World’s Finest Comics – 245


World’s Finest Comics – 245

General Info

Issue No:
245
On Sale Date:
March 1977
Cover Date:
July 1977
Era:
Bronze Age
Story Title:
Hell On Skis

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Neal Adams
Writer:
Gerry Conway
Penciller:
Jim Sherman
Inker:
Bob Wiacek
Letterer:
N/A
Colourist:
Liz Berube
Editor:
Denny O'Neil

Characters

Main:
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince/Princess Diana), Steve Trevor, General Blankenship
Heroes:
N/A
Villains:
Iron Claw, Lieutenant Heinrich Oberman
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
N/A
Other:
Yeoman Smith
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Comments

The pre-crisis version of the Amazing Amazon is sometimes accused of being too ‘soft’ a character by readers of the modern day, grittier version. However, the opening scene in this story clearly demonstrates that she could be mean and tough when she wanted to be!

Synopsis

As dawn breaks over the Alps on a spring day in early 1942, a lone German fighter plane sends out a distress signal to its base. The pilot radios that his men are all shot down and that he is lost in enemy territory.

Suddenly, to his surprise and horror, he sees Wonder Woman leaping towards his cockpit from her invisible plane. She wrenches the canopy off and then proceeds to lift the pilot out from his seat. Holding him by his collar, she pulls the terrified pilot towards her face in a menacing way. He warns her that without a pilot the plane will crash and she casually replies that it therefore does not give them much time to talk.

She asks him what happened to an American pilot who crash landed in the area a few days ago? He replies that he does not know what she is talking about but she presses him further, explaining that the pilot’s name is Steve Trevor and his life is very important to her.

Fearing for his life, the German breaks down and whimpers that he will tell her what she wants to know. With that, she drags him along the wing of the plane and onto her own, just in time before the out of control fighter craft crashes into a mountainside.

After a short but fruitful interrogation, she drops off the pilot in allied territory and then proceeds to a castle in the mountains called Schloss Falke (The Castle of Falcon), where Steve is being held prisoner. As she makes her way the short distance in her robot plane she recalls the events of a few hours ago…

As Yeoman Prince, she had been working in her office in Washington DC when General Blankenship had walked in with some very bad news. He informs her that Steve has disappeared over enemy territory while on a mission. She holds her hands to her face in shock and asks if the General knows whether Steve is still alive? He replies that he does not.

Knowing how close Diana and Steve are, he tells her that he has asked Yeoman Smith to stay with her for the next few days to give some comfort. Although Diana protests, he tells her it is an order and then leaves the two Yeoman’s to get to know each other.

But Diana has other plans and quickly removes her magic lasso and ensnares the startled Yeoman Smith. She orders her to sit down and sleep, instructing her to ensure that no one enters the office. That done, she swiftly changes into her Wonder Woman costume, knowing that the spell over Yeoman Smith will only last twenty four hours. If she is not back by then, her secret identity may well be in jeopardy!

She climbs out onto the ledge and edges around to the window of General Blankenship. She listens to the conversations inside for a full five minutes until she has learned all she needs to know about his mission. She realises that Steve is in even greater danger than she first feared and wastes no more time. She boards her waiting plane and heads towards Germany…

Now, as the castle looms into view, she touches down on the snowy terrain and climbs out. As she prepares to make her way towards the large castle, she hears a sound behind her. Turning quickly, she sees German soldiers on skis speeding towards her. They open fire and she deftly deflects the oncoming bullets with her bracelets. She advances on the first soldier and knocks him flying. The others react with another barrage of gunfire and she dives for cover.

She wrenches a nearby tree out of the ground and uses it as a club to knock down the rest of the skiers. But she knows that the easiest way to get inside the castle will be as a prisoner and so she ensures that one soldier is still standing. She realises that her timing will have to be perfect to avoid getting killed and allows the German to fire on her. She lifts her arms to deflect the bullet but pretends that it has creased her skull.

She collapses to the ground and lays motionless as the other soldiers get to their feet and surround her. As one of them prepares to shoot her through the head the sergeant tells him that she should be kept alive as their General will wish to see “this Wonder Woman”. With that he orders them to carry her back to the castle.

They heft her up onto their shoulders and carry the Amazon into a nearby cave entrance under the castle structure. They make their way into a large underground cavern filled with technicians and equipment. They then proceed on towards a large set of doors and Wonder Woman allows herself a quick peek.

The doors open and they enter into an enormous operations centre of the Gestapo. As Wonder Woman uses one eye to survey the secret headquarters of the SS High Command she hears a voice say “Good Morning Fraulein. How very sweet of you to join us!”

She opens both eyes and turns to see a large, hooded man with a mechanical right arm moving towards her. As he tells her that she need not pretend unconsciousness anymore and that she has achieved her purpose of entering the castle, she leaps off the shoulders of the surprised soldiers. The man before her introduces himself as Iron Claw and informs her that she will not leave the castle alive! The HQ is a secret even from the Fuehrer and no one who learns of its existence dares hope to survive. If his men cannot kill her – then he will!

For her part, the Amazing Amazon launches into action and takes out the soldiers who had carried her into the castle. She then leaps across the room and clouts Iron Claw in the face, feet first. In a rage, he warns her that she will be slashed to ribbons if she dare touch him and subsequently takes a swipe at her with his deadly claw arm. But she dodges the attack and he hits one of his own men instead!

She jumps towards Iron Claw, punching him in the face and demanding to know where Steve is. But Iron Claw uses her momentum against her and rolling with the punch, manages to throw the Amazon Princess over his head with his feet, sending her thumping into the wall. She realises in horror that during the move, he has also managed to grab her magic lasso from her belt!

She gets to her feet as Iron Claw begins to twirl the lasso over his head. He tells her that he has seen American News Reels of her stunts and wonders if what they say about the golden rope is true? She knows she cannot let him ensnare her and throws herself towards him with a desperate cry of “No!”. But he loops the lasso around her in mid air and as she lands, he laughs as he pulls the rope tight, binding Wonder Woman and making her his prisoner!

The captured Amazon is led outside to the cave she was carried through before and is ordered to stand against the wall. Just then soldiers carry another bound figure into the room and dump him next to her. It is Steve! He apologises for leading her into something serious and tells her that these Germans are the cream of Hitler’s secret police. Finding their hidden headquarters has signed his death warrant – and hers!

Wonder Woman watches as a firing squad prepares to execute them and she knows that she is powerless to stop them while Iron Claw continues to hold the lasso. She desperately tries to think of something and spots some power cables which snake across the floor in front of her and underneath where Iron Claw is standing. She hooks her boot under one of them and lifts her leg up. The cable pulls his feet from under him and he lets go of the lasso.

Instantly she shoves Steve to the ground as the firing squad open fire, their bullets hitting the wall above their heads. She then uses the cable again to disarm the firing party, before making her way across the cave with Steve in tow. She punches any soldiers that get in her way as Steve explains that he had been shot down because he had managed to get pictures of a top secret Gyro plane leaving the castle, with Himmler himself aboard.

They continue down a corridor towards the exit but come face to face with a waiting Iron Claw. He opens fire and Wonder Woman deflects the bullets while shoving Steve out of harm’s way. Seeing that his bullets have no effect, he throws the gun away and the two combatants race towards each other!

She grabs his arm as he attacks, trying to keep the deadly claws away as he tells her that he is Himmler’s personal bodyguard and that when he kills her, he will become a legend! She responds by grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and, telling him that the arrogance of men constantly astounds her, she hurls him across the room. His metal hand accidentally touches a generator which explodes, killing him instantly.

Using a nearby pair of German skis, Wonder Woman exits the cave with Steve in her arms as the entrance turns into a fireball and the castle above erupts into flames. As they ski to safety, she asks him whether he thinks the SS are all dead and he replies that it is unlikely because the Gestapo creeps are “slippery as snakes”.

But even so, she has struck a blow for freedom today and he tells her that “it will be a long time before any of those animals forget the lady called Wonder Woman”!