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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 285

Issue Number: 285
Published: November 1981
Cover Artists: George Perez, Dick Giordano
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Milt Snapinn
Colourist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Len Wein
Story Title: Dragon Hunt
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Red Dragon Lao Chen
Colonel Steve Trevor    

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 285

Comments:

None.

Synopsis:

Wonder Woman steers the missile out to seaAs the deadly missile thunders towards the Great Wall of China, Diana performs the fastest transformation into Wonder Woman that she has ever had to do. She knows she only has seconds before they are all wiped out by the weapon and she jumps up into the air to meet the warhead head on.

She clasps the nose cone in her hands and uses all her strength to redirect it. As Lao and Steve watch in amazement, she steers the missile upwards and away. Realising they are now safe, Lao immediately orders the arrest of Steve.

Meanwhile high in the sky though, Wonder Woman finds herself pinned against the missile as it accelerates over the Pacific ocean and she knows she must let go soon or she will be carried to her death. But first she has one more task to perform. She proceeds to rip open a panel on the fuselage and tears the cables out, destroying the communication equipment. Now, no one else can control the missile by remote and steer it back to the mainland.

She pushes herself away and watches the missile zoom into the distance before it detonates in the sea. A massive nuclear explosion erupts and sends large tidal waves in all directions. The resulting shock wave strikes the Amazon Princess with the force of Vulcan's Hammer and she finds herself gasping for breath as all the oxygen is sucked away by the blast. As she tumbles downwards she struggles to breathe until at last she manages to draw breath. But in the time that has passed she has been falling out of control and she swiftly adjusts her descent in order to ride the air currents.

With her heart pounding and her eyes stinging from the winds tearing past her, the Amazing Amazon does the impossible and riding the currents as skillfully as any glider she lands at last in the heart of Peking Square! The thankful onlookers smile and begin to applaud her and she finds herself charmed and disconcerted. This sort of reaction is not something she is used to in Washington DC!

Meanwhile, many miles away his Castle retreat, the Red Dragon enters a combat room for his daily workout. Three of his men have volunteered to be his sparring partners and as they help him remove his cloak, he tells them they are honoured to have the privilege of facing him. Before they begin he orders them to hold nothing back and to fight to the best of their ability. He forgives them in advance should they injure him. They thank him for his nobleness and moving towards him, they tell him that they are sick of his contempt and they have actually volunteered in order to kill him!

The Red Dragon seems pleased as he knows that if they hate him then perhaps they will fight well. But as he unleashes his deadly Martial Arts skills on the traitors he is disappointed to see that they fall easily to him. As another aide brings him his cloak, he looks down at the battered and beaten traitors and says to himself that no one can ever beat him - it is both his triumph and his curse! The aide asks him what he wishes to do with the traitors and he replies that if treachery was not bad enough, he cannot stand weaklings. Therefore he orders their deaths!

Diana realises that their suspicions had been right and that it had all been a trapWith that, he walks into the command centre and asks for a progress report on the American Missile. A nervous aide replies that for some unexplained reason the missile had gone off course. A furious Red Dragon uses his long, taloned hand to smash the aide across the face, killing him instantly. He returns to his chambers and ponders how he can possibly build a new Feudal Empire when he he is served by traitors and dunces? Life is lonely indeed for those who dare to dream. Still, he does have other pieces to play in this game - one being the Amazon the Americans call Wonder Woman!

Back in Peking at the HQ of the national Security Agency, Lao and Diana consult with a group of doctors regarding Steve's condition. Having inserted acupuncture needles in him, the doctor explains that the Colonel appears to have lost his will. Mentally, he remains as he was before but he has no control over his actions - no individuality, no self. Lao realises that he was wrong to have arrested Steve as a traitor and Diana agrees, as although Steve had sabotaged the missile he had done so in a trance.

The doctor corrects her, explaining that he is not in a trance as he is aware of his surroundings. He is simply unable to act as some force holds him in thrall. And that force is slowly killing him. Already his heartbeat is slowed, his blood pressure is down and there are signs of nerve deterioration. Diana asks if the condition can be reversed and the doctor replies that there is a small possibility. It may be possible to shock Steve's nervous system back to life with a massive dose of Neo Synthanate. Diana asks where they can get hold of this substance and is told that the only known source of the primary compound is found in the berries of the Dragon Plant, which grows on the slopes of the South Western Hills.

Lao agrees with Diana that they must get hold of the plant but adds a warning. "Dragon Plant?". "South Western Hills?" he reminds her. She realises he thinks they are walking into a trap set by the Red Dragon himself. However, they know they have no other choice and so a few hours later at sunset, a Red Army helicopter touches down on the foothills of the South West. A crack squad of soldiers disembark, followed by Lao, Diana and Steve. The china man orders his troops to spread out and stay vigilant while Diana looks at the blank expression on her beloved Steve, frustrated that she cannot help him and knowing that this time even Wonder Woman has to stand aside.

A few moments later Lao points to an area of undergrowth and says he has found some Dragon Plants. Suddenly though, fireworks light up the sky and sensing danger, Lao orders his men not to look at the light. Diana's Amazonian reflexes allow her to look away in time and she dives for cover but for Lao and his men, his warning has come to late and the strange lights in the sky hypnotise them all. As Diana watches from her hiding place she sees Red Dragon's costumed men with weapons come running down the path. They herd the dazed Chinese, including Steve, back up the path and Diana realises that their suspicions had been right and that it had all been a trap. But perhaps this particular trap is about to backfire!

Quickly she transforms into Wonder Woman and clambering up the hillside, taking a parallel course to the path, she shadows their movements to see where they lead. Soon she reaches a crest and looks down into the courtyard of a grand, pagoda like castle. She watches as Red Dragon's men lead their prisoners inside the main building which is guarded. She decides she will need a disguise if she is to sneak inside without raising the alarm and uses her lasso to loop around one of the unsuspecting guards. Hauling him up to her vantage point, she knocks him out and puts on his costume over the top of hers.

Slowly, she makes her way across the courtyard which, to her surprise, is now deserted. Frowning beneath her mask, she follows the path taken by the others and soon finds herself striding down a corridor that smells of strange incense. She finds all the doors along the corridor are locked or bolted, except one. Steeping inside the darkened room, she can feel the teeth of a trap closing around her but she resolves to herself that if this is what it takes to save Steve, then so be it.

Suddenly, the lights come on and she finds herself in a large chamber with a balcony overlooking it. The Red Dragon and his men look down upon her and he bids her welcome. But more shocking for the Amazon Princess is the sight of her beloved Steve standing in front of her, with a machine gun trained on her, about to fire. The Red Dragon enjoys her reaction to the situation and tells her that she has a choice. Join him in the war against Peking and live or resist and die at the hands of her lover!

Wonder Woman and Red Dragon engage in fierce combat!She removes the costume she has been wearing and replies that the alternative he offers is no choice at all. She may not like the principles of the Chinese Government, but he would enslave its people in a new Feudal Age. The Red Dragon takes her reply as a refusal and orders Steve to fire. As Steve speaks the words "Kill her..." she smiles and holds out her hands towards him. He begins to sweat and his hands shake. Doubt is etched across his face as the beautiful Amazon's gentle face looks at him. Agonising seconds tick by until suddenly - the machine gun goes off!

For an instant, Wonder Woman is startled as the bullets race at her but she realises they are flying over her shoulder and up towards the balcony where Red Dragon stands. Unfortunately, the bullets bounce harmlessly off a transparent screen protecting the villain, but he is nevertheless surprised that his mental hold over Steve has been broken. Wonder Woman tells Red Dragon that he had planned for everything except Steve's love, which proved stronger than his psychic controls... something she never doubted.

Red Dragon is not convinced by 'emotions' and replies that a circuit must have malfunctioned in the control mechanism implanted in Steve's skull. Today he has learned a lesson - if he wants a deed done then he must do it himself. With that he jumps down from the balcony and confronts the waiting Wonder Woman. What follows is a vicious struggle as the two combatants use their training and skills to the maximum. Wonder Woman has to use every ounce of strength and speed to protect herself from the deadly karate chops of the Red Dragon, while he in turn absorbs her powerful kicks. As Amazon and Warlord battle for sheer survival, Steve slowly regains himself and uses his gun to shoot the men on the balcony who have their weapons trained on Wonder Woman. For the first time he feels alive again and is glad he has been able to pay back his beloved 'Angel' for all the times she has saved his life.

Meanwhile, Red Dragon hurls Wonder Woman over his shoulder and sends her crashing down onto the floor. He asks her why she continues to fight as the end is obvious - no one has ever beaten him. As she gets to her feet she replies that she will just have to be the first! With that she unleashes a devastatingly powerful punch into Red Dragon's stomach which floors him completely! Steve rushes over and she is overjoyed to see that he has recovered...

A day later and the two of them are walking along the beach hand in hand watching the sun set. Steve tells her that the Red Dragon is now in prison, his arms smuggling operation has been shut down and his mind controller implant has been removed from Steve's head. Tomorrow Steve will head back to Washington but tonight there are still some things to be said between them. She asks whether he still resents her protection and he replies that he does, a little, but he knows now that it is his problem, not hers. Pulling her close to him he tells her that he loves her and that he never wants to lose her. If that means he has to change then so be it.

There is more to be said but there will be time enough later. For now, they are content and they kiss passionately. What troubles tomorrow may bring, they do not know...and frankly right now, they really don't care.

The End

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