The mansion plunges into darkness, but Diana and Ching fight off Cyberthugs who have ambushed Tim. They manage to capture one but Tim was captured as well. He's brought to the undersea lair of Dr. Cyber, and in the final panel we discover that Cyber is a woman. Cue the scary music... Art & continuity: Sekowsky, Inking: Giordano. Plot and dialogue: Denny O'Neil. Make of that what you will.

WW #181 Issue 181, Mar-Apr 1969. Art & continuity: Mike Sekowsky; story: Denny O'Neill [sic]; Editing: Jack Miller; Inking: Dick Giordano. From here on until Denny takes editorial control late in the series, credits will be few if any. "The Wrath of Dr. Cyber!" begins as Cyber's henchwomen carry off Tim, but leave Diana and Ching with a prisoner of their own. They return to Di's apartment where Ching hypnotizes the woman.

Impatient, Diana leaves to utilize one of her military intelligence contacts, and old man named Raphael who used to be in jail for making bombs, but is now out on parole and wouldn't think of such things. Instead he makes jewelry... the explosive kind. Diana appreciates his work.

getting into costume Back at her place, Ching finally breaks through the prisoner's defenses to learn of Cyber's undersea fortress. Diana dons a caped outfit much snazzier than any Wonder Woman ever wore and muses, "Though I've been mortal just a few months, it seems like AGES! Ages since I had nothing to FEAR... since I was TIRELESS and nearly INVULNERABLE! I keep asking myself... if I traded TOO MUCH for my humanity!"

Cyber and Tim

As they zoom into range of the fortress in a Cyber sub, we see how Tim gets a personal tour of the ultra-technical, communications-packed joint by the glamorous Cyber herself. Her empire stretches around the world, at the moment operating for profit, but she's targeted herself to conquer. She will topple the governments of the world with money.

Cyber lets Tim enjoy a final meal with her before she kills him. She refers to him as a "mere man," which indicates a lot about her personality. But just as she receives news of her "greatest exploit" being accomplished, alarms go off because Di and Ching have arrived. Cyber sets a guard, Betty, with a machine gun aimed at Tim.

And Tim distracts her by using the old "something's nibbling at your foot" routine. "Never YET saw a chick who wouldn't be DUMB if you gave her a chance!" he declares. (He and Cyber make a good sexist team, doncha think?)

Tim joins Di and Ching fighting a mob of Cyber thugs. Cyber offers Diana her life if she'll join her. Of course Diana refuses. Tim has compromised the base's air supply (seems to me a minor repair would fix it, but...) so after sealing Diana in a chamber, Cyber and co. evacuate AND set a nuclear charge for auto-destruct in 15 minutes.

Diana's new jewelry blows a hole in a wall -- good thing it wasn't an outer wall -- and they find the sub they came in on, making their escape -- you guessed it -- just in time.

The next day as Diana caters to actual customers in her boutique, Tim remembers hearing the name "Bjorland" in Cyber's HQ. Apparently knowing a country name is enough to pinpoint Cyber's location, or perhaps Bjorland is one of those one-square-mile countries, but at any rate, the trio take off for Europe. Tim thinks, "Maybe I should leave Di and Ching at home... but they MIGHT be useful... and I can always ditch 'em if necessary!"

But that night Diana thinks about Tim: "At times he makes me forget STEVE... ALMOST! I wonder if being HUMAN means being FICKLE!" Oh, Diana...

Strolling through the picturesque ski village the next morning, Ching realizes that there are no children around. "Silly person!" one woman tells them, the point of her ski pole against the back of Tim's neck, "Cyber does not operate NURSERIES!"

Diana attacks quickly, joined by Ching and Tim. They make their escape over the town's rooftops, Di's jewelry adding excitement as they go. They need a way out -- and there's a helicopter ahead. Unfortunately, Dr. Cyber climbs out of it. Tim points his gun at her.

"Put away your firearm, Mr. Trench!" Cyber calls. "Diana Prince and Ching are my enemies. ...YOU, however, are NOT!" She offers Tim a treasure of gems if he'll become a Cyber thug.

The panels narrow down on Tim's face as he aims his gun. He fires two shots--

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WW #182 Issue 182, May-June 1969. Mike -- excuse me -- MICHAEL Sekowsky becomes editor; otherwise, no credits although from here until told otherwise, art is by Sekowsky/Giordano. "A Time to Love, A Time to Die!" begins with Tim saying, "I missed ON PURPOSE! NEXT time I won't!" He grabs the jewels and the helicopter and leaves Di, Ching AND Cyber behind.

A squadron of snowmobiles carrying Cyberthugs vroom into the picture, and under their threat, Diana is forced to release Cyber (placing herself in an extremely vulnerable position, imho. I would have told the thugs to buzz off and THEN I'd release Cyber). Cyber obligingly tells Diana that she's off to London, makes an offer to save Di's life if she will join her ("It is better to PERISH than to live in CORRUPTION!" Diana says), and after referring to Ching twice as "the Chinese," releases a small flock of killer hunter falcons on the two. Exit Cyber.

ReggieHow convenient that a dapper young man in a red sportscar shows up in this den of Cyberdom to offer Diana a ride for Ching, who was badly injured in the attack. It never occurs to Diana that Reginald Hyde-Whyte could be in Cyber's employ. I suppose being human not only makes her fickle, but a little slow as well.

Ah, London! Happening place of the late Sixties! Reggie's private jet takes them there and he gives Diana a tour of haberdasheries (allowing some modeling sessions for the reader) while Ching checks out friends in Soho -- friends who are murdered despite his attempts to save them from Cyber's planted thug.

another outfitThat fickleness shows up again, because even as Reggie delivers the newly-outfitted Diana to Ching, he declares his undying love for her and she has a quick make-out session with him, forgetting about the presence of her teacher. Again we get a thought balloon to the effect of: "As an Amazon princess -- as WONDER WOMAN -- I had perfect control of my emotions! As plain Diana Prince, I'm HUMAN -- too DARN human!"

The three hurry to a Lady Rothwell's to join in a treasure hunt that Cyber's lackey had mentioned before she died. Though Rothwell imprisons them in the cellar, Diana and her James Bond jewelry extricate them and they're off -- following a treasure hunt through London. It seems that Cyber is using the playful treasure hunt party motif to gather London's rich, loaded with jewelry, into her clutches.

Cyber greets Diana: "You have become a BOTHER! I will ELIMINATE you soon!" But Diana turns the tables and Reggie picks up a fallen gun. (Does this sound familiar?) He points it at Diana and Ching and tells Cyber to take off -- without harvesting jewels from her victims. He tells her that he's giving her five minutes to clear out and then they're quits.

"No, Reggie," she says. "We won't be quits until I have my revenge! You have betrayed me -- and for that -- DEATH is the penalty... A death of AGONIES! Remember -- your days are numbered!"

Turns out Reggie had gambled away money belonging to his father's bank and Cyber had rescued him and held him with blackmail ever since. Despite his confession and his begging her to forgive him, Diana shouts, "You LIED to me! You said you LOVED me! I BELIEVED you.. and you were only USING me--" And proceeds to beat Reggie to a royal pulp, stopped only by Ching.

Diana runs out into the London fog away from Ching ("I'm SICK of your wisdom... Sick of EVERYTHING!") and at the very end we get a tiny panel showing an Amazon being sent to seek Diana. "Tell her -- her MOTHER NEEDS HER!"

The unfortunate juxtaposition of two quick and ill-fated romances in a row has left a memory in some WW fans' minds that the entire run of DP was composed of such stories. Untrue! These two romance arcs were the exception, not the rule. Di's next boyfriend would be a while in coming and would stick around for a number of issues.

Note: the lettercol informs readers of explanations about Wonder Girl about to take place in Teen Titans, as well as directs them to an upcoming issue of JLA where Diana will resign.

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WW #183Note: Issues #183 and 184 are my favorites of this run, in that they combined the concept of Diana Prince with the Amazon background so well and showed Diana not as a love-lorn female prone to hissy fits, but as a capable leader fighting a war that can't be won. It also shows that the entire Amazon nation -- every last one of them -- is comprised of women with inner strength and bravery and outright nobility. This is the story that made me respect Wonder Woman as a character.

Issue #183, July-Aug 1969. "Return to Paradise Island!" Drusilla (who gets her name next issue), messenger of Queen Hippolyta, finds Diana crying in the foggy London night. It takes Diana a mere moment to snap out of her crying jag because this Amazon is dressed for war and brings a message that Paradise Island has been invaded. Drusilla shows Diana her mother's ring and gives her her message: "Come to me, Diana, I need you DESPERATELY!"

Ching catches up to them just in time to get in on the interdimensional trip "to a plane where OLYMPUS still exists," and Paradise Island, now a part of the mainland, lies in ruins. Hippolyta has been laid out on a bed of roses within an enchanted sleep. An old woman (thus not an Amazon) tells Diana that Hippolyta's father Ares wants the secret of dimensional travel from Hippolyta, but she refused it to him. He, his sister Eris and his sons Deimos and Phobus have gathered a mighty army and want to bring war to Earth, but need Hippolyta's secret to get there.
Ares and family
Hippolyta had told him that Zeus had entrusted the secret to her and she won't betray that trust. Earth has had its share of wars and doesn't need any more.

"Woman's words! WOMAN'S thinking!" Ares roared. "WAR IS EVERYTHING!... Only through WAR can I reign supreme!"

So Ares unleashed his armies on the Amazons but though beaten they would not surrender the secret to him. Eris placed a spell of sleep upon Hippolyta that will turn into an endless, hellish nightmare from which she will beg to give Ares the knowledge he needs.

And as Diana stands beside her mother, the nightmares begin and Hippolyta screams in her sleep. Ares and his family appear and the god tells her that only she can end her mother's agonies.

Diana is torn and mutters to her mother to tell her what to do. From the depths of her sleep, Hippolyta reaches out and takes Diana's hand in a firm grasp. "My mother's answer is NO!" the mortal Diana tells the great war god. Ares instructs his sons to gather the queen up and take her to their camp, where she'll be tortured. "I have knowledge of methods that will loosen even a goddess's tongue!" Eris declares as she rubs her hands.

Calmly, Diana stands up straight and says, "You will NOT take my mother!"

"WHAT? BY THE HOUNDS OF HADES -- by CIRCE, MEDEA -- AND THE THREE HEADED HECATE... I AM ARES -- GOD OF WAR! WASTER OF CITIES -- LORD OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION -- WHO -- WHO DARES deny ME my desire?"

In a full-page panel, Diana stands in front of her mother's bier, flanked by Amazons ready for battle. "WE do, grandfather!" Diana says. "You WILL NOT take my mother!" And the old woman says, "Look, the queen rests quietly--"

With Eris declaring that the queen will remain in a coma until she gives up the secret or Eris releases her from her spell, the gods leave, vowing to be back. But what can a human do against a god? Ching tells Diana that these ancient gods relied on worshippers for their power. Now that Ares has so few, his powers have diminished to the point where he can be beaten. They have to win a war against him to stop the possibility of Ares regaining his might. But it will take the Amazons, the just-beaten Amazons, to conquer him.

Diana turns to the army and says, "AMAZONS -- Do you hear? My mother, your queen, lies in a coma, perhaps NEVER to awaken. I am now -- ONLY A HUMAN -- and I feel it is not MY place to ask you--"

An Amazon speaks up: "Hold, Diana -- say no more! We only ask that you LEAD us -- WE, QUEEN HIPPOLYTA'S AMAZONS will --" a two-thirds-page panel shows Diana standing before a horde of upraised swords -- "FIGHT!"

Diana meets with the generals:
We are Amazons!
"Listen to them -- they are so brave! We CANNOT win -- and they know it -- but they WILL fight! We MUST stop ARES!"

My god, a comic book was talking about WOMEN like this. As if WOMEN could be brave and as strong inside as they were outside. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life, and it's been rare that I've seen such since.

armorAres' first legions advance and the Amazon army marches out to meet it, led by Diana dressed in her mother's armor. But this is not a probing attack -- this is the real thing, the mere sight of the monstrous beast men of Diemos and Phobus sending the Amazons into stunned amazement, unable to move. But Ching says, "Diana -- WHAT is it?" and Diana then orders her troops to hold their shields in front of them to hide the sight from their eyes. Amazon and beast men bodies litter the field until the beast men finally retreat.

But a temple guard limps onto the field, bringing news that ten of Eris' men attacked and have taken the queen. Diana chooses five Amazons and surprise the kidnappers at a mountain pass, slaughtering them all. They recover the queen and the Amazons retreat to the mountains where they can hid and hold, "there to make what they all know is their LAST STAND..."

The story ends with Diana pacing in the moonlight, trying to find an answer to their dilemma.

And it was two long months until the next issue. Agony! So I'll make you wait as well while I put on my Analyst's Cap.

Okay, let's talk about this issue. The hair on the back of my neck is still standing a little on end because of the wonderful danger, pacing and build-up of this story, so different from the similiarly-cast WW-Batman-children of Ares epic of the modern era (WW #'s 164-167, 2001). How much better just these two issues are than that four-issue version. I think that (1) because this issue stayed focused on Diana: how she stood up to her grandfather, how much she felt for her mother that she actually considered giving Ares the secret of dimensional travel, how she rose to command and how her Amazons respected her; and (2) because of the wonderful pacing: there were minor victories amid the losses and the end of this first issue, is a time of balance and respite; this story displays first-class storytelling. It would have been interesting if the modern-era story had been structured more like this one.

It's also interesting that this is the first case in the Silver Age where Hippolyta is shown to be Ares' daughter. During this era people were always rewriting Diana's origins, so the writers could get away with it. The concept is actually more true to mythological tradition than Hippolyta NOT being related to Ares, and it upped the ante for all characters. Not only were they going up against the personification of war, but they were fighting family as well. Excellent idea!

Unfortunately such a change is not so easy to bring off in this hyper-continuity, post-Crisis era, but He Whose Name Must Not Be Invoked did it during his stint on WW, DESPITE the fact that George Perez carefully laid out the modern WW and Amazons' origins in sharp detail at the very start of the modern series. He Whose Name etc. did a lot of screwing with the series -- and TPTB at DC let him get away with it because HWNMNBI was a Big Name with Fan Appeal and Selling Power By Name Alone in those days. And after HWNMNBI abruptly left, the series has to figure out how to explain everything. Sigh. (Luckily for us, Peter David took the character of Wonder Girl and did, well, wonders with her in Young Justice, but just about everything else has left the series much weakened.)

Note again: With this issue the price went up to fifteen cents. A short letter appears in the end of the book (above an ad for Diana Prince guesting in Lois Lane [I do a page on guest-shots at the end of this index.]) explaining the price increase.

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