Tony’s Got a Gun


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

And he seemed like such a nice young man.

And he seemed like such a nice young man.

Wonder Woman #193, DC Comics, April 1971.

If you’ve been following this feature—or following writer-artist Mike Sekowsky’s Wonder Woman comics from the late 1960s and early 1970s taking away Diana’s Amazon superpowers and making her a karate-chopping mod—you may remember Tony, the Italian-American young man whom everyone in the neighborhood was mysteriously scared of, at least the ones who were up to no good. You might even remember that Tony’s mom would get awfully squirrelly every time she talked about her daughter Angela, who was, um, away.  That’s it, “away.”

It seemed like Sekowsky was setting up some kind of future story there, but then he got caught up in tales of groovy witches, Doctor Cyber, Chinese villagers, and oppressed extradimensional barbarians, so it was unclear whether he’d get around to telling it or not.

Well, we needn’t have doubted, because at last we get to find out just what the heck Tony’s deal is. When the comic starts Tony is about to shoot a guy, and Diana’s trying to stop him. How did they get to this point, well, that’s where the flashback comes in, with the panel corners conveniently rounded to let us know we’re living in the past.

Tony’s mom, Mrs. Petrucci, comes to Diana’s mod fashion shop looking for help, because Tony’s gone missing, along with his army service pistol. She also finally tells Diana what the heck happened to Angela. Three years ago she was at a party where somebody spiked the food with something nasty, and Angela was one of the unlucky few who slipped into a coma because of it.

That’s what happens when you double dip.

That’s what happens when you double dip.

That day Tony saw one a guy he served with in the Vietnam War there, also coming out of the party, a guy named Eddie that he remembers having a taste for potentially deadly practical jokes. But Eddie swore he had nothing to do with it, so they left it at that.

The other coma patients died, but Angela simply never came out of it. Tony kept interrogating the other partygoers and beating up anyone in the neighborhood who was up to no good. And now he’s out there somewhere with a gun, and Mrs. Petrucci begs Diana to find him before he does something rash.

Diana talks to Eddie, who says he doesn’t know anything, and she questions the various hippies and hoodlums around the neighborhood, some of whom try to rough her up or worse.

The counterculture is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

The counterculture is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

When a few of them try and fail to beat her down, they tell her a guy named Runty Sneed hired them to stop her snooping. So of course she goes looking for Sneed, and when she finds him he’s dead, shot down in the street. A crowd’s gathered around, and Diana decides to pretend that Sneed clung to life a little longer than he did and managed to whisper something to her.

Good thing she isn’t touching her old magic lasso.

Good thing she isn’t touching her old magic lasso.

But who’s the shadowy figure so dedicated to making sure Diana doesn’t find Tony or find what Tony’s looking for? Well, there aren’t a lot of suspects to choose from, considering that the only people we really know in this story are Tony, Eddie, Angela and Mrs. Petrucci. I suppose it could really throw us for a loop and bring in one of the as-yet-unmentioned characters from the previous story that introduced Tony, but that seems like a long shot. So basically it’s either exactly who we think it is or it’s just some guy.

Well, Tony must have been thinking pretty much the same thing, because now he’s convinced it was Eddie all along, like he thought in the first place, and he’s got Eddie cornered in a construction site at night. And yeah, Eddie totally did it, but he swears it was an accident and he didn’t know what he was putting in the food was so deadly.

Oh, well, that makes it okay, then.

Oh, well, that makes it okay, then.

Diana tries to keep Tony from killing Eddie, and just barely manages it. There are no last-minute bouts of conscience from Tony involved; Diana keeps him from becoming a murderer by karate-chopping his neck. Oh Tony, you scamp. Eddie gets caught by the long arm of the law instead, and hey! Angela finally woke up!  Some young doctor guy “kept at it” until she woke up, she says, and now she wants to marry him.  Well, all righty then.

Yeah, that’s not at all creepy.

Yeah, that Sleeping Beauty plot twist is not at all creepy.

The issue ends with Tony and Diana talking about how they have to keep up the fight to stop all those other Eddies out there. I guess we’ll have to take that as just bad guys in general, because Eddie’s particular thing was way too specific for them to really keep up the fight against, unless they’re just going to dedicate themselves to stomping guys named Eddie wherever they find them. I mean, I guess they could be a task force against people lacing the food at parties with cleaning supplies, but somehow I think they wouldn’t get a whole lot of action. But that’s how you know it’s working!

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