Johnny Thunder and Wonder Woman: 1941: Swings and Arrows, Chapter 2: Ball Crashers

by Libbylawrence

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Johnny Thunder had no luck with a return to Baroness Paula von Gunther’s manor, either. The wily Nazi had slipped away, and her slave-girls were also gone.

“I know Daisy’s new stepmom-to-be is working with Paula,” said Johnny. “I know she is after Mr. Darling’s money. But what is the real scheme? I guess I can find out more at the dance tonight, although I don’t have an invite. But I can remedy that the old-fashioned way.”

As the pretty Daisy Darling swished by, a servant carrying several bags and boxes from her shopping trip, Johnny asked her, “Say, you know, Daisy, I’d sure like to go to your dad’s ball. I love big band music. Can you wrangle me an invitation?”

“Why, Johnny, I’d like to get you one,” said the girl. “Daddy frowns on employees at his balls.”

“Well, I’m not exactly an employee any longer,” said Johnny shrugging as he just remembered that he had abandoned his post long ago and would surely be fired by now.

“Oh, Johnny,” Daisy said in a scolding voice. “Will you never change?” She sighed and said, “Well, it is a special celebration, and you are a friend, so I suppose I can get you in. I’ll leave your name at the front desk.”

A few minutes later, Johnny was beaming happily as he walked down the street. “Now, T-bolt, I need a new suit for the ball. Can you…?” He was suddenly decked out in a costly tuxedo. “Wow! It’s not green, but I love it. How about that?” Johnny said to the Thunderbolt, “You’re better than Cinderella’s fairy godmother!”

T-bolt grinned. “I dated her, you know.”

Johnny paused. “Now who do I ask out? Maybe… an All-Star Squadron girl!”


Johnny Thunder made quite an impression at the swanky Riverdale Country Club when he entered the ballroom accompanied by his date: Wonder Woman. Even though the beautiful Amazon princess was wearing the red formal gown the T-bolt had whipped up for her, she still caught lots of attention from staring guests.

“Thanks for being my date, Diana!” said Johnny. “You look swell.”

“And you are more than welcome. It is rare I get to dress up when I’m Wonder Woman. You look very dapper as well,” said the smiling princess. I know Paula will strike tonight, if I am any judge of that brilliant but deadly blonde, thought Diana as she scanned the ornately decorated ballroom.

The Glen Miller Orchestra played to a packed crowd while Herman Darling looked blissful in the arms of his dancing bride-to-be, the Lady Amelia. The couple danced, unaware that Johnny and his special date had arrived. The Darling family was rather self-absorbed at the best of times.

“John, this is Reginald Weatherton,” trilled a happy Daisy as she appeared with a dashing date.

“Charmed,” said Weatherton as he rudely brushed by Johnny and kissed Diana’s hand.

Not a very nice guy, thought Thunder. He’d be a good understudy for an undertaker!

As the couples danced, the evening passed quietly enough until around midnight, when Mr. Darling gathered Amelia and stood expectantly at the podium.

“Friends, I thank you for your attendance and kind thoughts for me and my pretty little fiancée. We offer you our toast. To wedded bliss!”

“To wedded bliss!” answered the crowd.

At that moment, seven colorful figures appeared around the ballroom, each one matching a color of the spectrum, and all carrying lethal-looking bows. Their leader was well-known to Johnny by name, at least, from a Superman case he’d heard about earlier this year.

“It’s the Archer!” called Johnny as Diana assumed a defensive position. (*) Neither he nor Wonder Woman recognized the Rainbow Bowmen, as they called themselves, since this group of evil archers had only been recruited by the Archer specifically for this heist.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman Versus the Archer,” Superman #13 (November-December, 1941).]

Wonder Woman slipped off her gown to reveal her already-famous, star-spangled costume. She whipped out her golden lasso and swung it in a carefully timed arc, and it miraculously looped through the air, deflecting the arrows fired by the seven Rainbow Bowmen.

“Say, you, take me to that creep!” cried Johnny. “He’s gonna shoot Daisy!”

The T-bolt effortlessly deposited his master on the upper balcony, where the Superman foe stood in eager anticipation of killing Mr. Darling’s daughter.

If Amelia marries Mr. Darling and kills him, she’ll get his millions, Johnny realized in a rare moment of clarity. They’re trying to kill Daisy tonight to get her out of the way!

He dived across the deck to crash into the Archer. They toppled backward, and the villain’s arrow sliced into the wall inches under Daisy’s hoop earring. “You’re as good as Green Arrow!” said Johnny as he tried to wrestle the bow away from his hooded foe.

“I am better than that simpleton,” said the criminal. “I am better than the Spider. I am the master marksman who–”

“I didn’t ask for a campaign speech,” said Johnny as he gasped and let go of the bow in pain.

“Electrical shock to anyone other than myself who handles this baby,” boasted the Archer. “Only I know how to switch on and off the current.”

Below, Wonder Woman used all her speed to bounce arrows off her flashing bracelets as all seven henchmen aimed at her fabulous form. “Hera guide me! I can’t let any of the arrows hit guests even as rebounds. I hope Johnny is OK up there.”

As Johnny rubbed his shocked fingers, the Archer slowly aimed at him. “T-bolt, disarm that nut!” he commanded.

“Call him Venus de Milo,” replied the pink bolt.

A frustrated Archer suddenly found his weapons burned to ashes by the rapid Thunderbolt. He knocked over a table, and candles caught the carpet on fire. He leaped out on a curtain and swung as it tore. Landing on the ballroom floor, he grabbed a bow from a blue bowman and fired several shots in the room. Explosions rang out as his incendiary arrows set the ballroom shaking. He swung Daisy Darling over his shoulder and raced out in the night.

Johnny did not know what to do first. “T-bolt, put out the fire. I’ll help Wonder Woman,” he decided.

Down below, the amazing Amazon had slammed two Rainbow Bowmen (yellow and orange) into each other until their heads rang. Her unguarded back became the target of more than amorous stares as the red bowman fired at her from behind.

“The old whiz of an arrow brings back memories of my nursery school days back home,” teased Wonder Woman as she lived up to her press by catching the bolt with a fast twist. She snapped it into splinters and aimed a punch at the red bowman that sent him through a doorway and into the garden.

The blue bowman was bowless, so he ran for the exit, as did the violet and green bowmen. Where was the indigo bowman? Diana hurled her tiara with a skilled aim and saw the indigo bowman fall out from behind a heavy drape. “Your stylish indigo boots clash with those white curtains. You’ll never make life with that color problem!” she joked.

She crossed the floor with one dynamic bound and caught the fleeing green bowman, who dropped down after one punch from her hands of steel.

Johnny ran down the stairs. “The roof is caving in! T-bolt, get everybody out quick!”

The amazing Thunderbolt, elongated and snake-like, carried out the dozens of guests while Wonder Woman darted deeper into the ballroom.

Positioning herself directly beneath the buckling ballroom roof, Wonder Woman reached up and steadied a support beam, and with a mighty heave she lifted the roof and held it overhead until the T-bolt had finished his sweep of the room.

“Wow! You give Superman a run for his money!” said an admiring Johnny.

“Thank you, kind sir,” replied Diana after the pair exited the club.

The Rainbow Bowmen had been turned in to the police. A distraught Herman Darling clung to Amelia, who looked upset as well. “Where’s Daisy? That madman took her,” he moaned.

Wonder Woman calmly walked up and comforted him. “Don’t worry, we’ll find her. In fact, Amelia — who is one of the very people behind the murder attempt — will tell us where to look,” said Diana as she subtly looped a strand of her magical lasso over Amelia’s shoulder.

“What? I know nothing… I… She is at the penthouse of Reginald Weatherton, alias Mort Quigley. He is the Archer,” revealed Amelia under the compulsion of the magic lasso, which forced anyone bound by it to follow its owner’s commands. “If he failed to kill her here, he was to kill her there. We wanted to clear the way for Herman’s eventual murder by me after our wedding. The money would go to my leader Baroness Paula von Gunther and her cause, the Axis.”

“I can’t believe it. I just don’t know how to thank you, Wonder Woman,” said a shocked Mr. Darling.

Johnny waited anxiously. “Let’s find Daisy, Wonder Woman. Say, you know, T-bolt could get us right there now!

Wonder Woman found herself propelled through the city to a wealthy neighborhood populated by society’s elite. Johnny rode behind her on his streaking Thunderbolt.

“I’m smoother than any invisible plane, Your Highness!” said the smiling T-bolt.

“A nice ride, T-bolt,” replied a bemused Wonder Woman.

They stopped at Weatherton’s penthouse, where Daisy Darling was sitting tied to a chair. The Archer had shed his hood to reveal the handsome features that had pleased Daisy so much earlier.

“I knew he was a creep!” said Johnny.

Wonder Woman kicked in the glass French doors from the deck, while Johnny yelled his words of power (needlessly, but he was excited), and in he ran. “I’ll teach you to kidnap my girl!” he said.

The Archer aimed his trusty bow, and an arrow sped to Johnny’s noble heart.

Wonder Woman deflected it with her bracelet and grabbed the Archer by his cloak. “Now, let’s try that again without your pet bow.”

He struggled for something in his costume and dropped a pellet. Gas erupted into the room. Johnny coughed and struggled to reach Daisy, since he could just barely see her.

Wonder Woman spun her lasso until all the gas blew out the broken doors. “He’s gone! Can you make the T-bolt bring him back?” asked Diana.

“Say you, bring that snake back!” ordered Johnny.

“No good, fair and understanding master — he’s shielded by magic. Probably by Paula. It’s the real strong kind, too, not that cheap stuff so common these days,” he said ruefully.

“Oh, Johnny, you saved me!” cooed Daisy as she leaped into his arms.

“Gosh! Wonder Woman and my T-bolt did it, too! I’m just glad we saved Mr. Darling from that black widow. Now, Daisy, after all this, will you marry me at last?”

Daisy suddenly became cold. “But you walked out of another job, Johnny, even after my father pulled some strings to get you that job in his building. How can I be sure that you’ll be able to ever keep a job? If I married you right now, my mother would never let me hear the end of it!”

“But I just saved you — you and your father!”

“Yes, but you used your Thunderbolt to do it!” said Daisy. “Tell you what, Johnny. I’ll give you one more chance to make a success of yourself, and then I’ll marry you.” (*)

“But — but — but–!” Johnny began.

“I’ve made up my mind,” said Daisy, crossing her arms.

“Isn’t love grand?” the Thunderbolt asked Wonder Woman.

“I’ve always thought so!” she said, smiling.

[(*) Editor’s note: This story leads directly into Johnny Thunder, Flash Comics #31 (July, 1942), in which Daisy Darling gives Johnny Thunder one more chance to get and keep a job without using his Thunderbolt, and Johnny Thunder, Flash Comics #32 (August, 1942), in which Johnny, frustrated after Daisy gives him the run-around for the last time, finally joins the U.S. Navy, in which he remains until he is discharged in 1944.]

The End

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