In January 1998, I had an eight-hour layover at Miami International Airport. It wasn’t supposed to be that long of a layover, but a combination of a missed flight, weather delays, and mechanical problems, led me to a very boring day at the airport.
In an era where tablets and smart phones were a thing of the future, I did my very best to keep myself entertained. I had lunch at a nice Italian place, and then browsed all the shops in the terminal. My last stop was at a newstand/book store, where I saw the guy putting a few comics on the racks. He had the big sellers like X-Men, Batman, and Spider-Man, but he also had a ton of Archie stuff.
I bought four or five Archie digest books, and an issue of Incredible Hulk by Peter David. But since I knew I had a long wait to go, I picked up a few other titles to try out. Among those purchases where some Detective Comics, and Shadow of the Bat issues. I even got a couple of Wonder Woman issues, because why the hell not? Better to have something to read than not.
Anyways, I guess I was at the store for a long time, because when I was about to pay the guy said something like “Are you sure you got enough?” I laughed, and explained why I was buying so many comics. Then he said the magic words, “I think we have a box full of older stuff out back, want me to check?” Umm, yeah I do!
To be clear, he wasn’t talking about Silver Age of Bronze Age comic. The box was filled with comics from 1996 and 1997. This was stock that was never sent back for some reason the man said. But That was okay with me, because there was a ton of stuff in there that I didn’t already own. One of the strangest comics to come out of that box was Wonder Woman #113 from September, 1996.
The story was titled “Are You Out of Your Minds?!” and it was written and drawn, possibly lettered, and stapled by the one and only John Byrne. I think this was around the time where I realized jolly John Byrne was loosing his touch. He’d been on Wonder Woman almost three years by then, and maybe he was starting to run out of ideas.
Anyways, I had to buy Wonder Woman #113 for a few reasons: One, I hadn’t read a Wonder Woman since #101. Two, I had just bought a couple of Wonder Woman issues, so it might be a good idea to see what happened in the book before. Three, I needed to know why Estelle Getty was on the issue’s cover. But I would soon find out, that the girl on the cover was supposed to be Wonder Girl.
But this wasn’t some elderly woman cosplaying as Wonder Girl. No sir, the girl on the cover was none other than Cassandra “Cassie” Sandsmark. A character that would go on to become a pretty popular Wonder Girl. However, if memory serves me coreclty, Cassie was supposed to be around the age of 16 when she was introduced. Yet, John Byrne draws her like a woman in her fifties.
I don’t recall too much about the plot of the comic, but I do remember Wonder Girl was attacked by some random villain, and she tried to escape a box. and goes to make a run for it. During her escape, Cassie decides to drop the box and get the hell away from the bad guys. Then, an Earthquake happened.
The quake was so strong that even Diana felt it.
But instead of flying out to save people, Diana instead wonders why Cassie didn’t come out of her room when the quake hit. She then discovers that Cassie snuck out, which doesn’t say much for Wonder Woman’s babysitting abilities. By the time the scene shifted back to Cassie being chased by the villain, I had lost interest in Wonder Woman #113.
There was nothing redeemable about this book. It was like reading a Silver Age “What if” story, but this was in the 1990’s. Byrne had no idea how to write teenagers, and it didn’t help that he drew all women the same way regardless of their age. Some of Byrne’s art looks rushed or unfinished, and sometimes Wonder Woman looks massive, and sometimes she looks like a normal person.
I hated Wonder Woman #113 with a passion. It’s my fault for buying it of course, but I really expected something better from the mighty John Byrne. This comic was so bad though, that I never read the other Wonder Woman comics I bought at the airport that day. And to make matters worse, when I finally got to Boston, I was in a car accident.
Guess this just wasn’t my day. But at least the Archie comics were fun.