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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 263

Issue Number: 263
Published: January 1980
Cover Artists: Jose Delbo, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Shelly Leferman
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Ross Andru
Story Title: The Power and the Pampas
 
Star Icon Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Bushmaster The Prime Planner
El Gaucho Dr. Fischer Farley

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 263

Click here to see this cover re-imagined by Al Rio!


Comments:

This issue contains a printing error on the final page. At the end of the story it states that next month's issue is entitled "Land of the Scaled Gods!". However, that particular story does not appear until issue 265

The writer, Gerry Conway, also seems to be using this particular issue as an opportunity to voice some personal concerns about freedom of information and the right to privacy. Where applicable, the synopsis below describes Diana's thoughts on this subject using the actual wording used in the issue itself.

Synopsis:

In a New York downtown emergency ward late in the evening the doctors, nurses and patients are amazed to see Wonder Woman walk in with the unconscious Bushmaster slumped over one shoulder.

A police officer steps forward to offer assistance and the Amazon Princess asks for a doctor as she believes her prisoner has swallowed some sort of drug. A female doctor volunteers and leads Wonder Woman and the policeman to a nearby examination room.

Wonder Woman voices her concerns to the police officerAs they make their way, the officer asks Wonder Woman if the criminal she carries is the Bushmaster as he had heard she had been 'mixing it up' with him at the UN Building. She responds a little icily "Quite so, officer - if you call battling for the lives of several hundred UN diplomats mixing it up!".

She then goes on to recount the events of the last issue, explaining that when she had tried to question him concerning a cryptic remark he had made during their struggle about five perfect assassins, he had been unable to respond even under the influence of her magic lasso. She had surmised he was under the effects of some sort of drug trance and had decided to bring him here for further examination.

After the doctor checks over her new patient, she informs Wonder Woman that as far as she can tell there is no brain damage. However, his mind seems to have been completely wiped clear. Apparently, the drug had been hidden in capsules built to replace two missing molars in his mouth. As soon as he had realised he faced defeated he had obviously swallowed the capsules to protect the identity of his sponsors.

As Wonder Woman exits the hospital with the police officer, she tells him that she fears for the world. Somewhere, there is a man or a group of men who have assembled the best killers in the business. These assassins seem to work for anyone who can afford them and they have already attempted to kill both a UN delegate and herself. But where will they strike next?

Meanwhile, somewhere in America in a vast cavernous room filled with chattering machinery and sophisticated electronics, the man known as the Prime Planner, his face hidden, sits on a raised control chair looking at a huge monitor screen. One of the technicians announces that the satellite feed is ready and instantly an image flickers to life on the screen. The scene revealed is the wild Pampas of South America and a figure dressed in a costume reminiscent of the South American Gauchos rides into view on horseback. But this is no ordinary Gaucho and it is no ordinary steed, for the silver stallion flies through the air!

With a skilled snap of his wrist, the Gaucho lets fly his Bolo at a charging herd of Bulls. The Bolo hums and releases a streaming fog of red and blue smoke. As the Bolo whips around the neck of its target, it snaps taught as the smoke wreathes the animal's skull. With a pitiful bellow the animal crumbles in a last choking gasp. The Gaucho announces that the Toro is brave and strong but that it is no match for his wit and skills. He grows tired of this test and wants to know when he will face a true trial - "mano a mano?"

A furious Diana storms out of the U.N. Building!In reply, a jeep loaded with armed soldiers approaches and opens fire on him. The Gaucho moves like lightning and avoids their gunfire. As he rises into the sky he draws his own gun and launches a small projectile at the vehicle. It explodes sending the soldiers flying. As they attempt to pick themselves up he circles round and uses his electro lariat to ensnare them. They cry out in pain as they are electrocuted and fall down unconscious.

As Gaucho dismounts, he informs them that luckily he had recognised them to be agents for the Prime Planner and not real soldiers. Otherwise he would have set his electro lariat to high power instead of low! He turns to a remote camera which has been watching the events and speaks directly into the lens, saying that perhaps next time they try and send fools to test him he will not be so patient.

The Prime Planner turns the monitor off and announces that the Gaucho is ready to make arrangements for his mission in Washington DC. One of his aides asks about Bushmaster and Wonder Woman? The Prime Planner replies that the captured assassin had failed in his mission to destroy Wonder Woman. Perhaps the board had made an error only sending one of their people to kill her. However, for the time being at least they can afford to ignore her since her base of operations is New York. Once they have completed this next mission, they will direct their full attention on operation "Anti-Amazon"!

The next day Diana Prince arrives at the UN Building for a meeting with Doctor Fischer. As she enters the foyer, she is routinely scanned for concealed weapons and her bags searched by the security guards. She thinks to herself that security is much tighter since she previously worked here for Morgan Tracy. Everywhere one goes in Man's World one is prodded and probed, questioned and eyed with suspicion. It seems privacy is a thing of the past in this brave new world and there are children growing up today who will think nothing of having their purses opened and their suitcases x-rayed, all in the name of public safety! She wonders though how safe the public will be when its people have no more secrets? Today they probe our bags and clothes - tomorrow will they probe our minds?

As she wonders whether this is the sort of world she wants to be a part of she is greeted by Doctor Fischer. The Doctor tells Diana that she is glad she could make it and that she hopes Diana will take up the offer of a job in her department. She goes on to explain that she has just been appointed coordinator of the International Relief Programme funded by the UN, to aid countries experiencing catastrophic drought, famine or other natural disaster. She would like Diana to be her executive director and help her organise and administer the programme.

Diana is stunned and flattered, saying that her background in the past has been security, something she is not terribly pleased about either. Doctor Fischer assures her that her previous position is unimportant. She has watched Diana in action, spoken to Morgan Tracy and also her ex-supervisors at NASA. She is certain that Diana is the right person for the job and asks her to at least think about her offer for a few days.

Diana agrees and just as the Doctor tells her that she looks forward to her answer by next week, chief of UN security Farley enters the room. He tells the Doctor that maybe she will get her answer right now if Miss Prince does not answer some of his questions. As Fischer tries to object he tells her that he has reviewed Diana's file and found it to be a mess!

Firstly, the original of the file was stolen a few days back when the Bushmaster first attacked the UN. Luckily he always keeps duplicates in his own office and has to wonder why her file was the only one lifted? Secondly, he has contacted the list of schools and previous employers in her file but nobody has ever heard of her! The file is a fraud as far as he is concerned and he tells Diana that whoever originally cleared her for the security job did a lousy job!

He informs her that in no way is she going to work at the UN until he gets some answers that make sense. She icily replies that she fully understands and that if she decides to take up Doctor Fischer's offer he will get his answers. In the meantime however, she tells Farley to get out of her life and stay out!

With that she storms out, fuming about his obnoxious questions but starting to wonder about what sort of information is held about her other persona. She decides that the only way to find out is to go to Washington DC!

Goucho electrocutes a struggling Wonder Woman in his deadly lariat!Less than ten minutes later Wonder Woman approaches the American capital in her invisible jet and leaping out, uses the air currents to float down to the National Archives Building. As she touches down on the steps of the grand building, she thinks to herself that all the records from all the various government agencies are kept here on a central file. She wants to know what the authorities have on file about Wonder Woman. She is determined not to have her privacy compromised any further - even by the United States Government!

Meanwhile, at nearby Andrews Air Force Base, jets are being scrambled to intercept a UFO approaching the capital. As the jets zoom into the air and close in on their target, the pilots cannot believe their eyes as they see the Gaucho on his flying horse appear through the clouds!

As they get closer he draws his weapon and fires a projectile, disabling one of the fighters. Once the other two jets ensure their colleague has ejected to safety, they open fire on the Gaucho. But they miss and inform the base that the target is so small that it is avoiding their missiles. He in turn throws his Bolo and blocks one of the jet's air intakes. The engine explodes and the craft begins to dive out of control towards the capital.

Back in the Archives Building, Wonder Woman is being informed that she cannot have the information she requires without a court order under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. She cannot believe that the law prevents her from seeing information regarding herself and is about to protest when she hears the whine of the jet. She looks out of the window to see the craft plummeting out of control. Quickly she summons her invisible plane telepathically and remotely guides it underneath the falling jet fighter, concentrating hard to ensure she does not hit it too hard and ignite the leaking fuel pouring from it.

The fighter piggybacks onto the robot plane and the Amazing Amazon manages to land both craft safely on the ground. She rushes over to where the dazed pilot is clambering out to ensure he is unharmed. He rambles about having been shot down by a crazy guy riding a flying silver horse. She presumes he is delirious but catches a glimpse of Gaucho as he passes overhead towards the Capitol Building.

Half a mile down Pennsylvania Avenue, Gaucho sees his target leaving the building and removes his Bolo ready to kill the man. He has no idea why this Senator Clairborne of California must die and he does not care. For him, he is simply fulfilling a contract.

He lets loose the deadly Bolo and the Senator looks up in fear as death approaches. But at the last second a golden tiara knocks the Bolo off course and Gaucho sees the tiara return to its owner as she runs towards him. She removes her magic lasso in readiness to capture him.

But as she confidently announces that just as her tiara has disposed of his weapon, her lasso will now dispose of him, he swiftly rears his steed up so that her lasso falls short of its target. He quickly removes his own lariat and before the surprised Amazon can react lassos her in its deadly electrified coils!

As thousands of volts pour through her she cries out in agony, while the Gaucho thanks her for giving him the opportunity to redeem the honour lost by his former compatriot the Bushmaster. He goads her that the captured assassin had betrayed the others by letting himself be defeated by "a mere woman, a simple senorita!"

But now he, El Gaucho, has shown the world that no one can stand in the way of the Cartel - not even a Wonder Woman!

To be continued...

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