Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 208


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 208

General Info

Issue No:
208
On Sale Date:
July 1973
Cover Date:
October-November 1973
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Titanic Trials
The Chessmen of Death

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Rick Estrada, Vince Colletta
Writer:
William Moulton Marston
Penciller:
Rick Estrada
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
Not Stated
Colourist:
Not Stated
Editor:
Robert Kanigher

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Inventa, Torcha, The Chequerians
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta (Hippolyte)
Other:
N/A
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Comments

As per the previous issue, this continues the approach of printing Golden Age story reprints with new art.

Synopsis - First Story

This story continues on from the previous issue and begins on the Island of Cadmea where Wonder Woman is given her first trial – the Doom of the Rolling Stone. Inventa instructs the Amazon Princess to roll a massive boulder up to the top of a hill and tells her that if she fails, her mother and all of the Amazon prisoners will be executed.

As Wonder Woman commences rolling the rock up the hill, she finds that it is not as heavy as she expected and puzzles as to why this is deemed to be so great a task. Suddenly, just as she nears the summit, the rock is somehow yanked from her grasp and begins to roll down the hill.

Quickly, the sure-footed Wonder Woman races back down the slope and manages to stop the boulder before it reaches the bottom. Again she rolls it up the hill and again, within inches of the summit, it is pulled from her grasp and rolls back down. Wonder Woman realises that the rock must contain metal and is being attracted by some sort of magnet hidden down below. She sees that the stone is rolling in the direction of one of the tents where Inventa stands smiling. For a second time she races back down the slope and overtakes the rock – but this time she uses her fist to smash the boulder back up to the summit before the magnet can be activated again, thus completing the first trial.

As Queen Hippolyta congratulates her daughter, Inventa tells Wonder Woman that for the second trial she must protect herself from being slain by her own images. A puzzled Amazon is taken to a room to face the Doom of the Blinding Mirrors and, true to its name, she finds herself surrounded my mirrors whose glare is almost unbearable.

As she still muses over inventa’s cryptic remark she suddenly realises that her reflections are stepping out of the mirrors towards her! unsure whether she is seeing a mirage or is the victim of some sort of hypnotic suggestion, she never the less uses her bracelets to protect herself from a barrage of daggers thrown by her attackers. As she engages her doppelgangers she discovers that they are nothing more than impostors, dressed up to look like her and she swiftly deals with them before emerging from the room triumphantly. One of Inventa’s accomplices, by the name of Torcha, asks her leader why they are taking chances with these trials and demands to execute Wonder Woman and the others at once. Inventa replies that she will not admit defeat to the Amazons and assures Torcha that she has taken care of everything.

Shortly afterwards, Wonder Woman is placed in the Doom of the Labyrinth, where for her third trial she must find her way out within one minute. The Amazing Amazon races through the baffling twists and turns of the maze, trying to find the exit before the time limit is up. She soon realises that speed is not enough and that she must be scientific about her search. Cleverly, she shouts at the top of her voice and uses the resulting vibrations to determine which passageways are blind alleys. With one second to spare, Wonder Woman emerges from the labyrinth and completes the trial.

For her fourth and final trial, she is taken to a nearby field which has been sown with ‘dragon’s teeth’. Inventa tells Wonder Woman that all she has to do is run across it – but warns that if she steps on any teeth they may ‘bite’.

The fearless Amazon begins to sprint across the field but accidentally clips one of the teeth. Immediately, it explodes hurling her into the air. As she manages to land agilely back on her feet she realises that these ‘dragon’s teeth’ are actually booby traps wired to explode on contact. She begins to race across the field again but this time ensures that she leaps a split second before each explosion she accidentally triggers.

As the other Amazons cheer their Princess, she completes the final Doom and Torcha tells Inventa that they have lost. But Inventa has other ideas and adds a fifth Doom!

As Wonder Woman approaches, saying that she has won by Inventa’s own rules, the treacherous woman ropes the Amazon Princess using the Magic Lasso. She orders Wonder Woman to summon her invisible plane and instruct it to fly Torcha to Man’s World, where they will collect Colonel Steve Trevor. Remembering what Wonder Woman had told her earlier, Inventa realises that once a man sets foot on Paradise Island, the Amazons are lost! And so, as Torcha departs in the invisible jet, Inventa, her followers and their Amazon prisoners leave the Island of Cadmea and return to Paradise Island to await Torcha’s return.

In moments, Wonder Woman’s invisible jet arrives at Steve’s Headquarters and Torcha tries to lure the colonel by telling him that Wonder Woman is in deadly danger and needs his help on Paradise Island. Steve, however, instantly realises that Torcha is a fraud as he knows that no man can set foot on the Amazon’s island home, but as he tries to stop her she clouts him over the head with a rifle butt.

Soon, the waiting Amazon prisoners on Paradise Island hear the whine of an approaching jet and Inventa triumphantly orders the still bound Wonder Woman to instruct it to land – thus sealing the Amazons doom! Unable to resist, the Amazon Princess obeys but just as it is about to touch down she hurls herself in front of it. The wing tip clips the Amazon and wrenches her free from Inventa’s grasp. Instantly, Wonder Woman orders the plane not to land but to circle above the island while Steve remains on board.

With Wonder Woman free, Inventa and her followers cause is lost and they are soon all rounded up and returned to Transformation Island. A grateful Queen Hippolyta thanks her daughter and asks whether she will see her again soon. The Amazon Princess assures her mother that she will be there whenever she is needed, although ‘the mess men are making of their own world keeps her busy’.

Boarding her invisible jet, she returns to Man’s World with Steve Trevor.

Synopsis - Second Story

The story opens far out in space, where a far off planet suddenly explodes. The event is watched with interest by Queen Hippolyta and her daughter, Diana. The queen wonders what force of nature has caused the explosion and muses that one day Wonder Woman may be in a position to discover the cause of such disasters. Diana, in her Wonder Woman costume, then bids farewell to her mother and returns to Man’s World using her invisible jet.

Wonder Woman bores down to a sub-oceanic well!As she emerges from the clouds, however, she is shocked to see that the ocean has dried up! Dozens of ships lie stranded on the now exposed seabed and Wonder Woman quickly reacts to rectify the problem. Using a large sea shell as a shovel, she digs a canal to the coast. Next the Amazing Amazon digs down into the seabed and strikes a sub oceanic well, which proceeds to flood the newly dug canal with water , thus allowing the stricken ships to sail to safety!

Her work done, Wonder Woman continues her journey home when suddenly she witnesses a huge mountain begin moving of its own accord towards a nearby city. Once more leaping into action, she lassos the mountain and stops it advancing further and causing any more damage.

She begins to suspect a connection between the two events but her thoughts are interrupted when she receives an emergency call from Colonel Steve Trevor, who asks her to pick him up from a nearby air base. Moments later, Steve is onboard and explains that some unknown force is turning the world ‘topsy turvy’. Wonder Woman surmises that the threat is coming from outer space and they proceed to hurtle up through the atmosphere and out into space.

To their amazement, they fly towards a gigantic chessboard floating in the void, with the very planets themselves being used as chess pieces! As they watch, a beam of light hits the Earth and moves it along the board towards the flaming sun. As a second beam shoots down to move another ‘piece’ they decide to follow the path of the beams to their planet of origination.

They land and soon discover two huge figures, known as Chequerians,operating a chessboard like control panel. Wonder Woman tells Steve that she recognises the beings from her Amazon astronomy books, which had indicated that the entire race and their planet, Chequerana, were extinct.

Steve reminds her that their chess game is destroying the Earth and she tries to reason with the two cosmic chess players, explaining that while the Chequerians consider Earth to be nothing more than a pawn, in reality it was a vibrant planet inhabited by millions of innocent people.

The Chequerians, however, are unimpressed with her plea and fire paralysis beams at the two humans. Wonder Woman again tries to reason with them but they explain that they no longer care about human life ever since their own world was nearly destroyed. Apparently, their society had always settled disputes through games of chess, but after a while money lost its value and they began to play for higher stakes – each others lives! Eventually, only the two of them remained to play the final game. But these last two Chequerians had realised that their death would mean the end of Chequerana and had decided to use heavenly bodies as pieces instead, moving them by means of cosmic energy. Whenever two planets touched, they would explode but whatever the result of the game, the two Chequerians lived on to play again.

Wonder Woman realises that she must stop their insane game and manages to overcome her paralysis enough to grab Steve and board her invisible jet. As they make their escape, they are forced to dodge devastatingly powerful cosmic rays being fired at them by the two giants. Steve thinks Wonder Woman has lost control of her jet when they head straight towards a mammoth meteor, but she deftly lands her plane on the rock. She informs him that she has a plan.

She begins to use her lasso to rub away the surface of the meteor until it begins to shine and reflect light. Next she lassos the meteor and begins to tow it behind the plane, ensuring that the shiny side is furthest away. Once more, cosmic beams shoot out towards the fleeing humans but this time they hit the polished surface of the rock and are reflected back towards the planet Chequerana, which is instantly destroyed in a blinding explosion! The game is at an end.

As Wonder Woman and Steve make their way back to Earth, the Amazing Amazon asks “When will men learn the truth which women know from the cradle on…that violence is a booby trap which will explode in their own hands?