Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 37


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 37

General Info

Issue No:
37 (366)
On Sale Date:
October 1989
Cover Date:
December 1989
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Strangers in Paradise

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez, Chris Marrinan
Writer:
George Perez, Mindy Newell
Penciller:
Chris Marrinan
Inker:
Steve Montano
Letterer:
Augustin Mas
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis, Steve Trevor
Heroes:
Superman (Kal El)
Villains:
Eris
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Hellene, Pythia, Niobe, Epione, Menalippe, Penelope, Phillipus
Other:
Asmund Lindel, Maritza Nitumbe, Phyllis Haller, Vladimir Morakov, Robert Cantwell, Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, Reverend Alan Witherspoon, Lin Koo Teng, Rovo Quashi, Henri Claude Tibet, Felix Zumac, Eileen Flowers, Lois Lane
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Comments

This issue has a large cast of key characters. Firstly we are introduced to the twelve delegates from Man’s World, chosen to accompany Wonder Woman to the Feast of the Five; one of which includes reporter Lois Lane. Superman also makes an appearance in this story when Diana asks him to accompany her as her first choice to be the group’s reporter, under the guise of his “Clark Kent” persona. He declines however in favour of his friend and work colleague Lois.
Secondly we are also introduced to numerous Amazons, some of which we have met before and some which are new to us.
This is also a very “wordy” issue too, with little in the way of action and much in the way of narrative, from speeches given by Wonder Woman and Hippolyta, to journal entries written by Lois Lane.

Synopsis

A TV news reader reports to the watching audience about the forthcoming visit to Themyscira by a group of selected individuals from Man’s World. The bulletin then switches to a female journalist who is reporting live from the U.N. Building. She explains how Diana, Princess and Ambassador of Themyscira, is hoping to forge past and present into the future with the visit to her homeland. Eleven of the twelve representing modern day Man’s World were announced earlier today by U.N. Delegate Asmund Lindel from Norway, himself one of the chosen few. Lindel’s selection was by General Assembly vote, with noticeable abstentions from Italy and South Africa, together with loud protests from Moslem fundamentalist nations led by Iran.

The other ten were hand picked by Wonder Woman and her personal advisor, Julia Kapatelis and are as follows:

South African Expatriate and Botanist Maritza Nitumbe, outspoken opponent of Apartheid whose parents were active in the formation of the Liberal Party, banned by the South African Government in 1968.
American feminist author and sociologist Phyllis Haller, whose recent book “The Tears of Gaea” topped the New York Times best seller list for 48 weeks.
Vladimir Morakov, a Russian Neurosurgeon who has volunteered for the journey through the auspices of Gorbachev’s commitment to Glasnost.
History teacher and British War Veteran Robert Cantwell of Scotland, whose battalion was ordered to build the famed Bridge on the River Kwai.
Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, participant in early discussions with Wonder Woman concerning Pagan aspects of her mythic Greek philosophy.
Unitarian Minister The Reverend Alan Witherspoon who, together with Rabbi Hecht were the only two religious leaders to respond to Wonder Woman’s invitation.
Lin Koo Teng, a 15 year old survivor of the Tienanmen Square massacre and the purge which followed.
Rovo Quashi of Ethiopia, who was blind from birth and whose mother works in the displaced persons camps as a Red Crescent volunteer.
Canadian Architect Henri Claude Tibet, renowned for his designs incorporating form and function with the needs of the physically disabled, and a paraplegic himself.
The Haitian zoologist and anthropologist Felix Zumac who is unsure why he was chosen.

The reporter adds that only Wonder Woman knows who the twelfth and final delegate will be but it is rumoured the individual will be a journalist and she hopes that she will be the lucky one! She then hands back to the news reader in the studio who continues that the delegates were supposed to be transported to Themyscira by Hermes. However, he has not been seen for a number of weeks. The broadcast then cuts to outside the Kapatelis home where a crowd of journalists are bombarding Julia with questions. Where is Hermes? Where is Wonder Woman? Who is the twelfth delegate? A frustrated Julia screams back “I don’t know!”.

Journalists are also at the apartment block of Steve Trevor who is similarly trying to tell them he knows nothing of Hermes’ whereabouts. Just then the Landlord pushes through the crowd and rages that he is going to sue Hermes, Wonder Woman and Steve for the damage done to the building earlier by the Messenger God. He also wants Steve out of the apartment as soon as possible!

Meanwhile far away from all this mayhem at the ruins of Hermes’ Temple, the Messenger God heals his cut arm with a resigned sigh. He then tells Wonder Woman that while he no longer has the power to cross the Chaos Void with the delegates in tow, he can do the next best thing. He then uses his powers to reduce his Caduceus to about six inches high. He tells her he can enhance the winged sandals he had given her with a second gift to enable her to take the delegates to Themyscira herself. He then points his palm at her belt and fires a blast of energy. He passes some of his power to her and she is shocked to see the Caduceus now forms a part of her belt. She tells him she cannot accept this gift as it is blasphemous. She is no demigoddess and no olympian blood runs through her veins. Hermes responds that it is not blasphemy to accept a God’s gift or to guard his symbol of power…a power that is lessening by the day. It seems there is a price to pay for involvement in the affairs of humanity. Wonder Woman tells him he has paid for it with valour and grace but he is not so sure. His journey through Patriarch’s World has been a winding and rocky road – a true test for one who was once the God of Travelers. He then bids her farewell and returns to Steve’s apartment to address the mess he had left behind, while Wonder Woman sets off in the opposite direction.

She heads at speed towards the city of Metropolis and as she swoops down towards the rooftop of the Daily Planet Newspaper Office she sees Superman standing there waiting for her. He flies up to greet her and they embrace each other warmly. Down below in the street passersby give a whoop and the embarrassed Superman suggests to the uncomfortable looking Wonder Woman that they find somewhere a little more private to talk! As they fly out of the city towards the countryside he the Man of Steel apologises for putting them on display like that. He knows how this world’s propensity for innuendo annoys the Amazon Princess. She replies that Themis finds it offensive and when the puzzled Superman asks who “Themis” is, she goes on to explain that she is the Guardian of the Social Contract between all beings. She reminds us to treat one another with courtesy and respect. Wonder Woman adds that when Superman comes to Themyscira as “Clark Kent”, he will be able to learn more about the Goddesses and their teachings.

He replies awkwardly that he cannot attend the Festival of the Five as his double life tends to triple his commitments. He sees her disappointment and quickly continues that he has another reporter in mind to go in his place – one who has just won the Wonder Woman Foundation Award…

Later in Boston Massachusetts, Vanessa Kapatelis is speaking to Eileen flowers on the telephone while watching the TV news, which announces that Lois Lane will be the twelfth and final member of the delegation. Vanessa is telling her friend that she has not been ignoring her and that Eileen is one of her best friends. It had been Eileen who had acted weird the other day, not her. And anyway, she cannot understand why Eileen is so jealous of Lucy Spears, who is not an uptight snob like some of the other girls at school. She adds that Lucy is a really good influence and is such a brain box. Vanessa then says that she hopes she has managed to pass her exams because if she does, then her mother says she can accompany Lucy to Summer Camp instead of going to Turkey.

Eileen suggests that if she does not do well she could always stay with her for the summer. But Vanessa tells the obviously disappointed Eileen that she does not want to stay in dirty, smelly, boring Boston! Just then Eileen sees that Wonder Woman is on the TV and and Vanessa casually says she sees her too, as if it really is not a big deal to her. She then tells Eileen that Julia has been so different ever since she had got her grant. All she talks about is the forthcoming dig in Turkey which is really boring Vanessa.

Just then she is interrupted by her mother who waves an envelope in her hand. She tells Vanessa it is addressed to Vanessa and comes from Mr. Westlake. Eileen listens from the other end of the phone as Vanessa opens her exam results and lets out a yelp of joy! Eileen realises that her friend has passed and will be spending the summer with Lucy…

Meanwhile at the United Nations, Wonder Woman continues to address the general Assembly in her native Themyscirian. Everyone hearing her speak can understand her every word thanks to some magic courtesy of Hermes! She says that she had come from a world hidden in the mist of centuries, known to them only by the songs of Homer and by the philosophies of ancient men. She had been a stranger in a strange land – shy and slow of speech. A child, stumbling and bruising her knees. And when she fell it was they who picked her up and tended her wounds and dried her tears. They had learned to laugh together and had discovered their differences only made a greater whole. Some have called her a feminist. Some have called her a chauvinist. Others have called her a Messiah and a few have called her a Goddess. She is none of these. She rejects all these titles and attributes because what she is, what her Amazon sister are, what they all are, are humanists. Believing in the very real possibilities that being human affords them all…no matter what their individual handicaps or strengths. Hellenic tradition holds that there have been four great Ages of Humanity. Now it is the dawn of a new Fifth Age – a time of rebirth for humanity when they will all know that they are one family…and that they all owe the breath of life to the same mother.

Wonder Woman then loops her lasso around the twelve delegates who stand on the stage with her and tell them to prepare for the journey to Themyscira. The Caduceus symbol on her belt begins to glow and soon envelops everyone. In an instant Wonder Woman and the delegation are gone!

Meanwhile on Paradise Island in the Forest of Dryope, Queen Hippolyta and several Amazons await Wonder Woman’s arrival. Hellene comments that Diana is late but Hippolyta responds that they are in fact early. Hellene continues though that perhaps these so called honourable delegates have changed their minds. Perhaps the Princess is too ashamed to admit it. A furious Amazon Queen orders Hellene to be silent, reminding her that a vote was taken and that the majority willed for this day. If any one else present objects they should perhaps join Hellene and return to the city. They can stay bitter there but not here, for she will not allow them to shame Diana or themselves before their guests.

Pythia interjects calmly, telling her Queen that Hellene is simply nervous as are they all. Nobody has any intentions of acting in any manner except that befitting an Amazon. Hippolyta apologises for snapping and admits that she is tense too. She then asks the Amazon Captain, Phillipus, whether Menalippe is with her friend Penelope on the Isle of Healing. Phillipus replies that in fact the Oracle has stayed in the city to assist with final preparations for the banquet.

At that moment in the city Menalippe instructs her Amazon sisters to carry their baskets of golden apples most carefully as she does not want them bruised. She orders the apples to be spread evenly along the Dias as she does not want their guests to claim that the Amazons are penurious with their blessed bounty.

Back in the forest Hippolyta seems surprised on learning Menalippe’s whereabouts, as she knows the Oracle and Penelope are devoted to each other. Why is she not at her friend’s side in her hour of need? Phillipus has no answer for her.

Hippolyta then instructs Phillipus to send a messenger to the Temple of Healing to check on Penelope’s condition. An Amazon named Niobe duly obeys and soon is entering the chamber where two of her sisters tend to the unconscious Penelope. Niobe asks how she fares and one of the healers replies that it is strange, because Penelope has no fever or chill, or mottling of the skin but still she sleeps deeply. Suddenly Penelope sits up and asks where Menalippe is. The surprised Amazons reply that the Oracle is making preparations for the Feast of the Five. Penelope climbs out of bed asking why they have been letting her sleep when there is work to be done. They grab her by the arms, saying that she has just awoken from a deep coma and one of the healers named Epione tells her that she will not be going anywhere until she is satisfied that Penelope is fully recovered.

Niobe tells the puzzled Penelope that she has been sick. Penelope then stares deeply into Niobe’s eyes and asks whether she looks sick to Niobe? Niobe seems transfixed and suddenly agrees that Penelope is indeed recovered. Penelope then tells them all that they must not be late for the ceremony as this year’s Feast of the Five means so much to Hippolyta and Diana…and indeed all of them…

In the Forest of Dryope the waiting Amazons see a glowing orb appear in the sky above them and slowly descend. As it draws nearer they see that Wonder Woman is guiding the sphere with her lasso and as it touches down on the ground it dissolves to reveal the twelve delegates.

The delegates try to come to term with their surroundings as Queen Hippolyta steps forward with the other Amazons and raising their arms in the traditional Amazon salute, welcome their guests who mimic the salute in return. Hippolyta then summons a chariot so that Henri Claude Tibet can be carried to the city. Lois Lane thinks to herself that a race of perfect humans secluded from the world for 3000 years seemed fascinated by the physical liabilities of Mr. Tibet and young Rovo Quashi. Mr Tibet in particular appears to appreciate all the attention of these beautiful women!

Wonder Woman tells the delegates that it is ten kilometres to the Capital City and asks if anyone else wishes to travel by Chariot or horseback. As the party mount up and make their way back through the forest, Wonder Woman asks Rovo who rides with her if he is feeling tired. He replies “a little” and she responds that there is a rest station up ahead where they can wash the mud from between their toes and change into fresh clothing before they enter the city.

When the party finally makes its triumphal entry into the Marble lined streets of Themyscira’s Capital they are met by throngs of waving Amazons. Each of the delegates marvels at the sights surrounding them, each finding many wonders and interests that make them excited at the thought of what lies ahead during the next few days and hoping to find the answers to their many questions about Amazon society. Lois Lane’s camera clicks away almost non stop as she tries to capture the grandeur and magnitude of the city around them.

Hippolyta address them once more, saying that their Pre patriarchal traditions are a rich source from which women and men may draw. These traditions speak of harmonious bonds among humans, animals and nature. They respect and celebrate the mysteries of body and spirit. All of them here today who have shared the bond of a woman’s womb are one family…indivisable.

High up on a balcony, Menalippe, Penelope and Niobe watch and listen to the proceedings below them. Penelope comments that Themyscira has prospered long in Themis’ infancy, but the Contract of Themis is now over. The New order will be different with children named after Fathers, cities fortified for war and power worshipped above all other things. Menalippe nods smiling and then asks her friend if she has truly recovered. Penelope replies that “recovered” is not a strong enough word. She feels renewed and restored as if a toxin has been removed from her blood and her eyes are no longer blurred with fever. Menalippe then asks what Penelope sees. Her friend replies that she sees exactly what Hippolyta and Diana want them to see…the Start of a New Era…the Dawn of a New Age…

Elsewhere in an unknown location, their words issue forth from a glowing apple held aloft by Eris, daughter of Ares. She has watched everything that has transpired go according to her plan. Smiling to herself, she gazes once more upon the image of the unsuspecting Diana, Hippolyta and their guests…