Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 31


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 31

General Info

Issue No:
31 (360)
On Sale Date:
April 1989
Cover Date:
June 1989
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Savage Moon!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
Chris Marrinan
Inker:
Will Blyberg
Letterer:
Augustin Mas
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Ed Indelicato
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Chuma, Barbara Minerva (Cheetah)
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Queen Anahid, Gisa, Nehebka
Other:
June Shands, Michael Shands
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Comments

This issue sees the final showdown between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah. This is certainly the first time we really see what the post crisis Diana is made of, in what even to this day is one of the most brutal battles ever depicted in the book. Here we see a Wonder Woman who does not hold back and, more importantly, is prepared to kill her foe if necessary. This trait makes her unique and distinct from her male counterparts in the DC Trinity, Superman and Batman.

Synopsis

In Boston, Inspector Eddie Indelicato rings the doorbell of his colleague’s apartment. June Shands opens the door and Eddie tells her he has come to speak with Mike regarding police business. She scowls and says it is late but Mike tells her to let Eddie in. Indelicato says that he wants to run something through Mike’s PC and did not want to use a machine at the police station considering the trouble they had gotten into regarding their involvement with Wonder Woman.

Mike loads the disk and displays a photograph of Tamsyn McConnell, the gun runner found mauled to death a while ago. He reads the file accompanying the photo about how Tamsyn’s last known whereabouts was the Sheraton Hotel accompanying a caucasian female identified as Dr. Barbara Minerva. Mike rolls his eyes on reading this and says that he cannot believe Eddie is still hung up on this case! But the inspector asks him to keep reading the file.

McConnell had apparently been traced after he had been identified as the driver of a van that picked up Dr. Minerva and a pygmy named Chuma from Logan Airport, the day before the murder. He was killed the night before Minerva met with Wonder Woman and Myndi Mayer, when she had tried to fool Diana in to letting her have the magic lasso. The Coroner’s report said that McConnell had been torn apart by some huge cat. The very next night Wonder Woman was attacked and almost killed by a woman dressed like a jungle cat. By the time the police went to question Minerva she had already flown back to England though.

Eddie then displays two more images depicting the mercenaries that Barbara had hired to free the Khund warriors. Their bodies had been found mauled and gutted in a moor near Nottingham, England. They were also killed by some huge cat like creature – right near the residence of one Dr. Barbara Minerva! Seeing where Eddie is going with this line of thought, Mike adds that now he comes to think of it, Wonder Woman had mentioned how the two Khund warriors had also appeared to have been mauled to death before they were blown up – the night the lasso was stolen and when a certain English female Archaeologist was visiting the West Coast at around the same time!

Minerva and the killer cat are definitely connected somehow and they have to warn Wonder Woman right away – otherwise her trip to England may have put her in more danger then she could ever have imagined!

Meanwhile beneath the light of the full moon the Egyptian village of Syene Kesh is rudely awakened by the thundering of hooves. Queen Anahid and her Amazon warriors charge into the town on chariots and horse back, firing their guns into the air. The terrified villagers had long heard of the fearsome warrior women of Bana-Mighdall but thought them a myth. Now the beautiful but deadly females show they are all too real by slaughtering all they find. Queen Anahid orders her warriors to spare nobody and to destroy the entire village.

Several Amazons charge into the hotel and race up the stairs to Barbara Minerva’s room. Two burst in with guns raised and are instantly struck down with sedative tipped arrows fired by Chuma. The Pygmy’s movements are swift and sure as he runs out into the corridor where more Amazons stand. He lobs a crude gas bomb into their midst and the deadly toxin quickly kills them.

A weak and shriveled Cheetah then peers from behind a curtain asking Chuma if what he asks of her really has to be done. He tells her it is the only way. If she is to renew her vows the the Great Plant God she must do exactly as he tells her. She replies that it is so unfair. She has worked so hard and now she must give up her powers. But Chuma tells her that she must or she will surely die. He then hands her a dagger and instructs her to complete the sacrifice ritual on the two sedated Amazons.

Back outside, Queen Anahid is informed of the loses inflicted on her Amazons by Chuma. She orders several of her warriors to follow her into the hotel where she will deal with these infidels personally. She instructs an Amazon named Gisa to finish mopping up the remaining villagers and to ensure nothing remains of the village but ashes. As Gisa leads the Amazons into the town on her chariot though two spears plummet from the sky landing directly in front of her path. As she tries to avoid them the Chariot overturns sending her sprawling. Looking up she sees Wonder Woman floating above her armed with more spears!

The Amazon Princess tells the Bana-Mighdall Warriors that this abomination must end now. She will not allow the name of the Amazons to be desecrated any further by the likes of them! She tells them she does not seek battle but neither will she play the helpless spectator! She then uses another spear to dislodge another chariot rider. In reply the warriors open fire with their weapons but she is too fast. She dodges the bullets easily with the speed of a god while readying her bow and arrow. She realises her warnings have fallen on deaf ears and prays for Athena to guide her hands as she takes aim. She unleashes a quick succession of arrows, knocking the guns from each Amazon’s hands! Then, before they can re-arm, she ploughs into them with her fists outstretched, knocking them flat on their feet.

Meanwhile, as Wonder Woman fights desperately to stop the slaughter, Queen Anahid and her warriors throw a grappling hook up onto the roof of the hotel. The first warrior then scales up the wall to the window of Barbara’s bedroom. Before she can react though the window smashes and a beast like growl fills the night air. The Amazon plummets to her death and hearing the commotion, Wonder Woman realises she has found her quarry at last!

She races down the street in the direction of the sound but more Amazons block her progress, their swords drawn. As she fights them off she pleads with them that she is trying to stop this insanity and that the Cheetah has the blood of a god coursing through her veins. Their Bana-Mighdall sisters will not stand a chance against the feline!

Not far away at the hotel, all but Queen Anahid have fallen to the deadly Cheetah. Her sword drawn, the Amazon Queen vows that her opponent will not see another moon. The Cheetah stretches back her dark lips revealing blood coated teeth. As Anahid charges, the Cheetah uses her tail to loop around the Amazon Queen’s wrist and hurls her against the hotel. Propped up against the wall, the Queen sits dazed as Cheetah pounces. Anahid spits her Cobra venom into her foe’s face. The Cheetah recoils back in pain and any normal mortal would have died within a few torturous seconds. But Barbara Minerva ceased being a mere mortal many years ago. Anahid’s eyes widen as the Cheetah’s snarl fills the air and razor like claws slash her stomach open.

As Cheetah lunges for the kill the Amazon Queen, for the first time in her life, experiences true terror. But before the Cheetah reaches Anahid a powerful blow knocks her flying. Cheetah turns to see Wonder Woman facing her and with fists clenched, the Amazon Princess warns Barbara that she must either stop this madness or she will be stopped – even if that means Diana has to kill her!

Even for a Princess of peace there is a breaking point – a limit to even the most fervid of patience – and for Diana this is it! As she gazes into the eyes of the killer cat she sees the reflection of a stranger – the face of hate! She throws another punch at the Cheetah who responds by using her tail to try and strangle Wonder Woman. The Amazon grabs the tail and uses it to slam Cheetah into the wall before pouncing on the dazed cat. But the Cheetah uses Diana’s own momentum to good use and slams Wonder Woman against the wall.

Meanwhile Gisa and her warriors arrive on the scene and realising their enemies are engaged in a fight to the death, see the chance to destroy them both. Gisa requests Queen Anahid’s permission to shoot Wonder Woman and Cheetah while they are both distracted, but the injured Queen forbids it. She tells them that Wonder Woman could have let the Cheetah slay her, especially after everything the Amazon Queen had done to Diana, but instead she had saved Anahid’s life. This battle is obviously a private one and they should let the two combatants finish it.

Just then Wonder Woman lets out a cry of pain as the Cheetah catches her flesh with her claws. Diana chastises herself for letting her anger cloud her judgement and skills. The Cheetah’s claws will tear her apart if she is not careful and if she cannot match her opponent’s bestiality, she must instead use her wits. She kicks the Cheetah savagely in the face with a booted foot and follows this up with a double fisted punch. As Cheetah battles her as a wild animal, so she must battle the Cheetah as a hunter!

Wonder Woman’s blows strike their mark again and again with deliberate rhythm, keeping the Cheetah at bay and not letting her mount a counter attack. Her opponent’s eyes fog and Wonder Woman senses glorious victory is finally within her grasp. But she has forgotten about Chuma!

From the shattered upstairs window he uses a blow pipe to fire a poison dart into Wonder Woman’s thigh. Only her stamina saves her from instant death but the dart’s effects are all too immediate and evident! The Cheetah seizes her chance and launches a vicious counter attack on the ever weakening Diana. Chuma pays the ultimate price for his intervention though, as the Bana-Mighdall Amazons shoot him, sending the pygmy toppling to the street below.

As claws slash Wonder Woman left right and centre, the bloodied Amazon Princess realises that she has had to fight off the effects of too many drugs these past few days. Her resistance is almost gone and she can no longer fight back or even defend herself. As her foe’s claws slash her cheek open she stumbles to the ground but before the Cheetah can finish Diana off, a hail of bullets thud into the ground, stopping the cat in her tracks! Queen Anahid tells the surprised combatants that Chuma has unfairly robbed Wonder Woman of her advantage and the Bana-Mighdalls have made sure he will not do so again. They will keep the Cheetah at bay until the Amazon Princess has managed to extract the poison.

Wonder Woman’s movements are slow, painful but precise. She remembers the lessons of Epione, the Chief Healer of Themyscira. She uses her tiara to open the wound and sucks the poison in deeply through her mouth. As soon as she tastes the sweetness of her own blood she spits out the toxin. Donning her tiara once more she thanks the Queen and turns to the waiting Cheetah. She tells her foe that one way or another there shall be an ending to this!

Wonder Woman’s advance is sluggish as the effects of the drug have still not yet been fully sublimated. But the respite has revitalised the Cheetah and she is quicker than ever! She leaps over a surprised Wonder Woman and using her feet to spring off the wall ploughs into Diana and sends her crashing through another wall. Sensing the kill is near, Cheetah steps inside the gloomy cavity but instead finds herself pelted by a large rock. Stunned, she hears Wonder Woman tell her that although the rock could not slay the wild cat, it would at least daze her enough to even the odds. And then Wonder Woman attacks!

Syene Kesh trembles as the eruption of raw, brutal power fills the desert night. The building collapses around the two combatants as the bloody battle rages. The guttural snarls of feline ferocity…the tearing of skin with razored fingers…the crunch of bone against bone…the straining of Amazon muscle. In a final desperate move Cheetah curls her tail around Wonder Woman’s neck and tries to strangles her to death. The Amazon Princess, struggling for breath, vows not to lose this fight now and grabbing the Cheetah’s tail, rips it from her body causing her opponent to howl in agony!

The Cheetah’s screams are son snuffed out though as Wonder Woman uses the tail against her opponent, flicking it like a whip and sending the cat reeling into a pile of nearby rubble. The once fearsome growls surrender to a pitiful wail of pain and this is all Wonder Woman needs to hear. The Amazon Princess pounds down on the helpless Cheetah and with each new blow the Cat’s cries grow fainter. All Diana can hear though is the raging of her own heart…and the echoes of all the horrors that led to this savage night. Greed…sacrilege…humiliation…butchery…until finally she hears one more thing – the roar of a mad animal…herself!

Finally there is silence. Wonder Woman stares down upon the broken woman known as Cheetah beneath her…too tired even to cry. Just then she hears the thundering of hooves as Nehebka and more warriors arrive to kill the Amazon Princess, after her escape and the resulting death of Kadesha Banu. However, as they raise their spears Gisa orders them to cease and desist. A furious Nehebka demands to know what she is doing as the Queen herself had ordered the death of their High Priestess to be avenged. Gisa informs her that the Queen is dead, having succumbed to the wounds inflicted upon her by the Cheetah. Wonder Woman had subsequently avenged Anahid after the Queen had ordered the Amazon Princess to be spared. It had been her last command before passing away.

Nehebka lowers her head in sorrow and murmurs that the Queen’s word will become law. She then orders the raid to be called off and for the Amazons to attend to their dead. And so the sombre duty begins as Nehebka instructs the warriors to return the bodies of Queen Anahid and the others to their desert home before the villagers return with re-inforcements. For her part, Wonder Woman kneels down where Chuma lays and tries to attend to his wounds but they are too grave. He weakly tells her it does not matter as he is dying but thanks her for her kindness in not actually killing Barbara. He then asks her for one more act of kindness. He pleads with her to spare the Cheetah and not let the Bana-Mighdalls kill her. Barbara and the Plant God are most important to him.

She replies that the Amazons will not allow their Queen’s death to have been for nothing. Dr. Minerva will only be saved if she returns the artifact that she had stolen from the Mosque. She asks the Pygmy where it, and indeed her lasso, can be found. He whispers that both the artifact and her lasso were very powerful – even more so than Urzkartanga. He had therefore thrown them into a garbage bin on the other side of the Hotel. As he finally slips away he asks her to tell his mistress that he would always be her grateful servant.

She covers him with a cloth and then leads Nehebka and the others to where the litter bin had been located. They sift through the rubble but find nothing and the impatient Nehebka begins to doubt whether Chuma had been telling the truth. But Wonder Wonder assures her that she can feel her lasso beckoning her and as she lifts up some more debris she sees her precious magic lasso laying beneath. She lifts up Hestia’s golden rope, forged from the Girdle of Gaea, and a puzzled Nehebka asks her why she has gone through so much just for a simple golden cord. Wonder Woman replies that it is more than that and as if to prove the point, the lasso suddenly channels its power to a spot on the ground. Nehebka lifts up the rubble and is overjoyed to find the Bana-Mighdall’s holy sacrament lying there intact.

For her part, Wonder Woman cannot believe her eyes as Nehebka holds aloft a golden belt…exactly as her mother, Hippolyta had described it. Diana realises that the Bana-Mighdall’s holy treasure is none other than the other Golden Girdle of Gaea!