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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and Wonder Woman fans! Last time around, the Challenge of the Gods storyline concluded and it really had a lot of twists and profound surprises that really shook the foundation of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman monthly series that was spearheaded by George Perez and Len Win. The Challenge of the Gods started strongly in issue #10 and as each issue was released, the narrative got more intriguing and ultimately served its purpose on defining Wonder Woman as the ever-willing and pure Queen of Superheroes. Along the way, there was significant development of Queen Hippolyte who has been struggling between ruling her fellow Amazons and being a mother to Diana/Wonder Woman.
As the Challenge of the Gods was full of elements of fantasy and Greek mythology, it can be quite challenging for any comic book creator to start the next chapter of the Wonder Woman monthly series’ narrative without reusing the mentioned elements.
In the case of the next Wonder Woman comic book for review here, I can say that the creators literally brought Wonder Woman into the realm of realism and intrigue. With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #15, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez illustrated the comic book.
The story begins with Wonder Woman having a very vivid dream about a certain great hero. After waking up from it, she feels that trying to keep up with all the events of the world must be taking its toll on her. She expressed that she is ill-prepared to deal with new sensations.
“In this world, man and woman long for these feelings. They cherish them. I’ve read how they have even died for them,” Diana said. “And that truly frightens me.”
While Diana is staying at the Kapatelis residence, it turns out Julia (mother of Vanessa) is overseas. She wishes that Julia is with her to discuss what she has been feeling.
Meanwhile at the Ogawa headquarters in Boston, an armed man is using one of the company’s computers to acquire classified information about a subject referred to as Valerie Beaudry. A security guard arrives and decides to investigate as he realizes that his fellow guard was missing (knocked unconscious already). The infiltrator makes short work of him and leaves the building with the acquired information…
I can start with the sudden change of tone for the storytelling. Gone are the fantasy and mythology elements of the Challenges of the Gods storyline and fully implemented in this comic book are the elements of intrigue, suspense, assassination and even sci-fi. The story itself is more grounded with reality as far as the post-Crisis DC Comics universe goes and because it is well written, the sudden change of tone and style never felt jarring to me.
While the 9th issue of this monthly series introduced a modern Cheetah, this comic book introduced the modern Silver Swan in the form of Valerie Beaudry (who appears on the cover). The good news here is that the creators took their time in gradually building-up details about Valerie and how she became Silver Swan. By the time Silver Swan appears in the presence of Wonder Woman, her personal details and traits have been developed in a satisfying way. Unlike Wonder Woman #9, Silver Swan’s appearance in this comic book stretches on into the next issue.
Along the way, more new characters were introduced and the most notable ones are connected with Valerie Beaudry. Maxine Sterenbuch, who eerily resembles Wonder Woman’s teenage pal Vanessa but in adult form, has a close connection with Valerie over a period of many years. There was also Henry Cobb Armbruster, a tycoon who wield tremendous power and has been hiring assassins to do his bidding.
Going back to Wonder Woman herself, this issue explores more of her struggle with not only learning more about man’s world and its many divisions, but also the feelings she starts having as she connects more with other people – most notably with one of DC’s biggest icons. To have Julie Kapatelis absent left the creators room to have Diana not only bond more with daughter Vanessa but also strive more on analyzing what she learns in man’s world. The scene in which Wonder Woman notices a huge printed image of her is a vivid reminder about how negative and foolish idolatry is on people.
Even though it has no fantasy and mythology elements, Wonder Woman #15 (1988) is still a great comic book to read and it succeeds in progressing Diana’s discovery and learning of man’s world. Its introduction of the post-Crisis Silver Swan is memorable and her build-up (specifically her background story) is pretty engaging.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #15 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $70.
Overall, Wonder Woman #15 (1988) is highly recommended!
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