Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 318


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 318

General Info

Issue No:
318
On Sale Date:
April 1984
Cover Date:
August 1984
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Paradise Burning!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Eduardo Barreto
Writer:
Kurt Busiek
Penciller:
Irv Novick
Inker:
Rick Magyar
Letterer:
Phil Felix
Colourist:
Nansi Hoolahan
Editor:
Alan Gold

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Alien Commander
Olympians:
Ares, Aphrodite
Amazons:
Hippolyta
Other:
N/A
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Comments

For an unknown editorial reason, this issue features a one off stand alone story not related in any way to the ongoing plot line of the last few issues.

Synopsis

Lightning and thunder split the sky and rain drums steadily down on Diana Prince’s Georgetown apartment. But it is the not the noise that currently disturbs the Amazon’s sleep but a vivid dream.

She sees herself floating over a barren, wasted landscape which she thinks must have once been a beautiful place before it became a war zone. Strangely, she feels almost like she belongs in this place and recognises the shattered buildings. She wishes she could have seen them before they were devastated and as the feeling of familiarity nags at her, the full realisation suddenly dawns on her. This place is – or was – once her home of Paradise Island!

As she looms down from her vantage point, she sees her Amazon sisters in chains amidst the ruins and wonders what could have reduced them to this?

When she finally wakes up from the nightmare, she holds her head trying to reconcile the images she has seen. She feels certain that the visions are real and she decides to make a visit to her homeland to ensure all is well there. She gets out of bed and removes her golden lasso, ready to transform into Wonder Woman. But as she spins the lariat, she sees a visions form within the looping rope and realises it is the same image of a destroyed Paradise Island. She does not understand how this can be happening but is intent on finding out. She places her feet within the spinning lasso and emerges into the wasteland, now as Wonder Woman.

She looks around and realises to her horror that it is all real. She had hoped it really was just an illusion but what she hoped for is no longer important – what is real is what matters. As she makes her way stealthily through the shattered city she suddenly spies Alien men making their way through the ruins. Not only has her home been devastated and the Amazons enslaved, but Aphrodite’s Law has also been broken! As soon as one man set foot on the sands the Amazon’s Goddess given powers would have deserted them. It must have shattered their spirits, like a part of them dying. But if that is true, then why is she herself still with her powers?

As she turns a corner she finds the answer to her question. The time cannot be the present day because in front of her is a memorial statue to her! In this era, whenever it is, she is dead! But as she takes in the proof of her own mortality, she is suddenly spotted by the aliens. As they open fire on her she deflects their rays with her bracelets, telling them that they may have captured the others but before they do the same with her, they will have to battle like they have never battled before. She clouts the surprised aliens but as the fight continues, she becomes aware that her own Amazon powers are fading! The longer she stays in this time period, the more the Island’s defilement will affect her. She decides that if she cannot take on the attack squad directly, she must try another method. Quickly she grabs the nearest alien soldier and carries him away before his colleagues can react. She finds a quiet spot and loops her lasso around him. She demands to know where Queen Hippolyta is being held but even the power of her magic lasso is slowly fading. She can only make the soldier obey for a few seconds at a time and makes slow progress as he leads her to her captured mother.

At last they reach the room and she prays that she has not walked into a trap. She knocks the alien unconscious and then kicks the door down. She steps inside to see a shocked Hippolyta resting on a bed. Hippolyta cannot believe her “dead” daughter is standing there in front of her and crying, both mother and daughter embrace. The Amazon Queen thanks Aphrodite that Diana has appeared in their hour of greatest need. She tells her daughter how much she has missed her and Diana tries to explain that for her part, she saw Hippolyta only a short time ago. But from the Amazon Queen’s perspective, Diana has actually been dead for centuries! She then asks her mother that if she is to be of any help then she must have more information as she knows nothing of this time period.

Hippolyta tells Diana that she understands, asking for a few moments to compose herself as she had never expected to see her daughter again. Diana says that she knows things must seem gloomy right now but together they can beat the menace. Her mother though is not so convinced.

Hippolyta begins to explain that they are in the 63rd century, where man’s World has achieved technological advancements far beyond the wildest dreams of the world Diana has come from. With it has come a time of peace and prosperity unrivalled throughout history. A group of Amazons felt that Man’s World had come as far as it was able to on its own and that direct involvement was needed between Amazons and men. They urged Hippolyta to dissolve the mystic barriers hiding Paradise Island from the outside world and reveal their existence. The queen had been unsure that this was the wisest course but eventually bowed to the majority will. The Amazon duly opened the mystic shield the barest minimum as a preliminary test and in that instant the invading force broke through with their spaceships.

As a result, the Amazons have been reduced to slaves and their home defiled. What hope can there be even with Wonder Woman to aid them? The enemy is simply too strong. Diana replies that she will not let her mother talk that way and asks how many others are imprisoned in the building? Hippolyta tells her “thirty” and Diana rushes off to free her Amazon sisters.

Soon they are duly freed and gathered around her as she addresses them. She tells them that they have all been taught by their queen to use their strength against the enemy’s weakness and if he has no weakness then create one. As Wonder Woman begins to detail her plan Hippolyta marvels at her daughter’s confidence – what gives this remarkable young woman such abundant strength? The answer she cannot remember of course is simplicity itself. Diana is an Amazon!

As the aliens continue their search for Wonder Woman they suddenly see the Amazon pouring out of the prison, swords at the ready. As the incredulous aliens sound the alarm Wonder Woman uses the diversion to her advantage, scaling up the side of the alien’s makeshift HQ building. She reaches the top window and clambers in but is spotted by guards. Outside, a worried Hippolyta looks up to where her daughter has just entered, knowing that Wonder Woman is totally alone up there and her powers have almost faded. But the queen need not worry! Inside, Wonder Woman hurls an alien soldier into his colleague, bowling them over. She dodges another and breaks down the door they were so obviously trying to keep her away from…

Back outside the battle rages, Hippolyta still wonders at her daughter’s actions. Diana showed no trace of fear or worry – is it truly courage she shows or foolhardiness? People can change a great deal in 4,300 years and as Hippolyta frets, her daughter perseveres! Suddenly a siren blares and the aliens drop their weapons on hearing the cease fire alert. As Hippolyta enters the HQ she meets no resistance and finally enters the room where Diana is waiting for her. She sees that her daughter has captured the commander, for although her lasso is now powerless is remains unbreakable. Wonder Woman turns back to the struggling alien commander and says to him that she could turn him over to the Planetary Government which takes a dim view of technologically advanced invaders or alternatively, he could evacuate the island, leave the planet and never come back again. Which is it to be? The commander realises the game is up suddenly becomes very accommodating, asking when she wants them to leave? Wonder Woman thinks to herself that luckily he did not call her bluff because exposing the invasion would mean she would have to reveal the existence of Paradise Island.

A short while later they look out of the window as the alien fleet begin their departure. Wonder Woman tells the still bound commander that once the main force has left she will release him so he can catch up with them later. In the meantime, she asks out of curiosity how he knew to attack at just the right time? The commander replies that he could choose not to tell her, but she is a good warrior and a noble opponent. he therefore tells the odd tale behind the surprise attack…

His people are an ancient warrior race and have ranged through many galaxies in search of a challenging conquest. They thought they had found such a challenge in Earth, but her defences proved unbreachable even to the aliens. Eventually they were reduced to considering negotiation to get what they craved and it is at that point that the stranger appeared. He told them of Paradise Island and that its existence was a secret even to the rest of Earth. He added that it would make a perfect base from which to mount an offensive against the rest of the planet. The stranger relished war with all its horrors and proved to be a persuasive creature. He told the aliens that the naive Islanders were soon going to be attempting an experiment that would expose their existence, but only for a moment. The aliens therefore had to be ready to strike the instant the opportunity arose. The fleet therefore scanned the planet ceaselessly and when the moment of vulnerability finally arrived they struck!

As Wonder Woman helps the commander into his personal shuttle craft, she tells him that his story is indeed an odd one. She adds that she extends to him a warrior’s thanks for an honourable defeat and that he has earned the respect of the Amazons. As they watch the craft take off and disappear out of sight an indignant Hippolyta asks what value is “warrior’s respect”?, adding that she should have known that this would happen. She turns to Diana and says that man’s World will always be corrupted by the empty promises of “the stranger”, who was obviously Ares. Aphrodite’s way remains ever within their grasp but the Amazons were fools to believe that man would ever see it! The alien invasion was the Amazon’s own fault for trusting men. They should never have considered letting their guard down. They had hoped that the best of Mankind would shine through but there is no hope for them now and there never was!

Diana replies that she thinks Hippolyta’s being a little harsh. But the queen does not agree and in fact feels that she has been too lenient. But never again! From this day forth, the Amazons close their borders forever against Man’s World. They can fight and kill all they like but let them brutalise each other – not the Amazons.

Wonder Woman remains silent and pensive as all the Amazons are summoned before their queen for the most sacred of rituals. Hippolyta addresses them, saying that they now stand in the one unspoiled section of their home, to invoke their protector, the all-loving Goddess whom they serve, so that they may beseech her to come to them and purify the stench of the invaders and make the Amazons whole once more. She calls for Aphrodite, saying that they are lost and that she is the light to guide their way once more. As the other Amazons call out their cries echo across the wind tossed sea and up to the very heavens themselves. And then they fade.

The Amazons loom at each other with concern, wondering why Aphrodite denies them? The murmurs turn into frantic wailing as they plead for her to save them. Princess Diana’s eyes narrow as she listens to the commotion until finally she bellows “That is enough!”. Her sisters fall silent at her harsh tone and she tells them that she is not surprised that Aphrodite has not come to them. Why should she? They are not worthy of her! She instructs them to cease their whimpering, adding that they sound like a basket of kittens! She continues that Aphrodite’s way is one of compassion and eternal hope. Without those the Amazons are nothing. The mortals in the outside world from whom they have hidden have long resisted Ares ways. The invasion did not come from the Amazons being too trusting – it came from mistrust! If they had been trusting they would have dissolved the mystic barrier as a celebration and not tentatively, a part at a time. Then there would have been no war – the Island would have been useless to the aliens as a secret base. They have been through a terrible ordeal – yes. But it is over now. It is time for them to get on with life. Where is their strength? Where is their Amazon courage? Well?

She waits as the Amazons look silently down in shame. At last Hippolyta speaks, saying that her daughter is right and that they have grown concerned only with themselves and turned away from their true purpose. The Amazons must look to the future rather then bemoan the past. Let them comfort themselves as Amazons again, hoping one day to regain the favour of Aphrodite so foolishly thrown away.

No sooner have the words left Hippolyta’s mouth then the Goddess herself appears in the skies above the Amazons who fall to their knees. She smiles down and tells them that what was lost has now been reclaimed. She had always been here but could not come to the Amazons in their distress until they had returned to her and to themselves. But now the breach is mended and she wishes that the harmony between them now lasts forever. Hippolyta cries out that the Amazons have erred against her law and shown themselves unworthy of her notice. Aphrodite then tells the Amazon Queen not to abject herself before the Goddess, for those who fear her vengeance are not those who know the Goddess of Love. All will now be again as it was, but before they begin the purification ceremony there is an imbalance that must be put right.

The Goddess then asks Diana to step forward and the Amazon Princess bows her head in servitude, saying she is at Aphrodite’s command. The Goddess replies that Wonder Woman has already been of invaluable service to her this day. She merely wishes to restore Diana to the proper time line. She the instructs Wonder Woman to step into her cloak to be taken backwards through the ages and resume her interrupted life.

And as Hippolyta sadly watches her daughter disappear she asks Aphrodite a question. Her daughter has been lost to them for many centuries so what force brought her here to them today? Aphrodite smiles and replies that as the queen had intuitively guessed, it was she who had transported Diana to be by her side. Hippolyta is puzzled why the Goddess would do such a thing when the Amazons were unworthy of her aid? The Goddess of Love replies that Hippolyta had to be allowed to return to her and she could not interfere directly. So she had brought Diana to show her the proper path. Still, she could only hope that Hippolyta would take that path because the way of love cannot be forced on anyone. So the hand of Aphrodite remains always open – for any who choose to take it!