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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 274

Issue Number: 274
Published: December 1980
Cover Artists: Ross Andru, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: John Costanza
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Len Wein
Story Title: One Super Villain: Made to order!
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Debbi Domaine
(The Cheetah)
General Darnell
Colonel Steve Trevor Priscilla Rich Etta Candy

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 274

Comments:

This issue sees the return of the villainess and arch enemy of Wonder Woman, otherwise known as the Cheetah.

Synopsis:

Flying in her invisible robot plane, Wonder Woman looks down below at a massive oil tanker that has run aground on the rocks, its cargo of crude oil spilling into the sea. She realises that the fishing and breeding grounds in the bay are under threat and swoops down. A fire has also broken out on deck and the flames are licking ever closer to the flammable oil.

Once on the deck of the ship, she removes her magic lasso and begins to spin it so fast that she creates a powerful wind which snuffs the flames out.

She next dives into the sea, wondering to herself as she goes why Man relies on such dangerous raw materials such as oil for his energy needs. It is just another example of the madness loose in the world and maybe, as her mother suspects, there is a single evil force acting to promote all this chaos across the globe. However, she wonders sometimes whether it is simply a case of humanity being so stupid as to create all its own problems!

She clambers her way around the hull to where the gash is, becoming covered in the sticky oil as she goes. She uses her strength to bend the twisted metal back into place and applies pressure to seal the new seam. At last the spewing oil is halted temporarily for at least long enough for the oil to be pumped off.

Just then a pleasure cruiser pulls up alongside and the young crew yell to her that these tankers have an accident on average once a month so she had better be ready to do this all again, sometime soon! She asks them who they are and they explain that they are the Organisation for Ecological Sanity (O.E.S.). Wherever there is a disaster they go out and film it and then send the film to local TV stations for maximum publicity.

A pretty young red head introduces herself as Debbi Domaine, the owner of the yacht. Seeing the state of the Amazon Princess all covered in crude oil, she offers the use of a shower on board. A grateful Wonder Woman climbs aboard and is immediately surrounded by the admiring young men. Debbie laughingly tells her not to worry and as they make their way below decks, she tells Wonder Woman that most of the men only hang out in the O.E.S. in order to meet girls!

Wonder Woman freshens upWhile the Amazon takes her shower, Debbi cleans her costume for her and explains how she became involved with the O.E.S. One summer when she was fourteen she was staying in her aunt's house on the north shore of the bay. One day she was walking along the beach when she found a goose in the sand. But the goose was flopping around in the wet sand like something half alive, with oil on its wings which was matted thick into the feathers. As Wonder Woman steps out of the shower and dries her hair, Debbi goes on to explain how she and her aunt took the goose to a vet who told them the bird would never fly again. He suggested they take it to a shelter but before they had a chance to, the vet called them the following day to say that the bird had died from suffocation overnight. It had apparently tried to clean it's wings but oil and gotten into it's lungs. Wonder Woman dons her now clean costume once more, listening to the sad tale.

A little later after Wonder Woman has bid the young people farewell, their yacht docks at the marina and Debbi waves good-bye to her compatriots, strolling up to the marina office. She checks her mail box and sees that she has received a letter from the very same aunt she had been telling Wonder Woman about earlier. But the news is not good as she reads how her aunt only has a few days to live. Her doctor had wanted her to remain in hospital but she has decided to spend her last few days at her beach house. She wants Debbi to join her there as she has something she must tell her niece.

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, a hurrying Amazon makes a swift transformation from Wonder Woman into Air Force Captain Diana Prince. She is late for a briefing on a new solar powered air base project and as she checks in, she thinks how it took weeks of maneuvering to get both Steve Trevor and General Darnell to this briefing. She cannot let it fall apart now!

Once inside, the briefing begins and as they listen, General Darnell tells Diana he is impressed by the project to develop the world's first solar powered complex. She asks him whether he will support the project and he replies that he would like to discuss the budget in greater detail with her. He suggests they meet for dinner and she reluctantly agrees.

Shortly afterwards out in the corridor, she asks Steve whether she can leave a little early tonight as she has to get ready for a dinner engagement. He smiles and tells her that it is OK, as he has his own dinner engagement tonight - with Wonder Woman!

Later that evening Debbi Domaine pulls up outside the beach house of her aunt Priscilla. It has been years since she has been here, but nothing has changed. As she walks up to the front door her movements are watched from an unseen vantage point. The mysterious spy reports back to his master that Ms Priscilla Rich appears to have a visitor. He tells his master that she is a young woman who, judging by a certain resemblance must be a relative of some sort. His unseen master replies that his lackey's mission may not have been a compete waste of time after all and orders him to continue to observe the girl.

Debbi enters the large house, calling for her aunt but receives no reply. She assumes her ill aunt must be upstairs and makes her way to the bedroom. She notices how dusty everything is and remembers how her aunt spent more time out of the house than in it, sometimes disappearing for months at a time. She never understood why.

She steps up to the bed where her frail aunt lies. Seemingly delirious, Priscilla asks who she is, saying that she is sick and that she cannot help and would not help even if she could. That part of her life is over!

Confused, Debbi reassures her aunt that it is Deborah, her niece, who is standing by her bedside. Aunt Priscilla recognises her and taking her hand, curses to herself why her niece had to come today. What if the stranger had seen her?

Violently pulling Debbi close to her, she tells the young girl to run away! She had wanted to tell her niece the truth about her past but there is no time now - not while he is out there! A frightened Debbi pleads with her aunt that she is hurting her. But she suddenly sees the life go out of her aunt's eyes and she pulls away, in panic, realising Priscilla is dead. In the process she clouts her head on the closet door behind her. The door opens and a figure falls out. In her heightened state of panic, Debbi sees the figure come towards her and stumbles backwards, hitting her head once more only this time more seriously. As she descends into blackness, she realises that her attacker is nothing more dangerous than a mannequin in a bizarre cheetah like costume. As she glimpses the bedroom door swing open and a brutish figure of a man stride toward her, she finally succumbs to unconsciousness.

Back in Georgetown, Washington DC, Diana and Etta are settling in to their new apartment. Etta talks about how lucky they are that they got the apartment at such a good price from Mr. Abernathy. She has heard some people in the Pentagon say that he used to be one of the most influential senators in congress. Then one day he just resigned but no one knows why. Etta then realises that a distracted Diana has not been listening to a word she has been saying! Instead, the Amazon Princess has been wondering how on earth she managed to double book herself dates with both General Darnell and Steve!

Debbi awakes to find herself suspended by her arms and legs!Meanwhile, Debbi wakes from darkness into mind stunning brilliance. She is dressed in a purple catsuit and is suspended by her arms and legs. She asks for the lights to be dimmed but a voice replies that this would not suit his purpose. Debbi turns to see a figure silhouetted across the room. The man tells her that he was most unhappy that his agents had arrived at her aunt's home only to find her dying. He had plans for her, particularly her alter ego. Debbi demands to know what he is talking about. His reptilian like eyes smile as he realises that Debbi does not know her aunt's secret - but she will soon learn! He informs her that as he can not have the original, he has decided to make do with a recreation. She will be that recreation!

Debbi tells him he is crazy but he snaps his fingers and suddenly the blinding lights are replaced by holographic images. Hundreds of scenes, each lasting no longer than an eye blink. Factories polluting air and water, oil tankers spilling their deadly cargo, seal hunters committing senseless murder...

Scenes of outrage, of violence against nature and innocence. Each is calculated to produce the same response in the thunder struck Deborah Domaine - fury!

The combined sensations of helplessness and anger spawn a third emotion, like that of a caged animal tormented beyond endurance. And there is more. Now the electrical shocks, none serious enough to cause permanent harm, but each stronger than the last. Debbi Domaine struggles to maintain her sanity but she reaches her limit...and is pushed beyond!

Not long after on a busy street near Pennsylvania Avenue, Diana is greeted by General Darnell who is waiting by his car. She thanks the General for picking her up in town and he asks her to call him Phil. He apologises for manipulating the dinner date and offers to take her back home and forget the whole thing. She thinks to herself that it would be easy to say yes but she knows she accepted in good faith and that at least she has learned a lesson from all of this! She then tells Darnell that she is looking forward to the evening...

A little later at the San Souici Restaurant, Diana and Darnell are perusing the menu. Diana sees that it is almost two minutes until eight o'clock and she knows that from this point on, timing will be everything! She asks Darnell to excuse her for a few minutes while she goes to powder her nose. He tells her not to be long as he is really interested in discussing the solar powered air base with her.

Once in the washrooms, she thinks to herself how the General is trying so hard to be sweet but at heart, he's still a General! She removes her magic lasso in preparation to transform into Wonder Woman...

Meanwhile outside La Maganette, a few doors down from San Souici, Steve Trevor checks his watch. Just then he hears a voice behind asking if she is late and turns to see Wonder Woman wearing her cape. He smiles and tells her she is right on time. However, he queries why she wanted to meet here as La Maganette has a reputation for stuffiness? She replies that a friend recommended it and they enter. She says to him that once they have got their table she needs to excuse herself for a few minutes. He tells her not to be too long as they have a lot to talk about. Wonder Woman groans inside as she realises that by the end of the night she may have turned into a ping pong ball!

Many miles away, at a secret location, we find a darkened room with only a few small pools of light here and there. A figure sits in a serpentine chair and beckons to the woman in the doorway. He asks her if she knows who she is. She calmly replies that she does. The stranger continues that she is the avenger of wronged nature and is the saviour of oppressed animal kind! She is also his servant and he is her master!

Spreading his arms wide in triumph the lights come on to reveal Debbi dressed in her aunt Priscilla's costume. He bellows that she is none other than the Cheetah and she will fill the world with terror!

To be continued...

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