by Martin Maenza
As the old saying went, four walls do not a prison make.
Well, in this case, it did appear to.
In a cell not far from the New Orleans French quarter, a tall blonde woman stretched out on a small canvas cot. Normally, the powerfully built, muscular beauty would not be easily contained by the three stone walls and a door made of metal bars. Currently, though, her bodily systems were chock full of tranquilizers. At the moment, all that the woman known as Giganta could do was stare off into space with wide-eyed wonder. Her mind wandered mostly due to the heavy sedation.
Fifteen years ago, her very life was forever altered.
Back then, she was merely a female gorilla living in captivity in an American zoo. That was, until she became an unwilling pawn of the mad criminal genius named Doctor Psycho. The odd little man with a large brow and a wicked grin used his talents to hypnotize her into falling in love with another human male, one Steve Trevor. She had seen Trevor the day before at the zoo. When the gorilla acted upon those new romantic impulses she was experiencing, a dark-haired woman in red, white, blue, and gold came to Trevor’s rescue. Wonder Woman re-caged Giganta quite easily.
Totally disgusted with the results of the first encounter between the animal and the Amazon, Doctor Psycho and his hired thugs used knockout gas to capture the gorilla in order to break her out of the zoo once more. This time, Psycho took Giganta to another man, one Professor Zool, whom the villain had also seen at the zoo, and whom he had heard interesting things about. Psycho forced Zool to subject the female gorilla to the professor’s evolutionary experimentation. The end result of the exposure to the experimental ray was the transformation of Giganta into the powerful, blonde human woman she was today.
Due to the lasting effects of the earlier hypnosis, Giganta still was very infatuated with the human Trevor. Psycho decided to use this to his advantage and convinced the transformed animal that Wonder Woman was a barrier to that romance. Blinded by rage and love, the gorilla-woman attacked the heroine but was eventually defeated once more. The Amazon took Giganta off to an island with other women to try to heal her, but Giganta later escaped. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Giganta the Gorilla Girl,” Wonder Woman #163 (July, 1966).]
She was found and recruited along with Doctor Psycho and another woman by a man named the Collector, who wanted to possess Wonder Woman’s magic lasso. Giganta and her uneasy allies attacked the Amazon in hopes to obtain the mystical prize, yet they failed in their appointed task and were imprisoned again. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Three Hands on the Magic Lasso,” Wonder Woman #168 (February, 1967).]
Giganta lived the next years pretty much the same way, either on the run or in captivity. It wasn’t much of a life, but it was all that she now knew. And all that time, her heart ached. She was alone. Not truly a woman by birth, and no longer an ape in appearance, Giganta was a freak — one of a kind.
Who would ever care about me? she wondered.
She let out a heavy sigh.
Just then, the two-foot-thick stone wall that faced the outside yard exploded inward. The large masonry blocks shattered on the floor as they fell, and the air was filled with a cloud of dust and smoke.
Giganta recoiled instinctively, cowering at the end of the cot with her knees to her chest. Her eyes, erratic from the sedatives, grew wide. “Who? Who?” she cried, her voice almost like the call of a chimpanzee.
A violet glow cut through the smoke like a lighthouse beacon through a heavy fog, and the entire cell was given an odd, eerie glow. “Are you the one called Giganta?” a stern female voice called from the light.
“Yes…” the blonde replied. “Why?”
A purple-gloved hand extended from the light. “You will come with me now!”
“No!” Giganta yelled, slapping at the offered hand. The drugs clouded her mind, making her feel paranoid and mistrustful. That and the woman’s voice reminded her of those doctors who kept sedating her.
“Damn it!” the woman in the light replied. “I don’t need this insolence! Power Fist, get her now!”
A large, dark-furred gorilla stepped through the light. “All right, Sapphire,” he said in a gruff voice as he shuffled over to the cot. “Let’s just keep it cool so’s we can go!”
Giganta stared for a moment at the newcomer. It was a gorilla unlike any she had seen before in all her years. She sniffed at him. His scent was thick and stirred an odd sensation in her. And he talked, like she now did. She released the tight grasp she had on her legs and stretched out her legs once more.
Power Fist grabbed her firmly by the arm with his mighty simian hands. “Look, blondie, let’s just keep this simple,” he said to her. “We’re riskin’ a lot to bust you out of her, so why not just be cooperative, OK?” His voice was not as severe as the woman’s. It had a hint of sadness and despair, much like her own.
Giganta began to smile a goofy smile. As the gorilla-man yanked her up from the cot, she hardly resisted. There was something about this one she trusted, that appealed to her. As Power Fist pulled her from the cell to the open night air, she clumsily clung to him firmly.
“Ooof!” Power Fist exclaimed. Giganta hung about his neck like a dead weight. “She’s a heavy one.” The gorilla-woman made motions with her full lips toward him.
Star Sapphire gave her teammate an odd look. “Well, now, isn’t that cute,” she said with a bit of sarcasm. “Looks as if she likes you, Fist.”
Power Fist craned his neck while Giganta tried to nuzzle it. “Yeah, lucky me.” Suddenly, the sound of men could be heard filling the yard. The breaking down of the wall must have triggered some kind of alarm. Their voices sounded agitated. “Uh, you think we can get out of here?”
Sapphire nodded. With a flash, violet energy burst from her tiara and encompassed the trio in a protective sphere. The men in gray unforms opened fire. As the guards’ bullets ricocheted off the shell, it lifted them into the air and off into the evening sky.
Soon enough, they were gone without a trace.