A Look Back at Wonder Woman #21 (1988)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of superhero universe of DC Comics! I don’t know with you, my readers, but I love the way George Perez and his fellow writers characterized Wonder Woman during the very early stage of the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. The character development was not only a great way to achieve balance with spectacle and plotting for each story of Wonder Woman, but also a solid way to redefine the Queen of Superheroes to new fans as well as other comic book readers of the late 1980s. Such characterization efforts include redefining other key elements of the Wonder Woman concept such as the development of Themyscira and its all-women society, the struggle that the deities of Olympus had while the Amazons struggled, and most notably the way Wonder Woman and the people of man’s world adjusted to each other.

With those details laid down, we can find out more about Wonder Woman’s development in this look back at Wonder Woman #21, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with Bob McLeod credited with the finished art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Themyscira. In the middle of the night, Menalippe, the oracle of the Amzons wakes up looking terrified. She makes a reference to the deities of Olympus. In Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana/Wonder Woman, Julia Kapatelis and teenager Vanessa arrive home from the memorial service of the late Myndi Mayer. As Vanessa goes to her bedroom feeling depressed, Diana admits to Julia that she is deeply troubled over what happened in recent times. She also expressed that she can’t help feeling partially responsible for Mayer’s death.

As Julia tries to comfort Diana, several knocks were made at the house door. Upon opening it, a bird carrying a note suddenly flies into the house and heads straight to Diana who recognizes it and reads a new message written by her mother, the queen Hippolyte.

After reading it, Diana leaves for Themyscira with a promise to Julia and her daughter that she will return. Shortly after arriving in her nation, she, her mother and all their Amazon sisters assembled at the altar of Apollo and performed a ritual led by Menalippe. Menalippe claims to have made contact with the deities and states that she, Diana and Queen Hippolyte have been called to appear at the court in Mount Olympus…

Quality

The deities of Olympus were never holy and were in fact very flawed beings who happen to hold tremendous power over Wonder Woman and the Amazons.

I can say that this is a story about the foundation of Wonder Woman’s place in the DC Comic universe as it involves the link between Olympus and Themyscira. The good news here is that this story is very well written and the plot structure was nicely organized by George Perez.

In many ways, this story is a continuation to Wonder Woman’s personal interaction with the deities of Olympus. The difference here is that her mother Queen Hippolyte and their oracle are much more involved and the deities – which include Zeus, Hera, Heracles and the rest – themselves have gotten into tremendous trouble as a result of what Darkseid did to them. This leads to the call of a new order which got the three Amazons chosen. This alone marks the new chapter in the lives of Amazons and Wonder Woman, who proved her worth in the Challenge of the Gods storyline, is unsurprisingly part of it.

When it comes to the character development of Wonder Woman, the golden part happened early in this comic book. I love the way that George Perez portrayed Diana to be fragile as a person who realizes that her being a very powerful icon in man’s world causes both blessings and problems around her. Diana admits getting blinded by the celebrity of being Wonder Woman to the many people around her. The dialogue Perez wrote for Diana in the early scene (in the presence of Julia) is very rich and so touching, you will feel sympathy for the Queen of all Superheroes.

Conclusion

A very touching scene about Diana/Wonder Woman dealing with the responsibility of what went wrong recently.

Apart from being a new chapter for Wonder Woman and her Amazons, Wonder Woman #21 (1988) is a richly layered story to read. It does not have the usual good-versus-evil spectacle common with most superhero comic books, but the story succeeds in moving the narrative of the Amazons and Olympus deities forward while developing Diana as an even more human character (as opposed to being a superhero). This is another great work spearheaded by George Perez.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #21 (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 and the 2nd print edition cost $70 each.

Overall, Wonder Woman #21 (1988) is highly recommended!

+++++

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