Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 320

General Info

Issue No:
320
On Sale Date:
June 1984
Cover Date:
October 1984
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Launch On Warning!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Eduardo Barreto
Writer:
Dan Mishkin
Penciller:
Don Heck
Inker:
Rick Magyar
Letterer:
Phil Felix
Colourist:
Nansi Hoolahan
Editor:
Alan Gold

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, General Darnell
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Doctor Cyber
Olympians:
Eros
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Sofia Constantinas, Glitch, Major Keith Griggs, Howard Huckaby, Senator Abernathy, Eloise Abernathy, Lisa Abernathy
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Synopsis

Somewhere beneath the ocean waves a deadly American Nuclear Submarine cruises on patrol. On board, the communications officer receives a secure transmission and once the whole code has been received, he immediately informs the captain that they have received an authenticated launch code!

The captain calls for battle stations and instructs the fire crew to initiate launch sequence, adding that this is not a drill. But as they begin to activate their systems the communication officer informs the captain that the transmission has gone dead and that he has lost the link. He asks whether he should try to regain contact but the captain orders him to maintain radio silence, in case they give away their location to a nearby enemy sub.

A crew member asks the captain whether he thinks there has been a Soviet first strike against the U.S.? The captain replies he does not know what to think, but he does know he has his orders to launch the 24 nuclear missiles on board. Unless he hears a good reason otherwise, he intends to do just that as soon as the launch sequence is complete.

Suddenly the whole sub lurches sending the crew sprawling and they wonder what on earth is happening. With the boat rocking so much, there is no way that they can initiate the launch. Outside, the cause of the disruption uses all her Amazon strength to pull the sub now ensnared in her magic lasso. Wonder Woman has been privy to official Pentagon Communications as a member of the Justice League and knew about the false launch orders being sent almost as soon as the Pentagon did. She had swiftly flown to the sub’s location and acted to prevent them trying to launch their warheads. As she continues to swim underwater towing the boat behind her, she realises that she cannot keep doing this until her lungs burst and will have to trust that the sub’s captain is a man of conscience. She proceeds to unhook the golden rope allowing the sub to settle while inside the crew find their feet again. The fire team asks the captain whether he wishes the launch sequence to continue. But the captain orders them to halt proceedings until they can get some clarification as to what exactly is going on around here. He then orders the sub to surface and for them to make contact with Washington immediately to clarify their orders.

As Wonder Woman re-boards her invisible plane she is relieved to see the sub surface and that the danger is over for now. But she has still not got any closer to catching the person responsible for stealing the launch codes in the first place while they were impersonating her Diana Prince identity. The clues seem to point to someone who knows her secret identity and who had the means to keep “Wonder Woman” busy elsewhere while “Diana Prince” was being replaced. There is one particular foe who fits that description and considers both her identities as her enemy – and that is Doctor Cyber…

And elsewhere in Doctor Cyber’s hideout, the villainess stands next to a an upright table onto which is strapped a helpless Sofia. Cyber tells the young girl that she is surprised at Sofia’s resistance to her interrogation and that she thought the girl would have broken hours ago. However, she adds that she will eventually reveal everything Cyber wishes to know. Sofia replies that she has been trained as an Amazon and that she will not give into Cyber’s methods. The villianess turns to a console and says that Sofia still has her beauty while her own was ruined by Wonder Woman. Perhaps when she has finished extracting the information from the young girl’s brain she will take the empty shell of her body and use it as her own! With that, a mechanical arm begins to lower a device towards the struggling Sofia…

Meanwhile at the Pentagon, Steve is trying to persuade General Darnell to allow him to follow a lead regarding Diana’s recent strange behaviour. Darnell is still a little annoyed about Steve leaving the office to go on an unauthorised mission the other day. But Steve asks the General to trust him, knowing that he cannot explain to his boss that his information comes from a small green Gremlin! Darnell begrudgingly agrees, adding that Steve must keep him and Major Griggs informed on any developments. A grateful Steve then leaves the office and tells the waiting Gremlin that he had better be right about what he saw. The little creature says he does not make mistakes and that the woman in the disguise who kidnapped Sofia is the same woman who wants Diana to take the fall for the computer file theft…

Later, as Washington’s rush hour approaches, Keith Griggs stands on a crowded subway platform as the next train approaches. He ponders the mysterious call he had received earlier, asking to meet here to talk about Diana. He was never going to refuse such an opportunity but even so, he does not like being in a crowd of strangers where he knows he is being watched – but not by whom. Suddenly, someone shoves him in the small of the back sending him tumbling down onto the track. He lands badly, twisting his ankle and he struggles to climb back up onto the platform as the train bears down upon him. Elsewhere in the crowd, Diana sees what has happened, grateful that she had been following Keith. Cyber must want to eliminate him because of his desire to prove Diana’s innocence. She swiftly jumps down to where he lays and drags him out of the way just in time as the train thunders past. He smiles gratefully and cracks that they must stop meeting like this.

Soon they have left the station and are taking a stroll through the park. Diana asks how his ankle is and he replies not too bad. He then recaps what she has just told him to ensure he understands her right – that Doctor Cyber had moulded her face into Diana Prince’s, planning to do her dirty work while ruining Diana’s reputation at the same time. Diana adds though that she does not believe the stolen launch codes were Cyber’s real objective. The codes can soon be changed and the Doctor Cyber she knows was always out for personal gain – not trying to blow up the planet! If that was what she wanted, she would have transmitted the launch codes to some rookies in a missile silo somewhere, not to an experienced submarine captain with enough authority to question the orders. Diana then says to Keith that there is only one place to discover Cyber’s real plan – the War Computer! He could get into the secure room for her, but it would be a risk if he was caught as he would also be labelled a traitor like her. He replies that there is no other way and throws her his apartment keys, telling her to wait there while he checks out the War Computer.

Meanwhile in Senator Abernathy’s apartment, the senator, his daughter Lisa, Etta and Howard are watching a TV news report recorded earlier by Lisa. The reporter says that Senator Covington believes the possible existence of a counter-agent in Darnell’s little-known intelligence branch confirms his fears. Hearing these words, Etta asks Lisa how she could say such a thing about Diana? Lisa replies that at the end of the day she has a job to do and it could have been far worse. For instance, she could have actually revealed Diana’s name in the report. Any other reporter would have jumped at that scoop. Howard turns to Etta, confirming that the other networks had done a real “hatchet job” on Diana. Etta replies that he and his boss, Covington, can try and hang Diana all they like but she knows her roommate and friend did nothing wrong. Howard responds that if Etta is right, and that Diana is being framed, she is going to need some powerful help to get cleared. He continues “Why, I…I thought that you…that is, I thought that Wonder Woman…um, what I mean is, if you need to leave to find some special help…I’d sure understand” followed by a wink. She frowns at him and says that she does not have the slightest notion what he is talking about…

As evening turns to night, Diana and Keith are making their way along one of the rolling hills outside the capital. As they reach the crest of a rise Diana turns to Keith and tells him that this is as far as he goes. He grabs her arm, protesting that she cannot enter Cyber’s stronghold all alone. He had already broken into the War Computer for her and confirmed that the theft of the launch codes was merely a diversion. It was simply to mask the fact that Cyber had stolen other cyphers that will let her monitor top secret messages and sell them to the highest bidder. He had also figured out where she transmitted the information to and located the hideout they were now looking at down below in the valley. Diana replies that the hideout happens to be inside an Emergency Command Base that is always kept ready for the President in the event of nuclear war. There is every possibility that they may encounter base personnel before getting as far as Cyber’s lair. Therefore, if Keith is caught together with Diana there is no way the Special Intelligence Branch can survive the scandal. She also secretly thinks to herself that there is no way she will be able to transform into Wonder Woman either!

She tells Griggs that she is all grown up and for him not to start getting protective just because she is a woman. He takes her hand in his and says that she knows him better than that. He pauses and adds, “And I think…I think that I know you!” before pulling her towards him and kissing her passionately on the lips. She pulls away after a few moments and says that this is not right, apologising if she has misled him. He smiles and says he does not think she has misled him at all.

Watching this from high up in a tree is Eros, the God of Love. He thinks to himself that he has long been from her side so he shall forgive her this flirtation. But the day will soon come when she will swear herself to him and him alone…

Meanwhile down at the military outpost itself, Steve Trevor has knocked unconscious one of the guards and is dragging him inside quickly. He regrets having to do it but even though he and the Gremlin had followed Cyber’s Agent to this facility, the top brass would never believe this place has been infiltrated. Which means he has to do things the stealthy way. He then waits while the Gremlin hotwires the controls for the lift to take them down inside the base. They descend to the deepest level, set aside for maintenance and where Steve is convinced Cyber has “set up shop”. As they make their way down the corridor though a door suddenly slams shut in front of them, indicating that their arrival has been detected. The little Gremlin however again swiftly hotwires the door, causing it to slide open. He then tells Steve that they should split up and he can take some of the heat off Steve. Steve watches the Gremlin climb up a nearby ladder before he himself proceeds down the corridor.

Watching from the shadows unseen, Eros is shocked to see that Steve Trevor still lives! Twice dead, he has risen again while Eros himself lay Hades Gate for so long. This is a mystery that must be solved he thinks to himself. As for Steve, he tries to visualise the floor plans of the bunker and believes that through the next doorway should be the command centre. As he pauses, pondering what his next move should be the wall suddenly collapses and Wonder Woman bursts through the hole. He takes her hand and tells her how glad he is to see her. She replies that she is glad to see him too, but thinks to herself how she can possibly love Steve when she is Wonder Woman, and feel so strongly for Keith when she is Diana Prince?

She says that they are presumably here for the same reason so they best get going. With that, she kicks the Command Centre door down and they burst into the chamber. They see Cyber standing next to an unconscious Sofia, still strapped to the upright table. Wonder Woman demands to know what the villainess has done to the young girl. Cyber replies that it is far less than she intends to do to the Amazon Princess, in revenge for the suffering that she has caused Cyber. But first she has an even older score to settle. She lifts her arm on which she is wearing her special bracelet. She says that she had killed Trevor once before and she will kill him again. She fires a blast at him but Wonder Woman deflects it with her own bracelet, sending a ricochet up towards the ceiling. The blast strikes a large piece of equipment fixed to the roof, dislodging it. It falls down on top of Cyber, pinning her beneath it. Wonder Woman tells Steve that Cyber’s armour will have protected her from injury, so while she makes sure the villainess does not take advantage of that fact, he should free Sofia.

The Amazon Princess turns to where her foe lies and asks her to explain what she meant by saying that she had killed Steve before? Either that, or she will use her magic lasso to reveal the truth. Cyber replies that in truth she will gladly reveal what she knows because the knowledge will bring the Amazon most exquisite anguish!  She adds that that will not be the only pain she will suffer either. With that, she suddenly reaches for her wrist again and presses a button. Steve calls out a warning to Wonder Woman too late as two small flying pods zoom towards her from nowhere and encircle her. As Steve moves to her aid he is blasted by a hidden ray gun and knocked unconscious. Wonder Woman calls out after him but finds herself being bound in the pods’ trailing wire as they loop around and around her. As her bonds become ever tighter, she struggles to break free, vowing that Cyber will pay dearly if she has hurt Steve because these strands will not tie her up for long. But a gloating Cyber replies that, on the contrary, Wonder Woman will not be able to break free. She then explains that the wires absorb the Amazon’s futile struggles and convert them into heat. The more Wonder Woman fights to free herself, the hotter her bonds will become. So hot in fact, that they will burn every inch of her flesh until she is as disfigured as Cyber’s own face!