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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 251-300 > Issue 290

Issue Number: 290
Published: April 1982
Cover Artists: Gene Colan, Dick Giordano
Writer: Paul Kupperberg (Plot by Roy Thomas)
Pencils: Gene Colan
Inker: Romeo Tanghal
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Carl Gafford
Editor: Len Wein
Story Title: Panic Over Pennsylvania Avenue!
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Colonel Steve Trevor Silver Swan
(Helen Alexandros)
Doctor Psycho
(Captain Wonder)
President Ronald Reagan Mars

Cover of Wonder Woman Issue 290

Comments:

This issue features a cameo by none other than U.S. President Ronald Reagan!

In 2011 DC released a series of special issues for many of their characters called "DC Retroactive", in which they celebrated prior incarnations of these characters as they were in the 70's, 80's and 90's. The purpose was to give loyal long time readers a final fond trip down memory lane in advance of the forthcoming New 52 re-boot, which would result in many of these characters receiving drastic changes that would make them barely recognisable from their classic versions. In the case of Wonder Woman, her 80's retroactive story was a continuation of the story in this issue.

Synopsis:

Although Wonder Woman knows the Silver Swan is not quite as strong as she is, she nevertheless knows that the deadly blond still has a few things going for her, like her sonic cry. As she lays Steve down gently back on the table, Wonder Woman turns to address her opponent. She says that they do not have anything to fight about, unless of course Swan tries to attack her, in which case she is more than ready to take her on! But Silver Swan dismisses the Amazon as all talk and replies that she and her "pretty fly boy" are living on borrowed time!

Wonder Woman leaps at the blond, grabbing her wrists and jumping high up through the roof and into the airMeanwhile in the shadows Doctor Psycho has regained consciousness and looks on at the Silver Swan in awe of her beauty. He watches as she goads the Amazon Princess, asking why she hesitates - is it because she knows she will be defeated? Wonder Woman realises that a fight is inevitable and decides to take her opponent down quickly. She leaps at the blond, grabbing her wrists and jumping high up through the roof and into the air. She feels it is better to take the battle outside away from harming Steve.

However, although the Silver Swan is impressed at Wonder Woman's leap she easily dislodges the Amazon's grip and sends her plummeting downwards. To her horror, Wonder Woman finds there are no air currents to ride down and she falls like a stone! Quickly she summons her invisible plane and using all her skill manages to grab the wing as it zooms by, thus stopping her death plunge.

With something solid beneath her feet now, she evens up the odds against her flying nemesis. Using her lasso, she loops it around the surprised Silver Swan. Using its magic powers, the Amazon Princess commands her to surrender. At first the blond stammers "I..I..must obey!" but suddenly she grabs the golden rope and yells defiance! Wonder Woman cannot believe that the Silver Swan is actually trying to fight the magic in the lasso! The Silver Swan uses every iota of her mental strength to resist, for her own powers are also magical, gifted as they are from Mars. Yet try as she might, she cannot resist forever. Wonder Woman tells her that it is futile to struggle any longer. She can follow Silver Swan in her plane wherever she tries to fly and she has no intention of letting go of the lasso until the Silver Swan lands and surrenders.

Far below though, Doctor Psycho watches through the hole in the roof at the two females. He is impressed by the way Silver Swan is fighting Wonder Woman to a standstill but he can see she cannot hold out much longer. Although he hates all women, he finds himself compelled to help the beautiful Silver Swan in her hour of need. He therefore once more draws the Ectoplasmic Powers from the unconscious Steve and recreates himself as Captain Wonder again!

He leaps up through the roof towards the battle scene unseen. His intention is to save the Silver Swan so that she will be his, for what woman can resist him in his current form? Too late, a surprised Wonder Woman turns to see him approaching from behind. He strikes her across the face with a mighty blow and the stunned Amazon beauty can do nothing except topple from her precarious perch. Once more she plunges towards the ground but this time is so dazed from the punch that she cannot gather her thoughts to summon her plane to her. With Wonder Woman's hold on the lasso gone, Silver Swan regains her self will and is elated at the arrival of Captain Wonder. She looks down as the Amazon Princess continues to fall to a certain death. However, Captain Wonder seems to have other ideas and retrieving the lasso for his own use, loops it around Wonder Woman, halting her fall just in time.

An enraged Silver Swan cannot believe her eyes. Another second more and the Amazing Amazon would have been "splattered across the countryside like an overripe melon!" and she would be able to claim the title of Silver Swan for eternity as per the God of War's 'promise to her. She flies over to where Captain Wonder stands on the wings of the invisible plane, still holding Wonder Woman by the lasso. She orders him to let go so that they can watch Wonder Woman's death together. Their eyes meet and in that instant they both know love. Psycho cannot believe how lovely the Silver Swan is, even more so than his late wife Marva. Yet unlike Marva, this woman offers her love because she wants to, even though it is Captain Wonder that she has fallen for and not Psycho himself. Therefore he will remain as Captain Wonder forever! He begins to explain his reason for saving the Princess ...

Meanwhile far below, Steve's soul continues to struggle in torment. His nightmares have become more vivid. He is a pilot of the United States Air Force, but which United States...which Air force? He just cannot remember. Back on his own Earth, Steve had flown an experimental plane faster than any man had ever done before, eventually reaching a singular point in space where two dimensions meet. A place where he could view all his infinite selves existing at once! He is still the same Steve Trevor, but he is in the middle of a cosmic tug of war between what is and what was. He knows that the human mind is such a fragile thing that it will reject that which it cannot bear to accept. But the reality remains ever buried in a place where even the strongest of wills cannot grasp it, for to do so would mean the shattering of that delicate balance. Yet sometimes the truth is inescapable and must come out - and so it does now. He hears a voice telling him that he does not belong to this Earth and that he is fighting to return to the place that is his reality. He does not want to go though, for as great is the struggle the cosmos wages, Steve has cause to remain here in the form of a beautiful Amazon Princess who has been there with him from the beginning. As a vision of her swims into focus he at last overcomes the turmoil and finally awakes! He looks around, trying to regain his bearings and wondering where Wonder Woman is...

The answer to that question may surprise him, for at this very moment she is dangling for her life from her own golden lasso, being dragged at many times the speed of sound over Washington DC! As Captain Wonder still aboard the robot plane and Silver Swan arrive over the White House, the President and his aides look up in amazement. The two villains have agreed that Wonder Woman should die here in front of the eyes of the President. In that way, no one will doubt their power! As they prepare themselves for the big show, Mars the God of War suddenly appears before Silver Swan. He tells her he is sorely displeased that the Amazon still lives but she assures him that Wonder Woman is about to perish as requested. He orders her to kill not just the Amazon Princess though, but also destroy the President and the White House too! She asks why, but he tells her to just do it or else she will not lose just her powers but also her beloved Captain Wonder!

The Silver Swan has no choice but to obey and asks Captain Wonder whether he can send Wonder Woman crashing into the White House? He smugly replies that he can make her do anything while she is bound in her own lasso. With that, he orders Wonder Woman to instruct the robot plane to crash into the building. Struggling against her own weapon, she stammers that he can "G..go climb a..a..rope!" and that although he has forced her to bring them this far, this is where it stops!

Down below, the President's aides are becoming nervous as they can hear something that sounds like a supersonic jet approaching although cannot see anything. Onboard that very same jet, Captain Wonder again orders his captive to perform a suicide dive. The helpless Wonder Woman has to obey but tries to keep her plane going as slow as possible. Even so, she knows she is only seconds away from impact. Suddenly though, she detects that Captain Wonder's hold on her lasso is slipping and notices a weird vibration around him. Knowing that this is her only chance, she grabs the rope and yanks it, pulling Captain Wonder off balance and sending him toppling off the plane's wing. He falls, letting go of the lasso. Feeling weaker and weaker as he plummets down, he finally crashes down through some tree branches. As he tries to come to his sense he finds to his dismay that he is once more simply Doctor Psycho - his powers gone! He realises Steve Trevor must have awakened, allowing the accursed Wonder Woman to best him!

Wonder Woman deals with Silver Swan!Using air currents, Wonder Woman climbs altitude again, confident this time that Psycho is permanently out of the fight meaning that Steve must thankfully be conscious again! She turns her attention to her plane in order to stop the speeding aircraft on its collision course. But as she begins to instruct it to stop, Silver Swan strikes her from behind! Wonder Woman chastises herself for being so stupid as to turn her back on her opponent once more and wastes no time in turning to grab the blond. She tells Silver Swan in no uncertain terms that she has been nothing but trouble ever since she showed up and quite frankly - she has had enough. With that, she punches Silver Swan so hard that the villainess plummets to earth, hitting the ground with a bone shuddering thud a few yards away from where Psycho lays.

Swiftly turning her attention back once more to her diving plane, the Amazing Amazon orders it to pull up immediately. The President and his aides dive for cover from the terrifying sound of the screaming jet engines as the invisible plane misses them by mere feet. Wonder Woman re-boards her plane thanking the Gods that she avoided the disaster in time. She decides there is no need to alarm the President by telling him what almost happened and sets course back to Psycho's hideout instead.

Meanwhile a pitiful Silver Swan pleads with Mars to give her another chance. But the God of War is not in a forgiving mood and strips her of her powers, leaving her as plain Helen Alexandros once more. In an act of defiance though, she tells him that he can keep his powers as she still has the love of Captain Wonder. But as she rushes over to where the Captain had fallen a few minutes earlier she finds only a grotesque looking dwarf with a look of expectation as great as her own. Psycho in turn sees Helen, wondering what has happened to the Silver Swan and just who this ugly duckling standing before him is? This time there is no spark between them. They simply shudder and scurry off in different directions in search of a beauty that is perhaps forever gone...

Back in Virginia, Wonder Woman's plane touches down and she races inside to find Steve sitting up. After recounting the recent events of her battle with Psycho and Silver Swan, she adds that the two of them could still have had each other but they finally saw the real person in each other. It was not the much cherished beauty they had lied to themselves about but just an ugliness in their hearts. Steve replies that while their beauty may be all over now, she herself remains as beautiful as ever. He tells her of his nightmares about another place, of another home and how he finally realises that he really belongs here - where she is. They embrace passionately...

The End

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