Monday, December 17, 2018


Written & Illustrated by: George Pérez | Based on an idea by: Carol Flynn
Finished by: Bob McLeod | Lettered by: John Costanza
Colored by: Carl Gafford | Edited by: Karen Berger

The Plot: Wonder Woman scours Boston, battling the Chinese mob, in search of Myndi Mayer’s killer. Meanwhile, Inspector Ed Indelicato and his partner, Sergeant Michael Shands, work the case as well. Eventually, all parties realize Skeeter La Rue is to blame, and Wonder Woman tracks him down. Skeeter dies when he attempts to escape, and the final autopsy on Myndi comes in, reporting that she was dead before she was killed, thanks to a brain hemorrhage brought on by an overdose of cocaine and alcohol.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Indelicato and Shands first appeared at the Wonder Woman Fair in issues 15 and 16, where they were try to catch Solomon Buchman. We get some follow-up on those issues here, as it’s mentioned in passing that Buchman has escaped police custody since his arrest, and the detectives learn about the computer chips that Henry Armbruster was after in those issues. Further, it’s revealed here that Skeeter has been using Myndi’s business as a front to distribute cocaine, and that the fair was in part a cover for this operation. Lastly, the Chinese men Diana interrogates work for Choi, who was Armbruster’s partner in the Silver Swan affair.

Indelicato’s side of this issue is told via prose. It appears to be part of a memoir he’s writing; in any case it’s unlikely this is an official police report based on some of the things he discloses (his lust for Diana being chief among them).

Skeeter La Rue’s real name is revealed as Michael Boyd. He’s a grifter from New Jersey who fell in with Choi’s mob in Boston. He was ordered by Choi to kill Myndi after she found out about the cocaine ring, and then he attempted to pin the crime on Harry London, one of Myndi’s employees who she had recently fired in a drug-fueled stupor.

My Thoughts: I don’t think “street level” is a term anyone typically associates with Wonder Woman (unless perhaps you’re talking about the Lynda Carter TV show), but somehow this tale of our heroine taking on the Chinese mob and solving a murder mystery happens to be one of the series’ best so far. Perhaps my dislike of all the Greek god stuff and my inherent enjoyment of these sorts of stories colors my perception, but whatever the reason, “Who Killed Myndi Mayer?” is a really good outing from George Pérez.

Of course I find myself wondering if he’d always intended the character to die, or if he perhaps decided she wasn’t as interesting as he’d originally envisioned when he created her. I liked her; a scheming publicity agent isn’t a character you usually find in a superhero’s supporting cast, so she was fun for that reason. So, while the story that offs her is a great one, I will miss the character. But even as one cast member departs, it seems another is poised to step in. I like Ed Indelicato quite a bit, and it’s clear Pérez is setting him up for more action in the future. He clearly has a thing for Wonder Woman, too, and with Steve Trevor now older and functioning as more of a father figure to Diana in this post-CRISIS world, I wouldn’t mind seeing Indelicato as Wonder Woman’s love interest, at least for a while. He’s totally the opposite of what you’d expect; a schlubby John Belushi type is not who anyone would expect to see dating Wonder Woman, which would make this a pretty entertaining match.

Lastly, this is one of the more “mature” stories we’ve seen in Pérez’s run. I’ve gone on record in the past as saying that I avoided DC comics when I was a child because they felt more “grown up” than Marvel. Part of that was due to the four-letter words you’d see in DCs, which never showed up in Marvels (stuff like “damn” and “hell”). In this story we have lots of discussion of cocaine (including some actual depictions of the stuff), mention of a married man (who is otherwise a likable character) having an affair with Myndi, including the use of the word “sex”, and even someone saying “Goddamn” — which I’m pretty sure was still being bleeped on network television in the United States back in the eighties!

While I have no objection to any of this stuff reading it now, as an adult, I’m a little surprised that it all passed through the Comics Code Authority in 1988. I know I would’ve felt guilty reading this stuff back then as a nine year-old, and I can say with certainty that I’d be uncomfortable with my son reading it at that age. I know comics “grew up” in the eighties, and by the nineties it seems “tweens” and teenagers were the primary audience, but children were still, so far as I’m aware, the ostensible target audience in ’88, and some of the stuff that was put in these books amazes me today!

Oh, one last thing: Bob McLeod, who will remain aboard for the remaining four WONDER WOMAN issues we have to look at, begins a stint as inker/finisher this issue, and turns this into far and away, no holds barred, the best-looking story Pérez has drawn since he started on the title. I've always thought McLeod is a brilliant inker, capable of making nearly any penciler look good -- and when he teams up with a guy as talented as Pérez, the results are oustanding! I cannot wait to read those next few installments!

Next Week: The “Supergirl Saga” hits in SUPERMAN #21 and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444.

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