Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 238


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 238

General Info

Issue No:
238
On Sale Date:
September 1977
Cover Date:
December 1977
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Assassin of a Thousand Claws

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Rich Buckler, Vince Colletta
Writer:
Gerry Conway
Penciller:
Jose Delbo
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
Not Stated
Colourist:
Ben Oda
Editor:
Larry Hama

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)
Heroes:
Sandman
Villains:
Kung (Thomas)
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
General Blankenship, Etta Candy, General MacArthur, Lieutenant Pierre Marchand, Nancy Mashuda
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Comments

I am not sure whether the Colourist had a bad day or if there was some sort of technical problem with the colouring process, but in this issue Wonder Woman’s boots have yellow stripes down them instead of the normal white ones!

Synopsis

Continuing directly from the previous issue, the Tiger bears down on the startled Amazon and she knows she cannot stop him. But, being the shrewd warrior that she is she sees the opportunity to turn this to her advantage and uses the momentum to hurl the creature over her head.

Kung is impressed at the way Wonder Woman uses his own martial arts skills against him and thinks to himself that were their nations not at war with each other, they might actually be friends. However, he has his duty to the Emperor to fulfill and he must therefore continue the fight. As he turns to attack again, Wonder Woman prepares to use her lasso to bring the struggle to a peaceful end.

But the soldiers who have been up until now watching the fight in awe, are ordered to by Macarthur. Kung is struck in the arm by one of the bullets and transforms back into his human self while the Amazing Amazon turns on the soldiers in fury, telling them that she would have been able to capture the assassin without further violence.

Using her lasso, she orders them to drop their weapons. An enraged Macarthur tells her that she may wear the flag for a costume, but she is a disgrace to the nation it honours!

She suddenly realises that in the heat of this dispute with the military, she has allowed Kung to escape. Macarthur tells her that she has aided and abetted an assassin and that she is going to pay. She tries to explain to him that needless violence offends her so deeply that sometimes it affects her judgment.

Just then though, Colonel Belushi arrives on the scene from Army Intelligence. He accuses Wonder Woman of being a menace to National Security and that she has already been warned to keep out of army affairs. General Blankenship also advises her that it has always been Major Trevor who has promoted her involvement but since his hospitalisation, things are different. Colonel Belushi is now in charge of Steve’s intelligence duties and he wants Wonder Woman out! “Is that clear Wonder Woman?” he asks. “Completely” she replies icily and with that she turns and leaves.

Some moments later in a nearby alleyway, she transforms back into her Yeoman Prince guise and decides that while Wonder Woman cannot be involved in Army Intelligence, Yeoman Diana Prince still can!

As she returns to the scene, she sees Belushi recommend to Macarthur that he leaves for New York, especially as the assassin is still at large. Although the General protests, he leaves for New York less than an hour later on the train. When that train finally arrives at Grand Central Station however, another passenger is also seen to embark, clutching his shoulder. It is Kung, wearing another disguise but still intent on finishing his mission.

He hails a cab and tells the driver to take him to Chinatown where he can find shelter. Feeling weak, he climbs the stairs of to a particular apartment room and knocks on the door. A young, attractive girl answers and exclaims “Thomas!” in shock when she sees Kung – her brother, collapse into the room.

Meanwhile, several blocks away in the Waldorf Astoria, Diana and Etta are settling into their room. Diana makes a call to a friend of hers named Wesley Dodds, who operates in the city and is better known to the world as the Sandman!

She explains to him that she cannot operate in the city as Wonder Woman but fears for the safety of Macarthur. As Diana Prince, she is currently a member of the General’s party acting as a liaison for Major Trevor and so for now, she can still protect him. But she needs to know if there really is a threat here in New York and if so, where it is coming from. That is where the Sandman can help her. He of course agrees and sets off to investigate.

Back at the Waldorf, Etta is taking a bath and telling Diana how much she adores New York. Just then Diana hears the doorbell ring and answering it, is greeted by a dashing French army officer. He introduces himself as Lieutenant Pierre Marchand of the Free French Army and asks to see Etta. As Etta steps out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her, he greets her and explains that he is a friend of Etta’s brother. Seeing him, she dives back into the bathroom suitably embarrassed and Diana explains to the confused Frenchman that there is nothing wrong with what he has just said, it is just his timing!

He passes Diana a bunch of flowers, asking her to give them to Etta and explaining that he will return in one hour. But Lieutenant Marchand is not what he appears…

Meanwhile in Chinatown, Kung’s sister, Nancy, bathes his wound and she asks him how he could let this happen. He tells her that his name is now Kung and not ‘Thomas’ and that he is Nipponese like she is, although she seems to choose to forget it. She retorts that she is an American because their parents came to this country and they were both born here. He replies that she betrays her ancestors for a country which puts her people in Detainment Camps. Tired of arguing more, he picks up the phone and contacts his honourable masters, the ‘Hidden Ones’, to learn the schedule of his target over the next few days.

Nancy leaves the room with tears in her eyes. She wonders why her brother has soured so and that once upon a time they had been so happy and had had dreams before their father died. Something seemed to break inside Thomas with the death. He filled with hate and blamed the Americans for killing their father, saying that the depression took all the jobs and what was left went only to the Americans. As he continued to rant day by day about how the country was evil however, their mother, whose heart had always been weak, eventually collapsed and died. Thomas believed that America had now taken a second parent from him and filled with total hatred, he left the country.

She never saw him again until today, but she had still received letters from him, explaining that he had traveled to Japan to train as a samurai. He was a fast learner and soon achieved excellence. Because of this, he was chosen for special attention and from that point on, Nancy never received any more letters.

As she returns to the living room to see her brother put the phone down, she can only imagine what nightmares he must have endured to have changed so much and to be almost unrecognisable as the bother she once knew and loved.

He tells her that he has been reminded of his duty by the honourable ‘Hidden Ones’ and asks her whether she will help him and do her duty. She agrees.

Later that afternoon, the Sandman drops in on a couple of hoods in Little Italy. He threatens the mobster, knowing that the mob learn a lot of odd little things on the street and that word has it that they have the answers Sandman is looking for…

The next day at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the largest shipbuilding yards in the country, another new warship is about to be commissioned by none other than the Commander of the Army Pacific, General Macarthur. Diana stands among the large crowd, watching alertly. Just then she hears someone trying to get her attention and she turns to see the Sandman. He starts to tell her what he has found out but is cut short by an large crashing sound. They both turn to see a Rhino charging through the perimeter gates and Sandman tells her that this is a little out of his league. As he tries to use his wirespoon gun to slow the beast down, Diana finds a secluded area to transform into Wonder Woman.

She returns to see Sandman being dragged by the raging animal and she quickly uses her own lasso to ensnare the beast. She commands it stop immediately but Kung turns towards her, telling her that in his present form she cannot control him. He charges her and sends her flying, wishing her an honourable death. With no one else standing in his way, he throws a lever which controls the flood gates of the dock.

As the water pours in, Kung charges at the viewing gantry where Macarthur and his aides stand, sending it flying. Seeing that they will all be crushed, Wonder Woman gathers herself and catches the tumbling platform in time.

A shout alerts her to the fact that the warship supports are starting to float away and that the whole vessel will topple over, squashing them like bugs!

Meanwhile at the perimeter gate, Nancy waits at the car. She cannot believe what is happening. She had agreed to drive her brother here but now he was actually trying to kill General Macarthur! She runs towards the Rhino, intent on stopping this madness for the sake of their father’s memory. As Sandman tries in vain to grapple with the creature, he fails and is about to be crushed by the Rhino’s foot when Nancy races at Kung, begging him to stop. By reflex, he sidesteps her so that she topples into the dock and only afterwards recognises that the person is his sister. By then it is too late.

Below, Wonder Woman desperately tries to force the tottering warship upright again but although her muscles bulge and her tendons strain, the task is beyond her. As it finally rolls over, Kung sees his sister will be killed and in a last act of love, knocks her out of the way and catches the warship himself. Buying a few precious seconds, he allows the others to escape before the weight becomes too much even for him and he is crushed and killed.

In the aftermath, Sandman explains to Wonder Woman that although Kung saved their lives, it was not planned that way. He was actually trying to save the now sobbing and distraught Nancy, who was someone he obviously cared for very much.

Wonder Woman replies that “That kind of caring is Mankind’s hope. That kind of caring may save the world…”