This issue is the final story before the Wonder Woman character receives a major (and some may argue drastic) overhaul. With sales of the book ever declining, the editorial staff at DC decided to take a gamble and re-fashion their most iconic female hero to match the times. In issue 178, they set about putting that vision in motion, which sees almost everything that William Moulton Marston had created thrown away and replaced by a hip, sixties, female version of James Bond, which some have suggested bore more than a passing resemblance to Diana Rigg’s character, “Emma Peel”, who starred in the popular TV show “The Avengers”. Below is the announcement that appears at the end of the issue.
Even to this day fans remain divided about this bold new direction. Did it help save a book that was fast approaching cancellation or was it a travesty, merely pandering to the popularistic fad of the moment? Either way, the new, “improved” Wonder Woman would be around for a few years before a halt was called to the great experiment as a result of public demand.
As this was a “final” issue of sorts, DC took the opportunity of having Supergirl guest star and having the novelty of their two most famous heroines battling each other “to the death”.
In a peaceful, far distant solar system a strange, fearsome figure casts his ominous shadow over one of the planets, spreading terror and destruction. Soon the entire world falls victim to the evil presence of a terrifying alien ruler. Then, one by one the neighbouring planets topple under the onslaught of his troops until at last the final planet falls to the unstoppable alien menace known as Klamos!
The helmeted super human and his mysterious little ally, Grok, descend from his space craft as the people of the newly conquered world kneel before him. However, one of the inhabitants refuses to bow before the dictator and Grok tells the foolhardy citizen that he will pay for defying Klamos. With that he orders everyone to shield their eyes as Klamos points his helmet visor and disintegrates the rebellious citizen. Grok tells the others that they will know only death if they dare defy the mighty Klamos!
A little later that same day Klamos summons his council. Sitting on his throne he tells them that the galaxy is his but there remains one thing missing – a Queen fit to rule beside him! She must be the most beautiful and powerful female of any world. He then orders them to go out into the cosmos and find such a woman.
His word is law and instantly emissaries speed in all directions to seek a suitable queen for the dictator. One ship heads towards our own galaxy and home in on Earth. Using their scanners the two crewmen see Wonder Woman appear on their console screen in combat with a group of female crooks. Impressed by what they see they prepare to capture her but suddenly one of the female villains opens fire with her laser. They fear that the Amazon Princess is obviously done for but watch in awe as she uses her bracelets to effortlessly deflect the deadly ray. As Wonder Woman reflects their own weapon back at the crooks, knocking them out, the crewmen begin to wonder how they will be able to capture such an invincible opponent.
Suddenly another of their screens flickers into life as their scanners detect another super powered female, this time in the form of Supergirl! The Maid of Might is underwater, battling a group of frogmen who are armed with harpoon guns. She easily knocks them flying and as she surfaces she thinks to herself how grateful she is that the sun is bright and yellow today, or otherwise if it was red she would lose her powers. The watching crewman’s scanners pick up on the Kryptonian girl’s thoughts and one of the crewman states that this female will be an easier catch for them. The other one agrees but adds that he also has an idea how they might be able to overcome Wonder Woman too. They will then take both females back to Klamos so he can choose who will be his queen.
Their sinister plan is set into action as they use their vessel’s spectrum beam to turn the sun red. Back down on Earth, the unwitting Supergirl is still embroiled in combat against her foes. Suddenly she is punched by one of the frogmen and reeling from the blow, sees that the sun has turned red! As her power continues to fade the frogmen see their chance and continue to pound her into unconsciousness. The watching crewmen then turn their attention to the Amazing Amazon.
Unaware of Supergirl’s plight, a patrolling Wonder Woman spies a potential disaster below her. As she swoops down an old man is wheeling his cart across the railway tracks just as an express train bears down upon him. She manages to snatch the old man out of harm’s way just in time and he asks her how he can possibly thank her for saving his life. She smiles and replies that he simply needs to promise to watch where he is going next time. But the old man in insistent and produces a pair of beaded bracelets as a token of thanks. Not wanting to hurt his feelings she accepts them but as she puts them on her she suddenly fins to her horror that they become handcuffs! With her hands bound, she instantly loses her powers as the old man removes his disguise to reveal himself to be one of the crewmen.
As she is lifted by up towards the hovering spacecraft, she sees Supergirl is also being kidnapped. The Maid of Might tells her that they appear to be up against some pretty powerful beings this time – powerful enough even to turn the sun red. For the first time in their lives, the world’s most powerful females find themselves joint prisoners on board the vessel and are equally both powerless to escape! The crewmen speed swiftly back to their own galaxy with their prize and soon the super heroines find themselves standing in an arena alongside other females from many different alien species. On a spectators box overlooking the arena, Klamos with the ever vigilant Grok standing alongside him, addresses the gathered prisoners. He welcomes them and tells them that tomorrow they will engage in combat against each other for the right to be his queen. Wonder Woman and Supergirl look at each other. “Is he kidding?”.
The “contestants” are then taken back to their cells overnight and Supergirl tells Wonder Woman that they need to make a plan to stop Klamos. The Amazon replies that she is not really worried, as he cannot force them to fight if they refuse. Tomorrow they will just let all the other combatants fight each other while they play possum. Once the contest is ended and Klamos has chosen his new queen he will simply send the “rejects” home. Supergirl hopes she is right.
Early the next day the combatants are gathered again in the arena as Klamos tells them that when the signal is given battle will commence. Next instant all hell breaks lose as the alien contestants use every weapon in their arsenal to take down their opponents. As Laser beams and missiles fill the air accompanied by the cry of victims and the crash of explosions, Wonder Woman and Supergirl do their best to keep their heads down! When the smoke of battle finally clears however the two heroines are dismayed to find that they are the only two left standing! Supergirl whispers sarcastically, congratulating Wonder Woman on her great plan as Klamos announces that the two remaining most powerful women will battle each other to win the right to rule by his side.
Wonder Woman steps forward and tells him he can forget it. Supergirl agrees and adds that they will not be fighting each other, or anybody else for that matter – except perhaps him! The ever vigilant Grok then tells them that they must obey Klamos’ command. One of them will be queen or else they will both die! As Supergirl spits back that she would like to see them try, Wonder Woman ponders to herself how odd it is that the little runt Grok always keeps his hands hidden. Perhaps…
Suddenly Klamos fires a beam that floors both heroines and as they find themselves paralysed, a display screen shows an image of Earth. He points to it and says that unless they fight each other to the death a single press of the button in his hand will signal his fleet to destroy their home planet. The two heroines look at each other despairingly as Supergirl asks what they should do and the Amazon Princess simply replies “First of all…we fight!”. With that, they are escorted back to their cells to await morning and a battle in which one of them must fall!
As dawn fast approaches, Wonder Woman quietly ponders their situation. They have but one chance – if her suspicions are right they may be able to save themselves and Earth. But if she is wrong…
Just then a guard arrives and tells them it is time. They are lead out into the arena for the final time as the crowds cheer, anticipating the brutal battle to come. As the two heroines face each other, Supergirl tells her friend that she is ready for her. Wonder Woman replies that the Maid of Might had better be, because she intends to hit her with everything she has!
The signal is given and they leap towards each other, fists flying! Wonder Woman lands a powerful punch and smiling, tells the stunned Supergirl that it is her “Sunday Punch! Might as well get this over with”. As Supergirl collapses to the floor reeling, she thinks to herself that the Amazon Princess punches like ten heavyweights. As Wonder Woman advances to finish off the Kryptonian, Supergirl leaps to her feet and charges like a Rhino into Wonder Woman’s mid-drift, sending her sprawling. Straddling the Amazon on the ground, she trades punches as Wonder Woman tells her that her friend may be tough but she intends to knock that out of her!
She manages to get to her feet and grabs Supergirl around the neck from behind. “Let’s see you get out of this one!” she snaps but Supergirl for her part dislodges Wonder Woman and hefts her up above her head. She then begins to spin the surprised Amazon at super speed as she tells her opponent that nobody has ever been able to survive her airplane spin – and Wonder Woman will not either! With that she lets go and the helpless Wonder Woman sails across the arena, smashing into the viewing box where Klamos and Grok watch enthralled.
Seeing the lifeless Amazon, they assume Supergirl is victorious but they have been victims of a ruse. Wonder Woman suddenly springs into life and grabbing Grok, hurls him into the arena where the waiting Supergirl catches him by the arm. She tears away his sleeve to reveal a control device strapped to his wrist. Wonder Woman tells Supergirl to start hammering at the buttons and as the Maid of Might’s fingers move across the keypad in a blur, the control piece overloads and Klamos suddenly explodes into fragments.
Wonder Woman’s hunch had been correct that Klamos was nothing but a robot, created and controlled by Grok to rule the galaxy for him. The watching crowds cannot believe their eyes as Grok, now held prisoner by the two heroines, tells them that he is really Klamos! But because he is too ugly and too dwarfish to be accepted as a leader, he had created one that people would fear and obey. Now these meddling females had ruined everything! Wonder Woman tells the crowds in the arena below that Grok and his robot are finished. They should now spread the word throughout the galaxy that his rule is over and they are free again!
But Grok has other plans and tearing himself away momentarily, he tells Supergirl and Wonder Woman that they may have beaten him this time but he can still roam the universe in other forms. He adds that they will pay for what they have done to him as he begins to fade and disappearing in a crackle of energy, adds that perhaps their own planet, Earth, will be his next conquest.