WW #184Issue #184, Sept-Oct 1969. Good heavens, there are credits: Art and story: Mike Sekowsky; Inks: Dick Giordano, Letters: John Constanza; Editor: Michael Sekowsky. "The Last Battle!" Ching and an aide find Diana still pacing at dawn. Ching says, "You know, if this were one of your incredible western cinemas -- just about now -- the cavalry would come charging over the hill -- and we would be saved."

The cavalry!

Diana tells the generals, "I shall journey to the other dimensional worlds where the old heroes live -- ROLAND, EL CID, SIEGFRIED, LANCELOT, ARTHUR -- and all the OTHERS! I shall ask for their help. And being the kind of men they are -- THEY'LL COME!" She leaves the army with orders: "DELAY and HOLD! HOLD! HOLD!" and she and Drusilla (who gets a name), who still has the dimensional key that is Hippolyta's amulet, travel to a world of Arthur and Camelot, "where now dwell the immortal heroes of old..."

Luckily, it is a day of tournament and heroes from all dimensions have travelled to be here today. The Amazons' request for an audience with Arthur going unheard, Diana strides across the violent field of tournament to stand before the royal box. She pleads for aid from these heroes as they have helped people before.

Siegfried tells her, "The aid of the ungrateful! The whining cowards who plead for our aid to get them out of the mess they had gotten themselves into -- and then promptly forget us when they no longer needed us!" Arthur has Roland and Lancelot admit that they're not interested in helping any more. Other heroes tell her that they are no longer fools to "bleed and die -- for nothing!" They say, "Go AWAY!"

And she tells them that they are disgraces to the term "hero."

BrunhildeSiegfried takes offense and engages Diana in a sword fight. When he breaks her sword but she refuses to concede, Brunhilde comes to Diana's defense. She volunteers her services and those of her Valkyries to fight with the Amazons and privately explains the heroes' feelings to Diana, that their old efforts now seem useless and futile. "THAT'S NOT TRUE!" Diana says. "They aren't and NEVER were FUTILE! It is BECAUSE of them and the example they and others like them set to make it a better world that WE do what we do now!"

Breeching the dimensions on winged horses, the Valkyrie army and Diana arrive just in time to relieve the Amazon forces, driving the army of Ares back and reviving the morale of the Amazons. "The enemy retreat becomes a race for life!" For today, the enemy is beaten.

Deep into the night Amazons and Valkyries plan, "but EACH in her own HEART knows that tomorrow would end in DEFEAT and DEATH!" Afterward, Diana sits beside her mother, lifts a dagger and says, "I swear to you , Mother -- [Ares] SHALL NOT get the secret of dimensional travel from you -- I know what I must do -- what YOU would WANT me to do -- GOODBYE -- Forgive me, Mother--" It sure looks like she plans to kill Hippolyta, but she doesn't. Perhaps she thought that she could make it back just before the final defeat to kill her.

The next day at dawn the two armies meet again. "For every one Amazon or Valkyrie that falls, ten of the enemy die -- but still they come on -- and on-- and on-- Driven ever backward, until they cannot retreat another foot, Diana and her remaining Amazons and Valkyries prepare for the last -- and FOR THEM the FINAL CHARGE!"

"That noise -- like THUNDER -- listen--" "It's hooves-- HORSES' HOOVES!" "And a horn-- Do you HEAR a horn?"

"It CAN'T be -- BUT IT IS! IT'S ROLAND's HORN! And LOOK -- coming WITH him! It's the CAVALRY -- and like in the movies -- JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME!"

Narration: "Nothing made of flesh and blood can withstand that frightful, armored charge! The forces of ARES hold a moment -- waver -- and BREAK! Caught betwen the steel jaws of the Amazons and Valkyries led by Diana and the armored juggernaut of Roland -- the army of ARES is caught in a terrible trap of NO ESCAPE! The INEVITABLE end now comes swiftly. Doom overtakes ARES's army and his hopes of regaining his old power are totally crushed... As the remnants of his once mighty force flee in complete and utter rout!"

Hippolyta rises from her enchanted sleep and searches the battlefield for Diana. Then they see a delegation from Ares' army carrying a body on a shield between them. It's Diana. In horror, Hippolyta asks Ares if she's--

"No, daughter, she is NOT! I bring back MY granddaughter on her shield -- as BEFITS a HERO! She fought BRAVELY and WELL -- and we HONOR her in this manner! Take care of my granddaughter, HIPPOLYTA -- and when she awakens -- tell her -- tell her -- her grandfather is proud of her -- VERY PROUD! I go now -- beaten for the PRESENT, but there are ALWAYS those who will follow ARES, GOD OF WAR, again! I shall be back!"

The heroes of old thank Diana for waking them to their responsibilities and pledge that they will be there for her should she need them. Diana stays on Paradise long enough to recover and see it slowly rebuilt to its former glory, and Ching decides to stay and "study some of the ancient mysteries" it holds, while Drusilla takes Diana back to Earth.

Pardon me while I catch my breath!

Among other things, this stupendous story arc brought in the concept of other dimensions and other fantasy worlds available to Diana Prince. Now we had someone who could operate in a James Bond-like adventure setting, a super-hero setting... and a fantasy setting, complete with all the trappings of a complete fantasy world.

I ask you: what other comics character can do that?

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WW #185Issue #185, Nov-Dec 1969. No credits. "THEM!"

Top Hat and her gangStrolling down midnight New York streets in her Amazon armor, Diana ponders that since she hasn't been there much to handle things, her store is going to go to pot unless she figures out something. She opens the door to find a young blonde girl, Cathy Perkins: "Oh, dear GOD -- I thought you were THEM!" she shrieks and tells Diana to shut the door quickly.

A Clockwork OrangeBut not quick enough. Three female renegades from A Clockwork Orange throw a dog collar and leash onto the boutique's floor and demand that Cathy put it on because she's their slave. She does, and Diana rips it off her, then tosses them all -- Moose Momma, Pinto and the leader, Top Hat -- out of her shop.

Cathy PerkinsCathy turns out to be a teenage runaway who'd found rooms with the three women. Someone stole her clothes and money, but the women said she could stay on with them, provided she become their slave. They beat her, made her do all the work around the apartment, never let her out of their sight, and when Moose Momma took some drugs and fell asleep that day, Cathy ran away, landing in Diana's place (a rear window had been left open).

Of course Diana outfits Cathy with new clothes and when they go shopping, a friend of Top Hat harrasses them. A mysterious, handsome man stares the thug down and the thug apologizes. When Di and Cathy return to the shop, they find their stock has been slashed to ribbons. Di confronts Top Hat, who reminds her that she has no proof -- but again the mysterious man appears, stares, and Top Hat beats a hasty retreat.

But that night, after Diana finds an unmailed letter that Cathy had written to ask her parents to forgive her and take her back, a molotov cocktail burns out the place. Luckily Mysterious Man, one Tony Petrucci, lives in the neighborhood and gets his mother to take the women in for a while. (We find that the Petruccis have a mysterious daughter named Angela who is not at home, but that's the basis of a future story.)

White jacket costumeCathy feels remorse for what she thinks is her fault and goes back to Top Hat. Diana of course, goes after her and Mrs. Petrucci calls her son to tell him he's got to do something. When Diana finds Top Hat parading Cathy around the neighborhood wearing her dog leash, Top Hat calls upon her gang to leash Diana, too -- but Tony and his male friends outnumber Top Hat's gang. Diana takes care of T.H. herself. In the melee, T.H.'s hat breaks open in front of a cop, who recognizes the jewelry it contains as loot from a recent robbery (how convenient), and the Top Hat gang is carted off to jail.

There's a large reward for the recovery of the jewelry -- enough to pay for rebuilding the boutique (Diana forgot to take out fire insurance) -- and Cathy's parents show up for a tearful reunion. Diana arranges to hire Cathy to work in her shop after school hours and generally take care of the place during the times she's away.

Note: The final scene and cover of this issue introduce the concept of the all-white outfit to the Diana Prince image. Apparently, DC needed her in some kind of costume to have her stand out from the crowd. From now until the end of the series, she'd dress all in white. I'll tell you when her short-lived costume-costume comes along.

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WW #186Issue #186, Jan-Feb. 1970. No credits. "Morgana the Witch!" brought the return of Ching and the rebuilding of the boutique. Gee, first Paradise Island was rebuilt and then the boutique. It's nice to know that Diana got some rest every now and then, isn't it?

One night at dinner Cathy tries to tell Diana that she has some friends who are in a bit of trouble. Abbie and Millie arrive with a shoe box. Inside it is Abbie's boyfriend, Henry -- but there's a little problem. Henry has been turned into a frog.

A talking frog. Henry explains to Diana and Ching that for amusement one night he'd had his friends help him with a spell he'd found in an old book store. They don't believe in magic, but do everything properly -- and out pops Morgana the Witch, complete with her black cat, Frimost. Since Henry immediately began to chant the spell to send her back, Morgana turned him into a frog so she could explore this new world.

The laid-back reaction of the girls seems similar to those on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Millie: "...His mother and father are oming down this weekend -- whatever will THEY say about THIS?" Cathy: "And he's got mid-term exams next week!"

MorganaChing explains to the group that if this is the real Morgana, she's the daughter of Morgan LeFay, "a WITCH SO POWERFUL that not even KING ARTHUR and MERLIN TOGETHER could BEST her! But powerful as she was, even MORGAN LE FAY was afraid of her daughter MORGANA!" Ching goes on further to say that Morgana was a manic-depressive with incredible powers, a major threat to the world.

Diana chases Morgana through the city using Henry's Monkeemobile-cousin of a motorcycle with two bathtubs attached in back. Morgana sets neighborhood blocks into bedlam, enjoying the results. She doesn't provoke any violence worse than a few fights and sets a few playful spells to work: a love spell on an ugly woman so that men pursue her, bankers tossing out handfuls of money at passersby, hippies and police singing peacefully together, stuffed toys being turned into real animals and set free.

Diana says she reminds her of the little girl "who had a little curl/right in the middle of her forehead./When she was good/she was very very good,/but when she was bad/she was HORRID!" She tries to battle Frimost, but the cat can change into other animal forms, including that of a fly.

When Morgana arranges a joust using cars instead of horses, Diana tackles her. Morgana summons her magic wrath -- and Ching utters a spell against Morgana, preventing her from using magic there again.

"CHING! YOU KNOW MAGIC?" Diana asks and doesn't wait too long for the answer before she and Morgana go at it hand-to-hand. Surprisingly, Morgana holds her own (don't ask me how), and having finally had enough amusement, says her name backwards, I mean, just disappears.

"You FORGOT about HENRY!" Abbie cries. Cathy tells her to kiss the frog and after much protest, Abbie does so. The young lovers are reunited and Diana goes off to sulk. Ching asks her why.

"Because that red-haired witch -- BEAT ME! Oh, I could--"

"Well, as you Americans say -- you can't win 'em all!" Ching replies, forgetting that Diana is not an American.

Besides the introduction of Morgana, this issue was essential in showing us that Ching wields magic easily, something he used to great effect in his later stint in Superman.

There are some fans who HATE Morgana, but I liked her. I liked the concept of someone who wasn't nice all the time and had some power to back up that not-niceness. Over in Supergirl's stories in Adventure, (and Morgana made a Supergirl appearance once) Sekowsky came up with the idea of Nasthalthia "Nasty" Luthor, a woman who was, well, nasty but not EVIL, at least not very often. And as the series went on we discovered she even had a somewhat nice side. Morgana was much farther toward the "good" side of the balance than Nasty, and since you never knew what her moods would be, she had the potential to be a surprising but likeable character. Such a shame that she was forgotten about so quickly.

And the lettercol in issue 188 revealed that this story had been a "pilot episode" testing the waters for a Morgana comic. Apparently it didn't garner enough positive response to warrant one.

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