Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Why do they even keep giant dirt clods on top of their Greek temple in the first place?

There's a chance that you've been told that Wonder Woman has no good villains and has never had a good story. There's a chance that you might believe it, even a little, having had shown to you "proof" in the form of Diana Prince's Seventies' boutique, aimless Silver Age adventures and her shouting something about "vegetative injustice" at Swamp Thing on scans_daily that one time. There's a very slim chance that you believe it with every fiber of your being and, if that's the case, congratulations on having been appointed Warner Bros. vice-president in charge of film and television development.

Tell me about it, cousin.
However, it's simply not true, and by way of proof I bring you Villainy, Incorporated from Wonder Woman vol.1 No.28, March-April 1948. Like all the great Wonder Woman tales, it begins with light bondage and ends with gorillas sporting human heads.

Capitalizing on a previous adventure wherein Wonder Woman had apprehended an invading fleet from Saturn, this villain-laden sequel starts off with the lady invaders peeling off for a cushy gig at Transformation Island, the Amazonian retreat for inveterate criminals. Locked in "Venus Girdles" which make them compliant and submissive, the Saturnian women are ... well, man, they're basically slaves. It's not cool, but there it is, let's tuck our shirt tails in and keep wading forward.

Not falling for the ol' Venus Girdle trick is Eviless, a female villain whose name sounds like a brand of Diet Evil. Stealing a page from Redd Foxx's playbook and faking a heart attack, she manages to sneak off with Wonder Woman's golden lasso and jam the lock on her Venus Girdle while everyone else is running around like idiots because they're scared of what the ACLU's gonna do if they find out prisoners died in their custody.

As it's a trick, Eviless is able to break her bonds - albeit reluctantly, as the Venus Girdle is a hell of a drug - and overcome her captors. Next on her honeydew list is to release all the unrepentant villains currently housed in the surprisingly spartan Amazon jail. For a place where everyone is subjected to loving authority, there's sure a lot more cold concrete floors than there are comfy beds.

Freed from bondage - in fact, possibly the first characters in one of these early Wonder Woman stories to be freed from bondage - Eviless assembles her sneering criminal horde into her vengeance-seeking sinister limited liability company, Villainy Inc! These sneering nogoodniks include:

"Formerly a Female Gorilla" is going on my CV.

Giganta, formerly a giant gorilla turned into a gorgeous seven foot-tall redhead in a leopard skin hoochie girl outfit. The last time we saw her, she was corrupting an innocent world where evil was unknown, which is a lot hotter shit than when she just grew real tall on Super Friends.

Speaking of Super Friends, there's also The Cheetah, similarly decked out in animal print fleece and a little too eager to throw her real name out there like anyone cares.

Queen Clea of sunken Atlantis, a woman wearing one of those aluminum foil takeout containers shaped like a swan as a headdress, and "Crimson Flame" cultist Zara make up a pair of lady crooks wearing Cinnabons as breastplates. There's gonna be hell to pay when they realize they showed up wearing the same skirt, too.

The other three members comprise the crossdressing component of the class, from the mustache-twirling Hypnota, the grimly grinning Dr.Poison, and the Blue Snowman who wears an outfit you might assume was the mascot for a football team called "The Fat Guys." GO ARLINGTON FAT GUYS, WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

There's never a not-bondage moment happening.
It doesn't take long for Eviless and her gal pals of crime to turn the tables on their Amazon captors, gathering loads of them in an auditorium and dousing them with knockout gas. The same thing happened to me and my classmates during a sophomore year assembly on abstinence, led by an evangelical juggling troupe.

What follows that is a fast-paced adventure which sees pretty much everyone bound head-to-foot at one point of the story or another. Sometimes more than once, actually. Wonder Woman and her mother are both individually bound by the golden lasso and then later bound together in burning chains, the Amazons are bound by Venus girdles and thick ropes, then most of the baddies are tied up with chains and then Wonder Woman gets tied up with a flaming chain again. Steve Trevor even gets tied up in a shirtless subterranean scene, the Holliday Girls are thrown into a net, Wonder Woman is bound by her lasso again and then chained to the front of a submarine, and then all the girls are tied with thick ropes to a rowboat. Oh well, it was bound to happen! ::finds largest rock, picks it up, walks into ocean never to be seen alive again::

What the story also chooses to do is backtrack along some of its previous story gimmicks, such as the cult of the Crimson Flame and Professor Zool's troublesome evolution machine which, for some reason, he's still allowed to operate even though every time he tries it just ends up rebooting the whole planet to a state of immaculate grace. This time he just gives himself and all of the Holliday girls the bodies of gorillas, so we'll call that one an even break for once.

Naturally, at the end, Wonder Woman manages to free her Amazon sisters, save her mother, re-imprison Villainy Inc and transform her friends back into regular-bodied humans. This leaves her plenty of time to rub soothing ointment on all those spots where the ropes rubbed her ankles and wrists raw. It's a hard lifestyle, but a rewarding lifestyle, or so I learned from Fifty Shades of Grey.

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