Wonder Woman #157

Wonder Woman #157, October 1965

“I — the Bomb!”

Wonder Woman is amazed as her mom, Queen Hippolyta, demonstrates the amazing “AS-R” beam that can reassemble a shattered mountain. “Thunderbolts of Jove!” cries the staggered Amazon. She then sets out for home and a date with Steve Trevor.

The AS-R device in action

Trevor, meanwhile, has accepted an almost certain suicide mission to photograph the mysterious Oolong Island behind the bamboo curtain. So certain is he that he’s about to bite the big one, that he asks Diana Prince to pretend to be Wonder Woman in the absence of the real article. Diana, worried and tearful, desparately tries to find a way to change identities, but fate conspires against her: “For the first time in my life… I’ve failed–!” she sobs.

Steve Trevor's odd request

While taking a final romantic stroll along a beach, Diana and Steve are attacked by Chinese saboteurs. We know they’re Chinese because they’re coloured orange and can’t pronounce the letter ‘r’: “Speak Amelican – Wong! Or you’ll attlact suspicion..!” Diana is knocked unconscious when a bullet grazes her temple, while Trevor goes after the gang. He attempts to capture them but they explode, allowing Trevor the opportunity to curse the inhuman enemy.

Steve Trevor in action

He returns to Diana and plants a smacker on her lips, “…I can pretend you’re my angel!” As Trevor goes off to his deadly mission Diana sobs, before coming to her senses and realising that, as Wonder Woman, she can follow him and keep him safe. She quickly changes and jumps into the invisible plane.

Steve and Diana kiss

Egg Fu!!

At that moment, on Oolong Island, “the most baleful brain that had ever been steeped in Oriental cunning for the sole purpose of annihilating the free world — plots its master stroke…” Egg Fu, literally a huge egg with a human face, has decided to destroy the American — or should that be “Amelican”? — naval fleet with a Doomsday rocket! Flying overhead, Trevor is mercilessly attacked by a squadron of enemy planes. Wonder Woman uses the invisible plane to smash the new arrivals, tearfully hoping that that is what Steve would have wanted her to do. She cries a lot in these stories does our Diana.

Wonder Woman and her lasso

She steps out onto the wing to engage in a little “missiles and bracelets” play, before roping all the enemy planes with her lasso. Thus captured, the planes explode hurling WW into the sea below. There she spots “a sinister shark-like shape” — an enemy torpedo aimed straight at the American Pacific fleet! She tries to deflect it, but fails. Eventually, she grabs the enemy submarine that fired the thing and throws it in the torpdeo’s path. It explodes.

Trevor is captured!

Meanwhile, overhead, Trevor is attempting to complete his mission by photographing Oolong Island. His plane is destroyed by enemy fire, but Trevor bails out, snapping away all the while with his miniature cigarette lighter camera. What a hero! Suddenly, he’s captured by Egg Fu’s weird magnetic rays, and pulled towards the monster. Egg Fu cackles as he explains that the rays are filling Trevor with “atomic explosive force”, effectively turning our man into a human bomb. As Fu commands his Doomsday rocket be fired at the Pacific fleet, Trevor is sent hurtling after it: should either one strike, it’ll be curtains for the Americans! “– I’ll never see Wonder Woman again!” sobs Trevor.

Wonder Woman intercepts Trevor as he fies towards the fleet. He explains his predicament and admonishes Diana not to come near. She ropes him with her lasso and tries to pull him away from his course, but, as the Doomsday rocket arrives, Trevor has a plan: pleading with Diana to head for safety, Trevor hurls himself at the rocket. High above the Pacific fleet a gigantic atomic explosion is witnessed. Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman are both blown to smithereens by the blast. The news reverberates around the globe: Wonder Woman is dead..!

Explosion

On Paradise Island, Queen Hippolyta tearfully commands that the AS-R device be used to try to reassemble Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, even though it has never been tested on humans before. A “unique Amazon swan fleet” is dispatched to collect every atom of Wonder Woman’s atomic structure. The bits are brought to Paradise Island and the AS-R beam used. Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are reconstituted as the Amazons look on.

Sadly, when the pair touch each other, an explosion occurs: they are both now human bombs! As Trevor explains, “We’re not only a menace to each other — but to the whole world!”

WW and Steve Trevor: human bombs

To be continued…! Here

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Writer Bob Kanigher does his bit for US – Chinese relations…

As completely bonkers as this comic is, it’s quite interesting to realise how far we’ve come in the last forty years. No one would write a story like this today — and that’s probably just as well. It’s even more alarming to consider that 10 years before this, the depiction of Orientals seen here would have been considered tame!

Egg Fu, a giant Chinese Easter Egg who’s out to rule the world is clearly the work of either a madman or a twisted genius. Probably a bit of both. Kanigher certainly knew how to pack his comics with action and incident. All of the above takes place in just 24 pages!

When I noted that Diana sobs a lot in these comics, I wasn’t kidding. On practically every other page artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito were called upon to depict a teary-eyed Amazon. Whether the creators thought that sort of thing would appeal to a female readership I dunno. It clearly didn’t work as Wonder Woman was one of DC’s weakest sellers.

Gorilla Daze will review the conclusion of this, er, explosive tale next week. In the meantime, you can catch the modern adventures of the big yellow egg in DC’s 52 — he’s been cured of his speech impediment these days though…

Wonder Woman TM & © 2007 DC Comics