Wonder Woman #174, "Steve Trevor Alias the Patriot!"

WONDER WOMAN #174; Jan.-Feb. 1968; DC Comics (National Periodical
Publications; Robert Kanigher, editor (and writer); featuring "Steve Trevor-- Alias the
Patriiot!" as well as "Wonder Woman vs. the Air Devils!"

Review by Bill Henley

On the cover, Wonder Woman is engaged in what looks like a rather rough ball
game with her fellow Amazons, shoving one of them down as she races forward
with the glowing ball. Other Amazons are tumbling every which way behind her.
"The Mighty Amazon Doesn't Know She Is Racing to Disaster in the Startling

The Superman series did a number of stories during the Golden and Silver Ages
in which Lois Lane got super-powers and a costume of her own. Did Wonder
Woman's non-powered love interest, Steve Trevor, ever get a chance to do super
stuff while wearing long underwear? Yes, at least once, in this issue which
appeared near the end of Robert Kanigher's long run as editor/writer on WW.

On the splash page, a gaudily costumed Steve Trevor is slugging a pair of bad
guys while Wonder Woman watches from the sidelines. "Fate certainly handled
me a bitter pill to swallow! I've lost all my Amazon powers-- while Steve has
become a human dynamo called 'THE PATRIOT!"

Our story-- which I initially took to be an Andru-Esposito job, but which the
GCD reveals is actually pencilled by Irv Novick, though Mike Esposito is
still inker-- opens with an oddly Steve Ditko-esque scene in which a gang of
anarchic hippies attack "Capital City's Museum of Modern Art", "Wreck 'em! We'll
force 'em to exhibit OUR art!" "Who needs old masters! We hippies are in!"
Wonder Woman leaps from her invisible robot plane to take on the gang, but
they are unconcerned; "Remember the papers said she lost her super-powers! She
can't stop us!" Even without her powers she initially has some success against
the hippies, but then one of them with a handy blowtorch welds her Amazon
bracelets together. "Hera help me! If they weld my bracelets together-- I won't
even have normal strength!" But with WW helpless, a new figure appears on
the scene, clad in a garish red and blue costume with an eagle-and-shield
emblem. "Dig that male getup! Must be this bird's mate!" Indeed he is-- it's
Steve Trevor, WW's longtime boyfriend, out of his normal military uniform. "Fun
and games are over! Now let THE PATRIOT show you a swinging time!" As Super
Steve knocks the baddies around, the hippie with the blowtorch aims its flame
at his chest, but "The Patriot" is unfazed. He reaches out and pulls WW's
welded bracelets apart; "Steve! You've become a wonder man!" The wonder man
wonders why WW didn't finish off the gang before he arrived with her usual Amazon
panache. "The world has turned upside down! Steve rescuing me!"

"One week before, on a visit to a robot factory" (apparently not one of Doc
Magnus's) Steve is being manhandled, or robot-handled, by an out of control
automaton and a fully powered Wonder Woman has to leap to his defense as usual.
A nearby press photographer snaps a picture of WW in her latest moment of
triumph-- and suddenly she falls into Steve's arms in a fit of weakness. "It
worked perfectly-- just like the Angle Man said it would!", the phony photog
secretly gloats. Returning to his boss to report success, the cameraman learns of
Angle Man's further "angle"; he plans to dose Steve Trevor with "super-power
pills". "We steal Wonder Woman's powers and then give super-powers to Trevor!
Isn't that crazy?" No, says Angle Man; for once Wonder Woman finds herself
powerless and Trevor super, she'll retire from crimefighting and marry Steve--
and then Steve's supply of pep pills will run out, and Capital City will be
left without any super-powered defender.

Soon afterwards, while WW returns to Paradise Island to try to find the cause
of her sudden weakness, Steve receives the bottle of pills in a package with
a note promising him that they will give him "super-powers to match the male
members of the Justice League" so that he can "join Wonder Woman in her fight
against crime". Not quite as reckless about taking strange pills and potions
as, say, Jimmy Olsen, Steve sends the pills to the "boys in the lab" for
analysis, but getting a favorable verdict, he doses himself and finds that he can
lift jeeps, smash through brick walls, bend steel bars, and run faster than
anybody except the Flash. One faculty that is not improved, however, is Steve's
fashion sense, as he dons the garish "Patriot" costume. Meanwhile, on Paradise
Island, Queen Hyppolita and Amazon scientist Paula are unable to find the
cause of Princess Diana's reversion to mere mortal strength. But she nonetheless
refuses to give up her mission of "fighting crime in man's world". "I still
have normal strength! And if Batgirl can fight crime, so can I!" Only if she
fails as a non-super crimefighter will she "marry Steve and retire".

And so we are back where we started, with The Patriot leaping to the rescue
of a not-so-wonderful Wonder Woman. But despite her lack of success at
fighting crime without Amazon abilities, WW still refuses Steve's proposal of
marriage; "I--I just can't, Steve! Not till I'm convinced I'm completely helpless!"
Hearing Steve's story of how he became super, WW realizes there is a
pattern-- an "angle"-- here somewhere, as Steve gains powers just when she loses hers.
But it's not all bad. As Steve leaps towards WW's hovering robot plane with
WW in his arms, she confesses, "I like this part of you being super, Steve!
It makes me feel more like a woman being protected!"

But as Steve and WW search for the cause behind what has happened to them,
Angle Man calculates his time has come, as "the Patriot" must have run out of
pills by now. So now, Angle Man will take the super pills himself "and destroy
both the Amazon and Trevor!" He'll have his chance right away, as the two of
them burst through the door of his hideout. "Greetings, Angle Man, and thanks
for the super-powers!" And not only is "The Patriot" still super, but Wonder
Woman is back to her normal self. As Steve punches out thugs whose gunfire
bounces off his chest, WW captures Angle Man in her magic lasso. "Angel,
you've spoiled my fun!" "I've just set him up for you, Patriot! He's all yours!"

With the gang subdued, Steve starts to destroy the remaining super pills, but
Wonder Woman suggests keeping them; "Those super powers will come in handy if
we ever need the services of THE PATRIOT again!" But how did Wonder Woman
regain her super-powers, and how did Steve keep his? Well, it seems that Angle
Man simply miscalculated how long the effect of the pills on Steve would
last. As for Wonder Woman, she *didn't* regain her real powers-- not yet. The
super-strength with which she tossed Angle Man's gang around came from a power
pill Steve shared with her. But now, Steve rips the film out of the "camera"
with which Angle Man's phony photographer stole WW's Amazon powers-- and, with
the film destroyed, her powers return to her. "Who would have believed that a
device used to drain energy from bombs would steal super-powers from a Wonder
Woman?" Angle Man has one last angle, claiming WW and the Patriot can't
arrest him because it's not actually a crime to give someone super-powers, or even
take them away. But Steve contradicts him; the "camera" he used on WW was a
device stolen from military intelligence. With the villain defeated, the
story ends with WW and Steve embracing; "I think a super Steve Trevor is something
I've always needed in my life!" "Angel-- THE PATRIOT thinks you're the
greatest!" (Lots of questions left unanswered here. Where did Angle Man get the
super pills? Are they chemically related to Hourman's Miraclo, or maybe
Underdog's super energy pills? If Angle Man invented the bills himself, couldn't
he make a lot more money more or less honestly, by selling the pills to people
who want super powers, than by using the pills in a convoluted crime scheme?
And as far as Steve Trevor was concerned, if those pills were really safe and
effective with no nasty side effects, wouldn't the really "patriotic" thing--
especially since Steve is a military officer himself-- have been to turn the
pills back over to the "lab boys" to analyze and mass-produce so that America
could have a whole army of super soldiers, rather than just one part-time
long-underwear-clad super-Patriot?)

At this point DC was flailing around trying to find some way to keep the
faltering WONDER WOMAN title viable, and apparently someone thought-- however
briefly-- that making Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor super-powered partners might
be it. The ending of the story suggests that it was intended to bring The
Patriot back. But it didn't happen. Maybe DC Comics heard from Marvel Comics'
lawyers about Marvel's Golden Age hero, the Patriot (who hadn't been seen for
decades, but did appear in a reprint in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES around this time).
Or maybe someone at DC decided that costume was just too blamed dorky
looking. Anyway, Kanigher, Andru and Esposito ran out their string on WONDER WOMAN
in the next two issues without The Patriot reappearing. And then, Denny O'Neil
and Mike Sekowsky's "New Wonder Woman" series took away WW's Amazon powers
again, more permanently this time-- but, instead of making Steve super, they
killed him off.

Super pills or no, Steve was right back to his normal role as hostage in the
other story in this issue, "Wonder Woman vs. the Air Devils!", also by
Kanigher, Novick and Esposito. On the splash page, WW seizes a jet plane in the coils
of her magic lasso causing it to wreck, but the evil mastermind of the tale
gloats, from a vignette panel, "Wonder Woman thinks she's beating me, but
little does she know that by WINNING, she's playing right into my hands!" As the
story begins, we finally see that wild Amazon ball game that was featured on
the cover. Princess Diana reaches the goal posts with the ball after knocking
over all the other Amazons, and wins the game, but her reaction is to burst
into tears in Queen Hyppolita's arms. it seems the game was only a distraction
from her real troubles; "SOB-- it's my darling Steve-- his very LIFE is at
stake-- and I have no RIGHT to save him--!" Once again, as in the first story, we
flash back to how this all began, as Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are
present at the unveiling of statues of four famous crime fighters, Superman, Batman,
the Flash, and Wonder Woman herself. (With WW''s comic floundering in sales,
maybe Kanigher thought "guest shots" by these more popular heroes would help,
even if it was only statues of them.) WW's own statue is made of gold, and
Steve volunteers to guard it "for sentimental reasons". A different kind of
sentiment animates a new villain, immodestly calling himself The King of Crime,
who vows to destroy the four statues to prove that he is the one who ought to
be honored rather than "that collection of COMIC CHARACTERS!" The King of
Crime has his own island and a fleet of sleek jets manned by his "Air Devil
"henchmen, and he hands them their orders, somewhat to their puzzlement; "His
Majesty is sure going to a lot of trouble just to smash those statues! Wonder
what's REALLY on his mind!"

Soon, Wonder Woman is summoned by the mayor of Capital City who reveals that
he has received a message from the King of Crime, daring him to stop the
destruction of the Superman statue at 2 pm-- five minutes from now. As the
sinister squadron of Air Devil planes arrives right on time, WW takes to her own
invisible robot plane to capture them. She catches two of the jets inside her
magic lasso, causing them to crash (hopefully no nasty debris will fall on
innocent bystanders below) but another of the planes drops a large bomb toward the
Superman statue. After a pause for a few ad pages, Wonder Woman seizes the
falling bomb in her arms and plunges into the ground boring deep enough that when
the bomb explodes the blast is harmlessly muffled by the earth, while WW
escapes. The remaining Air Devils return to the King to report failure, but
unlike most evil masterminds he is tolerant of his underlings' failure; "Don't take
it to heart! There are other statues left to destroy!" And the next on his
list is the Batman statue, which he promises to wreck at exactly 10 a.m. "the
day after tomorrow". Once again he sends out a warning, and so Wonder Woman
is again on hand when the Air Devils make their prompt appearance. Somehow, WW
manages to leap into the air, seize the undercarriage of one of the jets in
each hand (a feat which would seem to require the abilities of the Elongated
Man as well as Wonder Woman) and force both planes to the ground. But once
again another Air Devil succeeds in launching a deadly bomb at the Batman statue.
Grabbing the bomb, this time WW hurls it straight upward where it explodes
harmlessly. And so once again she has foiled the King of Crime's plot-- or has

For at that very moment, with Wonder Woman otherwise occupied, the King
himself is busy using a plane and a pair of grappling arms to steal her own golden
effigy from the city museum. And as a bonus, he gets her sweetheart, Steve
Trevor (who evidently left his Patriot pills in his other suit) as a bonus.
Returning to their island hideout, the King and his remaining Air Devils gloat
over their victory. Their victory may be short-lived, as Wonder Woman trails
the two remaining Air Devil jets back to the island. Or maybe not, for if WW
makes a move against the King of Crime, he will set off "a bomb attached to your
precious boyfriend!" Steve nobly urges, "Never mind me, darling! Clobber
this crook!" but WW can't bear the thought of anything happening to Steve, and
so she leaves the King of Crime unmolested on his island throne. And now we
are back where we started, with WW telling her troubles to her mother on
Paradise Island.

But then Diana and Hyppolita notice a previously predicted meteorite shower
in the skies over Paradise Island, and this gives WW an idea how to decoy the
King of Crime. Soon afterwards a meteorite hurtles toward the King's island,
but after noting that its trajectory won't land it directly on top of his base,
the King decides it is harmless. Not so, for as the meteorite smashes into
the ground, Wonder Woman leaps from it, having hitched a ride on it to get
close to the King without his being warned. He still threatens Steve Trevor with
a bomb, but WW yanks the bomb control out of his hands with her magic lasso.
"But I'm not finished yet!",. the King snarls. "Now you are!", WW replies as
she fells him with a mighty sock. After the gang has been rounded up, WW and
Steve steal away for a little private smooching, but an apparently shy Wonder
Woman says, "Steve-- I've got the oddest feeling that someone is watching us!"
"There's no one here but you and I-- and your statue! And statues don't
tell!" It may not tell, but the golden statue appears in the final panel to be
craning its neck to watch the two lovers and smiling.

The issue wraps up with a couple of house ads, one of them featuring issue
#80 of another female DC star, LOIS LANE. On the cover, Lois seems to have
finally gotten tired of her treatment by her alleged signifcant other, as she rips
the "Girl Friend" part of the "Superman's Girl Friend, LOIS LANE" logo and
hurls it to the ground. (Does this mean the next issue logo will read
"Superman's Ex, LOIS LANE"?) "Get out of my magazine, Superman! I'm leaving
Metropolis to start a new life-- one that doesn't include YOU!" Considering your
penchant for getting into lethal trouble, Lois, a new life that doesn't include
Supes may not last very long. I've seen this cover ad but never actually read
the issue-- anyone want to review it? Anyway, Supes gets back at Lois in the
accompanying house ad for SUPERMAN #203 on the cover of which a deadly beam from
Superman's "S" emblem blasts Lois and Perry White. (Come on, Supes, you may
be on the outs with Lois, but this seems a little drastic, and why take it out
on poor Perry? Are you angry at him for chewing out Clark Kent all the