All-Star Squadron: 1942: Gender Gasp, Chapter 2: Domain of the God of Madness

by Libbylawrence

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Wonder Woman and Liberty Belle found themselves transported by Rose Psychic’s symbol of the Seven from the All-Star Squadron Headquarters to a strange land where primitive shacks and huts lined a green field near marble ruins.

“Looks like my home on Paradise Island, or at least ancient Greece,” said Princess Diana, whose patriotic outfit was now black leather.

Liberty Belle brushed back her long, blonde hair from one eye and scanned her own brown leather breastplate and brown skirt. “I guess that explains my barbarian look,” said Libby Lawrence. “Rose said our language and outfits would match our new locale.”

“We need to find that magic opal shard to defeat Star Sapphire from the Seventh Dimension and save the males,” said a concerned Diana.

“I’d say that probably isn’t a welcome wagon approaching!” commented Belle.

A mob of angry, screaming women surged out of the village huts toward the female All-Stars. They positioned themselves back to back and faced their attackers. Libby lashed out at the nearest woman and knocked her to the ground. A second woman grabbed the beautiful blonde and received her own blow to the nose. Wonder Woman ripped up a tree and pushed her way through the angry crowd of women. They fell and ran to escape her awesome power unleashed. “Sisters, why do you attack us like battle-crazed men?” she asked.

Libby leaped up over the head of a fiery brunette and drop-kicked another attacker. “They aren’t warriors,” she said. “They seem to be ancient Greek housewives.”

Diana nodded. “I’ll get to the bottom of this.” She spun her golden lasso from her side, where it hung on her leather outfit. It ensnared a woman as Diana spoke calmly. “Why do you attack us? Calm yourself and explain.”

“We attacked from fear of strangers,” she explained. “Our men were taken by the mad god, and we are so afraid of more peril and sorrow.”

“We mean you no harm, and perhaps we can even help free your men from this mad god. Where is he located?” asked Libby.

“His temple is alone, out from the village where the hill called the Ridge of Madness lies. No man has ever returned from that evil place,” said a redhead.

“In case you missed what little part of our curves are covered by these costumes, we aren’t men!” quipped Belle.

“And we will be back!” vowed Wonder Woman.

The heroines made their way out of the village and saw the broken line of raised earth called the Ridge of Madness. A temple in disrepair sat atop the slope, and sounds of caterwauling echoed out of its broken façade. “Sounds like some of the USO shows I’ve seen,” said a smiling Wonder Woman.

Liberty Belle pushed herself up the slope with a staff she had been given by a villager. Despite her often-brusque manner toward him, he missed Johnny Quick and hoped that in solving one problem they would also resolve their first dilemma. “Do you recognize that writing?” she asked.

Diana glanced at the script on the temple wall. “It reads like ancient Greek and says something like, ‘Beware the power of Oggar.'”

“That doesn’t sound too encouraging,” said a puzzled Libby. “I know my Greek history and mythology, but I’ve never heard of Oggar.”

“We may not truly be on our Earth or in our Greece,” said Wonder Woman. “Remember, Rose spoke of realms outside our space and time. I have also not heard of Oggar, unless he exists only in some lost legend of the Amazons. He seems to be a being of power, magic, and madness.”

“Aren’t they all?” said Belle.

In the temple they found dozens of men keening in sheer insanity. They sat and stood in postures of total submission, while others wept openly. “Whoever caused this plight is worse than Hitler!” declared Diana.

“We’ll stop this Oggar and someday old Adolf as well!” replied Belle.

The pair made their way through the crowd of madmen without receiving any trouble. The deranged men howled and laughed and wept but apparently saw little that passed around them. “They are literally deranged!” said Libby.

“I can only assume this Oggar lives up to his own press!” said Diana.

Near an altar stood a huge, inscribed tablet, which read:

Solomon
Hercules
Atlas
Zeus
Achilles
Mercury
Oggar

“I’ve heard of all those others, although a Hebrew king seems an odd companion for Greek gods, Roman names, and a hero or two,” mused Libby.

“They spell out Shazamo!” said Wonder Woman. “What name or object that implies is new to me as well.”

A thunderous clap and a flash of light brought an incredibly handsome figure into sudden view. His blond hair fell delicately over chiseled features and a cleft chin, while his tunic hung from rippling muscles and a bronzed physique.

“I am the ruler of this place. I am Oggar,” he boomed from his mighty chest. “Step closer and experience my power, if you dare!”

For a moment, the two women shared a feeling of awe at the grandeur and majesty of this god. It took a great deal of willpower to shake off the feeling and return to the mission at hand.

Libby spoke up first. “Free these men, you fiend!” she shouted. “They have families back in that village that need them. Just what kind of god are you?”

“I am the god of madness! Is that not evident?” he asked, stepping forward.

Belle punched him, only to pull back her hand in pain. “He’s as tough as Robotman or Superman!” she gasped.

“I’d better take over!” said Diana. The Amazon shoved at the mad god, and he did move slightly, his tunic parting to reveal cloven-hoofed goat legs.

He turned scarlet in the face and screamed in fury. “You humble me in this way! My infirmity is revealed, and thus you must die!” he said. Oggar hit Wonder Woman full in the face, and she tumbled off the altar area.

Libby had seldom seen anyone with that kind of raw power. She vaulted forward over her staff and kicked the mad being in his perfect face. She almost broke both heels on his steel-like features. She flipped backward to her feet and stood ready as Wonder Woman slowly got up.

Wonder Woman charged Oggar, and they crashed through the temple wall into a second chamber. She struck with her full strength, since he was easily the strongest foe she had faced thus far. Guarding his face protectively, he struggled in her grip, bending her arms back, and she winced in pain.

Belle saw it all and thought desperately as the madmen watched in their same state. He is as strong as Superman and can obviously drive men mad, but he hasn’t used his magic on us or the village women! pondered Belle.

Wonder Woman surged upward and broke Oggar’s grip. Her boots met in his midsection, and she threw her weight into his side. “Arrrgh!” he screamed as the Amazon pounded down on him.

They rolled through the chamber. Wonder Woman had never fought so wildly before. The only superhuman foes she had fought thus far had been Nuclear last month and the various foes recently set upon the All-Star Squadron by the Ultra-Humanite. (*) Oggar topped them all, it seemed.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Magnetic Marauder,” All-Star Squadron #16 (December, 1982).]

Seeing Liberty Belle, Diana yelled, “Get back! He is too deadly for you.” The blonde agreed but still hoped to help. Wonder Woman felt another powerful punch that sent her rolling across the floor. Instantly, Oggar was flying across the temple, and with a final terrible blow to the soft spot at the base of her skull, he knocked her cold.

“Hey, goat boy! Leave her alone and go join your herd. Trot over and graze while we go in peace, you monster!” taunted Libby. I hope I know what I’m doing, she prayed as Oggar turned in fury toward her.

Libby raced into the crowd of madmen and tried desperately to awaken any of them. She had a plan, but Oggar’s amazing speed was too much for the all-American girl. He grabbed her, and with a casual slap he sent the beauty to dreamland.

***

Liberty Belle awoke to find herself chained to a wall next to an equally bound Wonder Woman. This looks really bad! she thought, seeing that her arms were chained above her head by a link of metal that hung from a hook. Although Wonder Woman wasn’t chained to the wall, her wrists were bound together.

“Can you snap those chains?” asked Libby. “And are you OK?”

Diana nodded. “I’m a little bruised, but there’s something you’ve forgotten about me. If a man chains my bracelets together, I lose my strength.”

“I guess I had forgotten,” said Belle. “I’ve tried my best Veronica Lake look on those madmen over there, but they seem too dazed to even care, much less help. I guess only magic can free their minds.”

“That’s it!” said Wonder Woman. “Use my magic lasso to try to restore them; then they can help us. Can you slip off that hook if I give you a boost?”

Belle nimbly jumped on Diana’s shoulders. Since the Amazon princess could move freely, it was easy to do, even in the heroine’s weakened, human condition. She slipped her links free and grabbed the lasso from Diana’s side. She looped it over the neck of a weeping madman.

“Be restored by the truth in your heart!” she intoned with a shrug. His eyes widened, and he came to himself once more. After a few “Who are you?” and “Where am I?” questions, Belle had restored half the group. They worked on parting Diana’s chains until Oggar rushed in the room.

“I sense a loss of power! You have freed my servants from the grip of madness! How dare you?” he yelled as his goat legs trotted inside the chamber.

“Get him!” yelled Belle. The freed men charged their captor. If I’m wrong about this, I’ll really be putting the dumb in dumb blonde! she mused.

Wonder Woman strained against the bonds as a man sawed at them, but she couldn’t quite budge them. “Hera help her!” she breathed.

Belle waited until Oggar raised his arms and said, “I can restore their insanity effortlessly!” She saw a bolt streak magically toward a man, and she leaped in its path. It struck the blonde and had no effect on her; however, an agonized Oggar shrieked and withered on the floor. His howls echoed for minutes; then he vanished.

Wonder Woman ran over as her bonds fell off and her power surged back. “You did it! Nicely thought out! How did you know using his magic on a woman would hurt him that way?” she asked.

Liberty Belle smiled. “When we saw he fed off their madness, I assumed he would have taken the whole village, including women, but he didn’t. Nor did he try to make the two of us insane. He just used raw strength against us. I guessed that meant his magic only worked on men and could possibly harm him if used on the female sex. Guess I was right.”

The men cheered and rushed the All-Stars back to their village, where, after a few questions, the elders gave the pair an opal shard. “This must be what we came here for! Thank you for your help,” said Diana.

“Princess, this shard is apparently useless by itself, or they would have used it against Oggar,” said a thoughtful Belle. They vanished according to Rose’s spell, and all memories of how they met Oggar and got the shard slowly left their minds, too.

“All hail the Warrior Princess and her friend!” cheered the villagers as they disappeared.

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