|bluefall (bluefall) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2009-03-14 18:37:00
|Entry tags:||char: green lantern/warrior/guy gardner, char: hawkman/carter hall, char: wonder woman/diana of themyscira, creator: william messner-loebs, group: justice league of america, series: when wondy was awesome, series: world of wondy|
When Wondy was Awesome, part 8 (Hawks and Half-Breeds)
Diana's no Batman, with five different books devoted to her adventures at any one time. She's not even a franchise like Green Lantern, despite how awesome a regular title devoted to Artemis or Nu'bia could be*. But she is and has been an occasional guest in setting books like Action and a staple of team books like Justice League in many incarnations, and many of her better stories are from those titles rather than her own.
* Well, if it wasn't written by WML. Now let's never speak of Requiem again.
This one's from 1995, during the Era of Three Hundred Justice Leagues. Diana was head of the JLA and had been for some time - a position she is supremely suited to by nature, but was only intermittently suited to by portrayal, given that writer turnover was worse than League membership turnover at the time, and many of her authors simply didn't get Diana. And by that I mean either her personality or the fact that she could beat her entire League at once with one hand tied behind her back (well, maybe she'd need both hands for Flash), and how that needed to be reflected in group combat.
Unfortunately Gerard Jones was among them, and he was on JLA duty during this arc. But this story is a crossover event, and the other two writers involved - Beau Smith on Warrior and Messner-Loebs on Hawkman - had a better idea what they were doing. Overall I wasn't sure whether to include it, because it's not really a Wondy story, but there are a couple of moments here that I truly love, so here we go, once again, into outer space.
Okay, more context: at this point in time, Guy Gardner is not a Green Lantern. What he *is* is half-alien - the last carrier of Vuldarian genetics in the universe. This gives him weird morphing powers and makes him the target of various alien menaces. (Look, it was the nineties.) He also has a bar called Warrior's. That should be all you need to know, but if you can stomach the art, I do recommend checking out the Warrior series anyway, if you get the chance. It's quite fun, and gave us Zinda.
Back to the story. Diana has her people distribute JLA communicators to heroes across the globe, and they leave one at Warrior's for Guy, and Guy takes this opportunity to get extremely fuckin' pissed at the JLA. Apparently no one ever called him to tell him that Tora was dead. I'm pretty sure I really don't buy that, but it does lead to a good scene of him storming their headquarters and beating up the Justice League, so let's go with it.
(Worthy of note: Fire is still deep into her Ice issues at the moment. This all happens around the very beginning of Sigrid's profoundly creepy, utterly unsettling, truly awesome seduction of Bea. So that's your explanation for her actions as we go along.)
From the day Max first hired her to the Justice League, Diana has consistently been the only person other than Ice who can get Guy to settle down and be reasonable. (Bats can get him to shut up and obey, but not to be calm or reasonable.) But that's not even the impressive part of this scene. The impressive part is that if you look carefully at the last panel, you'll see she's holding him.
Guy Gardner. Letting himself be held and comforted. In public.
Of course this is a comic book and these are superheroes, so the detente is not to last.
The attacking creatures are, as Hawkman helpfully exposits on the next page, "kraggz," a type of hunting assassin creature employed by the Tormocks (random alien bad guy race #611). The Tormocks, y'see, are after Guy, because they find his DNA offensive. So the Leaguers fight the one that attacked their base, and Diana and Guy fight the two that came after him at Warrior's. And this is where we see that Beau Smith knows what he's doing, because Guy and Diana, after a hard and impressive combat, kill one kraggz each, leaving the entire rest of the League to fight a close battle against the third.
They win, of course, but Hawkman advises against killing it. Instead, he calls all three active Leagues together (Diana's JLA, Atom's Extreme Justice, and J'onn's Justice League Task Force) in order to track the thing back to it's homeworld. Because the fate of the Earth is at stake. (Hey, it's a crossover.)
(Diana: Not judgmental.)
So off they go, bickering and angsty as they ever are, into space.
Aww, Guy. If it weren't your own behavior that got you into this mess by being so Goddamn unlikeable, you'd be such a woobie. And remember, it's not just Ice! G'nort loves you too!
Then they get attacked by Tormocks. Their ship's not exactly a starfigher, so they quickly get boarded, and a fight scene ensues.
They repulse the invaders with relative aplomb. Unfortunately, the reason why Yazz is going "oh shit" in that fifth panel there is that Sigrid just froze a vital piece of the ship.
Just for context, Katar has recently cut ties with Thanagar, which is now mostly a dead world. Not being a Hawk fan of any kind, that's as much as I can tell you, but at any rate it's pretty well established that the prospect of going home at this juncture is one Katar finds Not Pleasant.
They land, though, because they have no other choice.
And Diana neatly cuts through everyone's angst and bullshit, as is her wont. I think the Fire stuff is especially cool in light of how Bea acted the first time they met. (Note also how she's just sort of in charge by default here, and neither Atom nor J'onn nor anyone on their teams even blinks at this. Well, not that J'onn would anyway, but we've got Atom and Maxima and the like involved too, and they're much less sanguine people.)
Out goes the scout group, Katar in the lead, and they run into trouble, naturally - a group of Leechuns (random alien bad guy race #612), who are using Tormock weapons to ravage what's left of Thanagar and enslave its remaining populace. So they do their thing, lay waste, and free the slaves.
I... know she's not, but it really seems like Diana's flirting with Yazz, there. Although, you know, compared to Nemesis or Trevor Barnes? I think I do actually prefer a tiny alien pterodactyl of indeterminate gender.
Thanagar safely rescued, they finish their repairs and head back out into the black. Where they get attacked by Tormocks (seems to be an unpleasant developing trend for them). Several of the spaceworthy members of the crew, including Diana, Katar, and Guy, go out into the vacuum to fight.
More details crucial to the plot! Tormocks and Vuldarians are, it seems, distantly related. This is why the Tormocks have such a keen interest in killing Gardner. And remember this "Bad One" guy (aka Probert) because he's going to be around for a little while. Also, muscles don't work that way.
But the fight goes badly, and Guy and the Leaguers on the ship get abducted.
And what do you do when Guy gets stolen?
Leave him to his fate, the jerk Why, rescue him, of course!
Hooray, a team-up within a team-up! Also, ribcages don't work that way.
It takes them a while to find their lost former Lantern, as they work their way through the hostile streets of Vuldar, capital of the Tormock empire.
You know, I think Katar is hot as hell in that splash, and I don't even like guys.
It probably won't shock you to learn that our heroes lay bloody waste to the Tormock raiders.
You complain, Diana, but we all saw that smile.
So they steal one of the birds, fly it into the fortress, crash it into a gun turret, and continue to smack their way through all opposition.
The art here deserves mention. Behold the female superhero leading with her fists and shoulders instead of tits and ass. See the way her shirt actually obscures her female shape. See a woman drawn as all power and no sex. Katar's the eye-candy, here, not Diana. Can I tell you how much I love that?
And it cracks me up that Diana totally doesn't get why Probert thinks the small army about to attack them is particularly bad. She's all "What? It's just another hundred guys. Whatever. Call me when it's something that'll make me break a sweat."
Meanwhile, it turns out that Guy has been abducted by Karine, the high priestess of the Tormocks. The Tormocks are, apparently, dying out, because they're a bunch of inbred xenophobes with an unsustainable cultural imperative to war. Karine believes that a little pinch of Guy's Vuldarian jizz will fix all that, though, by bringing new diversity back to the family tree.
Actually, I'm pretty sure the Earthers call it "rape," but why quibble?
Happily for Guy, his imminent sexual assault gets interrupted by his friends, who break down the wall and lay waste, as you do.
Note that it's Diana who takes the fight to the bad guy, while Hawkman frees Guy. This is only sensible, when you think about their relative resources, but that doesn't mean that most writers would have thought of it, particularly since this is Katar's book we're in at the moment. Though I suppose that might just be because Karine is female.
Anyway, Karine escapes and runs off to her brother Bronkk, who isn't all about his sister's breeding program and would rather just kill Guy and be done with it (he's a traditionalist).
Buncha macho nutcases, aren't they? I do like the sense that Diana's *still* vaguely in charge, here, or that at the very least plans must be run by her specifically to be considered applicable, even though Guy and Probert aren't League and this isn't any kind of formal group they've got. Also, necks don't work that way.
So, they have a big fight.
(Yes, that's Lobo. He's XTREEM after all. Don't worry about it. He's not important. Pretend he's not there. Also, spines don't work that way.)
Diana seems to have taken special exception to Karine. Guess she's not a big fan of rapists. Who knew?
(Diana's shock here is at finding that Karine was wearing a mask, and is actually rather human-looking and pretty underneath. I'm not entirely sure why this matters to anyone, and she gets killed anyway when the rest of the League shows up and Karine's angry spaceship eats her, so I wouldn't even mention it, but I don't want that panel to confuse anyone.
Also, stomachs don't work that way.)
This is really Guy's story, of course, so it ends with him kakking Bronkk in a final, dramatic confrontation:
(Biceps don't work that way. I fucking HATE this art.)
And then they all fly home between issues and off-panel, and Diana probably does not take the opportunity to sleep with Yazz.
So, not the greatest Wondy story ever told, because it's not even actually a Wondy story, when you get right down to it. But it does showcase some of Diana's best aspects, like her sensitivity and wisdom when it comes to people and their relationships, and her fearlessness and conviction in battle. It paints us a woman who a macho prick like Guy Gardner can feel safe being hurt with, who a jealous, fiercely independent rebel like Fire can hear advice from, and whose orders a proud warrior like Katar can respect.
Scans from JLA v2 101-103, Guy Gardner: Warrior 32-34, and Hawkman v4 22-23.
I'm not even going to try coming up with a Hawkman tag under the current system.
Next time: Artemis finally becomes a likeable character, and we get to see Cassie when she still was. Plus Etrigan rhyming, Neron gloating, and Byrne killing Diana off. (Spoiler: It doesn't stick.)