She’s Going to Disneyland


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

Somehow I don’t think their lives are dependent on our answer at all.

Somehow I don’t think their lives are dependent on our answer at all.

Wonder Woman #222, DC Comics, March 1976.

Now at last we come to the twelfth labor of The Twelve Labors, and the end of the trade paperback of the same name! In this series of mid-1970s tales, Wonder Woman has had her fellow members of the Justice League of America spy on her adventures to judge whether she’s worthy of rejoining the League after a long absence, because Amazons are all about the tests of valor. (They would have been happy to let her back anyway, but she insisted.) There’s been some confusion in the last couple of issues, however, because Hawkman and the Atom witnessed Wonder Woman having two completely different adventures in two different places at the same time. What gives? Well, fortunately the world’s greatest detective, Batman, has returned just in time to clue us in. So do writer Martin Pasko and artists Jose Delbo and Tex Blaisdell in a story they like to call, “Will the Real Wonder Woman Please… Drop Dead!”

So Batman shows up, all mysterious-like, and says both Wonder Women were real “…in a sense.” In what sense would that be? In nonsense, I say.

But before he explains, Batman wants more attention. More! He wants all the JLA to be there so he can show off how smart he is. Also because it’s time for the official vote to yea or nay Diana, even though most of the Leaguers have already given their assent when they filed their report. And I believe he’s the League chairman at this time, so what he says goes. Also because he’s Batman.

Watch your language, Green Arrow!  Sheesh.

Watch your language, Green Arrow! Sheesh.

But once all the League is assembled, Batman quickly spills the beans that Hawkman was watching the real Wonder Woman, while the Atom was watching a perfect duplicate. And I’ll just say it right now… by “perfect duplicate” he means a Disneyland animatronic replica.

I’m sorry, did I say Disneyland? I meant Dazzleland. You know, the beloved theme park featuring the popular creations of Wade Dazzle, cartoon characters like Jerry Gerbil and Harriet Hamster. And “Unca Wade” has set loose a robot duplicate that thinks it’s Wonder Woman and Diana Prince—but for what purpose?

Any resemblance to any other pop-culture figure is obviously intentional.

Any resemblance to any other pop-culture figure is obviously intentional.

Wonder Woman fights her duplicate, only to find that it behaves exactly like she would—it fights the same, answers questions the same way, reacts like her in every way. Dazzle has somehow managed to wrest control of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane (how isn’t at all clear—maybe it just confused her duplicate for her) and reels Wondy in to Dazzleland, which couldn’t possibly be more like its real-life counterpart. Diana finds the whole place pretty sickly sweet and off-putting, which I’m sure isn’t supposed to be any kind of commentary.

Nope, there’s just no way this could possibly be any kind of hint.

Nope, there’s just no way this could possibly be any kind of hint.

There she finds the secret horror of Dazzleland—that some of the rides dissolve unsuspecting patrons and replace them with robot duplicates, meanwhile using their stolen life force to fuel the theme park’s machines. Ewww.

Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.

Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.

Even Diana is disintegrated—but because she’s an immortal Amazon, she rematerializes unhurt. And in fact that’s why Dazzle lured her here, to use her as an inexhaustible power battery. And when I say Dazzle, I mean his robot duplicate, because the real Wade Dazzle is in cryogenically suspended animation. And the robot Wade has gone mad with power, fancying itself a god.

Yep, no resemblance intended.

Yep, no resemblance intended.

Of course Wonder Woman defeats him, and both he and the Wonder-duplicate are destroyed. The real Wade is destroyed too, but of course this cryogenic business is just nonsense (just like in real life) and he’s already dead.

Of course there’s still the business of all those robot duplicates out there in the world who have taken over the lives of the people Unca Wade killed to fuel his machines, but Wondy puts finding them on her to-do list for the future. (This is, of course, the last we’ll ever hear of it.)

Diana points out that the fact that it was her robot duplicate who fought Chronos two years ago means that she only completed eleven labors and still has one to go, but Bats insists that because the robot did everything exactly the way she would do it, it totally counts as her defeating him.

Of course, none of this addresses at all the fact that Hawkman’s WW remembered a chapter of her life it was previously established that she’d forgotten entirely—something Pasko himself apparently didn’t remember or just didn’t care. It also may invalidate the whole way that the Atom’s WW defeated Chronos, in a story also written by Pasko. The story hinged on the regularity of her Amazon heartbeat, and a robot has no heart. Or maybe it beat like clockwork because it was clockwork—but more likely the answer is, that was two issues ago! Who the hell cares? These are funnybooks, not legal tomes.

Green Arrow isn’t quite so sure about this business of counting robo-Wondy’s adventure, but everyone tells him to shut the hell up—or rather, gives him a stern look until he shuts up on his own. And of course every Justice League member votes to readmit Wonder Woman—even that drama queen the Phantom Stranger, who usually never shows up for busywork like this but just can’t resist making an entrance.

Seriously, Ollie, you’re lucky we even let you be here.

Seriously, Ollie, you’re lucky we even let you be here.

So Wondy’s back in the JLA, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion from the start. But what’s this? The next issue is “a saga so shocking we dare not reveal its title”? Well, that sounds pretty shocking indeed. I reckon we’d better check it out!

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