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Spinner Rack: Wonder Woman in “The Mirage Mirrors!” - Part Two




Posted by Joanna Sandsmark on 5/8/2012

Diana Prince reflects on her relationship with Steve Trevor and comes to some big (and tall) solutions.

Last month we took a visit to the back of Wonder Woman #130, to a delightful little tale titled, “The Mirage Mirrors!” In it, we’re witness to the bizarre phenomenon of Diana Prince getting excessively jealous of Wonder Woman over the affections of Steve Trevor. A twisted tale, indeed. After being jilted (as Diana Prince) for Wonder Woman, Diana finally gets a date and Steve spends the entire evening talking about her alter ego. Frustrated and angry, she flies to Paradise Island and learns of some special mirrors that can change a person into whatever they feel like being at that moment. Diana flies home, the mirrors safely tucked away for use at the next opportunity. Now, on with the story:

As stated, Diana has the mirrors and she's not afraid to use them. “But, the heart of a woman is notoriously soft, and…” (Just once I want to see the yellow text block end a sentence without an ellipses, and witness a word balloon without any exclamation marks.) Because Steve hasn't heard from Wonder Woman for a few days, he invites Diana to go with him to a $100 a ticket charity carnival. (A carnival? How very convenient if one happened to own, say, a couple of Mirage mirrors.) Diana is overjoyed that Steve finally chose her over Wonder Woman. She decides to return the mirrors to her mother, since he no longer needs to be taught a lesson about her own desirableness. She phones Steve to invite him for dinner first. Naturally, Steve mistakes her voice on the other end of the phone for that of Wonder Woman. “Wonder Woman? Angel! Where have you been? Now — I'll have to wiggle out of my date with Diana Prince — so I can take you to the charity carnival!” Bad move, Colonel Trevor. She can't get those mirrors out fast enough.

Meanwhile, Angle Man has decided to hit the charity carnival for the box office receipts. There are two box offices and therefore a two-pronged attack is in order. This story was written in the days when Angle Man was a mere hoodlum as opposed to a costumed villain who carried his special Angler around. He has a major sleaze factor going on and that always makes a bad guy more fun.

Steve breaks his date with Diana in the single worst way possible. He's smiling, he's happy and he basically calls Diana a mud hen. Diana has already put the mirrors in place so she quickly changes into Wonder Woman and jumps into Steve's Jeep.

As they stroll through the carnival, Steve exclaims that everyone is staring at them because she is so beautiful. One of the themes of this story is how focused Steve is on Wonder Woman's surface beauty. When they spot the “fun house mirrors,” Wonder Woman wants to give them a try. “They could distort me into a Halloween pumpkin — !” says Steve Trevor. “But — nothing could make you look like anything but the most beautiful girl in the world!” Wanna bet?

As soon as they stand in front of the mirror Steve is alarmed. His appearance doesn't change at all, but Wonder Woman immediately appears to gain about 300 pounds. Not only does she look obese in the reflection, but the image has now become reality. Steve immediately has a minor meltdown when he realizes his date is no longer a beauty in his eyes. To make matters worse, the crowd laughs at them. While Wonder Woman plays dumb, Steve does not tell her why he is acting so strangely and why the crowd is laughing. (I personally think it's helpful that Wonder Woman's costume is stretchy enough to go from a size 2 to a size 40.)

Meanwhile, part of Angle Man's team of crooks have commandeered a kiddie train and are shooting at the crowd. Steve hears the shots and decides to take care of the situation. “You'd better stay here, Wonder Woman! You are helpless in this shape!” Far from helpless, Wonder Woman curls up in a ball — like Bouncing Boy from the Legion of Superheroes — rolls down the track and derails the train. (I'm uncertain what research the writer or artist did to figure out the sound effects for this particular move, but apparently a fat Wonder Woman bouncing on train tracks makes the sound, “BWEE!”) The derailing was enough to gather up the criminals and stop their attempts at robbery.

The effects of the Mirage mirror wear off and Wonder Woman is suddenly back to her trim shape again. Steve explains away her sudden weight fluctuations by saying he “must have had a nightmare in the daytime.” Regardless of the reasons, Steve is happy that Wonder Woman is slim once more and the crowds are staring at him in envy again. However, clever Wonder Woman has led them to the second mirror and suddenly, she is a gigantic skinny weirdo. She's about three times taller than any other person (and most of that is legs). Her thought balloon says, “Steve is beginning to feel a little of the embarrassment he's caused Diana Prince all these years! He doesn't know I got the idea for these changes from the Justice League of America case ‘The Cosmic Fun House!’”

That's right, the JLA issue that began my infatuation with Silver Age comic books is referenced right here in an issue of Wonder Woman. In the other story she was turned into somebody very overweight and Green Lantern was turned tall and skinny. In this story she decided to try them both. While the crowd laughs, Wonder Woman bends down toward Steve, saying, “you always want to go on the tunnel of love ride, to steal a kiss from me, Steve! See one around?” Steve then claims it was condemned and there was a cave-in. He's such a shallow fellow in this particular story.

Angle Man chooses that moment to advance the plot, getting Steve off the hook. The villain’s gang steals a rocket on a kiddie ride, which is going to rendezvous with a helicopter piloted by Angle Man. Although Steve Trevor urges her not to, claiming she is in no shape to tackle killers, Wonder Woman grabs the rocket and swings it into the helicopter with a swish and a thud. It's quite a violent collision and one could assume that all aboard both vehicles were killed. One could also assume that the debris from this enormous crash rained down upon the people at the carnival, killing and maiming many more. These assumptions would be incorrect. The next panel shows a healthy Angle Man getting arrested. There is absolutely no flaming debris in the background. In fact the only thing that concerns Wonder Woman is Steve Trevor's desertion. Once again, he’s shown that he’s only interested in the beauty that’s skin deep. Wonder Woman, now normal again, stands outside the tunnel of love fuming that he “didn't even have the courtesy to spend the rest of the evening with me, just because I didn't look as beautiful as he thought!” Granted, she was pretty hideous, but Steve has shown himself to be pretty shallow in this particular story.

Instead of waiting around for him to notice she has reverted to normal, Wonder Woman devises a way to make him regret his actions. When Steve sees the oft-jilted Diana Prince, he asks her out. She tells him she has other plans and walks off arm in arm with Superman. There is no better way to make a man feel inadequate then to compare him to Superman. (For those paying attention, she followed her mother’s actions over and over again, including the ending where she goes off with another man. Diana did do her mom one better by choosing Superman, but close enough.)

As for Diana Prince, I'm wondering if the Amazons have any licensed therapists. She really needs to talk to someone about her jealousy of herself. That is simply not healthy.

I hope you'll join me next month for more adventures in the Silver Age of DC comics!

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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