Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 18


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 18

General Info

Issue No:
18 (347)
On Sale Date:
March 1988
Cover Date:
July 1988
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Creatures Of The Dark

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
George Perez
Inker:
Dick Giordano
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Vanessa Kapatelis, Julia Kapatelis
Heroes:
Mikos, Circe
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Zeus, Hades, Poseidon
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Stavros Christadoulodou, Theophillus Ventouras, Demitrios, Spiros, Katina Leikos, Agostos Deneiros, Maria Deneiros, Gregori
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Comments

This issue contains a bonus 16 page feature entitled “Legend Of The Amazons” which acts as a showcase for up and coming writers and artists.

Synopsis

Zeus, Hades and Poseidon meet in the silent limbo beyond the light where the twisted, rocky remains of Chronus, their father, lie silently. Zeus asks Hades whether Chronus still hears them and his brother replies that no one really knows where the Gods go when they die.

Long ago, after they had slain their father, the three brothers had hidden the scroll known as “The Olympian Pact” inside the knarled remains. Poseidon now retrieves it from its hiding place and Hades comments that it has lost some of its lustre. Zeus replies that so has Olympus and that they know now that Gods are not meant to be divided but instead rule jointly and equally over a united Pantheon. It took a mortal girl to make him see that. Hades corrects his brother by saying that Princess Diana has proved herself no mere mortal. She has earned the appellation the humans have bestowed upon her. She truly is a Wonder Woman. Zeus then reminds them why they have come here and they duly proceed.

The three brothers seal their holy pact – Poseidon raises his royal Trident, Hades elevates his staff and Zeus lifts his sceptre. The great symbols of power join for the first time and a fire bursts forth from the axis, burning away the old scroll and sealing a new one. The darkness gives way to a golden light…and it is good.

At a hospital in the Greek Isle of Cephalonia Julia, Vanessa, Stavros, another man and a young boy gather around the bed where Diana lays. A doctor informs Julia that Diana is one of the healthiest patients he has ever examined and there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. Julia remains unconvinced as she remembers how deathly cold the Amazon Princess had felt when they had brought her in but Diana assures her friend that she is fine. She explains that it was the island they had passed which seemed to clutch her in a chilling grip. Julia replies that she should take things easy as she has been pushing herself for months now. The doctor suggests prescribing something but Diana tells him she does not use drugs. He accedes to her wishes although does add that he agrees with Julia that Diana should rest.

Vanessa steps forward and hands Diana her Tiara and lasso saying that she had taken good care of them. The Amazon Princess thanks her and hugs Vanessa, who tells her she had been so scared when Diana had collapsed and asks her not to do it again. Just then the young boy asks Stavros whether he still believes a “Magia” had been placed on the Princess. The other man chastises the boy for not showing respect and Diana asks who the two strangers are. Julia introduces them as Mr. Theophillus Ventouras and his nephew, Demetrios. Ventouras takes the Princess’ hand and gallantly kisses it, telling her he is relieved she is alright. Julia continues that Ventouras owns the wealthiest estate on the islands. He tells Diana that his friend, the Governor, had asked him to meet her at the dock because he had been called away on business. A local boy had been killed by a wolf and some people are putting that down to a “Magia” too.

Vanessa enquires what a “Magia” is and he replies that it is a mystic spell – a curse. Demetrios adds that the superstitious believe that it all comes from the mysterious island Diana had seen. But it is just a stupid myth. Diana responds that to many, she too is a myth – a mythical daughter of a mythical queen from a mythical land. Yet she is real and what she felt from that island had been real too. Ventouras then says that he might be able to help as he owns the largest collection of books on the history of these islands. He invites them all to join him for dinner tomorrow and together they can learn more about the isle and perhaps about its current owner.

Outside in the corridor meanwhile, a nurse listens in on the conversation as Diana accepts his invitation. The nurse turns and walks down the corridor, exiting the building. Outside she meets Mikos and tells him everything she has heard. Mikos wonders what Ventouras hopes to achieve as the longer the Amazon remains here the hotter the flames of rebellion will burn. Wonder Woman must die. He thanks the nurse and tells her the mistress will reward her for her loyalty.

Not far away a young boy and girl are hugging on a park bench. They have been secretly listening to the conversation and Katina whispers to the boy, Spiros, that the nurse is working for the Witch. Spiros pleads for them to leave as the Witch’s beasts are everywhere. Just look what had happened to Paul in the meadow. Katina tells him that Paul had been careless but the boy replies that if they are to warn the Princess, they must be wary of everyone. They look up as Mikos, who has now transformed into a black Hawk, flies back to his mistress on the island. Once he is out of sight they quickly leave to meet with the others and to make plans.

Later that evening at the modest home of Julia’s parents, Diana is introduced to Agostos and Maria Deneiros. The Amazon Princess tells them she is deeply honoured to meet them but Maria responds that Diana has been teaching her pagan ideas to Julia and for her to remember that this is a Christian home. Julia apologises for her mother’s outburst but Diana replies that she understands. Maria is devoted to her faith and she admires that. She then tells Maria that their faiths share common themes; peace, love and understanding. With such similarities, can they not overlook the differences?

At this, Maria mellows asks if the Amazon Princess is hungry. Diana says she is and that Vanessa has told her all about Maria’s wonderful Baklava. Maria says that Diana is welcome in her home and then asks Vanessa to help out in the kitchen. For his part, Agostos looks the beautiful Amazon up and down and mumbles how he wishes he was forty years younger. Maria admonishes him from the kitchen and he then asks Diana whether she likes fishing. The Amazon smiles at the old man and says that she does and that she would love to join him sometime. He then puts on his coat and says to Stavros that they should go out for an hour or so to watch the boats. Maria again yells to “Be back in one hour you little fool!”

Outside, Agostos says that they should go to the Tavern first and Stavros replies that he had promised Maria not to let the old man wander. As they walk towards the car Stavros sees a note under the wiper blade. Reading it, he suddenly tells Agostos that he has just remembered an important engagement and asks if they can watch the boats tomorrow instead. Agostos asks if he can come to but Stavros hurriedly replies “no” and leaves the old man to go back into the house as he drives off.

Later that night, Mikos flaps his wings as he approaches the island of his mistress. As he touches down he once more takes the form of a man and enters his mistress’ chamber. She asks if he has news of Diana. He replies that the Amazon fool is determined to learn the secrets of the island and its owner. She says that she is not surprised her little warning had not deterred the Amazon. Since the dawn of the Gods their paths were fated to cross. Now the journey is ending and their roads will finally meet – with death waiting at the junction!

Back on Cephalonia, Diana sits in a chair in the bedroom, looking through a photograph album while Julia brushes her hair. One shot of the family shows a young Julia sitting next to her brother. Diana says that since coming to Greece she has realised just how little she knows about here friend and mentor. She never knew for instance that Julia had a brother. The Professor replies that he had died in 1944 fighting for the Greek Resistance. He was eighteen at the time and Julia had cried for almost a year, but that was all a long time ago now. Her father and brother used to sail together in their boat. Agostos had been a Navy Captain and positively worships the sea. Now the doctors say he is too old so everyday he goes down to the shore just to watch the boats. After the way Julia had wanted to sail with her father too but it was not the same. She was just a little girl whereas a son is very important to a Greek man. He passes down the family name. Diana replies that it is so unfair because Julia bears the family name too. Why should the woman relinquish her identity? Julia explains that when she and her husband, David, were engaged they had agreed that she would keep her maiden name. But the families were so upset and so she instead became Ms. Julia “Kapatelis” in order to keep peace in the family. When David died she kept his name as a loving tribute.

Julia gently turns Diana’s head round to face her and sees tears welling up in the Amazon’s eyes. She tells Diana that she and David had had twenty two wonderful years together and now she has a daughter, family, great career and Diana. All in all she feels she has been very lucky. Diana smiles up at her friend and tells her she too has been lucky and that she loves Julia. Her friend responds in kind.

Meanwhile in the small village of Lodiros, Stavros knocks on the door of a small house, calling out for Gregori to let him in. The door creeks open into the darkened building and he feels the barrel of a gun pressed against his head. At a table, dimly lit by a single candle, Gregori tells Katina not to be so melodramatic and to let the man enter. Stavros walks over the table and angrily waves the note at Gregori, asking if this death threat to Diana is his doing. Gregori calmly replies that it is not a threat and that if she remains here in Cephalonia she will surely die. The Witch on the island will kill her. All their attempts to warn her have met with tragedy and they need Stavros on their side. He responds that it is getting out of hand. Gregori is twisting this superstition into a fanaticism but Gregori in turn replies that seven of his friends have been horribly mauled to death. It was not superstition that killed them! He pleads with Stavros to believe him as he realises how fantastic it all sounds. He too had been a sceptic until one of those dark creatures had torn off his leg. Stavros says that he remembers the day his friend had claimed to have killed the creature responsible but it was conveniently swooped away by a large black Hawk. He asks what proof there is that this has something to do with Diana. Gregori hands over a scroll and says that Stavros should use his Epigraphist skills to translate it. It had been taken from the island and he believes it will be all the proof needed. Stavros studies the scroll and murmurs that it appears to be centuries old yet wonderfully preserved.

Suddenly they hear gun fire outside and rushing out they find Spiros and another girl, Andrea, looking into the undergrowth nearby. Spiros tells them that they had shot and killed a cat with glowing red eyes. Katina asks where the body is but they reply that they cannot find the corpse. She angrily tells them that their rashness may have doomed them and that they will have to relocate. She then orders Spiros to go with Stavros and keep an eye on him as although he may be a friend of Gregori, the young man does not trust the Epigraphist. Perhaps Stavros had led the beast here and perhaps he had not, but either way they cannot take any chances…

Later the next day at Professor Christadoulodou’s home, the Epigraphist continues to study the ancient scroll as Spiros watches. She asks if he has found out anything yet and he replies that the alphabet dates back before the Minoan era and yet it appears similar to the Amazons’ Themysciran. Just then they hear the door bell chime and Spiros nervously pulls out his gun. They hear Vanessa’s voice calling for her uncle and the professor remembers that she was coming over today to use his phone. The boy says that they must not arouse suspicion and he should let her in.

Meanwhile in the luxurious mansion home of Theophilus Ventouras, Julia thanks him for the fantastic banquet they had all just enjoyed. He replies that it is a shame her daughter could not join them and Julia explains that she had promised Vanessa that she could telephone Barry if she finished her vacation homework. He smiles and replies that his nephew is the same and is no doubt currently out with his girlfriend. As they enter the library they see Diana dressed in a long Greek toga, sitting at a desk with several books piled on it. They ask if Diana has discovered anything yet. She replies that the records show that the island is owned by a wealthy recluse named Cassandra Colchis. From all accounts she is regarded as a harmless eccentric.

Julia detects something in the Amazon’s voice and says that Diana is not convinced is she? The Princess replies that she keeps remembering the sensations she had felt on the boat and asks Ventouras if there is anyway to meet Colchis. He tells her that Miss Colchis is a firm believer in “private” property. She has not allowed visitors nor left the island in more than forty years. Twice yearly her Staff Chief Mikos comes into Cephalonia to pick up supplies. The island also has not telephone either.

Julia reassures Diana that the “Witch on the Island” is just a crazy old woman. They then thank Ventouras and head back to collect Vanessa from Stavros’ house. As he bids them farewell and watches them depart, Ventouras turns to see Mikos appear from behind him. Ventouras tells him that the Amazon is no longer a threat as she is convinced that all this talk about the island is superstitious prattle. When Diana leaves Cephalonia the rebels will see the futility of fighting their mistress and disband. Mikos grimly replies that it is too late and gestures behind him. Another man enters carrying the naked body of Demitrios who has been shot dead. The distraught Ventouras hugs the lifeless boy as Mikos explains that he had been killed by one of the rebels called Spiros and they know where he is. An enraged Ventouras, his eyes glowing a fiery red, roars that they shall pay. He cries out that the mortals have gone too far and summons the others in order to seek vengeance. As he speaks an incantation, various people across Cephalonia begin to transform into wild beasts as lightning crackles in the skies above the mysterious island. “Let the Slaughter begin!”

As Julia and Diana drive along the road towards Stavros’ home they hear the cry of animals in a frenzy all around them. As they turn a bend they see to their horror that Stavros’ house is ablaze. Instantly Diana leaps from the car and flies at lightning speed into the burning building. She shields herself from the intense heat as she calls out to Stavros and Vanessa. She hears a weak voice call her name.

Outside, a distraught Julia fears the worse as Diana bursts out of the flaming debris carrying a body. She lays a badly burnt Stavros to the ground and tells Julia he is still alive. However, there is no sign of Vanessa and Stavros had been able to tell her the young girl had managed to escape. There were also the mauled remains of a young boy who had apparently been trampled to death by a horse. Julia replies that there areno horses around here. Diana replies “I know” and tells Julia to take Stavros to hospital while she finds Vanessa. She removes the burned remains of her toga revealing her costume underneath which she had been wearing all the time. Julia realises that Diana had been expecting trouble and as she watches the Amazon princess take to the air she hears Diana say that, as she had feared, the witch on that island is no myth!

Wonder Woman prays that Vanessa is unharmed as she scans the darkened landscape beneath her. Soon she spots the young girl waving to her in a meadow with what looks like a scroll. But as she prepares to descend Vanessa shouts a warning and Wonder Woman turns to find herself under attack by a giant Hawk. She is knocked from the sky and Vanessa rushes over to see of she is alright. The Amazon Princess hugs her and assures her she is fine. They hear a voice demanding the scroll be handed over and with horror they find themselves surrounded by an assortment of snarling beasts. The lead creature, a Centaur, again demands the scroll to be returned to their mistress and Wonder Woman recognises the voice as that of Ventouras! He spits that the Amazon Princess should never have come into this world and they have been left no choice but to squelch the revolt by killing her!

Wonder Woman quickly lays her lasso on the ground in a circle around Vanessa. She tells the scared girl to stay inside the circle as she will be protected from the creatures. She then turns to confront the horde and prepares for battle. A savage symphony blares out an overture of brutish shrieks and crashing bones as she ploughs into them. She endeavours to control her blows so as not to kill her foes but they just keep bounding back. As they swarm on top of her, beating and clawing she is left no choice and holds back no longer. Safe within the lasso’s circle of mystic flame, the terrified teenager bears mute witness to the awesome spectacle of an Amazon unleashed!

Until suddenly, tragically, the battle is cut short by a huge bolt of energy that arcs out of the sky striking Wonder Woman in the back. She cries out in agony before crumpling to the ground, motionless. Vanessa calls out to Diana as the creatures gather around the fallen Amazon Princess. Their mistress tells them that she has seen all she needs to see and instructs them to leave the girl as they will never penetrate the circle of fire. However, they should proceed to bring the Amazon to her.

The time has come for their destinies to finally meet. Now Diana will at last come face to face with Circe the Witch!