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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 301-329 > Issue 315

Issue Number: 315
Published: May 1984
Cover Artists: Paris Cullins, Dick Giordano
Writer: Dan Mishkin
Pencils: Don Heck
Inker: Don Heck
Letterer: Phil Felix
Colourist: Nansi Hoolahan
Editor: Alan Gold
Story Title: The Face in the Mirror!
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Major Keith Griggs Tezcatlipoca
The Gremlin Sofia Constantinas Major Steve Trevor
Etta Candy Senator Covington Lisa Abernathy

Cover of Issue 315

Comments:

None.

Synopsis:

The Amazon warriors prod their prisoners with their spears, forcing Keith Griggs and Diana Prince towards the Aztec Pyramid. Tezcatlipoca towers over them, telling Diana that these Amazon warriors are here because he desired it, just as they are here merely to serve his whims. This realm is the creation of his mind and all who dwell here quickly grow as mad as he is!

Diana recalls how Circe had been in league with this powerful God who had the ability to change her from Wonder Woman back to her Diana Prince identity. Then she and Keith had been carried through the smoky mirror to this strange place - wherever it is! Perhaps Tezcatlipoca literally means that this place exists in his mind?

The Aztec God bellows down that mortals ask so many questions, as if their paltry understanding could somehow unlock life's mysteries. But only he holds the key to their future! With that, he vanishes in a cloud of light, his laughter lingering in the air after he has gone. Diana realises the God had been reading her mind and she fears that perhaps he really is the one in complete control.

Diana knocks the spear out of the Amazon's hand but hurts herself in the process...The Amazon soldiers order them to continue and Keith tells Diana he is sorry it was her who followed him to Circe's island. He tells her he feels responsible for getting her into this mess and therefore intends to get them both out of it! With that he whirls around and shoves the spear away from his back. At the same instant Diana leaps into action and follows his lead, knocking the spear out of the grip of the Amazon nearest to her. But her intent had been to break the shaft of the weapon and she holds her hand in pain. Her forced transformation back into her civilian identity has also robbed her of her Amazon strength! As she engages in hand to hand combat with the Amazon warrior, she muses that although she does not remember everything about the months she once spent without her super powers, she just hopes she has not forgotten her martial arts training.

Keith compliments her on her skills but warns that they must do better because if they do not even things up soon these "gorgeous gorillas" are going to pulverise them! As he uses the dropped spear to counter his opponents moves, another Amazon approaches from behind ready to strike. But before she has time to attack Diana floors her with a high flying kick. Another of the warriors declares that Diana fights like an Amazon born sister, but as she raises her spear she adds that a cold blade will soon stop her dead. Diana replies that she takes the first comment as a compliment but she hopes her opponent will understand if she does not let her test her second hypothesis! She duly dodges the lunging spear and grabs the shaft. She then uses the spear to hurl the surprised Amazon away. Keith is equally successful and uses the distraction to clout his opponent unconscious.

He turns to Diana and says that they make a good team. Unfortunately the other side seems to be bringing in reinforcements! Armed Male Aztec warriors race across the clearing towards them and Diana tells Keith to follow her into the Pyramid. But as they step inside the door closes behind them and they realise they are trapped. On the other hand though, at least the "Aztec goon squad" cannot reach them. Keith says that if they are lucky then they can use the opportunity to catch their breaths at last. Diana replies that she does not feel very lucky at the moment. He tells her she was terrific out there and she responds that she was working too hard to notice. He holds her hand and looks into her eyes, telling her that watching her in action and looking at her here now...it is like he is seeing her for the very first time...

Elsewhere, travelling on a south west course from Washington D.C. the invisible plane makes its way towards Paradise Island. Steve asks the plane for their E.T.A. and the craft replies that they will arrive in approximately twenty minutes. Steve then asks the Gremlin how he is doing with the Mental Radio? The little creature replies that although they can receive Sofia's transmission, he still cannot figure out how to send messages back! Steve tells him to keep trying as Sofia's voice breaks through again. She pleads for Wonder Woman to respond, saying that she has discovered secrets that Hippolyta wanted to hide from her daughter forever - secrets about Diana's past and the death of Steve Trevor! On hearing this last part Steve cries "What?!" in disbelief...

Meanwhile in the Pentagon, Etta looks at her watch wondering what is keeping Steve from their dinner date. She reminds herself that technically it is only a "business" dinner but she is certainly looking forward to it. As she takes a look outside the office to look for any signs of him, she suddenly feels an icy chill as if someone is watching her. And it is not the first time she has felt this either. She spots a suspicious looking red haired guy across the corridor who just as quickly disappears through a doorway. She then tells herself off for having such an over active imagination. After all, who would want to spy on her?

Back in the realm of Tezcatlipoca, Keith and Diana make their way deeper inside the Pyramid. He asks her whether she really thinks they will find anything of help to them in here and she replies that at least it beats sitting around waiting for the warriors to find them. Just then he spots a light up ahead and they cautiously step closer. As they enter the room Keith sees nothing except a room full of statues and "junk". But Diana tells him that these are relics of a past civilisation and hardly junk! And anyway - they might yet prove useful. Keith jokingly replies that this stuff may be useful only if they throw it at the bad guys! They then spot a small statue of Tezcatlipoca who appears to be joined to another warrior like a bizarre set of Siamese twins. Diana walks over to investigate but as she touches it she is zapped by an unknown power source. Keith rushes over to ask if she is OK and she replies that she is fine - just a little shocked.

He then whispers for her to keep quiet as he hears someone coming. They hide in the shadows as an Aztec warrior charges into the room. Keith jumps him and clouts him over the head with the spear he still carries. Another soldier rushes in and this time it is Diana who takes him down with a savage kick to the jaw. Keith then leads Diana into the corridor as he guesses the two Aztecs must have entered through a different entrance to the one they had originally come through. Sure enough they soon find themselves back outside and Diana congratulates him on his good call. He replies that he now has two questions - are they any better off than they were inside  and what do they do next? In response, Diana points across the clearing to another building that looks like a temple adorned with mirrors that all tilt towards the sun. She tells Keith that the sun was of central importance to the Aztecs and the Dark Mirror seems to be Tezcatlipoca's trademark. They may well find their foe inside and perhaps a way out of all of this. Diana also thinks to herself that this may also be her chance to get her Wonder Woman powers back.

Keith tells Diana that she has "got guts" and that maybe they should split up and try to hit him from two sides. She agrees and adds that she is used to Steve Trevor always being protective of her when they are on assignments - but she likes Keith's style with her much more!  He in turn replies that Colonel Trevor has obviously never seen her nearly take the head off an Aztec with a roundhouse kick! If he had, he is sure Steve would not worry about her quite so much in future! With that he races off and yells back that he will meet her inside the temple...

Meanwhile in Washington D.C. the Congressional hearing continues and General Darnell is being asked that surely his Special Intelligence Branch duplicates the work of standard Air Force Intelligence, or that of the other services' spy units, not to mention the C.I.A., the D.I.A. and the N.S.A.? Darnell replies that although he sees the Senatorís point he believes he is overstating the case. Forty years ago, a single Office of Strategic Services could oversee most of the U.S. foreign Intelligence but we now live in an age of diverse needs and specialities. His Department's speciality is handling world crises in their early stages before they get out of hand.

Senator Covington then retorts that it is the proliferation of such "specialists" that has made the world so complex and dangerous. Darnell replies that the Senator cannot possibly believe that to be the case surely? Lisa Abernathy is watching the exchange from the gallery and thinks to herself that General Darnell is not equipped for this sort of political wrangling. Senator Covington will tear him apart and the media will not treat him very kindly either.

At that moment the hearing goes into recess for a vote on the floor and everyone in the room is advised that the hearing will resume tomorrow morning. Shortly afterwards in a nearby anteroom Darnell telephones Etta to tell her he will be going straight home from Congress unless Colonel Trevor needs him to return to the office for anything important. Unaware that Steve has actually left Etta alone in charge of the office, he then decides he wants to speak to Steve in person.

Diana loops the lasso up and around part of the grillwork.A flustered Etta has to think quickly and replies that Steve has stepped out for a moment but not to worry as everything is going smoothly. A satisfied Darnell asks her to pass his message on to Steve and then hangs up. A relieved Etta begins to feel a little angry that Steve not only stands her up for their dinner date but also forces her to lie to Darnell and cover up for him! As she puts on her jacket to leave, she muses to herself that she should never have expected anything else and no doubt Steve will tell her what a "good Sport" she is.

But as she walks down the corridor she wonders how it would be nice just once to be more than just a "pal" to somebody. A figure in the shadows watches her departure and begins to tail her. Her suspicions had indeed been correct and she has been under surveillance, for unbeknownst to her, she has become the target in a careful scheme whose outcome may very well change her life!

Elsewhere in the strange Aztec realm, Diana makes her way stealthily towards the entranceway. She sees no guards or any other signs of life and begins to wonder whether perhaps she is wrong about the temple. Either that or Tezcatlipoca is simply overconfident. As she tries to push open the huge doors though she finds them too heavy to move by mere mortal hands. She looks around and spies grillwork above the door. If she can reach it she might be just small enough to squeeze through and clamber inside.

She reaches to her side and is thankful that although the magic mirror has prevented her from becoming Wonder Woman, it did not take away the golden lasso that hangs invisibly by her side whenever she is in her Diana Prince guise. She therefore loops the lasso up and around part of the grillwork. She struggles to scale up the face of the door, thinking how even as a child on Paradise Island she had been stronger then she is now. She at last reaches the top of the doorframe and manages to push her way between the ornate grill, dropping down to the floor inside the temple.

Once inside, she finds to her surprise that all the walls are lined with mirrors and with all the reflections she will be lucky to stay in a straight line, let alone find Keith - assuming he made it inside of course! Just then she hears the call of a bird and looks up to see an Eagle inside a large hanging cage. Since ancient times the Eagle has been the symbol of the strength and nobility of the Amazons. The fact that it is caged almost seems to represent those Amazons' enslavement to the mad Aztec God. Suddenly she hears his voice respond "Do you mean me, Diana dear?" and turns to see him sitting on a throne. She defiantly tells him that he seems to consider his madness a source of pride. He says that indeed it is - and much, much more. When Mankind's so called civilisation has been stripped bare and turned to ruin, then all left alive will bask in glorious chaos and shout out his name! And she will be among the first to receive his blessing of despair. He then orders her to look around her and see the truths that he reveals.

In the mirrors she sees her self reflected - not as Diana Prince but as a fearsome Wonder Woman and Tezcatlipoca asks her whether the madness has ever touched her soul and has she never lusted after power like the rest of humanity? She turns away and refuses to accept thoughts she has locked away so as to never harm those whom she must protect.

Now transformed back into her costume, Diana turns to face her opponent with renewed vigour and orders him to look at her. She tells him that all his scheming and clever words have failed him and to prepare to battle - Wonder Woman!The Aztec God tries a different tack and presents a reflection of a man wearing a version of her Wonder Woman costume. She asks the God if he is implying that she wishes to be a man? Impossible! But Tezcatlipoca replies that while that is what she would have others believe - he knows the hearts of Man and Woman-kind and in her heart of hearts he has seen other things!

Another reflection forms this time showing Diana as a young girl. Tezcatlipoca continues that he has seen the Queen's pretty daughter - the meek little Princess always seeking mother's favour. Diana tries to shield her eyes, responding that she is her own woman! The Aztec God retorts that the "woman" is but a face she wears...and he has unmasked her! As he had told her before, he deals with truths and the smoky mirror reveals all...

Another image swims into view showing a man tied down and about to be sacrificed by soldiers. Tezcatlipoca says that the mirror shows the violence and the hate that lurk beneath Man's civilised veneer. The world is a tinderbox of madness - not only there in the land now called Tropidor - but in all troubled corners of the globe. His will is felt and his servants wait with matches in hand. As Tezcatlipoca continues to rant, Keith creeps up unseen behind him. As the mad God bellows that soon the spark will be set and he will command the holocaust, Keith sees that Diana has been captured. He realises it is up to him because if he can really make the Tropidor situation explode, it could lead to world war three!

Keith suddenly charges at Tezcatlipoca with his spear, warning Diana to "hit the dirt"! But as Keith lunges at where the God is standing he simply vanishes and keith continues into and through one of the mirrors, leaving Diana alone to face their foe. Tezcatlipoca gloats "So much for your rescuer Diana!" and warns her of the most delicious fate that now awaits her. But Diana has other ideas and uses the distraction that Keith's sudden appearance causes to clear her head. She knows the Aztec God is trying to break her spirit with all these false reflections of herself. But only she determines her identity - and her spirit and her destiny are hers! No trickster God will ever scare her into believing otherwise. With that, she reaches towards one of the mirrors and at her touch the reflection fades and what was fettered now bursts free!

Now transformed back into her costume, Diana turns to face her opponent with renewed vigour and orders him to look at her. She tells him that all his scheming and clever words have failed him and to prepare to battle - Wonder Woman!

To be continued...

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