Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 204


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 204

General Info

Issue No:
204
On Sale Date:
November 1972
Cover Date:
February 1973
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Second Life of the Original Wonder Woman

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Don Heck, Vince Colletta
Writer:
Robert Kanigher
Penciller:
Don Heck
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
NA
Colourist:
NA
Editor:
Robert Kanigher

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), I Ching
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Aphrodite, Hercules
Amazons:
Hippolyta (Hippolyte), Nubia
Other:
N/A
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Comments

This landmark issue of the comic heralds the return of the original William Moulton Marston vision of Wonder Woman under the Editorial reigns of Robert Kanigher. However, as you will read from the following synopsis, the transition story line proves to be a rather rushed affair full of artistic license, leaving Wonder Woman with a patchy, contradictory and complex back story which would not be attempted to to be resolved until issue 212. However, even after this issue, she continued to carry the baggage of one of the most confusingly convoluted histories of any of the original Golden Age comic book characters!

Synopsis

The issue opens with a Miss UN Beauty Contest being held in the grounds of the United Nations Building. As Diana Prince looks on, her new Boss, Mr. Keech, tells her that she is wasting her time if she thinks the judges will be impressed with her dowdy looks, asking if she would like to help the judges instead. Diana replies that she does not approve, adding there is more to a woman than just looks. As she turns to leave she collides with a handsome diplomat by the name of Morgan Tracy and she apologises, embarrassed. Morgan looks on amused as she hurries away.

As Diana later goes about her duties she is observed by Mr. Keech and Morgan, the latter of which is extremely impressed by her ability to communicate with anyone, from a deaf, dumb and blind party of visitors to a delegation of Eskimos. When Diana overhears Keech tell Morgan that this talent was the only reason he had hired a ‘Plain Jane’ such as her, she finds herself hurt and upset.

Suddenly, a masked thug appears behind the two men and clouts Keech over the head with a gun. As the unconscious Keech falls to the ground, the thug turns his attention to his real target, Morgan Tracy. The dashing diplomat has other ideas however, swatting the thug’s gun from his hand and punching him to the ground. Unfortunately, his heroics are soon halted as a second thug creeps up behind and presses his gun into the back of Morgan’s head.

Meanwhile, Diana has sneaked away out of view and is quickly removing her clothing to reveal her Wonder Woman costume underneath. However, she suddenly sees a young girl looking directly at her and Diana despairs as her secret identity is exposed. Or is it? With relief, she realises that the girl is blind and has strayed from the rest of the party. Diana gently tells the girl to remain where she is and a guard will come and escort her back to her friends. That done, and her secret identity intact, the Amazon Princess rushes back to the scene of the crime.
Too late, she finds that not only is Morgan being held at gunpoint, but the gang has machine guns trained on a group of hostages. Realising she is checkmated, Wonder Woman surrenders and as Morgan is taken away, the remaining members of the gang take great delight in tying her up with her own lasso. One of them brags that his ‘sea knots’ will bind her nice and tight and Wonder Woman makes a mental note of this ‘clue’. As the hostages look on, another of the thugs pulls her towards him and decides to plant a farewell kiss on her unwilling lips before they kill her. Enraged, she explodes into action, barging the thug out of the way while unraveling herself from her lasso.

As another thug falls to the Amazon whirlwind, the remaining gang member opens fire on her with his machine gun. Using her bracelets, she deflect every single bullet while ensuring that no ricochets hit the hostages, until finally felling the thug with a high kick to the head.

Wonder Woman then races to the riverside and dives into the cold waters. Remembering that one of the gang had mentioned ‘sea knots’, she surmises that the thugs were actually sailors and begins searching for any suspicious looking ships. Swimming at an incredible speed, she spies a speedboat racing towards a large cargo ship. Suddenly a door opens in the hull of the ship and the speedboat zooms inside. As Wonder Woman tries to follow, the door slams shut and she quickly clambers onto the anchor instead. The ship prepares to depart and the anchor is winched up, but her presence is detected. Without warning, a huge surge of electric current is passed through the anchor and with her limbs paralysed, she finds herself unable to break free. As her electrocution continues, Wonder Woman loses consciousness and she is brought aboard the vessel. Her limp and lifeless form is dragged unceremoniously before a villain called Doctor Domino.

The kidnapped Morgan stares in horror at Wonder Woman, whom he presumes is dead, and Doctor Domino warns him that he will be next if Morgan does not give the villain what he wants. It is then revealed that Morgan has been given a deadly ‘Bacteria Cloudburst’ formula, against which no defense exists. Morgan had come to the UN to present it to the peaceful nations of the world , so as to prevent its misuse. Doctor Domino, however,has other plans for it.

With Morgan continuing to be uncooperative, a frustrated Doctor Domino orders his men to use the magic lasso and strap Wonder Woman onto a waiting nuclear missile which has been primed for launch.

As she slowly comes to, Morgan realises she is still alive but his joy is short lived as Doctor Domino tells him that if he does not reveal the formula, Morgan will become her executioner. Though he hates to do so, the diplomat replies that Wonder Woman would not want to be saved at the cost of countless other lives.

Doctor Domino responds by pressing the launch button and the missile roars into the sky, with a helpless Wonder Woman riding it as if it were some bucking bronco. As the deadly missile races towards New York ,fighter jets are scrambled to intercept. The missile, however, twists and turns and evades their attempts to shoot it down. Meanwhile. The valiant Amazon struggles to pick at the knots with her teeth, knowing that she cannot break her own lasso. Managing to free her hands at last, she uses the golden rope to lasso the missile’s nose, pulling it up and away from the city.

She guides the missile back out to sea towards the fleeing cargo ship and as they open fire with antiaircraft guns, she uses her lasso to rope Morgan and whisk him off the deck and away. With explosions all around, Wonder Woman and Morgan perform a midair transfer onto her waiting invisible plane. The missile topples from the sky and hits the cargo ship, which promptly explodes and sinks. As Wonder Woman pilots them back to land, a grateful Morgan asks her out for dinner.

After dropping off the handsome diplomat, Diana changes back into her ordinary clothes and returns to her apartment, where her two room mates can talk of nothing else but Morgan Tracy’s rescue at the hands of Wonder Woman. Diana smiles to herself and looks forward to seeing the dashing diplomat at work the next day . However, when she arrives he does not even notice her and she realises the hard way that he only has eyes for Wonder Woman, not her ‘Plain Jane’ alter ego.

Life for Diana Prince, it seems, will be a lonely one.

Backup Synposis

This issue also contains an additional story which follows on directly from Diana’s departure from Paradise Island (see issue 204).

It begins with Queen Hippolyta who, confused by why she wishes to say farewell to Nubia so strongly, races to the other side of the island in her chariot. There, she catches up with Nubia as she is about to board her boat accompanied by what looks like African tribesman.

One of Nubia’s guards thinks the queen means to harm Nubia but the black Amazon assures him that ‘women have nothing to fear from women’. Hippolyta explains that she has just sent her daughter off to Man’s World to take up her mission as Wonder Woman. Nubia tells the queen that she is the true Wonder Woman and that the next duel between her and Diana will decide that fact. The queen accepts that it is her right to challenge Diana and wishes Nubia well.

As the boat departs, Hippolyta is left to wonder why she has these maternal feelings towards Nubia, who is still, to all intents and purposes, a stranger.

Nubia and her men return to their home, a lush, tropical island perpetually girdled by concealing fog. After landing, they make their way to the village, only to find a crowd watching two tribesman duel to the death. Apparently, they are fighting over the right to have the ‘Princess’ Nubia as their own. As one of the combatants gets the other hand and prepares to strike with his sword, Nubia knocks it from his hand and tells them both that she will not be owned by any man.

The surprised tribesman demands his right to compete for her and the watching crowd cry out that it is the law of the floating island – by ‘Mar’s Law of Conquest’.

She agrees, but in turn claims her right to choose a worthy opponent – herself! So, having removed her armour, she proceeds to clash swords with the tribesman. The battle is short lived however as Nubia easily out fights the man and as he prepares to accept his death she rams her sword into the ground, inches from his head. She tells the watching crowd that a woman does not destroy life, she cherishes it. With that, the crowd disperses and she enters her hut.

Once inside though, she begins to weep, wondering why she has felt so lonely ever since she was born. As she remembers the way Queen Hippolyta had so warmly embraced her, she wonders whether the queen has somehow sensed her loneliness and has taken pity on her.

What is the mystery of Nubia?