So far, we saw Langstrom briefly befriend the son of a mob boss while Guerra struggled to find his place in the world among the Mexican immigrants. Now, our familiar lady fair gets her shot. Join us as we look at…
Published on August 15, 2015, this was the last one-shot of the entire series. A three-issue mini-series that focused on our three main heroes followed, but that’s for next time. Joining writers Bruce Timm and J.M. DeMatteis this time around is artist Rick Leonardi, inker Dan Green and colorist Allen Passalaqua. The primary cover was drawn by Jae Lee and June Chung, showing off Wonder Woman as she shatters a rock formation with her sword. Once again, Darwyn Cooke handles the alternate cover and depicts our titular heroine fighting off foes from her home world. So, what happened to her following the incident on Apololips? Let’s dive in and find out.
We open in India on July 1962 where a man is walking his dogs through the calm night. Suddenly, a fierce rumble knocks him off his feet as a burst of bright light appears in front of him.
It turns out to be Bekka a.k.a. Wonder Woman as she emerges from a Boom Tube. However, she didn’t arrive on Earth alone as an otherworldly beast has followed her through the portal.
After a brief scuffle, she ultimately manages to kick the creature back into the Boom Tube before it completely closes. As the man approaches her, the fight ultimately takes its toll as she collapses out of exhaustion.
Sometime later, Bekka wakes up and finds herself inside of a home where she’s getting nursed back to health. Helping to get her back to peak condition is the wife of a man who came across our heroine in the first place. After regaining her strength, she wanders around the immediate area before coming across a god statue. Looking into its eyes, she narrates that her Mother Box took her to many harsh places before finding the solace that eluded her since her initial time on New Genesis.
Over the next few months, Bekka would travel the globe and learn about Earth’s culture. She finds out that not everyone is as kind as the couple who helped her out, yet can’t help but be interested in humanity’s duality. She would observe the highs and lows of Earth’s citizens and never interfere with any of their businesses. After a long while, she started feeling lonely from her travels.
We then cut to a Northern California bar in October 1962. Bekka and a bartender learn from President John F. Kennedy that the Soviet Union has placed short-strike missiles in Cuba, thus marking a point in U.S. history as the Cuban Missile Crisis. With the threat of nuclear annihilation looming, she decides to go out in a passionate (though random) swing with her server. Fortunately, she narrates that Kennedy was ultimately able to curb any acts of war through peace talks. However, we then cut to Washington, D.C. in 1963 where she and many others have gathered for JFK’s funeral due to him getting assassinated. Thankful, the former president has inspired her to get active towards his ideals of peace.
We then cut to June 1964 where a group of racist goons prepare to execute a pair of black men under a Mississippi bridge. Just then, Wonder Woman arrives and relieves a thug of his shotgun. After taking out another troublemaker, the lone hooligan had already reacquired the shotgun and tells Wonder Woman to drop her sword.
When she rightfully doesn’t comply, the thug proceeds to kill the two black men. Stunned by what happened, she takes care of the lone assassin before falling to her knees in tears over the fact that she was forced to stop one violent act with another.
We then cut to May 1967 where Bekka had given up trying to deliver peace elsewhere since they never seem to end peacefully. It turns out that she has spent the intervening years looking for balance and inner peace. Thanks to the hippie movement, she’s been able to make progress as she continues her spiritual harmonizing during a concert in a New York City dive.
Suddenly, she sees and hears a young woman freaking out. Bekka follows the lady outside and uses her Mother Box to purge the nightmarish illusions. Just then, the woman’s friends arrive and thank Bekka for her assistance. After she gets invited to join them for some coffee, we proceed to learn that the young woman is named Suzie Sunshine and her compatriots are Doctor Psycho (the one wearing sunglasses) and Guitar Joe.
The hippies want to share Bekka’s vision of peace and harmony throughout all races, so they invite her to join up with them in order to make it happen. From there, she heads out with “The Hairies” into the country and arrives at their sanctuary: an abandoned farmhouse. That night, she shares a peaceful evening with Guitar Joe and enjoys her time, even to a point where she’s considering on permanently staying with his group. Just as she starts to head upstairs, she notices a light coming from the other side of a door.
Upon entering, she finds out that Doctor Psycho has a private laboratory in the house. When he arrives and scolds Bekka & Guitar Joe for coming into his workplace without his permission, he states that he’s making the purest of elixirs.
The next day, Bekka displays her superhuman strength as she easily lifts the Hairies’ van out of a ditch. Observing the scene from afar, Doctor Psycho tells Guitar Joe that she’s going to become a huge figure among their group.
Over time, it became true as Bekka managed to inspire some members of the Hairies (mostly women) to drop the stereotypical roles of the past and embrace something better. She even shared her wisdom and a new mental experience through the crystals that came from her Mother Box. However, this caused a split amongst the group as some sided with her while others sided with Guitar Joe.
Unaware of the divide caused by her good intentions, she focused her efforts on finding out what hidden project Doctor Psycho has in store from inside his lab. One night, Bekka sneaks in and discovers a trap door. Upon entering, she’s horrified to discover mutated humans being kept underneath. From there, they proceed to attack her.
After fending them off, Doctor Psycho and Guitar Joe arrive as Bekka demands to know why there’s mutants down here. It turns out that these were people who volunteered to test out Doctor Psycho’s experimental drugs, but they ended up as the twisted abominations that they are. From there, we get his backstory. He used to work for the CIA on a project called MKUltra, which used psychotropic drugs on unwilling and unknowing humans. Despite Doctor Psycho and Guitar Joe trying to convince her that they’re attempting to turn these unfortunate folks into “gods” and that this will ultimately lead to a perfect utopia, Bekka isn’t convinced in the slightest.
Just as she starts to climb out of the basement, Doctor Psycho proceeds to drug Bekka. Suddenly, she falls into a horrific drug trip as she finds herself back on her home world.
In her drug trip, she sees New Genesis and Apokolips merged as one following the hostile takeover by Highfather and his fellow warriors (see my review of the film for more on that detail). With images of her former allies looking to attack her, she ends up smashing out of the house in a drug-induced rage.
When some of the Hairies come out to see what’s going on, Bekka’s drug-induced state makes her see them as figures from her past homelife as she threatens to kill them. Suddenly, Suzie Sunshine emerges and asks her friend to stop her assault in order to receive the help that she gave before. This snaps Bekka out of Doctor Psycho’s drug-induced grasp as her friends proceed to take her inside.
Because of this incident, a fallout has occurred as some of the Hairies packed up their belongings to join Bekka at another commune while others continued to stay loyal to Doctor Psycho and Guitar Joe. While searching for the mutated figures in the basement, she learns that Doctor Psycho moved his lab equipment and the “burnouts” to a different location. After promising a reckoning onto him, Bekka moves out and sets up “New, New Genesis” alongside Suzie and their fellow hippies.
Meanwhile, Doctor Psycho resumes his nefarious work. Due to a crystal that Bekka accidentally left behind, he plans on using its power to turn his test subjects into something more than human. Guitar Joe realizes that his partner has gone too far and tries to stop him, but Doctor Psycho easily knocks him out and begins to set his plans in motion.
We then cut to Bekka and her fellow hippies as they enjoy a peaceful night around the campfire. Suddenly, her advanced hearing picks up a disturbing sound approaching their home. After suiting up and telling her brothers and sisters to seek shelter inside, the “Burnouts” arrive on their newly-mutated wings. Even as she recognizes them as Doctor Psycho’s test subjects, she knew that they came to kill and proceeds to fight them off.
After an hour of fierce combat, Wonder Woman manages to defeat the winged creatures. Suddenly, one last monster swoops in and attacks her. When she manages to see what she’s facing, it turns out to be Guitar Joe. Having become one of Doctor Psycho’s horrifying guinea pigs, he proceeds to viciously beat Bekka up.
Suddenly, she notices a crystal shard glowing from his chest. As such, Wonder Woman stops his attack and accesses the fragment embedded on Joe’s body. Using their connection towards each other and their fellow people, it manages to not only rid the “Burnouts” of their monstrous appearances, but also completely heals them as well.
Later, Bekka investigates the cave which served as Doctor Psycho’s hideout. However, not only did he escape but he also cleared out his entire set of lab equipment. After climbing out of the rock formation, she tells Suzie and Joe that she’s going to leave the group. She tells them that the only way to bridge the gap between peaceful bliss and the ignorant society is to go out into the world and make that connection happen. And so, the comic ends with Wonder Woman flying off into the sky promising to never forget her newfound friends.
Now for the good stuff, my character analysis. Just like Batman and Superman, she’s initially an outsider who struggles to find her place in the world. The hippie movement helps in restoring her life through spiritual harmony and inspires various hippies (including Suzy and Joe) towards better tomorrows. This is cleaver due to the ’60s counterculture that’s taking place during the meat of the story. Afterwards, her battles inspire her to take a different approach towards stopping injustice thanks to the influence of her former group. For her foe, Doctor Psycho’s falling out with the CIA can represent the time period. After all, America was entrenched in the Vietnam War and the decade provides him with a resentment of anti-establishment in his efforts to “stick it to the man”. With his army of mutated “Burnouts”, it seems to imply that he wants to ultimately get back at his former job for rightfully stopping his insane work. All of this is done under extremely pleasing art work. The bright and trippy colors supports the time frame really well and is very comfortable to the eyes. If there was anything to criticize, then I would go after Doctor Psycho’s plans. He sends his “Burnouts” to get rid of Wonder Woman, but what would the rest of his plan be? Would it just be to reclaim the defected Hairies and turn them into his mutated army as well? If so, then how far would it go? His plan is foiled and easily squashed, so this may turn up in the second season of Gods & Monsters Chronicles. However, would his armada have been powerful enough to overthrow the CIA if given the chance? Either than that, there’s not much to criticize.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable comic. The artwork is really well done, the supporting cast fill their roles efficiently and Bekka gets some dimension towards her persona as a superhero. She’s really likable enough in her pursuit for righteous balance during a hectic timeframe and has an opposing foe who fits with the troubling problems of the period. It’s worth a read to see how a fury of New Genesis gets molded into an amazing Amazon.
Next Time: Now that the Trinity’s backgrounds have been explored, one question still remains. How did they unite to become their universe’s greatest superhero team? The three-part explanation will begin to be answered as we dig into “Justice League: Gods & Monsters #1”.
Wonder Woman (created by William Moulton Marston), Justice League (created by Gardner Fox), the New Gods (created by Jack Kirby) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.