Adventure Comics – 464


Adventure Comics – 464

General Info

Issue No:
464
On Sale Date:
April 1979
Cover Date:
August 1979
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Slave of the Queen Bee

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Jim Aparo
Writer:
Gerry Conway
Penciller:
Jose Delbo
Inker:
Joe Giella
Letterer:
Shelly Leferman
Colourist:
Gene D'Angelo
Editor:
Ross Andru

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince/Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Queen Bee
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Professor Stone, Bill, Stacy
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Comments

This issue sees the last of the regular appearances by Wonder Woman.

Synopsis

Inside the Hive ship of Queen Bee, Wonder Woman kneels on the floor before the villainess, her hands bound together behind her back and her lasso lying useless on the floor. Queen Bee tells the Amazon Princess that she will have to do everything that is commanded or else her friends’ minds will never be set free. She adds that it is a shame she has not got a collar for Wonder Woman to wear but perhaps her Stinger Blaster will help remind the Princess that she is now a slave.

A defiant Wonder Woman replies that the Queen Bee can have her pleasure but she had only won their little battle because the villainess had sworn that the computer holding the minds of her friends would self destruct if tampered with – and that is the only reason she had surrendered! The Queen Bee responds that this is reason enough and then goes on to explain that she has stolen the intellects of one hundred Earth minds for the purposes of power. In all the Universe, only the human imagination has the sheer raw power that she needs – the blind, unmitigated force to crush planets like egg shells and thus win wars! Her ambitions range far beyond the Planet Kroll and she envisions herself as more than a Queen but as an Empress ruling a Galactic Court – an Empire she must build piece by piece.

During her last visit to Earth she had discovered the fantastic energies present in the human mind and she had sworn that someday she would learn how to harness these energies for her own use. Now, that day has come! At first she thought only to harness the mental powers of Earth’s brightest individuals but she now sees she had made one error. Why only take the greatest minds when she could have them all!

Hearing this, Wonder Woman cries out “No! You’re mad! Monstrous!” and ripping her bindings apart declares that she now rescinds her surrender. As the Amazon Princess dives for her lasso the Queen Bee fires her blaster across her path, preventing her from reaching it. The Villainess realises that she has underestimated the Amazon and that her foe would never sacrifice the human race for the lives of her friends. Firing at Wonder Woman, who uses her bracelets to deflect the blasts, the Queen Bee summons her bees once more.

They swarm into the control room and as Wonder Woman begins to use her bracelets as before to parry the insects away. She says to Queen Bee that she managed to defeat her bees before, so why does she now think she will not do so again? Queen Bee’s reply is swift as she blasts the Amazon from behind with her Stinger weapon. Wonder Woman cries out in pain and lets her guard down. The bees surge forward and envelop her while all the while Queen Bee encourages them by saying “Sting her! Steal her mind as you stole the minds of those she holds dear! Sting, my lovelies! Sting! Let your venom slip through her veins! Let her heart pound with pain! Let her thoughts swirl, her sight dim…let her die!”. The bees completely cover the struggling Wonder Woman as sting after sting pierces her skin until she struggles no more…

Sometime later in a Houston hospital ward Diana’s Trainee Astronaut friends and Professor Stone surround a bed in which the unconscious Wonder Woman lies. Stone tells the others that it is a miracle she was not already dead! She had been found in the desert a hundred miles north of Houston by an Air Force helicopter which had been sent to investigate a UFO sighting. He repeats again that it is a miracle she is still alive but as for how long she can stay alive with over a thousand bee stings embedded in her skin only god can know. The others feel helpless looking down at the lifeless Wonder Woman, knowing that they owe their own lives to her. The Professor then says that the Electroencephalograms show a high level of brain activity even though she is in a comatose state. But as to what sort of activity it is and whether it means she still has a chance he cannot say.

At the same moment, somewhere deep within the confines of her mind, Wonder Woman hears the worried words of Professor Stone and a part of her smiles, for she is alive and somewhere in that special place we call the soul, she battles to hold onto her life against forces beyond imagination! Wielding a fiery sword, she battles against giant bees in a dream world. She knows that the battle only exists in her subconscious mind and that the giant bees are merely symbols for the venom eating at her heart. That said though, she dare not lose the battle or else she might also lose the war too. She thinks to herself that on Paradise Island the Amazons have developed immunities to many diseases including small doses of Bee venom. She prays that the natural immunity and her own will to survive will be enough because if not her life will be over and humanity will be lost!

Meanwhile high above the Earth’s atmosphere the Queen Bee’s ship approaches the Justice League Satellite in orbit around the planet. The villainess rues the fact that Wonder Woman’s sense of self proved too strong for her swarm to actually steal her mind but that it hardly matters now as she lies dead from a thousand stings. With one less to oppose her, the Queen Bee can now deal with the rest of the Justice League. It will also be the first test of the Hive Computer’s power! With that she presses a button and a ray shoots out from her craft enveloping the satellite.

Inside, the unwitting Justice Leaguers cry out in surprise but only for a fraction of a second before darkness claims them and their consciousnesses blown out like candles in the wind! A jubilant Queen Bee yells “I win! I win!” and she prepares to gather the other minds of Earth…

And back down on that very planet Wonder Woman begins to convulse and the Professor tells the others that the venom is strangling her heart. He adds that perhaps a stimulant will help her and goes to prepare a syringe. Deep in her subconscious Wonder Woman hears his words and realises that at this stage of the struggle a stimulant will kill her! But how can she stop them? She can hear them but they cannot hear her! She knows that if she does not break out of the coma quickly then all her efforts will have been in vain. She prays to Hera to give her strength and help her live!

As Professor Stone tests the syringe and moves to inject it into Wonder Woman’s I.V. tube she grabs it from him and says “That won’t be necessary, Professor!”. The others stare in amazement as the Amazon Princess gets out of the bed and stands up. She tells them that while she is still a little weak the worst is over. However, she has no time to explain and with that leaps out of the window to where her robot plane awaits.

Seconds later far above the Queen Bee looks at a monitor screen which shows the Earth below her. One touch of the lever in front of her will activate a larger version of the sonic device her bees use to steal human minds. This time though, instead of stealing a single mind it will steal billions!

But just then she hears a voice behind her and turns to see Wonder Woman standing there, twirling her lasso like a propeller. Bees lie at her feet and the Amazon Princess tells the Queen Bee that the game is over. Her bees are not dead but merely stunned by the vibrations from her spinning lasso. She had come up with the idea on her way here and is now only sorry that she had not thought of it before. The Queen bee replies that she in turn is sorry that she did not make certain Wonder Woman was dead and even sorrier that she had left the lasso behind – a mistake she will now correct!

As she lunges towards Wonder Woman she declares that she will kill her foe with her own hands and Wonder Woman readies herself for the attack. Sweating, straining, silent, the two women struggle for what seems like hours but it is scarcely more than minutes. Though one is an Amazon, with an Amazon’s inhuman strength, the other is a madwoman with all the power of the insane and slowly, she forces Wonder Woman down, fingers clawing her throat, killing her…

But at last, as the blood pounds in her skull, the Amazing Amazon throws all her strength into one last desperate effort and suddenly she is free. The Queen Bee is flung backwards, slamming into her Mind Stealing Computer whose power erupts through the villainess, tearing away her mind. Having sought the souls of Earth the Queen Bee has lost her own, lying motionless and mindless on the floor.

Epilogue:

A short time later, after the unconscious Justice League members have been revived and the Hive Ship has landed once more in the desert outside Houston, Wonder Woman looks on as the scientists reclaim their minds and walk off the ship. She wonders if they will ever be the same for losing a soul must be a terrible thing. Only time can help them together with the healing power of the human heart.