Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 325

General Info

Issue No:
325
On Sale Date:
February 1985
Cover Date:
May 1985
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Gremlin from the Kremlin!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Paris Cullins
Writer:
Dan Mishkin
Penciller:
Don Heck
Inker:
Don Heck
Letterer:
Ben Oda, John Costanza
Colourist:
Nansi Hoolahan
Editor:
Alan Gold

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor, Etta Candy
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Paula (von Gunther), Antiope
Other:
Eloise Abernathy, Lisa Abernathy, Kevin, Mark, Glitch, Major Keith Griggs, Sofia Constantinas, Gardner Grayle (Atomic Knight), Lieutenant Lauren Haley, Yuri Illyich Kolosenko
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Synopsis

Wonder Woman says that these “Ytirflirks” are the same aliens the little gremlin had escaped from. Steve agrees and adds that this fits with the hypothesis about where he and Eloise ended up – but are they still in the ship now?

On board, having played along offering technical support for the ship, the little gremlin called Glitch now sees his chance to take over the vessel. He cries out to Eloise and her friends “Now! get to the controls I showed you!” and before the alien commander can react, they race to the console and start hitting buttons. The massive vessel begins to wobble violently and down on the ground Wonder Woman and the others look on in confusion. Suddenly the teleported portal opens before them. A voice booms from the ship which Wonder Woman instantly recognises as Eloise’s, instructing her and Steve to step into the portal as their help is needed onboard the ship. As the Amazon Princess and Colonel Trevor step towards the portal, the Atomic Knight indicates that he will come too. Wonder Woman advises that if he does, he had better convince the Russians to follow also, so that they can prove they had a reason for trespassing in the Russian’s country.

On hearing this, the Russian Commander agrees to go with them as he does not want to provoke a war unnecessarily. He informs his men to wait where they are and if does not return within an hour to contact Moscow and tell them everything. With that, he follows them into the portal. Once on board, Wonder Woman and Steve  race into the control room where Eloise and her friends are grappling with the aliens. The Amazon Princess almost cannot believe that a handful of children are holding off an alien invasion but she swiftly enters the fray and ensnares one of the aliens trying to make a grab for Eloise. At the same time, Steve tells Knight and the Russian to join in and soon they are decking aliens left right and centre.

Suddenly though, one of the aliens falls heavily on a nearby console after taking a punch and Glitch warns the others that it has accidentally triggered the warp engines! Steve asks the little creature if he can stop it and the gremlin replies yes, but that the Ytirflirks are such clumsy creatures that they have an automatic emergency signal that goes off whenever anyone aborts a launch. If he therefore shuts the engines down the antenna signals the whole armada down on them! On hearing this, the Atomic Knight tells the gremlin to do what he can while he deals with the antenna. He then races down the corridor to the nearest airlock and once outside the ship, uses his weapon to destroy the antenna.

As Glitch proceeds to shut down the engines, Wonder Woman rounds up all the aliens and binds them in her lasso. Eloise indicates for her to bring them over to a spot on the floor at which point Eloise hits a button and the aliens are imprisoned in their own energy cage. Atomic Knight re-enters the room and announces that it looks like everything has been taken care off. But Glitch tells them that they still have to deal with the Phlogiston Bomb! He continues to explain to his bemused audience that it is a doomsday device that sets off a chain combustion reaction igniting a whole planet’s atmosphere in hours. The Ytirflirks had apparently got one on board the vessel that the gremlins had stolen and had crashed on the Earth in 1908. However, he does not remember seeing anything that looked like a bomb in the salvage that the gremlins had used to rebuild their ship. Steve suggests it might have been consumed in the crash explosion but the little creature replies that what exploded was the nuclear fuel after they had jettisoned it. If the bomb was really on the ship – then it had survived the blast!

As they have been talking, Atomic Knight has been looking at some schematics on one of the ship’s display screens. He pulls up an image of the bomb and asks the gremlin whether any of it jogs his memory at all? Glitch takes a look and shakes his head but just then spots something. He points to a part of the device and says that this particular element does look familiar as they had used it for the new engine support. The rest of the bomb must have rolled away somewhere after the impact. On hearing this, the Atomic Knight responds that in that case they are in trouble, because what the gremlins had taken was the bomb’s triggering mechanism. Without it, the device itself is unstable and is effectively a ticking time bomb that could go off without warning! And they have no idea where on Earth it is!

Meanwhile within the walls of the Kremlin in Moscow, inside a secret room, another older gremlin lays on a hammock. He is very dazed and is barely aware of his surroundings. He keeps occasionally blanking out and when he does, he becomes another, more monstrous creature momentarily. He looks up to the ceiling where he sees the reason for his presence here – to watch over the bomb!

In the far less forbidding climate of Paradise Island, Sofia enters Hera’s Temple to obtain a report on the rebuilding work. She greets Paula and Antiope and asks for an update on their progress. Paula replies that the work is proceeding well but that she could have delivered that message to the queen herself. Or is she no longer perhaps welcome in the palace? Sofia tells Paula not to take offence as Hippolyta means no slight to her. She will ensure the queen hears of Paula’s good work. As the young girl turns and leaves, an angry Paula watches her go and asks Antiope if she is the only one who recognises Sofia’s attempt to steal Diana’s place in Hippolyta’s heart? She fears “this outsider” means none of them any good. Antiope suggests that Paula should perhaps be speaking to Sofia about this and not to her. The Amazon Scientist agrees and Antiope watches her follow after the young girl. Antiope smiles and thinks to herself that while those closest to the queen argue with each other, the rest of the Amazons will come to rely on her guidance in affairs…and soon will gladly give her Hippolyta’s crown!

Hundreds of miles away in Washington D.C. Keith is talking to Etta in the office. He is saying that he has no choice but to go along with Darnell’s plan to make a “grandstand play” in order to pull their department’s “fat out of the fire”. Etta replies that the General has been under a lot of pressure from Senator Covington’s Committee. Keith says he is aware of that and slyly adds that her boss may not be enthused about the fact that she has become very “cosy” with a member of Covington’s staff. She begs him not to say anything to Darnell and he assures Etta that her secret is safe with him. He continues that going back down to Tropidor as per the General’s instructions will only backfire in their department’s face. It is usually the guy in the field that takes the heat when a deal like this goes sour. Etta adds “or a gal” and indicates an attractive blonde Lieutenant who is just entering the office. The pretty blonde girl smiles and introduces herself as Lieutenant Lauren Haley, adding that this will be her first assignment for Secret Intelligence. If Keith feels that the General has him for a scapegoat then he in turn has her! Keith smiles…

Elsewhere, Wonder Woman, Steve and Glitch are riding on board a Ytirflirk shuttle craft through hyper space. The ride is bumpy and a part of the overhead console begins to come loose. Wonder Woman grabs it, pushing Steve out of harms way before it falls on him. She asks the gremlin what exactly she is holding up and he replies that it is the inertial guidance system. He adds that she must not let go or else they will never find their way back! Steve duly offers to assist the Amazon Princess in re-attaching it!

Just then the shaking subsides and Glitch says that now that they are closer to the Ytirflirk’s solar system, his pals should respond to his secret distress signal. Within a few moments he gets a response but suddenly realises his comrades are going to warp out very close to the shuttle craft! The massive ship materialises and the closing warp field around the craft causes ripples through space, buffeting the tiny shuttle. Wonder Woman, Steve and Glitch are thrown around helplessly…

Closer to home in Moscow, the Russian Commander, whose name is Yuri, walks across the square alongside Atomic Knight, who is using a cloaking device to hide his presence from onlookers. Whispering, Yuri asks whether Knight’s sensors have detected anything yet? Knight replies that he is getting unidentifiable radiation readings from the Cathedrals across the square. As they approach the entrance two guards block the doorway and say that they cannot enter as a careless workman has let chemical fumes spread inside. Knight whispers that they have to get inside as this is definitely the source of the radiation. The guards hear the voice and demand to know from Yuri who spoke? His response is to deck one guard while Knight takes out the other. As they step inside Atomic Knight deactivates his cloaking device and they race up the staircase. Yuri says that he wishes he did not have to strike down his own comrades and Knight replies that it gave him no pleasure either. Their countries may be adversaries but their hostility means nothing in the face of weapons that can destroy the whole planet!

At last they reach the top floor and Atomic Knight indicates that the source of the radiation is coming from the ceiling above them. He adds that as Yuri has no protection he should perhaps stay back, but the Russian thanks him for his concern and adds that he wishes to see this through to the end. With that, Atomic Knight lifts up one of the ceiling panels and peering through, they cannot believe their eyes. The bomb is just hanging from the roof of the tower watched over by another gremlin. As they clamber up, the little creature hears them approach and asks them whether they have at last come to take it away, as he has been keeping it safe from the Ytirflirks and the humans all this time. But as they draw near he sees that they are human and all of a sudden grows into a giant rabid monster. It grabs Yuri, leaving Atomic Knight to think quickly how he can attack the creature without harming Yuri in the process. He releases a blast of stored solar energy warning Yuri to cover his eyes. Momentarily blinded, the creature drops Yuri but as Knight advises the Russian to keep behind him, the gremlin has already recovered from the blast and swipes Atomic Knight, sending him crashing out of the tower! As he swoops back towards the hole he came out of, the Russian soldiers in the square below have been alerted by the commotion and open fire!

>Atomic Knight races back inside dodging the hail of fire and charges at the gremlin, hitting him in the stomach. The blow causes the gremlin to shrink back to his normal, passive size and Yuri asks the dazed creature what his purpose here is? The gremlin explains that he had hidden the bomb here after the crash and had been guarding it ever since. But he feels so strange and keeps losing track of time. Atomic Knight then says that his sensors indicate the cause is probably a radiation leakage which means the bomb is even more unstable then he had feared. Even talking too loudly could set it off, which eliminates any hope of them actually moving it! Yuri reminds him that if they do not leave soon half the Red Army will be upon them! Atomic Knight replies that they have no choice but to hold them off and trust that Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor will come through with the trigger mechanism…

And back in outer space, the damaged shuttle craft floats silently in space, devoid of any life. Its only mooring is the tractor beam of the gremlin’s vessel. Inside the enormous craft itself, perhaps the oddest bunch of space pirates in the galaxy are leading Wonder Woman, Steve and Glitch to the control room. The gremlins are treating Glitch as their hero for staying behind on Earth. He tells his comrades that it was not so bad as he had made friends and had had some great adventures. Wonder Woman gently reminds him of their current “adventure” which may still end in disaster unless they finish what they came here to do! As they turn and make their way instead to the engine room Steve asks why there are now so many gremlins on board? He is told that their return to the Ytirflirk home world had inspired a rebellion among the other gremlins. Although they could not overthrow their masters, they all managed to flee in this one vessel.

At last they arrive in the engine room and Glitch leads Wonder Woman to the trigger mechanism being used as the engine support. Having found what they are looking for she realises that if they are to take the support away they will need to replace it with something else. She duly rips up the floor panel and bends it upright so that it acts as an alternative support beam. With the trigger mechanism in their possession and the shuttle craft repaired by their gremlin friends, they are soon flying back home through hyper space. Glitch advises that they will soon be in range of the Teleporter beam on board the Ytirflirk ship orbiting near Earth. Steve asks Wonder Woman if the kids will have to handle the mechanism too and the Amazon replies that it should just materialise briefly in the on board Teleporter before re-energising down to the Earth. But as the portal opens and Wonder Woman starts to pass it through it starts to fade away too soon!

Sixty seconds earlier on board the Ytirflirk vessel above the Earth, an alien who had been knocked out suddenly advances on Eloise and Kevin who are waiting by the Teleporter Kevin acts quickly to activate the device which takes the alien by surprise. Taking advantage of the fact that he is now off balance, the two children push him backwards into the portal. At the other end the alien flies out of the open portal on board the shuttle and Wonder Woman tells Steve and Glitch to concentrate on feeding the trigger mechanism through while she handles their intruder. She punches the surprised Ytirflirk in the face and decks him…

Meanwhile in Moscow, Yuri looks down onto the square and informs Atomic Knight that the warning blast Knight had fired had temporarily scared off the oncoming troops. Atomic Knight replies that he hopes it will give them enough time to finish their task, as he proceeds to retrieve the trigger from the newly opened Teleporter portal. But as he attaches it securely to the bomb he realises that while the bomb’s internal reactions have been temporarily stabilized, the containment shell has sustained too much damage from the radiation leak. There is nothing that can keep the device from exploding! Their only hope is that things have cooled down enough inside it for a moment so to enable him to move the bomb without setting it off. He tells Yuri to stand back while he uses his lasers to cut it free from its housing. He then hefts the bomb up and out of the tower as the Russian soldiers below open fire on him again. As he roars high into the sky he feels the bomb start to activate and thinks to himself that he has seen the world end in too many nightmares not to recognise it now. He has but seconds left to get clear of the stratosphere and with one more mighty effort reaches space just as the bomb explodes!

A few days later in a joyful Washington D.C., the Ytirflirk spaceship hangs in the sky over the capital while jets make acrobatic flybys, watched by hundreds of onlookers enjoying the celebrations. Steve is explaining to General Darnell that they believe Atomic Knight had made it out of the atmosphere and into the vacuum of space before the bomb went off. Without any oxygen the device could not set anything on fire. However he is unsure whether Knight’s Atomic armour could have withstood the blast.

Meanwhile Lisa Abernathy is thanking Wonder Woman for the safe return of her daughter. The Amazon Princess explains that Eloise should take some of the credit as she had taken care of herself very ably indeed and she had helped save the world too!

Not far away another female reporter sees that Senator Covington is standing next to Lisa and she wonders what his interest in all of this is? General Darnell overhears this and offers to provide some enlightenment if she meets him in the Pentagon a little later…

Steve walks over to where Wonder Woman stands with Glitch on her shoulder. He picks the little creature up on the palm of his hand and says that now the gremlin has the spaceship, there is nothing keeping him on Earth anymore. Glitch says that maybe he will be back someday to visit Steve again and as tears form in his eyes, he adds that he hates long goodbyes. With that he summons the invisible plane and to their surprise leaps on board. Wonder Woman steps forward thinking that the gremlin is trying to steal the plane but Steve assures her that Glitch is simply taking one last opportunity to show off because after all…he ‘s his little buddy!