Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 225

General Info

Issue No:
225
On Sale Date:
May 1976
Cover Date:
August-September 1976
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Maximus - Emperor of Hollow Mountain!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ernie Chan
Writer:
Elliott S. Maggin
Penciller:
Jose Delbo
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
Not Stated
Colourist:
Not Stated
Editor:
Julius Schwartz

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Steve Trevor
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Maximus
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Morgan Tracy, Sheryl, Sullivan
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Synopsis

Steve and Diana are kissing and caressing on the sofa and just as she is telling him that they have things to discuss the phone rings. She answers it and Steve guesses that it must be Morgan Tracy at the UN, as she tells the caller that she will be right over.

He tries to get her to tell him what the problem is between them but she replies that she must go and that his concerns can wait until later.

When she goes, he becomes annoyed and frustrated that when he was alive before, he was a top intelligence agent who ‘ate world wide crisis for breakfast’ and that now he and Diana are part of each other’s lives again she treats him like some kind of helpless waif! He says to himself “We’ll see who can adjust to the real world! We’ll see about that right away!” Unbeknown to him, Diana is listening outside and smiles to herself knowingly.

After a few minutes hectic search, Steve discovers the Mental Radio and uses it to monitor Diana. He eaves drops a conversation between Morgan Tracy and Diana at the UN regarding transmissions which have been jamming communications all over the world. Apparently, they originate from Hollow Mountain just north of the city. Diana replies that the mountain is owned by Maximus and Tracy instructs her to investigate further. A few short minutes later, she has transformed into her Wonder Woman costume and sets off in her invisible jet.

Meanwhile, Maximus himself is walking down 52nd Street talking to an attractive young blond. He asks her whether she has tasted Chateau Couchon wine from 1934 and she replies that there are only four bottles left in the world. He then casually tells her that after today there will only be three left and using a communicator on his lapel, instructs someone called Flavius to arrange for a bottle to be delivered to a nearby pub by the time he and the lady arrive there, as well as ensuring that there are no red traffic lights on the way!

The young lady, called Sheryl, at first thinks her new found friend a little ‘bonkers’ but as they make their way down the street the lights do indeed turn green in their favour. However, when they arrive at the pub the waiter seems ignorant of their request and she feels a touch of disappointment. Suddenly though, a helicopter arrives and lowers the requested bottle of wine down to the restaurant!

So as Sheryl and Maximum settle down for their meal, Wonder Woman continues on her way towards Hollow Mountain. At the same time, Steve Trevor is entering the United States Mission to the United Nations. He bursts in to a Mr. Sullivan’s office and tells him that he is an agent who has come to work for him. As Sullivan tries to activate the panic button Steve tells him not to bother as he has cut the wires. As Sullivan continues to protest Steve tells him that he will prove his credentials and then promptly accuses Sullivan of being a spy for the government. Sullivan is surprised that his cover has been blown so easily and Steve informs him that he knows Sullivan is a spy because the pair of glasses on his desk has a transmitter hidden inside, which is tuned to a short-wave radio station in Washington’s Secret Service Office. Sullivan seems suitably impressed at Steve’s knowledge of the intelligence community…

Back onboard the invisible plane, the Amazing Amazon is approaching Hollow Mountain and is contemplating the fact that people believe Maximus is the richest man in the world, addicted to fortune and success. As she flies over the mountain, she picks up the strange signal which sends even her Amazon manufactured compass crazy. Suddenly, a transmitter down below fires what looks like black lightning at the passing plane!

Meanwhile, back at the pub, Maximus is in conversation with Sheryl when his bleeper unexpectedly goes off. Flavius tells him that Wonder Woman has arrived and he replies that he will greet her personally. He abruptly stands up and leaves the restaurant. As amazed passers by look on, he literally disappears into thin air…

At that moment, Wonder Woman is trying to avoid the strange black lightning which even casts its own shadow. She realises that it must actually be solid and lassos the tip. She lets herself fly off from the wing of her invisible jet and tries to guide the fork to some place where it might do some good and destroy it at the same time!

She manages to steer it downwards towards the half built Atlantic to Pacific canal in Central America and at the last moment leaps off it before it strikes the ground. Although she manages to save several weeks work on the canal by blowing away a channel of land, she is knocked unconscious by the blast.

As she floats motionless in the water, an invisible force picks her up and draws her quickly back to Hollow Mountain. She is carefully lowered through a hatch into the centre of the mountain and surrounded by a multitude of Maximuses, who waste no time in taking her unconscious form away.

However, Steve Trevor, who has managed to persuade Sullivan to allow him to hitch a ride with an air force jet, parachutes down just in time to see Wonder Woman taken down into the mountain and he is able to smuggle himself through the closing hatchway.

As Steve reaches the floor of the chamber, he sees the real Maximus materialise in front of him and takes the opportunity to grab him. He instructs Maximum to tell him where the other pseudo Maximuses have taken Wonder Woman. Maximus seems pleased to hear that she has been captured and tells Steve that he has been in love with the Amazon for years. Steve is not impressed!

As he proceeds to lead Steve to the lower levels where the Amazon has been taken, he explains how although he is considered to be one of the most powerful men in the world, he is getting bored. He is also still not the most admired man on Earth and has never developed the charisma necessary to be popular and loved. He has therefore created these pseudo Maximuses and dispatched them around the world to appear on TV, making charitable gifts and trying to win public approval. However, he has also discovered that Amazons are born with plenty of charisma and plans to analyse Wonder Woman cell by cell until his pseudo Maximuses can extract the charisma from her and inject it into themselves!

They finally arrive at the chamber where Wonder Woman has been chained to the wall at gunpoint, surrounded by pseudo Maximuses. She smiles and welcomes Steve who is surprised that she has been expecting him. Then she breaks her bonds and wades into the shocked Maximuses, telling them that although she loses her strength when bound by a man, none of the pseudo Maximuses are real.

The actual Maximus watches bemused and she asks him where the power source for his creations is based. He points to the room where a super storage battery is housed and Wonder Woman smashes her way in, surmising that this is also what is causing the jamming signals. As another Maximus tries to attack her and she hurls it into the power source, Maximus secretly contacts Flavius and instructs him to open the doorway to the outside of the mountain.

Steve sees him do this and Maximus explains that Flavius does all of his ‘legwork’ for him and that both Steve and Wonder Woman should follow him quickly. Steve tries to drag her away but she informs him that she still has a job to do.

As she lays into more of the pseudo Maximuses, she wonders why none of them have fired their weapons and guesses that they are afraid of hitting something important.

Up on the mountainside meanwhile, Maximus and Steve have emerged and when the millionaire tries to use a test-tube filled with some unknown substance on Steve, he reacts and knocks it from Maximus’ hands.

Back inside the mountain, Wonder Woman realises that the battery is building to a critical level and that she must get out. Steve and Maximus watch as she leaps up through the hatchway and grabs the undercarriage of her waiting jet. She then positions herself so that she is now hanging by her legs from the undercarriage and swoops down to pick the two men up, just in time before the mountain detonates!

When they touch down nearby, Maximus thanks them for their time and prepares to disappear but Steve stops him and removes his communicator. Steve informs him that he is going to be charged with the attempted kidnap of Wonder Woman. As he protests that no jail can hold the great Emperor Maximus for long, Wonder Woman lassos him and tells him that he may be right but it is still her job to put him away. What happens once there is not her problem (but unknown to her it will be her problem!)

After dropping their ‘package’ off, Steve and Wonder Woman return to the US Mission office where Sullivan reveals that he in fact works for the top secret service agency known as ‘Spy -On-Spy’. With the presence of Wonder Woman, Sullivan is convinced of Steve’s integrity and allows him to join, asking his name. Wonder Woman begins to say “Steve..er..” and Steve finishes her sentence for her – “Howard”.

Sullivan smiles and tells “Steve Howard” that it does not matter that his name is false – he is not really ‘Mar Sullivan’ either. He tells them that secret identities are all the rage nowadays and Wonder Woman and Steve smile at each other knowingly.