Who's Doctor Psycho?

Who's This? A short head shrinker.

The facts: While the Who's Who entry tries its best to make sense of Dr. Psycho's appearances, but it's a little more complicated than that. Yes, he first appeared in Wonder Woman #5 (1943), and later appeared in Bronze Age (1982's Wonder Woman #289), but the bulk of his appearances are in the Silver Age, pestering the Earth-2 Wonder Woman in a series of back-up stories. And these stories have been notoriously hard to place in the Earth-2 continuity, leading such volumes as the Crisis Compendium to place them on Earth-40, or the Essential WW Encyclopedia to put them on Earth-1, somehow. Of course, he WAS redesigned post-Crisis/post-Who's Who for Wonder Woman vol.2 #54 (1991) and become a recurring villain for Princess Diana, but also showing up in other books like Secret Six, Legion of Super-Heroes (when the Reboot Legion was stuck in the past), Manhunter, and others. Kind of your mental-based utility villain. The New52 tied him to Superboy instead, but by Rebirth, he's once again facing whoever wants him.
How you could have heard of him: I know no one really watched Powerless, but he showed up live action on that show. He has a bigger role on the Harley Quinn animated series.
Example story: Wonder Woman #160 (February 1966) "Dr. Psycho's Revenge!" by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
So obviously, what I'm most interested in is those Silver Age back-ups done in a Golden Age style whose canonicity is in question, but nevertheless are where most Dr. Psycho stories were told. The Psycho we're presented with is more of a gangster than you'd expect, firing a tommygun at cardboard standees of women through history.
His misogyny is HISTORICAL in scope. And speaking of raging misogynists, Mars, God of War, is looking for a pawn to send against Diana with a scheme that would remove her speed and strength from the equation (he doesn't think beauty and wisdom have any value, so I bet that's gonna come up as a solution later). Cut to Wonder Woman in a giant arena, demonstrating her physical skills for the masses (for charity, no doubt). Psycho runs in claiming he can prove she's a total fake. Women in the crowd emasculate him with shouted comments, which only strengthens his resolve. The scheme apparently involves Dr. Psycho showing the same prowess.
Well, that only proves HE has gained powers, not that Diana's are fake, but the crowd takes it as meant: If this runt can do it, all the stunts must have been rigged. The crowd turns into a mob and boos Wonder Woman off stage. "[She] falsely raised our hopes - we're the inferiors of men!" Oh boy. What's sad for Psycho is that they don't they stay to admire him instead, so he takes it out on Diana after she tries to console him.
This guy is SO toxic, wow. The torture goes on for another page, with Dr. Psycho refusing to believe that Diana genuinely wants to befriend him even though she's under the Lasso of Truth's power. So he releases her to see if she'll put a stop to her "trick", but no, her only goal is to show him that whatever women hurt him in the past, #NotAllWomen, etc. And I KNOW what they're trying to show here is Wonder Woman's capacity for kindness and empathy, but in a modern context, this all smacks of the worst incel manipulation:
Mars is incensed, of course, and wouldn't you know it, Steve Trevor walks in on the kiss (which looks more sustained and on the mouth than that panel would suggest from afar) and rushes off in a blush. At which point, the spell is broken because Diana obviously prefers Steve (well did Psycho think this strong-armed kiss was a RELATIONSHIP?! He would, wouldn't he?) and runs after him to explain.
Mars took away his powers at the exact wrong time and the tent collapses. Diana catches the pole, of course, but Psycho runs off swearing further revenge. Steve's solution: If Diana just became Mrs. Trevor, that ring on her finger would keep her at home, barefoot, pregnant, and out of harm's way. Wow. Who's a misogynist NOW, Steve?

From this one tale, picked at random from the Earth 2-going-on-40 canon, I can certainly see how the modern era made Dr. Psycho more and more monstrous.

Who's Next? Sun Boy's maker.


American Hawkman said…
My favorite part of Dr. Psycho's story is how he outright WON his first battle with Wonder Woman, eliminating all evidence of his crimes and getting away clean, with Wonder Woman lamenting it. His SECOND appearance opens on death row, with him swearing revenge on Wonder Woman. The implication is that she falsified the evidence to get him convicted, making their subsequent battles genuinely personal.

Personally, I want to see his brother, armored suit wearer King Ironsides, make a comeback.