Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 41


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 41

General Info

Issue No:
41 (370)
On Sale Date:
February 1990
Cover Date:
April 1990
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Ties That Bind

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez, Chris Marrinan
Writer:
George Perez, Mindy Newell
Penciller:
Chris Marrinan
Inker:
Romeo Tanghal
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa Kapatelis
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Menalippe
Other:
Lucy Spears, Dennis Dunn, Marty, Asmund Lindel, Lois Lane
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Comments

Another heavy narrative driven issue with little action, in which most of the story is related via letters, written by Vanessa and Diana, as well as a magazine article by Lois Lane recounting the recent visit to Paradise Island.

Synopsis

In an encampment in Turkey, Julia Kapatelis and her team continue their archeological dig for the ruins of the original city of Themyscira. One of her colleagues, Dr. Curtis Blanchard, spots an approaching jeep and stepping inside Julia’s tent, informs the professor that their fortnightly delivery of packages and mail has arrived.

When the mail arrives, Julia quickly looks for her two regular weekly letters from Vanessa, whom she misses greatly. She sits down on her bed and begins to read the first note…

Vanessa says that her Summer camp is great. She already has her eye on a hunky boy called Dennis Dunn, who she thinks also likes her. It seems like her mother is right and that not all boys are worried that Vanessa has not “developed” yet! But she still wishes she was like her friend Lucy, who already has a real bra!

The kids had arrived the day before and Vanessa now has eight 9 and 10 year olds in her bunk, plus herself and the senior counselor. They are made to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning but Vanessa finds it all a bit of a drag. They are at Summer Camp after all – not at school!

As Julia continues to read her letter Curtis goes out for some coffee and Marty, one of the field team, asks to speak with him. Marty asks how much longer they intend to stay here. Curtis in turn asks him if he has some place to go and Marty replies that they have been digging for two months already with no success. Curtis responds that two months is a lifetime to a Butterfly – is Marty a Butterfly?

With that, Curtis steps back inside Julia’s tent and she asks him whether Marty is thinking of quitting. Curtis replies that he is unsure. He then asks her if the letter she is reading is from Vanessa and she nods. She adds that she hopes she has made the right decision letting her daughter go to that Summer Camp. He asks if anything is wrong and she says “it’s just a feeling”.

As they sip the coffee he spots a newspaper lying on her bed and asks if he can have a read. She nods as she continues to read Vanessa’s letter…

After returning from a nature hike they had taken a swim in the lake. Dennis was an excellent swimmer and as for Lucy, she looked amazing in her bikini! Vanessa is so jealous that Lucy has a bust and she feels like a baby next to her friend! Everything just seems to work out for Lucy. Vanessa knows that Dennis really likes her friend too. It seems Lucy has it all, lucky girl! Even her Period! Vanessa then asks when her mother had gotten her first one.

Julia says out loud “Fourteen” and looking up, asks Curtis what is happening in the real world. He scans the paper and replies that Wonder Woman is in the news again. Julia realises it must be an article about the recent summit and asks Curtis what it says. He begins to paraphrase the main parts of the article.

Amidst the rubble of fear and bigotry left in the dust of Eris’ departure, Queen Hippolyta and her Amazons re-dedicated themselves to the spirit of fidelity and sisterhood that was the basis for their Feast of Five and this Themysciran Summit. Princess Diana, known to the outside world as Wonder Woman, spoke of her Gods and their dreams of fulfillment through humanity’s common destiny.

Somewhat shamefacedly Amazons and delegates had returned to the city to clean up the aftermath of the recent brawls. Of all the Amazons, Menalippe suffered the most. She felt her complicity with Eris had disavowed her sacred trust with the Goddesses. Everyone, including the delegates, worked to persuade her that any one of them could have fallen and indeed had fallen to the tainted sweetness of the Golden Apples. But according to the article’s author, Lois Lane, it will be a long time before the Amazon oracle can face her Delphi again.

Soon the disparate cultures stood and faced each other for a final time. For a little while they had come together but would it last? Queen Hippolyta spoke all the right words – about harmony and understanding, optimism and hope. She promised to come to the United Nations soon. But it is so hard to make plans with immortals as their time frame is so different from the rest of the world.

Asmund Lindel promised the queen would be made welcome whenever she comes. Then amidst tears and hugs, the Themysciran Summit ended. With the goodbyes done, Wonder Woman told them it was time to go and like a biblical angel, she had lifted into the air, looping her golden lasso around the waiting delegates. A shimmer of light enveloped them all and they faded from view, returning across Chaos and back to Patriarch’s World.

Curtis finishes reading out the article but Julia is only half listening, still engrossed in Vanessa’s letter…

Instead of supper in the Mess Hall they had had a campfire and cookout. Stories were told around the flickering flames and Lucy had suggested that Vanessa tell everybody about Diana and Paradise Island. Vanessa was uneasy about doing so as she wants to be liked for herself, not who she knows. But Lucy has never been jealous of Vanessa’s friendship with Diana. She is not sure Lucy has a jealous bone in her body.

Dennis was also there though and Vanessa did want to impress him a little. So she told one of her stories about when she had dived off a high cliff on Paradise Island during their visit there. She did not tell them all how scared she had been though. She tries so hard to be honest and real like Diana, but she finds it tough. Sometimes she looks in the mirror and she hates herself. She does not look anything like she thought she would when she was very little and pretended that she was big. She realises everybody is different and develops at their own pace but it is so unfair!

She and Lucy went for a stroll one evening and her friend said that having breasts was really no big deal. Vanessa huffed that it is easy for Lucy to say that because she has them! Vanessa wondered if there was something wrong with her. Lucy had smiled and put her arm around her friend, saying that there was absolutely nothing wrong.

Again, Vanessa writes how Lucy has to be the luckiest girl in the whole world. She is pretty and smart and her parents are rich. She has been to Paris and Rome and Vanessa wonders whether she should have gone with her mother to Turkey. Vanessa had talked to Lucy about it and her friend had said a funny thing. She said Vanessa was the lucky one, because Julia does not smother her and treat her like a baby and then get mad when Vanessa does not act grown up enough. Lucy had added that in some ways it is better just to be herself instead of trying to emulate Lucy, as Vanessa seems to understand life so much better. Vanessa had felt at the time that her friend was trying to tell her something but she is not sure what.

Meanwhile outside, the archaeologists spot something fall into one of their trenches. It seems to be just a dead bird although it had almost looked like it was trying to reach Julia’s tent. As they take a look they see it is a messenger pigeon with something wrapped around its neck. As they peer closer they see the bird move and realise it is still alive. They decide to let Julia know.

Inside her tent she is reading the second letter from Vanessa…

One day Vanessa had rushed into the changing rooms looking for Lucy, all excited. When she had found her friend, Lucy asked her what the matter was and Vanessa had replied “I got it!”. Lucy smiled and said that she knew Vanessa had nothing to worry about. With the date and time duly noted, Vanessa reveals to her mother in the letter that she had at last become a WOMAN and had had her Period!

She then apologises for whining in her previous letter about growing up and everything. She was just being stupid and immature. Now that she is all grown up she promises she will not be like that anymore!

She finishes the letter by telling her mother that she loves her and misses her.

Tears well up in Julia’s eyes on reading this and she asks herself what she is doing here, so far away from her daughter. Just then Curtis pops his head inside the tent and sees she is crying. He asks if she is alright and she says that she is simply missing Vanessa. He asks if she wants to be left alone for a while and she shakes her head. He then tells her of their discovery outside as one of the other women carries in the tired bird. Julia recognises it as a Themysciran messenger pigeon and removes Diana’s note attached to the bird’s neck collar. She unfolds the note and begins to read it out loud…

Although the summit had eventually ended successfully and what had been accomplished had surpassed all Diana’s expectations, she had found herself deliberately short changing those who had gathered at the United Nations awaiting the return of the delegates and to deluge them with questions. Diana knows it was rude but she had simply dropped off her “passengers” and left. All she could think of was Julia, Vanessa and the blessed peace and quiet of their home! Here she can drop the public persona of “Wonder Woman” and just be herself. As Vanessa would say…”Just chill out!”.

Sometimes the Amazon Princess looks at her mother and wonders just how she does it. How does she balance the Royal Matriarch with the woman under the purple robes of state? She remembers how she had stumbled upon a private moment between Hippolyta and Heracles and realised that her mother was a woman before she was a queen. She was born to rule and Diana was born to greatness. Or so say the Fates. It is not that Diana does not accept the role destined for her of course. Julia knows this. But sometimes she wonders what it would be like to be ordinary like Julia and Vanessa.

She of course does not mean “ordinary” as in “unremarkable” or “undistinguished”. Neither of them could ever be those things to her. Instead she means ordinary as in the way for instance Vanessa is upstairs in her room supposedly doing her homework, but is actually talking to Lucy or Eileen on the telephone while her radio plays “New Kids on the Block”; and Julia is in the study grading papers, having washed and dried the dishes, while Ella Fitzgerald sings on the Compact Disc player. Though it shames Diana to say it she envies this life. But Julia and Vanessa have always loved Diana for herself and envy cannot ever stand up against such good and honest feelings. She muses that in a way, returning to the Kapatelis residence in Beacon Hill is for her a return to Paradise.

When she at last arrived home though she had been disappointed to find the house empty. She then remembered Julia’s plans to rediscover the original Themyscira and that Vanessa had gone off to Summer Camp in Monroe, New York. She had decided to seek out Lord Hermes instead, both to thank him for coming to her aid when Eris had imprisoned her in the Black Void and to quell her fears that all is not well with the God. Hermes has lost his omnipotence and even bleeds like a mortal. She realises Julia and Hermes never really got along and she can imagine the Professor feeling that a dose of humanity would do him good! But it is a pitiful thing for a God to walk like a Man.

Hermes does not deserve pity. She knows he can be arrogant at times and self serving but he can also be self-sacrificing and noble in the cause of Man. The Messenger God had given Diana the gift of his Caduceus to aid in the delegates’ crossing through Chaos, when in truth he needed it himself as a medium through which he could channel his fading power.

Try as she might, Diana cannot contact him anymore. He had established a spiritual contact with her during her imprisonment in the Tree of Discord but it has since been broken and she cannot seem to re-establish it.

She had decided to try Steve Trevor’s apartment where Hermes had taken up residence. The hole the God had accidentally blasted in Steve’s wall was still under repair when she arrived. As she had touched down the Land Lord had given her some verbal abuse about how Trevor was a wimp for sending a woman to save his butt!

A frustrated Diana had taken off once more and contemplated returning to Themyscira, but she is trying not to run home every time she feels lonely or down and wonders whether Julia would let her join the dig in Turkey. It would be exciting to be where her mother and sisters rose to their first glory and perhaps she could even help out. Diana does not mean to impose herself but she had tried to look up Etta Candy and found she is on an assignment for General Yedziniak. Superman is busy too, adding cryptically that it seems so hard for men and women to be just friends. The people at the Meyer Agency were also busy and do not really seem to have any time for Wonder Woman anymore.

Diana sums up her note by saying that she misses Julia and their time together and would really love to join her friend there. Can she come?

Julia asks Curtis for his opinion and he says that they could use an extra pair of hands. Smiling, Julia writes the simple reply of “Yes” and attaches the note back on the bird. She leans down and tells the tiny creature to deliver the message and bring back its mistress. She wonders if the bird is sick as it pants, almost in fear. One of the others suggest perhaps it is simply tired after its long flight.

They step out of the tent and the bird begins to struggle in her hands before lifting off into the air in a fright, squawking manically as it goes. As it flies away into the distance they assume that whatever spooked the bird has gone away as it appears to be heading homeward bound.

Back in Beacon Hill, Diana is reading a novel recommended to her by Vanessa. She hopes that the tiny bird will return soon and wonders what Julia’s reply will be. She chastises herself for worrying unnecessarily and thinks to herself that of course Julia will say yes.

Meanwhile hundreds of miles away the messenger pigeon looks up startled, as an apparent threat looms large above it. Before it can react the tiny creature is felled from the sky in a flurry of feathers by another unseen winged figure…