In order to promote the ‘re launch’ of “Wonder Woman”, DC took the unusual step of producing a mini-comic as a taster for what was to come. The mini-comic was integral to the ongoing story line in the main book but was not available separately.
With her new creative team of Roy Thomas, Gene Clan and Romeo Tangle, the new Wonder Woman became a more sassy, streetwise and wisecracking character. The launch comic portrays her as a much tougher lady to deal with than readers had come to expect, with more emphasis on action.
This mini-comic is also extremely significant as it is the first time her new costume is introduced, the one with the double W’s! Of course, this costume has remained her standard costume up until the present day and was a major shift away from the Molten Marten design and more towards giving her a ‘brand’ identity like Superman’s ‘S’. Purists would argue that this was a flawed move as many loved the eagle design on the bustier, but nevertheless the =W= emblem has become a recognisable symbol across the world and can be seen on everything from mugs to tee shirts.
Another notable changes made this issue was the use of proper Greek names for the Olympian Gods, as opposed to the Roman names usually used. Thus, Mercury the God of Speed becomes Hermes.
With the scene set in this mini-comic, the story continues in her own book, commencing at issue 288.
The scene opens in Washington DC where Air Force Captain Diana Prince races to catch up with Colonel Steve Trevor as he strides across the street. He reminds her that they are late for their appointment with General Darnell. She in turn reminds him that she is fully aware of the fact as it was she who the General had contacted, requesting that she instruct Steve to deliver a locked brief case to his address as quickly as possible. Steve approaches Darnell’s Office and replies that while he does not know what is inside the brief case, it must be something very important.
Just then a car screeches to halt nearby and two armed gunmen leap out. They demand he hands the case over and thinking quickly, he throws the case to Diana, ordering her to run while he throws a punch at the surprised lead gunman.
She unwillingly makes a dash for a nearby alleyway with the case while behind her, Steve is cracked over the head with a pistol butt. The watching driver in the car orders his men to dump Steve’s body in the back seat and then continue after the woman.
Meanwhile, Diana hides the case in a nearby dustbin and from nowhere, her magic lasso springs into her hands. She hated having to leave Steve like that but she had to obey his order while in the guise of Captain Prince. But now things were different! Twirling her lasso around her she transforms into her Wonder Woman costume. Swiftly, she smashes her way through the wall just as the car pulls up.
The gunmen get out as the wall collapses in front of them, wondering if it is an earthquake. As Wonder Woman steps out, she thanks them for the compliment and casually replies that actually, she was barely using the force of a small hurricane! The lead gunman raises his weapon, saying that they have heard of Wonder Woman and how she often keeps Trevor under surveillance. She replies by saying that they have obviously done their homework and asks whether they are going to therefore save a lot of trouble by surrendering peacefully?
Their response is quick and violent. They open fire but she deftly deflects their bullets with her Amazon bracelets, telling them that she can always use a bit of practice playing “Bullets and Bracelets” as well as lassoing. With that she removes her magic lasso and ensnares the two gunmen, pulling it tight so that they bang their heads together, knocking them out. The watching men in the car see she has captured their comrades and one prepares to shoot the unconscious Steve. But the driver tells him that their leader will want to interrogate Trevor personally and with that he turns the car around and speeds off.
Wonder Woman retrieves her lasso and races after the car. She ensures her quarry cannot see her in case they use Steve as a hostage and leapfrogs from car roof to car roof until she lands on their vehicle. But she lands a little heavier than she had intended and can only assume that they have heard her. Abandoning the stealthy approach, she jumps down in front of the speeding car and grabbing its bonnet, pushes it to a halt. The stunned occupants make a run for it but she grabs the driver and hurls him up onto a nearby shop canopy. A nearby policeman tells her that he will handle things from here as he has already collared the other guy, allowing her to drag Steve out of the car.
Steve smiles groggily and says “Hi Angel!”. She asks the onlookers if they would kindly call an ambulance and a man and two women reply that one is already on its way. They then look at each other, trying to decide whether this is a good moment to speak with the Amazon Princess. Realising that they may not get another opportunity, they step forward and say that they understand that now may not be the best moment, but that they have been scouring the city for her over the last few days. Wonder Woman replies that she does not mean to be rude but that she has a lot on her mind right now. The three reply understandingly and quickly introduce themselves as representatives of an organisation which would like to call itself the ‘Wonder Woman Foundation’, with her permission of course.
The Amazon does not really hear their words as she has noticed the arrival of the ambulance. Her admirers continue to explain to the distracted Amazon Princess that they know how unselfishly she has given of herself over the years to charities and the like. As Wonder Woman watches the ambulance crew load Steve on board though, she decides not to go with him as it might not be prudent to show so much personal interest in front of a large crowd. She therefore turns her full attention to the lead woman who is explaining how the group would be a nonprofit making organisation in which she would have a real say. Confused, she asks what group they are talking about and the woman says “Why, the Wonder Woman Foundation of course!”.
The Amazon is taken aback by this as the woman continues that their credentials are on file so that she can check them out if she wishes. They have been promised full financial backing to promote equality for women everywhere if they can use Wonder Woman’s name. As the bemused Princess tries to come to terms with what she has just been told, the woman holds up a new bustier for her with the Foundation’s logo on it. She asks whether Wonder Woman would be kind enough to wear it instead of her old one in future, adding that the stylised”W” stands for “Women”. The Amazing Amazon ponders their request, uncertain what to make of it. She decides she had better talk it over with her mother and to the amazement of the three, she summons her invisible plane. As she clambers on board taking the new bustier with her, she tells them that she will give them an answer as soon as possible.
With that she pilots the craft up and away and steers the plane homewards to Paradise Island. As she flies towards the Bermuda Triangle, she thinks to herself that the Amazon Scientists had done a good job of repairing her plane after her recent encounter with Dr. Cyber. As she pilots the graceful craft through a billowing cloud she emerges over the beautiful island home of the Amazons. As she lands the plane she senses something strange. When she has approached the island on previous trips she has normally seen fellow Amazons boating, swimming or bathing. Yet today she had not seen anybody except a sizeable grouping not far from the Palace. She decides she had better investigate.
She walks to the palace grounds and sees her Amazon sisters standing there, hardly moving. As she draws near she sees that they are in fact chained together, including her mother, Queen Hippolyta! She asks why they are shackled like this and hears a man’s voice behind her ask her, in turn, whether she would prefer them to be shackled by their dainty wrists of their tapering ankles? She turns to see the mighty Hercules standing there, together with the God Hermes. Hermes tells Wonder Woman that he was persuaded by Hercules, strongest of the Olympians save for Zeus himself, to steal the queen’s belt. Without it, Hippolyta and the other Amazons could not resist Hercules’ might. And the price Hermes exacted for his labours was the Amazon Princess herself!
She thinks to herself that she has to keep them talking while she figures out a plan. She says to Hercules that she is well aware that without the belt, her mother and the Amazons are helpless. But he has not defeated her yet. He might also recall that she has proved before that she was born stronger then he and swifter than the “lust struck” thief Hermes. Hercules retorts that her past triumphs no longer matter and that she will dare not oppose him with the lives of so many of her Amazons in the balance. She replies that surely they would rather she surrendered willingly than reluctantly? She continues that she is prepared to do so on the condition that either of them can beat her in a single act of prowess.
Hermes tells her that such is the longing he feels for her that “to the swift shall be the fair”. She assumes by “that corny patter” he accepts her challenge. She suggests that they race for her mother’s belt. He willingly agrees and throws the belt as far and as high as he can. With that he and the pursuing Wonder Woman race after the falling belt, while Hercules rages at the foolhardy God, asking why he must compete for something the powerful Hercules can give him?
Nevertheless the God of Speed responds that he prefers to win his own wenches, especially one as beautiful as Aphrodite herself. He adds that it has been years since he last raced against Hippolyta’s daughter and he is even faster now. Wonder Woman replies that she too has been practising a little herself. With that, she not only catches him up but overtakes him, catching the belt in her hand.
The shocked Hermes stands before her suitably disgraced and she watches as he vanishes into thin air, returning to Mount Olympus. As he goes he bids her farewell until the next time they race. She then turns to confront Hercules, who tells her that she may have won a single battle but the war is still his for the taking! As Wonder Woman throws the belt over to Hippolyta he continues that her action will do no good while the Amazons remained shackled. As the belt falls to the ground a few feet in front of the queen, Wonder Woman replies that nevertheless she returns what is rightfully her mother’s. As Hippolyta thanks her daughter she warns Diana to take care but the distracted Princess receives a punishing blow to the jaw from Hercules. He accuses her of being nothing more than a “gaudily festooned guttersnipe” and rages that for more than a score of centuries he has borne the stigma of defeat, first at her mother’s hands and then at hers. He refuses to crawl back to Olympus with his tail between his legs!
She responds by grabbing his arm as he tries to hit her again, saying that instead of ranting why does he not put his muscle where his mouth is? Hands clasped together in vice like grips, the two combatants strain against each other’s pressure. With sweat pouring from her brow, Wonder Woman feels Hercules tighten his grip even more as he orders her to surrender. She replies that he is stronger than she remembers but even so, she owes him for what he has done to her mother and her Amazon sisters. With a mighty effort she throws him to the ground in one move. Defeated and humiliated, he too disappears back to Olympus.
At the same instant the chains also disappear and Hippolyta finally is able to welcome her daughter home. She sees however that her daughter is troubled and Diana goes on to explain about the Wonder Woman Foundation and the new costume she has been asked to wear. She has reservations about the “W” insignia but her mother replies that she should wear the new bustier for a while at least for the good it will bring the Foundation and in turn, women’s rights. As Diana removes her old costume she says that her mother is right and that the cause will make the “W” stand not just for “Wonder Woman” but Women everywhere! As she dons the new top, she decides it does not look too bad on her and adds “Who knows, it might even grow on me!”.
A short time later she bids farewell to her mother and climbs aboard her waiting plane. Hippolyta asks her daughter to pass on her regards to Colonel Trevor when she visits him in hospital. Diana replies that she will be happy to, although he will no doubt probably be up and about by the time she returns…
Meanwhile in the US Capital, a nurse looks down upon where an unconscious Steve Trevor still lays in bed and asks on his condition. As the doctor studies the x-rays he replies that the patient is not good. He has no real idea why, but Trevor appears to be dying!