Wonder Woman (vol.2) #113 (September, 1996)
“Are You Out of Your Minds?!”
Writer/Artist – John Byrne
Colorist – Patricia Mulvihill
Assistant Editor – Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.95
Here’s one from the “striking cover” pile… but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. I mean, this one’s just a bit on the creepy side, no? This is one of those books I’d keep face-down on the table just in case company stopped by.
I mean, how am I supposed to explain how Estelle Getty was Wonder Girl anyway?
We open with Diana and Cassie trying to sell Helena (Cassie’s mom) Sandsmark on her daughter entering into training to become the next Wonder Girl… after all, she was a big help during a fight with a Doomsday clone. She (Helena, that is) ain’t hearing it though. Also, Jason Blood is there… and it would seem that he’s put a hex on Cassie… ya see, she knows that Blood can change into Etrigan… but is unable to vocalize her findings.
Diana comes down on mom’s side… and explains to Cassie that she cannot go against her wishes. And so, Cassie stomps off to her room to do some homework before she’s supposed to head off for a babysitting gig later that evening. I always dig seeing superheroes’ bedrooms… there’s usually a lot of cool stuff (and little Easter Eggs) to see. Here though, it also proves that girls are messier than boys.
Cassie sulks for a bit before deciding, “screw it”… and so, she dons her Wonder Girl gear and sneaks out the window.
Meanwhile… or, make that “Two Hours Ago”, a woman that we will come to call “Decay” breaks into a warehouse… facility… place. It would seem that her touch causes people to… well, decay… so, there’s some truth in advertising for ya. She’s looking for… something.
Wonder Girl flies by, and hears a report of the robbery via her trusty transistor radio. Almost immediately she finds Decay, and enters into a fight. Like, literally… right away. She kicks whatever it is that Decay is holding out of her hands.
The box falls to the ground, and Cassie heads to check it out. It looks to be a power source… and it’s humming. Decay arrives a moment later and lays hands on Cassie’s shoulder… making it begin to decay.
Wonder Girl is able to collect herself (and the box) and goes to make a run for it. With Decay hot on her trail, Cassie decides to just drop the box and make with the escape. Then… an Earthquake?
Yes, an Earthquake… which Diana feels as well. She flips on the television to find Channel 7 is already all over it. I mean, it just happened… how do they already have Earthquake experts on the line? The Earthquake expert in question? Why, it’s our main man with the Cybernetic Eye… Calvin “Cave” Carson!
Diana wonders why Cassie didn’t run out of her room when the Earth started quaking… then discovers that the new Wonder Chick has snuck out. Back on the street… Wonder Girl and Decay are still playing cat and mouse… for some reason. I mean, Decay has the little box, so what’s the point of the chase? Anyhoo, Decay then lays hands on Cassie… and she starts to decay but good. Before every ounce of moisture can be sucked out, Diana arrives on the scene with a sock to the mush.
After setting Wonder Girl down, Diana barrels directly toward Decay… and the impact makes her target go to pieces!
B-but how could this be? Well… it was a piece of cake. Ya see, when Cassie had the box… she traded out the power source for her transistor radio! Diana then collects all the bits and bobs of Decay and packs them into separate drums so she doesn’t bother them anymore. Sounds nearly as bad as the Phantom Zone, doesn’t it? May as well just kill her at this point, right?
We wrap up with Cassie being dropped off at her babysitting gig… and well, wouldja lookit that… she’s babysitting for Sugar and Spike!
Well… I can’t deny that there is a certain charm to this book… while at the same time, it’s almost aggressively dull.
It does allow us to see that Cassie is (almost) capable when left to her own devices… literally and figuratively. Her swapping the transistor radio for the nebulous humming “power source” was a good bit of kid-heroics… but I mean, if not for Diana… there’s a really good chance that she would’ve been “sucked dry” by Decay there at the end.
So, we kinda wind up… right where we started. We know Cassie’s a clever kid… but, in the heat of battle… she’s a liability at best. I guess that’s one way to “sell” Mom on her need to be trained… so, there’s that. Of course, mom could (and probably should) still say “no”.
I appreciate the little cameos here. That’s always a good and easy way to get me to “pop”. Especially when it comes from someone as dialed in on all that silly Silver Age stuff as John Byrne. It feels less pandering from him… and more genuinely “let’s see if anybody gets this.” Wasn’t expecting a Cave Carson mention… and sure as heck didn’t figure on seeing Sugar and Spike today!
The art here is… well, it’s Byrne. It’s not as tight as his earlier work, but still has a firm grip on what makes comic books work. I know, that’s what people always seem to say… but, what can I tell ya… sometimes the hive mind is right! I will say that the transitions were a bit clumsy… things happened like instantly (Cassie locating Decay, news of the Earthquake).
Overall… I guess if you’re a Cassie Sandsmark completionist, you’re going to want this issue. Otherwise… ehhh. If you want it… and need it now, it is available digitally.