Wonder Woman Villains - The Aggravating Case of Angle Man, part 1
Before I start, I again have to thank google, Amazon Archives, wiki, etc. for helping me. I only have a few Silver Age Wonder Woman comics (with no desire for more), and while they include Angle Man appearances they do not appear to be important appearances.
Looking at how Angle Man has been handled is quite irritating, because sheer bloody-minded incompetence did the character so much harm I'm not sure he'll be salvaged (it's possible to do it, I can think of several ways myself, but right now it could go either way).
Let's start at the beginning.
William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman, died in 1947. The book was taken over by writer Robert Kanigher, who made the book much more straightforward adventure fare.
(Kanigher had quite an influence in the comics industry, scripting the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash [kicking off the Silver Age itself], working on JSA, Hawkman, Green Lantern, most of DC's war titles, and creating Black Canary, Rose and Thorn, Sgt. Rock [with Joe Kubert] Enemy Ace, The War that Time Forgot, The Losers, The Unknown Soldier, and The Haunted Tank [with Russ Heath]. So when I say that I find his long run on Wonder Woman to be some of the purest brainpoison on the planet, don't think I'm ignorant of his many accomplishments)
As the backlog of Marston scripts dried up and Marston's family stopped writing stories, Kanigher phased out most of the supporting cast (even, briefly, the Amazons of Paradise Island).
He began presenting Wonder Woman in three short, disconnected stories per issue rather than three chapters of one full-length script. The short form left little room for characterization or elaborate plots and, for a while, typically featured Wonder Woman as a full-time crime fighter frequently targeted by the criminal underworld for elimination.
The Angle Man emerged after a series of tales in which Kanigher presented a desperate underworld turning to experts in designing elaborate schemes to defeat Wonder Woman. First, there were one-shot tales featuring the Plotter and the Brain.
Then, Wonder Woman #62 (1953) featured "Angle" Andrews, a criminal that looked at all the angles of a crime.
This led to Wonder Woman #70 (1954) and "Angle Man".
Angle Man's appearance changed a lot, near as I can tell. Sometimes he was a blonde, sometimes so platinum blonde he was almost white-haired, but here's the look that showed up the most (and eventually became the permanent one)
From the comics I have, Angle Man was the sort of villain to go "aha, I've tricked you into stepping into quick-drying cement, Wonder Woman! Angles! I've got a million of 'em!" It says something that he and the Duke of Deception (a Golden Age villain) were just about the only recurring villains of the Silver age.
This "I've got a million of 'em!" shtick eventually got old, and in the pages of The Secret Society of Super-Villains(1977) he got a power up.
More precisely, he randomly showed up with a magic/superscience device in the comic. The actual explanation for where it came from came in a one-page text supplement. Apparently when Darkseid formed the Secret Society of super Villains he gave Angle Man the weapon, and Angle Man promptly used it to move forward in time to a point where Darkseid was no longer in charge of the group.
He also got a costume that I'm not very fond of.
And apparently played a key role in bringing the Wonder Woman comic back to the present (see, the Wonder Woman TV show had come out, and it was quite popular. Since it was initially set during World War II, the Wonder Woman comics began to focus on the alternate reality adventures of WWII Wonder Woman. When the TV show jumped to the present, the comics followed suit, with a story about Angle Man hopping through time and space providing a teamup between the two Wonder Woman before things went back to normal. Or something).
Anyway, that's Pre-Crisis Angle Man for you.
And then came 1985 and "Crisis on Infinite Earths"
Angle Man was dead. Maybe it's because he was "attempting to use his Angler during the massive dimensional upheavals caused by that event". Reading this was my first exposure to the character, actually.
For 14 years nobody mentioned him. 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, and besides, the pre-Crisis Angle Man was dead anyway.
Then, in Flash #155 (1999) there was a surprise. Flash had a villain called Replicant, that was going around stealing/absorbing villains' superscience weapons.
As appearances go, that was both pointless and nonsensical. It was also, I'm sad to say, to prove very important. But that's later.
In Wonder Woman 179 (2002) Phil Jimenez properly introduced a post-Crisis Angle Man. It was part of a complicated story in which Cheetah (Barbera Minerva) had her powers stolen by a guy named Sebastian. So she wanted to steal the powers of a character named Fury, to go rip out Sebastian's throat and get back what belonged to her.
Barbera seems initially grateful, but after gaining the powers of Fury, she ends up a bit bloodthirsty and decides she doesn't feel like paying Angelo's bill.
Then, on Themyscira...
Donna and Diana fly off to beat up some bad guys, and it's all a bit complicated. Anyway, Donna apparently ends up on the receiving end of a god's wrath...
Donna proves bad at surviving and dies when one of Superman's robot doubles ends up going berserk. I hate those things.
At Donna's Funeral
That seems like a good place to stop, because I'm afraid what comes next gets very very stupid.