Monday, November 12, 2007

Wonder Woman #25 (Story Three, Part 2): THE JUDGMENT OF GODDESS VULTURA

"Flashing through space 3000 miles per minute, Wonder Woman speeds to Zarikan." (note: Marston was always changing the top speed of the invisible plane. But he often gave a hard figure. Probably wanted to sound scientific.) Wonder Woman finds Etta comforting King Yuka of Zarikan. He's very distraught over his kidnapped daughter (you can tell he's upset because he says "Ohhh woe!")

When prompted to relate the story of the kidnapping, King Yuka gives some exposition -- I mean background. All of Zarikan's water comes from underground streams and the water is pumped to the surface via windmills. The king and his daughter went to the sacred temple of the goddess Vultura (guardian of subterranean waterways) and they witnessed an amazing spectacle.

"Flames encompassed ze statue of ze goddess and a magic figure appeared--!" Hmmm... by shear coincidence, the magic figure is wearing a purple gown and has a daisy on her head. Waitasecond! That's... that's.... could it be? It's the Purple Priestess! And she's calling herself the messenger of the goddess Vultura!

The priestess tells the king that she was sent by the goddess to save him from his wickedness and that he needs to give daily offerings of gold and food to appease Vultura. Otherwise, the windmills will fail to pump water and the crops will die. (Hey Kingy! Start investigating alternative energy sources like oil, nukes and stuff! Forget the wind and its goddess-controlled ficklery. I made up a new word. Heh.)

The king obeyed daisy-head, but when the princess and her maidens went for their daily swim in the underground river, they were pulled beneath the surface! (Not to put too fine a point on things, but if something caught the Princess's leg and is pulling her down, why are all the maidens going under head first? Do they swim upside down?) One maiden escaped, and told the king the story. All the others, including his daughter, Princess Allura, were never seen again. The escapee claims it was Vultura, but Wondy is positive it's just the priestess, trying to get more ill-gotten gains from the king.

Foolishly, King Yuka doesn't listen to the superhero in his living room, so he brings 3 times the amount of gold and grain as before. Wonder Woman carries in the booty, workhorse that she is, even though it was against her better judgment. She's a trooper (and she lifts with her legs, not her back).

Wonder Woman puts her finger to her eye, which denotes thinking (I always point to my eye when I think) and notices that this Purple Priestess is wearing the same clothes as the other Purple Priestess. Could they be the same person? (Ya think?) At the same time, PP doesn't have any trouble putting two and two together and realizes that Wonder Woman is Wonder Woman, no matter where she shows up (hence, no finger to the eye. Instead, she makes a fist, which means "Why I oughta...!" in sign language).

I believe their conversation went something like this:
WW: Is my eye make-up too thick?
PP: It's perfect! Do you like the way my green veil clings to the shape of my face?
WWW: It's lovely. Let's be best friends.
PP: (thinking) She's hot! I'd switch teams for her.
WW: (thinking) If only she'd take off the green veil. Then I'd know if she's hot or not.
King Yuka: (thinking) Please, please, please, Goddess Vultura, allow me to see some girl on girl action!

PP demands that her slave maidens gather up the grains and gold. It's uncertain how they'll manage this, since their hands are all bound. The king asks if PP will now free his daughter, but no dice. PP is disinclined to let go of her ace in the hole, so she tells kingy that although the goddess is pleased with his gifts, she wants more: a human sacrifice! And with that, she points to none other than Wonder Woman as the sacrifice du jour! And shocker of shockers, Diana agrees!

But the king has had enough! Defiantly, he renounces the goddess Vultura, saying he'll burn down the temple if he has to! PP says, "Silence, foolish king! Your defiance shall cost you all your crops -- famine shall prevail until you atone for your sacrilege!" (Man, that's great dialogue! That is primo comic book stuff, there. I wish people talked like that all the time. "Silence, foolish grocery store bagger! Your insistence on plastic instead of paper shall cost you your week's supply of Clearasil! The manager shall prevail until you bow to my bagging needs!" Yeah, that would be sweeeet!)

Oh, but the prophecy comes true!! The windmills stop pumping water and the crops begin to whither and die. Zounds! Once again, WW offers herself as a human sacrifice. (Oh just let her, already! She obviously wants it! It will give her a chance to be bound by chains, for crying out loud! She likes that.) The king has no choice but to let her do it. He's already given all his food to the goddess, so there's no way to keep famine at bay.

Later in the temple, Wonder Woman is bound and placed at the feet of the statue of Vultura. The flames rise and appear to consume the superhero. Etta blames herself for having summoned Diana in the first place. But ho! All is not as it seems. There's a trap door in the altar!

She winds up in a chamber filled with purple gas! Before she's overcome by the fumes, she notices Princess Allura chained to the wall. PP is there, and tells WW that it's "mind-paralyzing gas" (formed by the noxious emissions of thousands of comic book collectors after a Taco Bell binge). The gas makes people lose their will power (and it makes your belches taste like burritos).

"The potent purple gas quickly reduces Wonder Woman to a weird state of coma -- she cannot control her own brain." ('she cannot control her own brain'? What a delightfully weird way of putting it. Much better than "she's high on goofballs.") When the Priestess questions her, Diana spills all, telling her that she recognized PP as the cult leader and that the Holliday Girls are going to explore the underground river, to find out why the windmills aren't working. (That is a weird coma if you can hold conversations. That purple gas is as good as a golden lasso of truth. Feel the power of your Taco-induced gastrointestinal emissions, comic fans!) Things are looking grim -- and purple -- for Wonder Woman!

PP silently decides to "keel" Etta & the Holliday Girls, as well as the princess and Wonder Woman. (Lotsa keeling to do, when will she find the time?)

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