World’s Finest Comics – 252


World’s Finest Comics – 252

General Info

Issue No:
252
On Sale Date:
May 1978
Cover Date:
September 1978
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
A Poison of the Heart!

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Jack Abel
Writer:
Gerry Conway
Penciller:
Jack Abel
Inker:
Vince Colletta
Letterer:
Milt Snapinn
Colourist:
Izzy Goldstein
Editor:
Jack C Harris

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince/Princess Diana), Steve Trevor
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Poison Ivy (Lilian Rose), Redwood (Marc Legrand), Sumac
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
N/A
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Last of the “World’s Finest” issues that feature a Wonder Woman story.

Synopsis

Flying in her invisible plane, Wonder Woman streaks across the skies above New York towards the UN Building. She deftly leaps from the plane and through an open window, landing inside the UN Security Offices. She prays she is not too late to prevent Steve’s death at the hands of Poison Ivy and is relieved to hear Steve’s voice coming from inside his office.

Just then Steve and another man emerge and he is surprised to see her standing there. He is not sure why she is here but is glad to see her safe and well after she had mysteriously disappeared not long after the third Ambassador had died.

As he moves towards her though she suddenly gasps and points to a mirror on the wall behind him. She swiftly dives out of range of his reaching hand telling him not to touch her. She points to a pot plant on a shelf beneath the window she had just entered through. As a mystified Steve turns to look at it he sees that the plant has withered and died and Wonder Woman explains that if he had touched her he would have suffered the same fate!

Poison Ivy must have planned this all along and it would have worked had she not noticed what had happened to the plant by seeing its reflection in the mirror. She asks Steve to get some industrial disinfectant and he requests the other man to go and get some. As the man walks out Wonder Woman asks Steve who he is and Steve explains that he is an FBI agent assigned to the case from Washington.

The following morning Wonder Woman, Steve, the FBI Agent and the police arrive at the Botanical gardens and the Amazon is not surprised to find it is now deserted. She explains how Poison Ivy had revealed that she had completed her half of the bargain and her employer would now have to go to his own country to retrieve her ‘fee’. Steve asks who this ‘Poison Ivy’ character is and the FBI agent says that he can answer that question. Steve jokingly says that “you guys have a dossier on everyone don’t you” and the agent replies that they have files on almost everyone – except Steve himself! Wonder Woman thinks to herself that this is because Steve’ Howard’ was once named ‘Steve Trevor’ before he died. She remembers how the Goddess Aphrodite revived him but could not restore his old identity since too many people knew Steve ‘Trevor’ was now a corpse.

The FBI Agent proceeds to read from his file on Poison Ivy, stating that her true name is Lillian Rose, born in Washington State. She was raised in an upper class family with a good background and received a good education. Her trouble began when she was in college studying Botany and she fell in love with her slick, young, French Lecturer named Legrand. He was smooth and soon seduced the young and naive Lilly who fell for him hard. He was a master and she thirsted for experience, hungering for it like a starving child. He fed that appetite, binding her to him more completely than any slave. However, after a few weeks Legrand told her that he could not marry her because his professor’s salary would not give her the life which she deserved. She replied that her parents had money but he responded that he had his pride and if only he could earn the money somehow with a scientific discovery – something that would revolutionise medicine through Botany. He seemed to indicate that he had an idea in mind and when Lilly pressed him on the subject, he explained that an Urn currently on display at an Egyptian Artefacts Exhibition contained certain medicinal herbs from the earliest Dynasties of the Pharaohs. If he could examine those herbs perhaps he could find an artificial substitute or create a hybrid from present day plants. However, he continues that the herbs are priceless and he would never be able to simply borrow them. The infatuated Lilly tells him that she will get the herbs for him even if she has to steal them.

It is still a mystery to the FBI how she managed it but somehow she bypassed the alarm system at the museum with the skill of a seasoned professional. She removed the urn without anyone being the wiser until the following morning. By then she and Legrand were opening the artefact and peering at its ancient contents. Legrand must have read the original Egyptian Tracts specifying that the herbs were a deadly poison completely untraceable. He slyly dropped some of the leaves unseen into Lilly’s drink knowing that with her dead, there would be nothing to tie him to the theft and he would be free to sell the herbs to the highest bidder. As the unwitting girl collapsed to the floor Legrand made his exit, never to be seen or heard of again. However, even though Lillian Rose received a fatal dose of the herb she did not die. Somehow her system absorbed the poison into her bloodstream and her metabolism fought it. She survived and since then she has been immune to any and all poisons. Hence she was able to kill the Ambassadors with things like poisoned lipstick and gas which were harmless to her.

Wonder Woman then tells them that Ivy is after a Cupid’s Root Herb found only in one African country. The herb will allow her to create a poison that will control men’s’ minds. She inquires whether the FBI have any clues as to the country Ivy might now be headed for? The Agent suggests they might have a reference in their computer based in Washington or perhaps even the CIA may have some idea. They set off immediately knowing that time is not on their side…

A day or so later in a dictatorship in Eastern Africa, Poison Ivy and her entourage are greeted by the Dictator and his men on a secret airfield. The Dictator hands her the herb as promised, thanking her for the removal of his enemies. She takes the ‘payment’, replying that these so called ‘enemies’ advocated an international investigation of his country’s human right’s violations. He raises his eyebrows at the perceived insult but she assures him that she does not care. She has what she wants and he has what he wants. It is just that she feels that with his policies and personality she doubts he will remain in power for much longer. With that she boards the plane as the stony faced Dictator watches the plane take off.

As they climb into the sky, Poison Ivy thinks to herself that soon Batman will be hers and she will make him suffer for scorning her. Suddenly though, her pilot shouts a warning and looking out of the plane’s window she sees Wonder Woman approaching in her robot plane. She cannot understand how on earth the Amazon has found her but has no time to react before the Amazon slices through the wing of the plane with her own craft. Out of control, the damaged plane heads earthwards and the pilot only just manages to crash land in a clearing. As the dazed occupants disembark from the wrecked plane Wonder Woman leaps down to confront them. The Amazon Princess had hoped that the crash would stun them allowing her to capture them with ease but fortune is obviously not on her side today. It had taken her hours to track down the one region in Africa where the rare Cupid’s Root grows and she is determined not to let her quarry get away again. She hurls the pilot out of her way and then with a couple of mighty blows floors the giant Redwood.

But the scuffle allows Poison Ivy to get close enough to ensnare the surprised Amazon in her own magic lasso! Ivy uses its powers of compulsion, ordering Wonder Woman to knock herself out. Powerless to resist, the helpless heroine punches herself in the face and Ivy congratulates herself, having originally stole the lasso to use on Batman should the Cupid’s Root fail. Now, she can also use Wonder Woman as a tool and use her in her plans. She orders the pilot and Redwood to carry the unconscious Amazon as they now have a long walk to the border.

As the day wears on they make their way up through the valley. Wonder Woman, who is now awake but still bound, walks in silence, her gaze resting long on the Man-Monster called Redwood. For a moment her eyes widen and she gasps in realisation, before falling silent again.

At last they come to a place too treacherous to pass in twilight and they decide to make camp by the side of a raging waterfall. As Wonder Woman rests, she says to Ivy that she has heard all about her heart breaking past but that she is confused on one point. The files show that her ex-lover, Legrand, disappeared but that is not entirely true is it? With that she turns to look at Redwood. Poison Ivy spits that she does not know what she is talking about but Wonder Woman persists, saying that perhaps they should ask Legrand himself. She speaks directly to Redwood, telling him that he does not remember his past and that is why he obeys his mistress. But what he he heard his real name – what would he feel then?

Redwood’s eyes flicker as she asks if he remembers how he had betrayed Ivy, how she had sought him out and told him that she had forgiven him? Did he then trust her and did they drink each other’s happiness together? Did he not recognise the bitter taste of the wine before the poison took effect? Does he remember that he, Marc Legrand, had been turned into a monster by Ivy? Suddenly the creature explodes in rage and throws himself at Poison Ivy. Wonder Woman cries out for him to stop, yelling that she wants him to free her so that she can take him to Paradise Island and find a cure. But Redwood/Legrand has only hate for his former lover and grabbing the surprised villainess, they both plummet over the edge and topple into the foaming waters below. They vanish from view as Wonder Woman manages to wriggle free of her bonds and looks down at the pilot, who kneels holding his head in shock and grief. She turns to look solemnly down into the waters below, thinking to herself that in the end Ivy and Legrand had both repaid their betrayals and although this was not the ending she had intended – it was inevitable. Now at least they have peace together – the long final peace of the grave.