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You are in: Galleries > Wonder Woman > Volume One > Issues 301-329 > Issue 323

Issue Number: 323
Published: January/February, 1985
Cover Artists: Eduardo Barreto
Writer: Dan Mishkin
Pencils: Don Heck
Inker: Don Heck
Letterer: Phil Felix
Colourist: Nansi Hoolahan
Editor: Alan Gold
Story Title: Night of Many Wonders
 
Main Characters (in order of appearance):
The Monitor Lyla Doctor Psycho
(Captain Wonder)
Senator Abernathy Lisa Abernathy Etta Candy
Howard Huckaby Cheetah Wonder Woman
(Diana Prince)
Major Steve Trevor Atalanta Silver Swan
Senator Covington Eloise Abernathy Kevin
Michelle Mark Glitch
(The Gremlin)
Angleman Gardner Grayle
(Atomic Knight)
Major Keith Griggs

Cover of Issue 323

Comments:

This issue is note worthy for three reasons. Firstly, Diana takes a back seat in the story while Etta Candy is showcased confronting four of the most well known foes of Wonder Woman. Secondly, the comic changes to a bi-monthly title due to poor sales. And thirdly, we see references to a Being known as the Monitor, who crops up in several DC titles around this time and will play a significant role in the up coming "Crisis On Infinite Earths" crossover event, which culminates in the eventual "death" of this particular incarnation of the Amazon Princess at the hands of the Anti-Monitor!  

The storyline itself also makes several interesting references to the mess that Diana's life has become, with multiple identities, memories etc. This, whether intentionally or otherwise, pretty well sums up the problems with the title at this point and why a "re-boot" was on the cards. Basically, there seemed no way to unravel the increasingly muddled and convoluted history of the character without effectively wiping the slate clean and starting again, which is exactly what they did!

Synopsis:

High up in orbit around the Earth, a satellite manned by a being known as the Monitor drifts through space. The Monitor herself is communicating with the villain known as Doctor Psycho who is confirming that he will get her commission just as long as his agent delivers the Ectoplasm Extractor to him. He will then have enough power to buy and sell a dozen such as she and the world will know his wrath! The Monitor's assistant, Lyla, then puts Psycho on hold for a moment and thinks to herself that as for wielding power over her and her kind, there is only one other like her and he would not wish to cross either of them...

Meanwhile in Georgetown Lisa Abernathy waits worriedly in the apartment of Diana Prince, together with her father, Etta and Howard. Lisa's daughter, Eloise, has been missing for a couple of hours since Lisa's interview with General Darnell and Howard suggests that perhaps the girl is still inside the Pentagon, completely lost. Etta agrees that is a strong possibility and she and Howard grab their coat and race off to look for her while Lisa and her father wait at the apartment in case she turns up there..

Soon they are inside and Etta retrieves a device from Darnell's Office that may come in useful - a prototype Life Reading Sensor that the Air Force is due to test next week. If Eloise is in the building  they should be able to locate her with this. Howard asks if Darnell knows that Etta has the combination to his safe? She replies that she has a pretty high security clearance and she hopes he is not sniffing around for some dirt to report to the Senate Committee. Just then they hear a bleeping sound coming from the other side of a door marked "Restricted Access". Etta scans her palm print on the locking device so that they can open the door, wondering whether perhaps Eloise is trapped inside. But instead they find the villainess known as the Cheetah who lunges at them with her claws outstretched. They manage to dodge her attack and run for another exit across the room. As they run, Howard tells Etta that if they can beat Cheetah to the other side of the door she can change. As they dive inside and slam the door shut Etta asks him what he is on about. He responds that she need not be coy and that he knows her secret identity is really Wonder Woman. As Cheetah begins pounding on the door she starts to tell him that he has got it wrong but at that instant the door gives way and they are sent flying...

Wonder Woman tells Steve she is not comfortable in revealing her secret identity at the moment... Elsewhere high up in the sky, Wonder Woman and Steve returning onboard the invisible plane. Steve tells her that he feels terrific now that he shares the memories of the first Steve Trevor. He feels like a missing part of him has been restored, as if he had been incomplete before and now he is whole. And it is great for him to know that they have been together from the start. He adds that he is still a little fuzzy on the period when he had been brought back to life but perhaps he is better off not remembering what it is like to be dead! She replies that he is lucky because remembering can be a curse as well as a blessing. The return of her own memories has left her feeling more fragmented than ever - and there does not seem enough pieces to go round! She is a grown woman and yet still her mother's child. She is supposed to be a Princess, a heroine, a role model for others when in fact she has no models that work for her anymore...and that does not even take into account her secret identity! Steve then asks whether it would help if she revealed it to him even though he had stopped her doing so previously. She responds that she does not want to force it upon him and perhaps when she has sorted her own feelings out a little more she may do so.

He looks down out of the cockpit and sees jungle beneath them. Realising that they are obviously not headed for Virginia he asks her where they their destination is. She tells him they are over Brazil and the Amazon River. She pauses for a moment and then adds that there had been someone she had wanted to see down there, but on reflection after rejecting her mother for what she did to her, she should not be so quick to look for a substitute. Down below, Atalanta stands on the steps of her palace and watches as the approaching robot plane suddenly banks and speeds away...

Back inside the Pentagon, Cheetah has Etta and Howard cornered. The villainess had overheard Howard say that Etta is Wonder Woman and demands to know the truth. Howard apologises to Etta for letting the cat out of the bag and that he now understands why it is so important for her to keep her identity a secret! She replies that this is crazy and that she is not Wonder Woman and does not even want to be Wonder Woman!  Cheetah tells her that her protests are almost convincing and grabbing her by the collar, adds that she must think that by refusing to change into the Amazing Amazon she will fool Cheetah somehow. Howard uses Cheetah's momentary preoccupation with Etta to grab a nearby fire extinguisher and squirts Cheetah in the face. She lets go of Etta and she and Howard make a run for it but the villainess races after them in hot pursuit!

Far out in space, the Silver Swan is communicating via a screen with the Monitor. She tells him that she is trying to locate a villain by the name of Captain Wonder who has vanished without a trace. She desperately wants to locate him again. As the Monitor tells her that it will not be a problem Lyla interrupts, saying that she thought Captain Wonder had really been Doctor Psycho, his current client? He replies that she must trust him and that he knows what he is doing by having both Psycho and Silver Swan as his clients...

In a Georgetown apartment meanwhile, Lisa Abernathy is on the phone to her boyfriend, Senator Brad Covington. She asks him whether he can do something to help find Eloise as the police and military are arguing about who should search for her while neither of them are actually doing it! He replies that he can make some calls and clear up the red tape but people may wonder what his interest is and their relationship might end up all over the gossip columns. She responds that that would mess up his re-election bid presumably. He can tell the cynicism in her voice and tells her it is not his career he is worried about. What will her viewers or indeed her TV bosses think about a Capitol hill reporter who has got a romance with a Senator? She says to him that it does not matter to her and that nothing matters except finding her little girl!

On the subject of Eloise Abernathy, we find her inside a closed computer shop owned by one of her friend's Dads. The children together with the gremlin have decided to hide here overnight while the gremlin tries to use the equipment around him to throw the aliens off their trail. As they watch him at work, he is telling them that he is hoping to break into their Hyperspace communications when all of a sudden he leaps back from the screen, startled. An alien suddenly materialises before them and the gremlin tells the frightened children that although the aliens have found them, the creature they see is only a hologram. The gremlin then leaps through the shop window and tells them to follow him quickly...

Elsewhere inside the National Air and Space Museum, Doctor Psycho sits inside one of the exhibits pretending he is a war hero engaged in a dogfight with the enemy. His fun is interrupted by the approach of the Cheetah, who has not only stolen the Ecto-plasmic Extractor for him but also has the lifeless bodies of Etta and Howard with her. He asks the villainess who these two are and she replies that while she does not know anything about the man, the woman is actually Wonder Woman in her secret identity! She has bought her here because according to the Monitor, the Amazon will be helpless if a man binds her wrists. Doctor Psycho looks down at Etta and says that she looks pretty helpless now. Is Cheetah certain that she is really Wonder Woman? The villainess spits that she is sure of it and that he should hurry up and tie her. As the little dwarf crouches down and proceeds to do just that, a conscious Etta who had been hoping to find a way out of this realises that things just keep getting worse!

Having tied her wrists, he grabs her by the hair and lifts her head, saying that on reflection, there is no reason why "this frump" should not be Wonder Woman. There is no reason why Amazon magic could not also accomplish what he himself has managed to do...to cloak oneself with another form and to grant power beyond the reach of lesser minds. He stands up again as a green Ecto-plasmic mist begins to envelop him. Cheetah sees his body transform before her eyes into Captain Wonder, an amalgam of Wonder Woman and the perfect male he had once plucked from the mind of Steve Trevor. He then turns to look down at Etta again and adds that it is time to snuff out Wonder Woman's life for good but Cheetah interjects, grabbing his wrists and telling him that the Amazon is more valuable to her alive! He warns her that while he had swallowed his pride to gain the aid of a female, he will answer to no woman now that he has become Captain Wonder!

Suddenly the glass roof shatters and Silver Swan swoops down towards them. She is furious to see him with another woman and unleashes her sonic swan song which sends debris flying at Cheetah and Captain Wonder. He blocks the debris allowing Cheetah to race at Swan, telling her she can shriek all she wants but that she is just another pretty bird - and birds are prey for cats like her! With that she swipes her claws at Silver Swan, ripping some of the feathers from Swan's costume. As the woman square off to each other, Captain Wonder commands them to stop fighting and hurls some debris between the two scrapping females. He tells Silver Swan that the Cheetah was only here to do a job for him and that what she took as an embrace was actually an argument - about what to do with the mortal guise of Wonder Woman!

A surprised Silver Swan cannot believe that Etta Candy is really the Amazon Princess. All the time as Helen Alexandros when she had been Etta's roommate she had actually been living under the same roof as Wonder Woman! Etta overhears this and thinks to herself that if Helen had really been the Silver Swan, then that would explain why there was always something weird about the girl! As Silver Swan stands over Etta the villainess continues that she can see the perverse logic of it and in a way it makes perfect sense for Etta Candy to be Wonder Woman! Etta thinks to herself that she is glad it makes sense to somebody!

These events are being watched by the Monitor and his assistant Lyla. She asks her master whether Etta really is Wonder Woman and he replies that he has seen unlikelier combinations of super hero and secret identity. She notes that his reply is not exactly a yes or a no and he tells her it was not meant to be. He then receives another call and patches in the villain known as Angle Man. He thanks the Monitor for retrieving his Angler for him but he is still unable to power it up. The Monitor apologises as he has been very busy with other matters but the solution to his technical problem can be found at the National Air and Space Museum. On hearing this, a surprised Lyla realises that he will confront Doctor Psycho, Cheetah and Silver Swan there and is frustrated by the Monitor's actions, wondering what on earth he is up to...

Meanwhile inside STAR Labs, a troubled Gardner Grayle curses the fact that he is the only one to see these horrific visions of destruction. But the fact that he does know the future means that he has to try and prevent the holocaust. He should have realised that he could not escape his past; that it would catch up with the future he predicted and that someday he would be forced once again to become the Atomic Knight!

Across town at the National Air and Space Museum, the Angle Man is slipping into the building unseen. The Monitor has indicated to him that when Wonder Woman destroyed the Angler in the Angular Dimension its power was transferred to the only near by object that could contain it. That turned out to be the very thing he had stolen - the Daedelus Space Shuttle! NASA could never get the craft to fly again after Wonder Woman brought it back to this dimension and so it was placed in the museum. As he approaches the display his Angler begins to surge with energy, charging up and emptying the shuttle of everything it has. Just then he hears the rocket motors blast into life and the craft suddenly rolls across the floor. He realises that he must have removed whatever was preventing it taking off and he watches as it careens through the museum smashing exhibits as it goes!  As it smashes through the wall of the hall it has been housed in and enters the hall where Captain Wonder, Cheetah and Silver Swan stand. Quickly, Captain Wonder  instructs Swan to use her sonic cry and together with his brute strength, they knock the craft away from them and the Ecto-plasmic Extractor. Cheetah suggests they find out who is responsible and she and Captain Wonder race through he hole in the wall leaving Silver Swan to guard the prisoners.

A distraught Silver Swan cannot believe that Captain Wonder has gone off with Cheetah again leaving her behind and Etta uses her distracted state of mind to free herself from the ropes. She shakes Howard awake and as he comes to, he asks her why she as not yet changed into Wonder Woman? She tells him again that she is not the Amazing Amazon and that they are in big trouble. She explains that they are up against three super villains and they have a machine to give them any ability they want. She points to the Ecto-plasmic Extractor and Howard walks over to it. He says that perhaps if she does not have super powers now, then maybe she could have...

Elsewhere, Captain Wonder and Cheetah have located Angle Man and Captain Wonder demands to know what he is doing here. But Cheetah is not so patient and lunges at Angle Man, who responds by blasting her with his Angler and sending her flying across the room. Before Captain Wonder can respond though he is sent sprawling by a kick to his back by none other than Etta, now decked out in Wonder Woman's costume!  She tells a dazed Captain Wonder that she has already taken care of Silver Swan, but the Angle Man adds that she has yet to take care of him! He opens fire with his Angler but Etta uses her bracelets to deflect the beam away.

Outside of the museum, the invisible plane is passing overhead and Wonder Woman and Steve notice down below that the Daedelus Shuttle is resting outside in the car park having smashed through the exterior wall of the museum. The Amazon Princess decides to investigate further and swoops the craft down. As she does so though she sees Captain Wonder smashes up through the roof having taken another punch from "Wonder" Etta! Inside, Diana's roommate is enjoying herself as she next throws Angle Man across the room. But suddenly she is pounced on from behind by Cheetah who grabs her arms, clawing them as she does. Holding her wrists behind her back, Cheetah tells Angle Man to blast the now helpless Etta as she cannot use her bracelets to protect herself. As he takes aim though his Angler is knocked from his hands by a golden Tiara and he is swiftly ensnared in the golden lasso of Wonder Woman, peering down through the hole made by Captain Wonder's exit.

Cheetah surprises Etta and pins her arms so that Angle Man can blast her!Using the distraction to her advantage, Etta elbows her captor in the stomach. She then decks her with a powerful punch saying "My name might be Candy...but I ain't all sugar!". Wonder Woman then drops down to the ground beside her and asks Etta what has been going on here? As if in response, the Ecto-plasmic mists surround Etta again and she changes back into her normal self. At the same moment Steve and Howard enter the room, dragging Silver Swan and Doctor Psycho, who has also changed back.  Howard rushes over to Etta and kisses her, apologising for causing things to get out of hand by thinking she was really Wonder Woman. He adds though that he does not care now whether she is or is not because he loves her the way she is. Taking his cue, Steve hugs Wonder Woman and says the same goes for him and that he would not change a thing...

Some time later Major Diana Prince is taking a stroll through  in the night air. She ponders that there have been too many changes in her life and as she traces through her memory she wonders whether her true self has been lost along the way. All her roles in life still seem so jumbled and she feels like half a dozen people. The biggest joke of all is that "Diana Prince" seems such a featureless non entity that Howard did not even stop to think that she might be Wonder Woman. Just then as she reaches her apartment building she hears her name called and turns to see Keith Griggs standing there. She asks him what he is doing here at such a late hour and he replies that he felt they had left some things unfinished the other night...things they cannot ignore. For instance, like what can suddenly happen between a man and a woman when they least expect it. Like what he believes has been happening to them. He adds that he figured it was worth coming here tonight at the risk of making himself look a fool. Diana smiles back at him and says that he is not a fool. She then takes his hand and invites him inside so that they can talk...

Across town, the gremlin is leading Eloise and her friends on a dash for safety across a deserted play ground. One of her friends wonders whether "Glitch" knows where he is going but Eloise replies that of course he does. Suddenly though, a massive hologram of an alien materialises in front of them and before they can stop their momentum all but one of them disappear inside and are enveloped in a blinding flash, leaving one frightened girl to ponder the fate of her friends...

To be continued...

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