The first of these two golden age stories concerns an Amazon named Tonia who challenges Diana for the right to be “Wonder Woman”, arguing that she can do a better job in Man’s World. This scenario was re-used on a couple more occasions during both pre and post crisis eras.
In issue 250 another Amazon named Orana challenges the Princess to a new contest for the right to be Wonder Woman. She wins on a technicality and ventures forth into Man’s World, closely followed by Diana. Orana is then subsequently slain by a villain named Warhead.
Some time later in issue 90 of the post crisis run, yet another challenger steps forward in the form of Artemis, who challenges and subsequently beats Diana in a new contest, before going forth into Man’s World as the new “Wonder Woman”. Her time as the Amazon’s Ambassador to Patriarch’s World is short lived however, as Artemis is eventually killed while battling the White Magician and Diana once more assumes the title.
Synopsis - First Story
On Paradise Island, Tonia, an Amazon scientist, tests her latest experiment. She swallows the “power pill” she has invented and thinks to herself that both Wonder Woman and her mother, Queen Hippolyta are in for a surprise!
She then joins her sister Amazons and the queen in front of the unique Time and Space Televisor screen. They all watch the real time images of Diana been relayed from Man’s World, as she transforms into Wonder Woman. The Amazon Princess drifts down on air currents from a rooftop to meet Steve Trevor waiting in his jeep below. But she sees that the Air Force Colonel is being menaced by gunmen who have pulled up alongside.
As the gunmen try to force Steve into their vehicle he recklessly charges at them but is quickly clubbed unconscious by a pistol butt. As they step forward to carry him away, Wonder Woman appears from nowhere and they instinctively open fire on her. Their bullets however prove useless against her bracelets and she proceeds to tear into them, disarming them and capturing them with her lasso. As the police arrive to take them away, Wonder Woman checks on Steve, giving him a passionate kiss on the cheek. He slowly comes to and asks her to keep kissing him! She smiles back; relieved he is fine and says that she must leave now to go back to Paradise Island in order to watch the Annual Victor’s Wish Competition.
The watching Amazons are enthralled by their Princess’ exploits as a smiling Tonia muses how she is going to win the contest and get her wish! The next day Wonder Woman and Queen Hippolyta take their seats in the Amphitheatre to watch the contest. Tonia easily wins the sprint event and the Princess comments to her mother that she has never seen anyone win so easily. Hippolyta replies that only Diana herself had ever won so convincingly, although there were still another two events to go.
However, in the following high jumping event the Amazon scientist again casually out performs her sisters, finishing off a clean sweep by overpowering all her competitors in the final wrestling event! She presents herself to the Royal Box and in front of the watching Amazons, requests that it is her wish to go to Man’s World and battle crime and injustice just like Wonder Woman! Hippolyta asks Tonia to reconsider, reminding what a terrible price Diana had paid to remain in the outside world – none other than losing her immortality! But Tonia is adamant that she wants to depart Paradise Island and that by Aphrodite’s code, the queen must accede to her wishes because Tonia has proven she can do anything that Wonder Woman can do.
For her part, the Amazon Princess agrees with Tonia, adding that she will ensure no harm comes to the young Amazon. While unconvinced, the Queen reluctantly has to trust her daughter and thus agrees to let Tonia venture forth into Man’s World. As Wonder Woman leads Tonia away, the other Amazons wonder how Diana can possibly solve the dilemma of letting Tonia leave the island without endangering herself by the resultant loss of her immortality.
In Tonia’s laboratory, Wonder Woman whispers into the scientist’s ear, explaining her plan. Tonia agrees to go along with it but thinks to herself that she is confident she can prove her power and thus her right to be in Man’s World!
Time passes as the Amazons gather around the viewing screen once more to watch Wonder Woman pilot her plane back to Man’s World together with its new passenger, Tonia. They watch as the Princess tells Tonia she will let the young Amazon handle three cases that Wonder Woman would normally have to handle. If she succeeds with but one case she will win – if not she will lose. The confident Tonia replies that she cannot fail to win the challenge and will in fact succeed in all three!
The plane touches down at a Charity Carnival and Wonder Woman explains to Tonia that the event is being attended by the richest socialites, with all their priceless jewellery. She is supposed to perform some stunts to raise money for the charity. Tonia responds “Here’s a stunt for you!” and points to a couple of armed hoods holding up the operator of the Ferris Wheel. Wonder Woman’s keen eyesight however spots that the real crime is taking place from a helicopter above, from which the gang members are robbing each occupant of the Ferris Wheel carriages. She is about to leap up and stop them when Tonia reminds her that Wonder Woman had challenged her to handle such situations. Tonia instantly leaps up to the top of the Wheel while Wonder Woman takes care of the two hoods holding up the Operator.
Meanwhile above, the daring mid air robbery continues as the passengers are forced to hand over their jewels. Tonia continues to climb stealthily up the Wheel’s superstructure but when the pilot catches sight of her, he suddenly tilts his copter so that the skids knock her out, sending her toppling. She falls towards the ground but is saved from death by Wonder Woman who catches her in mid air. Placing her safely on the ground, the Amazon Princess then leaps skywards and unleashes her golden lasso so that it wraps around the copter’s rotor blades. The craft stalls and begins to fall earthwards. Wonder Woman catches it before it crashes to the ground. The two gunmen inside tell she is a fool to save them because now they are just going to fill her full of lead! But they leap out of the helicopter and walk into a whirlwind of fists as the Amazon Princess takes them down swiftly.
Later, as the police lead the gang away into custody, Tonia tells Wonder Woman she is feeling fine now and that she has only failed one challenge – there are still two more. Just then a newsflash comes over the receiver in the invisible plane, announcing that a priceless shipment of Radium has been stolen from Civic Hospital. One of the robbers has been captured and has confessed that the precious material is being spirited out of the State by a Motor Cycle contestant no. 66 in the Snake Curve Mountain Motor Cycle race.
A moment later the tow Amazons are flying towards the destination and Wonder Woman reminds Tonia that exposure to Radium can be harmful and they must recover it quickly. Soon they are swooping low over the route of the race and spot No.66 who is in last place. She tells Tonia to remain on board while she captures the felon but as she leaps out onto the wing, Tonia follows and says that she intends to take this on as her second challenge. The Amazon Princess has no choice but to keep her promise but warns the eager Amazon to be careful.
As Tonia leaps down towards the motorcyclist though, he maliciously steps off with the Radium leaving Tonia to land on a rider less bike, which careers out of control over the edge of a cliff. Wonder Woman moves to quickly to apprehend the escaping felon with one end of her lasso while using the other to ensnare Tonia, pulling her to safety.
With the crook and the Radium back in the hands of the Authorities, Tonia admits that her rashness had caused her to fail a second time but she still has one more chance.
The Amazons re board the invisible plane and continue to patrol the skies. It is not long however before they pick up a distress signal coming from a Professor Clayton Gissing, who’s underwater Bathysphere has been kidnapped by a spy sub! He tells them that he is being towed away but any hope of rescue may be impossible as the spies have ringed his Bathysphere with magnetic mines that will explode on anyone’s approach! Wonder Woman explains to the listening Tonia that the Professor is America’s greatest authority on undersea life. He must be rescued before the spies wrest all of his secrets from him.
Tonia instantly dives down into the water as Wonder Woman warns her that this is a job for her. But the young Amazon is determined to prove herself. The events are watched back on Paradise Island and the Amazons watch in horror as Tonia is blown apart by the mines! Wonder Woman responds by diving down into the water herself and using her lasso to explode the mines at a distance safely. She could have told Tonia to do the same if the young Amazon had not rushed off so impatiently. As the spy sub realises the Professor is being rescued, they launch a Torpedo at the Bathysphere but Wonder Woman uses her lasso again to capture it and send it back to where it came from! As she drags the bathysphere to safety the Spy Sub is destroyed!
Wonder Woman swiftly returns to Paradise Island and greets her fellow sister with a smile. However, a stern faced Hippolyta asks how her daughter can possible smile when she is responsible for allowing Tonia to die in Man’s World? The Amazon Princess indicates them to follow her to Tonia’s laboratory, where they are amazed to see the young Amazon is alive and well and sitting at a console. She explains that Wonder Woman had made her promise to let a robot replica of herself take her place. She had controlled its every action from back here at Paradise Island. Now that she has seen what could happen to her out in Man’s World, she has learned her lesson and realises that nobody can take the place of Wonder Woman!
Synopsis - Second Story
Wonder Woman finds herself trapped inside an upside down test tube labelled “Last Amazon” which is being held by a giant. She assumes she must be having some sort of terrible nightmare. Glancing around she is startled to see other labelled test tubes including one marked “Last Soldier”, inside of which is Steve Trevor! She thinks to herself that some sort of terrible catastrophe must have befallen Earth and that they are the last humans left alive!
Looking at the massive purple hand holding her test tube, she deduces that its owner must belong to someone from the planet Jupiter! Perhaps the Jovians are now occupying the Earth? She peers out of the nearby window and realises she is no longer on Earth but on Jupiter itself! Impatiently, the Wonder Woman throws off the test tube, startling her captor who thought she was dead. He asks if she is hungry or thirsty and she replies that she wants to know what is going on here!
The giant Jovian carries the minute Amazon over to a display screen which shows a play back of Martians invading her home of Paradise Island. The scene then changes to show her sisters Amazons lying unconscious on the ground as the invaders storm the city. The image shows Wonder Woman and her mother, Queen Hippolyta lying lifeless on the ground, having been defeated. The Martian leader tells his soldiers that with the Amazons rendered unconscious, the Earth is theirs for the taking! He laughs as he holds up a jewel case, saying that only a woman would fall for such a simple trick as this.
The Amazon Princess watches the screen intently, wondering what the secret of that case is. The Jovian then shows her what had happened next, as Earth’s was soon destroyed by the Martian forces. She was among the few specimens of Earthlings the Jovians had managed to collect for their interplanetary Museum. It seemed that she was the only Amazon who managed to throw off the effects of the gas the Martians used to attack the Amazons.
Suddenly, Wonder Woman has a startling idea. She tells the Jovian that is she can go back and stop the Martians from landing on Paradise Island, then the Amazons will not be vanquished and the Earth will not be subsequently destroyed! The Jovian replies that she does not know what the secret trick is that the invaders had used to land. She pleads with the Jovian to at least let her try and so he places her under a Time Beam to send her back to the period before the Martians arrived.
Wonder Woman is hurled backwards through the time stream and finally is returned to Paradise Island on the day of her birthday celebrations, where she is greeted by her mother. The Amazon Princess thinks to herself that she must discover the secret trick in order to save her Amazon sisters. As Wonder Woman’s birthday feast begins, she comments to her mother that almost every Amazon seems to be here at the palace – who is guarding the island? Hippolyta assures her that all the guards are at their posts and their radar system is functioning normally.
During the feast an Amazon soldier approaches the Queen and presents a Jewel Box that they had discovered washed up on the shore. The Queen takes the beautiful case from her and prepares to open it up to see what is inside. Wonder Woman immediately snatches the box from her hands, warning her not to open the box no matter what! She leaps off the nearby cliff carrying the case with her, shouting back that she will explain everything later.
Wonder Woman then dives down into the depths of the ocean, being careful to avoid the network of underwater mines that protect Paradise Island from submarine invasion. Once on the sea bed she carefully opens the case and is surprised to see dozens of miniature Martians and their invasion craft. As they swarm out of the box they quickly grow to full size and Wonder Woman wastes no time in beating them back. As she desperately battles the invaders, several ships open fire at her with their canons, trying to stop her from warning the other Amazons. She swims back towards the shoreline being pursued by the fleet and manages to reach the mine field, darting between the deadly explosives. The Martian ships are unable to change course and plough unwittingly into the mines, which totally destroy the entire fleet.
Back on dry land, Wonder Woman tells Hippolyta and the other Amazons the whole story and the Queen thanks the Gods that her daughter had managed to break the chain of events. The Amazons have been saved and as a result the Earth has been saved too, thanks to Wonder Woman!