The Garden of Your Mind

Having thoughts is easy. It’s automatic, like breathing. If you don’t breathe, you body will move breath for you. If you don’t think, your mind will have thoughts anyway. Thinking requires some effort. The problem is that the more effortless thoughts tend to be less empowering than the ones you generate yourself. And whatever thoughts dominate your mind also steer your life.

Beliefs about what is possible for you, how the world works, and the nature of human beings, shape your experience of Life. If you believe people are untrustworthy, you experience distrust. If you believe they are well-intended, you experience faith and trust. If you believe you are resourceful, you experience yourself as capable and confident. If see yourself as a helpless victim, you experience a constant need for approval and protection.

Most people bounce around between such extremes, but when they are fatigued or overwhelmed they tend toward a less empowered image of themselves and the world. On our best days, we may see ourselves as awesome and unstoppable. But when extraordinary challenges arise or we find ourselves fatigued and overwhelmed, those empowering thoughts may not have enough power to keep control of the ship, and the more limiting ones take over.

By consciously tending the garden of your mind (which requires effort) you can transform your experience of being alive. Affirmations are a time honored personal development tool for a reason. By spending time mindfully cultivating empowering thoughts and a positive self-image, not only do you expand your own belief in what’s possible, you also build up a resistance to the thoughts that wait to take over when times get tough.

Suggested Practice:

  1. Observe your thoughts, whether through free-writing, meditation, or other mindfulness practice. Ask yourself which ones serve you and which ones hold you back.
  2. Ask which ones are actually valid and evidence-based, and which ones are just random decisions you’ve made about yourself and the world. Make note of the thoughts that do not serve you. The ones that represent a way you don’t want to think of yourself.
  3. Transform them! Rewrite your limiting beliefs as affirmations. “I can’t” may become “I can” or “I’m learning how to.” You might turn “I’m tired” into “I’m preparing” or “My energy runs deep.” “The world is unfair” becomes “The world is as it is, and I’m rising to meet it.”

Note: Be careful to avoid too much cognitive dissonance. If you’ve recently been lied to or betrayed. “People are honest and trustworthy” will likely be experienced as a lie, and you yourself become untrustworthy. Honor your experience. Try something more along the lines of “The guy who betrayed my trust is not representative of all people. I choose to meet new people with curiosity and an open mind.” The point is to make sure that the thoughts moving through your head throughout the day are both more empowering and trustworthy than the ones they replace.

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Start Again

Today is your chance to make a fresh start. That thing you put off yesterday, you can begin again today. Right now. Whatever your reasons for kicking your dream into the future, drop them now. Do one thing toward the goal you have set for yourself. That one thing might be to write that goal down or to articulate your vision to a trusted friend. Then do another thing. Perhaps that’s setting aside five minutes of your busy day to jot down a list of three things you need to do to move your project forward. You can do that in line at the coffee shop or in the elevator. Schedule time for those things. Put them in your calendar. Now you’re in motion. And if you started before and drifted from your chosen path, start again. Start now. Like this blog. Today I start again.

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Connecting to the Cosmic Clock: Reflections on Eclipse 2017

Our lives are fleeting. The world will see countless solar eclipses. Any human being will only see a few, if any at all. The eclipse reminded me of the preciousness of life and our short time here on this magnificent planet.

Sun's Corona and RegulusWitnessing the solar eclipse within the path of totality was a singular experience, incomparable to anything I have ever known. I drove from San Francisco to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to share the celestial moment with my sister and her family. The 915-mile journey was worth every minute, mile, and drop of gas.

It’s difficult to describe the power of the experience, since there is nothing remotely like it. I had seen an 80% eclipse before. It was neat, but it didn’t make a lasting impression. This was different. Ninety-nine percent and Totality are as different as… well, night and day. The former is interesting; the latter, transformational.

Atop a grassy hill, we gazed at the sun through our eclipse glasses as the moon crept slowly across its face, dimming its light, cooling the air, and upending the familiar order of things. For more than two minutes, the laws of nature seemed suspended, the midday temperature having dropped nearly 20 degrees, the frogs croaking and crickets chirping as if it were nighttime, and my three-year-old nephew suggesting a nap might be in order at 11am (a most unnatural phenomenon, to be sure!)

The infinite sky seemed to become a dome, with the sun overlaid by the moon at the zenith, and dawn breaking in every direction, a 360-degree sunrise, but with the sun already high in the sky. Venus peaked out through the darkness near the sun/moon, gracing us with her beauty — the only star in the sky. The corona stretched out from the sun like blue-silver solar mist against a cobalt backdrop.

I became intimately aware of the gears of the Cosmic Clock — that we live on a marble spinning through space, held elegantly in place through forces of gravity and magic, perfectly balanced among an infinite number of other heavenly spheres. It was inspiring and profound, reminding me of the awesome vastness of the universe and humanity’s ever-expanding potential to know it. It seemed that if I listened closely enough I could hear the Universe hum.

Images of ancient people flashed across the screen of my mind, hunters and gatherers could not predict such an event. To them the eclipse could be nothing other than an act of the gods, a humbling and terrifying judgment from Heaven. As Shakespeare wrote in MacBeth, describing nature gone awry:

Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s
act,
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock ’tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.
Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?

— and the came the Eclipse of Thales!

If Herodotus is to be believed, Thales of Miletus, the original Greek philosopher gave the first accurate prediction of a solar eclipse, plugging humanity more firmly into the Cosmic Clock. Mythology gave way to geometry, astrology to astronomy, and humanity would never be the same again.

Our lives are fleeting. The world will see countless solar eclipses. Any human being will only see a few, if any at all. The eclipse reminded me of the preciousness of life and our short time here on this magnificent planet. Most of our strife is unnecessary, born from habit and pretense of separation. Our divisions and differences are imaginary, and we give those imaginings disproportionate attention. We are one human family, one singular life form, under the Vault of Heaven.

The next solar eclipse will be viewable from Chile and Argentina on July 2, 2019 and I will be there.

Amazon Family Reunion: Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #4 Review

WWBW04-Cov-A-Staggs.jpgAlright, let’s start with the most obvious reason this issue is the best so far — Diana takes Jaime to Paradise Island! In previous reviews I’ve gushed over how this series elevates the feel of two iconic 70s TV series to the epic scope made possible by the comics medium. By that metric, Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #4 is a home run! (Kangas!) Every page is a delight, with homages and cameos abounding.

The chapter begins with Diana (Wonder Woman), Jaime (the Bionic Woman), and Max (the Bionic Dog) soaring over the Atlantic Ocean in Diana’s invisible plane. Diana contacts Paradise Island using her Mental Radio, activated by the ruby in her tiara, to announce their arrival. She compares the communication device to the one implanted in Jaime’s arm, drawing parallels between the mythic fantasy of Wonder Woman and the science fiction of the Bionic Woman.

Answering Diana’s call is a character not seen since the original pilot episode, The New Original Wonder Woman — Rena (Inga Neilsen!) Rena is Diana’s red-headed Amazon sister who was with her when she fatefully discovered Steve Trevor washed up on the shore of Paradise Island during World War II, the event which led to Diana leaving for America to become Wonder Woman.

Upon their arrival, Diana and Jaime are greeted by the Diana’s mother, the Queen  (played on ABC by Carolyn Jones and Chloris Leachman and on CBS by Beatrice Straight. (The “close-up” model for this version is Carolyn Jones, but I could swear the profile is based on Beatrice Straight.) Guest stars pop up everywhere on Paradise Island — and we learn the fate of several of Wonder Woman’s friends and foes. I won’t spoil them for you here. (Seriously if you’re a fan of either TV show and you’re not reading the comic, close this review and march yourself down to your local comics shop right now or download it here.) We also meet a few Amazons who look a lot like some real world women, including the granddaughter of Wonder Woman’s creators — Christie Marston!

As they explore the island, Diana and Jaime swap origin stories. Diana describes Paradise Island as a haven for women who needed to escape the oppressive forces of Man’s World. Jaime wistfully suggests she might have benefitted from such island restoration after receiving her bionic upgrades. During the discussion, Jaime realizes that both women have faced robot-building enemies in the past, and that it happened not far from Paradise Island. It’s time to investigate. Also, the team grows by one Amazon.

Meanwhile, the villainous cabal CASTRA reveal their plan to invade Paradise Island with an army of Fembots to steal the Amazons’ feminum, a unique metal they intend to use to construct an indestructible army of androids. Discovering CASTRA’’s secret headquarters, the gals find themselves in fistfight with the Fembots, which does not end well.

This series started strong and this chapter is the best so far, adding even greater emotional depth as Jaime comes home with Diana to meet her family. Mangels has constructed a universe where mythic fantasy and science fiction are beautifully integrated. Wonder Woman’s presence accentuates Jaime’s courage and heroism, while Jaime’s highlights Diana’s humanity. At every turn, each character’s world adds dimension to the other.

While Mangels’ story delights, Judit Tondora’s renderings of real actors in a comics universe astound. In some cases (as with Carolyn Jones), Tondora gives new life to the deceased, rendering them effectively immortal. This is the series I’ve always wanted but didn’t know was possible. I never want it to end.

Doctor Psycho: One of Wonder Woman’s Vilest Villains

An essay I wrote about Doctor Psycho’s first appearance in Wonder Woman #5 (1943), written by William Moulton Marston, with art by H. G. Peter.

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Dr. Psycho is one of Wonder Woman’s all-time creepiest supervillains. His epically misogynistic mission was originally to “change the independent status of modern American women back to the days of the sultans and slave markets, clanking chains and abject captivity.” Stopping him is totally a job for Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman’s adversaries are usually victims of some sort of psychological imbalance that stems from unhealthy cultural practices and/or gender dynamics. They also tend to be distorted reflections of Wonder Woman herself. In the case of Dr. Psycho, a man with a brilliant mind and a hideous figure is broken by a world that debases intelligence and worships beauty.

Before Dr. Psycho became a supervillain, he was a brilliant university student, but a terribly unattractive one — a knock-kneed “pocket Napoleon” with a funny looking face on an oversized head sitting atop a diminutive awkward body. No matter his intellectual accomplishments, his appearance remained the focus of his peers and their constant ridicule. He was engaged to a beautiful woman named Marva. She admired his intelligence, but insisted that “lovemaking doesn’t become [him].” Ouch!

After catching Marva in the embrace of a dashing athlete named Ben Bradley, Psycho prepares to call off their engagement, believing she would be happier with a handsome husband. (He’s probably right, given Marva’s thoughts on Psycho and lovemaking.) Before he can make his personal sacrifice, however, he finds himself framed by Ben for radium theft with Marva’s unsuspecting help.

While Psycho is locked up Ben and Marva marry, sending him over the edge. The betrayal is more than his psyche can bear. His self-esteem annihilated and his faith in humanity destroyed, he swears revenge not just on Ben and Marva, but on all women everywhere. Waging a war on women, Dr. Psycho’s insanity makes him receptive to the influence of the Duke of Deception (an emissary of Mars, the god of war), who bestows Psycho with occult knowledge that leads him to terrible power.

Once freed from prison Psycho murders Ben, who accuses Marva of masterminding the plot to frame him. Bent on revenge, Psycho subjects Marva to what he himself calls a fate worse than death — marriage to him. Using a hypnotic power to compel to marry him against her will, he binds and hypnotizes her her day after day, making her a human guinea pig for occult experiments involving her body and her spirit.

For prepubescent readers this is horrific enough, but adult readers no doubt recognize the adult activities and expectations associated with marriage and may wonder what Psycho’s “occult experiments” might entail. We’re talking about some super-creepy serial rape here (which by the way, though utterly deplorable, was completely legal when this story was written and remained so for decades afterward.)

Footnote: In fact, as recently as 2015, Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, whose previous wife had accused him of raping her, explicitly stated that rape within marriage is not legally possible. “You cannot rape your spouse,” he said. “There’s very clear case law.” Besides being unconscionably vile, he was also factually wrong. In 1984, New York joined 17 other states in acknowledging that women’s bodies are not property by striking down the so-called marital rape exemption. The judge’s decision declared that “a married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman.” Marital rape didn’t become illegal in all fifty states until 1993.

Through experimentation on his enslaved wife Dr. Psycho masters the art of extracting ectoplasm from her dispirited body, which he uses to alter his own appearance and to create solid ectoplasmic ghost forms. First he takes the shape of Mussolini, then the famous (but deceased) boxer, John L. Sullivan. These external manifestations reveal Psycho’s inner desire — to be a powerful man who dominates others, whether though fascist authoritarian rule or sheer brute strength.

We see Marva blindfolded and bound to a chair, powerless to resist her husband as he performs his experiments on her, reducing her to a lab rat. Marva is bound to him in marriage, unable to stand on her own, completely under his control, forced to reflect him as he wishes to be seen — powerful like Mussolini and strong like Sullivan. Marva is kept at home and treated like an animal, forbidden from participating in the world — no friends, no job, no relationships besides her husband, whose influence is all-powerful.

Dr. Psycho, with Marva in tow, begins holding public seances where he summons ghosts before live audiences, and becomes a nationwide sensation with millions of people accepting the phantoms’ words as gospel. It is at one such performance, while conjuring George Washington, that the wicked imp comes to the attention of a certain Amazon princess.

The act begins with Marva seated on-stage, blindfolded and confined inside a glass cabinet. Psycho asks for volunteers from the audience to bind Marva to her chair. Always up for a good girl-roping, Wonder Woman seizes the opportunity to tie up the medium. When Marva complains that her bonds are too tight, Wonder Woman retorts that her ropes are actually too loose, that  an Amazon could easily escape. Marston is telling the reader that Marva doesn’t have much fight in her.

With Marva bound and caged before a watchful crowd, Psycho creates a phantasmic George Washington, who lectures on the folly of women’s participation in the war effort. Psycho-Washington predicts the explosion of a munitions plant the following day and blames it on the carelessness of the women who work there.

It’s a striking image — a veritable American deity denouncing women’s war efforts with Wonder Woman standing behind him in the background, her mouth agape, horrified at his sexist propaganda. She is new to this country, the voice of its future, and this resurrected American hero spouts old ideas better left in the past. Who will the audience trust?

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Even the Amazon’s blond boyfriend gets on board with Psycho-Washington’s rant. “Sounds genuine to me!” he says. (I like to imagine that she gives him an earful about that remark off-panel.)

The scenario takes on another dimension when we consider that the ultimate power behind this charade is Mars, the god of war himself, whose primary fear is that women’s power will not only win World War II, but if allowed to flourish will end all war and with it his hold on mankind. This depiction of a nation’s own mythology used to hock lies to the masses and undermine feminine power while propagating violence is an echo of centuries past and a shadow of decades to come. It is seemingly a timeless tale. This is the story of the Amazons of Ancient Greece, the witches of the Inquisition, McCarthyist attacks on feminism during the Cold War, and current efforts to deny women birth control through perversion of the United States Constitution in the name of the religious freedom of their oppressors.

After Psycho-Washington’s prophecy comes to pass (through his own machinations, of course) he gains the ear of military intelligence and invites Diana’s bosses, Colonel Darnell and Steve Trevor, to a private seance in Psycho’s laboratory. Since it’s her book Wonder Woman comes with them.

Again we see Marva as Wonder Woman ties her to a chair. She begs Psycho to free her, but he tells her, “No woman can be trusted with freedom!” Disconcertingly no one, including Wonder Woman, moves to free Marva when she asks.

Psycho-Washington appears once more, foretelling that three women will be responsible for the disappearance of top secret documents the following day. After this second prophecy comes to pass (and three innocent women are framed by Dr. Psycho), a suspicious Steve Trevor returns to Psycho’s lab to question him.

Steve-Psycho WW#5

Psycho responds by spouting a lot of protoplasmic palaver at him. And as he delivers his masturbatory monologue a ball of white ectoplasmic goo collects on Steve’s chest, which literally takes his breath away. As if to underscore the seminal moment, in the background we see various downward pointed tubes, dripping and squirting their fluids into receptive flasks.

Later, Wonder Woman arrives to rescue Steve and discovers him trapped in a golden cage. When she attempts to set him free she finds herself paralyzed by an electrical current coursing through the metal bars. Steve’s form dissolves, revealing Psycho underneath. “I materialize a body and wear it like a cloak — Trevor’s — Darnell’s — a Major General’s!”

Psycho is describing his own sociopathic chameleon-like behavior. He exhibits whatever visage and traits service his goals, with no moral center of his own. He is the charming-but-ruthless psychopath who has plagued too many trusting women of the real world and risen the highest levels of political office. As long as he looks good in public, he can get away with untold horrors behind closed doors.

With Wonder Woman now his prisoner, he hooks her up to machine that separates her spirit from her body, a sensation she describes as “like falling”, then chains her colorless spirit to the wall with “bands of psycho-electric magnetism” (because comic books) which are as strong as Psycho’s willpower while her lifeless-but-colorful body remains trapped in the cage. Wonder Woman tries to call for help, but can’t send a mental radio message without her body. She is truly helpless.

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And we’re back into rape territory. Wonder Woman is in the same thrall as Marva. She has been rendered completely immobile, subject to Psycho’s will and unable to control her own body. The Harvard Psychiatry Review describes a common response to sexual assault as tonic immobility, an experience characterized by dissociation, hopelessness, and paralysis — exactly what is evoked through this image of Wonder Woman’s grey spirit body chained helplessly to a wall, while the possibility of restored life and freedom lies with reunification with her colorful physical form which she observes at a distance.

Steve Trevor, still held captive elsewhere, manages to get a message to Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls via Wonder Woman’s Mental Radio device. The fearless sorority sisters arrive at Psycho’s lab where they encounter the doctor posing as an exotic gentleman who elicits their man-hunting instincts. The girls’ flirtations weaken Psycho’s will and with it Wonder Woman’s bonds. Unlike Marva, Wonder Woman has continued to fight against her bonds so she is prepared to break them when the opportunity arises.

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The image of her escape is positively joyous! She doesn’t just bend the bars of her cage. She delights in twisting and breaking them. “You never know how good your body feels until you’ve been out of it for a while!” Not just pretty words, but a glimmer of hope for women like Marva, readers who feel trapped and powerless to act. To build on the hopeful message, when assaulted by electrical blasts Wonder Woman discovers that she can barely feel them. She has become immune to the power that had been used to confine her. Through her capture, bondage, and escape, she has descended only to rise stronger and more capable than before,

After rescuing Steve, Wonder Woman finds a deeply entranced Marva and wakes her gently. Her consciousness restored, the poor woman is terrified that Psycho will torture her, that her newly gained freedom will be met with punishment. Wonder Woman, holding Marva in her lap like a child, explains that the only power Psycho has over her is the power she gives him. With the source of Psycho’s ectoplasmic power unplugged, the imp’s disguise dissolves and he is captured by Steve and the Holliday Girls.

In the story’s final panel (one of my favorites), Marva says to  Wonder Woman, “Submitting to a cruel husband’s domination has ruined my life! But what can a weak girl do?” — a familiar sentiment in patriarchal society. The Amazon’s answer is both pragmatic and poignant, and quintessential Wonder Woman: “Get strong! Earn your own living — Join the WAACs or WAVES and fight for your country! Remember the better you can fight the less you’ll have to!” (Emphasis is mine.) For Wonder Woman, rescue is only the beginning of a woman’s journey to claim her own inner power and thus freedom from man’s domination.

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Heavy Machinery: Wonder Woman Meets The Bionic Woman #3 Review

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Cover by Glen Hanson

When last we left our heroes, they were out at sea, atop a cargo ship that had just fired off a stolen missile!

Now, SPOILER ALERT! I’m going to reveal super secrets of the this issue!

Click here to get Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #3 from Comixology.

To stop the missile, Jaime (who once posed as a stewardess) pilots Wonder Woman’s invisible plane, despite her inability to see the invisible controls and questions Diana’s choice of timing for a costume change. Giving chase, Wonder Woman lassoes the missile from the plane’s wing and throws it off course with some Amazon acrobatics. We’re off to a delightfully goofy high-stakes start!

Meanwhile, the terrorist group CASTRA has freed Wonder Woman’s very very old foe, Captain Radl (John Saxon), from prison. During Wonder Woman’s World War II adventures, Radl and his Nazi team had invaded Paradise Island before being defeated by Wonder Woman and her younger sister, Drusilla (Debra Winger). The Amazons wiped Radl’s memory, but it returned during his incarceration.

Now we learn the full scope of what Diana and Jaime are up against. CASTRA consists of Wonder Woman villains, Captain Radl, Dr. Solano, and his companion, Dr. Cyber (aka Gloria Marquez), and Orlich Hoffman, who have joined forces with the Bionic Woman’s adversary, Dr. Carl Franklin, creator of the deadly android femme fatales known as Fembots, and his robotic “son”, Carl Mark II. The series of expository monologues in where we learn this info is punctuated by Hoffman, who comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall, once again bringing the self-aware charm that is a signature of this comic.

Back at sea, Wonder Woman and Jaime have CASTRA’s hired henchmen all tied up, but discover that some of them are actually Fembots (…er, Masc-bots?) Anyway, they defeat all but one, which escapes overboard after a battle sequence studded with stars and bionic sound effects. Assuming that the robot sank to the bottom (and inexplicably not going after it), the super partners check in at the IADC, where Jaime calls her parents, inspiring Diana to pay a visit to her own mother.

Then it’s off to the OSI to visit Dr. Rudy Wells (Marin E. Brooks), the bionic surgeon, who is examining a captured Fembot (er, Manbot… whatever.) The Fembot creeps Jaime out, which perplexes Diana. After all, Diana points out, Jaime is part cybernetic herself. Dr. Wells points out that though there are technological similarities the Fembots are computers and not at all sentient. (And for the record, the Fembots creep me out, too.)

The discussion of human vs machine is interrupted by fan favorite, Max the Bionic Dog! Diana smiles into his eyes and the two become instant friends. With the new team formed, the two women and their dog leave the OSI. And as they do, Rudy finds himself at the mercy of a team of Fembots!

Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #3 is a balancing act well-executed, combining action, exposition, and an exploration of the Bionic Universe while retaining its sense of nostalgic fun. Again, Andy Mangels balances wit and action, keeping the story moving, remaining true to the star characters, and using the supporting cast to deepen our understanding of them. I love this series.

Click here to get Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #3 from Comixology.

Sisters in Arms: Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #2 Review

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First, a disclaimer: I am much more familiar with Diana Prince than Jaime Sommers, so my reviews of this series slant heavily toward Wonder Woman.

Also, SPOILERS GALORE!!!

Click here to get Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #2 at Comixology!

Now, onward!

Andy Mangels picks up our story with the funeral of IADC director Joe Atkinson. Right away this issue improves on anything that would have aired on television in the 1970s, with cross-cultural sensitivity on full display. Eve, a presumably gentile African-American IADC agent, has coordinated the Jewish service, hoping that she “got everything right. For Joe.”

At the shiva gathering in the Atkinson home, Joe’s daughter, Elena (played on TV by Eve Plumb, famous for her role as Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch), confirms that Joe is well and truly dead, as evidenced by his autopsy to which Elena’s traditionalist mother strongly objected. Jaime tells her boss, Oscar (a non-practicing Jew), that she feels uncomfortable and out of place.

Diana Prince excuses herself just before Wonder Woman coincidentally arrives, greeting Elena in Hebrew with a traditional prayer of mourning. THIS is Wonder Woman! She is a citizen of the world — Human-to-human connection, meeting others where they are. It’s truly a beautiful scene and conveys a profound mutual respect among all the characters.

Jaime asks Wonder Woman to meet her on the roof, where she confronts the Amazon, telling her she knows that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are the same person. Unsurprised, Diana trusts Jaime to keep her secret and their friendship continues to deepen — sisterhood, trust, mutual respect. So. Very. Wonder Woman.

Now onto the the action:

A mysterious hooded woman checks the manifest of a weapons transport ship while a sailor explains that the cargo is loaded. (If you look closely at the manifest, it’s actually a page from a Wonder Woman TV script. I love Andy Mangels.) Fans of the TV series will recognize the woman as Gloria Marquez (played by Jessica Walter) from the CBS Wonder Woman pilot, “The Return of Wonder Woman”, who seemingly perished at the end of the episode. Here were learn that she survived and has been upgraded to supervillain status — as a fabulously 70s cyborg, Doctor Cyber! Again, Mangels masterfully combines the feel and pace of the TV series with the scope of a comic book.

Doctor Cyber contacts her partner, Doctor Solano (Fritz Weaver), who has also not been seen since his apparent death beside Gloria. It seems Solano and Gloria have teamed up with Bionic Woman villain, the Fembot-building Dr. Franklin (John Houseman).

Back at the IADC, Jaime tells Steve Trevor that Wonder Woman has given her a way to contact her, a fact that miffs him. (Jealous?) Diana suggests he just be grateful for the time Wonder Woman does spend helping him. It’s delicious to see Diana have a woman who is her equal and her confidant. Steve tells the duo that a ship containing experimental missiles is on the loose and it’s their job to track it down.

Before they set out in the freshly-washed invisible plane, Jaime takes a moment to ask Diana how she changes identities so quickly. At that, Diana spins into Wonder Woman, telling her that it’s a sight seen by almost no one. Somehow this scene is both grand and intimate. Jaime is quickly learning more about the Amazing Amazon than anyone in Man’s World. Though Diana is nearly always smiling, it starts to make me wonder if she might be terribly lonely without anyone to trust. As they fly off, they leave Diana’s car in the lot.

“Do you leave a lot of cars behind,” Jaime asks.

“More than you know,” replies the Amazon. If you watched the show religiously, this is hilarious.

The final act of the book is action-packed. While Diana and Jaime kick butt on a cargo ship in the Atlantic, a dangerous foe is freed from a prison near Washington D.C. — an old enemy who vexed Wonder Woman in the 1940s, a man who knows way too much.

Oh, and one of the experimental missiles is launched. Things have gone from bad to worse.

This issue of Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman is every bit as enjoyable as the first, but the tone has darkened. We begin with the emotional impact of death which provides the backdrop for the superwomen’s budding friendship. It has all the fun and action, and also brings humanity and gravitas. This series is a gem. I can’t wait to see what future issues hold!

Click here to get Wonder Woman Meets the Bionic Woman #2 at Comixology!