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You are in: Galleries > The Brave and the Bold > Issue 140

Issue Number: 140
Published: March - April, 1978
Cover Artists: Jim Aparo
Writer: Bob Haney
Pencils: Jim Aparo
Inker: N/A
Letterer: N/A
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Paul Levitz
Story Title: Dastardly Events Aboard the Hellship!
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Batman
(Bruce Wayne)
Dimitrios
Mr. Belmont Morgan Tracy Esmeralda Belmont
Dr. Calvin Morgan    

Cover of Issue 140

Comments:

While 'The Brave and the Bold' was no more guilty than other team up books, this cover epitomises the way Wonder Woman was often depicted. That is to say, she is shown to be the "damsel in distress" requiring rescue by the male hero, be it Batman, Superman or whomever. What is more, the scene depicted on the cover more often than not bares no resemblance to any event inside. In the case of this particular issue, at no point in the story is a chained Wonder Woman about to be slain by a gorilla while Batman is swooping down to her aid!

Synopsis:

The story opens onboard a luxury yacht where we see the bizarre sight of Batman and Wonder Woman in chains, being forced to perform like wildcats in what looks like a circus ring! A man named Dimitrios, dressed like a ringmaster, cracks his whip and orders Batman to roar like a lion and Wonder Woman to purr like a tigress! Next he commands them to jump through fiery hoops and as he does so, gloats how they had come to trap him, but instead had become the captives themselves! In his whirling brain, Batman remembers back to the events leading up to the heroes present predicament...

A rich industrialist named Belmont had offered ten million dollars to the caped crusader's chosen charity if he helps to find his daughter, whom he believed had been kidnapped by the international industrial pirate, Dimitrios. Known as the Golden Greek, Dimitrios has become the world's richest man, having gained his wealth through industrial espionage. His spies have stolen a horde of secrets from the world's biggest firms and has sold them on to other firms at huge prices.

Belmont goes on to explain that Dimitrios sails the seas onboard his super ship, the Argosy, as a law unto himself beyond justice. And now he has kidnapped Belmont's daughter too! Batman asks whether he is certain before making such a strong allegation but Belmont replies that his daughter knows the secret of a fabulous new solar cell developed by his engineers. Dimitrios will torture her if necessary to get his hands on the secret and as Belmont breaks down, Batman places a reassuring hand on the distraught industrialist and says that he will bring her back.

As Batman leaves, he thinks to himself that ten million will do a lot of good for Gotham's ghetto kids and anyway, if Belmont is telling the truth this is a case he would handle for free! He studies a note Belmont gave him that was supposedly left by his daughter. It certainly seems to suggest that Dimitrios is responsible for her disappearance.

Shortly afterwards, a US coastal guard plane approaches the spot where the Argosy is sailing and Batman is told by the pilot that the ship is well beyond the legal two hundred mile limit. The ship's atomic powered engines need refueling only once every five years and Dimitrios only stops in countries friendly to his way of operating. Batman asks the pilot to take them out of radar range so that he can do a little 'fishing'.

Wonder Woman rides down the centre of the water spoutMeanwhile in New York, Diana Prince is listening to Morgan Tracy as he talks about the rampant industrial spying of Dimitrios. It has reached crisis proportions and the UN secretariat has passed the matter on to him at the Crisis Bureau. He tells Diana that he wishes she had not switched to the special services team, otherwise she would have been able to help him out on this difficult affair. He goes on to explain that it will be fantastically difficult to get evidence for the World Court so that Dimitrios can be legally seized by the UN.

Diana reassures Morgan that he has never failed an assignment in the past but secretly thinks to herself that Wonder Woman may find the task easier! Not long afterwards she is zooming through the skies in her invisible plane, heading towards where the Argosy is located. She glides down and using her lasso, spins it at super speed to create a water spout. She then guides herself inside the funnel of water and steers it over the deck of the yacht. She then whirls down through the spout unseen and enters the ship through a convenient ventilator shaft.

Meanwhile below, Batman scuba dives through an intake scoop underwater and follows the dark tube until her reaches the exit point. But he finds himself inside a huge aquarium filled with a giant squid and a killer whale! The squid grasps the caped crusader's foot while the whale moves in for the kill. But Batman exerts every ounce of energy in one lunge, causing the whale to bite through the squid's tentacle instead. But although now free, Batman finds himself cornered by the whale again. At that moment Wonder Woman bursts into the room through a vent shaft and sees Batman's predicament.

She quickly punches through the one foot thick glass wall of the aquarium and the escaping water carries Batman to safety. As he removes his aqua lung he thanks her and asks what she is doing here. She says she will explain as they go and together they exit the room while up in the control cabin of the yacht, alarms have been activated and Dimitrios orders his aide to send out the Simian Squad.

Down below, Batman and Wonder Woman have caught up on each other's reason for being here while they run through seemingly endless mocks ups of various places from around the world. Each area has animatronic characters making the whole scene very lifelike. They come across a signpost for both New York and Gotham City and hearing the approaching guards, split up.

A little later, a sinister hulking search party of gorillas lead by Dimitrios and his aide enter the Gotham city set where Batman is depicted flying through the night sky on his bat rope. The gorilla's nose begins to twitch and Dimitrios becomes suspicious. He throws a small smoke grenade up at the motionless Batman. As it explodes the caped crusader cannot stop himself from coughing and lets go of the rope. As he plummets to the ground the apes begin beating him until he falls unconscious. With their quarry slumped over the shoulder of one of the apes, Dimitrios leads his search party on to the next chamber to locate the Amazon Princess.

They enter a New York street scene where a motionless Wonder Woman has lassoed a criminal. Dimitrios is unsure whether this Wonder Woman is real or not and orders his apes to destroy her regardless. But the Amazon suddenly springs into action and uses her lasso to upend the apes, sending them crashing into one another. As she turns her attention to Dimitrios though, he squirts her with stinging sleeping gas from a special ring he is wearing.

And so we find ourselves back at the circus where our captive heroes are being forced to perform by Dimitrios, a man who carries his own world around with him and plays its every role. Batman's foggy mind realises that they must have been drugged with some hypnotic substance. He can also just make out a female, laughing and encouraging Dimitrios to make them perform and surmises that she must be Esmeralda Belmont, the supposedly kidnapped daughter.

She hugs Dimitrios and tells him he is the most exciting man she has ever met. As Batman's brain begins to clear a little more, he asks her whether she had ever been kidnapped at all. She replies "of course not!" and explains that she came willingly as any woman would. She tells Batman that her father is a fool to have sent him to bring her back. Dimitrios holds up the tiny solar cell and adds that presumably Belmont had asked for this back too?

Suddenly Batman leaps off his podium and knocking the cell from Dimitrios' hand, appears to swallow the cell! His hands still chained together, he then makes a dash for the exit. Dimitrios orders his Simian Squad to give chase, intent on pumping Batman's stomach to retrieve the precious solar cell!

Batman runs along the corridor with his pursuers not far behind. He reaches a door marked 'Atomic Pile Danger!' and although he knows it is risky, enters the room. He finds that in fact it is not an Atomic Pile at all but the communications nerve centre of Dimitrios' spying operation. A man is chained to the far wall and he introduces himself as Dr. Calvin Morgan, the real inventor of the solar cell. Batman realises that, in that case, Esmeralda had not brought the solar cell here herself. As he frees Dr. Morgan, the Doctor explains to him that Dimitrios had abducted him several weeks ago and took the cell prototype too, which is the only one in existence.

Batman sees that Belmont in fact lied to him as he never rightfully owned the solar cell in the first place! The whole kidnapping story was a fake. Batman then shows Dr. Morgan the solar cell and explains that he has fooled Dimitrios into thinking that he has swallowed it. Dr. Morgan however reveals that the cell Batman holds is a fake!

At that moment the apes burst in and while one grabs Dr. Morgan the other attacks Batman. The caped crusader manages to dodge its blows and grabs a nearby blunt instrument to knock it out. But while his back is turned another gorilla throws a steel mesh over him and he finds himself pinned down and trapped.

Wonder Woman explodes out of her chains and lifts the gorilla high above her head, hurling it against a wall!Shortly afterwards Batman is strapped to a table as Dimitrios orders one of his gorilla's to begin the operation to cut the solar cell from Batman's stomach. He has great pleasure in telling Batman that while they have some level of intelligence, the apes have only rudimentary surgical skills and therefore this may get messy! As Wonder Woman and Dr. Morgan listen on in horror, Morgan cannot understand why Batman is still pretending that the cell is inside his stomach, especially as he now knows it is also a fake too.

As the ape moves towards Batman though, Wonder Woman snaps and uses all her amazon strength to burst free of her chains. She grabs the ape with the scalpel and holds the creature aloft above her head. Dimitrios draws his revolver and orders her to put the beast down. She duly obliges by hurling the ape into a wall! An enraged Dimitrios opens fire but she deftly deflects the bullets with her bracelets. As he empties the chamber at her he cannot believe she still stands. Batman, having been freed by Dr. Morgan, uses the opportunity to clout Dimitrios unconscious.

Dr. Morgan then asks the caped crusader why he had put his life on the line when he knew the cell was fake and not inside his stomach at all? Batman replies that he had done it in order to provoke Wonder Woman to react as she had done and 'step up a gear!'. As the Amazon Princess thanks him for having faith in her abilities they hear the voice of Esmeralda and turn to see her holding a gun at Dr. Morgan's head.

Batman asks her whether she is prepared to add murder to her list of sins and she replies only if they force her to do so. She says she is taking Dr. Morgan hostage and leaving this hellship! She then orders everyone up on deck.

Soon a helicopter touches down but as Esmeralda turns to climb onboard Wonder Woman uses her lasso to grab her wrist, dislodging the gun from her grip. But the victory is short lived as Dimitrios appears behind them with a grenade in his hands, containing another stolen formula - a modern, improved version of deadly Greek fire! He orders Wonder Woman to unleash Esmeralda or he will kill them all.

But instead, the Amazon Princess issues her own order to Esmeralda to tell the truth. Bound with the magic lasso, the woman can do nothing else and reveals that she does not love Dimitrios at all. She used him to steal the solar cell for her father who had faked her kidnapping to trick " this conceited lover boy!".

Enraged, Dimitrios throws the grenade to the ground and the lethal fire explodes around them. Quickly, Wonder Woman races around at super speed and fans the flames out! As the deadly ring of fire is snuffed out, they see that Dimitrios is making his escape in the helicopter. Wonder Woman mentally orders her invisible plane to swoop down and the jet's flame scorches the rotor blades, forcing Dimitrios to land back on the deck with a thump!

Sometime later in New York, Batman and Diana Prince make their way across the UN Plaza. Diana explains to him that since the solar cell was a fake, the real one had to have been switched by someone else. When Esmeralda seemed so eager to leave her 'lover boy' the Amazon had had a hunch that she was the culprit. She had then used the truth-telling powers of her lasso to make her confess.

Batman compliments her on being quite a detective. He confirms that the Argosy has been seized by the UN and Dimitrios, Esmeralda and her father will all stand trial for their crimes. As Diana bids him farewell, she asks him where he is off to next and he jokes that he is going to start a medical school for gorillas...in case he ever needs another operation!

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