Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 25


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 25

General Info

Issue No:
25 (354)
On Sale Date:
October 1988
Cover Date:
Late December 1988
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Burning School

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez (with assistance from Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis)
Penciller:
Chris Marrinan
Inker:
Will Blyberg
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Petra Scotese
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis, Etta Candy, Steve Trevor
Heroes:
Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Rocket Red, Fire, Ice, Hawkman, Hawkgirl
Villains:
The Khund
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Menalippe, Pythia, Penelope
Other:
General Hillary
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Comments

This plot relates to the DC Crossover event known as “Invasion”, the main story line of which appeared in a separate 3 part mini series. Earth finds itself under attack from alien aggressors and Diana gets to interact with members of the Justice League International, as well as having her message of pacifism questioned and contradicted when she is forced to kill. However, within the pages of the actual mini series itself, she barely features. Even so, the Wonder Woman book was published three times during this month to tie-in with chronology of the mini-series.

This issue also marks the end of George Perez’s interior art as his many other projects at this time meant he was no longer able to fulfil both the writing and the artwork roles on the title.

 

 

Synopsis

At the military tracking station in the South Pacific, it is fifteen minutes since Lt. Etta Candy managed to decode the strange signals been intercepted somewhere in space.

Five minutes later she had informed her superior that whoever was transmitting had suddenly ceased, almost as if they had realised they were being monitored. Five minutes later the air had surged with a pulse of unbridled energy. Four minutes later her superior was dead and the station was destroyed. Now, she is running for her life!

Scrambling into the undergrowth, Etta uses a salvaged radio transmitter to make a May Day call. She advises that she is the only survivor although she has managed to retrieve the highly important papers. The operator on the other end of the line asks for her co-ordinates but she advises that their enemy will be listening in and she has to keep moving. Suddenly she stops mid sentence and the operator here’s her whisper “Oh my God” before the noise of an explosion can be heard and the line goes dead!

Meanwhile of Themyscira, Pythia and Euboea are out riding their horses when they suddenly hear the sky roar, as if in pain. As they cover their ears they wonder what could be making the dreadful noise as there is not a cloud in the sky. Throughout Themyscira, marble columns tremble as the heavens continue to scream with every new hammering blow, it’s infernal, rhythm seeming somehow calculated.

On the shores of the nearby Isle of Healing Menalippe screams from her bed for the noise to stop as her Amazon sisters try to comfort her. Wonder Woman arrives, having been summoned by her mother. She sees the distressed Oracle and asks what has happened. Queen Hippolyta explains that this is the reason she has summoned her daughter. Penelope had found Menalippe in her prayer chamber, feverously calling for the Amazon Princess. As soon as Menalippe sees Diana she thanks the Gods and says that the Amazon Princess must stop them. Can she not hear that they are breaking through?

As she continues to moan, saying that they must not be allowed to breach the Chaos, Wonder Woman steps forward and takes the Oracle’s hand. She can feel Menalippe’s skin is on fire as Hippolyta tells her that at first they thought that the Oracle had made contact again with the Gods, but she has never reacted like this before. The fever has only been within her for a few moments, ever since Diana came through the clouds. As she says it, the Amazon Queen also realises that it is also when the thunder had started. Wonder Woman replies that the Chaos that Menalippe is talking about must be the Divine Portal – and someone is trying to invade Themyscira!

Wonder Woman moves swiftly, flying up into the skies above her beloved homeland and heading like an arrow towards the Chaos clouds that protect Themyscira from the outside world. The noise is deafening as she navigates through the turmoil and she realises that it is not the roar of Chaos itself but the crash of cannons! Whoever it is, they are assaulting from Patriarch’s World! As she bursts through into the blue skies of Man’s World she sees three strange, alien craft firing intensely past her and behind her. She turns to see that their blasts are aimed at the point she has just exited the clouds, trying to pry open the closing aperture! She curses herself for being a fool as they had obviously baited her. But who are these intruders and what do they want?

On board the lead vessel, the pilot tells his commander that their quarry is confused and asks for further orders. As Wonder Woman’s image appears on their display screen the commander tells the crew that she has been prioritised as a prime threat and must be destroyed! He orders his weapons officer to open fire and a deadly energy blast strikes the unprepared Amazon Princess full on, sending her lifeless body toppling earthwards!

Having managed to keep open a small aperture, the three vessels move forward to enter the portal but only the lead ship manages to slip through before it closes again. The remaining two ships immediately lose contact with the lead vessel but their sensors pick up that Wonder Woman is still alive and they must finish her!

For her part, the Amazing Amazon tries to clear her head and asks for forgiveness in clearing a path, all be it inadvertently, for the invaders to attack her home. She must intercept the vessel that broke through but first the other ships cannot be allowed to follow her through into the portal. They are about to learn that an Amazon does not take kindly to having her home threatened! As she out flies the pursuing vessels and they desperately increase power to their engines to catch her, she suddenly stops dead in the air, having taken the opportunity to measure their speed and manoeuverability. She catches a glimpse through the windshield of the vessels and recognises the wings and bird-shaped helmets that the crews are wearing – they are just like those that Hawkman wears! Which means they are Thanagarian!

As countless questions race through her mind she prepares herself for another attack from one of the craft and this time uses her bracelets to deflect their deadly energy weapon. The beam bounces off and hits the other ship, which loses manoeuverability. As the enraged commander tries to continue the pursuit he collides into the other vessel and they are both destroyed in a fireball. Although Wonder Woman had not intended for the battle to end in such a fiery fashion, she knows she cannot waste time wallowing in regret and dives back through the portal.

Back inside the clouds of Chaos, she sees that the winds of the Abyss are bombarding the Thanagarian warship, trapping it. It appears only the Gods decide who shall cross the darkness – and live! She decides that she cannot let them be slaughtered and tries to reason with them. She uses her lasso to ensnare one of the wings, knowing that the aura that protects her from the Chaos will now protect the vessel. She yells into the craft, pleading with them not to resist as this is their only hope for survival. She can feel that they are panicking as their desperation courses through the golden rope. She begs them to listen to her but their response is to blast her again with their weapons. The sudden attack causes Wonder Woman to release her grip on the mystic lasso, allowing the winds of Chaos to suck the hapless ship down into the dark, bellowing vortex until it explodes.

The Amazon Princess stares forlornly at the burning embers, frustrated at their refusal to listen to her. However, she knows that time is of the essence because along with the despair she had felt through the lasso, she had also detected a definite sense of impending danger beyond Themyscira, out there is Man’s World!

As Wonder Woman darts swiftly back out through the portal, Etta Candy is still running for her life in the South Pacific as explosions follow her every move. She desperately risks pausing to make another radio transmission and is told she must remain where she is in order for them to get a fix on her position to initiate a rescue. But she replies that the aliens will also home in on her signal and as if to confirm her fears, another blast strikes and Etta collapses unconscious!

Across the world in Wakefield, Massachusetts at the Kapatelis residence, General Hillary, his aide, Steve Trevor, Julia, Vanessa and Black Canary are waiting for Wonder Woman to arrive. As an impatient Hillary questions where the Amazon has got to, she enters the room and is pleased but surprised to see them all waiting for her. Black Canary explains that they are here further to Wonder Woman’s message that the attackers she had dealt with were Thanagarians. Canary had contacted Hawkman and Hawkgirl as Diana had requested and it seems that the JLI were already checking into reports of other alien invasion activity.

General Hillary then continues that so have the military and the attempted attack on Paradise Island was not an isolated incident. They have also had reports in Australia, Cuba, the Arctic Circle and Lt. Candy had discovered signals in the South Pacific. An annoyed Steve then tells the General that they are wasting time and he should tell Diana why they are here. The General unfurls a map and explains that the area marked in red was where they had last received a message from Etta before the aliens blasted it. A horrified Wonder Woman fears the worse but Black Canary assures her that Etta is still alive as far as they know. She had asked the JLI to meet with Wonder Woman there as it is not something the Amazon should handle alone. A confused Diana asks what she means and Hillary tells her that the world is being invaded – an alien attack on epic proportions!

As they step outside Wonder Woman bids her friends farewell as she flies to the rendezvous point while Steve and Black Canary make tracks for to their own assignments. She shouts back to Steve that she will save Etta and soon is hurtling towards the South Pacific. As she goes she tries to comprehend the fact that the world is under attack. When will it end? She feels like she is in an ocean of fire, drowning and burning both at once. She prays to Athena, asking when humanity will finally find comfort upon the soothing shores of peace – when will this infernal madness end?

Soon she arrives on Fiji where military forces from around the globe have hastily assembled. The Amazon Princess meets her colleagues in the JLI and mostly it is a scene of mutual admiration, particularly from Blue Beetle and Rocket Red. Fire whispers to Ice that it is pathetic the way they are drooling over the Amazon hussy. Ice replies that Diana is hardly a hussy and it is not her fault she is so extraordinarily beautiful she reduces men to panting adolescents!

Wonder Woman thanks J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, for responding so promptly to Black Canary’s request. She explains that Etta is a dear friend of hers and leads him to the tent, where the platoon officer is waiting to brief them on their mission. Once inside the officer explains that the island is being held by the Khunds and that Etta is in enemy territory alone, dodging Khund patrols. J’onn says that it is unfortunate but he does not understand why the JLI is required. The officer responds that Lt. Candy has broken the code and is carrying vital intelligence on the enemy. It is imperative they get her out and that is the job Wonder Woman has volunteered for. From what Etta told them before the tracking station was destroyed, there is only an advance force of Khunds on the island but the main occupying army is on the way. J’onn asks what the JLI’s role will be and he is told that they are needed to delay the force until Wonder Woman can complete the rescue mission. The Martian Manhunter replies that they will do what must be done.

Wonder Woman thanks him and asks whether she can borrow a couple of League members as these Khund are a mystery to her and she may need the aid of experienced warriors. They step back outside and once J’onn has briefed his team and asks for two volunteers to go with Diana, Blue Beetle eagerly steps forward. However, J’onn tells him that this job will require some one with more firepower. Guy Gardner then tells them bluntly that they can count him out as he does not want to be playing back up for some pacifist school marm – he wants someone who is going to want to kick some but out there!

Wonder Woman calmly responds that she may indeed be a pacifist but she is also an Amazon. No one questions her skills as a warrior. He snarls back “Hey, no offence Wonder Babe, but I know all about you”. As the tension mounts Rocket Red interjects, reminding Guy that he has read all of the many newspaper stories of Diana’s bravery in battles, including fighting alongside Gardner himself on one occasion (Legends #6). Fire and Ice listen, cringing at Guy’s confrontational nature while Wonder Woman thanks Rocket Red in Russian for his support. The Soviet Hero says that he will be happy to assist the beautiful Amazon. Fire and Ice then say they have Diana’s second volunteer and proceed to shove Guy Gardner forward, threatening him with frostbite and sunburn where it will really hurt him!

With her team assembled, Wonder Woman launches into the air followed by Rocket Red and Guy. The Green Lantern asks what her plan is and she replies that their main objective is to rescue Etta with as little bloodshed as possible. Guy tells her that the Khunds will not be so concerned about their blood! She responds that they must at least try and reason but as they close in on the group of Khund vessels blasting the jungle below, Guy Gardner says there is only one way to reason with “those turkeys”.

With that he uses his ring to form a massive mace and smashes the lead craft, damaging its flight controls. Wonder Woman shouts for him to stop but he replies that it is war! As the vessel begins to plummet earthwards the Amazon Princess uses her lasso to bind Gardner, asking what sort of barbarian is he. He could have simply restrained the craft. Meanwhile Rocket Red pursues the second vessel, assuring Diana he will capture it without destroying it. However, he is still not used to his new battle armour and mistakes his blasters for the tractor beam. As he strikes the vessel the force throws him backwards and sends him crashing down into the jungle near to where the first craft has crash landed. The Khund troops see their chance to take down one of their opponents and disembark, weapons ready.

Back up in the sky, the still bound Guy Gardner taunts that the Amazon Princess thinks the world is one big classroom and that everyone is just dying for her to teach them all about peace and equality and all that other “pious crap!”. He continues that this is a battlefield and the only school motto he knows is “Get them before they get you!”. Meanwhile below, Etta who is hiding in the undergrowth sees Diana in the distance. She knows that if she calls out the aliens will spot her but she will have to risk it.

Elsewhere Rocket Red finds himself under fire from the Khund troops but his armour protects him with a force field. He proceeds to return fire and hearing the commotion, Gardner tells Wonder Woman to release him as she obviously does not have the guts to get involved in a fight. The Amazon Princess warns him not to push her when suddenly she hears a cry and sees Etta waving her hands frantically from a clearing not far away. Gardner says that the “stupid broad is making herself a target” as Wonder Woman removes her lasso, annoyed with herself that she had been so busy arguing with Gardner that she had forgotten the reason they had come here in the first place.

Meanwhile the other Khund ship has also spotted Etta and zooms in for the kill. As they open fire Etta desperately tries to escape as the energy beams close in on her. Wonder Woman zooms down towards the clearing but is horrified when a beam seems to strike Etta directly and the clearing is engulfed in flame! As the smoke clears though, she is relieved to see that Etta has been protected by a force field created by Guy Gardner, who smugly tells Diana that he “has his moments”.

Unbeknown to the Green Lantern though, the Khund ship is about to open fire on him and with no time to warn him, Wonder Woman reacts instinctively, slamming into the vessel at super speed like a rhino. The Khund commander’s final orders are lost in the tumult of explosions and death shrieks. The flaming alien ship spirals out of control and slams into the nearby ocean, disintegrating on impact! Guy Gardner and Etta watch the debris sink beneath the waves and Etta can hardly believe her eyes. Diana had killed! For his part, Gardner is suitably impressed although he was never in fact in any danger as the ring would have shielded him anyway. As Wonder Woman touches down beside them he then quips that the “teacher” is not so far above killing as she thought. She replies that she killed because she feared for his life and it is what any Amazon would do.

As she hugs Etta, Gardner continues that she will need to get ready to do a lot more killing or else this school house she calls Patriarch’s World is going to get burnt to the ground. Focusing her attention on her friend, she asks if Etta is OK. Etta replies she is fine and holds up the briefcase containing the precious Intelligence. She explains that she has fallen into a marsh and if there has been any seepage then it may have been all for nothing. Diana replies that it would not have been for nothing because Etta is alive – and for that she is thankful. Just then Rocket Red appears holding two captured Khund crew members and says that his prisoners may be able to help if all else fails…

Later, back at the assembly area, the Platoon officer is congratulating J’onn J’onzz for the great work he and his JLI team had done in destroying the Khund occupying force. He says that the Martian Manhunter must be proud of himself but J’onn replies that there is no pride in war or indeed wholesale slaughter. The Officer responds that he should not kid himself and that there is a lot to be said for wholesale slaughter. He is cut short as Wonder Woman enters the tent and quickly changing the subject, asks how Etta is doing. The Amazon princess replies that she is shaken but otherwise holding up. Etta is anxious to get back to Massachusetts to see Steve and the Officer nods his understanding.

The two heroes ask if that will be all and the grim faced Officer responds that although they had won a battle today, the war goes on. The military need the JLI and Wonder Woman more than ever.

A short while later outside, Wonder Woman tells J’onn that she had heard what he had said to the commander. The Martian Manhunter replies that while he knows that the Khund must be stopped, they are still living beings. This war, like all wars, de-humanises them all. They reduce their enemies to a faceless mass then cheer their deaths. But no being’s death should be celebrated. Wonder Woman smiles and says that she fully understands his feelings. Her own soul cries with every death, but what choice do they have. They do what must be done.

He nods but adds “Why must we always take such pleasure in it though?”. She is puzzled by his use of the word “pleasure” but before she can ask him what he means Blue Beetle rushes over and says that they are needed back at home before cheekily adding, “Oh and Diana, did anyone ever tell you have beautiful eyes!”