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Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Wonder Woman

At4w stan lees wonder woman by mtc-studios-1024x453.jpg

Released
July 20th, 2015
Running time
20:06
Previous review
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Tagline
Strength, compassion, wisdom... and a really kick-ass costume.
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Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Our look at Stan Lee's reimagining of the DC Universe continues.

(A montage is shown of the comic of Stan Lee's version of Batman)

Linkara (v/o): Last time, we saw Stan the Man's version of Batman, and it was actually pretty damn awesome. Batman was an underprivileged guy in a bad neighborhood controlled by a gangster named Handz, who also owned a jacket that I easily misinterpreted the writing on it.

Linkara: People do know that I wear glasses and have to rush out a review every week, right?

Linkara (v/o): Although, definitely more of a screw-up on my part is that the cover actually had Batman leaping off the H of the Hollywood sign. But then again, you'd only really know that if you knew the story took place in Los Angeles and Hollywood, which is not obvious from this cover. But whatever, that's just me being grumbly for no good reason. Anyway, the guy was sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, but instead of joining the A-Team, he befriended a scientist and a bat, became a professional wrestler, and then killed a guy.

Linkara: (holds up hand) It sounds dumber than it actually was, but hey, that's what happens when you oversimplify. In the meantime, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Wonder Woman".

(AT4W title theme plays, and the title card has the theme from the 1970s Wonder Woman TV show playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): The cover goes back to the style we saw on the Superman cover, with various bits of the interior panels depicted... and I'm not a fan of it. It seems a bit lazy, not only because it's reusing art, but also because a bunch of disjointed images don't really tell us anything about what's actually in the book. There's some kind of monster, and people are looking. Huzzah, buy our book. Much more impressive is the Wonder Woman redesign. I love it personally. While with Wonder Woman, I'm personally okay with pants or no pants, what irritates me is the color scheme that artists always try to give her, especially in more recent times when they tried to give her a darker palette. She's the Spirit of Truth! It's in her damn name! Wonder Woman! She should look like a damn wonder, which is what we've got here: white and gold. Especially love the gold trim on the cape, too. Honestly, the only thing that bugs me about this is her stance. I think Escher Girls call this a centaur pose, since her torso is jutting out the front of her, while her hips and legs are pushed back.

(The comic opens to the first page)

Linkara (v/o): We open in the distant past.

Narrator: Ages ago, there was a time of wonder, a time of mystery and miracles.

Linkara: Ah, yes, I remember the early days of the Internet. Took me forever to get off of Windows 95.

Narrator: Come back with us to such a time.

Linkara: (as narrator) We brought snacks!

Narrator: To the legendary Lake Titicaca, in the land men call Peru.

Linkara: (as narrator) Women call it "puree".

Linkara (v/o): And on your right, you'll see Carl Sagan and Atomic Robo trying to contain a Lovecraftian monster. Anyway, we see the birth of an Incan god, Manco Capac, and the enchanted gold staff he wielded. He led the Incan people on a quest to create a new land, eventually founding the city of Cuzco, placing the golden staff as its foundation.

Narrator: Never had there been a place so wondrous; a place of beauty, peace and plenty. But that was ages ago.

Linkara: (as narrator) Then urban sprawl ruined this whole neighborhood!

Linkara (v/o): And thus, we cut to the modern day, where a woman named Maria Mendoza is expositing to herself about how the place has fallen into ruin.

Maria: And even the ruins now suffer the final indignity...

Linkara: (as Maria) Being featured in an Adam Sandler movie.

Linkara (v/o): Actually, it's that they're being destroyed by a rich guy who's searching for some kind of buried treasure within the ruins, not that that makes any sense, since the actual ruins of Cuzco are a tourist attraction. But then again, I wouldn't trust much of what this woman says, since she apparently felt the need to go walking through a forest and a barbed wire fence in a loose-fitting dress and cape. A guy locates her and tells her she has to leave.

Man: This property is off-limits to tourists. It's a scientific archaeological dig financed by Armando Guitez.

Linkara: (as this man) I'm the exposition guard, giving you more information than you asked for.

Maria: How dare you mention science in the same breath as Armando Guitez!

Linkara: (as Maria) He's an antivaxxer!

Linkara (v/o): Turns out this guy is the Stan Lee version of Steve Trevor. He's an archaeologist trying to keep that Guitez guy honest by trying to preserve as much of the site as they can and only selling anything they find to museums.

Linkara: (relieved) Ah, well, it's okay to plunder priceless treasures from other cultures' histories as long as you sell them to museums.

Linkara (v/o): Steve's Spider Sense tingles or something about incoming danger, and we can see a shadow on the wall of a velociraptor or something that apparently is eyeing its own tail. They hear heavy footsteps and make a run for it back to Steve's Jeep. He isn't sure what it is they're running from, but we do see a semi-translucent, purple, clawed foot smash some rocks.

Linkara: I always thought that ghost Velociraptors were something missing from Wonder Woman's origin.

Linkara (v/o): After arriving back in the fictional village of Santa Atalaya, Maria runs to speak to her father.

Maria: Father! You're Santa Atalaya's official juez!

Linkara (v/o): And a caption informs us "juez" equals "judge".

Linkara: Having a single word in Spanish when the rest of the dialogue is in English is estupido. (beat) "Estupido" equals "stupid".

Maria: How can you let that horrible Armando Guitez desecrate our historic shrines? Father! Please answer me!

Linkara: (stroking chin, as Maria's father) I will, but only after I figure out what "juez" means.

Linkara (v/o): Her father explains why he's letting the guy do this. He tells the story of a poor farmer who, bringing his wife and newborn daughter home, was stopped by bandits who wanted money. When he refused to give them their money, they killed his wife.

Maria's father: In those few accursed seconds, that baby lost her mother--and I, my wife!

Maria: You were that farmer!

Linkara: I'd say "No duh" to that, but that just makes me wonder why the guy didn't identify himself as the farmer in that story to begin with.

Linkara (v/o): The police arrived quickly and made the bandits flee, but the corrupt officers wanted payment before they would track down the bandits. Since he didn't have the money, the police took his truck instead, and he later saw them happily hanging out with the bandits and dividing the spoils.

Maria's father: (narrating) On that day, I swore a sacred oath... Never again would I be a victim!

Linkara: (as Maria's father) And that's the story of how I became Batman! (stops and looks away in confusion) Wait...

Linkara (v/o): And hence why he's letting him get away with this: wanting to protect his daughter from the douchebag – by being a victim. Huh. Speaking of, we soon see Guitez come up and hit on Maria, who of course tells him off.

Guitez: (thinking) Just as I have made her father my obedient puppet-- so shall I make Maria mine!

Linkara: (as Guitez) I shall threaten to marry her father instead!

Linkara (v/o): At the courthouse, some farmers are explaining about a monster attacking her farms and how neither the police nor Guitez will help them. Guitez, being such a skilled wheeler and dealer, has the police beat the guy up, and another guy who was in the courtroom runs out and commits suicide out of sheer terror of Guitez.

Linkara: Hmph. I can't imagine why Maria doesn't like you.

Linkara (v/o): Maria's father, aghast at Guitez's inhumanity, expresses his shock... which is apparently enough for Guitez to have the police escort him away. Maria finds Steve Trevor again and begs him to take her to Guitez's mansion. She tries to give the impression that she's just a prostitute to the guard, but he doesn't buy it. However, he lets them in when Steve flashes his I.D. badge. Despite the fact that Steve already admitted that he was working for Guitez, Maria is shocked by this and socks him across the face, thinking he's just another one of Guitez's goons.

Steve: Wow! She sure ain't shy about expressing her feelings! But okay, I can take a hint. I'll give her her own space.

Linkara: Hmm, I want to applaud him being a gajillion times better than Guitez, but on the other hand, he is letting her run around completely unarmed inside of a scumbag's mansion, where there are lots of armed guards who will probably shoot her on sight. So I think it all evens out.

Linkara (v/o): Speaking of King Douchebag, Guitez shoots another farmer in cold blood in front of Maria's father to try to get him to fall into line.

Maria's father: Someone must stop you, Guitez! I'll go to the governor!

Linkara: He just shot a guy right in front of you! Why would you say that?!

Linkara (v/o): Surprise! He kills the guy! Maria, witnessing this, runs down to her father.

Guitez: You arrived just in time to bid our late juez a fond farewell.

Linkara: (as Guitez, holding up a gun) Say, Maria, did you know that "juez" equals "judge"? I just found out about that.

Guitez: But my bride-to-be must not be burdened with sordid matters! Now that you are here-- I shall never let you go.

Linkara: Oh! Yeah, I'm sure murdering her beloved father right in front of her is the way to win her heart. Guitez: winner of the Christian Grey Award for romance.

Linkara (v/o): She elbows Guitez and knees him in the crotch and runs off. Steve finds her again and helps hide her behind a secret passage. He leads her down into the ruins, explaining that he's discovered the real reason Guitez is excavating the site: powerful mystical runes that imprisoned evil spirits. If Guitez gets his hands on the runes, he could topple civilization itself. He's fortunately managed to ship two of the runes to Los Angeles and has a third one, but Guitez and his guards catch up to them, shooting Steve dead and smashing the rune. As Guitez continues to show his wonderful skills at wooing women, a purple spirit emerges from the broken tablet and starts killing guards. Steve, in his final words, tells Maria she needs to live and points up at the ruins. Meanwhile, Guitez looks up at the big monster and says that he is its master.

Guitez: Seize me! Grasp me in your foul embrace! Let me feel the evil flowing through my veins!

Linkara: You are just toxic relationships personified, aren't you, dude?

Linkara (v/o): The two fuse into a single entity, but being the greedy scum-sucker that he is, he spots another rune and smashes it, too. Another creature spots Maria, but when it senses something more evil than itself, it runs past Maria and goes right for Captain Assface. Also, thanks for the upskirt shot there, Jim Lee. Classy. Having absorbed two of the creatures, Guitez quickly leaves the area, swearing to head to Los Angeles and get the other runes. Maria, meanwhile, heads deeper into the ruins and discovers the golden staff. A voice speaks to her.

Voice: Have no fear. Heed these words. Stretch out your hand...

Linkara: (as this voice) We now play the ancient ritual of hokey-pokey.

Linkara (v/o): Grasping the golden staff, the ruins explode, and Maria has become Wonder Woman. She floats up, Steve's body being carried along for the ride, because why not? Guitez heads to his private jet, tossing aside the crew and demanding he only have the pilot. Maria lands with Steve's body and transforms back into herself, wondering just what the hell is going on. She wants to go get help for Steve, but he says there's no time.

Steve: I've--only seconds left. Only seconds-- to make you understand. Your destiny was set centuries ago when Manco Capac buried his golden staff in the enchanted valley of Cuzco.

Linkara: (as Steve) And by "seconds", I meant I have time for a full history lesson. Get comfy.

Steve: You are the chosen of the sun god. You are--the protectress of Earth!

Linkara: "Protectress" equals... not a real word.

Linkara (v/o): Okay, I tell a lie. It is a real word, although not according to my spellcheck. Actual dictionaries just define it as "female protector", but honestly, when the hell was the last time you ever heard it being used? It was archaic by the time Stan was actually prolific in comics. "Protector" seems like a pretty gender-neutral term, Stan. Just use "protector"!

Steve: There is-- so much evil in the world--so much-- for you to do...

Linkara: (as Steve) Only you can defeat evil and let the space program flourish.

Linkara (v/o): When Steve finally dies, she really has no idea what do, even thinking that maybe she's completely lost her mind, considering all this weird crap. However, a voice starts speaking to her.

Voice: No, Maria Mendoza, yours is the clearest mind of all.

Linkara: (as this voice) Unlike your father, who was really kind of a dingbat.

Voice: Yours is the spirit, compassion and courage we have sought for centuries.

Linkara: (as this voice) Admittedly, it's hard to do searching when you're entombed in some ruins, but I think we were thorough enough.

Linkara (v/o): And thus, golden goop forms over her, and she becomes Wonder Woman again. Fortunately, her new powers come with a tutorial video that explains what's up. The staff enables her to fly, but it's invisible to anyone else out there, so it will appear she's moving on her own power. All she has to do is think of a speed and destination, and that staff will send her there.

Linkara: (as Wonder Woman, pretending to hold up staff) All right, staff, prepare us... for ludicrous speed!

Linkara (v/o): She can also let go of the staff, but the thing is a magic lanyard or something, so that it will always stay near her in case she needs to grab it again. She can also transform back into her civilian form at will, the staff transforming into a golden bracelet for safekeeping. Touch the bracelet, and she'll transform again. However, she suddenly remembers Guitez needs to be dealt with. Speaking of, the pilot apparently never bothered to make sure the guy in the back was Guitez, so when he opens the door and sees the monstrous form, Guitez decides they're close enough to the city anyway and kills him.

Guitez: Why bother landing at an airport-- when I can crash down anywhere?

Linkara: But then, how will you enjoy rushing to your next plane because you only have a ten-minute layover?

Linkara (v/o): Nearby is Mike Willard, writer/editor of The National Exposer.

(Cut to a clip of Ghostbusters 2)

Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray): And you don't want us exposing ourselves!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): He spots the plane crash.

Mike: Lucky I've got my night-vision camera binoc!

Linkara: Yeah, that is a bit lucky. And a bit nonsensical, but whatever. Comic books.

Linkara (v/o): Now, normally, with this kind of thing, I'd wonder who the hell he was talking to, since he's speaking out loud, but Jim Lee did bother to include other people on the road with him. Mind you, none of them talk, but hey, they probably can't afford to have any of the extras speaking. What the hell was he doing out near the Hollywood sign? Eh, probably waiting for Batman to leap off of it. Wonder Woman flies in, promising to subdue the monster Mike spotted in the plane wreck. Guitez runs into the city, right into the churchyard of, where else, the Church of Eternal Empowerment. The two begin to fight.

Guitez: No garishly costumed female can stop me!

Linkara: (as Guitez) Now, if you were in a modest business suit, that would be different!

Linkara (v/o): During the battle, Maria utilizes her shield, which is a pretty kick-ass weapon. Basically, it's a small buckler that unleashes a bunch of whip cords that can spin around and deflect incoming projectiles. She can then coil them together and use it like a lasso.

Wonder Woman: It feels as though I've done this many times before. Have there been other goddesses in ages past? Am I but another in a long and endless chain?

Linkara: (as Wonder Woman) Is my outfit a rental?

Linkara (v/o): She lifts Guitez into the air with her, and he starts climbing the lasso up to her. But she actually wanted that.

Wonder Woman: I wanted you to climb close enough-- for me to stomp your fiendish face!

(Cut to a clip of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock)

Kirk (William Shatner): (kicking Kruge in the face) I... have had... enough of YOU! (kicks him one last time to cause him to fall off the cliff to his death)

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): And so, she drops him down onto the church, impaling Guitez on a spire and destroying him with the magic of her staff. Mike Willard, witnessing this, declares her to be the "eighth wonder of the world" and drives off to get the story out. Wonder Woman, meanwhile, collapses outside the city from exhaustion. The next morning, she decides that she can't keep changing back into her other form without a good reason and is gonna stick around L.A.

Maria: Anyway, I'm lucky that English was a required subject back home.

Linkara: (as Maria) Even luckier that having a green card was a required thing back home.

Linkara (v/o): Sooo... like, no other ties to your village, huh? Just your dead dad? Hell, I don't think you've even processed his death yet. Anyway, she comes across the National Exposer paper and heads to their offices. And just by sheer coinkydink, Mike Willard is looking for a personal assistant that she can apply for. What's more, all the other applicants were apparently terrible.

Mike: (thinking) She's gorgeous!

Linkara: Yes, and I hear there's a real shortage of attractive people in Los Angeles.

Linkara (v/o): People aren't buying the Wonder Woman story he told in the papers, so he needs to find proof of her existence.

Maria: If you get a Pulitzer, what will Wonder Woman get?

Mike: It's a shame, but she'll be hounded by the press for the rest of her life. She'll never have any privacy, or a personal life of any sort. But hey, she shoulda thought of that before she became a real-life comic book superhero.

Linkara: (as Mike) It's her fault if the press harasses her and invades her privacy. Date me?

Linkara (v/o): I miss Steve Trevor. And so, our comic ends with him declaring that they need to find Wondy, with Maria thinking she'll have to make sure she doesn't ever meet him in her other form.

Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic is... okay, but not that great.

Linkara (v/o): As a superheroine in her own right, I think this is a perfectly serviceable origin story. However, I think may have strayed a bit too far away from Wonder Woman's actual origin. Sure, going with a different mythological source than Greek is probably a good way to approach it, but aside from the presence of Steve Trevor, who dies, you wouldn't be able to recognize this as Wonder Woman, aside from her hairstyle. Jim Lee's artwork is really lackluster, sadly. It feels very by-the-numbers without any big moments, aside from the reveal of her outfit, which really already happened on the cover anyway. But yeah, as its own story, it's just fine; a few plot holes that we've come to expect in these books, but nothing too bad. However, there's nothing that feels all that great in the grand scheme of things; it's just a decent origin story.

Linkara: Next time, we close out "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe" Month with the fastest woman alive.

(End credits roll)

So why was there already a spirit free and attacking farmers and whatnot?

Why is it "night vision camera binoc?" Does Stan think night vision only exists on cameras?

(Stinger: The Wonder Woman TV theme plays again over the following text...)

Due to a mishap on my part, no stinger for this episode.

Enjoy more Wonder Woman theme. Unless you're watching this years later on YouTube, in which case... hello from the past!

(end)

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