Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 301


Wonder Woman – Volume 1 – 301

General Info

Issue No:
301
On Sale Date:
November 1982
Cover Date:
March 1983
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Dark Challenger

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano
Writer:
Dan Mishkin
Penciller:
Gene Colan
Inker:
Frank McLaughlin
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Carl Gafford
Editor:
Marv Wolfman

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, General Darnell
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Artemis
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Althea
Other:
Sofia Constantinas, Major Keith Griggs
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Comments

This issue features a character called Artemis, who once held the title of “Wonder Woman” before Diana. In the post crisis era, Artemis was also the name given to another Amazon who challenged the Princess in a new contest and won the right to go into Man’s World as “Wonder Woman” in Diana’s place. The Huntress back up features makes a return from this issue on-wards.

Synopsis

The scene is Paradise Island where the Amazons are participating in a race. As the entrants cross the finishing line though it is Wonder Woman who wins the race. As the Amazon Princess is hailed the victor she in turn congratulates Althea, who had come close to beating her. She consoles the disappointed Amazon and says that there will always be another race and she may well win the next time.

Just then another voice exclaims that she cannot really believe that because with her special powers gifted to her by the Gods, Diana will always win. Wonder Woman turns to see Sofia Constantinas who continues that she is doubtful whether Amazon training can really make herstronger and faster than other mortal women, wondering whether that was just ‘another pep talk’?

A watching Hippolyta responds to Sofia, admonishing her and saying that her daughter had not brought the young woman here so that she could espouse the follies of Man’s World! She adds that others may make their individual comparisons regarding who is” faster” and who is “stronger”, reserving their accolades for the mighty – but that is not the Amazon way.

Sofia apologises for her outburst and the queen tells her that what is most important is that each woman strives to better herself and to become the best she can be. Diana has earned the right to be Wonder Woman many times over and her superior powers remind every Amazon that she has not yet completed her task of self improvement. But Sofia should remember that rigorous physical training is not enough to reach that goal. She had been privileged to receive a vision of the Goddess Athena (in issue 298) and she must now learn to understand the wisdom and the light she was shown. If Sofia follows Athena’s guidance she will set noble goals, with objectives that might seem impossibly far away. But which will be within her grasp if she adheres to their Amazon principles.

Hippolyta then says to Sofia that she understands the girl is an experienced markswoman with a gun, but can she also handle a crossbow? With that she throws one down to Sofia in the arena. Shortly later a target is set up in the middle of the arena with Wonder Woman standing in front of it. Sofia stands some yards away holding the crossbow and standing between two more targets. She asks Wonder Woman whether she is sure she wants her to fire right at her? The Amazon Princess replies she should fire at the target and through her if she can! She adds that she knows Sofia believes that she cannot do this without getting killed, but she asks the young woman to have faith in her abilities.

With that she orders Sofia to fire and the next instant the double crossbow releases its bolts in rapid succession. In a blur of bracelets the Amazing Amazon not only deflects the arrows away from the target but at the same time directs them to hit the targets either side of Sofia dead centre! The young woman simply cannot believe her eyes!

Later, as the sun sets over the Temple of Aphrodite, Sofia apologises to Wonder Woman for her earlier outburst. She is more accustomed to getting cheated by people than being cared for but here it is so different. It is a beautiful haven for her where she can finally change her life. She then asks Wonder Woman how she was able to leave Paradise Island for the outside world and the Amazon replies that it was not easy for her. However, it takes someone who truly knows what Paradise can be like to summon the will and the strength to save the world from itself. Sofia adds “to save it from people like me” but Wonder Woman tells her that the change in Sofia’s life had already started from within when she came across her. It was because she was so certain that Sofia’s criminal past was behind her that she asked the authorities to leave her in the charge of the Amazons. Putting a consoling arm on Sofia’s shoulder, she adds that she is certain she made the right decision. Nearby a listening Hippolyta thinks to herself that while her daughter is wise and compassionate, if she really thinks the needs of Man’s World were her sole reason for becoming Wonder Woman then she is fooling herself. It is Colonel Steve Trevor who keeps her there…

Meanwhile at the Pentagon in Washington DC, Steve asks Etta when Diana is due back. Etta replies that she does not know for sure as General Darnell had told her to take as much time off as she needed after her recent ordeal, especially having miraculously survived the bomb blast and hiking her way back to civilisation. Steve mulls over the fact that Diana had wanted to talk to him about something important and he would really line to know what it was. Just then Darnell enters the room with another officer, who he introduces as Major Keith Griggs. Steve greets Griggs who Darnell explains will be joining the team…

The following morning back on Paradise Island Sofia and Hippolyta watch as Amazons dive from the high cliff top into the sea below. Sofia says that she does not think she is quite ready for that sort of height yet and the queen tells her that event comes later in her training. They are required to swim half a mile across to a small island and climb to the top where there is an Eagle’s nest. They must then swim back with a feather from the bird. Sofia decides that she will simply try to swim the distance for now and soon she is splashing her way towards the island.

She notices Wonder Woman is watching her from the cliff top above and decides to show her that she has what it takes and that she deserves the faith Diana has shown her. But suddenly the ex-terrorist cries and begins to struggle against an unseen attacker beneath the waves. Wonder Woman hears her distress and immediately dives into the water. She skips across the water to where the young woman has all but disappeared, dragged under by a bony hand around her neck. Quickly Wonder Woman uses her lasso to pull the frightened Sofia back to the surface and carries her back to dry land.

A shocked Sofia blabbers about her attacker being “Wonder Woman” and the Amazon princess wastes no time in returning to the spot. She sees some sort of skeleton beneath the waves and as she dives down she is surprised to find it is some sort of ancient Amazon warrior wearing a tiara exactly like hers!

As she muses who it might be she finds herself under attack as the skeletal figure grabs her throat, trying to strangle her! She realises that she needs to move the battle out of the water as breathing is becoming an issue. She kicks the creature away and leaps back out of the water, guiding herself on air currents onto the Eagle’s Island. As she contemplates that her foe had been as strong as she is, the creature surfaces and leaps onto the island, drawing its sword. Wonder Woman demands to know who it is and what does it want, but the skeleton simply launches an attack, forcing the Amazon Princess to defend herself with her bracelets.

Managing to fend off several blows, Wonder Woman decides to move to the offensive as she finds herself driven closer to the cliff edge and the Eagle’s nest. Attracted by the sound of battle, the bird enters the fray and swoops down on her opponent. The distraction allows Wonder Woman to kick the skeleton backwards and the Eagle continues its own attack, pecking at the creatures eye sockets. But it is brutally impaled on the sword and it crumples to the ground, dead. An enraged Wonder Woman cries out “Murderer!” and powerfully slaps the creature across the face, forcing it to drop its weapon. She hurls the sword into the sea and the creature almost seems horrified at the action. It swiftly dives into the sea as if after the weapon and disappears beneath the waves.

Soon, back on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman, Queen Hippolyta and some Amazon soldiers stand on the beach watching the foaming sea, waiting for the skeleton to reemerge. The Amazon Princess asks her mother whether she has any ideas as to who the attacker might be? Hippolyta replies that she has a conjecture, but without proof she fears even giving expression to it. Not far away, unnoticed amongst the crashing waves, the creature rises up and croakingly says “Hippolyta …I have come for you!”.

Too late, one of the soldiers spots it as it hurls its sword at Wonder Woman, who is clouted in the head by the handle. She crumples to the ground and slowly slips into unconsciousness. As the creatures wades up the beach it instructs Hippolyta to tell her daughter who her attacker really is. A shocked queen exclaims “Artemis!” but the skeleton demands that she uses the name that she was known by three thousand years ago in Man’s World. Slowly, the queen replies “Wonder Woman…”