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Spinner Rack: Wonder Woman in “The Mirage Mirrors!” — Part One




Posted by Joanna Sandsmark on 3/26/2012

Diana Prince gets jealous of Wonder Woman. How will she deal with her attention-getting alter ego?

When I first began collecting comic books as an adult, I was reading modern books and had fallen in love with the character of Wonder Woman. I went to the comic store one day and saw an issue of the Justice League of America in the glass case. It was JLA #7, “The Cosmic Fun House,” and I found the cover mesmerizing. I had never spent more than cover price on a comic at that point. It was $40 — and I had to have it. I ended up trading a copy of The Simpsons #1 signed by Matt Groening (which included a small original sketch of Bart Simpson next to the sig) for the JLA #7. I was overjoyed with the trade. Not only did I still have three more signed Simpsons, I was now the proud owner of a Silver Age book that sported one my favorite covers of all time.

That started me down the road of collecting Silver Age comics. You can imagine my delight when, in the back of Wonder Woman #130, I found a story that gave the JLA adventure a knowing nod. “The Mirage Mirrors!” has delights of its own, but the biggest source of fun is another trip in front of some fun house mirrors.

“The Mirage Mirrors!” begins with a series of panels where Diana Prince asks Steve Trevor out on a date. Each time he tells her that he already has plans with Wonder Woman. This immediately begs the question: shouldn’t Diana know that her costumed self already has plans was Steve? She acts as though it comes as a complete surprise to her that Steve is busy and therefore turns her down. That really only works if there is an actual other woman as opposed to yourself wearing different clothes. It’s rather sad, actually. Diana acts needy and semi-desperate. I don’t like to see Wonder Woman (whether in an army uniform or her Amazon costume) hanging desperately on the words of a man, lacking in confidence, and worst of all – acting jealous of herself! That last one has to be high on the “you’re acting crazy” index.

“And when Steve finally did go out with Diana…” all he did was talk about Wonder Woman. In fact, he's downright annoying. It's exaggeratedly obnoxious how single-minded Steve Trevor is. He dines with Diana and talks about Wonder Woman being the most beautiful, the bravest, the most fearless, the most generous… And when he dances with her he speaks of Wonder Woman's “flashing eyes,” “shining hair” and “knockout figure.” Naturally he is holding in his arms a woman with identical eyes, hair, and figure but he does not notice. On the drive home the Wonder Woman tribute continues. I think it's a good thing Wonder Woman is Diana Prince or Diana would've decked Steve long before she got home.

Unfortunately, she does “explode” when she’s alone at home. “The nerve of Steve! Always praising Wonder Woman in my presence as if I were just a wooden post! He never says a single nice thing about my eyes — or my hair — or my figure! And it's even more insulting because in my secret dual identity — I, Diana Prince, am really Wonder Woman!” Nice to see her remember that she’s actually the woman Steve was praising. I don’t blame her for being ticked at Steve. After all, he doesn’t know who her alter ego is. Very rude of him, actually. But Diana, take it down a notch when you’re in private. That just makes you look desperate and deranged.

Having finished her meltdown, she changes into Wonder Woman costume, summons her robot plane, and flies off to talk to Mother. Once on Paradise Island, Queen Hippolyta and Diana hang out on the palace balcony, which overlooks the ocean (it's really quite a nice piece of real estate that paradise island) and discuss Diana's dilemma. The Queen launches into a story about Hercules. Hmmm… I wonder if there’ll be any parallels between the Queen’s story and what Diana will eventually do?

In a flashback, Queen Hippolyta tells us about Hercules’ efforts to impress her with his feats of strength. Being an Amazon, Hippolyta comes back with a feat of strength of her own, which just increases Hercules’ interest in the fair Queen. “Now, Hercules did not know that in my secret dual identity, I was also a mere soldier in the Amazon Army…” I don't recall hearing about her dual identities before, but I could be mistaken. It's been a while since I read every single Wonder Woman comic (like I said earlier, big fan of the double W).

In a wild coincidence (heh), "Amazon soldier" Hippolyta and Hercules go on a date and he does the identical thing we saw just a page ago. He talks nonstop about the wonderful, beautiful, amazing Queen Hippolyta and pays little to no attention to the Amazon soldier. So Queen Hippolyta decides to give Hercules a lesson. He chases her into the woods and, in the Queen's words, “I let the bragging strongman catch me…” They chance upon a pair of mirrors deep in the woods. They look at their reflections and suddenly Queen Hippolyta appears to have two heads. When Hercules sees that it isn't just the reflection that has two heads, but the Queen herself, he runs away. The mirrors also seem to have multiplied from two to three and then back to two. After Hercules disappears, Hippolyta returns to normal. Later, Hercules hits on the Amazon soldier again (I guess he likes her single headedness) and she turns him down for ride in another man's chariot.

The flashback at an end, Wonder Woman wishes she had the Mirage mirrors. We find out that Queen Hippolyta is a hoarder, as she tells Diana, “You ought to know your mother better than that, daughter! You know I save everything in case it might be needed again! From a bent safety pin to —” at this, Hippolyta reveals the Mirage mirrors behind a curtain. Honestly, I have seen enough episodes of “Hoarders” to recognize one when I see one. The only difference is that her hoard must be hidden behind curtains or something, because the palace doesn’t resemble a garbage dump.

I’ll ask it again: Who thinks Hippolyta's story is going to be reflected almost exactly by Diana’s? You don't spend more than two pages in a flashback without using the heck out of it. Let's see how this works out, shall we? Join me here next month to find out what Wonder Woman is planning to do with the mirage mirrors (your clue is Justice League of America #7).

If you'd like to learn more, including a detailed bio and more information about Joanna's books, please visit her website.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.




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