Wonder Man #25
Issue(s): Wonder Man #25
Issue #24 left off with Wonder Man and the Beast at the Flores residence. This seems to continue directly from there, but we know that Wonder Man annual #2 has to take place in between. So it seems that Wonder Man and Beast have now reconvened at the Flores place.
The Beast gets Wonder Man to concentrate and prove that he can control what the hand grows into (by making only a single finger nail grow big). But when Beast says that Wonder Man can accept that he's a real person, Wonder Man balks, and the subject turns to how Wonder Man's parents died. Wonder Man says that he doesn't want to talk about it. Before that goes any further, all the villains show up.
While fighting Goliath, Wonder Man grows in size alongside him.
Goliath, a psychological mess who has been upset that Wonder Man has the life that he thinks he should have, continues to try to grow until he simply disperses.
Wonder Man then returns to fight Baron Zemo, the Enchantress, and the Executioner, but Jamie, in her Dreamer form, tips him off to the fact that they're all really Mephisto.
Wonder Man punches him away with his demon hand and then turns on Black Talon (Man-Ape is occupied with the Beast through all of this). But the Black Talon does some magic, and Wonder Man is brought to Hell where he meets Lotus.
Lotus reveals that she's been behind a lot of the things that have been going on in Wonder Man's series (which we know) and that it's all been in service to Mephisto (which is new information and, frankly, feels like a last minute change in direction for her). It's said that Mephisto is interested in Wonder Man because he's immortal, and an immortal soul would be a powerful energy source for him.
Blackheart then launches an attack on Mephisto. Black Talon tells Mephisto that he needs Lotus' lifeforce to power himself up to fight Blackheart, and Mephisto allows it without a second thought and that's the last of her in this series. Meanwhile, Wonder Man transforms himself into a demon to break free.
Wonder Man learns that Blackheart, not Mephisto, has Alex's soul. Wonder Man turns to Grim Reaper (still Blackheart's ally) and in confronting him we get the flashback to the "secret" that's been talked about a few times in this series. It turns out that their parents kind of pitted them against each other, with Wonder Man being the "good" son.
And it turns out that the Grim Reaper accidentally killed their parents. He blames himself for it, thinking that it was his destiny to be "bad". But Wonder Man also blames himself because his mom told him that he was responsible for his brother.
I think i have a way of settling this, guys. I'm fairly certain your mom is still alive. Her name is Martha Williams and she's appeared in my project a number of times. She seems like a nice lady, not at all like the horrible woman in the flashback.
Anyway, Wonder Man convinces Grim Reaper that he's not destined to be evil, and then Grim Reaper takes a blast from Mephisto that was meant for Wonder Man.
Blackheart then threatens Wonder Man's parents' souls again, but Wonder Man say that they are just "parodies". However, he offers to fight for Blackheart in return for Alex. Mephisto points out that Wonder Man still has no hope of defeating him, but then Hela seems to show up.
But it's really Alex's image projecting ability. And while a big battle rages on, Wonder Man forces Black Talon to send him, Alex, Beast, and the Grim Reaper's body back to Earth. Wonder Man then sucks all the Crazy 8's powers back into himself (although it turns out that Jamie and Spider held back a little to keep for themselves).
You might think that between the abilities that Wonder Man was showing in this arc plus the all the weird ways the ionic energy was used by the Crazy 8 that he might now have a whole array of new powers. But all that's said is that he can fly on his own (no more jetpack) and he has "enhanced powers". And in the end he gets a new costume. With pouches. Because you need pouches.
If this ended the back and forth between Wonder Man and the Grim Reaper i would say it at least had some value, but of course he'll be back. It certainly tried to end the cycle, but you could say that about their last few encounters too and there's a point where you have to realize it's not going to happen because the next writer isn't going to leave it alone, so you might as well write about something else. Overall, there were parts of this story that seemed ok, but a lot of it felt really rushed: Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch's night together, Lotus' revelation and death, the mini-encounter with the Lethal Legion villains (crowded out by illusions of the original Masters of Evil), etc.. And in general the Mephisto/Blackheart stuff is tiresome and feels out of place. Nonetheless, any change in direction for Wonder Man is welcome at this point, even though we've only got a few issues left.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the Considerations for Wonder Man annual #2 regarding its placement. Wonder Man gets a new costume at the end of this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAttractive Lad (Aundray Phelps), Auteur (Alex Flores), Beast, Black Talon II, Blackheart, Buff (Lahoya Scripps), Dreamer (Jamie Flores), Erik Josten, Glamour Girl (Gloria Angel), Grim Reaper, Lady Lotus, Man-Ape, Mephisto, Snap (Ginger Beach), Stat (Spider Beach), Visionary (Argus LeVecchio), Wonder Man
In addition to Wonder Man's mom being alive, Wonder Man's dad didn't die until Simon was old enough to take over the business. Gerard Jones discussed the error here:
Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2016 8:11 PM
The idea that Lotus was working for Mephisto seems to come out of nowhere, and is later discarded in favor of revealing that she's really the original Lady Lotus. BTW, when that and the idea that Wonder Man's parents were killed by Eric are all discarded in the Avengers Two series, Lotus claims that she doesn't remember the events of this story. It's not clear if she's supposed to be an illusion or just possessed by one of Mephisto's demons in this story so the MCP lists this as an appearance just in case.I guess you're following suit?
Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2016 8:24 PM
Wow, that Martha Williams continuity screwup really is inexcusable! You'd think Jones (and Nicieza) would've at least read the West Coast Avengers run, since that's what this book was spun off, and Martha appeared there only a few years before this issue.
Posted by: Tuomas | October 13, 2016 3:59 AM
I'm guessing they weren't Englehart fans.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | October 13, 2016 5:11 AM
Martha Williams appeared in the Vision and the Scarlet Witch series as well as WCA. Kurt Busiek points out this error in his Avengers run.
Posted by: Steven | October 13, 2016 1:04 PM
I've deleted some off topic squabbling about the recent news about Gerard Jones. If anyone really wants to talk about it, Michael created a topic in the forum, probably in an attempt to help keep this sort of stuff off of random entries.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 13, 2017 10:18 AM
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