Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 48


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 48

General Info

Issue No:
48 (377)
On Sale Date:
September 1990
Cover Date:
November 1990
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Fang and Claw

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
George Perez
Writer:
George Perez
Penciller:
Jill Thompson
Inker:
Romeo Tanghal
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Tom Ziuko
Editor:
Karen Berger

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Vanessa Kapatelis, Julia Kapatelis
Heroes:
Troia (Donna Troy)
Villains:
Circe
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Euboea, Phillipus, Pythia, Penelope, Menalippe
Other:
Andros Devaris, Anna Devaris, Theophilos Ventouras, Gregori Davalos, Terry Long, Cindy
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Comments

This issue once more demonstrates the down to earth realism that Perez brought to the book. He is prepared to confront the issues of how Diana’s role as Wonder Woman impacts those around her – particularly those that love her. The recent trauma’s experienced by Vanessa would, in most other titles, have simply been brushed under the carpet and ignored but Perez focuses on them as part of the story line. He manages to make Diana seem ever more like a real flesh and blood character through the depiction of the all too human emotions of the troubled teenager, struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her friend Lucy and the ever present threat of Wonder Woman being killed in action. I’m sure many readers can empathise with Vanessa, imagining or perhaps even knowing how it feels to have a loved one that faces dangers on a day to day basis as part of their job.

Synopsis

Circe’s voice sarcastically remarks that this is not what Diana had been expecting is it? She must have thought that finally meeting Donna Troy on this accursed little Greek Island would solve the mystery of their common dreams – and that she would finally find peace and refuge from the nightmares that vex her sleep. “Well Princess, think again! This is where the nightmare really begins!”.

Diana and Donna watch in horror as Andros leaps at them with his fangs bared and its claws extended! Donna freezes as Diana warns her to get out of the way, but the Titan is flattened by the creature! Diana fears that she is about to lose her “sister” after waiting so long to meet her and powerfully knocks the monster off Donna. As she presses home her attack though the Amazon Princess is herself beaten to the ground and the watching Donna realises she has acted like an amateur. She would be dead now if not for Wonder Woman and if Diana has now been hurt because of her inability to act, she will never forgive herself.

The creature however ignores the fallen Wonder Woman and advances towards the van. Donna uses her powers to create a force field protecting her and Gregori and the unsuspecting Andros throws himself at them, only to be thrown backwards at great velocity into the surrounding undergrowth! Donna is relieved to see Diana getting to her feet and says that she cannot fight the creature and hold up the force field, so Wonder Woman will have to lasso Andros quickly before he regains his senses.

But before Wonder Woman can even react the creature is attacking her again! As she finds herself pinned beneath him Gregori cries out that she must kill Andros because it is the only way to stop him. She uses her legs to hurl the beast over her head though and shouts back that there is always another way. Circe’s voice taunts “Oh really Princess. What’s the matter? Killing beneath you now?”. Ignoring her words, Diana grabs the beast around the throat and applying pressure in just the right spot, forces Andros into unconsciousness.

A short while later at the hideaway retreat of Gregori Davalos, Donna apologises to Diana for freezing up during the fight, blaming it on a flashback to the time she had been attacked by the Scourge Demon in New York. Diana says she understands, admitting she herself had hesitated using the lasso because of her own memories of what happened in the sewer when her lasso had destroyed one of the creatures after she had bound it. Its screams still haunt her and she had not wanted to risk the same thing happening again with this creature.

Suddenly they notice that the Andros is changing back into human form and they are shocked to see that he is a mere boy. Diana angrily confronts Gregori, saying he had known all along that Andros was only a boy and yet he had wanted her to kill him. Gregori replies that she should not judge him so quickly as he had been desperate.

For his part, the confused boy tries to get his bearings, wondering why he is still alive and chained to the floor instead of being dead. He turns to Gregori and says that he had promised Andros that if the “Magia” ever happened again that he would kill the boy. Gregori uses his own shirt to cover the boy’s shoulders and says that he had tried and to forgive him. He hugs the boy who weeps that he wanted to be free from Circe’s curse. On hearing the witch’s name, Diana demands to know where she is hiding. Gregori replies that Circe has left Cephalonia and all that remains is her legacy. He then continues that they had all been so naive to think that they could break the curse, but he had been so sure. Diana asks who this “he” is and Gregori begins to explain why he and Andros had been trying to reach Diana and Donna…

Elsewhere in the sewer beneath New York City, Theo and Anna have been digging furiously for hours. She says that perhaps he is wrong but he is convinced this is the place. It is exactly as the Titans had described it in the newspapers. And this was also where Anna had said Princess Diana had fought those creatures too. Just then he spots something and asks Anna to shine the lantern his way. He says he believes he has found it at last and that the Witch was not infallible after all. Anna warns him not to tempt fate but he smiles back that after they have finished here, they will never have to worry about Circe again!

He points to a huge stone door he has unearthed and says that the object behind has been buried deep beneath the sewer system like an ancient tomb. Now all he has to do is break the seal. He tells Anna to go home as she has done all that she can, but she refuses, saying that they will face this together. He pleads with her to listen, saying that he does not know how much control he will have once he has reverted back to his were beast form. With each new change he feels more of his humanity being clawed away. He has seen the look in her eyes too…the fear. She tells him that her only fear is of losing him. They hug each other and she says that whether they succeed or fail she will not abandon him. He nods and preparing himself, says that it is time they ended this nightmare once and for all. And with that they both transform into Centaur and Cat…

Elsewhere Wonder Woman and Troia are speeding through the skies towards New York. Donna asks the Amazon Princess how she can be so sure that Theophilos Ventouras is not setting Diana up. He had after all led Circe’s were beasts against her previously. Wonder Woman replies that it is a chance she will have to take and adds that Donna can still turn back if she wishes. Donna refuses, saying that a Titan never runs from battle and that the time has come for her to face her fears. She also wants to see how this all resolves and to find out which one of their dream theories is the correct one. Wonder Woman nods, saying that she prays it is Donna’s version – that they had been joined psychically at this time because it closely followed Donna’s recent “re-awakening” by the Titans, who sired Diana’s own Gods. Still, she cannot help but fear that the dreams are part of some deliberate plot by Circe – the same one that may now be endangering Theophilos Ventouras.

Donna smiles and says that whichever it is, they will face it together. Afterwards, they can finally get back to more friendly matters. For instance her husband, Terry, is dying to meet Diana. For her part, Donna cannot wait to meet Diana’s Amazon sisters as well as Professor Kapatelis and her daughter. Donna then adds that she had read about Vanessa’s friend, Lucy and passes on her condolences. As they approach New York Donna then asks how long it is before the Amazons visit the U.N.? Wonder Woman replies “less than a month” and adds that it makes it all the more critical that they end this threat now.

Meanwhile on Themyscira, Phillipus, Euboea and Pythia visit the Amazon Queen. Hippolyta greets them and apologises for appearing distracted. Pythia asks if she is concerned about Diana and Hippolyta nods, saying that she is a mother and is alwaysconcerned. However, this time it is different. She has never known Diana to be so distressed over her dreams before. Hippolyta has tried to convince her that it is probably the pressures of arranging the forthcoming summit in Man’s World. Phillipus can see that the Queen does not really believe that though and suggests she speaks with Menalippe. Hippolyta replies that the Oracle has her own matters to deal with – as do they all.

She then asks Pythia how the indoctrination classes are progressing. She is told that all goes well and that Mnemoysne seems to be truly at her best leading classes on such a strange alien culture as Patriarch’s World. For her part, Pythia is anxious to experience a world that can produce such a marvelous woman as Julia Kapatelis. However, changing the subject back to their original conversation, Pythia agrees with Phillipus that Hippolyta should speak with Menalippe about Diana’s dreams.

A short while later Hippolyta arrives at the Temple and asks Penelope how their high priestess fares today. Penelope replies that Menalippe is the same as always. She just continues to submerge herself deeper into prayers of contrition. Hippolyta looks over to the altar where the High Priestess kneels and remarks that she looks so lonely. Does Penelope think that the Gods will ever show themselves again? Penelope replies that she prays for the day but thus far not even Lord Hermes has deigned to visit her. She is worried about Menalippe, who has been always proud of her steadfast faith. It gave her life. It frightens Penelope to think of that faith not being enough…

Back in the sewers, Theophilos Ventouras uses his hooves to smash through the massive stone doors. Anna dashes through the opening into the interior gloom and Theo cries out for her to wait. He enters into the massive cavern in which resides the shattered remains of a spaceship. It seems bigger than Circe had described and muses that Scourge The Demon must have been a fanatic. The entire place has been so reverently preserved like some out-worldly shrine. Even the half dozen skeletons of the alien crew have been propped up in their death stances like statues on an altar.

He calls out to Anna and hears his name called – but it is not Anna’s voice. He suddenly turns to see Wonder Woman and Troia walk in through the shattered doorway and he tells them to get out. The Amazon Princess tells him that they have been sent by his companion, Gregori Davalos. He replies that they are lying as Gregori knows nothing of this venture. He, Theophilos Ventouras, is the only chance his kind have to be finally free of this spell. He will not have all those hours in Circe’s library wasted because of their interference. He then recounts how he has arrived at this moment…

He had risked his life every time he had sneaked into the library to write down notes from Circe’s forbidden texts. Then Wonder Woman had arrived on Cephalonia and at first, he had entertained the hope that she might actually be able to defeat the Witch. That hope was dashed when he had seen her in the hospital – another casualty of Circe’s magic. He had tried to prove to his mistress that the “Wonder Woman” was harmless but Circe was as persistent and stubborn as the Amazon Princess. Diana had indeed almost paid for that stubbornness with her life! Circe had come close to killing her and had been only a hair’s breadth away from destroying the much vaunted Wonder Woman! If it had not been for Professor Kapatelis and the power of Circe’s own stolen charm the Amazon would be dead by now!

But Wonder Woman had stopped Julia from shooting Circe dead. She had let that accursed witch live! Theo had reluctantly watched as Circe had smiled in victory because of Wonder Woman’s mercy and then he remembered the blinding light and Circe vanishing with a scream. The next thing he knew he was in his human form again watching from a bush as the rebels proclaimed Diana as their so called “saviour”. If only they knew the truth.

He had not cared about the fate of the other beastiamorphs. There was only one person he was worried about and he had left her back at his Estate – Anna Devaris, his maid and unknown to Circe – his lover. There was nothing left for them in Cephalonia now. No friends or family except Anna’s younger brother, Andros. They took a boat and waving good bye to Andros, set off to make a new life for themselves in America. They later learned that Andros had eventually joined Katina Leikos’s Wonder Woman cult on Aeaea, subsequently renamed “Dianata”. The cult was a misguided sect who actually believed that Wonder Woman had destroyed Circe. He had heard how they would not believe Diana when she had finally told them the truth that in fact it had been down to Hermes. Meanwhile he and Anna had settled here in New York. He had got himself a steady job at the docks and the transformations had stopped. His and Anna’s future seemed bright!

Donna then interrupts, saying that about a year ago everything changed one night, had it not? He nods, continuing to explain that it was during a night shift at the dockyard. The hair on his hands had grown coarse and he could feel his eyes burning. After all those peaceful months it was happening again. He had become a monster once more – one of Circe’s accursed creatures of the night!

He had raced back home to find his poor helpless Anna had also transformed into a cat. Circe had apparently prevailed against a God! She was actually able to reach out from a void deeper than the grave. But then he and Anna had read about Troia and the Titans’ battle beneath the streets of New York. That is when they had learned of Scourge.

Troia nods and says that “Scourge” was a name he had seen once before. “Written in Circe’s hand” Wonder Woman finishes. A surprised Theo asks how they know all of this. Wonder Woman continues that Theo had remembered reading about a “Chariot of the Gods” in Circe’s archives, matching the description of the one Scourge unearthed in the country of Qurac from which Circe herself had discovered the basic ingredient for Bestiamorphism centuries earlier. And there was one thing more that did not make sense when Theo had originally copied it down. But now it seemed perfectly clear. The antidote.

Its secret could be found in the heart of the Star Chariot…the blood of the dead aliens themselves! Theo had thus sent Andros to retrieve his old notes from the Estate on Cephalonia in order to make sure. But Gregori Davalos had already found them and deciphered them, discovering the truth. Gregori had convinced Andros to tell Troia and Wonder Woman everything so that they could help Theo, but they had almost been killed on the way by Circe who had changed Andros into his were beast form.

Wonder Woman then reveals to Theo that there is no antidote. No cure. The papers Theo had copied down were nothing but lies. An incredulous Theo snaps back that she is lying. Everything is as the parchments described. Wonder Woman tells him that Circe has tricked him and lead him here – lead them all here. Theo then cries out for Anna and opens the door to the craft to reveal her standing there. She replies that she is sorry. She had tried to fight it but Circe was too strong. Just then Circe’s voice reverberates through the ship, laughing that Theo had been a fool if he thought he had been deceiving the Witch.

Her image then appears on a monitor screen and smiling, she continues that she had figured it would be only a matter of time before Scourge showed himself and Theo would as a result track him down. Scourge had never been one of her more subtle operatives. The demented fool never even realised that it was she who compelled him to inject himself with the blood of dead aliens. And now the arrogant Egotist has paid for his failure! Just as they shall all pay for daring to underestimate the power of Circe!

Suddenly the whole cavern shakes as Theo realises that it has all been an elaborate trap. The whole ship begins to fall apart and Wonder Woman grabs Theo as Donna suggests they get out of here before they are buried alive! Everything is crumbling to dust. Wonder Woman points towards the skeletons and replies “No Donna, not everything!”. Looking down they see the alien skeletons spring to life and advance on them!

Wonder Woman unhooks her lasso and remarks that Circe’s perverse sense of humour is as black as ever. She intends to kill them with the very creatures Theo had hoped would be the key to his salvation. This time however the Amazon Princes has no compunctions about using the lasso on her foes and whips the golden rope, cleaving in half one of the aliens. But the shattered skeleton continues to advance! As the severed torso leaps up at Theo Wonder Woman yells at Troia to use her force field to protect him. But Troia already has her hands full and shouts back that she will not let Diana fight these things alone.

As Wonder Woman tries to reason with her she is momentarily distracted and another creature manages to use its alien beak to cut into her throat like a sword! Theo cries out “No!” and orders the two women to get out fast, as he will not let them die because of his own stupidity. He is the one Circe is after! He tells them he will hold the aliens off and orders them to obey his instructions. All his hopes…his love…his whole life has been nothing but a mockery! In the name of pity he pleads with them to let him die with dignity.

Just then he screams with a pain as one of the aliens sinks it beak into him. From the shadows Anna watches her lover grapple with his attacker. Even though Circe’s power over her is strong she refuses to let it end like this. She leaps out from her hiding place and grabs the alien around the neck. But she does not see another alien behind her who plunges its beak into her torso. As she falls Theo lets out a hail of despair as he hurls off the attacking alien in rage!

Meanwhile Wonder Woman and Troia are still fighting desperately. Each time they cut down a skeleton the remaining bones continue to attack as a living entity in their own right. The more they splinter them the greater their numbers become! Donna cries out as she is struck across the face but tells a worried Diana that she is simply a little dazed. She tells Wonder Woman to help Theo while she uses her own force field to protect herself.

But too late they hear a cry as Theo is impaled by the alien. They watch in horror as having deliberately let the alien skeleton skewer him, Theo rams it into the wall head first. But why? The weakening Theo tells them that they must put out the fire in the creatures’ red eyes. He pleads with Wonder Woman to survive and make Circe pay..for Anna and all the others…and not to let it all count for nothing.

Grim faced, she swears she will not let them die for nothing and removes her tiara. Realising what the Amazon Princess plans, Donna uses her force field to hold the two remaining skeletons in place. As Diana throws the razor edged tiara Donna drops the shield and the tiara slices through the heads of the aliens, destroying their eyes. The two women look down at the dead remains of their foes and Donna asks why Theo had sacrificed himself in such a pointless way. Wonder Woman replies that he had wanted to join his beloved Anna in the Elysian Fields.

Diana does not give up hope though and says she can still get Theo and Anna back to Themyscira in time to save them. She tells Donna to check on Anna who still breathes and has changed back into her human form. Donna cradles the weak woman in her arms and says that they are going to take her to the Amazon healers. But Anna shakes her head and says that it is over. Donna tells her to have faith but Anna tells her that her poor Theo never knew what he was really sacrificing when trying to remove the curse. She loved him so much and could not tell him the truth because he had so wanted to be a human.

As Anna passes away Donna turns to tell Diana and is shocked to see a sorrowful Diana kneeling head bowed over the dead body of Theo…who has transformed into his true self – a horse!

A short while later they have buried Theo and Anna in the cavern and standing over the graves, Donna wonders whether Anna had allowed Circe to take her over because she could not bring herself to tell Theo the truth. Diana replies that she does not know. Perhaps she feared his knowing would have been more painful than her betrayal. She adds that she has to be thankful to Circe, a woman Theo hated, for granting him the one thing he cherished above all else – to be able to love as a Man. She is only surprised Circe did not tell him the truth herself before she sentenced him to death. One last cruel joke…

Wonder Woman continues that it amazes her how callously the people of this world regard the other creatures who share the planet. In her culture, they believe that no matter what its shape, a soul is still a soul. It is only humanity’s ignorance and arrogance that convinces them that they are superior. Theo proved just how wrong humanity is. “Rest well Theophilos and Anna. May the bosom of Gaea bring you in death the peace denied you in life.”

A short while later they have emerged from the sewer and Diana apologises that their first meeting was not exactly what they had hoped for. Donna is more concerned about Circe though and says that hey had never really found out why they had experienced their dreams. Perhaps Hermes can track the Witch down? Wonder Woman replies that he has tried before and failed and that life must go on. She still has to get back to Themyscira to finalise the arrangements for her mother’s visit to New York. There is so much still to do! She also must get back to Boston to talk with Vanessa. The poor child had been so hurt and angry when they had last spoken. Donna nods understandingly and says that they had better says their goodbyes then. Hugging each other, Diana says that there is still so much she wants to say but Donna assures her that they will see each other again – and under more pleasant circumstances next time! And with that, they fly off in opposite directions…

A few days later at the Kapatelis Residence, Julia welcomes home Diana who apologises for being away for so long. She asks how Vanessa has been and whether she will talk yet. Julia says that maybe, in a little while. First though there are a couple of people waiting to see her. A puzzled Wonder Woman walks into the lounge and is overjoyed to see Donna and her husband, Terry smiling back. Donna says that she had promised they would get together again, although perhaps this is a little sooner than Diana had imagined! Diana greets Terry who says he is thrilled to meet her and that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever met – next to Donna. Julia adds that Donna and Terry had also brought another member of the family with them – Donna’s stepsister Cindy. When Diana asks where she is, Donna replies that they thought she and Vanessa might find it useful to talk to each other, being the same age. “It might help if Vanessa knows that she is not the only one…”

Upstairs, the two girls are sitting on the bed. Vanessa assures Cindy that she is OK and that sometimes she just loses it – like when she had freaked out at Diana the other day. She had not meant to. But Diana is always going places where she almost gets killed. Cindy replies that she used to feel the same every time she heard Donna was out on a mission with the Titans. It must be tough for Terry too. But it is Donna’s job after all – being a big time super hero and all. Vanessa says that Diana is not a super hero though – at least that is what she keeps saying.

Cindy responds that it is nice talking to someone who can understand the fear – that someday a loved one might not come back. That you may never see her face or hear her voice ever again. Vanessa asks how Cindy copes with it and the girl replies that she did not think she could at first. Until one day Donna asked her outright – would Cindy have been happier if they were not sisters..that she had never been a part of Cindy’s life? Of course, Cindy had replied that no, she would not want that to be the case. So she now prays every night that Donna will be safe and cheers every day that she is.

Vanessa begins to weep and whispers that she does not want Diana to die. Cindy hugs her tightly and says that she understands how Vanessa feels. But she cannot just wait for it to happen. It will cripple her. Hokey as it sounds – she just has to have faith. Vanessa nods and says that Diana says the same thing. “It still stinks though!” Cindy smiles and says “Yeah, sometimes it does. But I guess that’s what being a sister is all about!”