Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 221


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 221

General Info

Issue No:
221
On Sale Date:
September 1975
Cover Date:
December 1975 - January 1976
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Fiend with the Face of Glass!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ernie Chan
Writer:
Martin Pasko
Penciller:
Curt Swan
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
Not Stated
Colourist:
Not Stated
Editor:
Julius Schwartz

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)
Heroes:
Green Arrow, Superman, Hawkman, The Atom, Flash, Batman
Villains:
Marjorie Sallinger (Doctor Cyber)
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Dr. Gustav Renault, Princess Elaa
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Comments

This issue features the return of one of Wonder Woman’s arch enemies, Doctor Cyber.

Synopsis

Following straight on from the previous issue, Hawkman makes his report to the other members of the Justice League. Before he begins to describe Wonder Woman’s adventure in the Catskills, he shocks the others by pronouncing that there are in fact two Amazing Amazons living simultaneously! The Atom was monitoring one of these Wonder Women in Manhattan at precisely the same time as Hawkman was monitoring the other in up state New York. Hawkman then distributes headsets to the Leaguers, explaining that he has used a device called a Persona Tracker (used by police on his world) to record Diana’s memories which he will now play back to them…

The playback begins at Sallinger’s Resort Hotel high in the Catskills where Diana Prince is on assignment. She is attending a hastily convened summit together with other UN Crisis Bureau agents. At the head of the table is Princess Elaa of the Himilayan nation of Khimyo. Diana is explaining to her that the Princess underestimates the power of the Psycho-Chemical that Khimyo’s scientists have developed. If the world discovers that the formula locked inside Elaa’s case can change an enemy’s personality, it may trigger the ‘strangest and deadliest arms race in history!’ She therefore pleads with Princess Elaa to surrender the formula to the UN in order to prevent this from happening. Yawning, Elaa agrees to give it her ‘utmost consideration’ and declares the conference at an end

Later, Diana chats to her old friend and the Resort’s proprietor, Marjorie Sallinger. Marjorie says she is sorry that Diana will be leaving so soon and she replies that the conference has met a stalemate. She then asks Marjorie if something is going on at the resort as she has seen several female celebrities there – all incognito. Marjorie makes a comment about Diana’s curiosity and shows her to a door, telling her the answer can be found inside, after which she leaves. Throughout the conversation they have just had however, their movements have been monitored through the sights of a rifle…

As Marjorie walks up the corridor she is suddenly grabbed from behind by an unseen assailant, who tells her that she has told the UN chick’ too much already. Meanwhile, Diana has stepped inside the room to find it full of aging beauties from around the world. They are being addressed by Dr. Gustav Renault, the celebrated cosmetician. As she scans the room she also spots Princess Elaa!

Dr. Renault explains to his audience that his specially developed Masque is a cold cream that, unlike “wrinkle creams”, works below the epidermis to tighten muscle tissue. Virtually a ‘face lift in a jar’! Diana decides to leave them to it.

Next morning Diana awakes and decides to stay on at the hotel in the hope of reasoning some more with Princess Elaa, even though Diana has appointments back at the UN (At the same moment in New York, the Atom is witnessing Diana returning to New York – see previous issue)

Later that evening as Diana is reading in her room, she suddenly hears a scream outside in the corridor and sees a woman being abducted by two men. Instantly, she transforms into Wonder Woman and smashes through the wall. Giving chase down the corridor, she sees them enter a broom cupboard.

Meanwhile, her movements are being monitored by remote camera and the unseen viewer realises that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are one and the same person.

As Wonder Woman enters the cupboard too, she finds it is empty. Suddenly, the floor opens beneath her and she plummets down a narrow shaft. Landing with a thud a few seconds later, she finds herself in complete darkness. She hears a voice booming out, welcoming her just like the ‘spider to the fly’. A monitor screen then lights up revealing Dr. Gustav Renault chained to a table with a pipe suspended above his face. The voice tells Wonder Woman that in five minutes he will drown in liquid plastic unless she finds him in time.

In the pitch blackness, the Amazing Amazon realises that this task is almost insurmountable but she nevertheless tries to find her way out. Testing the way ahead by spinning her lasso in front of her, she triggers a spiked death trap which she manages to avoid. Next she uses her Tiara as a boomerang to see if there are any more surprises ahead but her Tiara returns safely. She continues on and soon begins to feel a heat source in front of her. Unable to see what it is, she deduces that it is some sort of electrified barrier and using her lasso, she manages to scale the wall next to the entrance way and jumps over the top of the barrier.

She realises she must be getting close when all of a sudden the lights come on. She finds herself in a chamber together with the bound Dr. Renault. Quickly, she breaks the chains that bind him but he does not get up. Seeing that the pipe above his head is about to discharge its lethal contents, she manages to pull him off the table just in time.

But as she checks his pulse she discovers that he is already dead and the booming voice coming from a balcony above informs her that he was dead all along. Then the unseen figure on the balcony gives an order to destroy ‘Wonder Woman’ and the Amazon Princess finds herself being charged at by four men.

As she takes care of her attackers, she tells the figure above that she deplores violence and prefers to reason with her enemies – but one can only reason with humans. Throwing the last of the men into a nearby computer data bank causes him to smash into pieces, revealing himself and the others to be nothing more then androids – just as Wonder Woman had deduced.

Furious, the figure on the balcony tells the Amazon that she has won this round and that she should leave! Throwing a switch, a beam of light lifts Wonder Woman back up into the shaft from which she came. As she disappears up into it, another figure approaches the one on the balcony, asking why the opportunity to assassinate Wonder Woman has been missed? This new arrival is Princess Elaa, and she is addressing none other than Marjorie Sallinger!

Marjorie replies that she has a more fitting way for Wonder Woman to die. Elaa then retorts that she has kept her side of the bargain and given Marjorie the Psycho Chemical formula. Now she is awaiting her reward – the chance to become beautiful. Marjorie replies that the Beauty Masque formula had been stored in the data bank which Wonder Woman had accidentally destroyed in the fight, and since its creator, Dr. Renault, was now dead there was no longer any need for Elaa to be around. With that, she shoots the Princess dead!

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman finds herself back inside the broom cupboard and she realises that her foe has some clever technologies at their disposal Believing that they will therefore be prepared for ‘Wonder Woman’ next time, she decides to continue her investigations in her Diana Prince guise.

A little later, she takes the opportunity to have dinner with Marjorie who afterwards invites Diana to follow her. When she does, Diana finds herself with a gun pointing at her and as she tries to move her hands, Marjorie instructs her to keep them still as she knows that her Magic Lasso is always at her side, even though a special vibratory field keeps it invisible. In other words – she knows Diana is really Wonder Woman!

As they descend into the chamber again, Diana cannot believe that her friend has betrayed her but her captor reveals that she is not the real Marjorie Sallinger. Suddenly, Diana jabs her elbow back and knocks the gun from her captors grip. She tells the fake Marjorie that since she already knows Diana’s real identity, there is nothing stopping her transforming into Wonder Woman in front of her – which she promptly does.

However, far from being intimidated, the fake Marjorie tells Wonder Woman that the Amazon Princess is overwhelmed with snarling rage and that she wants to murder the ‘fake’ Marjorie Instantly filling with hatred and anger, Wonder Woman throws a wild punch at her foe and only just misses her quarry.

Suddenly, from a nozzle above her head, Wonder Woman finds herself deluged with liquid plastic which soon covers her entirely. Her opponent tells her that she must pay for destroying the Beauty Masque formula and ruining her one last chance to become beautiful.

She then informs a now cocooned Wonder Woman that she has stripped the Amazon of her own heritage by making her break her code of non violence. Also, the more she struggles inside the solidified liquid plastic film, the more it will contract around her. She gleefully reveals that Diana’s meal had been treated with the Psycho Chemical and that her subsequent lasso costume change had activated the chemical in her blood stream making her super violent.

As the cocoon continues to shrink around the helpless Amazon, the fake Marjorie revels in Wonder Woman’s shame at her own brutality, revealing that only a genius could humiliate the Amazing Amazon and make her suffer so exquisitely – a genius such as Dr. Cyber!

Wonder Woman gasps in horror having thought that her old nemesis was dead. Cyber then activates a switch on her necklace which makes her glass mask fade into transparency, revealing the hideous face beneath. Cyber blames Wonder Woman for the explosion which caused her disfigurement and as the suffocating Amazon finally collapses, Cyber swears she will have her revenge.

When the Amazon Princess eventually regains consciousness, she finds herself strapped to a sled inside a tent. Cyber and a man named Professor Moon are leaning over her and her foe informs her that Moon is about to perform an operation to remove Wonder Woman’s face and graft it onto Cyber, making her beautiful again. Once finished, they will then dispose of Wonder Woman’s disfigured body by sending the sled thundering down the ski slope and into a chasm. Cyber then explains that Professor Moon had been the one who had advised her to wear an exoskeleton mask to hold what was left of her face together. She had then planned to disfigure the other women who were hoping to use the Beauty Masque formula and keep the treatment for herself.

Suddenly though, Wonder Woman surprises them both by regaining her strength much quicker than they had expected and knocks the scalpel from Moon’s hand. As she attempts to break free from her bindings, Moon panics and releases the sled sending it sliding down the slope. Cyber curses him, saying that she does want the Amazon dead but not before she has taken her face. She then promptly gives chase using the nearby chair lift.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman has finally freed herself from her bonds and, still driven by pure hatred, stands up on the moving sled in an attempt to reach Cyber. Just before the sled finally slams into a rock face, she jumps clear and manages to board Cyber’s chair lift. As Wonder Woman moves to attack Cyber, she in turn defends herself with a ski stick and they both grapple with it like a tug of war. During the struggle, the stick slips out of Wonder Woman’s hands and springs back into Cyber’s face, smashing her glass mask. As she holds her face in pain, she loses her balance and falls from the chair.

Hanging on by her fingertips, she cries out for Wonder Woman to save her. The Amazon Princess initially stares at her, intent on killing her but as she begins to take control of her own emotions again, she tells herself she is still an Amazon and she cannot let Cyber die.

But she is too late, and Cyber loses her grip, plummeting down towards the rocks below. Instantly, Wonder Woman dives after her, hoping that she has calculated the wind currents correctly. However Cyber sees her plunge after her and mistakenly thinks Wonder Woman is still trying to kill her. Desperately, she throws the ski stick at the Amazon who has to use her bracelets to deflect it and thus loses control of the air current. As she lands on a nearby ledge, she helplessly watches Cyber fall to her doom…

Hawkman rounds off his report by saying that Wonder Woman soon rounded up Professor Moon and released the other women who had been held hostage. The Psycho Chemical formula was then taken into the protective custody of the UN.

The Justice League members then discuss the strange matter of there being two Wonder Women in existence at the same time – the one the Atom saw and the one that Hawkman witnessed. How could they determine which was the real Diana? Just then, Batman arrives via the Teleporter and tells them that he can answer that question because he has seen them both. And that they are both real – in a sense.