Wonder Woman Villains - The Aggravating Case of Angle Man, part 2
In this post we look at some appearances of Angle Man which contain very bad writing.
In 1954, Robert Kanigher created "The Angle Man" a criminal mastermind that mobsters used to try to come up with plans to vex Wonder Woman.
Now what sort of "angles" did Angle Man play?
Well there was the time he tried to get Steve Trevor hooked on pills that gave people superpowers (yes, having gotten his hands on pills that give people superpowers, Angle Man decided to give them to good guys)
There were the times he tricked Wonder Woman so he could tie her up, which was her pre-Crisis weakness.
There was the time he tried to exploit her inability to fly.
There was the time he tried to manipulate her by kidnapping Steve Trevor, her one true love.
There were the times he tried to discover her secret identity...
There was the time he almost got away with it, because Wonder Woman magically altered her body to become really fat and then really thin, in order to teach Steve Trevor a lesson for always talking about how great Wonder Woman looked while out on dates with Diana Prince...
Are you noticing a pattern here? His plans tended to be things that wouldn't work on post-Crisis Wonder Woman. They tended to be things that just plain couldn't have happened post-Crisis, no ifs ands or buts.
Near the end, he got a weapon that let him bend time and space...
And then came 1985 and "Crisis on Infinite Earths"
Pre-Crisis Angle Man was dead. Apparently it's a bad idea to use a device for dimensional travel while a Multiverse is being destroyed.
Wonder Woman was rebooted from scratch. She and all her supporting cast and villains were introduced "for the first time". None of the pre-Crisis stories were canon any more.
For 14 years nobody mentioned Angle Man.
Then, in Flash #155 (1999), something happened which didn't make sense.
Flash had a villain called Replicant, that was going around stealing/absorbing villains' superscience weapons. And he ran into... Angle Man?
Again: the above scene made no sense. But we forgive Waid, because it was so very pointless and easily ignored, yes?
3 years pass, and in 2002 we meet the Post-Crisis Angle Man, in the pages of Wonder Woman. You saw him in my last post. Here he is, risking his own life for Donna Troy.
He appeared in comics printed in 2002-2003.
Then, in 2005, "Angle Man" showed up in Catwoman of all places.
Writer Will "Amazons Attack" Pfeifer wasted no time letting Wonder Woman fans know exactly where they stood with him.
Yes, that was Cheetah, a character that trades punches with Wonder Woman.
Yes, that was Batman, beating her with one punch.
A bunch of criminals are trying to take over Gotham's East Side. They're quite notable in just how badly chosen they are.
I'm going off topic here, but this scene drives me nuts.
Captain Cold wouldn't be interested in "ruling" part of Gotham, and wouldn't take orders from anyone. His home is Central City/Keystone, leading the Rogues.
Hugo Strange is a crazy psychologist obsessed with killing Batman and thus BECOMING Batman. He'd have even less interest in this scheme than Captain Cold would.
Cheetah? A British archaeologist with a mad-on for mystic artifacts? What the hell is she doing there?
Losing easily, as it so happens.
Handcuffs. Someone with strength comparable to Wonder Woman's, and Pfeifer has her knocked out with one punch then handcuffed to a streetlight. bluefall had a lovely rant about this, and I look forward to seeing it again...
Catwoman agrees to join this little crew, undercover, intending to destroy them from within. But...
How did she survive?
Here's a hint: did anyone here read Hush? I think Will Pfeifer did.
That's right, it was a Clayface.
Selina takes out the gang. Angle Man ends up in jail. Cue Pfeifer mocking Angle Man through his characters (he does this a few other times)
Smart Bomb is an undercover cop, and the son of Selina's friend Slam Bradley (He also ends up the father of Selina's baby after a one-night stand, but that's a whole different reason I want to say things about Pfeifer that our "hate the writing, not the writer" rule prevents me from saying).
Slam gets kidnapped, although Smart Bomb thinks the one to get kidnapped was one of Selina's other friends.
He stops it.
Black Mask is taken down, and then Selina kills Black Mask. Good riddance to thrice-killed rubbish.
A year passes, Selina ends up pregnant, her friend Holly becomes Catwoman.
Holly pounds the crap out of Angle Man, and its all recorded by some guy with a video camera, that sells the tape to a movie-obsessed creep called "Film Freak".
Film Freak teams up with Angle Man
They locate Selina because her new identity is a movie reference that frankly a LOT of people would have figured out.
The bad guys lose, of course.
Selina brings in Zatanna...
Okay, again? Angle Man never fought Wonder Woman post-Crisis, and his pre-Crisis stories wouldn't have worked with the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.
Yeah, no. Angle Man never fought Flash. Not even pre-Crisis.
That's right. This whole mess is because Will Pfeifer wanted to use a Wonder Woman villain, and decided a two-page nonsensical appearance in Flash matters more than a much more recent and important appearance in Wonder Woman.
So here's the thing... according to Pfeifer, this "Angle Man" never had his superpowered Angler after Replicant destroyed it.
Meaning, basically, that even if you ignore the gross differences in personality, style, goals, facial features, country of origin and everything else... the guy in Catwoman couldn't have been the guy in Wonder Woman. Because the guy in Catwoman claims he hasn't had powers for years, even though there was an "Angle Man" in Wonder Woman, recently, that could walk on walls. It's a contradiction to the point where you either have to pick one story or the other, or else there has to be two different guys using the name "Angle Man". Cool Angle Man has an alibi: he was using superpowers when the uncool Angle Man claims to have had no such powers.
(Sheer bloody minded incompetence.)
If you're curious, Zatanna erases their memories of Selina's secret identity, then sends them off to the police to confess to their crimes. Film Freak, being a Batman villain and not a lowly Wonder Woman villain, proves too strong/crazy for this and escapes, while Angle Man does what he's told.
...Oh, and in OYL Wonder Woman Heinberg gave us Angle Man back in his pre-Crisis costume, with superpowers. Sure, why not, not like it makes the mess any bigger.