Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 16


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 16

General Info

Issue No:
16 (345)
On Sale Date:
January 1988
Cover Date:
May 1988
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Bird of Paradise/Bird of Prey!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez, Len Wein
Penciller:
George Perez
Inker:
Bruce Patterson
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Steve Trevor, Vanessa Kapatelis, Inspector Ed Indelicato
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Silver Swan (Valerie Beaudry), Henry Armbruster, Mister Choi
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Michael Shands, Solomon Buchman, Maxine Sterenbuch, Myndi Mayer
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Comments

This issue ends with an prologue that leads onto the events in Action Comics #600 whereby Wonder Woman and Superman meet on their “first date”.

Synopsis

Wonder Woman races to keep the unstable Ferris wheel from crashing down as those onboard scream in fear for their lives. As she grabs the Wheel, she pleads with those in the crowds down below to help her rescue them, as the Wheel is coming apart and she does not know how much longer she can hold it together. As if to confirm her fears, one of the children hanging desperately on by their fingertips to the swaying car slips and plummets towards the ground. Bobby yells up to Wonder Woman that he will help her but Steve Trevor pushes him aside saying this is no place for kids. He races to the foot of the Ferris wheel just in time to catch the boy before he hits the ground!

Meanwhile, the police begin firing their weapons up at Silver Swan who zips through the air, seeming to dodge their bullets. As she continues to emit a low hum they realise that she must be throwing up some kind of force field. Lt. Michael Shands radios his Inspector, Eddie Indelicato, asking where the detective is. Ed replies that he has a guy in custody that pulled a gun and who he thinks might be involved with the Silver Swan. There was another woman with him but she managed to get away in the confusion.

Elsewhere, Maxine hides behind a tree trying to get her head around recent events. She has been shot at, drugged and is now on the run from the police! And all because she was once a pen pal with poor Valerie! Despite all the evidence that Solomon Buchman has shown her, this “Silver Swan” cannot possibly be the same kind, loving person who was once her closest friend. No matter how that monster Henry Armbruster may have transformed her physically, she refuses to believe he could also have twisted her mind and heart in this way!

Up above, Silver Swan continues to protect herself from the hail of gunfire and thinks to herself that she had never intended to destroy the Ferris wheel. She had aimed her sonic scream at Wonder Woman but the Amazon was too fast for her. Now those poor people on board are in danger and it is all her fault! It was not supposed to happen this way. She pleads to Henry for help.

As Wonder Woman manages to lower the huge Wheel down to the ground before any more innocents are injured, Henry Armbruster and Mister Choi continue to monitor Valerie’s life signs remotely from their control centre. Choi comments that her life signs are getting dangerously high and is starting to panic. They are losing control of her! Armbruster grabs a microphone from one of the console operators and addresses Valerie. He tells her to keep her cool and remember everything he has taught her. If she panics now she will ruin everything they have worked for! He then orders her to prepare for a level three force blast. She worriedly responds that such a force might injure people but Armbruster angrily tells her not to argue and just do it!

Hesitantly at first, the Silver Swan purses her trembling lips and a terrifying silence suddenly dominates the entire area, followed an instant later by a scream that is every bit as loud as it is devastating! Even when the sinister scream has faded its terrifying effects still linger, in the deafened ears of some, in the monstrous headaches of others and in the untold millions of dollars worth of damage! The police, like everyone else, stagger to get back to their feet amidst the devastation. Lt. Shands calls Indelicato who replies that he is OK but that his suspect has escaped. Not far away Wonder Woman rushes over to check that Vanessa is alright and the young girl says she is fine apart from being temporarily deaf.

Then, above them, the Silver Swan speaks once more, announcing that what they had just experienced was only a sample of her power. What she has done to property she can do just as easily to them! She orders them to remain where they are while her people arrive to confiscate all the money they have collected today. This entire event has been a farce designed to glorify a shallow beauty queen! This pitiful circus has not concerned itself with the needy children but with promoting this Princess Diana as some sort of feminine ideal no real woman could ever become! Thus, they can consider this robbery a formal protest against the crass commercial venture they call Wonder Woman!

The words cut deeply into the mortified Amazon Princess as a van pulls up from which masked gunmen disembark. They order Miss Clooney and Skeeter LaRue down from the podium and into the office to retrieve the takings. Wonder Woman asks Miss Clooney to forgive her as she thought she was only doing what Clooney wanted her to, by helping show people the merits of her organisation’s goals. But Clooney icily replies that Wonder Woman is lying and was in fact soaking up all the adulation she was getting. The Amazon was not interested in promoting the organisation or the kids – only herself! She adds that when this is all over she intends to sue Wonder Woman and the Mayer Agency!

From the control room many miles away, Choi apologises to Armbruster for doubting Valerie who now appears to be in total control of the situation. Armbruster replies that it is because he has complete control over her. Now all she has to do is collect the computer chips their inside man has mixed in with the Fair’s receipts and their organisation will finally have domination of the market in Silicon Valley!

Back at the Fair, the gang instructs Wonder Woman to take Silver Swan’s share of the take up to her. Reluctantly, the Amazon Princess takes the two bags and flies up to where her foe hovers expectantly. As she does, she ponders that perhaps what Miss Clooney said was true. Did she enjoy her celebrity status so much that she allowed it to affect her judgement?

Down below Maxine watches from the trees as Wonder Woman approaches her friend. She still tries to think of some explanation as to how Valerie has ended up as a terrorist. Just then she spots something in the branches a few yards away. Peering closer she sees it is Solomon Buchman with a crossbow, aiming at Silver Swan. Buchman smiles to himself as he lines up the shot, knowing that when Silver Swan takes the bags from Wonder Woman she will have to lower her sonic shield for a few moments. A tearful Maxine looks from Solomon to Silver Swan, who has lowered her shield as she takes the bags, then back to Solomon again. She shouts out a desperate warning to her lifelong friend as Solomon pulls the trigger.

Wonder Woman instantly reacts to the shout and uses her bracelets to deflect the oncoming bolt. Armbruster shouts a warning to Valerie to get out of there but she is already responding in rage and shouts the word “Traitor” down at Solomon. The resulting sonic wave decimates the tree he is concealed in and his lifeless body crashes to the ground. Wonder Woman swiftly uses the distraction to grab Silver Swan before she has time to recover from the effort of her scream and reinstate her force shield again. The Amazon pushes the surprised blonde woman up and away from the city, causing Silver Swan to drop the two bags she was holding. Regaining her composure though, Silver Swan performs a graceful manoeuvre to escape Wonder Woman and so the Amazon Princess resorts to more forceful tactics. She uses an open handed slap around the face to stun her foe, sending Silver Swan spiralling downwards. Wonder Woman quickly removes her lasso ready to wrap it around her opponent and Armbruster shouts a warning to Valerie to snap out of it before the Amazon manages to catch her! He orders her to defend herself and she emits a low throaty hum which reactivates her sonic shield and thus sends an energy backlash sizzling along the length of the golden lasso and through the writing body of the Amazon Princess!

Twitching spasmodically from the sudden shock, the dazed Wonder Woman plummets helplessly from the sky and into the ocean, vanishing beneath the waves. An ecstatic Silver Swam tells Armbruster that she has slain the Amazon Princess but her master replies that he doubts Wonder Woman can be disposed of so easily. Therefore Valerie has to make sure she has finished her! Silver Swan thus proceeds to sing, sending a lethal sonic blast slashing through the water like a scythe and only just missing its intended target! Beneath the surface of the waves, Wonder Woman realises she cannot stay underwater much longer as she had had no time to take a breath. She must find someway to muffle the Swan’s scream. She has an idea, inspired by something Vanessa had taught her at the beach one day and proceeds to remove her cape. She waits for her moment of opportunity between sonic bursts when Silver Swan is at her most vulnerable and suddenly launches out of the water. The soaking wet cloak snapped with Amazon strength makes an effective weapon and sends Silver Swan reeling! Wonder Woman swiftly removes her Tiara and sends it whizzing through the air, clipping the Swan’s wings with almost surgical precision. The Tiara returns like a boomerang to her outstretched hand as Silver Swan falls helplessly towards the ocean below.

Wonder Woman raves down after her as Swan cries out to Armbruster to help her. In the control room, the monitors indicate that Valerie is starting to panic again and has not re-raised her sonic shield. A stony faced Armbruster says nothing as Wonder Woman catches Silver Swan in her arms and uses the soaking wet cape to wrap around her foe’s face, preventing her from screaming. Wonder Woman tells the still struggling blonde woman that she had fought valiantly but that the battle is no ended. She urges her opponent to surrender as she has no wish to harm her. But Silver Swan thrashes around wildly, her life signs going critical and her pulse eventually off the scale. Those in the control room see that she has reached critical level and for Wonder Woman, there is an eerie silence before an explosion of catastrophic noise and devastation!

In the control room the screens go dead and Mister Choi tells Armbruster he is sorry for his loss. Armbruster in turn rages that “if only the little idiot hadn’t panicked!”. Just then though, one of the operators tells them that they are picking up a weak signal. Armbruster orders a chopper to collect Silver Swan and grimly snarls that it is time she learned why he is not a man to disobey.

Along the rocky shores of Gayhead Cliffs a battered Silver Swan lies sprawled upon the red clay. Her addled mind is filled with the disappointed visage of the man she loves more than life itself. She weakly whispers for Armbruster to forgive her and that she will do better next time…

Elsewhere at Pilgrim’s Village, a restored Historical area, the inhabitants look down in surprise at the battered form of Wonder Woman lying on the ground. The dazed Amazon Princess gets to her feet as they ask if she is OK. She replies that her head rings like a temple bell but otherwise she is well. As she makes her way back to Boston, she thinks to herself that she has no idea what happened to the Silver Swan but that she hopes the woman survived. The Amazon’s guilt is already great enough. She had hoped for a day of charity and celebration but instead her very fame has caused a catastrophe. Julia had warned her about the possible perils inherent in becoming a celebrity and she must choose her path wisely. Wonder Woman muses she has much still to learn but perhaps she can still salvage some small portion of this day…

Thus, a little later as the sun begins to set, she and Steve meet to share a special secret and thus strengthen their unique bond. As Steve hears about his mother and how she has played a key role in Wonder Woman’s origin and purpose, he tells the Princess he knew there was something between them the day they had first met. Wonder Woman tells him that of course she had reminded him of his mother. Having met her spirit she considers that high praise indeed. She adds that his mother is proud of the man he has become. Without her, many Amazons would now be dead and her courage will be honoured forever. All she had she took with her except one item – her revolver. Wonder Woman places the weapon into Steve’s trembling hands and says that she would have wanted Steve to have it. They then hug each other and Steve thanks his “little sister” for everything. She will always be previous to him and Wonder Woman replies that he will likewise be previous to her. She hopes both he and Etta finally find all the happiness they deserve and may Gaea guide them always.

Epilogue

A Boston TV news report tells how the clean up operation has began after today’s events. A robbery by the Silver Swan was thwarted by local police led by Lt. Michael Shands and Inspector Ed Indelicato. In an interview, Indelicato explains that his men had caught up with the escaping gunmen in the van right after Wonder Woman tackled the Silver Swan. Although they had managed to recover the entire take, he could not explain the two bags that were dropped by Silver Swan during her battle with Wonder Woman. Subsequent search parties had found no trace of them and with the Silver Swan missing, presumed dead, the secret of their contents may never be known.

Meanwhile on an airliner outbound from Boston, Maxine Sterenbuch sits reading one her letters from Valerie. Tears stream down her cheeks as she whispers “Oh Val…what did that bastard do to you?”.

The news report continues to report how Solomon Buchman still lies in a critical condition in hospital. His female accomplice who had shouted something to the Silver Swan instants before Buchman was attacked is still being sought. Police say they have no clue as to her identity or what her connection, if any, might be to either Buchman or the Silver Swan.

The End

Prologue

It is a week since the events at the charity fair and Vanessa Kapatelis is in her bedroom rehearsing what she wants to say to Diana. Although they are friends they are also both women. Vanessa has seen how Barry stares at Diana and it has to stop! The Amazon Princess needs to find her own guy and to stop tempting hers! But as she looks at a photo of her and Diana posing together all smiles, Vanessa tells herself she could not talk to Diana like that if her life depended on it! However, she cannot let Diana take Barry away from her. They have to talk!

Just then Diana knocks and enters, asking why Vanessa has not got ready for school yet. While Julia is away, Diana has promised to watch after the young girl. Vanessa replies that she has a belly ache. A concerned Diana instantly prepares to call for the doctor but Vanessa quickly adds that it is not her stomach really and that they have to talk. The young girl then notices how Diana is starring at the wall above her bed and turns to see what could have the Amazon Princess so fascinated. She realises it is her new poster of Superman that has Diana’s undivided attention and the Amazon Princess tells her she knows how Vanessa feels about Barry and perhaps she can speak to the young girl about her own feelings.

Unlike her sister Amazons, she had never seen a man until Steve Trevor, nor understood the ancient bond between sexes. Vanessa has Barry, Steve has Etta and even her own mother has someone. But she has no one. In her dreams Superman is so like a god!

Vanessa shrieks “You mean you’ve got the hots for Superman!”. Diana is quick to correct her, saying that she merely cannot explain this feeling that comes over her when she thinks of him. Vanessa replies that Diana is in love and that Superman is perfect for her. She adds that the Amazon Princes should tell him how she feels as soon as possible and that she bets Myndi Mayer could arrange a meeting!

A few days later at the offices of the Mayer Agency, Diana waits nervously outside Myndi’s office while the publicist makes a call. Inside her office, Myndi is speaking on the phone with Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent who is known to have close links with the Man of Steel. She tells him that such a meeting between the two heroes would be a multi-million dollar publicity event. She promises the Daily Planet exclusive serialisation rights to the romance of the decade if Clark will help contact Superman.

Outside, Diana is suddenly called in by Myndi who says that Clark is actually going to get Superman to come to the phone! A coy Diana takes the receiver and tells him he sounds so different over the phone. She smiles as he tells her he has been anxious to meet her but that they have both been so busy lately. They agree to meet at the weekend and a listening Myndi smiles at the thought of the anticipated publicity coup. Diana then hands the phone back to the publicist saying that Mr. Kent would like another word. As Diana leaves the room Myndi asks Clark where the meeting is going to take place and she has got to arrange helicopters and cameramen. Clark replies that Superman had not told him the venue and hangs up, leaving a flustered Myndi to try and get him back on the phone again.

Meanwhile, a smiling Diana swoops through the sky anticipating the moment when she will meet again in the flesh the hero the world calls Superman!

Another world away on Mount Olympus, the noble Messenger of the Gods Hermes moves with legendary speed to escape the explosions around him. His pursuers seem to be everywhere and fleet though he is he cannot fight them alone. He must warn Zeus and the others before it is too late but again finds his path blocked. Who are these mysterious foes who possess such power that they would dare to invade Immortal Olympus. But his thoughts are cut short as another blast strikes him dead centre and sends the God plummeting to the floor. A mocking laugh echoes throughout Olympus at the sight of the lifeless Hermes…