Adventure Comics – 459


Adventure Comics – 459

General Info

Issue No:
459
On Sale Date:
June 1978
Cover Date:
October 1978
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
The Shark's Dark Demand

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Jim Aparo
Writer:
Jack C Harris
Penciller:
Jack Abel
Inker:
Frank Giacoia
Letterer:
Shelly Leferman
Colourist:
Gene D'Angelo
Editor:
Paul Levitz

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
The Shark
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta
Other:
N/A
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DC Comics decided to introduce a new way of thinking into their “Adventure Comics” title from issue 459 on wards which had primarily featured Supergirl. Running at an increased 68 pages, it provided the scope to showcase several brand new stories each issue, focusing on different heroes. Unlike other anthology comics around at this time, it had no single star which provided the writers with much more flexibility. Wonder Woman guested for several issues and while the stories in her own book at this time were focusing on her new career as an astronaut trainee, the intention in “Adventure Comics” was to pay more attention to her mythological background.

Wonder Woman’s first story as a regular feature in Adventure Comics pits her against a villain known as The Shark and some have commented that the content of the story seems a little risqué for a book that has supposedly been approved by the Comics Code Authority. They point out that there are subtle but definite overtones of rape in the story, as The Shark tries to force an unwilling and powerless Wonder Woman to become his mate. Even the title of the story implies it some argue. But are they over reacting to something that is simply a typical, harmless tale of a comic book damsel in distress; or is there something more to this story than meets the eye? You decide…

Synopsis

Flying in her invisible jet, Wonder Woman is making her way home to Paradise Island to seek some solace in her homeland. As she thinks about how long it has been since she has returned there, she muses to herself how lonely she sometimes feels in Man’s World. Suddenly, a massive wave looms up and over her plane and she finds herself being thrown clear of the cockpit and into the ocean. As she struggles for air, she issues a mental command and orders her plane to surface underneath her, lifting her to safety.

As she rests on the wing of her plane, trying to regain her senses, she promises to herself that she will fly at a higher altitude for the remainder of the journey home. But just then she hears a voice telling her that she will not be returning home and as she looks up, she sees a figure standing over her. He introduces himself as The Shark! The shocked Amazon tells him that she had been lead to believe by Aquaman that he had been left helpless and had reverted back to his original shark form. He tells her that her colleague was mistaken!

She recalls how a stray bolt of atomic energy had originally struck the brain of a Tiger Shark, causing it to speed through its evolutionary process. This new, humanoid shark had retained the original creature’s relentless desire for prey, including the love of the hunt and the kill. The Shark had therefore sought out worthy opponents such as Green Lantern, Superman and most recently, Aquaman.

The Shark confirms to her that although after this last encounter, he had reverted back to his original primitive form as Wonder Woman had mentioned, his mutated brain remained unchanged. The Shark knew that it was only a matter of time before his body rapidly climbed the evolutionary ladder once more. He was proved right….and now he was ready for her!

She icily informs him that if he thinks that members of the Justice League are his personal game reserve then he is mistaken. With that she punches him on the jaw, sending him flying into the sea. However, as she holds her hand in pain, realising that his mutant strength gives him a jaw like steel, she sees him turn in mid air and perform a perfect dive into the water. Climbing on board her jet, she quickly gives chase, diving her craft down into the depths after him.

As she dives ever deeper, she can find no trace of him and can only find an old, sunken Spanish galleon shipwrecked on the ocean floor. She knows he could be hiding inside somewhere, recovering from her blow, but having heard of his strength from others who have fought him, she finds it hard to believe.

She decides to return to the surface, thinking that she has perhaps underestimated herself and that her punch has indeed driven him away. She sets course once more for Paradise Island, feeling almost a little flattered that the Shark had chosen her as an opponent. She knows he is very selective about who he confronts, choosing only those who he feels can give him the conflict he craves.

As she approaches the shores of her homeland however, her thoughts are interrupted by the sight of the Shark wading up the beach towards land. Knowing that by Aphrodite’s Law, no man may set foot there or else the Amazons will lose their powers and immortality, she quickly lands in the sea, climbs out onto the wing and removes her magic lasso. But as she tries to throw it around the Shark, she sees it simply hover in midair, as the Shark uses his superior mental powers to control it.

He turns and rides towards her on a wave which he also controls. Stepping onto the floating plane he turns the lasso onto Wonder Woman and binds her to the wing. But while she may have lost control of the rope, she still commands her plane and therefore orders it to tilt up, throwing the Shark back into the sea. Knowing she has only a few seconds before he resurfaces, she orders her plane to take off and spin faster and faster. The momentum of the spinning helps her undo the lasso and she is soon free again.

As she stands on the wing, she realises that if the Shark can control her lasso he will soon figure out that he can control her plane too. She concentrates as hard as she can, intent on not letting the Shark pick up on her thoughts.

But down on the ocean floor, the Shark is only to happy for Wonder Woman to waste time trying to keep her weaknesses from him as he has already read her thoughts. He now knows that when her bracelets are bound together by a man she loses her super strength. So, using an old anchor chain from the shipwreck, he sends it flying up out of the water and before the surprised Amazon can react, wraps it around her wrists.

Triumphant, the Shark resurfaces and steps onboard to find his opponent bound and weak. She realises she is helpless and decides she must play for time in the hope she can trick him. She mockingly asks him if he is enjoying his victory and says that she hopes she proved a powerful enough foe for him.

But he orders her to be silent, telling her that she, a female, cannot possibly think she is worthy prey for the Shark!? Confused, she replies that his motivation is always to seek human prey. Laughing, he retorts that while she is correct in saying that he has retained his ancestors’ eternal lust for prey and hunger for destruction, there is a second, primitive desire that brought her to his attention…the desire to take a mate!

Scooping her up in his arms, he commands Wonder Woman’s plane to land on a small deserted island nearby. He carries the still bound Amazon Princess along the wing of the plane and tells her that she will be subject to his will. He has conquered her to prove that she must bend to his every whim.

Suddenly, the plane lurches, throwing the two of them onto the ground and he yells at her that she is only prolonging the inevitable by commanding her plane to fight her battles for her. Kneeling in the sand, she resolutely tells him that she will never stop fighting him and that she will never be his willing mate. With that, she uses her plane to bowl the Shark over with one of the wingtips.

However, though her resistance is valiant, the Shark simply revels in a mate who will constantly supply him with worthy combat! He unleashes his mutant mental powers so that the plane falls under his control. Wonder Woman’s hopes sag as she realises the futility of struggling further, for with her wrist bound and her powers gone she is at the Shark’s mercy. Her her tormentor grabs her from behind intent on mauling her.

But just then she suddenly remembers something. When the Shark had waded ashore on Paradise Island the Amazons should all have lost their powers. But this had not happened, which can only mean one thing. The Gods do not consider the humanoid Shark to be a ‘man’ in the strictest sense of the word and that being the case, the act of being bound by him has not actually robbed her of her powers at all!

Instantly she snaps the chains that bind her and uses them to whip the mauling Shark. As he struggles to his feet, he warns her that she cannot hope to stand against his superior brain power but her reply is short and swift – two powerful double handed blows lay him out for the count, depriving him of any time to use his mental abilities!

As she looks down on his fallen body, she feels a little sympathy for the mutant. She knows he is the result of man’s meddling with atomic power and the basic primitive instincts that still exist in Man’s World. She flies to a chosen spot in the ocean and using her lasso, orders the Shark to return to his primitive state and never return to human configuration again.

Dazed and defeated, the Shark’s mutant mind submits to the golden lasso and before Wonder Woman’s eyes, he transforms back into the Tiger Shark he once was. As she watches him join more of his own kind, she hopes at last he will be content. With that, she heads for her homeland once more.

As the Queen of the Amazons welcomes her daughter home, Hippolyta rejoices to herself that Diana seeks not to punish the unjust or even imprison those who would do her harm. She chooses instead to battle evil with weapons of love, understanding and compassion… as the Amazon champion known to the world as Wonder Woman!