As Giganta laughed, it sounded like a beast chortling. “I can turn humans into apes with this ray,” she said. “I chose South Africa because of the wide array of people living near the veldt. This fool will be the first!” She pointed at a bound old man who seemed stunned by the weird situation.
He was retired Colonel Phillip Darnell, Etta Candy’s husband and Diana Prince’s boss from back in her military days. He had seen some weird things before, but nothing like the magnificent beast-woman and her diabolical device.
Giganta suddenly leaped upward, landing perfectly on her bare feet. Jade’s green energy net missed the agile foe. “Like all hunters, I know my prey, daughter of Green Lantern!” said the snarling woman. Diving forward with lightning speed, she cuffed Jade with a wooden truncheon. The pretty girl fell hard, and the energy faded, as did her awareness.
Robin moved faster than either and sliced Darnell’s bonds. “Run!” he ordered. “Get the police and see if you can clear the immediate area.”
Darnell nodded, following the orders of a born leader and legendary hero.
Robin climbed the device and scanned its surface. Can’t take time to destroy it, he mused. A primer is already ticking away.
A moment later, Robin was literally snatched down from his perch on the machine by the tall, deadly Giganta.
But she reeled back as he dropped a flare in her path. “I can’t see! But I can still track you, you little creep!” she roared, grabbing him and squeezing hard.
Can’t out-strong-arm this Amazon stand-in, but I can outthink her! mused Robin. He tossed a pellet down near Jade.
Smelling salt erupted from it, and slowly the girl sat up and rubbed her head. “What…?” said Jade.
Giganta’s timer ticked down as the device moved slowly on an axle.
Robin yelled, “Jade, tilt it down quickly!”
Jade concentrated, and a huge, well-manicured hand tugged insistently at the ray-beam. As it creaked forcibly downward, Robin eased himself free of Giganta’s grip with a desperate jerk, using his agility to flip the beast-woman by her long mane of hair.
Giganta growled as she rolled directly into the path of her regression ray. With a scream, Giganta shrank down to a petite, dainty woman who weighed around ninety pounds. She rocked back and forth in anguish and made no effort to stop Jade as she destroyed her device.
“What happened to her?” asked Jade after she had turned the ray into nothing but debris.
“I blocked her ray with her own body,” explained Robin, “and the regression seemed to fit the mental idea of what a regression would be to the victims. To most, it would have meant becoming an ape. To Giganta, it apparently meant becoming even more of a woman!”
Robin led the returning Phillip Darnell and the authorities to where the now-frail Giganta sat and moaned.
“Need a lift?” asked Jade as she and Darnell departed.
“No, thanks. I came here to close down my office and help my successor fully take over his duties,” he explained. “That may still take another day or two.”
The Huntress made her way through the streets of a neon-lit Japan. Swinging fearlessly out over the teaming city streets from rooftop to rooftop, she headed toward one specific destination.
The U.N.’s Anglo-Sino relations board is holding a convention of the best of items from each nation, the Huntress mused. If Diana’s right about Doctor Poison’s hatred from the war of all things American, she’ll be sure to strike here.
Indeed, Doctor Poison was there among tourists, diplomats, and garish exhibits ranging from the Osmonds to Godzilla. Wearing the full mask and jumpsuit of her youth, she taunted Etta Candy Darnell, who had been a thorn in her side before.
“You will die, and your pet Amazon shall be too late to save you… if she even tries,” said Maru. “We both know Trevor holds her heart. He is on Transformation Island under Clea’s tender care. Your husband is with Giganta in South Africa.”
“Diana will find you!” cried Etta.
“Of course she will,” said the scheming mad scientist. “The note we left Wonder Woman shall tell all, but even she can’t be in more than one place at a time!”
At that moment, the Huntress swung down defiantly.
“You?” shouted Doctor Poison. “I battled your hated father and his allies once!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1943: Acts of Vengeance.]
The Huntress stood boldly in front of Doctor Poison while people in costumes milled around them. “If you did face my father, then I’d say you lost, since he was never beaten!” she breathed.
Doctor Poison showed no emotion behind the hood, and her brittle laugh suggested she was unwilling to contest the distant past. “I will alter the future of this once-proud land. Even now we are ignored because of the gaudy costumed masses at this celebration. You seek this woman, I assume?” She pointed to Etta, who was now silent and doubtlessly drugged.
As the Huntress walked near the woman, she was intercepted by a hulking, heavily shrouded figure. He blocked her path and slowly unwound his bandaged form.
“Look, I didn’t come here for the show, so I’ll just take Mrs. Darnell and be going,” started the Huntress.
The figure before her was now revealed to be a man whose skin was glowing with a putrid radiance.
“I call him Yudoku the Toxic Man!” cried Doctor Poison. “His very touch causes disease and infection!”
The Huntress thought to herself, She’s not kidding! Like the Beatles song said, I can feel his disease!
The Toxic Man grabbed for the dynamic avenger, who kicked him promptly in the chin. He moved back in pain, but the Huntress’ boot melted rapidly on that brief contact with his corrosive skin.
I’d better play this from a distance! she thought. The Huntress swung her line up and darted across the floor, inches away from the grasping foe. She dropped down in front of Etta and quickly carried the now-slim woman to a distant spot. “Get her medical care!” she ordered in Japanese to a passing couple.
They did so, while Toxic Man caught the Huntress from behind. Her costume began to melt, but her agility was unequaled. Ignoring the pain, she flipped her foe over her shoulder.
Discarding her now-charred cape, she tossed it over his head and unleashed a flurry of blows. Might as well hit while he’s covered by the melting cape! She staggered him until it dissolved. Tossing a gas pellet at him, she danced backward and lost another boot to his acidic touch.
The Huntress saw no sign of Doctor Poison until she glanced up and saw the felon poised over the highest point of the convention floor. “She’s going to poison everyone here!” the heroine realized.
Firing her crossbow bolt with skill, the Huntress shattered a canister held by the madwoman. The contents spilled over only the Doctor, and the madwoman screamed in fury.
But the Huntress noticed that Doctor Poison seemed only angry, and not hurt. “I am immune to my own creations, you fool!” she screeched.
Yudoku the Toxic Man rose up, only to be hit hard by the dolly the Huntress had grabbed from a display. She rammed the metal cart into Yudoku and drove him over the rail of the aisle. He fell to the ground and did not move. He’s merely stunned, thank goodness, she thought.
The Huntress started to close in on Doctor Poison when an odd gang of nearly identical women parted them. They were about thirty Japanese women, all wearing identical heavy makeup that clouded their features and made them seem to be doubles of one another. Their kimonos were equally alike.
“We shall take care of Princess Maru’s punishment,” said the leader. “She disgraces us all with her mindless rage. Many Japanese could have died in her mad attack.”
“Who are you?” asked the Huntress.
“We are the Geisha, and we now will deal with the poor fool.”
They gathered a now-humble Doctor Poison up in their midst and marched her off. She gave them no resistance.
The Huntress walked off to see how Etta was, covering herself as best she could in her tattered costume.
“That one is the daughter of Komori!” said one of the Geisha. “She may trouble us when we arrive in Gotham!”
“No matter. She shall fall to our power there if she faces us,” vowed the leader.
Wonder Woman, still clad in her plain tunic, wore a worried look on her face as she flew toward Paradise Island in her robot plane alongside her daughter, Fury. Steve must be at least on Transformation Island, she hoped. I only pray that Hera has guarded him and the others. What malice brought this band of madwomen together now?
They landed easily and stared around the ancient splendor of a nearly lost world.
“Where are the others, like my godmother, Mala?” asked Lyta Trevor.
Diana Trevor nearly stumbled from the after-effects of the drug she had been given. “I do not know! It’s a bad sign.”
They finally came to the main throne room, only to see deserted halls. However, in the chamber where Queen Hippolyta gave her judgments now sat a pretty blonde Diana recognized as Queen Clea.
“What have you done with our sisters?” demanded Diana.
Queen Clea merely laughed as she reclined on the throne. “That’s no way to address your new ruler, ex-Princess Diana. As for your sisters, I don’t claim them; they are all dead! See for yourself.”
Lyta gasped as she spotted silent bodies all around the far chambers. “She really did it! She’s killed the Amazons!” cried a shocked Fury.
Wonder Woman ran forward and grabbed Clea by her brief top. “How could you have done this? It is inhuman!”
Clea laughed and slapped Diana across the face. “It was so simple. I modified your purple healing ray and used it as a purple death-ray to murder, not heal, every Amazon here… including your dearly lamented mother.”
Diana cried out in rage and knocked Clea across the throne. She leaped over and was soon on top of her foe. But Clea fought well and soon landed several blows of her own.
Lyta bent over the still form of Mala, whom she spotted. “Oh, Mala!” she cried, remembering how the pretty blonde taught her archery several summers ago on the island. She saw her mother kick out at Clea, who merely blocked the kick and tackled her enemy.
The two women continued to wrestle around, and while Diana was a better fighter, her strength was being sapped by the poison still coursing through her veins. Clea choked her foe mercilessly until a voice rang out from the side.
“Leave her alone!” yelled Lyta as she ran forward.
“The kitten wishes to defend her she-cat mother!” said Clea.
Fury hit the queen hard and soon found herself tumbling with her foe down a flight of steps. Every bump shook her sturdy frame, but she held onto Clea with determination. As they landed in a heap, the battle raged on.
“I will kill you, brat!” promised Clea.
“Talk is cheap!” cried Lyta, swinging a hard right that sent Queen Clea reeling. The fight raged onward.
Diana moved slowly and thought desperately. She knew Lyta could hold out against Clea longer than she could in her current condition, but she hated the idea of leaving her daughter alone.
Making her decision instantly, Wonder Woman raced for the palace’s Magic Sphere. She jammed in a piece of cloth from Clea’s ripped tunic, and the image of the angry Atlantean appeared on the screen.
Guided by Diana’s thoughts, the Magic Sphere showed Queen Clea arrive on Transformation Island with a captive Steve Trevor and the accompanying Fausta Grables and Orana. They overpowered Paula von Gunther, and she was carried off by Fausta, while the others worked on the purple healing ray. Soon, Clea had made it into a death-ray of sorts, and turned its lethal energies on the neighboring Paradise Island.
Diana concentrated, and the image focused on the device’s settings. They may not be dead, she thought. Like the JSA not long ago, they could be merely entranced.
Racing off to Transformation Island, Wonder Woman soon burst into Paula’s lab, where she saw Steve tied against a wall.
“Angel!” he cried.
Diana tore her husband free, they embraced. “I’ve got work to do!” she yelled as she reluctantly broke away to frantically adjust the purple healing ray. Setting the controls on revive, she focused it on the palace and the rest of Paradise Island.
“Steve, they used the ray to comatose the Amazons, including Mother, Mala, and all the rest,” said Diana. “I left Lyta fighting Queen Clea. Stay here.”
“Never! Not while our little girl is near that bitter witch!” said Steve as he boarded the plane.
Diana nodded. She knew it was futile to ask Steve Trevor to avoid danger. The last forty-four years had proven that to her.
They arrived at the palace on Paradise Island in time to see Amazons everywhere moving freely.
“It worked!” cried Diana.
“There’s your mother!” yelled Steve, who reluctantly stayed in the robot plane and off of the sacred ground. “Go get Clea!” he said, kissing his wife.
Wonder Woman smiled and leaped by her friends to enter the palace where she was greeted by a beaming Fury.
“When the others suddenly surged upward and were awake — alive — Clea lost it!” explained Lyta. “She stopped fighting and just screamed! Grandmother had her guards carry Clea off to be imprisoned.”
“I guess all that anger just overcame her when she saw all she had worked for go to ruin!” said Queen Hippolyta.
“We heard from the girls,” said Lyta. “They’ve rescued the Darnells and Paula!”
As they rejoined Steve at the robot plane, Diana mused aloud, “I can’t see how Clea could have left the ray unguarded like that.”
“It was to be guarded by Orana,” said Steve, hugging his daughter, “but as soon as Clea left me here and started up the ray, Orana took off and said she had to prove herself. That can only mean trouble. She was wearing your costume, too!”
Diana frowned. “When Paula gets here, I’ll let her use the ray to rid my system of the toxin Doctor Poison administered back at the Darnells’. She’ll know exactly what setting to use for such a drug.”
“Then?” asked Lyta.
“Then we check on the Darnells and get my identity back from Orana!” promised the amazing Amazon.