Showcase Presents Rip Hunter, Time Master

riphuntershowcase

First Published: August 2012

Contents: Showcase #20 (May-June 1959), #21 (July-August 1959), #25 (March-April 1959), and #26 (May-June 1960); and Rip Hunter… Time Master #1 (March-April 1961) to #15 (July-August 1963)

Key Creator Credits: Jack Miller, Ruben Moreira, Mike Sekowsky, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Alex Toth, Joe Kubert, Nick Cardy, William Ely

Key First Appearances: Rip Hunter, Jeff Smith, Bonnie Baxter, Corky Baxter

Overview: “Have time sphere, will travel” appears to be the motto for one Rip Hunter. Surrounded by his partner Jeff Smith and their friends Bonnie Baxter and her younger brother Corky, Rip takes his time sphere primarily into the past, whether it’s a 1,000 years or a 1,000,000 years, to answer the unknown questions that puzzle modern researchers.

Each story follows a basic formula — Rip Hunter is given a reason to travel into the past to solve a mystery. Grabbing speech conversion discs that they wear to be able to communicate with anyone they encounter, Rip and his team travel in the time sphere to the time in question. Rip and one of the team – sometimes Jeff, sometimes Corky, occasionally Bonnie – set off to investigate while the other team members try to keep the time sphere hidden. In most cases, Rip and his partner gets into trouble, and have to call on their teammates to rescue them. Along the way, the solve the mystery and return back to the 1950s without ever altering the time line.

The best part of this title is the variety of artists that worked on this series. Whether it’s the likes of Mike Sekowsky; Ross Andru and Mike Esposito; Nick Cardy, Alex Toth, or Joe Kubert, there is so much talent in this book that really stands out in the black and white format.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I like the concept of Rip Hunter and his time sphere. I’m hit and miss on the rest of the supporting cast. But I don’t think it works as a regular comic series. These stories quickly fell into a predictable formula, which probably worked well when you were reading the title every other month. I think Rip Hunter is a great character to bring into a story to provide another character with a way to time travel in their story or title. here are numerous reasons why I should not like this book. I am not a huge fan of Carmine Infantino’s art style. I find the formulaic stories from this era too predictable. This is more a science-fiction book than a super-hero book. With all of that said, I really loved this Showcase. Adam Strange felt alive and full of energy. Gardner Fox builds a new universe of characters, and creates an ongoing continuity with the storyline, with past stories and characters coming back in later stories.

Footnotes: Showcase #20 and #21 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Showcase Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow show. Now airing its second season, Legends of Tomorrow features Time Master Rip Hunter plucking a team of lesser heroes (and villains) to stop the likes of Vandal Savage and Damien Darhk from changing the timeline. The characters were all first introduced on the other CW shows, such as Arrow or The Flash, but probably can’t carry their own show. Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) stars as the Time Master captaining the time ship known as the Waverider. This is a fun series that I’ve been able to watch with my family.

Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 4

worldsfinest4First Published: November 2012

Contents: Superman, Batman, and Robin stories from World’s Finest Comics #174 (March 1968) to #178 (September 1968); #180 (November 1968) to #187 (September 1969); #189 (November 1969) to #196 (September 1970); and #198 (November 1970) to #202 (May 1971)

Key Creator Credits: Cary Bates, Neal Adams, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan, Robert Kanigher, Bob Haney, Denny O’Neil, Dick Dillin, and others

Key First Appearances: Supernova

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 3

Overview: It’s interesting to compare and contrast Superman and Batman. They often get portrayed as total opposites – one shining brightly in the light of the sun, the other hidden in the shadows of the night. One who has been given powers to rival that of a god, the other just a mortal man who pushes himself to the limits of human performance. But these guys are still so similar, they could be twin brothers from different mothers (both named Martha). They’re orphans that would give up everything to have one more moment with their parents. They both strive to make the world better in their own ways. These are two of the world’s finest heroes, and this is Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 4.

As with the previous volumes, these tend to run as one-and-done stories, with little to no continuity running between issues. We do get a shift in the narrative of the stories as we transition into the Silver Age. Writer Denny O’Neil brings a new approach to the storytelling, mirroring his work in Justice League of America and Batman. The art steps up a notch, too, as artists like Dick Dillin and Ross Andru create a more life-like look at Superman and Batman.

We still get plenty of cameos from all corners of the DC Universe. Whether it’s employees of the Daily Planet or residents of stately Wayne Manor, this title welcomes everyone in. We get multiple appearances by the classic villains such as Luthor and Joker, which is really the reason why we keep reading these stories, truth be told! The one new character introduced is Supernova, a new partner for Superman when Batman decides to work with Green Arrow. Supernova as a character name will surface again over the years, most recently with Booster Gold.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: There are certain titles from both DC and Marvel that should be no-brainer must-own collections in your library. Obviously, the various team-up titles come to mind first, and is it a coincidence that the two DC team-up titles feature Batman and Superman? So obviously you want to include in your collection the team-ups between Batman AND Superman.

The stories in this collection mark the turn from the Silver Age to the Bronze Age. Denny O’Neil and friends bring a more sophisticated approach to the story-telling. We even get a few Superman team-ups sans Batman, including one of the earliest races against the Flash. This is a must-own collection, and probably the best of the four World’s Finest collections.

Footnotes: The stories from World’s Finest Comics #195 and #200 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Robin Vol. 1.

The story from World’s Finest Comics #176 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1.

World’s Finest Comics #179, #188. and #197 were reprint issues and are not included in this volume.

If you like this volume, try: the Worlds’ Finest series that was part of DC’s New 52 line. Overseen by writer Paul Levitz, Worlds’ Finest (and note the placement of the apostrophe!) tells the tale of Power Girl and Huntress traveling from their home, Earth-2, over to Earth-1 and setting up residence. Stranded from their family, friends, and finances, the costumed heroines must find their way in the new world. This is a great spin on the Superman/Batman dynamic, highlighted by the incredible art from the likes of Kevin Nowlan, George Perez, Scott Kollins, and more. This series is readily available in trade paperbacks, and many of the back issues can still be found in the bins.

 

Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 4

Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 4

First Published: December 2011

Contents: Wonder Woman #157 (October 1965) to #177 (August 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, and Irv Novick

Key First Appearances: Egg Fu, Doctor Psycho

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 3

Overview: Merciful Minerva! Wonder Woman finally faces off against the one foe she cannot stop. The mightiest foe of all time – the dreaded, all powerful DC Comics Editor. Because the pen is truly mightier than the sword. Welcome to Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 4.

The volume starts off with an Egg Fu story that covers all of issue #157 and part of the #158. But what drives this collection is the second story in issue #158. The crew of the Wonder Woman title (Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito) makes cameos as DC decides to streamline Diana’s supporting cast. Many of the supporting characters, such as Wonder Tot, Mer-Boy, Birdman, the Glop, and others, are cast off into limbo. Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, and Hippolyta survive, and the editors promise that beginning with the next issue, Wonder Woman would return to her Golden Age beginnings.   

True to their word, beginning with Wonder Woman #159, we see a retelling of the origins of the Amazons, and how Diana came to be created. We see the challenge of the Amazons, which would determine who would leave the island to go live in Man’s World. We see Col. Steve Trevor crash near Paradise Island, and how Diana nursed him to health before returning him to the United States, where she took over the identity and life of Lt. Diana Prince, a nurse in the army.

Firmly establishing herself as a hero, Wonder Woman battles the familiar foes such as the Cheetah, Doctor Psycho, and Angle Man – why wasn’t Angle Man sent to limbo?!?!? Towards the end of this volume, less emphasis is made that these are Golden Age stories, but rather they are set in the Silver Age proper. For example, the final issue in this volume, #177, features a team-up between Wonder Woman and Supergirl. That issue teases us with a promise of Wonder Woman going in a new direction in the next issue, but that is a story best saved for a future volume, we hope!

Why should these stories be Showcased?: So, of the four Showcase Presents Wonder Woman volumes to date, this is probably the most readable of the bunch. That said, it’s still not a very good collection of stories. Once the DC Editorial hits the giant cosmic reset button in issue #158, the stories become simpler without the convoluted character histories. The stories focus on Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, with the occasional visit to Paradise Island to see her mother. The caption boxes tell us that these are Golden Age stories being told in the current (Silver) age. We get to see more familiar villains, such as Cheetah, Giganta, and yes, Egg Fu.  Diana Prince’s military rank fluctuates from issue to issue between lieutenant and captain, with the occasional issue where she is still a military nurse. Towards the end of this volume, once Ross Andru leaves the book, the stories start to feel more like Silver Age stories, current with other books of that era. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book. But if you feel the need to possess one of these Wonder Woman collections, this is the one you should own.

Footnotes: Among the characters wiped away in the reset in issue #158 is Wonder Girl, the teenage version of our title character. However, Wonder Girl still continued to be an active and key member of the Teen Titans. For more on that complicated character, please see my review of Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol. 1,

If you like this volume, try: the Wonder Woman TV series from the 1970s. For so many people, this version of Wonder Woman was their first encounter and remains the best representation (to date) of everyone’s favorite Amazon. Starring Linda Carter and Lyle Waggoner, the series ran for three seasons. The first season was set in the World War II era of the 1940s, following the earliest adventures of Wonder Woman. For the second and third season, the series was reset to place the characters into the 1970s. (Trying to set a TV show thirty years in the past was getting expensive for this type of show!) Carter’s take on Wonder Woman remains legendary but don’t expect riveting television here. The shows remain campy and are full of plot holes. You don’t have to own these – check out the series on Netflix or some other platform, or check the ME-TV programming guide. It’s worth seeing at least once.

Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 2

showcase_presents_metal_men_volume_2First Published: September 2008

Contents: Metal Men #16 (October-November 1965) to #35 (December 1968-January 1969); and The Brave and the Bold #66 (June-July 1966)

Key Creator Credits: Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Mike Sekowsky, Otto Binder, Gil Kane, and others

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 1

Overview: Those wacky robots that could only come out of the Silver Age, the Metal Men, return for more action. Behind the creative genius of Dr. Will Magnus, the Metal Men battle evil robots, travel across space, and protect the Earth from any threats. The issues in this collection follow the same formula as the previous volume, where the team fights the threat of the month. There are some stories that carry over into the next issue, but most of these are one-and-done comics.

For a quick recap, the primary team consists of the six robots created by Magnus, each containing a responsometer which helps animate the robots and provides them with a unique personality.

  • Gold, who leads the team in the field.
  • Mercury, who wants to lead the team in the field.
  • Iron, the strong man of the team.
  • Lead, nearly as strong but not as smart.
  • Tin, whose courage is his strength.
  • Tina, who believes a robot can love a human.

In addition, the team is joined by another female robot, Nameless, which we saw Tin put together in the last volume. Nameless appears throughout most of the volume, promising that one of the fans will get to name her in the letters column. While some names are given in issue #21, the Nameless name seems to stick. Unfortunately, Nameless disappeared (without explanation) when the book went in a new direction beginning in issue #33.

But going back to issue #21 for a minute, this is a quirky but important comic. First, we get cameos from Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, and the Flash, which helps to firmly establish these heroes as part of the DC Universe. Next, the Metal Men take the initiative and seek out a mission, as Dr. Magnus is indisposed throughout the issue. (He spends 22 pages making out with the romantic interest of the month, much to Tina’s chagrin.) The fact that the Metal Men can act independently comes into play at the end of the book.

I’ve made mention twice now about the end of the book. Beginning with issue #33, the title shook things up, whether to increase sales and/or provide a new take on the characters. Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos take over the art duties, while Robert Kanigher continues to script the adventures. The Metal Men find themselves on the run. Dr. Magnus is in a coma and is unable to lead the team. In his place, his brother Col. David Magnus, who works for an unnamed branch of the military, takes over control of the robots. This initial arc ran three issues, which brings us to the end of the collection. Guess I will need to hit the back-issue bins to see how the rest of this story plays out.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I want to like this more. I want to like this as much as I liked Volume 1. But this one just doesn’t match up for me. The stories feel very repetitive after awhile. We have no new characters introduced in this volume. They still just have just the one main arch-enemy in Chemo. The highlights of this volume came with the pair of Gil Kane issues towards the end of the collection. I’m still a fan of the Ross Andru art, and that has always been a good reason for me to pick up a book. But I don’t think you need to go out of your way to include this book in your library.

Footnotes: The Brave and the Bold #66 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Metamorpho Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: the three-issue story arc in Superman/Batman #34-36 from 2007. Lucius Fox has hired the Metal Men to help protect WayneTech, after a string of attacks. The Metal Men are joined by a new female robot, Copper. Of course, in a title like Superman/Batman, you might expect some Superman foes to show up, which they do with Metallo and then Brainiac. The art in this arc is done by Pat Lee, who was most known for his work on the Transformers comics of the early 2000s. He gives the Metal Men a unique look that matches their various personalities. This was collected in 2016 in Superman/Batman Vol. 3 trade paperback, so it should be easy to track down if you can’t find the original back issues.

Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 1

showcase_presents_metal_men_volume_1First Published: September 2007

Contents: Showcase #37 (March-April 1962) to #40 (September-October 1962); Metal Men #1 (April-May 1963) to #15 (August-September 1965); and The Brave and the Bold #55 (August-September 1964)

Key Creator Credits: Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Ramona Fradon, and Charles Paris

Key First Appearances: Doctor Will Magnus, Gold, Platinum (“Tina”), Lead, Iron, Mercury, Tin, Henry Caspar, Chemo, Nameless,

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 2

Overview: Sometimes the greatest comic concepts develop out of a last-minute rush to meet a deadline. Such was the case in late 1961/early 1962 as DC was putting together the contents for Showcase #37. Showcase had been a try-out book for six years, to see if characters could sell their own monthly title or not. Over the years, the Barry Allen Flash, the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, the Ray Palmer Atom, the Challengers of the Unknown, Adam Strange, and many others all made their debuts in this title. However, as #37 was being prepared, some undocumented delay forced DC to come up with a story at the last minute to fill the issue. Writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru stepped up with a comic about robots with personalities. This is Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 1.

In the story, Doctor Will Magnus has developed a “responsometer”, a device that is implanted into the robots that gives them the ability to interact and respond with others, while developing a personality that mimics many of the chemical properties that each robot is made from. Perhaps taking a page from Marvel’s Fantastic Four, these characters would squabble and bicker among each other, but would always rally together when their backs were to the wall.

The team had a debut run in Showcase for four issues, and the popularity of the characters quickly earned them their own title the following year. In a situation that was more common at Marvel than DC in that era, stories would continue from one issue to the next, referencing events in the previous issue. The Metal Men comics were quickly building a continuity, not just a series of stand-alone issues. And while most of their foes were random “villains of the month”, never to be heard from again, one major villain was introduced early on that would become a mainstay in the DC Universe – Chemo!

Perhaps as a good indication of how popular the characters were becoming, the Metal Men got to team up with the Atom over in the pages of The Brave and The Bold (which was not yet the “Batman Team-Up Book” that it became known as later). Since the Atom was a member of the Justice League at that time, this issue firmly establishes the Metal Men as being part of the building DC Universe of superheroes, and would lead to future team-ups with Metamorpho, which we will see in Showcase Presents Metal Men Vol. 2, and much later Batman.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I have been casually aware of the Metal Men for years, but this was my first time reading their first adventures. I have to say that I was very impressed with this title. Yes, shape-shifting robots with quirky personalities is a very “Silver Age” concept, but this book reads more like a Marvel book than a DC book. Kanigher, Andru, and Esposito worked as a team on a variety of titles in this era, and the Metal Men has moved to the top of the list of my favorite books that they worked on together. I’m eagerly looking forward to picking up Volume 2 and continuing their story.

Meet the Metal Men:

  • Gold is the unofficial field leader of the Metal Men. We are reminded each issue that Gold can stretch into a thin wire miles long.
  • Lead is not the smartest member of the team, but you can always depend on him. He is often called to provide protection for the team from radiation rays.
  • Iron is the strong man of the team. He is quick to format his body into any shape or object needed for the situation at hand.
  • Mercury is hot-tempered and views himself as a more appropriate leader of the team. Given the chance, he will let you know that he is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature.
  • Platinum, who goes by the nickname of Tina, is the only female member of the Metal Men. She has genuine feelings for Doc Magnus, who often gets confused trying to figure out if Tina is a robot who thinks she is a woman or a woman who thinks she is a robot.
  • Tin is the bravest of the Metal Men, but he is also the smallest and weakest of the team. Suffering from insecurities compared to his teammates, Tin stutters and often questions his value to the team.
  • Nameless is a robot built by Tin using a mail-order kit and spare parts. She was never given an official name, nor was she officially made a member of the team.

If you like this volume, try: the Wednesday Comics project from 2009. DC released a 12-issue weekly series of stories collected in a folded newspaper format. When it was properly spread out, it would remind the reader of the Sunday comic strips found in many newspapers for years. The series had 15 ongoing stories, with one page per story in each issue. One of the featured stories in this project was the Metal Men, by Dan DiDio, José Luis García-López, and Kevin Nowlan. In terms of the concept, it’s a great idea and I wish DC (or any other publisher) would do it more often. In delivery, the newspapers were a little bulky and hard to store without damaging. Thankfully, DC released an oversized hardcover collection the following year on a standard white paper stock that makes the art look more beautiful. The individual issues still show up in the back-issue bins, but you might have better luck tracking down the hardcover to get the complete story at once.

Showcase Presents The War That Time Forgot Vol. 1

showcase_presents_war_that_time_forgot_volume_1First Published: May 2007

Contents: Star Spangled War Stories #90 (April-May 1960), #92 (August-September 1960), #94 (December 1960-January 1961) to #125 (February-March 1966), #127 (June-July 1966), and #128 (September 1966)

Key Creator Credits: Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Gene Colan, and others

Key First Appearances: Dinosaur Island, G.I. Robot

Overview: It’s the early 1940s. The United States is fully involved in World War II. In the Pacific, the U.S. Armed Forces are fighting the enemy at sea, in the air, or on the ground of uncharted islands. But their foes do not appear to flying the flag of the Rising Sun. Instead, their enemy is a throwback to the prehistoric age, as Tyrannosaurus Rexes, Pterodactyls, and other dinosaurs are fighting our troops. This is Showcase Presents The War That Time Forgot Vol. 1.

We are introduced to a mysterious island always cloaked by a fog. As our featured characters travel through the mist, they find themselves under attack by the dinosaurs. Depending on the story, the soldiers find some way to escape the non-stop threats to escape the island and be rescued to fight again another day. Over time, this location became known as Dinosaur Island, but that comes much later beyond this title.

Now, in times of war, it is quite common for the military to invent all kinds of new weapons that they hope will speed up the end of the war, or save soldiers lives. One such invention is the very first G.I. Robot, a robot programmed to respond to thousands of combat situations. Sent to the island to test G.I. Robot, a human soldier goes along (reluctantly) to verify that the soldier responds correctly when the bullets start flying.

Another creation of the military is the introduction of the Suicide Squad. Living up to it’s name, two men are sent out on a mission that they are not expected to survive. Of course, in the military’s infinite wisdom, they often pair two soldiers who hate each other, usually because one of the soldiers killed a family member of the other soldier. Not that it should come as a surprise, but both soldiers survive without killing each other, or becoming dinner for a hungry dinosaur.

The vast majority of these issues are written by Robert Kanigher, with art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Towards the end of this collection, we see some other familiar names appear that are recognized for their DC war comics work, such as Joe Kubert and Russ Heath. These are generally one-and-done stories. Some characters may re-appear from issue to issue, but the stories do not carry over.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: This is an interesting situation that I see here. I personally don’t know that these stories should be featured based on their content. The stories are formulaic and safe. The art is good for its era, but it’s simplistic in detail. What makes these stories important is that these ideas and concepts introduced here were used by the next generation of comic creators, and the ones after them. G.I. Robot has been re-used many times. Dinosaur Island has become a go-to locale in the DC Universe for any number of stories. And you would have to be living under a rock not to know where the Suicide Squad concept has gone to over the last 40 years. For those reasons, I can understand and support featuring these comics in this collection.

Footnotes: In many of the latter stories in this collection, they feature members of the Suicide Squad – soldiers taking on assignments which they are unlikely to survive. However, this is not the first reference to the Suicide Squad by Kanigher, Andru, and Esposito. They introduced that concept in The Brave and the Bold #25 (September 1959), where a group of adventurers faced off against monsters, giants, and yes, even dinosaurs.

If you like this volume, try: Jurassic Park from Michael Crichton. Yes, the novel, not the movies or video games or anything else that spun out of this concept. It won’t hurt anyone, myself included, to put down the four-color funny books for awhile and read an actual book or two. Crichton released this novel in 1990, after working on it for numerous years. You know the story, how scientists cracked the code to bring dinosaurs back to life, and that led to a billionaire funding a dinosaur theme park, and things went down hill from there. As you can imagine, once you get past the first 50 pages with a lot of the science details, it becomes a  page turner as the dinosaurs run amuck in the park.

However, if you want to go old school, dig up a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Land That Time Forgot. Originally published as serials in a magazine, this was collected as a novel in 1924. Set during World War I, soldiers stranded in the Antartica come across a hidden land where dinosaurs still roam the Earth. In many ways, it was this novel that inspired (or influenced) Kanigher, Andru, and Esposito with The War That Time Forgot.

Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 3

First Published: December 2009

Contents: Wonder Woman #138 (May 1963) to #156 (August 1965)

Key Creator Credits: Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 4

Overview: Beautiful as Aphrodite, Wise as Athena, Swift as Mercury, and Strong as Hercules, Wonder Woman continues her journey as an ambassador of peace to the “Man’s World”.  

These stories cover a two-year period in the mid-1960s. Wonder Woman faces a variety of threats, such as the Duke of Deception’s attempts to take over Earth from his base on Mars; the Academy of Arch-Villains competing to take down the Amazon princess; or the mysterious Fisher-Birdmen from another dimension.

The highlight in this volume has to be the first story from Wonder Woman #144, titled “Revolt of Wonder Woman”. Our star has been pushed so much lately that she is running on exhaustion. Between protecting Paradise Island from an attack of flaming characters, saving Mer-Man yet again,  keeping a crashing airplane aloft, and other challenges, Wonder Woman is at her physical breaking point, and just walks away from everything in a catatonic state. She breaks out of her stupor long enough to rescue a blind girl by the name of Mary Jane. Not knowing who rescued her, Mary Jane befriends Diana based on her kindness. Mary Jane gets the chance to even the score when her acute hearing picks up a rattle snake in their path, and she steers Diana away. Finally, the two women are caught in a lightning storm. Diana protects Mary Jane with her bracelets, but the lightning flashes burned away the blindness from Mary Jane’s eyes. The two vow to remain friends, yet we never see Mary Jane again.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: You know, I really do try to remain positive about these reviews. There is no need for me to dump all over stories published before I was born. That said, I do not think that these stories should be in a Showcase Presents. The stories are poorly written and very repetitive. A lot of the stories just involve Steve Trevor, Mer-Man, and/or Bird-Man trying to win the hand of Wonder Woman in marriage. They even extend those stories back to Wonder Girl, with a teenage Steve Trevor (still in the military!), Mer-Boy, and/or Bird-Boy competing for Wonder Girl’s affection. When she does fight a villain, they tend to fall into the lame end of the spectrum: Mouse-Man, Multiple Man, Angle Man — see a pattern here? When people argue that female characters are used poorly, it is these issues that are given as examples. Even if you are a Wonder Woman fan, this does not need to be on your bookshelf.

(Full disclosure time here! I read Showcase Presents Wonder Woman Vol. 3 sometime back in 2014 and wrote this review shortly after finishing it. This post has been sitting in my queue waiting for it to come up in the rough order-of-release schedule that I try to follow. Reviewing this post prior to publication, I was concerned that my comments may have been too harsh when writing the review immediately after I finished the book. So I pulled the book off the shelf this past weekend and flipped back through it again. And my position still stands – bad stories, bad premises, bad representation. This is not the Wonder Woman book we should be reading!)

Footnotes: Please see my review of Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol. 1, where I try to make sense of how Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Wonder Tot can all appear in one story together.

If you like this volume, try: Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth, by Paul Dini and Alex Ross from 2002. In 1999, Dini and Ross started collaborating to release a series of treasury-size original special featuring one of the key characters of the DC Universe. This gave us Superman: Peace on Earth in 1999, Batman: War on Crime in 2000, and Shazam!: Power of Hope in 2001. Wonder Woman’s turn came the following year. In this story, Wonder Woman finds that her appearance, while appropriate for Paradise Island, does not work in the real world. Blazing into a scene with the armored one-piece suit, her beauty, and her heritage keeps her at arm’s length from the rest of humanity. At the suggestion of Clark Kent, Diana disguises herself in other costumes and identities, so she can travel the world and see how the world really is. Dini has proved time and time again that he is an outstanding comic writer, and in particular, a brilliant writer of female characters. Ross’ painted artwork shines brighter with this oversized format. The four specials were collected by DC in 2005 in a hardcover title The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes. Please check out this or any of the other Dini/Ross collaborations.