Action Comics – Volume 1 – 600


Action Comics – Volume 1 – 600

General Info

Issue No:
600
On Sale Date:
February 1988
Cover Date:
May 1988
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
Different Worlds

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
John Byrne, Kurt Schaffenberger, Dick Giordano, Curt Swan, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Jerry Ordway, John Beatty, Murphy Anderson
Writer:
John Byrne
Penciller:
John Byrne, George Perez
Inker:
George Perez
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Tom Ziuko
Editor:
Mike Carlin, Renee Witterstaetter (assistant)

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Superman (Clark Kent/Kal El)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Darkseid, Desaad, Amazing Grace, Kalibak
Olympians:
Hermes
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Myndi Mayer, Chrissie Fenton
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Comments

This issue follows on from the events in Wonder Woman #16, Superman #17 and Adventures of Superman #440. It finally addresses the issue of how Diana and Kal feel about each other in the post crisis universe and defines their relationship to be that of “just good friends” within the DC Universe, just as it remains to this day.

During the New 52 DC changed this status quo so that Diana and Kal became lovers. However, this never sat well with fans of either character and with the advent of Rebirth, this romance was quietly forgotten about. Kal died and was replaced by a Superman from an alternate universe, who was not only happily married to Lois Lane but who also had a son with her. Meanwhile Diana and Steve once more became lovers versus the uneasy estranged couple they had been depicted as during New 52.

Synopsis

Chapter One: First Date

Superman and Wonder Woman are in the countryside away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Without warning Superman pulls her close and their lips touch, almost melding together. For Diana, the strength and the passion of the kiss is almost overwhelming and her eyes widen as she experiences something totally new and alien to her. The kiss seems to last forever but finally Kal draws back, suddenly feeling very sheepish.

He steps back and apologises for being out of line. Slightly flustered, the Amazon Princess agrees and adds she had not expected quite such a passionate reception! Superman again apologises and tells her he is not good at this sort of thing. She queries his use of the words “sort of thing” and he embarrassed replies that it only goes to prove his point! He then adds that she has been on his mind an awful lot lately. He had obviously deluded himself into thinking that he had been on her mind a lot too. She tells him that she is not without feelings and that he has not been completely absent from her thoughts in these past few months.

On hearing this, Superman eagerly asks that perhaps there is a chance that the feelings he has whirling about inside him might be reciprocated. Wonder Woman replies that she does not know. She has lived in Man’s World for only a short while and so many emotions of the emotions that pass freely between the sexes are new to her. However, in truth deliberately trying to avoid thinking of him has in many ways been a greater strain on her than facing any feelings she may have outright. He tells her she has never been far from his thoughts and he has started to wonder if it might not be his heart trying to come to terms with something his brain had yet to see. She responds that while she has a warrior’s heart she is not unmoved by his words.

He says that even so, she maintains her distance and expresses her feelings in terms of what they are not. She smiles and replies that it is her prerogative. In Man’s World this is what is classed as their first date and therefore they should be trying to seek understanding and not consummation. He agrees and asks her to accompany him so that she can introduce himself properly. She takes his outstretched hands and together they lift off into the sky.

As they swoop among the clouds, Superman tells Wonder Woman that up here is where he feels most at home. In the sky, all the problems of the world seem to fall into their proper perspective. She replies that it is a fitting place for such as they – flesh and blood and yet so much more than human. Superman adds that his humanity is still important to him. Wonder Woman was born on Earth but he had come from another world in deep space. Humanity is her birthright – for him it is a hard won prize. She tells him that they are strange sentiments for one who might stand as equal with the gods. He smiles and says that he supposes he has accepted many of the responsibilities of Godhood but with precious few of the perks!

Suddenly, their conversation is interrupted by a portal that forms in front of them. Wonder Woman looks on in horror as the agonised face of Hermes materialises, calling for her help. She immediately flies towards the apparition and tells Superman to stay back as she has been summoned to realms beyond human ken. But he races after her and says that after waiting to see her for so many months he is not going to let her leave him behind now.

Together they fly into the portal and are instantly transported between worlds. A disorientated Superman crash lands and getting to his feet finds himself standing in a topsy turvy Greek palace, run down and overgrown with weeds.

Chapter Two: Fallen Idols

He calls out for Wonder Woman, wondering where on earth he is. He can see no sign of the Amazon Princess and begins to search for her through the labyrinth of Greek Columns, steps and archways which defies the laws of dimension. Meanwhile Wonder Woman has found herself inside a dark passageway and she makes her way cautiously, calling out for Hermes. She is unsure where she is ended up – is this really Olympus? She suddenly hears him call her again and races to a cell door where she can see the weakened form of Hermes lying inside. She smashes the door down and rushes to where he lays. She asks him who has done this to him and he feebly replies that a fearsome new god has invaded their home by the name of Darkseid!

Elsewhere, Darkseid watches the proceedings pleased with himself. His conquest of Olympus has netted him more then just the home of their fellow gods but it has also brought him Superman. Desaad, his ever loyal aide points to another control screen which shows the Amazon Princess with Hermes and says to his master that it has also brought him Wonder Woman! Darkseid guesses that Hermes must have found a way to summon her and Superman must have been drawn here with her. Desaad adds that they are widely separated and must have arrived at different points within Olympus. Darkseid smiles at this news and says that their separation offers much in the way of opportunities. He decides to begin with simple deception.

Simultaneously, Superman stumbles across who he thinks is Wonder Woman while Diana sees who she thinks is Superman appearing at the cell doorway.

Chapter Three: Broken-Mirrors

Superman tells the false Wonder Woman that he has been searching for her all over and she replies she has not been far away and that she has something for him…

Meanwhile in the cell, the false Superman asks the Amazon who she is holding in her arms. She replies that it is Hermes who has been attacked…

Back outside, the false Wonder Woman walks over to where Superman is standing and wraps her arms around his neck coyly. A surprised Superman tells her she seems different…

In the cell the false Superman offers to help and takes Hermes from her arms. Wonder Woman replies that he sounds different…

Outside, Superman is pushed back against a wall as Wonder Woman sexily draws close to him. She asks him if her new demeanour pleases him. Is she not now everything a man could desire?

In the cell the false Superman scowls and responds that if he sounds different there is a reason…

The false Wonder Woman kisses the flustered Superman passionately…

The false Superman punches Wonder Woman and sends her sailing across the room, yelling “I am different!”…

Inside his control room, Darkseid watches these events and laughs manically. He says to Desaad that his constructs play off the inner weaknesses of both heroes. Desaad replies that while he appreciates his master’s craft might it be dangerous? Thus far their conquest of Olympus has been without flaw. Should the intruders simply be destroyed instead of being toyed with? Darkseid responds that he has waited too long to let this small diversion disrupt his master plan. He has waited all these centuries since he first learned the truth about Olympus.

He then proceeds to recount how the great legends told of how the world of the first Gods, the old Gods, had died – split asunder by the fury of their final Ragnarok. Out of the cataclysm two new worlds were born. Bright and beautiful “New Genesis” was the home of all that was good and pure in their forefathers. Dark and terrible “Apokolips” however was the spawning ground of ultimate evil and also Darkseid’s and Desaad’s home!

What they never guessed was that the destruction of the old world had unleashed in all directions torrents of unimaginable energy that hurled itself across the universe. One searing bolt found its way to Earth and landed in a cluster of islands some call Greece. That energy created in time a race of beings that came to think of themselves as Gods, just like the New Gods on New Genesis and Apokolips. Their power and influence generated on Earth a Golden Age.

Darkseid had learned all of this before he came to rule Apokolips and any scheme of conquest therefore was forced to wait. Now though the waiting is over! Olympus is his and from this base he will launch a new front in his assault upon the Universe! Desaad asks what he intends to do about Superman and Wonder Woman and Darkseid replies that the time has come to further twist the game he plays with them.

He points to the screen which shows Superman lying on the ground in a passionate embrace with the false Wonder Woman. Suddenly she transforms into the villainess Amazing Grace and Superman pushes her off him, realising he has been deceived. On the other screen meanwhile, Wonder Woman is dodging the attacks of the false Superman when all of a sudden he transforms before her eyes into the villain Kalibak!

Superman deduces that if Amazing Grace is here then this must be the work of Darkseid. The villainess in turn challenges him to pursue her as she transforms back into her Wonder Woman form.

Wonder Woman clouts Kalibak powerfully across the jaw realising that this being is no creature of Olympus…

Darkseid smiles as he watches his creations draw their respective victims through the labyrinthine Olympus towards each other until at the last instant they elude their pursuers momentarily and disappear, leaving the real Superman and Wonder Woman to face each other – each convinced the other is an impostor!

Interlude:

In the offices of the Mayer Publicity Agency, Myndi Mayer sits behind her desk confronting her aide Chrissie who is holding a copy of a newspaper. Chrissie tells her that this whole P.R. thing is a flat lie! Myndi replies that one man’s lie is another man’s publicity sensation. Superman and Wonder Woman had agreed to meet in private somewhere out in the Boonies where no one could see or hear them. It does not take a genius to put two and two together. She smiles at the newspaper headline which reads “Superman and Wonder Woman – The Romance of the Century!”

Chapter Four: Battle!

Darkseid and Desaad smile as they watch the ensuing battle on their screens. Both Superman and Wonder Woman use huge Greek Columns to test each other’s defences. Superman then moves like lightning and flies fists first at Wonder Woman, who only narrowly manages to dodge the attack in time. She responds by pushing a massive stone wall on top of the Man of Steel. He in turn hurls a massive stone statue of Zeus at her but again she manages to dodge the attack.

Wonder Woman then grabs Superman by the feet and swings him round so that he slams into a newly erected statue of Darkseid. As Superman punches loose another piece of Greek column to throws at her she uses the opportunity to grab a flaming urn and hurls it at him. The burning oil envelops Superman but unperturbed, he takes the urn’s ornate stand and bends it into a crescent before sending it whirling back at Wonder Woman. The Amazon Princess finds herself pinned against a column as the stand wraps around her torso. She wraps her arms around the column behind her and wrenches it from its foundations. With the column now effectively strapped to her back, she sues the weight to hurl herself at Superman, using the column’s weight to give her maximum momentum and velocity. She strikes Superman column first and sends him ploughing back through the wall behind him! But this is no ordinary wall – it is the outside wall of Darkseid’s control room!

Darkseid and Desaad look on in shocked surprise as Superman and Wonder Woman get to their feet to confront the two villains. Superman tells the Amazon Princess that it looks like their little plan had worked. She agrees, adding that their mock battle has indeed brought them right into Darkseid’s lair! An incredulous Darkseid flinches at the words “mock battle” and Superman explains how the villain has tipped his hand too soon. As soon as he and Wonder Woman saw who the impostors were they knew Darkseid was here behind the scenes. Wonder Woman continues that when those impostors conveniently ducked out of their sight for a moment during the chase, it was not very hard to guess what had happened. The first moments of their supposed battle was used to test each other to be sure they were no longer faced with the imitations, who did not have the same level of power. Once they were certain they were facing the real thing, they started to use the battle to cover their search for Darkseid. The Amazon Princess adds that Superman had been right that the villain’s arrogance would cause him to underestimate his enemies.

A furious Darkseid rages “You dare speak of arrogance to a God!” and reminds her that he has captured Olympus and it is his to do with as he pleases! She confronts him, asking that does he really believe he could have taken this lofty ground so easily if the Gods had chosen to stand against him. She tells him to look around him at the desolate palace. There are no gods here. The Olympus he has captured is deserted and empty. He fumes that she is lying and that the Gods’ presence permeates this place. They are simply hiding from his Parademons which even now are scouring the place intent on rooting them out.

Just then a fearful Desaad reports to his master that the Parademons have returned and have found nobody. Wonder Woman tells Darkseid that even he must see the futility of all this and would not insist they continue this conflict now. He replies that their deaths would indeed have no meaning and no point and his actions are never without a point. He then presses a button and he, Desaad and the Parademons transport back to Apokolips. Superman walks over to the console where Darkseid had been standing and uses his x-ray vision on it. He tells Wonder Woman that Darkseid has triggered a self destruct mechanism. There are powerful explosives planted throughout Olympus and they are going to detonate at any second. They have to leave now as Olympus is doomed.

But they then hear the voice of Hermes tell them not to fret. Wonder Woman asks the Messenger God why has not fled while he had the chance? He calmly replies there is no need for flight. At that moment Olympus explodes with the force of an atom bomb but just as quickly the massive fireball shrinks and implodes back into itself, leaving Olympus standing as before. A puzzled Superman tells Wonder Woman that he had seen and heard the explosion but had not felt anything. She replies that Olympus is eternal and not even Darkseid can destroy it. It will pass only when the Gods themselves wish it to.

Returning through the portal provided by Hermes, Superman and Wonder Woman touch down back on Earth at precisely the same spot they had left it. The Man of Steel tells her that what he had just experienced was amazing – Olympus! The Greek Gods! It has all made him realise that he was fooling himself when he thought there might be a chance for romance between the two of them. Before Hermes called her away she had told Superman he had stood as an equal to the Gods. But he does not and he can see that more than ever now. He admires her and respects her but at the end of the day he is just a boy from Kansas and she is way out of his league!

Wonder Woman says that she agrees with his decision if not all his reasoning. She smiles and holds out her hand which he gladly takes. She tells him that they are indeed from different worlds and different philosophies so perhaps they can never be lovers – but she hopes they can always be friends.