over his using the agency as a front for his dealing... and part company, with Skeeter throwing a small bag of cocaine at her.  He returned later... shotgun in hand.  Further, he admits to having set up poor drunken visitor, Steve London as the patsy for the entire affair.  Once his confession was complete, Choi's men burst on the scene... and in the distraction, Skeeter ran away... right into the electrified fence... whoops.



As we close out, Mayer's autopsy report comes in... and we learn that she was already dead from an overdose when Skeeter pulled the trigger.



... and so, we finally learn the answer to the question "Who Killed Myndi Mayer?"


Angel Love
You got that right, Angel!
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I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover... but, this cover gave me the impression that this would be an interesting story... and it was.  I really found myself enjoying this!  This feels sorta kinda (but not really) like "Who is Donna Troy?" from New Teen Titans #38.  Like, this really isn't a superhero story... it's just a story that happens to have a superhero in it. 

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I have precious little experience with George Perez the writer.  I absolutely adore his art... and yet, after reading this it feels almost like a slight to simply refer to him as an "artist"... because, here he demonstrates some amazing writing chops!  I really gotta hunt down more books from his run!

Wonder Woman was always a title and character that I didn't have a whole lot of interest in.  It always felt kinda stodgy... though, I can't really put into words why I feel that way (maybe it's all the Themyscira stuff).  This issue is perhaps the perfect gateway for me to get into regular Wonder Woman reading... as it was a street-level tale... without a whole lotta "Pantheon of Gods" stuff.

This story kept me interested the whole way though, and I gotta admit... I didn't see the twist coming.  I figured straightaway that ol' Skeeter would be the sole responsible party for poor Myndi's fate (though, for a moment I thought it may have been Deni).  The twist at the end was a good one... and really underscores how pointless and evitable Skeeter's ultimate fate (and the entire investigation) was.

Definitely check this one out if you get the chance... even if you gotta dig through the (non cheap-o) bins.

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2 comments:

  1. Great write-up, as usual.
    I remember loving the twist at the end of this issue.Despite Myndi's shady dealings with people, it was her own weakness that led to her death. It was an unexpected ending, and one that was powerful without sound like a PSA.
    I totally get your feelings about Wonder Woman. All of the Paradise Island/Greek Gods storylines can feel a tad hefty at times. That being said, Perez's run on Wonder Woman focuses heavily on these elements, but they're actually much more well done than a lot of other Wonder Woman stories I've read. If you're looking to read a bit more WW and delve into Perez's writing, I'd highly recommend that whole run.

    -Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jess! Thanks for your comment!

      I was definitely expecting *a* twist while reading this, but the twist delivered was not the one I had sniffed out! I really thought Skeeter was a red herring, and the murderer was going to wind up being Deni... possibly a crime of passion over Steve's treatment.

      I'm pretty sure some of the Perez run has been collected (Wonder Woman is one of those titles that rarely shows up in singles out here) so I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Perez really shows his stuff here!

      Delete

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