Princess Diana hurried over the rooftops with the grace of her Olympian namesake. Indeed, dressed only in her classical tunic and sandals, with her raven hair flowing freely without her customary tiara, she resembled the goddess of myth greatly. She was like her in one major way, in addition to merely physical charm. She was also a huntress. She tracked the pair of Pogolana thugs to their embassy and crouched on the roof across the street.
If mere memory alone had been altered, then I assume things I brought about might have occurred, even though my involvement in them would not be recalled, she mused. Obviously, since Etta never bought the school, Steve never came to my home, I was never sent off to be Wonder Woman, et cetera, then time itself has been changed, not memory or my perception of reality.
She also realized that the evil ruler of the South Sea island of Pogolana could only be her old foe, Countess Hatra. The proud schemer had tried to kill the true heir to the tiny kingdom’s throne in 1948. Princess Selina had been a slender, beautiful little brunette who was attending Holliday College while her father, King Ritio, tried to keep his island nation free from his much smarter cousin Hatra. Diana had saved both of them from Countess Hatra’s scheme and had periodically visited Pogolana Island on several occasions to ensure that the rightful rulers were safe. However, now it was clear that if she never was Wonder Woman, then she could not have saved the poor royals, and thus evil Countess Hatra won out and now ruled the land.
The Amazon way is one of love and mercy, yet I hope I may bring Selina’s murderess to justice, if I can’t restore time as it once was, she thought.
She waited and listened, and eventually a sign of activity within the embassy caught her keen eye. “That woman by the window is Countess Hatra, all right — a little grayer, yet still proud and painfully ruthless!” she said to herself as she hurled a rope she had obtained from the docks.
Her aim was as true with the humble rope as it had always been with the golden lasso that came from the magical weave of Hippolyta’s girdle. She swung across the street and crashed inside the upper window.
She instantly saw a bound man with a hood over his head. His military uniform caught her eye, and she breathed in relief. “Steve! Hold on!” she called.
Countess Hatra — now Queen Hatra — scowled beneath her Cruella De Ville hairdo and said, “Kill her!”
As the goons charged Diana, she smiled. This was old territory to Wonder Woman. “You boys shouldn’t listen to your queen so faithfully. Don’t you realize she is nothing more than a usurper, and one with a bad sense of style, at that?” she laughed and pulled the carpet out from under their feet.
As they crashed down, she went across the room and wrapped her arms around Hatra. “Give it up, Hatra!” she said. “You know you can’t break my grip. You’re older now, and I really don’t wish to hurt you!”
Hatra screamed and kicked. “I do not know you!” she shrieked. “Release me! You risk your life by angering the queen of Pogolana!”
Diana pulled her over to a metal bench and bent the legs around the old woman’s hands. “Sit tight!” she joked, casually decking two more hulking brutes as they rushed toward her fists.
“This should be good!” laughed a man who watched her from far away.
As Wonder Woman began to tear off the hood from the captive’s head, she explained, “Steve, she’ll never stop trying to gain wealth for her selfish needs. An entire island’s natural wealth could not satisfy her greed! She hoped to sell you to foreign agents for a huge sum!” But she gasped as she finally saw his face.
“I’m not Steve Trevor,” said the dignified-looking man. “Heard of him, though. He died on a case during the war. He was Army Air Force. I’m Navy. Admiral Derek Trevor at your service!”
Laughter rang out in a realm apart from time. “Gotcha!” said her unseen tormenter.
Princess Diana faced Derek Trevor and realized that she had made an error in assuming the captive military man for sale had been her Steve Trevor.
“Steve died?!” she choked and turned away from Derek. Hera guide me, she thought. If I was never Wonder Woman, then of course Steve could have died countless times on many cases. I had been so certain that finding him would right my world. He was always my touchstone.
Queen Hatra shrieked, “Foolish woman! You remind me of my old foe, Miss America! Too bad you saved her husband! Killing him after my customers paid for his secrets would have given me wealth and pleasure.”
Diana barely caught the implications of her enemy’s words as she turned to see the room turn sickly green. Suddenly, the Green Lantern passed through the brick wall, along with a handful of his JSA allies.
Derek smiled as one of them stepped down from Hawkman’s powerful arms. “Joan! Back in that costume after so many years!” he said as his wife rushed to his side.
“Derek, I could not let the boys do all the work, even if their former secretary had lost her powers years ago!” said Joan Dale Trevor, who wore a brief red top and a blue star-spangled skirt. “When Hatra took you, I knew it was partly to get back at me for defeating her when I was Miss America!”
“Great Hera! I was the JSA secretary and Hatra’s foe!” said Princess Diana. “This Miss America must be my replacement in a world without a Wonder Woman!”
“OK, lady! Just back away from the Trevors — slowly!” said the short but mighty Atom.
Hawkman dropped down to extend a hand to free Derek Trevor. “That Greek outfit is authentic enough,” he noted. “Who are you?”
“Hawkman, look at that bench!” said the Atom. “She’s not just a leggy doll in lingerie!”
Green Lantern nodded. “Come with us,” he said.
“I’m not to blame for this kidnapping,” said Diana. “I tried to help. I’m Wonder Woman, and I’m one of you — a JSAer! You just don’t remember me!”
“You’re lying,” said Green Lantern. “The ring shows you never met us in your life before today, although you are in–”
She then erupted in fury brought on by disappointment, fear, loss, and perhaps also by unseen manipulation. “You stubborn male!” she said as she struck suddenly. “Can’t you think beyond the boundaries of that glorified toy?”
Green Lantern reeled as she caught him offguard. He raised his ring, only to be knocked aside by a chair of wood.
“Hold on!” the Atom yelled. “You may be the hottest thing to leave Athens, but nobody attacks a JSAer!” He ran forward with his atomic punch and was swiftly kicked out the window.
Wonder Woman moved with sudden speed and intimate knowledge, catching Green Lantern and hurling him into Hawkman’s swinging range. His staff cracked across his friend, and they both fell to the ground. Diana ripped Hawkman’s belt off and hurled it across the city as she jumped out the window. Blind male fools! she thought.
“Stop!” yelled Derek Trevor. “She saved me! She just got angry at your disbelief. I say leave her be!”
Joan nodded and said, “I have no powers, but don’t worry, the boys will rein her in and calm her down soon enough.”
Nearby, Queen Hatra smiled.
Outside, Diana landed below, only to be pulled skyward by her tunic’s rear.
“Hold it, honey! They may be foolish males, as you put it, but they’re my foolish males!” said a harsh tone as Power Girl flew upward with a struggling Diana.
Wonder Woman turned to see Power Girl’s blonde beauty and brash confidence, and she gasped as her body dangled helplessly in the Kryptonian bombshell’s grip. “You are a child, and I am a true warrior princess!” she snapped, slamming both fists flat against Power Girl’s ears.
“Yelp!” she cried as Diana punched her with all her considerable might.
As she fell downward, Wonder Woman spun expertly and sent her own full weight crashing down on top so Power Girl received both her own weight and added impact, while the Amazon princess received none.
Racing off, she shook in emotional stress. “What did I do? I attacked men who are like family to me! Am I losing Diana, too, as well as Wonder Woman?” she said as she placed one hand across her troubled brow.
She reeled backward suddenly as Power Girl tackled her, having quickly recovered. “You’re tough for a gal running around in a nightshirt!” said the girl of steel.
Wonder Woman took a hard left hook. “Stop!” she said. “I wish to fight no more, Kara!”
Power Girl slapped her down, then stopped. “You know my name!” said Kara Zor-L.
“She’s on our side!” warned Green Lantern as he landed, and his allies the Atom and Hawkman rushed up.
“Glad you found my belt,” said Hawkman with a smile. “She wasn’t behind Trevor’s abduction as we’d thought,” she explained. “She saved him. He said so. She also knew wood hurt G.L., and that the belt was a source of flight for me.”
“Yeah! And I have the feeling that she also knew that nothing she did could really hurt us. She could have killed us the way she took down Kara!” the Atom added as Power Girl glared at the diminutive hero.
“Let me help you up, and we can talk,” said Hawkman.
His hand was pushed away by a powerful woman who dropped out of the sky. She wore a gleaming golden eagle breastplate and short blue star-spangled hot pants with red boots. A tiara rested upon her curly black hair, and she held a golden lasso on one shapely hip.
“Do not touch my daughter, or you shall answer to Wonder Woman, queen of the Amazons!” said a fiery Hippolyta.
Diana gasped as her mother appeared before her, wearing her Wonder Woman costume as if she was meant to do so.
Standing up, Diana said, “Mother, listen — these men are my allies. We merely had a misunderstanding.”
Hippolyta nodded. “As did we two. Come home, Diana! Aphrodite gave me her blessing to retrieve you, and she equipped me in this colorful costume to do so!”
The Atom blinked. “You’re her mother? You both look like beauty queens! And what power!”
Hawkman patted the Atom’s shoulder. “Easy, there. We’re all impressed and intrigued. You say you are Amazons, as in the warrior women of Greek legend?” Hawkman said earnestly to Queen Hippolyta, “Your Majesty, would you care to join the JSA?”
“Kara’s jaw can attest to what a warrior she is!” said Green Lantern.
Power Girl scowled and turned to the women. “You Amazons are man-haters, right? I can understand that,” she said with a bitter smile.
“No,” said Hippolyta. “We believe in love and mutual understanding. That is why it pains me to see my child deranged.”
“That golden lasso you wear on your hip forces those bound within it to obey the commands of anyone who wields it,” said Diana. “It came from the magic girdle itself. An invisible plane hovers above. I know these things, because I used them both for years in the life only I seem to recall. If I am not speaking the truth, then how can you explain my knowing what only passed between you and the goddess of love?”
Hippolyta frowned. “Indeed. This brings me to a conclusion most troubling — could even the Olympians be wrong about what I dismiss as false?”
With the wisdom of Athena, Diana replied, “The reason none of you recall me as Wonder Woman is because the man who first stimulated my departure from Paradise Island years ago never crashed there in this altered timeline. This was the result of the tampering of an enemy of ours who is the clever and undisputed master of time — Per Degaton!”
An egomaniacal man cursed as he heard her words while watching from afar. “That witch!” he screamed. “I ruin her life by preventing Steve Trevor from ever reaching her island, and she gives the blame to that Degaton idiot! Plus, I sought to remove Wonder Woman from the world and leave only herself aware of what once was… and somehow I created two possible alternates: Miss America and now Hippolyta! This ends here!”
A blinding flash of chronal energy enveloped Diana, and as she had planned all along, she found herself in Limbo facing the man who had been the evil architect of her plight.
“Tibro, the Crime Master of Time, as I expected!” she said defiantly. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Crime Master of Time,” Wonder Woman #53 (May-June, 1952).]
The handsome, dark-haired man stroked his short beard and said, “As you expected? You tricked me into bringing you here with that Degaton remark! How well you still play upon my weakness of ego!”
“I knew you’d never pull off such a wicked scheme and hurt me so without being certain that I knew you were to blame,” said Wonder Woman. “Seeing Miss America comment that she was the JSA’s secretary in this timeline cued me in about your particular power!”
Tibro grinned. “Replacement! Yes, of course. You remembered that I have always had the power to mimic the appearance of anyone I choose, but in doing so, the real person is displaced in time and space as I so choose!”
Diana walked toward the broad-shouldered man from the twenty-third century. “You made yourself look like Steve and thus displaced him in time so he never crashed on Paradise Island. By doing that, you robbed the world of Wonder Woman, but you allowed me alone to recall what used to be. That way I lost my husband, career, friends, and family, all in one go,” she said coldly.
“Exactly! Don’t you just love it?” he cackled. “You see, I wanted you to suffer! I wanted to make you into nothing more than my plaything! I took what no common villain could steal from you — your pregnancy, your family, and your life!”
Wonder Woman continued her advance. “But now you’ll restore things to normal, or I’ll force you to do so after I free Steve!”
Tibro grinned. “What a walk you possess! Weaker men would fall at your feet, but not the Crime Master of Time! I tell you what, Princess, I’ll be sporting about this whole matter. Find Steve Trevor, and you can be the woman you once were!”
Wonder Woman pounced and slammed Tibro across the futuristic room he occupied. “Why, certainly! After I use your body as a search device!” she said and caught him up in her powerful arms. “Perhaps he’s behind that column!” she said as hurled Tibro through the golden sphere.
He yelled and said, “No more! The men of my era disdain physicality! He is within yon capsule!”
Wonder Woman smiled and walked to the gleaming sphere. “I would never have actually harmed you, though you deserve such treatment,” she said. As Diana touched the sphere, it slid open to reveal a handsome young man.
“Angel!” he gasped as he fell into her arms.
She kissed him passionately, and Tibro chuckled. “Now you see him, now you don’t!” he said as he took on the appearance of the young blond man, causing Steve to vanish from her arms.
Wonder Woman spun to face her enemy. “You plucked him from the early 1940s or so. That’s why he is still so young! Where did you send him this time?” she demanded.
Tibro returned to normal. “You’ll never know! Search the centuries for him. You’ll never find him! I win!”
Diana wondered if he was right.