Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.23: The Phantom of the Roller Coaster, Part 1

Airdate: 9/4/79

Diana’s would-be sting of a dangerous wiretapper leads to a more lucrative prize: a man named Harrison Fynch, an evil tycoon bent on owning an amusement park, by any means necessary. Those means involve bugging, and the mysterious disappearance of a teenager on a field trip. But as it turns out, the boy has been abducted by someone else – would you believe a mysterious, disfigured man, the brother of the park owner? The “phantom” was wounded in Vietnam, and assumed to be dead. He feels he’s a liability to business in his current condition (outside of being a freak show attraction), so he has resigned himself to wandering corridors of the Super Loop alone. He seems innocuous enough; well, except for the kidnapping… and a bomb he’s taken from the bad guys. Part 1 ends as one of Fynch’s henchmen plows into the driver’s side of Diana’s car, presumably killing her, but I wouldn’t be so sure now.

First part of the two-part series conclusion starts incomprehensibly, and doesn’t get much better. Frequent WW scribe Anne Collins once again overwrites the plot, and so we alternate between confusing and laughably ridiculous, particularly once we get into the stuff about the “phantom.” They must have asked her to concoct a byzantine, spy-novel of a storyline – but throw in a roller coaster for the kids! Probably why I was more of a Hulk fan; more human-based stories, fewer megalomaniacs and their not-so-simple plans to take over.

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