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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 256

Issue Number: 256
Published: June 1979
Cover Artists: Jose Delbo, Vince Colletta
Writer: Paul Levitz
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Ross Andru
Story Title: Return of the Royal Flush Gang
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
The Royal Flush Gang Mike Bailey
General Novack Stacy Macklin Farley
Red Tornado    

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 256

Comments:

None.

Synopsis:

It is nearing midnight at the Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre in Houston and a robbery is in progress. Four villains known as the Royal Flush Gang are removing a top secret device from the safe they have just cracked. Unknown to them however, Wonder Woman has been patrolling tonight and has seen the lights in the control room go on. She has since been watching their every movement and now rushes into the room, surprising the gang and ensnaring two of them, the Ace and the Jack, in her magic lasso.

Wonder Woman breaks free of thea force field!In response, the member known as the King produces his flying card out of thin air and together with the Queen, jump on board as it hovers above the ground. He tells Wonder Woman that it had taken the whole of the JLA to defeat the old Royal Flush Gang and that this new team is even tougher. With that he launches a deck of cards at the Amazon which encircle her in a force field.

She manages to break free with relative ease but by then all four of the gang have leapt through the window and made their escape on their flying cards. She ponders whether to call in her colleagues at the JLA to help her track them down but decides she will be patient and wait for them to return in their own time.

The next afternoon Diana, in her civilian guise, is undertaking lessons in a Physics workshop as part of her astronaut training together with the other trainees. However, she finds it hard to concentrate as she keeps brooding over the previous night and how she had been over confident. She had waited too long before making her move against the Royal Flush Gang

She tries to redo the sum she is working on but Mike tells her not to bother, because he has reworked his equation three times and it is still a mess! She mockingly replies that she cannot believe she is hearing the great Mike Bailey admitting defeat!

Just then General Novak enters the room to make an announcement. He tells the trainees that the new Cosmological Guidance System is being delivered later that day. Mike replies that he thought the device had arrived at the control centre yesterday? The General responds that so did everyone else including some thieves who broke in last night. However, the delivery was delayed and the gang only got away with a useless mockup.

He instructs the trainees that the control centre is now off-limits to everyone - including them. When the general is gone, Stacey complains to Diana that he sounded like he was accusing them! Diana replies that it is only a precaution, although he could have told them more tactfully.

Later that evening in her quarters, Diana is reading up on the JLA files regarding the original Royal Flush Gang, originally led by Professor Amos Fortune. She is sure that the gang last night were definitely comprised of new members as their style was so different. The old Royal Flush Gang used weapons that were more powerful than those used against her the night before. What's more, there was no 'Ten' with them either, which may mean they have a hidden card somewhere.

She steps outside to go for a walk, pondering the fact that she has no idea where to start looking. The whole atmosphere in the base is so depressing recently that she is sure no one will volunteer any information. As she walks through the night air, she muses how much she misses New York...

Wonder Woman finds herself flying into a deadly trap!Meanwhile, in an aircraft flying high overhead, a figure in a business suit reads the file on Diana Prince he has in front of him and thinks to himself that he "should be able to deal with this Prince Woman fairly easily - one way or the other"...

And at the same moment at the Royal Flush Gang's HQ, they receive a telephone call from the member known as 'Ten' who gives them some vital information....

A few moments later and Diana has changed into her Wonder Woman costume and has returned to the JLA satellite with the Royal Flush Gang File. She is greeted by Red Tornado who is on watch and he asks if everything is all right? She replies that there is no emergency and that she is just returning the file. He asks her if she has captured them yet and she replies that she has not, although she is pretty sure what they are after. But she does not know why.

The following day a convoy of 'Universal Computer Company' lorries is driving down the highway, carrying the new equipment. Wonder Woman is onboard one of the trucks, riding shot gun. As they draw closer to the Space Centre she leaps out and rides the air currents into the sky to get a better look ahead.

Suddenly though she finds herself face to face with the Royal Flush Gang who are lying in wait for her on their flying cards. They open fire, using their speed and maneuverability to their advantage. But the Amazing Amazon is prepared this time and manages to dodge their fire and in seconds has summoned her own transport in the form of the invisible plane. Once onboard she is able to use her bracelets to deflect their continued fire. The ricochets force the three gang members back allowing her to dive down to the ground where the 'Jack' is making off with the device after having broken into a lorry. She clouts him feet first and knocks him out.

Although the others have managed to escape again she uses her lasso to interrogate the captured gang member and thirty minutes later she crashes through the window of a darkened room on the outskirts of Houston where the gang's hideout is. However, there is no one around and she wonders whether they have another hideout that Jack was not aware of, or that she has scared them off. She has a feeling though that the gang does not scare that easily...

That evening in the lounge of the astronaut's quarters, Diana is playing cards at a table wondering why the gang would want the Cosmological Guidance System? It is only useful for navigating in space or where no other guidance system will work. Where on earth would anyone use it?

Just then Stacey walks up and tells Diana that the new equipment has arrived and that the ban has been lifted. They can go and take a look at it now to see what all the fuss was about. Mike walks over and tells them not to bother as he has already seen it and it is just another computer. He asks Diana to accompany him instead into town to unwind. She agrees and puts her cards down before walking with Mike to the car park.

Wonder Woman kicks the door down, taking the gang by total surprise!He tells her that with all the ruckus about the Royal Flush Gang he is surprised she can even look at a deck of cards! Even though Wonder Woman managed to catch the Jack, that still leaves four of the gang members on the loose and he for one does not appreciate that at all. She laughs and replies that he always has a knack of giving massive problems a personal touch!

Once in the car, they check out of the security gate and drive to a shopping mall. Diana asks if they are going to eat here, but Mike reassures her that he will only be a few minutes as he has an errand to take care of. Then they can go to a good restaurant for a meal.

As she waits in the car she surveys the interior, noting what a mess Mike's car is inside. She picks up some material from the floor and feels it. Suddenly she realises that it is a piece of protective wrapping used to pack computer chips. Mike must have had the Guidance system in the car!

She quickly gets out of the car and dives down a nearby alley before changing into Wonder Woman. It all becomes clear to her now. He must have stolen the device when he visited the control centre and it also explains how he knew there were four gang members still at large. Mike must be the Ten!

She leaps up onto the roof of the mall and surveys the shops below. She sees a door ajar at a sports shop and jumps down before kicking the door in.

Inside, the Royal Flush Gang in their costumes are taken by surprise as the Amazing Amazon uses her tiara to floor King, Queen, Jack and Ace. Meanwhile Ten opens fire on her with a machine gun but she deftly deflects the bullets and advances on him. Swiftly she disarms him and rips off his mask to reveal Mike.

As Mike tries to protest his innocence she tells him she is not interested and pinching a nerve on the back of his neck, sends him into unconsciousness. The police arrive having been alerted by the sound of gunfire to find her donning her tiara and pointing to the captured crooks.

As they take the gang into custody, she leaps into the air and rides off on the air currents. She has decided that she needs a change of scene...

Next morning at the Space Centre, Mr. Starfield is speaking with General Novack about security. He tells the general that with Mike Bailey's confession to being a super criminal, the publicity will be disastrous to the space programme. As Novack tells him to calm down and that things are not that serious, they both hear a voice disagreeing with the general's assertion and turn to see a man in a suit enter the room.

He introduces himself as Farley, from United Nation's Security and tells them that he is sorry to hear about their problems but that he is here to make things worse! He informs them that he is conducting an investigation of another of their trainees - a Miss Diana Prince!

Novack tells him that he will not be able to investigate her here and as Farley protests that he has all the authorisation he needs, the General clarifies his comment. He means that Ms Prince no longer works for NASA. She has quit and has returned to the UN!

To be continued...

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