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Wonder Woman (first series) 21, January-February 1947, page 13C

© DC Comics

Editor: Sheldon Mayer

"Ruler of the Atom World"

Script:  William Moulton Marston (as Charles Moulton)
Penciler:  Harry G. Peter
Inker: Harry G. Peter
Colorist: Unknown
Letterer: Harry G. Peter?

Wonder Woman 21 provides a good example of the bizarre, fanciful stories written by Marston and illustrated by long-time associate Harry G. Peter in the 1940s. The atomic bomb blasts that ended World War II were clearly still on the minds of the American public in 1947. 

In Part 2, "Tide of Atomic Fire," ended, Paula used Gerta's Enlarging Machine to return Wonder Woman, Steve, Queen Atomia and a pair of neutron robots to full size.  As Part 3, "Ruler of the Atom World," opens, Wonder Woman "makes her captive comfortable" (bound, of course) on the Amazon plane en route to Transformation Island. By telepathic control, she orders the two neutron robots to overpower Steve, who was left in charge of guarding them.  The robots carry their Queen away, as Wonder Woman makes a spectacular mid-air rescue of the overpowered, injured Steve.  The evil Atom Queen stumbles upon the Holliday Girls on a picnic, just as Dean Sourpuss discovers them playing hooky from her class.  Dean Sourpuss manages to escape and contact Wonder Woman by radio. Wonder Woman travels at 3000 miles per minute to find Queen Atomia binding the Girls (of course).  She makes quick work of the neutron robots and tackles the Queen, pledging to "see to it that you learn love is a greater and more satisfying force than hate, if it's the last thing I do!"  On the way to Transformation Island, they pass "Starr Sanitarium, a hospital for poor crippled children."  On Transformation Island, Mala immediately slaps a Venus Girdle on Queen Atomia, making her "hate all the evil things I've done."  The Queen becomes captain of a team of prisoners, who are facing their Amazon guards in a game of Amazon Polo played on the backs of Kangas, horse-like kangaroos.  The Venus Girdle slips off during the game, and the Queen's evil nature returns.  She commands the prisoners to attack their guards with iron polo sticks.  Mala mental-radios Wonder Woman, who speeds to the rescue and squelches the brutal revolt.  Queen Atomia has clearly "lost [her] desire to become a decent human being," so she is re-fitted with a secure Venus Girdle and taken to the Amazon Temple on Paradise Island.  Wonder Woman implores the goddess Aphrodite to use her wisdom.  Aphrodite "welds thy Venus Girdle on thee with the rays of eternal love!… Thou shalt ever be devoted to the worship of love, beauty and humanity!'  Wonder Woman serves the reformed Queen a flask of "liquid hydroxo gas" [!] as shown above, and shoots her with a telescopic gun back to her atomic world in the stratosphere.  She arrives on her world and calls off the invasion of earth. She navigates all the atom planets in her universe south-southeast to the Starr Sanitarium.  In an eerie final panel , the crippled children are running and playing as the Queen announces, "—the Atomic Universe shall ever shine to help humanity – its radio rays healing children's diseases – its brightness a symbol of Atomia's devotion to serving those in need."

This detailed plot summary gives some idea of the breakneck pace of a Golden Age comic book story. In many contemporary comics, this story would be spread out as a continued story over about a dozen monthly issues!  Astonishingly, there is also a "Wonder Women of History" story about Annie Oakley, probably illustrated by Paul Reinman, a Foney Fairy Tales parody of "Little Red Riding Hood," a text story "The Kid's Last Flight" by Ted Udall (as Charles King) and some fabulous ads. It is noteworthy that the ads are clearly aimed at a male audience, such as the one shown here about "boys who ask Dad for Chemcraft" chemistry sets, and the National Radio Institute (approved for training under the GI Bill) on the inside back cover. 

For more Wonder Woman background information, follow this link.

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