Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 223


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 223

General Info

Issue No:
223
On Sale Date:
January 1976
Cover Date:
April-May 1976
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Welcome Back to Life...Steve Trevor!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ernie Chan
Writer:
Martin Pasko
Penciller:
Jose Delbo
Inker:
Tex Blaisdell
Letterer:
Not Stated
Colourist:
Not Stated
Editor:
Julius Schwartz

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor
Heroes:
Atom, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superman, Black Canary, Flash, Batman
Villains:
N/A
Olympians:
Aphrodite
Amazons:
Hippolyta (Hippolyte), Mala
Other:
N/A
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Comments

This issue is what TV script writers might call a flashback episode, as it recaps much of what has gone on before in previous issues. The story itself really acts as nothing more than a build to the main ‘revelation’ towards the end. Indeed, the story’s title does not even appear on the first page to increase the suspense and instead simply reads”We Dare Not Reveal The Title…at least not yet!”

Synopsis

The story opens on Paradise Island where around twenty or so masked men are parachuting down towards the island.

Wonder Woman, together with the other Amazons, battle the invaders, knowing what will happen if any of the men actually set foot on the ground. But as the Amazing Amazon Princess grapples with the hordes descending towards her, she realises that there are simply too many and that there is nothing she can do to stop them.

Her mind wanders back to the scene at the JLA Headquarters during the celebration to welcome her back as a member…

Batman suggests she takes a well earned rest back on Paradise Island after her recent ‘trials’ and she agrees with him, not only to relax but to also sort things out in her mind. Her fellow leaguers reply that there is no longer any doubt as to her abilities and she concurs that since her trials her fears have been eased a little. However, she still feels there is still some way to go before she is her former self again.

She reminds them that because of her worries about her memory loss and the fact that she might endanger other members of the League, she had undertaken her trials in the first place to prove herself worthy. But what had they really proved – that she can still play Bullets and Bracelets and that she can still handle her lasso? She tells them that she still has a hole in her memories and that she still intends to fill in the gaps!

She then sets off to Paradise Island in her invisible jet, but as she approaches her homeland she suddenly sees fighter jets appear out of nowhere. And so as soon as she touches down she joins her Amazon sisters in the struggle to repel the unknown invaders (bringing us back up to date again).

Already several of the attackers have touched down and Wonder Woman knows that it will only be a moment before the curse will strike the Amazons down! She decides to see just who these strangers are and interrogates one of the fallen strangers with her lasso. She gets no reply to her questions and so she removes the mask to reveal a lifeless clay dummy.

Confused, she cannot understand how this figure has moved and attacked just like a man. Her thoughts are interrupted however, when she hears a scream from one of her Amazon sisters. Horrified, she watches as the woman rapidly ages to become nothing more than a withered corpse! Although Wonder Woman has been anticipating Aphrodite’s Revenge to occur, she does not remember it being as horrible as this!

She thinks back once more to the greatest turning point in her life – the day Steve Trevor crashed his jet into the sea just off Paradise Island and how she had saved him…

Being careful not to let him set foot on the ground, she carries Steve to the Amazon Healing place. She watches over him night and day and as her mother fears, begins to fall in love with him.

Although the whole Amazon way is built around love for all human kind, Queen Hippolyta knows that this love her daughter feels is different altogether. It is the same feeling that the queen herself once felt back many years ago when Hercules and his army of men attacked the island. The queen had challenged him to a duel, knowing that while she wore the magic girdle given to her by Aphrodite, she could not lose. Hercules realised this and eventually made a truce pact with her. But later that night as the young queen fell for his charms he used the opportunity to rob her of her girdle leaving her powerless. As a result, the queen and her Amazons became the unwilling slaves of Hercules and his men.

As the toll of their bondage became almost unbearable though, Hippolyta had prayed to the Goddess Aphrodite once more to help free them, which she did. But as a penance, the Amazons would have to live a life of isolation on Paradise Island. The Goddess granted them eternal life as long as they remained there, but to never allow another man to set foot on their shores.

The queen explains to her daughter that because of this, the American airmen must leave as soon as possible because if he does accidentally stand on the Amazon soil, the Amazons would lose their immortality and all of them would fall in love with him the instant they saw his face, eventually fighting each other for his love.

Wonder Woman remembers her mother’s words now as she looks down at the dusty remains of her Amazon sister. She knows that they cannot fall in love with their invaders as their faces are hidden, but why must they lose their immortality like this?

She has always assumed that they would simply grow old and die like any normal human – not in such an accelerated way as this. She begins to suspect all is not right but her musings are interrupted once more by another group of attackers. As she proceeds to deal with them, she knows that these ‘creatures’ are not living but that the Amazons are losing their immortality, which can only mean that one of these attackers really is a man.

Having dealt with this latest batch, she runs to the palace in time to see her withering mother on the throne. As Wonder Woman stares in shock at the sight, the queen tells her daughter to banish these invaders in time to save the remaining Amazons. Then she finally collapses into dust! As Wonder Woman gently scoops up the remains of her mother, she sheds tears of grief. But as she does so she notices something artificial about the ashes and begins to wonder why the curse has not yet afflicted her?

She decides that she cannot figure out this mystery with only half her memories intact and races off to the building where the Amazon memory chair is located. But as she arrives she sees a group of invaders trying to make off with it. As she once more engages in combat with them, she thinks back to the day when she became Wonder Woman and returned to the United States with Steve Trevor as the Amazon Champion of peace…

Everything had been fine until the day she had discovered that a large portion of her memories were missing. She had eventually confronted her mother who had confirmed that she had induced selective amnesia for the period in Diana’s life when she had lost her powers and had lived under the guidance of a blind China man named I Ching. When I Ching had been killed by a sniper’s bullet, she had somehow found her way back to Paradise Island suffering from complete amnesia and Hippolyta had used the Memory Chair to restore some, but not all, of Diana’s memories. When Diana had asked why, her mother had replied that she was protecting her daughter from the truth – that her lover Steve Trevor was dead. Now Wonder Woman was intent on finding those missing tapes!

But as she prepares to enter the tape library she hears more approaching invaders. She uses her lasso to whip up a waterspout from the nearby ocean and uses it to wash away the clay figures. However, when the water finally dissipates, one figure is left standing and she surmises that this is the ‘real’ man.

Wonder Woman guesses that the other clay figures have been brought to life by Aphrodite herself, just as she had done many years before with Diana. She steps forward and removes the mask of the man before her, only to reveal the face of her lover – Steve Trevor!

As she stares in shock, her mother and Aphrodite appear, explaining that he was the logical choice for this ‘experiment’. Wonder Woman replies that she already suspected that this whole thing has been some sort of test and listens as the queen reveals all.

Hippolyta has been disgusted at the way Diana has been forced to ‘prove’ herself to the male Justice Leaguers. So, as it had been she who had removed Diana’s memories in the first place, it seemed only fitting that it was she who test her daughter properly to prove that even without her missing memories, Diana’s wisdom, not just her skills, were still intact.

With that, Aphrodite tells Steve that his task is completed and that he can now return back to the afterlife, but Diana pleads with her to stop. As tears flow down her cheeks, she begs the Goddess to ‘change the fabric of destiny just once’ and let him live. Being the Goddess of Love, Diana argues, surely she of all people must know how the Amazon Princess still feels about the American? Diana reasons that she has already lost him once in a senseless and unfair way – how can Aphrodite take him away again and still call herself merciful?

After a long pause, the goddess decides to grant her wish and confirms that while he remains on the island, the curse will not strike. As she disappears, the other Amazons come out from their hiding places and a celebration ensues.

However, Hippolyta tells her daughter that things are different now because Steve has seen things from the ‘other side’. He now knows Diana’s true identity but her daughter replies that she does not care.

Later, in the queen’s private chambers, Hippolyta muses to herself at the wisdom of Aphrodite’s decision. For while she is grateful to see her daughter so happy and in love again, she cannot help wonder whether it might all be a grievous mistake to bring Steve Trevor back to life…