Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 196


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 196

General Info

Issue No:
196
On Sale Date:
July 1971
Cover Date:
September-October 1971
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Target for Today?

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Mike Sekowsky, Dick Giordano
Writer:
Mike Sekowsky
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:
Anatole Karoli
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
General Stuart, The President
Share us

Comments

As well as the main story, this issue also contains two reprints from the Golden Age, presented as a “Then and Now” feature including William Moulton Marston’s origin tale featuring the original version of Wonder Woman. Why the editors felt the need to include these is unclear, although the discontent amongst Diana’s die hard core fan base regarding the drastic changes inflicted on her may have prompted DC to at least acknowledge the existence of the original and classic version of the Amazon Princess.
Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano provide a dramatic and rather risque cover!

Synopsis

Diana is finishing up after a day’s work in her boutique, sorting out the store ready for business tomorrow. Suddenly she hears a faint scratching sound at the door and opening it she is surprised to see a man collapse into the shop. She kneels down by the obviously wounded man and calls for I Ching to phone for an ambulance.

But the man grasps her shoulder and weakly says that there is no time. She tells him to relax as he is badly hurt but he insists on handing her a piece of paper with a telephone number written on it. I Ching instantly recognises the number as belonging to his friend General Stuart and realises that this man must work for him. The man then tells them that he has vital information and must ensure the General gets it.

I Ching reveals that he had also once worked for General Stuart and the man decides to trust the pair. He leans forward and whispers into Diana’s ear before finally sighing and falling back, dead. A saddened Diana tells I Ching that he had said something about an Ambassador from Koronia and a planned assassination. As she speaks it suddenly dawns on her that she had read something about the Ambassador’s visit to America only this morning!

She gets the newspaper and shows I Ching the article about Baron Anton Karoli who is due to arrive tomorrow on a state visit. It reveals that he is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Airport and from there immediately proceed to Washington for talks with the President.

Just then they are interrupted by a loud knock at the door and Diana opens it once again to see three shifty looking men in trench coats standing there. They say that they are looking for a man who had come this way. She tells them that she has seen nothing and bids them good night. But one of the men spots blood on the door and they swiftly pull out guns. As they step forward to search the shop though, Diana whirls into action and smashes the first man against the door. A wild melee ensues as both Diana and I Ching go into furious action against the armed intruders.

As Diana takes down another thug the remaining gunman aims at her back but she unleashes a karate kick and floors him before he can open fire. When the dust settles I Ching suggests that they get the information to General Stuart straight away. He tells the surprised Amazon Princess that Stuart is head of a super secret counter espionage agency. Some years ago Ching had the pleasure of working with him on a job. He then recommends that they call the police first and soon medical staff are carrying away the dead body of General Stuart’s agent while police officers take the three hoods into custody.

Once they are alone again though Diana asks her Chinese Mentor what their next move is and he replies that he will be going to Washington to see the General while she is going to Kennedy to watch over the Ambassador!

Next day Diana joins the reporters and honour guard as they watch the Ambassador disembark from his plane. As he enters the terminal she walks in front of him keeping a sharp eye on anyone approaching. All seems quiet as a blind man with his guide dog comes the other way but as she passes him she hears a click and whirls to see that the dog has been released from its leash. The animal leaps at Anton and the security guards throw themselves between the Ambassador and the savage dog. As Diana turns to join them she spots that the blind man is lifting his stick and taking aim. Realising the dog is merely a distraction she clouts the unsuspecting assassin and soon he is in custody.

Anton gratefully thanks Diana for saving his life and he offers her a ride back to the city until his country can provide a more suitable reward. She says that it is not necessary but he insists and she decides that she may as well accompany the Ambassador and keep watch over him until I Ching can deliver the message to General Stuart. Soon they are arriving at the hotel and he invites Diana to dinner later that night. She accepts, and smiles to herself because Anton is in fact quite a handsome chap!

That night she dines with him at one of the most exclusive restaurants in town. They chat and laugh and as the evening wears on he orders some champagne. As the waiter steps forward and pours the bottle into Anton’s glass though Diana spots something and knocks the waiter unconscious, warning the surprised Anton not to drink the champagne. She explains her actions by showing the waiter’s cufflink which had been used to dispense a poisonous powder into the glass while he had been pouring the drink. Once again Anton thanks her for saving his life and kisses her tenderly on the cheek.

Surrounded by body guards the Ambassador and a watchful Diana is lead out of the restaurant while the assassin is taken away by police for questioning. Anton suggests they eat in the safety of their own hotel rooms. When Diana exist the elevator on her floor though she is met by a waiter who tells her that I Ching is waiting for her in another room. She is glad to hear her chinese mentor has arrived as things are beginning to get a little too much for her to handle on her own. As she enters the room she is met by I Ching, who introduces her to another man standing next to him. It is none other than General Stuart who warmly greets her by saying that he remembers her from the days she worked in Army Intelligence. He adds that she may have resigned her commission but nobody ever leaves the service. She is still in reserve and for this one assignment she is back in the army at her old rank of Lieutenant.

She snaps back that he cannot do that and that she has her rights. He calmly replies that he can because she had not properly read the discharge papers she had signed when resigning her commission. And anyway, they need her services badly, especially because the Ambassador seems to like her which makes it easier for her to stay close to him. He continues that they had not managed to get anything from the fake blind man at the airport or the waiter tonight because both had bitten on suicide pills before being questioned. So it is up to her now! Realising that they really do need her help she agrees to co-operate and asks what he needs her to do. Stuart explains that she must stick to the Ambassador like glue!

Next morning Diana accompanies Anton as he drives to the airport. As the private jet takes off Diana and the Ambassador make themselves comfortable for the short flight to Washington. After being air bourne only several minutes though the plane suddenly veers slightly and they wonder what the matter is. The plane dives and veers again as if trying to avoid something. Suddenly the plane’s nose drops sickeningly as a strange chattering sound like hailstones can be heard from the cockpit. Diana and Anton struggle to get up from their seats and follow the stewardess up to the cockpit. When she opens the door they see that the windshield is peppered with bullet holes as the navigator explains that both the pilot and co-pilot have been shot by another plane. The right engine has also been shot away and they are losing altitude!

Shoving the wounded men aside, Diana slides into the pilot seat as the plane hurtles towards Dulles airport. She guides the plane down and sees three cars coming out onto the runway to meet them. She instructs the navigator to inform the tower that she is coming in to land, but will need plenty of room. Desperately fighting the controls she finally manages to get the plane steady and lowers the landing gear. With a thump the plane touches down and eventually comes to a halt.

Looking out of the window Diana sees that the three cars are still heading straight towards the aircraft and suddenly realises there are no drivers! Guessing they must be under remote control and homing in on something on board, she tells Anton to take the controls and keep the plane zigzagging down the runway, keeping ahead of the cars. As he follows her instructions she scouts the main cabin and hears a faint whirring sound coming from a wall mounted fire extinguisher. Realising that this is the homing device she removes it and throws it out of the open cabin door and onto the runway, where it rolls away. The three cars turn and follow it down the runway, detonating when they reach it!

As the fire trucks converge on the slightly singed but otherwise unscathed airplane Anton thanks Diana yet again for saving his life. He tells her she must not leave his side while he remains in this country because he is a doomed man without her. She replies that he is being silly but she agrees nevertheless.

The boldness of this most recent attempt on Anton’s life forces even General Stuart to make a rare appearance in public as he expresses his apology to the Ambassador and says that they have decided to change his route to Washington just to be on the safe side. Soon they leave the airport hidden in a sanitation truck and as other trucks hem them in on all sides in a seemingly innocent way, they make their way un menaced to the city.

That night Diana gets a call at her hotel from Anton who has also sent her three dozen roses. He asks her to accompany him on his visit to the President the following day. She agrees and so the next morning she joins the Ambassador’s motorcade as it makes its way to the White House. As crowds of reporters watch, Diana and Anton disembark and head up the steps towards the waiting President. The two men exchange handshakes as they greet each other in friendship. The President turns to Diana and warmly shakes her hand also as Anton explains how the Amazon Princess had kept him alive for their meeting.

Suddenly though Diana lashes out and floors Anton, sending a gun he had secretly drawn spilling to the ground. As he tries to reach for it she lashes out again and knocks him unconscious. As the shocked onlookers watch she bends down and removes a mask to reveal that Anton is an impostor. All the attacks on his life had been cleverly staged, meant to be foiled. She had been the patsy who had fallen for them too! She goes on to explain that she had finally realised the deception when he had leaned forward to shake hands with the President. The bottom of his mask had ridden up slightly and popped out of the back of his collar. The mask had been made just a little too short! As soon as she had seen him also reach for his pocket she guessed he was an assassin here to kill the U.S. President.

As General Stuart’s agents lead the assassin away the Press ask why the country of Koronia would want the President of America killed? But the President refuses to comment and instead asks Diana and General Stuart to accompany him inside the White House. A short while later as they sit in the Oval Office, General Stuart reveals that his agents had found out from the assassin that the political party that had lost power in Koronia had planned the whole thing – disguising one of their own people as a member of the opposition – knowing that a successful assassination attempt would have forced the government in Koronia to resign due to the scandal. The assassin even had a bomb on him to blow himself up afterwards so that it would be impossible to prove he had in fact been a fake ambassador. The real Anton had unfortunately been disposed of some time ago.

Both General Stuart and the President then thank Diana for her help today. They owe her a lot!