Long before Wonder Woman fought all manner of gods, aliens, and monsters in her adventures she faced a beast so vicious and cunning that it had to be locked away a secret dimension within a magical labyrinth. When Theseus entered, he found the minotaur. Wonder Woman, though? She found the Devil.
The Tasmanian Devil, to be precise.
Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil follows the same, odd formula of pairing up members of the Justice League with characters from Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes as the rest in this series. The blending of the two worlds isn’t just played up for laughs at cartoonish antics, but instead creates a surprisingly thoughtful story that highlights just how perfectly the different characters fit together.
Where Martian Manhunter/Marvin the Martian went with the most logical route in pitting two Martians against one another, Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil imagines a world where the Tasmanian Devil isn’t just a whirling cyclone of fangs and spit, but a formidable mythic beast plucked from legend.
As Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil begins, Wonder Woman recalls the unique test that’s part of an Amazon’s coming of age as a young teenager, and demonstrates her skill as a warrior. She chooses Theseus’ Labyrinth for her final test and while she doesn’t encounter the Minotaur, she is confronted by a horde of armed skeletons that back her into a corner, intent on killing her.
Using her cunning and knowledge of the labyrinth’s true form as a way station between worlds, Diana slips through a portal in the maze and emerges in a strange, exotic land that the skeletons won’t follow her into. There’s a sound in the strange forest that Diana doesn’t recognize, though it drives the skeletons back.
Curious, she wanders deep into the forest to investigate the source of the noise when she comes face to face with the Tasmanian Devil who, in classic form, destroys most of the shit around him and threatens to eat Diana. To most, the Devil’s speech sounds like someone aggressively spitting and shouting, but even without her ability to speak to animals, Diana’s able to understand him and is pleasantly surprised to discover that he’s actually capable of complex thought.
This leaves the Devil and Diana at an impasse. He wants to devour her; she wants to collect a piece of his fur to prove that she faced him within the labyrinth. Diana tries to reason with him, explaining that instead of eating her, she could just as easily provide the Devil with access to all manner of culinary delicacies from Themyscira.
Taz, sure that she’s trying to trick him, refuses, and forces young Diana to draw the most deadly weapon she has in her arsenal: a harp, which she plays beautifully in order to lull the monster to sleep. Having subdued the Devil, Diana collects her trophy and heads back home where she goes on with her training to eventually become Wonder Woman.
Back in the present day, Wonder Woman is back on Themyscira for a visit to see her mother and sisters when the island is suddenly ambushed by an army of trolls led by the sorceress Circe who has a talisman that can turn people to stone. As Circe makes her way across the island, petrifying every Amazon she sees, Queen Hippolyta informs Wonder Woman that the only way to reverse Circe’s magic is with a similar talisman that’s still hidden within the Labyrinth.
Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil could have easily just substituted the Tasmanian Devil for the Minotaur and given us an epic battle between its two titular characters, but writer Tony Bedard pivots and instead depicts Taz as a misunderstood creature who happens to live in the maze. Sensing that he might be able to sense the Minotaur’s presence better than she, Diana strikes a deal to feed an epic feast Taz in exchange for his allegiance.
To prove that she’s a woman of her word, Diana makes her promise while holding the golden lasso and offers to let Taz hold it so that they might be able to communicate most clearly, leading to one of the few times in history that Tasmanian Devil’s ever spoken clear English.
As unusual a premise as Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil might seem at first glance, it has that same magic that’s made the other DC/Warner Bros. crossovers so successful. It showcase Wonder Woman’s iconic compassion and affinity for wild animals while also putting the Tasmanian Devil’s canonical behavior into a different context.
It’s not that he’s a violent, destructive terror. He’s just an impassioned warrior who takes all things—including food and music—very, very seriously.