This issue sees Writer and Editor Robert Kanigher attempt to cash in on the popularity of collecting old comic books that existed during the mid sixties. His goal was to re-create the look and feel of a “Golden Age” Wonder Woman story as if written by William Moulton Marston and drawn by Harry G. Peters.
Lt. Diana Prince is working at her desk inside the Military Intelligence HQ when Steve Trevor walks into her office. He says that he always knew his Wonder Woman was worth a million and then proceeds to show her a newspaper article. Diana reads the piece which recounts how early comics bring $100 per copy from collectors. Super heroes and villains of the comics “Golden Age” are kept in a vault at “The Dream Merchant Book Store” and feature such sought after titles as early Wonder Woman, Superman and Justice League of America. Diana hands the paper back to Steve who adds that if she sees Wonder Woman to give her a kiss for him. As he leaves the room she marvels at how love is blind and that Steve has no idea how near to Wonder Woman he really is!
Diana muses to herself that fans always talk about the past as the “good old days” or the “Golden Age” and she decides to visit “The Dream Merchant Book Store” as Wonder Woman to see for herself. Shortly afterwards the Amazon Princess arrives at the store and is greeted by the creepy looking Dream Merchant himself. He tells her he knew she would come to relive her old adventures and hands her a stack of old comic books. She picks up the first issue and opens it on a story entitled “The Brain Pirate of the Inner World!”. But as she begins to read the text she suddenly finds herself actually reliving the old adventure as if in a dream.
She is standing on a beach and the semi-transparent form of the Brain Pirate is in front of her, having lassoed her head in his brain draining rope. She desperately tries to pinch herself awake but feels helpless in his power. But with a valiant effort she manages to lift the rope off much to the Pirate’s surprise. Suddenly, she sees Steve Trevor approaching in the distance with a picnic basket. She leaps at the Pirate, intent on stopping him before he can attempt to steal Steve’s brain but finds herself sailing straight through her foe. He tells her he comes from another dimension as she again tries to stop him, this time with her own lasso. But as before, it sails through the Pirate’s form. Next she uses her hands to whip up the sand in order to bury the villains but once the dust settles she sees to her dismay the Pirate is standing smuglyon top of the pile of sand! Swiftly the villain loops his rope around the forehead of Steve and before Wonder Woman can react has tossed Steve’s brain essence to his waiting crewman on board a nearby boat. The Amazon Princess leaps across the water and overturns the rowboat but not before the crew have tossed Steve’s brain essence into the waiting Pirate Craft, as if it was nothing more than a game of beach ball!
Like a human whirlwind, Wonder Woman hurtles aboard the craft and batters the crew, searching desperately for Steve’s brain. To her horror she sees two of the Brain Pirate’s henchmen attempt to load it into a cannon and she tries to ensnare it with her lasso. But the golden rope again finds nothing tangible to latch onto and the brain rolls into the muzzle. One of the crew holds a lighted stick near the fuse and warns her not to make a move or else her boy friend’s brain will be fired like a cannonball! But the mighty Amazon moves like lightning and cleaves the muzzle in two. Before she can retrieve the brain however she finds herself confronting Steve, who has a gun pointed at her. With his mind gone, her lover has turned into an Automaton under the control of the Brain Pirate! She realises she must do as Steve commands or else force him to become a murderer!
The Brain Pirate says that he knows she will fight at the first opportunity and instructs her to hold out her arms or else Steve will suffer the consequences. She obeys and to her horror the Pirate uses his ray gun to weld her bracelets together, sapping her of her Amazon strength. He crows that he is well aware of her weakness and that she is now forced to obey him until he or another man frees her again – which he assures her will never happen!
Meanwhile outside, Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls are in training for a rowing race and unwittingly approach the pirate craft. The Brain Pirate sees the innocent rowers and orders the ship to ram them! Enraged, the still bound Wonder Woman leaps from the vessel and vibrating her feet at supersonic speed, creates a cushion of air on which she is supported above the water, while with a thrust of her incredible power lifts the pirate craft out of the water as the rowers pass underneath. Wonder Woman then hurls the vessel skipping across the waves and orders Etta and the others to get way as fast as they can. As Wonder Woman races back to the craft to rescue Steve the Holliday girls decide that they will not abandon the Amazon Princess in her hour of need.
As Wonder Woman boards the vessel again the Brain Pirate tells her he knew she would not forsake her lover and then instructs Steve to shoot her. But as bullets whizz at her, she uses her bonded bracelets to not only deflect the projectiles but to zing towards the Brain Pirate. As he yells at Trevor to stop firing the intrepid Holliday Girls are swimming underwater towards them. Suddenly though they are caught in a giant net and hauled inside before having their brains stolen by the crew. In seeing the girls being paraded like mechanical dolls before her, Wonder Woman realises there is no use fighting on until she can find out how to restore all their brains!
The Brain Pirate tells Wonder Woman that the reason he has not yet stolen her own brain is because he wants her to suffer and feel the sting of her defeat. He then instructs his crew to take off and the craft launches into the sky. Setting course for the Pirate’s home world, Wonder Woman realises that they will need a way to get home should she manage to rescue them all and secretly summons her invisible plane to follow and to continue circling after they land.
Some time later they approach the Pirate home world and once the craft touches down on water, the Brain Pirate cruelly instructs his brainless captives to walk the plank into shark infested waters! Seeing the danger, Wonder Woman leaps over their heads and proceeds to kick the waiting sharks out of the way. But even as she does so, Etta, Steve and the others leap off the plank into the water and in their mindless states, cannot swim! With dazzling agility that defies gravity itself, the bound Wonder Woman juggles the hurtling figures back into the air in a circle of safety. As the sharks begin to return though she knows she cannot keep this up and hurls them towards an outcrop of land. She then takes a single bound and catches them as they fall. But to her dismay they surround her and take her prisoner again. Fighting back tears, she realises her friends do not know what they are doing and she must find a way to help them. As the Brain Pirate steps ashore he tells her she is helpless because she thinks of others first and it has proved her downfall. She replies that right will triumph in the end!
Stoically, the Amazon Princess ensures the jeers of the citizens on the Inner Brain World assembled to watch her humiliation. She and the others walk behind the Space Pirate’s chariot into the city and she is placed in a cell while her friends put on the garb of Pirate Warriors.
Meanwhile on Paradise Island, Queen Hippolyta desperately tries to raise her daughter on the metal radio but with no success. The queen fears Diana is in trouble and orders the relay to be beamed out into space in an effort to trace her…
Back on the Pirate World in the fittingly named Arena of the Doomed, Wonder Woman conceals her dismay at the unnerving sight of her dearest friends unwittingly shouting for her downfall. As an army of Brian Pirates hurl a rain of missiles at her, she uses her Amazon skills and speed to doge the deadly barrage. As the Pirate watches in rage, she manages to catch a mace with her teeth and uses it to level her attackers! But her triumphant surge towards the diabolical Brain Pirate is halted when he warns her that she does not know where he has hidden her friends’ brains. If anything happens to him he has given orders for the to be destroyed immediately!
At that moment a giant enters the arena and the Pirate introduces him as the greatest marksman in the fleet. He then orders the giant to “riddle the Amazon!”. As massive darts are thrown at her, Wonder Woman races around the huge bulls-eye target, dodging the deadly projectiles. She suddenly has an idea and manages to time her run so that the next dart hits her bracelets at the join, freeing her! She swiftly decks the giant and leaps to where the Brain Pirate watches. He points at a metal box and tells her that this is her last obstacle to the freedom of her and her friends. If she can squeeze the box into liquid they can all return safely to Earth with their brains intact. Still unsure where he has hidden them, Wonder Woman see nothing for it but to obey. But as she begins to crumple the box her Amazon hearing detects what sounds like voices and using her tiara she breaks open the box’s seal. Inside she finds all her friends’ brains who tell her they knew she would find them sooner or later!
The furious Brain Pirate orders his men to attack but with a single bound Wonder Woman carries the box and her friends up into the air and to her waiting robot plane. But she cannot fit them all onboard and as she wonders how on earth she can possibly leave anybody behind to the mercy of the Pirates, her mother makes contact. Before Hippolyta has time to ask Diana what is going on her daughter requests that the Amazons beam a one-twelfth human reducing ray at their location.
Even as she speaks the Pirate fleet has lifted off and are opening fire on her plane. Just then though the reducing ray strikes and her shrunken friends climb aboard. Wonder Woman then uses her lasso to create shock waves which scatter the approaching Pirate vessels. Once they have made the long journey back to Earth, Wonder Woman signals for the reducing ray to be reversed and they pop out of the plane like peas from a pod. Wonder Woman lands on her head and the sharp blow makes the Amazon blink. When her vision clears she is back in the book store reading the comic!
She turns to the Dream Merchant and asks if it was really all a dream? Or did he really time-transport her back into the past? Where she had to fight her battle against the Brain Pirate all over again but this time with doom the penalty for losing? She leaves the silent, smiling Dream Merchant and exits the store, wondering whether he is the most powerful villain of all time, able to force her to fight villains she had defeated in the past? She decides she will have to return and let her next visit tell the story!