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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, literature enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman! Reflecting on my previous retro comic book review, I can only imagine how disturbing it could be to me personally if there was a big event meant for a charitable purpose which gets overshadowed with the presentation making me the greater highlight.
That’s precisely what happened in Wonder Woman #15 (1988). As soon as Princess Diana/Wonder Woman arrived at the fair (which involves Myndi Mayer’s big-time publicity work and promotions) named after her (note: the Wonder Woman Fair was conceptualized for the benefit of needy children), she was astounded at first to see so many people anticipating her arrival. When she notices the gigantic poster with her image on it, she got disturbed by it.
“Look at the poster,” Wonder Woman thought to herself. “It’s almost as if they worship me! Yet I still find all this exploitation somewhat embarrassing!”
For the newcomers reading this, the post-Crisis Wonder Woman is a native of Themyscira which has a population of women called Amazons, led by her mother Queen Hippolyte. While her status among her fellow Amazons is notably very high, there are publicity gimmicks and no merchandising of her in Themyscira. Truly the world of man is vastly different to her.
To find out what happens next, let’s take a look back at Wonder Woman #16, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written by George Perez and the late Len Wein. Perez did the layouts while Bob Smith did the finishes.
The story begins with people disrupted by the Silver Swan’s presence at the Wonder Woman Fair, a gala event organized on behalf of the needy children of Boston. Due to the Silver Swan’s sonic attack, the Ferris wheel begins to fall apart causing Wonder Woman to intervene and help those riding it.
As Steve Trevor successfully saved a passenger from falling to pavement, armed people (including two police officers) fired their guns at the Silver Swan who is protected by the protective shield made by her low-level humming. At another location in the fair, Maxine Sterenbuch sits by a tree tearfully agonizing over how her dear friend Valerie Beaudry became the Silver Swan all because of Henry C. Armbruster.
While in the air, Valerie realizes that it is her fault that people’s lives are in danger. Her objective was to hit Wonder Woman who proved too fast for her. Behind the scenes at a secret facility, Henry C. Armbruster tells Valerie to calm down and prepare for a level 3 force blast.
Then she screams so powerfully…
Let’s start with the writing. The story is a nice mix of superhero spectacle, intrigue and has some elements of science fiction. As a story set after Diana’s return to man’s world, it is a worthy conclusion to the events that started in issue #15. The conflict between Wonder Woman and the Silver Swan is laced with espionage and intrigue, and the arrogant Armbruster is the main force of evil behind the scenes. The spotlight on Maxine Sterenbuch was understandably reduced this time around as the conflict between Silver Swan and Wonder Woman took center stage.
As a story set after the Challenge of the Gods storyline, this comic book continues the further development of Diana as she endures the challenges of not just dealing with the people, places and events around her in man’s world but also the feelings she starts developing for one of the major superheroes of the DC universe. More on her development, Diana experiences for the first time the consequence that comes with being a celebrated figure in man’s world and she realizes that doing charity is much harder to fulfill.
When it comes to Valerie/Silver Swan, she is indeed an interesting rival opposite Wonder Woman although her lack of freedom and will prevents her from reaching her true potential as an anti-hero figure. To find out why, I urge you to read this comic book.
Wonder Woman #16 (1988) is another solid post-Crisis Wonder Woman story as it further highlights a modernized Silver Swan and portrays her as an interesting form of opposition against the title character. The battle and interactions between the two are really engaging to read. As mentioned earlier, it is nice conclusion to the events that started in issue #15 and succeeds in further developing Diana as she spends more time in man’s world.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #16 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $33 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $70.
Overall, Wonder Woman #16 (1988) is highly recommended!
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