Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 309


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 309

General Info

Issue No:
309
On Sale Date:
July 1983
Cover Date:
November 1983
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Black Canary is Dead!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ross Andru, Dick Giordano
Writer:
Dan Mishkin
Penciller:
Don Heck
Inker:
Sal Trapani
Letterer:
Ben Oda
Colourist:
Nansi Hoolahan
Editor:
Alan Gold

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy
Heroes:
Black Canary, Elongated Man
Villains:
Karl Schlagel
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Zenna Persik, Lisa Abernathy, Eloise Abernathy
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Comments

Surprisingly, Wonder Woman teamed up with other super heroines only very occasionally pre-crisis in her own book . However, in this issue and the next she gets to work alongside the Black Canary.

Synopsis

Wonder Woman refuses to believe what Zenna is telling her – that Black Canary must already be dead. The last thing Zenna had seen was Canary being dragged away by Schlagel’s helpers, but Wonder Woman says to Zenna that if that is the case she does not know for sure that the heroine is dead. Zenna agrees, but adds that she has seen what the Nazi does to other prisoners. But the Amazon Princess replies that Canary is more resourceful than the average Prisoner, even in a stranger’s body!

She releases Zenna from her lasso and turns to leave, intent on rescuing Black Canary. But the Gypsy asks to accompany her as she knows things about Schlagel that might help. Together, they can stop him for good! However, the Elongated Man is not sure and warns Wonder Woman that the only part of Zenna’s story he believes is that she left Black Canary for dead. He simply does not trust the Gypsy.

But Wonder Woman replies that she does believe Zenna and she may be their only chance of finding their comrade quickly. She enters the Transporter tube with Zenna, telling her that they will do things her way. Any tricks or deviations and she will ensure that Zenna ends up back on the Justice League Satellite in an escape proof cell! Zenna nods her head in agreement.

In an instant they arrive on a rooftop in Star City and Wonder Woman asks Zenna for directions. The Gypsy points across the rooftops and says that their quarry has converted a nearby warehouse into a laboratory. There he continues to conduct the evil experiments he began on captive Gypsies in Hitler’s Concentration Camps. He tortured her people and killed them all in the name of science. Wonder Woman replies “You really hate him don’t you?” and Zenna responds that the word ‘hate’ does not begin to describe her feelings. Her only wish is that Schlagel could experience death multiple times.

As Wonder Woman carries Zenna on her back, gliding across the city by way of the air currents, she warns Zenna to be careful. She must not let her hatred cloud her sense of purpose. It is an emotion so destructive that she could become its victim also. Zenna replies that it is all very well and good preaching love for one’s enemies, but the Amazon will not find it so easy when she sees what atrocities he has committed!

Meanwhile, in Schlagel’s nearby hideout, Black Canary is struggling to free herself from the monsters holding her, while Schlagel advances with the needle. He tells her she had had her chance to escape and failed and that now she will die! She thinks to herself that he still does not realise she is not really Zenna. But while in this body, she cannot use her sonic scream to save herself. However, she still has her knowledge of martial arts! Schlagel continues to explain to her that had her mental abilities not already manifested themselves, she might have proved useful. She comes from a very good stock – a fine pedigree – as do the children below them. The Nazi High Command had never believed his findings, that Gypsies were genetically predisposed towards unusual mental powers. It was more difficult after the war to find subjects for his studies, but he had nevertheless persisted. And then one day he discovered the children! Their abilities were latent and no threat at all to him. But they provided a pool of vast potential for him to tap. He adds that her race is still an inferior one, despite their mental development. Gypsies call their Psionic Heritage “Black Magic”, and it was simplicity itself to gain control of the children and suppress the ordinary portions of their young minds.

As she listens, Black Canary suddenly understands how Zenna had switched bodies with her and why the Gypsy was after this madman. He has turned innocent children into monsters and mental vegetables in order to fulfill his plans.

Schlagel continues to tell her that he has now managed to harness all their powers – Telekinesis and Extrasensory Perception – with that machine he has created. World domination is a simple matter for him now. He has access to the most closely guarded Top Secret Intelligence and he will be able to disrupt the sphere of communications, of finance and of military might. America will be the first country to be plunged into chaos! Just as Hitler seized power when Germany teetered, so shall he make himself the leader of the new Reich! His first blow against America’s defenses will come before the sun sets in the West and will shock the country’s military planners!

As Black Canary hears this rant, she knows she must free herself at all costs to stop this madman – but how?Just then she notices a face peering through the skylight above them and is surprised to Black Canary staring back! Up on the roof, Wonder Woman tells Zenna to get Canary back in her own body and she into hers. Zenna replies that she had promised to do so and that it will be now up to the Amazon to keep her end of the bargain and rescue her.

Zenna concentrates her mind and in a flash Black Canary finds herself back in her own body staring down at Zenna below! At the same time Wonder Woman uses her lasso to ensnare the two creatures holding the Gypsy, telling the bemused Canary that she will explain all later but for now they have a job to do. As Wonder Woman secures the other end of her lasso to a chimney stack, Black Canary says to her that these ‘monsters’ are really children – victims of Schlagel’s experiments. Below, the now free Zenna lunges at the Nazi and punches him hard in the face. The blow sends the old man smashing backwards through the bannister and he plummets to the floor below. But before he fatally hits the floor he uses Psychokinesis to solidify the air beneath him to act as a cushion. Seeing this, the women realise his machine must already be operational and that he can control it from a distance.

As Wonder Woman warns them to be wary they find their way blocked by a Psychic shield. The smiling Schlagel tells them arrogantly that even if they were men they could not reach him. The Amazon Princess replies that his remark is the sort of thing she would expect from someone who has resigned their membership from the human race. She adds that he is more of a monster than the poor deformed creatures that now surround them. As they prepare for the creatures’ attack, Black Canary reminds her comrades that they must remember these monsters are children and are blameless for their actions. They must try to stop them without harming them. Wonder Woman agrees although she adds that unfortunately the monsters will have no such compunctions about harming them

Zenna uses her own Pyrokinetic abilities to create a wall of flame, stopping some of the creatures’ advance. In turn, Black Canary uses her sonic scream to bowl the others over while Wonder Woman pounds her fist on the shield protecting Schlagel. He tells her her efforts are futile and that nothing short of an explosion will dent his shield. In response, the Amazing Amazon uses all her might and punches her fist through the shield! The Nazi cannot believe his eyes as she continues to make headway and he retreats to his machine. As Wonder Woman bursts through he reaches for a switch. On seeing this, Zenna cries out as Schlagel, his machine and Wonder Woman vanish in a blaze of light before their very eyes.

Black Canary turns to Zenna in despair, wondering where the Nazi could have taken the Amazon Princess, but is shocked to hear the Gypsy reply that in fact he has only taken Wonder Woman’s body – for Diana is now trapped in the body of Zenna!

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Steve Trevor is getting dressed while he speaks with Etta Candy on the telephone. He tells her that the doctors ran their last tests on him earlier that afternoon and had told him that his shoulder will be as good as new. He then asks Etta why she had called him considering how late it was, especially as he will be back at work tomorrow anyway. She replies that before then she wanted to forewarn him of some news. The General has sent Major Griggs to the Caribbean Conference instead of him. She tries to reassure Steve that Darnell was probably just thinking he needed some more rest before taking such an assignment. However, Steve is not convinced and says that Darnell could have called him if he was worried about his health and anyway, the assignment could easily have waited a couple of days if necessary, giving him time to get back to work.

Just then he hears a knock at the door and tells Etta he will talk to Darnell tomorrow and thanks her for the heads up. He hangs up as Lisa Abernathy and her daughter Eloise enter the room. Lisa thanks him again for what he did to save her father’s life, together with the help of Major Prince and Wonder Woman. She adds that her daughter also wanted to thank him personally. He replies that it was his pleasure and asks the young girl how her grandpa is doing? Eloise says that he is much better now. Lisa then asks if it is true that Steve is a friend of Wonder Woman? He nods and Eloise asks if he could possibly introduce her to the Amazon. He smiles and responds that he is certain he can arrange something and asks how long it is before they have to return to Europe? Lisa replies that they will not be going back and that she has taken a new job with CBS News, covering Capitol Hill. They will now be living with Senator Abernathy in Georgetown. Steve says to Eloise that in that case she will definitely be meeting Wonder Woman as Diana Prince and Etta Candy are friends of the Amazon too.

Elsewhere, at an unspecified location over the Pacific, Wonder Woman, in the body of Zenna, and Black Canary are racing through the sky in the invisible plane. The Amazon is thankful that her plane still responds to her mental commands as without it, they could never have made it in time to stop Schlagel, after firstly delivering those poor children to the Authorities. Black Canary wonders if she can be sure they can actually find the Nazi. The Amazon reassures her that their destination is the only place he could have been referring to when he gloated he would “shock the Military before the day was ended”. As Diana Prince, she is privy to the Air Force’s most highly classified Strategic Projects, one of which is the plan for a new Missile Defense Shield.

Not far ahead of them is the island where the American base is situated and personnel are preparing for the very first test to see whether the shield can disintegrate incoming missiles successfully. As they approach they can also see Schlagel and his machine below, standing on a small ‘hard’ water island he has created using his powers. A little way away on another small island, they see Zenna still inside Wonder Woman’s body and trapped inside a hard water cage. The Gypsy is regretting taking over the Amazon’s body as she has been ineffective in trying to use Wonder Woman’s powers. Schlagel keeps reinforcing the water cage as quickly as she can chip some of it away.

Up in the plane, Wonder Woman despairs on seeing Zenna trapped below. They are now as bad off as they were before they rescued Canary! Her colleague adds that in fact things are actually worse! As they watch, the machine begins to glow at the same time as the first missile is launched for the test. Wonder Woman realises that Schlagel intends to make the shield fail and destroy the American base. She tells Black Canary that she is going to try and use her magic lasso, which she has retrieved from the warehouse, to snag the missile and throw off its guidance system. Canary says that she will be killed because she is no longer in her Amazon body. But Diana replies that she must try as it is the only way to avert disaster.

As she steps out onto the wing she reassures Canary that whatever happens the robot plane will land safely without her. She then spins the golden rope above her head and manages to lasso the end of the passing missile. As she is pulled into the sky along with it she prays that she can hold on long enough. The titanic struggle in the sky seems to take an eternity although in truth only instants are passing. But in those instants all eyes turn upwards at the sight of a hero’s exemplary effort and courageous self sacrifice. The deadly missile slowly turns and becomes an instrument of justice and revenge as it hits Schlagel and his machine, before detonating in a destructive fireball taking its ‘pilot’ with it.

As the robot plane touches down, Black Canary cannot believe that her friend has perished in such a way. She suddenly sees a figure who she believes is Zenna wading ashore. She rages at the Gypsy, yelling that her grandstanding has cost the real Wonder Woman her life! But the figure replies that although that was almost the case, she is, in fact, the real Wonder Woman! She explains that at the last instant, Zenna had switched their minds back and for the briefest moment their souls seemed to touch. The Gypsy knew it was her fight, her mission and her place to die as she guided the missile towards her enemy. She made sure that Schlagel and his plans were finished for good and in the end she died…a hero.