No Boys Allowed


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

For most of Wonder Woman’s history, it’s been a rule that no man can set foot on Paradise Island, but exactly why that is seems to change all the time. In the version I’m most used to, a man stepping on the island would instantly make the Amazons lose their immortality and any other powers, but in some stories it’s portrayed as something that would kill the man instantly or otherwise invoke the wrath of the gods. And in some stories, the prohibition is forgotten entirely. Writer-artist Mike Sekowsky showed Diana’s martial arts mentor I Ching visiting Paradise Island, and longtime WW scribe Robert Kanigher had Nubia’s male warriors hanging out on the island without a problem. But generally speaking, it’s an absolute taboo, and in this story a very rich and powerful man sets out to find out why. The answer may surprise you!

C’mon, Dinah, no spoilers! Just let ‘em find out!

C’mon, Dinah, no spoilers! Just let ‘em find out!

Wonder Woman #216, DC Comics, March 1975.

“Paradise in Peril!” is written by the unconventionally punctuated Elliot S! Maggin and drawn by John Rosenberger. Like all the stories collected as The Twelve Labors, this one is told by a member of the Justice League of America tasked with monitoring WW’s adventures and reporting back on whether she’s worthy to rejoin the team. (It’s Wondy’s idea to earn her way back; the rest of the JLA doesn’t have any doubts about her.) This time it’s Black Canary’s turn, and she types up her report because she says she’s uncomfortable with public speaking.

At the very outset, Canary says she recommends Wonder Woman be reinstated into the League, so there’s that little bit of suspense dispelled. In all seriousness, we know going in that this is just a formality and that every single one of these stories is going to result in the Leaguer giving Wondy the thumbs-up. If this story were done today—well, first of all it would drag on forever, but you could bet that there’d be lots of in-fighting and people arguing that she’s too unstable and a loose cannon and has cooties and whatever else. Batman would for sure, because he’s a jerk.

Billionaire shipping magnate Diogenes Diamandopoulos has been looking over the to-do list he created when he was a little kid. Graduate summa cum laude from a major university: Yep! Become a billionaire: Check! Own an airline: Done! Win the friendship of the crowned heads of the world: You bet! The only thing left on his bucket list is “Discover the secret of why no man may set foot on Paradise Island—home of the Amazons!” Having somehow ascertained where the hidden island is in the first place, he sends his goon—I’m sorry, his assistant—Peter to investigate. But the Amazons straight-up disintegrate Peter’s helicopter with their high-tech death rays and laugh at him as they hurl him home.

Hahaha!  Puny man!

Hahaha! Puny man!

Diamandopoulos is apparently so cocksure about his new project that he’s announced it in the newspapers, which is how Black Canary finds out about it. And his plan…well, it’s pretty nutty. He hires some goons to try to steal an avant-garde sculpture using a flying saucer with a tractor beam. But DD planted some “tracer-dust” on the statue that will let him contact WW wherever she is. You know, because of science!

Because Wondy apparently hasn’t met Canary without her blonde wig on, BC dresses down to her Dinah Lance identity and poses as a reporter to go interview Diana Prince, WW’s secret ID. But they don’t even start the Q&A before the shimmering hologram of DD shows up in Diana’s office and she shoos Dinah out. Fortunately, this is one-way communication, and it doesn’t mean that the billionaire knows where Wondy is or how she’s dressed at the moment. He says he aims to find out Paradise Island’s secret, and if she won’t tell him he’ll invade the island with an army of men and find out.

Choose your own catastrophe!

Choose your own catastrophe!

Wondy speeds to Paradise Island to protect her home, of course, and unbeknownst to her so does Black Canary, who has Batman use the JLA transporter to teleport her (and her motorcycle) directly there. Finding the island strangely deserted, Dinah wanders into the Amazon Hall of Knowledge, which (having scanned her and judged her a suitable “Amazon type” for admission) shows her everything that’s going on elsewhere.

Man, those TSA body scanners are everywhere!

Man, those TSA body scanners are everywhere!

The Amazons are on the shore already fighting off the invaders, even though Dinah hadn’t seen any sign of them outside. Diana comes to the rescue to fight them off, but in the middle of the battle, all the Amazons vanish! It turns out that Wondy had used her “mental radio” in a way she never had before, to misdirect DD’s invaders to a decoy island, not the real Paradise Island at all.

Queen Hyppolyte (who was called Hippolyta just last issue, and I’ll continue to call her that because her spelling throughout this issue is an anomaly) goes to talk to Black Canary, revealing the Amazon’s ancient secret to her because what the heck, right? They’re all gals here.

Man, that’s cold.

Man, that’s cold.

It turns out that “Aphrodite’s law” that no man set foot on the island is a little joke on the part of the goddess of love. Because the whole reason the Amazons retreated from the world of men in the first place was because Hippolyta was seduced and enslaved by Hercules, now if any man treads on Paradise Island every Amazon will fall in love with him, and they’ll all start fighting over him. That’s…well, that’s pretty sexist, really. But considering that Diana fell in love with the first man she ever saw, there’s a grain of truth to it. Mind you, this is an answer that, to the best of my knowledge, was never used again, so as Amazon lore goes it can safely be ignored except as an oddity. (And Dinah, of course, keeps this bit of information just between the ladies and doesn’t include it in her report.)

He knows the ladies go for the bad boys.

He knows the ladies go for the bad boys.

Speaking of love, it turns out the whole reason Diogenes Diamandopoulos wanted to find out this secret was to impress Wonder Woman with his prowess, because he’s hopelessly in love with her. That’s almost sweet in a pathetic and stalkery way, but…nah, actually it’s just creepy.

Next up: Another giant-sized issue packed with reprints, and a new adventure narrated by Black Canary’s boyfriend, Green Arrow!

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