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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 201-250 > Issue 248

Issue Number: 248
Published: October 1978
Cover Artists: Jose Garcia-Lopez
Writer: Jack C. Harris
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Joe Giella
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Mario Sen
Editor: Larry Hama
Main Story Title: The Crypt of the Dark Commander
Back Up Story Title: The Wind Between the Stars
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Hippolyta Steve Trevor
(Steve Howard)
Lieutenant Truman General Bradley Morgan Tracy
Dark Commander Mala Char

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 248


Comments:

In this issue we see yet another 'life-changing' dramatic event in the life of the Amazing Amazon. But can you guess what happens? Also we have the second installment of the back up feature "Tales Of The Amazons".

Synopsis:

In a laboratory on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman activates a piece of equipment that has been put together from cannibalized bits of machinery by the Amazon scientists. As she leaves the device running, she walks over to where her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and the scientists watch. She thanks them for their efforts and one of the scientists tells her that it will be quite some time before they know whether they have been successful in reintegrating Inversion.

As Diana and her mother walk back to her parked plane, she tells Hippolyta that if it works then perhaps his mind will also be restored to sanity at the same time, as his genius would be of great value to the world. The queen asks Diana why she cannot stay to see the results and her daughter replies that she has to return to Man's World because Steve might be in danger.

As Hippolyta bids her farewell, she thinks to herself how it is always Steve who is on her daughter's mind. Sometimes, she finds herself questioning Aphrodite's wisdom in restoring him to life...

Wonder Woman sets course for New York and guesses her mother's thoughts. She has always doubted Diana's love for Steve but she is wrong - even if he was the first man in her life and even if he was just infatuated with her at first, she is sure it has grown into true love.

We then turn back the clock to witness events moments after Steve's abduction...

As Lt. Truman drives through the busy New York traffic, Steve demands to know by what authority he is allowed to kidnap private citizens. Truman tells him to calm down and says that they only want to ask him some questions concerning a certain "Steve Trevor". He assures Steve that they have already contacted Mr. Tracy at the UN to inform him that he will be a little late for work today. Steve thinks to himself that he had never imagined a problem like this. He had always assumed that Aphrodite's spell had also taken care of matters such as the fate of Steve Trevor!

Wonder Woman transforms into her Diana Prince guiseThe car enters a car wash and to Steve's amazement, the car is suddenly lowered on a lift down into a secret installation. The car drives for several minutes through seemingly endless catacombs until arriving at its destination. Lt. Truman and Steve get out and are greeted by Major Bradley. Leading him to an interrogation room, he tells Steve that he will be released just as soon as he answers two questions: What has happened to the body of Steve Trevor and who is he? Their records show that Howard's past seems to begin as soon as Trevor's ends.

Once he has been strapped to the table, Steve is then subjected to hours of the most advanced methods known for opening the human mind and endlessly the questions go on...

High above the streets of New York, the invisible jet has arrived and Wonder Woman thinks to herself that she has no idea where Steve might have been taken. But she knows someone who might know. She drops down through her apartment skylight and transforms into her Diana Prince guise.

She decides to meet with Morgan Tracy and takes a taxi to the UN Building. But when she arrives his secretary says that he is very busy at the moment and that she will have to wait.

As the minutes tick by and Diana is forced to listen to the secretary go on and on about her life she finally takes matters into her own hands and storms into Tracy's office. He greets her and she icily tells him that she has had enough of being stalled by his secretary and that she demands to know where Steve is!

Back in the underground complex, Major Bradley leans over an exhausted Steve who is now strapped in a chair. Having run fingerprint checks, he has confirmed that Steve Howard is, in fact, Steve Trevor. Bradley has also discovered that Howard's dark hair is actually dyed to disguise Trevor's blond locks. But Bradley still cannot believe it all and yells at Steve that he had seen Steve Trevor's dead body when he had headed the burial detail. He demands to know by what science or sorcery he has been restored to life?

A groggy Steve is unable to respond and just then Lt. Truman enters. The Lieutenant is surprised at Steve's condition and the Major tells him that the questioning has finished for now and orders him to take Steve away for the time being.

Once alone however, Bradley wonders to himself whether he has stumbled upon the very thing that he has been searching for since the installation was constructed. Could Steve Trevor-Howard hold the very secret of life?

He makes his way along the corridor towards a secret room and reflects on the day the engineers building the complex had first broken through to this level. He alone had subsequently investigated the hollow in the bedrock they had found and discovered the Crypt of the Dark Commander!

At that moment at the UN, Morgan Tracy is explaining to Diana that Steve was hired on her recommendation without the regular security checks. He confirms that he was subsequently checked out of course but that there were no real details and his entire record just had the bare essentials.

Diana retorts that no investigation of a United Nations security agent is conducted by having the military drag him off the street! She demands that he levels with her or else he and his precious UN are through! He stammers that he has been requested to let the military handle it since it might be a matter of National Security. She replies that she cannot believe that he does not have the authority or guts to stand up for his own people! What sort of employer is he anyway? With that, she tells him she is quitting and storms out of the office.

As she walks away she thinks to herself that she can no longer work for a man like Tracy, but at least during the visit to his office she has managed to lift Steve's file. Scanning through it she finds what she is looking for as a note has been made of where Steve has been taken.

Quickly she runs into a toilet and transforms into Wonder Woman, leaping out of the window and gliding down towards the street. She dives down into the pavement and smashes through into the underground complex. Surprised guards open fire as the avenging Amazon swoops towards them. She deflects the oncoming barrage of bullets and grabs the nearest soldier, demanding to know where Steve Howard is being held. The terrified officer tells her that he is being held in section 75 under the Rockefeller Plaza, in the section commanded by one Major Bradley.

Wonder Woman disarms the attacking troops...Meanwhile, Bradley has donned a cloak and is presenting himself to the Crypt of the Dark Commander. With Steve's mystical life force, he plans to restore the Dark Commander to life. Just then Lt. Truman enters the room and cannot believe his eyes. A clearly mad Bradley explains that the Dark Commander once led demons of the world in constant battle. Soon he will do so again and soldiers like Bradley and Truman will then have a war to fight - a glorious perpetual war!

Minutes later the unconscious Steve is placed into a glass tube hooked up to some equipment. Lt. Truman tries to stop Bradley activating the device but he is unsuccessful and it begins to hum to life. Suddenly the skeletal figure of the Dark Commander smashes through the nearby wall - he is alive! Major Bradley is overjoyed and tells the demon that he is the one who has awakened him and that he awaits his orders.

But the Dark Commander responds with a slash of his massive sword and kills the Major. Freed from a million years of death, the dark demon knows nothing except a mindless need to drive forward and as he smashes through the complex, Lt. Truman looks over his superiors dead body in horror.

Elsewhere in the complex, Wonder Woman herself smashes through the huge doors of the central command centre, demanding to know where Steve is. As soldiers raise their weapons she swiftly moves to disarm them, saying that she has no quarrel with them. Suddenly the centre's automatic defense systems activate and Wonder Woman finds herself encircled by lasers.

Suddenly the far wall crashes down and the Dark Commander storms through. The surprised Amazon asks the soldiers what unholy experiments they have been conducting here, but they are just as shocked as she is and deactivate the lasers.

She soon recognises the creature to be some sort of demon as it towers over her. It brings its sword down upon her but she blocks the move with her bracelets, smashing the weapon in the process. As battle commences the streets above feel the vibrations of the struggle below and assume there is an earthquake!

Steve dies in the arms of a sobbing Wonder Woman...The demon hits Wonder Woman with a powerful punch sending her crashing into a pile of rubble. She is amazed at his strength, deducing that he must be powered with the same mystical forces as she. She quickly recovers though and hurls a large boulder at the Dark Commander, stunning him.

Just then she hears her name called and turns to see an injured Lt. Truman climb through the hole in the wall. He tells her she must break the link between the demon and Steve. She stares at him incredulously and he leads her to the tube where Steve lies. When she sees his motionless body lying there she cries out his name and rushes over. She begins pulling out the connecting wires and instantly the Dark Commander disintegrates into dust and dies once more.

Removing the glass tube, she caresses Steve and he weakly tells her that the life force given to him by Aphrodite has already gone. He asks her to thank the Goddess of Love for these last few months and then whispers a final 'Love...you...Angel" before passing away...again!

And as the tears fall from her eyes, Wonder Woman screams out in grief and frustration "NO!"

To be continued...

Back Up Story Synopsis:

The fleeing Amazons guide their ship into a mysterious vortex and into another universe. Here they encounter a massive spider's web where a creature named Char, who is half man and half winged horse is trapped. He asks for them to throw him a sword so that he can cut himself free which they do, but the spider returns and grabs one of the Amazons called Mala instead.

Once free, Char thanks Queen Hippolyta and she asks for his assistance to fly up and rescue Mala. He declines, saying that he is on a mission to retake his kingdom from his jealous brother who has deposed Char.

Hippolyta offers to help him in this task if he will assist the Amazons and he agrees. Mala is rescued just in time and Char informs the queen of the Amazons that she now owes him.

To be continued...

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