|"And he's beating up those innocent pedestrians!"|
As the Sixties began to wind down, the powers-that-be were in their last throes of trying to figure out exactly what to do with an increasingly-dated Wonder Woman. The answer, earlier, had been to pepper her stories adventures with younger alternate versions or partnered with her mom, but by Wonder Woman vol.1 No.174 (Jan-Feb 1968) the answer had developed into "bring in a boy hero."
The Amazon princess' longtime lothario Steve Trevor takes center stage as the super-powered Patriot, all part of a plan developed by Wonder Woman's most nitwitted regular opponent The Angle Man. While, in later years, the Angle Man would actually commit crimes using super-scientific gadgets which capitalized on multi-dimensional "angles" and which made him something of a physical match for Wonder Woman, back in these early days his whole gimmick was that he crafted crimes with "angles." Or, in other words, "Crimes." I don't even know what a crime without an angle would be, surely that's the whole point of law-breaking? Maybe calling him Crime-Man was too on-the-nose.
|"So, in brief, yes it's crazy."|
ANYWAY. The hippies overpower Wonder Woman, possibly with their frightening ignorance of art history, and it all looks bleak until a super-powered Steve Trevor in ketchup-colored fighting togs comes busting through the wall. Looking for all the world like a mascot for U.S.Savings Bonds, Steve rescues his now-powerless paramour, allowing her to reflect on the cause of their super-switcheroo.
How did Steve get super-powers? Well, it all started with a visit to Robots, Inc, a "robot factory" which sounds like a home for wayward rovots but actually just looks like a loading dock full of Power Rangers. As Wonder Woman saves Steve from a berserk-ass Twiki, one of Angle Man's agents snaps a photo of her with a special camera, sapping her amazing powers! Then he shoots her and she dies, because this is a great plan.
No, wait, the "angle" actually involves stealing Wonder Woman's powers but giving Steve Trevor a box of pills which grant him "super-powers equal to those of the male members of the Justice League," and by "male members" I assume he means Batman's dick. The ultimate "angle" to the plan is that a demoralized Wonder Woman, powerless AND overshadowed by her super-powered fuck buddy, will retire from crimefighting. This is great news for crooks like Angle Man, because it means one less superhero, not counting the one new superhero he just created by giving Steve Trevor super-powers. So the "angle" is "zero sum." Write that down, class, it'll be on the test.
|The first thing most dudes do when they get super-powers: dick around and break shit.|
Steve has the "boys in the lab" analyze the pills, and they check out just fine on the lab's exhaustive "Do these pills give you super-powers equal to those of Aquaman's schlong" test. So, in short order, Steve Trevor is bounding about as The Patriot and Wonder Woman is slowly piecing together the fortuitous timing of this nonsense. Although, to be fair to Angle Man, at one point Diana actually asks herself "Who could have set up this ANGLE" and it still takes her like five hours to figure out it was Angle Man.
The story ends with Patriot and Wonder Woman, at full strength, smashing up the Angle Man's crew and headquarters, because Angle Man forgot that Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor know each other and he'd just share the pills with her. Now they both have the power of Green Arrow's schwantz! Dumb plan, man, dumb plan. Anyway, Wonder Woman gets her powers back at the end and everyone forgot that Angle Man had invented a machine which steals people's super-powers and pills which give them super-powers, because any reasonably intelligent crook could've conquered the world with gadgets like that. Good angle, buddy!
|"We're ALL on pills, man!"|
Steve's dual identity is in mothballs come the second story in this issue ("Wonder Woman vs The Air Devils"), in which Wonder Woman is tasked with protecting statues of other super-heroes situated in their cities. Why can't the boy heroes take care of their own stuff? I bet there's bits of scrambled egg all over the floor of Justice League headquarters, those fellas can't be trusted to clean up after themselves. Whatever the case, Steve Trevor a.k.a. The Patriot packs in it completely, since a "Daring New Wonder Woman" was right around the corner and he didn't make any sense in the first place.