My Boyfriend Is a Monster


On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

Blink and you’ll miss the special guest star.

Blink and you’ll miss the special guest star.

Wonder Woman #235, DC Comics, September 1977.

As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, the Wonder Woman comic was in a weird place in 1977. It suddenly switched to a 1940s setting because that’s when the Wonder Woman TV show was set at the time, and as any DC Comics fan at the time knew, that meant switching from Earth-1, where the then-current adventures of DC heroes were based, to Earth-2, where all the World War II-era adventures of similar or near-identical characters happened. But these new adventures of the original Wonder Woman weren’t really set on Earth-2 either, or at least not the one from the actual 1940s comics. Taking its cue from the TV show, the comic showed a brunette Steve Trevor instead of a blonde, and he and Diana Prince had a different boss, the made-for-TV General Blankenship. And yet because this was supposed to be Earth-2, Wonder Woman would occasionally team up with other 1940s DC heroes, her colleagues from the Justice Society of America, who were certainly never seen on the TV show.

Issue #235, for instance, guest-stars Dr. Mid-Nite, an otherwise blind physician who can see in the dark and carries “blackout bombs” to give himself that advantage while fighting crime. The Doc made his debut way back in 1941, in All-American Comics #25.

While most previous stories were self-contained, new Wonder Woman writer Gerry Conway liked to introduce subplots in one story that would come to the forefront an issue or two later. So while the last couple of issues centered on one villain controlling sea creatures into attacking Allied forces, there was also this business of the shadowy master saboteur, Armageddon, who captured Steve Trevor only to let him escape. In this issue, we see why.

But first, Wonder Woman has to attend to the children of the Jewish psychic who died rather than let his powers be used anymore by the Nazis. She tries to bring them to an orphanage, but is turned away because the kids are Jewish and this is “a Christian institution.” But the mean ol’ lady at least refers them to “the Jerusalem Home,” so it works out, I guess, even though it’s implied from Wondy’s outrage over the incident that it’s a step down.

Damn, that’s cold.

Damn, that’s cold.

Steve has injuries from his captivity, and one of the physicians attending him is Doctor McNider, the blind alter ego of Dr. Mid-Nite. In his costumed identity, he winds up fighting some of Armageddon’s spies, who are keeping a close eye on Steve.

And for good reason: Steve’s been feeling ill ever since he got back, and in a meeting with FDR and the chiefs of staff, he suddenly gets so dizzy that he has to run out of the room…and change into a hulking, muscular, rampaging monster!

That’s one approach to bodybuilding, I guess. Also, “Sweet Karloff!”?

That’s one approach to bodybuilding, I guess. Also, “Sweet Karloff!”?

Diana Prince changes into Wonder Woman to stop Steve from killing the president, but by the time she changes into her costume she notices that bullets aren’t piercing his dense flesh, so she doesn’t even try to grapple him or punch him or, better yet, lasso him into submission. Instead she takes off her tiara—“fashioned from Amazonium, the hardest element on earth”—and straight-up stabs him with it. Hurt, he runs away.

How much sharper than a serpent’s tooth is that damn tiara.

How much sharper than a serpent’s tooth is that damn tiara.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mid-Nite—who hasn’t actually run into Wonder Woman yet in this story, at least not in their costumed identities—tracks down the fearsome masked Nazi Armageddon, only to fight his goons while the bad guy gets away. Not before explaining his fiendish mutating-Steve plot, naturally. He is a villain, after all.

The wounded mutated Steve has holed up in the Washington Monument, with the whole damn US Army outside waiting to take him down. When Wonder Woman approaches, he comes busting out—and just as he hesitates for a moment, perhaps recognizing her as the woman he loves, he gets shot by a tank. And helpful Doctor McNider is there to announce that Steve is dead… dead!

Well, you’d best believe that this is to be continued in the next issue. But we’re out of time, so that’ll just have to wait for the next Wonder Wednesday!

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