Nippon Hoso Kyoaki, Japan’s only non-commercial public television network, had featured a wide range of subjects on their broadcasts, including the ornate and elaborate aristocratic tea ceremonies that were so much a part of the lifestyles of many wealthy and privileged women and the more modern and colorful festivals celebrating anime characters and plots. However, seldom had the nightly broadcast displayed a more dynamic scene than it did during one live feed, in which a massively muscled green woman with long blonde hair slammed the famous heroine Wonder Woman through a building in the commercial district.
Viewers gasped as the image of battle was displayed in their small apartments, crowded hostess clubs, or on the huge jumbo screen that loomed over the pachinko arcades. The fight between the heroine of the Justice Society and the oddly shapely monster was big news and diverting TV.
As for Wonder Woman herself, the entire battle had completely taken her by surprise. This was no easy feat, considering the amazing Amazon princess of Paradise Island had a career of death-defying stunts that stretched back over forty-five years. She shook off the impact of the blow and stood back up, only to receive a second punch that knocked her backward through the wall of the nearest building.
Wonder Woman landed hard and frowned as her keen eyes caught the sight of approaching lights. Subway train! This gives me a chance to copy one of Superman’s oft-proclaimed abilities and be both faster and stronger than a locomotive! she thought.
Jumping up, she stood her ground as the subway raced toward her. She was not showing off her remarkable powers, since the train was heading directly for the rubble that had crashed down on the tracks along with her battered body. She had to stop the subway, or dozens of people could be injured or killed.
Wonder Woman stood calmly before the rushing train with her hands placed confidently on her hips. She planted her feet carefully, and once she had made certain of her balance, she reached out to stop the train in its tracks and gradually slow its movement until she could ease it to a stop.
Praise Hera! she thought. If I had not had enough room, my efforts could have caused as much injury as the crash would have. I can see the tabloids screaming about cases of an Amazon causing whiplash!
Having made certain that no one was injured, she shoved much of the rubble aside and then leaped to the surface where she saw a crowd of eager onlookers and police.
Turning to the police, she explained in perfect Japanese what had occurred and asked about her foe’s movements, since the hulking green woman was nowhere to be found. After a few moments of conversation, she turned and raced off into the brightly illuminated Tokyo night.
This has been a rough night, but then again, what did I expect when I was summoned away from a JSA meeting by the Titans and ordered to come here to perform one of their remaining challenges? she thought. (*) Sometimes I wonder just how much more complicated my life can get!
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: American Nightmare, Chapter 1: The Invasion.]
Wonder Woman referred to the origin of her current situation. Diana and her Amazon sisters worshipped the Greek gods, who in turn came from an older race of beings known as the Titans. The imprisoned Titans had been freed, and their first action upon gaining their eons-sought liberty had been to supplant the gods and goddesses of Olympus. They had admired Wonder Woman’s spirited resistance enough to offer her a chance to gain freedom for her patrons if she could perform six challenges as selected by the Titans upon a timetable of their own devising. (*) These labors had come at random moments, and her personal and heroic life had become a truly difficult act to balance since she never knew when a Titan would arbitrarily declare that she was needed to test her skills against a foe of their selection.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Wonder Woman: The Olympian Games.]
I want nothing more than to complete the labors and free Hera, Athena, and the rest so I can get back to what now seems like my mundane life as wife, mother, and heroine! she thought. I’ve successfully completed two tests against Giganta and Hypnota. When I was told to come to Japan, I expected to face the malice of the brilliant Prince Maru, AKA Doctor Poison, but instead I was attacked by that rampaging powerhouse before I could even gather my wits!
She frowned in grim determination. “Well, I’ll find the jade giantess, and when I do, she’ll learn it’s not easy being green!” she vowed.
Meanwhile, within a lush garden far from the city, two women met in excited conference. The first woman was clad in a kimono made of a rare and precious fabric, and her every need was met by a group of silently devoted maids. She was Japanese, and her youthful beauty was combined with a keen and ruthless mind. She was Princess Maru, although to the world outside the tranquil garden, she was infamous as Doctor Poison.
She stared at her companion, who was markedly different in appearance and manner. The blonde American woman was even more petite than Maru, and her entire manner was agitated and restless. She wore a white bikini and sandals and paced back and forth as she talked. Her most attractive feature, for she was lovely, were her bright green eyes.
“I never felt anything like it before! The sheer rush of power intoxicated me! I was so strong! I could have smashed the whole city into ruins, had I wanted to do so! Best of all, everyone noticed me! Who could help it? I was the center of attention! Me — Gell Osey was the top news story in all of Tokyo!” she cried with a delighted smile crossing her delicate face.
“I am gratified that you are pleased with my work,” said Maru. “I never doubted my success would be total. I know more about biochemistry than anyone alive today!”
“I owe you!” said Gell. “I know that much! You did more than make me superhuman. You gave me back my youth, too! As Gell, I look like a supermodel! Now, in my other form, I am a super-woman, too!”
Princess Maru slapped an attendant as the girl fanned her reclining form. “Stupid swine!” she snapped. “You waved that fan too roughly. Have you no grace at all?”
Gell smiled and said, “The potion you gave me made me into that powerful and startlingly beautiful creature, but I changed back so suddenly. What triggered the change?”
“The formula works upon the chemical reactions that occur within your body when you experience certain emotions,” explained Maru. “Anger, pain, or jealousy creates the catalyst for the transformation. You live up to the American nickname you were given at Holliday College in the ’40s. You become Jealousy, the Green-Eyed Monster!”
“I have heard that kind of remark all my life,” said Gell. “Having been given to using the more Americanized form of my name Gell for short, I got used to being called Jealousy by those idiots who thought it to be funny! Still, by any name, Gelliana Osey is not to be mocked!”
Princess Maru stood up and dropped her kimono as her slaves rushed forward to dress her in a one-piece costume of dark green. She slipped gloves and a mask over her features and said, “Nor is Doctor Poison to be forgotten! Now that I have made you all you have ever wanted to be, I expect you to do your part and bring down certain members of the Yamaguchi-gumi. Those crime lords with their more than four-hundred associated gangs will regret the fact that they rejected me, and thus shall they die for my amusement.”
The petite blonde nodded and said, “You got it, baby!”
Meanwhile, within a very small room in a house that combined a modern Western design with the tatami mats and antiques of the past, loud music blared out of a small cassette player as a pretty girl of sixteen danced wildly to the beat.
A frowning man of forty-two entered the room and shook his head as he tried to conceal his small smile of amusement. He tried to appear as the stern and unyielding father, but Amane Shiomi had too much affection and humor in his nature to truly be as firm as he wanted where his daughter was concerned.
“Toshi! What is that terrible noise?” he said. “I have heard more pleasant sounds in nightmares!”
Toshi Shiomi frowned and turned off the cassette player as she pushed one lock of hair out of her face and sighed in mock disgust. “You mean you’ve never heard Morrissey before?” she said. “He’s a genius! The Smiths are brilliant!”
“I did not realize this was a family group,” said Amane. “I am sure their father is proud. Still, I must ask you to turn down the music. It would not do for us to offend our hosts. My own parents are responsible for us, so to speak, since we are their guests. While we are here, we must not do anything to damage their standing with the neighbors.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes in the time-honored manner of all teenage girls, and she hugged her father abruptly. “Sorry, Pop! I will hit the malls and save the neighbors from the horrors of Brit rock!” she said.
“Wait!” said Amane. “You cannot go out in that outfit! You will be mistaken for a hostess from the water trades!”
She smoothed out her plaid miniskirt and casually tried to hide the hole in one knee of her black stockings as she adjusted the laces of her large black boots. “Pop, what — do expect me to go all O.L. on you?” she said. “We’re just here for a week, then we’ll be back home in Georgetown. I’m not ready to adopt a new wardrobe!”
“You could stand to dress like the young office ladies of Tokyo,” said Amane. “They look professional and mature.”
“Yeah?” said Toshi. “And they look nearly dead — forty-something at least!”
She bounced by her father and whistled as she headed out of the house. The subway terminal is nearby, thought Toshi. Maybe I can find some fun in the Anime gallery! It’s not like the stores have anything that doesn’t have a sickening sweet cartoon animal’s face on it! The whole cute animal fashion fad is beyond me!
Toshi never had a chance to finish her thoughts, since before the girl could enter the subway, she was grabbed by two men and shoved into the back of a black car. The car raced away as Toshi fell hard and knew no more.
When Toshi opened her eyes sometime later, she felt a wave of pain wash over her, and she blinked rapidly in an effort to clear her vision. Those punks grabbed me! she thought. For a country with such a strong gun law, this place sure has its share of street thugs!
She saw four dark-suited Japanese men standing around the room. The room itself was nearly empty. A low table leaned crookedly against a high screen, but nothing else could be found in the room. It was bare enough to be a cell, and she realized that was exactly what it had become for her. “Who are you? What are you going to do to me?” she asked in Japanese.
They remained silent, and the screen slid open to reveal a woman who had a serpentine tattoo across her chest and up one side of her face. The garish marking separated her from any claim to legitimate society in Japan, but Toshi already suspected her abductors were not exactly tea ceremony ladies out for a wild evening.
The woman reached down and gripped Toshi by her chin. “You will not speak,” she said. “We will keep you here until your father, Amane-san, honors our demands. He will perform a task for us, or we will kill you. That is all you are required to know, little one!”
She shoved Toshi aside with a rough push and turned to leave as swiftly as she had entered. The row of goons calmly returned to their place and watched Toshi with eyes concealed by dark glasses.
This trip is so totally bizarro! thought Toshi. I will never leave the States again if I get out of this!
Later, a worried Amane Shiomi turned to his wife Kimiko and said, “It is worse than I expected. We have received word from a local criminal known as Lotus Viper. She has Toshi and will only return her if I agree to use my diplomatic status to smuggle certain rare antiques out of the country for her!”
Kimiko was a small, stout woman, and she broke into tears as her husband confirmed their worse fears. “What can we do?” she asked. “Have you alerted the National Police Agency? Or should we merely honor this woman’s desires and remain silent? How may we best save our child?”
“I have taken certain steps,” said Amane. “I did so before coming to you with the news. I hoped to resolve the matter before you could worry too much. I have contacted Wonder Woman! She is here, and my colleagues in the service were able to reach her! She will save Toshi! I know she can do it!”