Supergirl, still wearing the costume of Wonder Woman, moved inside the ornate structure and saw a huge giant with multiple arms guarding the doorway. She searched her memory for some mythical source for his identity, until she finally concluded that not all creatures of Olympus had made their way into the writings of Earthlings.
Great, she thought. I can tell he’s not exactly here to hand out a welcome basket. If this newly declared Wonder Woman wants to live up to her spangles, she’d better take him down fast!
She fired heat-vision at his feet and melted the tile flooring around him. He groaned and tried to pull free as she drew nearer. His limbs seemed to be everywhere as he grabbed for the beautiful girl.
“Wonder Woman!” he cried. “You’ll regret coming here!” He caught her with astonishing swiftness and crushed her between two mighty hands.
Ohhh! This guy is magical and strong enough to make me a pancake in a sports bra if I’m not careful, she thought. Got to try a new tactic.
She froze his fingers with super-breath and slipped free of his now-icy grip. The Girl of Steel slugged him in the chin and saw him collapse in a tumble of tiles and ice. “That should hold him!” she said. “Now to find Eros.”
“Seek no further, little pretty!” said a golden-haired youth. “You wear my beloved’s costume, or a variant thereof. Who are you to dare intrude in the House of Eros?”
Supergirl posed before him with hands on hips. “For today, I am Wonder Woman!”
“Well, if you presume to wear the outfit, then suffer the consequences,” he sneered with a wave of his hand. She yelped in pain as magical energy crackled around her. Then she charged the proud god.
“Love is mine to command or to reveal,” he said with a laugh.
Kara fell to her knees, and when she looked up, she faced several familiar figures all lined up in front of the heroine. The crew-cut-wearing and boyish Dick Malverne stood next to Jerro the merman of Atlantis, Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Volar of Torma, Derek Ames, Peter Barton, and Phil Decker. She shuddered at what she realized was ahead of her — a duel with nearly every man she had ever loved.
Kara Zor-El, Linda Lee Danvers, Supergirl, Margo Hatton, and now Wonder Woman — the blonde beauty had known many roles in her life. She had held several jobs from student, student advisor, actress, camerawoman, and now secretary. But no role and no career had prepared this loving young woman for the ordeal of facing almost every one of her past loves at once. She tossed back her hair and straightened the tiara she wore.
“I can handle this,” she vowed. “They aren’t real. He just conjured up replicas or illusions to stop me from freeing Hippolyta’s daughters. First, the easy one.”
She approached the handsome, almost pretty, brown-haired young man in the heroic costume. “Volar, I know now why we could never be a couple. I learned my mistake and do not blame you.” (*) The outer space champion vanished with her firm rejection.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Heroine Haters,” Adventure Comics #384 (September, 1969).]
“OK, for the next one. Steady, Kara girl,” she breathed as she approached the merman. “Jerro, I love you as a friend, but our lives are too different, and I could not live where my every feeling and thought could be so easily read by the telepathic Atlanteans. (*) I am just not that secure in myself to reveal all.” He blinked away.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Supergirl’s First Romance,” Action Comics #269 (October, 1960).]
“Derek, you used me as part of Starfire’s scheme,” she said to the British youth. “I beat her, and you lost your life redeeming yourself. That was loving, and in the end you proved yourself to be a hero. (*) Be free.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Love Conquers All, Even Supergirl,” Adventure Comics #402 (February, 1971) and “Super-Girl?” Adventure Comics #404 (March, 1971).]
Next, she saw the hunky Peter Barton. “I only had a crush on you,” she said blushingly. “You belong to my friend, Valerie Myles, and not to me. (*) Looks aren’t enough to make a lasting relationship, even if I shallowly thought they might.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Face on Cloud Nine,” Superman Family #201 (May-June, 1980) and “Strangers at the Heart’s Core,” Superman Family #206 (March-April, 1981).]
Eros watched in fascination as Supergirl faced Brainiac 5 of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes. “You know I love you, too, but I must make my life here and now in this era, not in yours, where you loved a legend from history or an image on a screen more than a real woman.”
Finally, Dick Malverne and Phil Decker remained. Supergirl was drained and weary. This emotional battle was far worse than facing giants and monsters.
“Phil, you hide something from me, and that keeps me distant. Until I can trust you, we can’t be together.” Saying the words she had already said to the handsome but mysterious conductor came no easier the second time around.
“Oh, Dick, you were my first crush, my first love,” she said tearfully. “I do love you. I can’t explain myself any more. We may yet be right for each other, but you may not feel the same for me, since you have had a girlfriend or two since those days back in high school.”
Then she approached Eros. “I walked your emotional minefield. Now I’ll teach you what it means to play with people’s lives!”
Eros frowned. “My dear mortal, you wound me! I did fight you, but you have touched me with your loving heart and courage. I ask you openly — what is it you want?”
“I want you to persuade the Fates to restore the daughters of Hippolyta to their proper places,” said Supergirl defiantly.
Eros laughed. “I sense you have been a victim of some other Olympian. I want Diana for myself, and would never risk that chance by taking her out of reality.”
He vanished, and Supergirl sighed. “So what next?”
Supergirl suddenly had an idea. Walking up to the temple, she lifted her head skyward. She was truly magnificent with her flawless face, golden hair, perfect body, and revealing, yet regal Wonder Woman costume.
“I, Princess Kara — Wonder Woman, daughter of Queen Hippolyta — demand that the Fates come forth in answer to the just challenge from the heir of your chosen queen of the Amazons!” she cried in a loud and ringing voice. “I require the right to shape my fate as I see fit! Or do the Fates themselves hide from a mere mortal?”
Slowly, the doors swung back to reveal three women. Their cloaks hid much of their expressions, but Kara saw enough to recognize a beauty, a middle-aged matron, and an old crone.
The beauty spoke. “We are indeed the Fates, and we do hold the life threads of the daughters of Hippolyta here among all such threads. What do you require?”
“Hippolyta would ask that you restore her children to their proper places in reality,” said Supergirl.
The middle-aged matron said, “We hold the threads, but we have done nothing to them. See for yourself.”
Kara frowned as she saw the daughters of Hippolyta in their normal spheres of activity, as if nothing had occurred.
“Excellent, my pet!” said Hippolyta, who suddenly appeared. “You have broken through the defenses of the Fates and have gotten them to reveal which threads were those of the Amazons. You served me well!”
“You’re not the Queen! You never were!” Supergirl gasped. “You showed me illusions so I would beat all the temple guardians for you! Now you hope to remove the women warriors because I was naïve enough to bring the Fates out with their threads!”
The figure who appeared to be Queen Hippolyta suddenly turned into Wonder Woman’s ancient enemy, the Duke of Deception, and bowed to her. He laughed and said, “Truly I have played a merry game with a most attractive mortal. You fill that little costume most nicely.” He reached out to tear the threads from the Fates, and they did not oppose him. “Once their defenses are breached, they can only watch!” he laughed. “And this is all thanks to you!”
Supergirl moved with super-speed through the temple and clutched a thread from the massive loom. She froze it solid with her cold breath and saw the wily Duke freeze as well. She pried the precious threads from his chilled hands and gave them to the Fates. “Thank you for guiding me to his thread in time, or he would have removed the daughters of Hippolyta from reality.”
The Fates watched her depart and restored their defenses, leaving the frozen Duke immobile outside again.
“Little did she know that the prophecy about only Wonder Woman — a daughter of Hippolyta — could beat the one who controls fate,” said the old crone. “In this one case, the Duke of Deception was speaking truth! By outfitting her as a jest and bringing the one mortal other than the known Wonder Women who could fulfill that prophecy here, the poor Duke brought about his own defeat! Truly, the Fates laugh last.”