Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 190


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 190

General Info

Issue No:
190
On Sale Date:
July 1970
Cover Date:
September-October 1970
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Detour

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Mike Sekowsky, Dick Giordano
Writer:
Dennis O'Neil
Penciller:
Mike Sekowsky
Inker:
Dick Giordano
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
N/A
Editor:
Mike Sekowsky

Characters

Main:
Diana Prince, I Ching
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Queen Chalandor
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Leda
Other:
Ranagor
Share us

Comments

In this issue we see a return to a more fantasy orientated story line triggered by Diana’s desire to “pop home and see her mother”. In issue 179 when the Amazons left Earth for another dimension, this was described as being a final farewell for Diana, who would probably never see her mother or her Amazon sisters again. Yet she had already returned to Paradise Island in issues 183 and 184 and the fact that the Amazons were once more referred to in this story line indicated perhaps at least some reluctance on the part of Mike Sekowsky to distance Wonder Woman totally from her Marston roots.

Synopsis

The issue opens with Diana and a messenger Amazon named Leda fighting for their lives against strange shadow men in almost complete darkness. As one of the creatures clamps his hand over her face, the Amazon Princess reacts instinctively and bites its hand before breaking its arm. She throws karate punches at her unseen opponents which seem to be all around them. Meanwhile Leda uses her sword and as the women manage to reach each other in the gloom, they stand back to back facing the enemy surrounding them. As they valiantly fight against seemingly impossible odds, Diana thinks back to a few hours ago…

She had been lounging around in her apartment bored to death. I Ching had suggested that perhaps she should cheer herself up by visiting her mother on Paradise Island as it had been almost a year seen they had seen each other. She had thought for a moment and had decided that her Chinese mentor was right and that it would be good to see Hippolyta again. Cathy could take care of the boutique for a few days while she was away.

Diana had duly closed her eyes and called for her mother. No sooner had she done so than Leda had appeared to transport her through the Dimensional stream. But on their way they had encountered a dimensional storm and had been blown off course to this terrible place.

Suddenly a moon like object flashes across the sky throwing a sickly green light over everything. The sight of this makes the shadow creatures turn and flee. As quickly as the green moon moves down over the horizon it is replaced by a giant sun out of which a spaceship emerges. Slowly the craft lowers towards them while onboard, the captain tells his aides that anyone who could do that to the shadow men is indeed a find! The others agree and say that Queen Chalandor will be very pleased with these fighters for the Arena.

Outside a wary Diana recognises the craft and tells Leda that she fears they are in more trouble. She asks for the Amazon’s sword and tells Leda to hurry back to Paradise Island and bring back her mother and the other Amazons, telling them that Diana is on the planet of the Queen Chalandor.

As soldiers disembark and charge Diana intent on taking her prisoner, she engages them with her weapon as Leda transports herself back into the dimensional stream, yelling back that she will return as soon as possible. The fight rages on and Diana exacts a terrible toll on her attackers but finally with her back to a rock face and her sword broken, she has no choice but to surrender. She is led up the gang plank in chains and is greeted by the captain who tells her that he is unsure what magic she had used to cause her companion to disappear but at least they have her.

The ship lifts into the air and a while later meets up with another vessel going in the same direction. The captain asks the other ship if they had had a good hunting trip. The reply comes back that they had captured a barbarian who looks to be an excellent combatant for the Arena.

Soon the vessels arrive at a castle with a huge skull as its entranceway. The prisoners are taken inside and brought before the Queen. For her part, she is not initially pleased at the sight of the barbarian and the girl, asking her captains whether this was the best they could find. She looks the two prisoners over and decides that on reflection, the barbarian might last long enough in the Arena to give her at least some amusement. However, the girl is a waste of time and they should kill her at once.

The captain steps forward and addresses the queen, saying that this is no mere girl as she had felled at least a dozen shadow men plus eight of his own men. She has fighting skills and magical abilities as she had managed to make her companion disappear before their eyes. Just in case she did the same to them, his men had bound her in iron fetters, for as they are all aware a witch cannot break a ring of iron. As long as she wears it she cannot practice her witchcraft.

The intrigued queen decides that a fighting witch will prove most entertaining in the Arena and she instructs the iron shackles to be left in place just in case. Diana then steps forward and says that if she wants to see fighting then why wait for the Arena. Her eyes flash with silent anger and Diana launches into furious action, felling the captain with a swing of her chains! Again the flailing chain is used to kill her enemy as she attacks the other guards around her.

As Diana races to engage more, the laughing barbarian cheers her on, using his own chains to protect her rear. Diana kicks the royal entourage out of the way and slaps the Queen around the face. She then grabs the struggling queen around the neck in a punishing grip as the barbarian keeps the other guards at bay. But as Diana grapples with her tormentor another guard creeps up behind her unseen and uses a club to smash the Amazon Princess around the head, felling her instantly!

Some time later Diana finally comes to and finds herself in a gloomy dungeon together with the barbarian. She still feels a little woozy and as she struggles to regain her senses she asks her companion what his name is. He replies that he is called Ranagor and congratulates her for her impressive fighting display. She ruefully replies that it had not achieved much and asks where they are. Ranagor tells her that they are in the City of Chaldonor ruled by a cruel queen and peopled by even crueler inhabitants. It is for their amusement that they have been brought here. They scour the countryside in their ships searching for people to use in their Arena, either to fight against beasts or men while being watched by the baying crowds. Ranagor explains that he had been captured while on a scouting mission and it was too late for them both now as nobody ever leaves Chaldonor.

He tells her he has tried to break free from these chains but with no success. Diana smiles and replies that she might be able to help and duly removes a couple of her buttons. She snaps them in half and lets the acid inside drop onto the metal ring, melting it! Impressed, he frees himself and as she does the same, tells her she is indeed a witch and asks her to use her magic on the guards outside. She replies that she is not a witch but she has an idea to trick their captors. She begins to explain her plan…

A few minutes later Diana lies motionless on the floor as Ranagor calls to the guard, yelling that there is something wrong with the witch and it will be on his head if she dies before she gets to fight in the Arena. The door opens and the worried guard enters, seeing only Diana lying on the floor. He bends down and holding her head, tries to revive her, knowing that the queen will have his head of this if the prisoner dies under his watch. Suddenly though Ranagor strikes from behind the door and uses his chain to strangle the guard. Diana then uses the key to free their wrist bonds and they make their way out into the corridor, armed with the guard’s sword.

Quickly Diana and Ranagor run through the maze of passageways but find all the exits blocked by guards. They try racing up a stairwell but again find guards waiting for them and narrowly avoid a hail of flying arrows. Dodging patrol after patrol, they soon find themselves in a tunnel at the end of which is a door. They run through it and find to their horror that they have been tricked as they emerge into the Arena itself! Before they can react the door slams shut behind them and they find themselves trapped as Queen Chaldonor welcomes them, saying they have been expected. A crestfallen Diana realises they have been played for fools all along and they were meant to escape. It had been all part of the game!

As the crowd cheers the queen orders the games to begin and commands the “Gnarth” to be released. The watching entourage wait gleefully for the forthcoming carnage, knowing that the beast has not been fed for a week and will make short work of Diana and Ranagor. As the gate at the far end of the Arena begins to open Ranagor tells Diana that they do not stand a chance against the creature. A terrible roar echoes through the stadium as the hideous creature bounds out. It quickly sees its victims and without pausing rushes towards them! Ranagor raises his sword and tells Diana to get behind him as he refuses to go down without a fight.

Diana instead suggests she distracts it while he tries to slay the Gnarth. With a cry and a leap she succeeds in attracting the monster to her, while the powerful arms of Ranagor send his sword crashing into the neck of the Gnarth as it turns towards Diana. But its hide is like iron and he does not even nick the creature! Only Diana’s cat-like reflexes save her from the attacking Gnarth. Meanwhile in the Royal Box, the watching entourage exchange bets as to how long the combatants will last!

Diana tells Ranagor that they need a different strategy to kill it, as it prepares to charge them again. She suddenly has an idea and tells Ranagor that it is a slim chance but it is all they have got. She quickly explains her plan and once again attracts the creature’s attention towards her. Red eyes fixed on its prey, the monster charges straight at the Amazon Princess, intent on killing its prey as its mighty jaws open wide. At the last moment the unseen Ranagor uses his sword to thrust a savage blow into the upper jaws, sending the blade up through the creature’s brain!

The Gnarth roars in pain as it thrashes in its death throes. Diana and Ranagor run for cover as the mighty creature topples to the floor – dead. The crowd watch stunned, unable to believe a human has overcome the Gnarth. Diana and Ranagor take the opportunity to run towards the Royal Box and using Ranagor’s back as a step, the Amazon launches herself into the surprised entourage. As she begins to unleash furious karate blows, Ranagor joins her in the fight and together they tear through the stunned queen and her noblemen. Utterly helpless against the Amazon and the Barbarian, they fall and before reinforcements can arrive, Diana and Ranagor make a run for it.

The queen groggily struggles to her feet and orders her soldiers to kill them at all costs. They race after the fleeing prisoners who run up a stairwell, desperately trying to shake off their pursuers. But Diana and Ranagor emerge on top of one of the castle’s towers and realise they have made a serious wrong turn! Diana looks out across the moat and sees an army on the far shore. Ranagor tells her it is the army of his father, King Zangor of North Ambria, who have marched here to finally put an end to this abomination of a city and its queen. When he had been captured he had actually been scouting ahead for a weak spot in the queen’s defences.

A surprised Diana realises that this “barbarian” is actually a noble Prince but before she can dwell on this fact further they hear footsteps and see a group of soldiers running up the stairs towards them. Ranagor tells her they cannot hope to defeat them all and Diana agrees, but adds that they can escape, before asking him if he can swim. He realises what she is suggesting and cannot believe she thinks they have a chance of surviving the drop from such a height. Before he can protest she pushes him off the parapet before leaping off herself. A hail of arrows follow her down and as she and Ranagor hit the water and desperately swim for the shore, the army of King Zangor return fire and use their shields to fend off the arrows and spears as they help the escapees onto dry land.

As they dry off, Ranagor thanks Diana for her assistance as he would never have had the courage to jump from that height himself. She smiles and replies that she will never understand men…they are ready to face a hundred soldiers in combat but are afraid to jump a few dozen feet into a moat!