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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 283

Issue Number: 283
Published: September 1981
Cover Artists: George Perez, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Len Wein
Story Title: Encounter
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Colonel Steve Trevor Lao Chen
Etta Candy    

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 283

Comments:

Cover artist George Perez's involvement with the Amazon Princess would become more significant in later years when he takes on the responsibility of 'rebooting' her character after she was 'killed off' in DC's Crisis crossover event.

Synopsis:

At a secret factory complex on California's Pacific Palisades, Wonder Woman bursts through a pair of six ton steel doors. She is hurrying to find out the secret of this factory before Steve Trevor arrives. But as she races inside she breaks an electronic beam which activates the defense system.

Wonder Woman decks the costumed goon with her tiara!Instantly trap doors open along the walls of the corridor and stainless steel cross bow bolts fire at her. As she uses all her skills to deflect the multitude of arrows flying at her, she realises that if Steve had tried to enter this complex before her, he would have surely been killed. She nimbly dives past the traps before they can unleash a second round at her but she finds herself dropping down towards an opening trap door. She lands on the edge and just manages to stop herself from tipping over into it, wondering what death trap may have awaited her below. However, as she jumps over the hole in the floor to the far edge she triggers flame throwers hidden in the floor and ceiling! Once again she has to use all her skills to dodge the lethal flames by running at super speed and weaving a path through the fiery bursts.

She spots a costumed figure who seems to be controlling the death traps and she swiftly removes her tiara. She throws it across the room and clouts him. Wonder Woman advances, removing her lasso and binds the stunned man, demanding to know how to shut down the elaborate security system. He unwillingly tells her that all the controls are housed in the master control panel which if destroyed, will disable the system. She promptly smashes it to pieces!

Meanwhile outside the complex perimeter, a convoy of government cars and trucks race towards the factory. As the FBI make their way inside, the army and air force, lead by Steve, provide back up. A Chinese man by the name of Lao Chen also accompanies the colonel. The FBI men find the doors ripped open and once inside, discover the costumed man bound with electrical cable. Steve and Lao follow a few moments later and the Chinese man comments on the fact that the security system seems to be disabled for some reason.

He rips the costumed man's mask off to reveal a fellow countryman from the People's Republic of China. Steve says that this seems to confirm what the Chinese Embassy had told them - that Chinese Nationals are running some kind of secret operation in the United States. As they puzzle over what kind of operation it might be, they hear a woman's voice behind them say that she knows and they turn to see Wonder Woman standing there. She points through a doorway behind her and they follow her into a large hangar where they find a massive stockpile of weapons. Steve asks her how she had found out about all of this and she replies that actually, she had been merely looking after him! When she heard he planned to raid a suspected illegal arms depot she was afraid he might get hurt.

Steve tells Wonder Woman that she has just humiliated himAs the watching FBI men jokingly comment on Steve's "Guardian Angel" and Lao Chen smiles, an embarrassed Steve asks to speak with the Amazon Princess in private. He tells her that she has just humiliated him and did she want the FBI and Lao Chen to think he needs a nursemaid? She smiles and touching his lip gently, replies that only little boys worry what their friends think of them! If she can protect him, she will. She had saved his life once before and she suggests he asks Lao Chen why his nation believes that places an obligation on the rescuer. With that she races off leaving a speechless Steve!

Lao Chen has overheard Wonder Woman's words and tells Steve that she is quite right. The Chinese do have a tradition that he who saves a man's life is henceforth responsible for that life. Steve sarcastically replies "thanks a lot, Lao!" and then asks what the Chinese man has found out about the factory?

Lao holds up a mini locked safe and replies that hopefully a clue to the identity of their common enemy is inside. They make their way to the mobile command centre to get some tools to open the safe. Steve is surprised to see Diana Prince working the radio equipment, as he had thought she was in Washington. She smiles and replies that she is his Adjutant and where he goes, she goes.

She gets hold of Washington on the radio for Steve and he requests some transport choppers to remove the military equipment they had discovered. A familiar voice on the other end confirms his orders. Steve is surprised to find himself speaking with Etta Candy who is obviously back at work after her recent ordeal. She tells him that work is the best medicine for her and not extended sick leave.

Lao begins to use a device to break the combination lock of the safe but as he does so, gas bursts out of the open box. As the deadly smog engulfs the men completely, Diana uses the opportunity to use her Amazon training with air currents to blow the fog harmlessly out to sea. She rushes over to where the men are beginning to recover and after they confirm they are all OK, Lao points to a medallion lying at the bottom of the box. It bears the mark of the Red Dragon and has circuitry on one side. If it is the Red Dragon who is responsible for the arms depot then the peace of the whole world is in jeopardy, he says!

Steve spies a business card lying underneath the medallion and picks it up. It refers to a bakery in San Francisco, which looks like their next stop. Although they could have been meant to find the card of course, in which case they are walking into a trap! Steve's thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of the transport choppers...

Wonder Woman smashes through the window!Two hours later in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, Diana, Steve and Lao arrive outside the bakery. Steve is uneasy, sensing a definite trap and he orders Diana to wait while he and Lao reconnoiter the side entrance. As she watches the two men move into the alleyway running down the side of the building and enter through a doorway, she thinks to herself how hopelessly old fashioned Steve is! Imagine him being concerned about her safely although, of course, he does not know she is really Wonder Woman. Nevertheless, even as Diana Prince she is a competent air force officer and should not be treated as though she is some frail damsel.

Just then she sees a truck pull into the alley and several costumed men climb out. As they race inside after Steve and Lao she quickly transforms into Wonder Woman...

Inside meanwhile, Steve and Lao find their passage into the darkened bakery far too easy and as Steve begins to sense danger the lights come on and they find themselves surrounded by Red Dragon's men! The men are all masked as before and the leader tells them that they gave up their identities when they swore the Feudal oath to their master, Red Dragon. He then taunts Lao by accusing him of being a lackey of the so-called People's Republic. He tells Lao that the government he serves is doomed as Red Dragon has promised a return to the old Feudal System - a system which served the Middle Kingdom well for over four thousand years and which will do so again very soon!

He then takes the medallion that Lao had brought with him from the factory complex. He tells Steve and Lao that by pressing certain spots on the circuitry in the proper sequence he will activate one of the Red Dragon's greatest creations and they will die. Suddenly though, Wonder Woman smashes through the bakery window and using her lasso ensnares the medallion and yanks it out of his hand. It tumbles to the floor and breaks into pieces. The costumed leader panics, saying that without the medallion he cannot now control "it".

As he and his men advance on the Amazon she grabs his throat, demanding to know what he had meant? He tells her she is too late and they begin to feel the whole building shake. The floor beneath them begins to break apart and as they step back the Red Dragon's goon declares that "it" comes!

Before their disbelieving eyes, a real live Chinese Dragon rears its massive bulk up through the hole in the shattered floor!

To be continued...

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