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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 277

Issue Number: 277
Published: March 1981
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: The Kobra Ultimatum
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Kobra Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Colonel Steve Trevor
Etta Candy Mother Juju  

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 277

Comments:

None.

Synopsis:

The villain known as Kobra holds a paper mache globe in his hands. With a swift movement he crushes the globe into pieces and vows to do the same to our world if its people dare to thwart his will.

He turns to face the waiting faithful who surround him in this dark place and lifts his hands in exhortation. He tells them that they are the chosen ones as members of the Cult of Kobra. For centuries they have been feared and reviled which has made them strong.

Now the world teeters on the brink of chaos and it will take only the slightest shove to plunge it over the edge. Before the week is out they shall provide that shove by way of Cobalt 93 and take over the world! His followers chant his name in response, sensing their victory is close at hand...

The cultists explode before Wonder Womans eyes!Meanwhile Wonder Woman takes off from the abandoned Kobra HQ at Carlsbad Caverns. On board are four members of the cult whom she overpowered earlier. She lands in a clearing a few miles away and herds the bound cultists off the plane and forces them to sit on the ground. She removes her magic lasso and wraps it around the four of them, demanding to know why the cult has an interest in Cobalt 93? She is taken aback when she sees they are actually resisting the power of her lasso and refuse to answer her. She guesses they must have some sort of subconscious conditioning, like a form of post hypnotic command. As she looks on, their expressions show them to be in total agony and they begin to shake violently. She realises too late that the effect of her lasso is literally shaking them apart and before she can remove the golden rope the four cultists explode in a shower of blood and organs!

She turns away in horror while holding her hand over her face, unable to believe what she has just witnessed. "May Pluto have pity" she whispers. After a few moments she slowly draws herself up and her eyes begin to burn. She has been used, cynically manipulated by the leader of this mysterious Cult of Kobra, to accomplish the elimination of henchmen no longer useful to him. She resents this bitterly and swears a silent oath that she will never be used again!

Many miles away in a briefing room in the Pentagon meanwhile, Colonel Steve Trevor is giving a presentation to a gathering of top military officers regarding Cobalt 93. He explains that the lethal substance produces a fallout so potent that any land seeded with its radioactive spore must remain quarantined for 93 years. Some individuals in the Defense Department had said that such a bomb should never be built but their voices went unheeded. Now Cobalt 93 is a reality and the prototype had been stolen from the Mountpeak Point laboratory earlier this morning.

The audience cannot believe their ears and just as Steve tells them that the Cobalt had been taken by some unknown group, an image suddenly materialises on the main monitor screen. The figure reveals himself to be Kobra and he tells the stunned officers that he is broadcasting his image to all points of the globe simultaneously. His message is for everyone - Cobalt 93 is in his control and unless his demands are met he shall destroy them all! But not as they might assume by beginning some atomic chain reaction that would blow the Earth to rubble, but by using the Cobalt to poison the oil fields of the Middle East for the next hundred years. He demands they pay an amount equal to the gross international product in precious metals of all kinds within twenty four hours! With that his image fades.

There is uproar in the briefing room as they digest the Kobra's demands, while Steve just thinks quietly to himself how the world is falling apart around them and how he wishes Wonder Woman was in his arms right now...

Diana transforms into Wonder Woman and summons her plane.In a Georgetown apartment later that evening, Etta Candy is helping herself to some food from the fridge and wondering where on earth Diana has got to. Just then she hears the door open and sees Diana come in, apologising for startling Etta and saying that she had a late appointment. She then adds that she might have to go out again later too. Etta replies that she understands and meekly adds that Diana probably has lots of friends, so why would she want to stick around with someone like Etta anyway? Its just that she had thought that she and Diana would become friends. As she turns to leave her roommate alone though, Diana sees the hurt in her eyes and reassures a weepy Etta that of course she wants to be friends!

As the two women hug, Diana apologises for having been so distant and tells Etta that they are forever friends and if she ever needs Diana, she will be there for her.

A little later when Etta is sleeping soundly, Diana stares out of the window of her bedroom, planning her next moves as far as the Kobra is concerned. She has one possible lead - a woman by the name of Mother Juju whom she has learnt of from Senator Abernathy, their landlord.

The Washington night is cool as Diana makes her way to a certain shop. Mother Juju is an expert on voodoo and the occult and if anyone can tell her about the Cult of Kobra, it is her. As she steps inside, an old, black lady greets her, saying that she had been expecting Diana. The Amazon is surprised and Mother Juju continues that she also knows why she has come here tonight. Diana realises that the woman must have second sight and Juju confirms that she has that, and more. She can see everything in Diana's mind and knows who she really is. But that is not important right now for all that matters is the 'cobra' man and his cult. As Diana sits down, Mother Juju begins to tell the story...

Wonder Woman finds herself in trouble...Around a hundred years ago in India, white man first heard about the Cobra cult. Although the British evicted the Rajahs, they could not change the will of the people, who hated their new masters. The Fakirs especially resented the British and often used their snake charming skills to make their cobras attack passing soldiers. Soon the worshippers of the serpent were everywhere. Long forgotten rituals were reinstated and although the British did their best to fight the Cobra cult, their quarry wore masks and built hiding places under old ruins in Delhi Town. Eventually, the cult won and the British left India forever. The Cobra cult then picked themselves a new leader, a little babe they raised as the greatest, most powerful cult member of all. They named him King Kobra. Now, under their new leader, the Cult of Kobra want more than just their homeland of India - they want the whole world!

Diana thanks Mother Juju for her invaluable help and tries to offer her some money. But the old woman turns down her offer and simply asks her to stop Kobra at all costs. A moment later in the shadow of an alleyway, Diana transforms into Wonder Woman and summons her plane. She sets course for the ruins of New Delhi in India where the cult first came to power. It makes sense that they would return there in a time of crisis.

Soon she is over flying the New Delhi Bazaar and jumps down to the ground. As she surveys the poverty and despair around her she muses how it is no wonder there is turmoil in Man's World, when injustice like this can thrive. She approaches one of the Fakirs and loops her lasso around him. She asks where she can find the Cult of Kobra and he replies that she should look in the old Temple of Kali and there she will find what she seeks beneath the darkness.

As she makes her way towards the building across town she ponders his words, wondering what he means by "beneath the darkness"? As she steps up to the ruined building she feels she is being observed. Stepping inside, she walks across the stone floor scanning for any signs of the cult. Suddenly though, the floor beneath her gives way and she finds herself falling into some sort of dark pit.

Although the fall is short, she barely has any time to brace herself and twists her ankle. As she becomes aware of her surroundings she hears a voice and turns to see Kobra looking down on her, surrounded by hissing cobras. He introduces her to his friends with whom she has an appointment - with death!

To be continued...

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