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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 269

Issue Number: 269
Published: July 1980
Cover Artists: Ross Andru, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Bob Smith, Wally Wood
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Len Wein
Story Title: Return to Paradise Island!
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Todd Hippolyta

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 269

Comments:

This is yet another "new beginning" story for the Amazon Princess. At this time sales were beginning to fall and DC decided that action was required to give the book a new direction and look. This is the first issue in that revamp strategy that would eventually lead to a permanent back up feature starring a new heroine.

This particular issue is not action orientated but instead focuses on Diana's troubled state of mind.

Synopsis:

Wonder Woman is frustrated by the disinterest of passers-by to the crime...On a crowded New York subway platform at rush hour, Diana Prince stands amongst the throng as they wait for the next approaching train. Suddenly, an unseen hand from the crowd pushes an unsuspecting young commuter onto the track right in front of the thundering subway car.

Seeing that all eyes are on the fallen boy, Diana uses the opportunity to transform into Wonder Woman. Moving swiftly, she leaps onto the track and uses her might to stop the train in its tracks! One of the amazed onlookers comments that he thought only Superman could pull 'that sort of stunt' but a woman next to him snaps back "Why? Because he is a man?"

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman checks to see that the boy is OK as a police officer arrives on the scene.

Once satisfied, she turns her attention to the crowd behind and uses her lasso to snare three young teenagers nearby. She explains to the officer that these 'punks' were the only people in a position to shove the boy onto the track. One of the teenagers arrogantly asks her to prove it and she replies that her lasso will compel them to tell the truth. However, the policeman responds that no District Attorney will ever prosecute them on a forced confession. The Amazon Princess then says that she has witnesses to the event but turns to see that the platform is now deserted and everyone has slunk away!

The boy assures her he is all right and pleads with her to just let the punks go. She gathers up her lasso and thanks the gods that this world of madness can still produce one gentle, forgiving soul. The police officer apologises to her but says that she has got to understand the law. She wistfully replies that she has been in Man's World more than a handful of years but she doubts she will ever understand it.

As dusk falls a short time later, Diana Prince completes her interrupted journey as she arrives at her Greenwich Village apartment. She muses to herself that at least some justice can be found in the world now that the Cartel have been destroyed and Animal Man has managed to clear his friend of the murder charge. Just then her grocery bag splits, emptying the contents on the hallway floor. A perfect end for a perfect day.

At that moment Todd, her neighbour, appears and helps her gather up the spilled groceries and carry them inside her apartment. She thanks him for his help and tells him that she does not want to be alone tonight. He says that he will cook them both dinner while she puts her feet up and talks to him about her troubles. She replies that she is not sure she can, as lately so much has been happening to her she cannot find the words.

He tells her to forget words and simply close her eyes and relax awhile. For Diana though, rest brings no relief from the sudden pressures of inner voices, accusing her, attacking her - the voices of a world not her own. She begins to talk in her sleep, pleading for them to leave her alone. She wakes up with a start and Todd reassures her she was just having a nightmare. He asks her whether she is sure she still wants dinner, as he will not be offended if she wants him to leave. But she asks him to stay.

As they sit down to eat a short while later, they clink wine glasses and Todd says that he keeps thinking about when they first met at Lance's party. His room mate had insisted that he and Diana would make a perfect couple but it never worked out that way. He goes on to say that it has always been her choice of course and as he moves closer to her, he tells her that there is something about her...the sense of self...the way she moves...the way she talks...that has attracted him. He reveals that he could fall in love with her.

Diana and Todd share a brief intimate moment...As their lips draw ever nearer, he continues that he is not sure she really wants to be loved. But before they can kiss she turns away, asking to herself why they could not have met a few years ago. He gently tells her not to torment herself with regrets and that she knows where he lives if she needs to talk. As he makes his way to the door to leave, he adds that they may never be lovers but that he hopes they will always be friends. Telling her to take care of herself because she is very special, he then leaves her to her troubled thoughts.

She stares out of the window, seeing an image of Steve Trevor in her mind. She muses that maybe Todd is right and that she does not want to be loved as long as she carries Steve's memory. She feels that the death of her lover and Mike Bailey's exposure as a traitor have left her a psychic basket case!

Deciding she needs to take her mind off things, she switches on the TV. The news comes on, reporting firstly about a war in a South American dictatorship where there are heavy casualties. The next item talks about how the nation's leading compact cars cannot withstand a head-on collision at 25 mph and that many lives could have already been lost in such accidents. Another report covers a disastrous fire which has killed 18 people. And yet another and another report, all referring to death, disasters and misery all over the world. Diana watches the horrors of Man's World on her screen and tears well up in her eyes.

She switches off the TV and walks up onto the roof and into the cool night air. She sits on the wall and surveys the city around her. Since her arrival in Man's World, she has struggled to come to terms with its evil and cruelty. For a time her love for Steve made the horror easier to bear but he is now dead. Slain, not just once, but twice as though the weavers of fate had some special reason for his death. Once she believed there was a reason for all tragedies but now she is no longer sure. She is, however, sure of one thing...that this world is her world no more and she wants to go home!

With that she transforms into Wonder Woman and summons her invisible plane. Leaping on board, she pilots the craft over and away from the bustling city, bidding a farewell to Man's World and heading for a land where love is every problem's answer - Paradise Island!

Soon she approaches the mist covered shoreline of her homeland and as she touches down she is greeted by her mother, Queen Hippolyta and her Amazon sisters. The queen can see her daughter is distressed and asks her what has happened? Diana responds that nothing and everything has happened and that she has realised that she cannot live out there in Man's World any longer. Every day she spends away from Paradise Island and her mother makes the Amazon homeland seem like a fading dream.

As an overjoyed Hippolyta welcomes her beloved daughter back home, an earthquake suddenly hits the Island. Hippolyta points to the ocean where lava erupts upwards. She explains to her daughter that a fortnight ago volcanic eruptions started to appear off the shore, each explosion greater than the one before as though the sea bottom were trying to tear itself apart around them. If the eruptions continue ash and lava will cover the entire island and bury them alive.

Wonder Woman races to the volcano's cone through the choking and blinding ash. She removes her lasso, spinning it over her head and planning to loop the spout to draw it shut. But something stirs inside the flame and smoke and to the Amazons' amazement a giant Salamander climbs up out of the volcano. They know that the creature is a magical representation of fire but why is Paradise Island under such attack?

Wonder Woman turns to her Amazon sisters and tells them that she had been falling into Man's trap when she had tried to deal with the menace on her own. She instructs them to stand by her and using her lasso, she loops it around the beast. Together, the Amazons pull on the golden rope, dragging the Salamander down the slope of the Volcano. As it goes, its claws melt the stone beneath, showing it to be a living mass of heat.

Slowly they pull it towards the water's edge and it suddenly understands what they are doing. It struggles to break free and some of the Amazons panic, fearing they cannot hold on any longer. But their Princess reminds them of their heritage. They are all Amazons, chosen by Athena and Aphrodite for an immortal life! She orders them to pull for themselves, their sisters, their Queen and their homeland, never to despair and to have courage and strength!

With a mighty effort, they pull as one and drag the Salamander into the ocean, where it explodes in a cloud of steam. With the creature out of the way, they then work to seal the volcano and make it safe.

Hippolyte finds her daughter watching the sun rise.Epilogue

The following morning, Hippolyta finds Diana watching the sun rise across the ocean. She tells Diana that she had looked for her in her room and had seen that her bed had not been slept in. For one moment she had thought that Diana had left her again. But then she remembered how Diana used to enjoy walking the shore just before dawn.

She asks her daughter if there is something wrong? If there is some other reason for her return that she has not told her mother? Diana turns and responds that her mother knows her well. She continues that she came home in the hope she could forget about Steve.

As Hippolyta takes her beloved daughter in her arms, she tells her child that the heart can never forget. The wounds may heal but the memory will always remain. Sobbing, Diana tells her that she loved him so much and as she buries her head deeper into her mother's bosom, Hippolyta stokes her hair and cradles her gently.

She tells Diana to let the tears flow. If she could bear this sorrow for her daughter she would. But all she can do is pray to Aphrodite to ease her daughter's pain, just in the way she had prayed for a daughter to hold and love long ago.

Thinking to herself, she muses that perhaps between her and the goddess they can find a way to heal Diana's wounded heart by putting Steve out of her mind and memory forever!

To be continued...

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