Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 91


Wonder Woman – Volume 2 – 91

General Info

Issue No:
91 (420)
On Sale Date:
September 1994
Cover Date:
November 1994
Era:
Dark Age
Story Title:
The Last, Great Game - Part One

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Brian Bolland
Writer:
William Messner-Loebs
Penciller:
Mike Deodato
Inker:
Mike Deodato
Letterer:
John Costanza
Colourist:
Patricia Mulvihill
Editor:
Paul Kupperberg

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana)
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Julianna Sazia, Norocaw
Olympians:
Heracles
Amazons:
Hippolyta, Mala, Artemis, Penelope, Euboea, Antiope, Venelia
Other:
N/A
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Comments

After last issue’s zero hour numbering change we revert back to the regular issue numbering as Diana learns more about the Amazons’ hidden history.

Synopsis

Julianna Sazia is casually sunbathing in her bikini beside her private pool as one of the mob heads, Mr. Norocaw, asks why she is not interested in becoming Queen of Boston? She smiles and asks if he is offering the chance to her? He replies that it is not quite that simple. While her former husband had been head of all the mob bosses she does not have a similar track record with these old timers. Longo had been elected fair and square. He’s comfortable. Everybody knows him. Julianna smiles back that in that case everybody is happy, yes?

Norocaw replies that some important people are starting to get nervous about Longo’s irrational behavior. He’s become a little too visible lately, attracting the wrong sort of attention. Julianna Sazia nods and says that he is asking if she will take Longo out for them, without them having to pledge their support for her, right? She then states firmly that this is not going to happen. She will not go up against him alone. Norocaw replies that they had all been impressed how she had handled Wonder Woman after the Amazon went on her rampage. But Longo is powerful and until he is gone no “deals” are possible. Sazia replies “There is an old swedish proverb back in Minnesota…’ Don’t milk the cow till the cow is there.”

Norocaw then asks what happens if Wonder Woman returns? “I will handle her. Assuming I’m in charge.” Norocaw smiles and responds “Of course.” Sazia leans back on her longer and closes her eyes to soak up more sun rays. Everything was going according to plan….

Meanwhile back on Themyscira Euboea and Mala are walking along the beach when they see Wonder Woman touch down in front of them. hey ask the amazon Princess where she has been all this while and she replies that she needed some time away to think. Diana asks if her mother had perhaps held the contest while she had been away. Euboea says of course she has not, adding that Diana talks about her other like she is the enemy or something. Mala then hands her an Amazon tunic to put on and Diana thanks her, adding that she would hate to wear her uniform one moment longer than she has to at the moment, considering the circumstances. She tells her concerned friends that she does not know her mother anymore. She then asks if the Queen is still insistent that Artemis and the other Amazons are forbidden from competing in the contest? Her friends remind Diana that the Bana-Mighdal’s had tried to invade the city and that Hippolyta has always treated them justly and fairly considering their betrayal.

As they head back towards the city Diana is lost in thought and Mala asks what vision she had seen the previous day, when she had touched the bust of Antiope and collapsed. But Diana ignores the question and simply replies “It’s time for the contest.”

An hour later as the Amazons are practicing their wrestling, running and arrow shooting skills in preparation for the contest, Artemis and some of the other Bana-Mighdal Amazons approach. When the question is raised as to who had invited them Diana replies bluntly “I did.” Hippolyta replies that this is not permissible but Diana calls for a vote on the question to see if all of the Queen’s subjects agree with her judgment. For a moment it almost appears as if Hippolyta is about to strike her daughter across the face but after a moment’s hesitation she says coldly “Very well. Call your vote. I won’t stop you”.

Soon the Amazons are gathered in the courtyard as Diana addresses the gathering while her mother sits and watches sternly from her throne. The Amazon Princess tells them that this is a moment of great importance for their people. They all need to ascertain whether they are so weak and cowardly as a people that they must forever push their sisters out of the sunlight….to cherish their fear in order to excuse their hatred. Hippolyta raises her hands and dismissively congratulates her daughter on a “nice speech” before asking for the Amazons to vote for the Bana-Mighdal to be able to participate by raising their right hand. Almost as one all the Amazons raise their hands and Diana is almost sorry for her mother for a moment.

The Amazon Queen folds her arms and proclaims resolutely that her wishes have obviously been over-ruled by the vote and that all Amazons – regardless of tribe – will be allowed to participate. And so the contest begins.

The first event is seven flights of javelin to test hand and eye. As each group of Amazons step forward nearly a hundred flights of spears arc through the air to stroke their wooden targets, before being reclaimed by their thrower and thrown again until all the cumulative scores are tallied. Mala is elated to see that she scores a higher total than Diana who smiles back and congratulates her. Mala shoulders then drop a little and adds that of course this early in the contest Diana is hardly even trying. The Princess places a consoling arm around her friend and says that she will always compete to her best but reminds Mala that the contest is a marathon not a sprint.

The events continue throughout the day. Tests of skill…speed…strength….and tests that combine them all. as expected, even without her god given powers, the Amazon Princess does well in each and every event. By the evening all the Amazons are feeling the effects of the day’s exertions and as Diana, Euboea and Mala sit down to rest their aching limbs the Amazon Princess invites Artemis and the other Bana-Mighdal Amazons to join them, congratulating Artemis on her performance today. But her fellow “sister” is not so gracious and snarls back that the last thing she wants is compliments from Hippolyta’s daughter and if she thinks one pretty speech changes anything between them then she has another thing coming.

Just then the first day’s final scores are posted and an elated Mala hugs Diana, overjoyed to see that she will joining the Amazon Princess in the second round. As will Artemis and her fellow sisters it appears.

Later that night the Amazons sit around a camp fire, tales are told and plans made for the following day. Noticeably, Artemis and her fellow sisters isolate themselves away further down the beach sitting around their own fire. “They hate us” Euboea says…

At that same moment Braka says that very same thing. Lartys then says that when the plans were made to invade Themyscira, Artemis had been the only one to argue against it, standing alone against the council. Artemis replies that whatever their crimes against us, Amazons should not war with other Amazons. But if one of the Bana-Mighdal tribe can win this contest, all that may change. Braka reminds her sister that they had all been pawns of Circe but now look at them. Their Queen and most of the council is now dead and they have become simply Hippolyta’s despised pets…

Back at the other campfire Euboea is telling Diana that once the Amazon Princess wins the mantle of Wonder Woman again she will be able to keep it forever this time. But she suddenly sees that Diana is holding her head in obvious distress as another vision hits her. As she faints again she cries out deliriously that Herakles and his men have invaded the island…

Diana returns to her vision at the point she last left off, just after Herakles has clouted Antiope viciously over the head. The still chained Hippolyta fears the demigod has killed her sister as he stands over her, gloating. He goads her that he now has the Girdle of Gaea, Themyscira’s rich and fertile lands as his new kingdom and her as his new queen. And with the Mask of Proteus he will be able to fool all the other Amazons just has he had done with Antiope.

But as he bends over the helpless Hippolyta, removing her chains and about to kiss her against her will -Antiope suddenly leaps at him with a rage. For one moment her sheer adrenaline gives her the strength to floor the surprised Herakles with a punch, but he soon recovers his composure and using his brute strength throws her down before pinning her to the ground, intent on throttling her to death. As she struggles for breath she cries out desperately to her sister for help but Hippolyta stands there meekly, pleading that she cannot kill him because she loves him…

At that moment Diana comes out of her trance, sitting up suddenly. A concerned Mala tells her she has been out for almost two hours but the Amazon Princess reassures her friend that she is fine. She then asks Mala what she would do if she discovered the most important thing she ever believed in had in fact been all a lie? Mala asks if that is what these vision shave been telling her and a confused Diana replies that perhaps they are simply bad dreams. Perhaps. But she is beginning to wonder just what her mother may have really done all those years ago…

The next morning the Amazons who have mad it into the second round gather as Hippolyta congratulates them on getting this far and explains that the next round will take the form of a battle. Each of them have been given a talisman marked with a stone…red, blue, white or black. These colours will represent their teams. Using their training spears, nets and shields, they will have to overcome the other teams in order to win their talisman. Since life in Patriarch’s world is a never ending battle the event will be a test of their ability to cooperate and survive.

Diana is surprised that her mother has chosen war as an event – which is very out of character for her. But Mala is just glad that they are at least on the same team as each other! Diana sees that Venelia is also on their team and she greets her, saying that it will be good to have someone who is so at home in the water on their team.

As the other members of Diana’s team walk over to join her they see that Artemis has also been drawn for the same team. Artemis moans that the training spears and their blunt tips are clearly meant for the Themyscirian “milksops”, but is at least pleased that the event is a war game instead of the previous day’s children’s games. “Watch and learn” she crows to the others. Venelia snarls back that only if the lesson is “how to attack from behind”! As Artemis raises her spear in anger Diana steps between them both and asks them to try not to kill each other before the event has even started!

A few hours later the teams have spread out into the forest, prowling for the opportunity to take each other by surprise. Members of an opposing team hiding in the branches above see Mala walking along a trailway – calling out to Diana and Artemis that if they are going to scout so far ahead of her then they cloud at least carry their own equipment. The watching Amazons cannot believe their luck and revel in the forthcoming easy win.

They drop down in front of a “surprised” Mala, but as they demand she hands over her talisman Venelia and Artemis leaps out from cover and take them down. As they prepare to bind the captured Amazons, Mala ask someone else to be the bait next time as she wants some of the action. Suddenly however Penelope and another of the opposing Amazons emerge from the undergrowth with their own surprise attack and assures her that she will get her chance because they always have reserves! But as they punch Mala to the floor and free their comrades, Penelope suddenly realises Diana is missing. Before she can react the Amazon Princess launches herself from above and bowls her over, flooring Penelope.

As the Amazon that Venelia had been holding manages to break away during the commotion, she joins her two sisters as the three of them decide that that if they can take Diana down they will be able to take the rest of them. As they circle the wary Amazon Princess, Venelia curses her own sloppiness and preapres to provide assistance but Mala holds her back and says calmly “Don’t fret. there’s only three”. As the attacking Amazons try to ensnare Diana in their nets, they find she is simply too fast for them as Mala continues to tell Venelia that she once saw the Amazon Princess take on six opponents in a wrestling contest. And never broke a sweat. Those had also been good fighters – not librarians or healers like these Amazons.

They continue to watch as Diana kicks one of her opponents into her own net before elbowing Penelope in the face. She then throws the third and final Amazon over her shoulder before pinning her to the floor.

Her opponent signals her surrender, knowing she is totally outclassed. She willingly offers Diana the talisman and says that she will be just glad to get back to her books and scrolls! But suddenly she cries out a warning to Diana who turns to see an arrow whistling through the air heading straight for her head!!!