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The George Perez era not only stands out for its imaginative re-defining of the Amazon Princess and her history, but also for the maturity of writing that was not always typical of comic stories during this time. On a number of occasions Perez did what could only be described as "stand alone" issues, still part of the overall continuity but executed in a unique style that set them apart from other issues, quite often in an almost purely narrative form. In this issue, the story is told by a combination of flashback and flashforward scenes, real time scenes and narrative portions from Ed Indelicato's police report.
What I also like about this issue is that we see Diana in almost a "Batman-esque" role, undertaking detective work and tracking down her quarry - something we do not normally associate with her as a character.
Three Chinese thugs are running for their lives down a Boston street at night. They dart into an alleyway hoping to elude their pursuer but she floats down from above and blocks their passage. Instantly one of them opens fire with his revolver and Wonder Woman easily deflects the bullets with her bracelets before grabbing the gun from his hands and crushing it like paper. She then sends him crashing into some nearby trash cans.
Another thug draws a couple of blades and lunges at her, but soon cries out in pain as Wonder Woman casually disarms him before knocking him to the floor.
Arriving at the crime scene, Ed and his forensic team discover that Myndi Mayer has been dead for a few hours. A cleaning lady had found her lying on the floor in her office. Her head had been blown away with a shotgun.
As Ed scans the walls of her office he notes the many photographs of various celebrities who had been her clients. Positioned in a place of honour on the wall is one very familiar face - or should that be body! He stares up admiringly at the unforgettable face and figure of the "star-spangled babe" known as "Wonder Woman".
Just then Lt. Shands snaps him out of his trance by asking the team of detectives in the room what they have discovered from the crime scene. One of the team replies that Myndi appeared not to have gone without a fight as she had been clutching a blood covered letter opener. He has also found her empty purse lying next to her body. Ed in turn had then responds that it all seems a bit extreme blowing a woman's head off for a simple robbery. The other detective then adds that perhaps there was more to it than meets the eye, because they have also found traces of a white powder on her desk. He is certain it is Cocaine.
The cleaning lady who had discovered Myndi's body had stated that she had seen a short, stocky, bearded white man entering the building after hours. He wore a jacket with the words "Common Sense" written on the back. He had also looked very upset.
After the Coroner has taken the body away, Ed and Lt. Shands then pay a visit to Myndi's secretary, Christine Fenton. When they tell her about her boss' murder, she does not even look surprised. She states that it was only a matter of time and that she had warned Myndi about him. Lt. Shands then shows her a sketch of the man the cleaning lady had described, asking if this is the same man Christine had been referring to. She gasps when shown the picture and tells them that she does indeed recognise the man, but that there must be some mistake. She tells them that the man depicted in the sketch is Steve London, Myndi's ex-Art Director, whom she had fired the week before.
Finding Steve London is almost too easy for Ed and Shands. London's wife had taken him to the St. Eligius Hospital to be treated for a knife wound. He is even still wearing the bloody jacket as described by the Cleaning lady. He stinks of beer and they immediately take him in for questioning. Against his lawyer's advice, London decides to speak to the detectives but it does not look good for him. He admits he had been drunk and angry and just wanted to talk to his ex-boss. But he had not shot her and does not even own a gun.
He then explains how Myndi had called all her Art staff into the conference room the previous Tuesday. Myndi had been sitting in her normal seat and London could smell the liquor in her coffee cup. Her eyes had been dark and puffy and even makeup could not hide her red nose. Christine had sat on her left and the "sleaze bag" Skeeter La Rue had been to her right. Myndi had proceeded to rant how in the past six months the Agency had lost seven corporate and fifteen individual accounts. 153 lawsuits had also been filed against them. She wanted heads to roll! London had assumed that the grinning Skeeter was about to get his marching orders but instead he, along with many of the others in the room, were duly fired on the spot! He had been like a Zombie after the event although his colleague Deni had taken it worse.
The detectives then ask who this "Deni" is and London explains that she had been his ex-assistant. She definitely did not like Skeeter - or Myndi. Last night they had both decided to hit the bars and get drunk. Everything was a blur after that. He just remembered Deni saying something about Skeeter and Myndi, something that had made London furious.
At that point Steve London starts to sob and clutches his head, whispering "Oh God! I couldn't have! I couldn't have killed her! Could I?".
Meanwhile, as the detectives continue to quiz Steve London, an unexpected visitor arrives at Choi Industries Headquarters. Mr Choi greets Wonder Woman who tells him that she is looking for Skeeter La Rue and she understands he works for the Chinese Businessman. Mr. Choi raises his eyebrows and replies calmly that he knows of no such person in his employ and that she must be mistaken. She in turn calmly responds that that is impossible. Perhaps La Rue is not on his records officially but he has definitely worked for the Chinaman. It is imperative that she finds him.
Mr Choi sits down behind his desk and says he cannot help her. He then asks her to leave his office before he has to have her arrested for trespassing. When she refuses and begs him to co-operate, Mr. Choi's massive sumo-like bodyguard steps forward and roughly grabs Wonder Woman's arm, saying "You heard the man Queenie. Get your sexy little butt outta here!". She quietly responds by saying "Please...don't!" The next instant the huge man finds himself hurled across the room, crashing into a vase. An enraged Mr. Choi grabs the telephone intending to call the police and saying that she will not be much of a "Wonder Woman" behind bars, but before he can finish dialling he finds himself wrapped in her glowing lasso. She instructs him to put the phone down and to reveal the whereabouts of Skeeter La Rue. Compelled to obey, the Chinaman tells her that her quarry is hiding in a small warehouse downtown and writes the address down on a piece of paper for her. She then gently uses her thumb to press against the middle of his temple, reassuring him not to be afraid and that she is simply putting him to sleep.
Leaving Mr. Choi deep in his induced slumber, she launches herself out of the window and makes her way swiftly to the warehouse...
Meanwhile, Ed Indelicato continues his report...
Steve London's interview has all but convicted himself. When later they find the shotgun in the building's dumpster with London's fingerprints on it, there seems little reason to doubt that they now have Myndi's murderer in custody. But even so, Ed's years of experience tells him things are never as neat and simple as they seem.
When they next interview Deni Hayes, she explains that she and London had gone to a bar to get drunk because she had needed a stiff drink to tell her ex-boss what she had found out about Myndi. She had told London that she had broken into Skeeter La Rue's office and had gone through his files. She had found records of strange transactions with merchandise measured in kilos. Further snooping had revealed that Skeeter was actually a drug dealer peddling cocaine. He had been using the Company's client list to make scores supplying to a lot of big people, including Myndi Mayer herself! She and Deni had always wondered how a country hick like Skeeter managed to climb up the career ladder so fast and now it was obvious how he had achieved such a meteoric rise.
She had continued to tell London that when some of the "clean" clients found out what was going on, everything must have hit the fan. Deni remembers Steve murmuring "Poor Myndi" but Deni had spat back that their precious boss was no innocent angel. If Myndi had just been an addict Deni might have felt at least sorry for her, but there was more to it than just peddling cocaine. It also had something to do with the "Wonder Woman Fair" fiasco a few weeks earlier.
On hearing this, Ed reflects that ever since the police's real lead, Solomon Buchman, escaped custody, they had been hitting nothing but dead ends. The masked crooks who they had apprehended at the Fair were simply hired talent who were to keep the stolen monies as long as the Silver Swan got the specially marked sack from the cashier's office. The police had never recovered that sack or even found out what it contained, but Deni Hayes reveals that some special custom prototype computer chips had been hidden inside. The whole Fair Heist was part of a smuggling scheme to get cash for a new cocaine shipment. When Deni had shown Myndi the revealing papers from Skeeter's office, her boss had simply glared at Deni. Myndi had asked if Deni was looking for a payoff or simply after Steve London's old job.
Deni had pleaded with Myndi to give Steve his job back now that it was clear what a louse Skeeter really was, but Myndi had raged that if Deni ever let any of this get out in public, she would be fired and never work in this town again! Myndi had retained the documents but before throwing Deni out of her office, she had said that she would give Steve a good reference "for old times' sake". Myndi had also been laughing mockingly. At that point the drunken Steve had gone mad on hearing this from Deni and had stormed out of the bar. She had been too drunk herself to go after him and tells the two detectives that she had been lying to Steve when she had mentioned about Myndi having been laughing. She had wanted to push his buttons and make him as mad at Myndi as Deni felt.
With Deni's statement, it seems that Steve London's guilt is undeniable.
Ed's boss is sold on the evidence but some pieces of the jigsaw seemed to be missing. Ed and Lt. Shands decide to do a little further checking through the police records, searching for this infamous "Skeeter La Rue" character. His real name turns out to be Michael Boyd, a former juvenile offender with among other felonies, armed robbery, car theft and pimping on his record. Ed and Shands decide that Mr. Boyd warrants a visit.
Just then an officer enters Ed's office to tell them that someone is here to speak to them about the Mayer case. Shands says that he will go over to Boyd's place while Ed meets their visitor. Ed puts his jacket on and prepares to be met by either a member of the Press or some crack pot, but is stunned in awe when he sees Wonder Woman waiting for him, accompanied by Julia Kapatelis and Christine Fenton.
He writes..."She was a goddess, or what a goddess ought to look like. Firm, round curves packed into a tiny, tight, armour plated American flag. Her hair was a cascade of lustrous black curls bouncing gently off her smooth, tanned shoulders down to the small of her bare, muscular back. Her eyes were shimmering blue pools that you ached to dive into. From her moist, shiny lips came a gentle, sultry voice, flavoured with an accent both exotic and musical.
To Ed, he feels he is having the best dream of his life, but has to quickly regain his professionalism as the lovely Amazon Princess explains her reason for coming here...
It is night at the Drake Warehouse in Bedford, which is surrounded by high voltage Electric Fencing. Inside one of the offices, Michael Boyd, otherwise known as Skeeter La Rue, bides his time playing cards with his two bodyguards. Suddenly he hears a noise and breaking into a sweat, asks the two gunmen to check the warehouse for an intruder. They reluctantly grab their machine guns and go outside. Skeeter listens to the sound of their voices as they disappear into the warehouse when all of a sudden their conversation stops dead. Skeeter jumps at the sound of gun fire and panics. He runs across the office to try the other door but finds it locked. As the deafening sound of the machine guns continues he cowers in the corner of the room. Without warning the window of the office shatters and there standing before him is Wonder Woman!
Holding up her lasso she tells him she is sick of this violence and if he co-operates it will be all quite painless for him. She then asks him who killed Myndi Mayer.
Another extract from Ed Indelicato's report...
Wonder Woman asks Ed if they know yet who killed Myndi Mayer. Her eyes plead for answers and trying to maintain an air of professionalism despite his ogling, he proceeds to tell her the facts of the case. Wonder Woman's eyes well up with tears as she hears the circumstances of Myndi's death. Christine Fenton however was not as demure in her reaction. She rages at Ed that Myndi Mayer may have been many things but she was not a smuggler! The idea is as ludicrous as Steve London being considered the prime suspect.
Wonder Woman feels Ed does not believe Steve is guilty either but the detective replies that his Captain and the D.A. believe it. Beyond that, his own opinion counts for nothing. Christine then says what if the Princess can prove Steve's innocence? He asks how and Wonder Woman holds up her magic lasso.
Ed tries to get his Captain's approval for the Amazon Princess to question Steve using the golden rope but he is less than enthused by the idea! Wonder Woman pleads with the Captain to allow her to help get to the truth as she cared for Myndi who did not deserve to be murdered. He begins to waver but says that no good Defence Attorney will allow his client to be lassoed into telling the truth. What if Steve really is guilty? On the other hand, what if he says he did not kill Myndi? The D.A. will insist that he is trying to save his own neck by using the lasso as a ruse to lend credibility to his story. Wonder Woman again tries to reason with the Captain, replying that he should at least give Steve London the chance to make the decision to be questioned under the lasso's influence or not.
Her tenacity pays off and they enter the interrogation room where Steve London, his wife, his Attorney and Deni Hayes are waiting. At first London seems willing but his Attorney and his wife talk him out of it. Wonder Woman pleads with them once again to reconsider Steve's refuses. The Amazon turns her luminous blue eyes to Ed for assistance but there is nothing the detective can do. He muses that this was his big chance to help Wonder Woman and get into her good books and he has blown it!
He stands there feeling like a bag of dirty laundry as the gorgeous Amazon walks towards the exit. He watches as Deni Hayes catches up to her and whispers something in her ear. He turns back and focuses his attention again on the case at hand. He still had one more suspect to question - Michael Boyd or "Skeeter La Rue".
Unfortunately, when Lt Shands returns to the station there is no sign of Boyd in tow. Their suspect has apparently gone on the run. This turn of events added a new twist to the case, though not as many as the Coroner's report he receives a few minutes later.
The following morning Ed gets a call at home from Lt. Shands. He informs Ed that they have found Michael Boyd dead over at the Drake Warehouse. Ed rushes over to the crime scene where Boyd is flopped over the top of the perimeter fence, having been electrocuted. The police had received a call about sounds of a disturbance coming from the warehouse and when they arrived they had found Skeeter. Wonder Woman was also there and she is now waiting inside the warehouse.
Inside the shattered remains of the office in the warehouse, Lt. Shands and Ed ask the Amazon Princess how she had found Boyd. She replies that Deni Hayes remembered some names from Skeeter's files that had been involved in the Fair Heist. She had tracked them down and questioned them on the whereabouts of Skeeter. Her search led her to this warehouse where she had used her lasso to ascertain the truth at last. Skeeter had admitted murdering Myndi who was about to spoil everything. She had summoned him into her office, fuming that he had been using her Agency as a front for his schemes. She had told him bluntly that the charade was over as she had read his files. She had wanted to know how he could do this to her after all she had done for him. She loved him after all. He had replied that she in fact loved the cocaine he provided her. He had then placed a packet on the desk in front of her.
She had spat back that enough was enough and that he should leave now and never come back or else she would take him down with her. Skeeter knew she was bluffing but his supplier, Mr. Choi did not trust her felt she was a danger to his operations. He had instructed Skeeter to therefore kill her. He had crept into her office late one evening making sure nobody was around. He had slowly opened the door to see her sitting in a chair, staring into space. He had casually lifted the shotgun and blown her head off.
Skeeter had panicked and ransacked the office to make it look like a robbery. At that moment Steve London had shown up. It was dark and he could not see Skeeter. He had therefore used the advantage to stab London with a letter opener. The two men had struggled for a moment until finally Steve fell to the floor. Skeeter had then wiped his own fingerprints from the letter opener and wrapped Myndi's hands around its handle. He had then cleaned his prints from the shotgun and had used Steve's hand to make fingerprints on the weapon. He had then thrown the gun into the dumpster and was later brought to the warehouse for safe keeping until he could be flown out of the country.
Ed then asks Wonder Woman what had happened when she showed up. The Amazon Princess explains that she had been so upset with what she had heard from Skeeter she let her guard down. The two bodyguards had recovered and burst into the office opening fire. Wonder Woman had managed to react fast enough to protect herself with her bracelets but the distraction allowed Skeeter to make a run for it. By the time she had subdued the thugs and flown after the fleeing Skeeter he had already fried himself trying to scale the fence.
She turns to Ed and Lt. Shands and tells them that Steve London did not kill Myndi Mayer - he was simply used by Skeeter. The Publicist was so scared of what she had become but in the end she had fought back. She was going to beat her addiction and her dependency on people like Skeeter - Wonder Woman is certain of it.
Ed shifts uncomfortably and tells her that he would rather give up his pension than tell her what he is about to reveal, but the facts will be in the newspapers by tomorrow. Puzzled, she listens as he continues that Skeeter did not kill Myndi...at least not really. At first she thinks he does not believe her or the fact that her lasso had the power to make Skeeter confess and tell the truth. But the two detectives do not doubt her story. Lt. Shands reluctantly explains that the autopsy report on Myndi had revealed she had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage...before she was shot! The Coroner attributed it to excessive Alcohol and Cocaine in her system. When Michael Boyd had pulled the trigger Myndi was already dead! It seems that in the end she had not been strong enough to resist the temptation of the packet of Cocaine Skeeter had left her.
A shocked and horrified Amazon Princess holds her hands in despair crying "Oh Dear Gaea, why? She was so young, so vital!"
There were no easy answers. They had finally solved the mystery of who killed Myndi Mayer only to find that it was in fact Myndi herself.