Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 303


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 303

General Info

Issue No:
303
On Sale Date:
January 1983
Cover Date:
May 1983
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Mystery of the Magnetic Menace!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano
Writer:
Dan Mishkin
Penciller:
Gene Colan
Inker:
Frank McLaughlin
Letterer:
Ben Oda
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Marv Wolfman

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor, Etta Candy
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Doctor Polaris
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
N/A
Share us

Comments

This issue features an old Green Lantern foe, Doctor Polaris, together with another simple but effective cover image.

Synopsis

High up in the skies over Virginia, a jet fighter streaks through the air being monitored from Washington by Colonel Steve Trevor and Major Griggs. The pilot, named Clayton, radios in that the navigation instruments are performing just as predicted and that Project North Star seems to be successful.

Steve confirms that their own readings are also OK and that Clayton should return to base. Suddenly though, the pilot picks up something odd on his scope. The controls seem to suddenly fight him and he struggles to steer the plane. Steve and Keith hear him cry out that there is something in the sky ahead of him and they order him to eject. But they are too late and the plane explodes in mid air, silencing the radio and Clayton for good. It is as if the air itself has exploded, seeming to violate the very laws of nature!

Meanwhile elsewhere over Washington DC, Wonder Woman steps out onto the wing of her invisible plane after returning from Paradise Island. She always feels a little homesick when leaving the Amazon homeland but is eager to see here friends here in Man’s World again. General Darnell had practically ordered her to take some time off after she faked her near death as Diana Prince but she is glad that he did. It has given her time to think over the whole ‘secret identity’ issue and the confusion it causes.

Although her civilian identity gives her access to information she needs to function well as Wonder Woman, she cannot simply treat it as a ‘costume change’. Diana Prince also lets her be a part of the outside world instead of always being a stranger to it and she must never lose that sense of connection to humanity. She knows she has friends here who trust and care about her. They deserve better than the fleeting attention of a super heroine who is more concerned with stopping the next villain or defusing the next crisis.

With that she leaps down from her plane and in mid air changes into her Diana Prince clothing. She deftly touches down on the ground and shortly enters her office at the Pentagon. An overjoyed Etta leaps up from her desk and gives her ‘roomie’ a big hug! Before Diana can even respond though Steve, Keith and Darnell step out from the General’s office and she hears Steve say that they will find out what went wrong with the North Star test. Steve starts to walk out and Diana says “Steve?”. He suddenly notices her standing there and apologises for not seeing her, blaming it on a bad day. He then tells her that Griggs will fill her in on what’s happening and as he walks out of the room adds that he knows she has something important she wants to discuss with him but it will have to go on hold until the North Star crisis is over, OK? She nods and thinks to herself that it is just as well because she wants to wait for the right moment to tell him about who she really is.

Griggs apologises on behalf of Steve for his abruptness, explaining that they had lost a pilot today. She thanks him but says that she has known Steve long enough to realise that he was not being intentionally rude. On the other hand though, she does not know him at all! He introduces himself as Major Keith Griggs, USAF and jokingly asks whether she wants his serial number or will it be enough to know that he is one of those handsome fly boys she is always reading about? She clears her throat politely in response and a slightly flustered Griggs continues that they will be working together from now on and she should meet him at the North Star control centre in half an hour for a briefing.

With that he exists and Diana asks Etta where he has come from? Etta explains that the General handpicked him to join the special unit as his service record is outstanding, adding that he also seems to have taken a fancy to Diana!

Some time later in the North Star control room, Steve, Keith and Diana stand around a computer console discussing the Project North Star. Steve explains that the only way to describe it is a total breakthrough in navigation. The control room and all craft in the system are linked to satellites which track the Earth’s magnetic field. As a pilot you can immediately plot your course and position on a sort of magnetic map, like migrating birds navigate their flight paths. Today though, something went terribly wrong and their job is to find out exactly what that was.

He tells them that he will not risk another pilot’s life and will therefore be flying the North Star equipped jet himself. But Griggs tells him that he has also flown the simulator too and it might be wiser to have two planes in the air in case of trouble. Steve agrees, adding that Diana is more than capable of handling things in the control room on her own.

Soon, two fighters are airborne and Steve and Keith radio back to the North Star control room that everything seems A-OK. Diana responds that her readings show they are now roughly where Clayton started having problems – can they see anything unusual? Steve replies “no” and asks Griggs if he can see anything. Griggs is about to respond when he suddenly cries out in amazement, yelling that he must be seeing what Clayton had seen – a gigantic apparition shaped like a man!

Diana only hears part of the message as the transmission begins to break up and asks them to repeat. Steve replies that there is something or someone outside the craft radiating magnetic radiation energy that is playing havoc with their controls and that they are both being drawn towards the figure! Clayton must have been trying to fight the force and break free, the strain of which must have pulled his plane apart! Steve radios Keith, saying that they have only one chance – they can use the magnetic pull in their favour, letting it take them so that they can pick up speed, enough to clear the figure at the last instant. Diana does not hear Keith’s response as the radio transmission finally gives out.

Swiftly, she removes her lasso and and transforms into Wonder Woman, summoning her robot plane. Back in the skies meanwhile, the two jets head towards the giant and Steve hopes Griggs heard his instructions. As the streaking craft close in fast they both suddenly bank at the last minute and peel away. At the same moment Wonder Woman appears alongside Steve’s jet and she steps out onto his wing. She can see through the cockpit canopy that he is all right but as she prepares to turn her attention to the menace the craft suddenly tilts violently and she is sent tumbling from the wing. The magnetic force must have taken hold of Steve’s craft again and she decides to glide clear, praying that Steve can withstand the buffeting his jet is taking!

She swoops through the sky riding the air currents and sees a costumed figure hovering in mid air a few yards away, surrounded by pulsating energy. She recognises the man as Doctor Polaris, an old foe of the Green Lantern. The last she had heard of Polaris was when he had turned himself into pure force by over absorbing magnetic energy and had subsequently been trapped in the Earth’s Magnetic Field. She guesses he has reintegrated himself by locking into the Project North Star Magnetic Tracking System. Polaris is staying so still as his body congeals to normal size that she is not sure he has fully readjusted to his human form yet. She decides to use the opportunity to strike him hard with a knockout punch. She connects powerfully with him but not as squarely as she would have liked, due to the fact that he managed to move at he last second. A shaken Polaris turns his attention to the Amazon Princess saying that she had nearly got him, but he been able to sense her approach by the disruption in the magnetic field around him. And it is unfortunate that she has chosen to fight her.

He waves his hands and using his magnetic power lifts the wreckage of Clayton’s downed fighter jet into the sky. The metal debris quickly surrounds Wonder Woman, bending itself around her so that she is encaged inside the wreckage. As she tries to find the leverage to break his magnetic hold he tells her that he has not freed himself after all this only to be stopped by her. It is Green Lantern that he wants! Wonder Woman replies that he obviously does not care that in the process of freeing himself he had killed a man with his magnetism. As she speaks though, she is secretly summoning her invisible jet to buzz Polaris and break his concentration. But before her craft reaches its target Steve’s own craft steaks towards the master of magnetism! Although Polaris manages to evade the charging fighter craft it does break his concentration long enough to allow Wonder Woman to burst free of her prison!

She swoops towards her foe who turns in surprise to see she has escaped! He compliments her on her resourcefulness but tells her that nothing can stop his power as her friends are about to discover. With that he waves his hands once more, this time forcing the two fighter craft to streak towards each other out of control. For Steve Trevor and Keith Griggs, death looms only seconds away!