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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 264

Issue Number: 264
Published: February 1980
Cover Artists: Ross Andru, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Shelly Leferman
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Ross Andru
Story Title: A Bomb in the Bird is Worth Two in the Band
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
The Prime Planner Mr. Cramer
El Gaucho Senator Clairborne  

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 264

Comments:

The cover of this issue is unusual in so much as it depicts exactly the same events as the previous issue's cover, all be it from a different perspective. This is the only issue I am aware of where this ever happened.

Synopsis:

With Wonder Woman writhing in agony in the coils of his electrified lariat, El Gaucho steers his flying steed high into the sky over Washington.

He tells her she is a conceited female if she thought it would be easy to tangle with him. With that, he lets go of the lariat and informs her that unfortunately he has no time to watch her topple to her death below and bids her farewell forever! As he flies off with a manic laugh, the struggling Amazon finds herself wrapped even more tightly in the electro-lariat's eel like coils as she spirals downwards towards certain death.

She guesses that the lariat must have a portable power source concealed in the wires because thousands of volts are still pouring through her body even though El Gaucho no longer holds her. But as the ground rushes towards her, she believes that he may have made his first and fatal mistake. A body can only take so much pain before it becomes meaningless.

Wonder Woman bursts free from the deadly electrified lariat!She begins to concentrate, praying to Hera that she can ignore the pain long enough to focus all her strength on breaking free. She stubbornly refuses to give up and with a roar of resolute belief in herself, she cries out "I must break free...and in the name of my Mother, Queen Hippolyta of Paradise Island, I will - I WILL!!!"

An Amazon is many things, but at the core she is a woman triumphant, a woman free of society's limiting expectations, a woman totally fulfilled in her womanhood. Far below, the men and women of that most cynical city Washington, witness the almost symbolic unbinding of an Amazon as she bursts free of the lariat's coils. And perhaps each of them catches a glimpse of what they might be, were they ever themselves fully unbound!

Quickly she orders her robot plane to come to her because although she would normally be able to ride the air currents down to the ground, there is a storm wind blowing up off the Potomac and she knows she would have about as much maneuverability as a loose straw! She touches down on it's wing and orders the craft to follow the trail of El Gaucho west before she loses it.

But suddenly she realises she is flying too low and they are about to collide with a passing truck! She orders her plane to pull up immediately but in doing so it throws its mistress off her precarious balance and sends her slamming into the truck. The force of the impact sends the truck veering across the road dislodging a motorcyclist. As Wonder Woman brings the truck safely to a halt, she sees the motor bike rider fly up and over the highway embankment and she swiftly orders he robot plane to return and skillfully catches the amazed rider in its cockpit!

As she checks to see that both the driver and motorcyclist are unharmed, she realises that she has lost El Gaucho for now and that she will instead continue her quest to retrieve any government information held about Wonder Woman.

Meanwhile, in New York harbour a majestic yacht leaves the bay for the open sea. A couple of coast guard personnel watch it depart and one of them comments on what a fine ship it is. His colleague replies that it is called "Leviathan" and that it is a company ship owned by a big multinational conglomerate. He says that it is used by their executives for 'business' trips, although as they watch some scantily clad young women frolic on the deck they wonder just what sort of business it is!

However, unseen below the waters beneath the yacht, it is revealed that the boat is merely the tip of the iceberg and that in reality it is actually part of a massive submarine, manned by many personnel. Inside the main control room, the Prime Planner (his face still hidden) surveys the large monitor screen on the wall in front of him. He orders his men to "initiate operation as planned" as they are due in Marseilles by 0700 hours on Monday.

On his instructions, the containment shell is activated and huge metal doors rise up from the water to enclose the boat above, sealing it water tight. The girls on deck put on their uniforms and rejoin the rest of their colleagues below decks as the massive sub dives down into the murky depths.

As one of the crew announces that they are at depth one thousand feet, a man in a smart business suit strides over to where the Prime Planner sits, demanding an explanation. As a guard moves to stop him getting any closer the Prime Planner tells the guard that Mr. Cramer has already seen the operations room and poses no threat.

Wonder Woman speeds to the scene of the commotionCramer, who represents a company called Intercontinental Communications, informs the Prime Planner that he has been in touch with his people in Washington who have told him that that the job he had hired the Cartel to carry out has not been completed. The Prime Planner replies that it is only a temporary setback but Cramer is not impressed. He demands to know how the Prime Planner can justify calling the intervention of Wonder Woman a setback? He goes on to say that the deal is off but the Prime Planner replies that that is impossible.

He tells Cramer that his company had hired the Cartel to terminate senator Clairborne before his judiciary committee could uncover certain unsavory facts about ICC's international business dealings. When the Cartel accepts a commission they accept it unconditionally. He assures Cramer that the Senator will die and ICC will be billed for their services as agreed. When Cramer tries to protest about Wonder Woman's involvement, the Prime Planner replies that she will be dealt with as the Cartel does not suffer interference - or a fool - gladly. With that the guard ushers Cramer out of the room...

Later back in Washington, as the sun begins to set, Wonder Woman arrives in the courtyard behind the turn-of -the-century brownstone housing the law firm of Meyer and Coblentz. She uses her lasso to transform into her Diana Prince attire before making her way inside.

She meets with a female lawyer and requests her help in examining the government's file on Wonder Woman under the Freedom of Information Act. The lawyer replies that although she can prepare the necessary forms for her request with the National Archives, Diana must have a good reason for asking to see the records in the first place. Diana responds that she is making the request as a friend of Wonder Woman who is concerned about an invasion of her privacy. The lawyer tells her that in that case the Amazon must come here herself, otherwise she cannot help.

Seething inside, Diana is infuriated at the mindless bureaucracy of Man's World. Suddenly though, her attention is drawn to a police report she can hear through a miniaturised police radio receiver she is wearing in her ear. Speedily, she exits without another word leaving the bemused lawyer to think she has upset Diana.

Micro seconds later a star spangled blur speeds towards the Capitol Building as Wonder Woman hopes that the commotion reported is something to do with El Gaucho As she arrives, all she can see at first are Antinuclear demonstrators but she soon spies something else amongst the crowd - a hundred squawking Reahs (Emu like birds from the Pampas) running around amongst everybody!

She is not sure whether she should consider this a danger or not, but it is certainly distracting and perhaps that is part of Gaucho's plan to decoy the police and her away from his real operation. She lassos the legs of a nearby bird which is attacking a policeman but as it falls to the ground a compartment pops open in its belly to reveal explosives!

Wonder Woman dicovers that tackling the birds isn't as easy as she thought!Quickly she scoops up the device and hurls it into the air just in time before it detonates. Her Amazonian hearing detects the sound of ticking and assumes that all the birds are booby traps. But as she grabs the next one she finds to her dismay that it is a real bird with a ticking collar around its neck!

She realises that she has no easy way to tell them apart and will be wasting precious time trying to sort out the explosive birds from the harmless Reahs one by one. She decides she will have to use her wits and if what she spotted about the real Reah was correct, she will need the help of another feathered friend.

As she speeds off down the street, El Gaucho watches her departure from high up on the Capitol Building's roof. He thinks she is fleeing from the flock of birds and wonders whether they have all overestimated this so called Wonder Woman, who seems nothing more than a frightened senorita.

He then uses a weapon to blast a hole in the roof and rides down into the building on his steed. Not far away in an office, Senator Clairborne hears a disturbance down the hall and muses to his secretary whether it is the protesters. But suddenly the door opens and El Gaucho appears before launching his Bolo at the terrified senator and his secretary.

Meanwhile down below, the panicking crowd see Wonder Woman return with another Reah in her lasso. A policeman stares in disbelief, thinking she has lost her mind in bringing yet another bird into the melee. But the Amazon knows what she is doing and has noticed that all the Reahs are male. As she presents them with a female she has borrowed from the Washington Zoo, the real birds are attracted to the female, leaving Wonder Woman with the easy job of rounding up the remaining robot birds. She lassos them and towing them into the sky using her invisible plane, she detonates them harmlessly.

Simultaneously in the Capitol Building, El Gaucho is toying with his victims, deliberately missing them with his weapons so he can taunt them and chase them from room to room. They head towards a door at the far end of yet another room and find it is locked. Seeing his prey is finally trapped, El Gaucho moves in for the kill but suddenly the door bursts open and Wonder Woman sprints through.

She leaps across the room and knocks out a surprised El Gaucho with one powerful punch to the jaw before he can react. As she looks down at the fallen assassin, she asks the relieved Senator to call the police because this time the assassin has not had a chance to take his amnesia pill, like the Bushmaster had done on being captured by her.

This time, she is going to get some answers...

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