Queen Hippolyta gently rocked her infant daughter Diana and smiled at the sight of the sleeping baby. The gorgeous ruler of the Amazons was undoubtedly a good queen, but she had begun to question how effective her mothering skills had been.
Before Diana had been reverted to infancy by the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hippolyta and Diana often had differences of opinion largely to the shapely blonde queen’s efforts to protect her then-grown daughter by deciding that she already alone knew what was best for the amazing Amazon called Wonder Woman. Memory manipulation was but one of the tactics employed by a worried Hippolyta. But her good intentions had not been enough to eliminate the strife that had lingered between mother and daughter. Now, Diana was once more an infant, and Hippolyta vowed to make amends.
She turned as two pretty blondes wearing tunics and sandals entered. The demure one was Mala, the best friend to the grown Diana and the warden of Transformation Island’s prison. The taller one with a regal manner was Paula Von Gunta, the Amazon nation’s chief scientist. Both looked concerned.
“My Queen, I bring dark tidings,” said Mala. “Please come with us to the temple.”
Hippolyta glanced at Paula, who nodded in confirmation. “You should see this, Queen Hippolyta,” she said.
The Amazon queen carried Diana and followed the two women to the Temple of Aphrodite. All seemed calm and tranquil. Nothing looked out of place.
Paula pointed to the upper level, where a dim glow radiated. “The light is not as bright as usual,” she said. “My instruments confirm it. The Sun Sword is dying!“
Mala went down on her knees above them and gently cradled a sword. “See, my Queen?” she said in a worried tone. “The glow is fading rapidly. I fear the magic has burnt itself out after so long in service.”
Hippolyta frowned. “I know the implications. Prepare our sisters for battle, and summon Nubia at once.”
Mala nodded and rushed off. She had her own feelings about Nubia, but this was no time to scorn the powers of the second Wonder Woman.
Paula held Diana as Hippolyta bent to examine the sword in its resting place. Diana’s eyes followed the sword’s flickering light with more than normal interest.
The brilliant Paula frowned. An idea occurred to her keen mind. True, Princess Diana had been turned into a baby, but perhaps, just perhaps, she might retain her adult mind if not the ability to speak? This idea was worth consideration when the threat was dealt with by Nubia and the others.
Nubia, wearing a rather severe red dress and slippers, walked the streets of Middletown, accompanied by a rugged, brown-haired man.
“J’onn — I suppose I should say John — this little community is quaint,” she said. “But it appears a bit too serene for my tastes. How does one maintain their warrior prowess amidst such domesticity?”
The man calling himself John Jones smiled. “I found such peace wonderfully rewarding and enjoyed life among the people of Middletown for many years. Still, I encountered a good amount of crime and a few aliens and super-villains during my time here.”
Nubia nodded. “As you say. The duality of your nature attracts me greatly. You combine the traits of warrior and peacekeeper. You are a riddle I look forward to solving, J’onn J’onzz.”
“I find it pleasant to show you the gentle wonders of life in America,” said John, “though I wish I could curb your habit of always looking for action.”
She sighed. “It comes from being raised upon Slaughter Island by Mars himself. His ways have shaped me greatly, though it took his magic ring to bind me to him.”
John took her hand. “You have made great strides, and I want you to feel that you are nothing like the war god. You’ve proven that to us all.”
She smiled and said, “I hope so, yet I find Diana’s boots are difficult to fill. Donna and I are allies, perhaps friends, yet she may never accept me as fully as she did the first Wonder Woman.”
A mental radio message reached the lovely woman, and she frowned in concentration.
“Nubia,” said Mala. “Queen Hippolyta asks you to return to Paradise Island immediately. We need your might!”
Nubia responded abruptly, “I shall come at once.” She said to her lover, “John, I must end our outing. I am needed at home — odd to call it home.”
“Do you wish my aid?” asked John.
She smiled warmly. “I shall call you if I need help. My thanks to you.” She rushed off, leaving him to ponder her as he made his way through the city he once called home.
On Paradise Island, Nubia listened as Queen Hippolyta explained the crisis that loomed over their home.
“My child, thank you for returning. We need Wonder Woman now! The sword you see above us is called the Sun Sword. Its magic radiation has been a shield to us against aliens who want nothing more than to subjugate us all. (*) Their fleet has been kept out of this dimension by that potent sword — until now! It is fading rapidly. We must prepare for alien invaders, and we need your help!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Terror Trees of Forbidden Island,” Wonder Woman #143 (January, 1964).]
Nubia, now dressed as Wonder Woman, jumped to her feet. She noticed her mother’s reference to her as Wonder Woman, and it pleased her greatly. “Do not fear,” she said. “I shall give my life, if needed, in defense of our isle!”
Hippolyta took her hand and kissed her. “My child, I never doubted your courage nor your passion,” said the blonde monarch. “I need you to retrieve a mate to this enchanted blade. It is called the Star Sword, and it rests in the realm from whence your sister Diana took the Sun Sword long ago. If you succeed in getting it here, then once more shall the aliens be trapped in their dimension.”
Nubia nodded. “I see. I shall succeed in this quest or die trying. You have my word!”
“I can show you the way to find the Forbidden Island,” said Paula. “That is the name given by legend to the source of the Sun Sword.”
Nubia nodded. “Thank you, Paula.”
Mala watched in silence and turned her back as they passed by. She was not ready to accept anyone else but her best friend in that star-spangled costume — not yet.
Nubia flew across the skies in a swan ship and reached an island full of lush tropical vegetation. This Forbidden Island seems rather mundane on the surface, she thought. Perhaps Paula exaggerates. She is not an Amazon born.
She rankled a bit at having to use the swan craft since the invisible plane had vanished almost immediately after the Crisis on Infinite Earths and before her arrival in Man’s World as the new Wonder Woman. She still had no explanation beyond the fact that Paula had traced it to an alternate world now closed to all travel. (*)
Nubia enjoyed wearing the costume of Wonder Woman. She wanted to honor Diana and to prove herself as well. Thus the regal beauty would not quibble over small details.
Wonder Woman landed and vaulted out to race through the jungle, moving at top speed, since literally every second counted. If she delayed too long, the Sun Sword would flicker out, and the aliens would attack her sisters.
She gasped as a creature rose from the mud. It stood seven feet tall and seemed formed from earth itself. It lifted one arm and swatted her across the face.
As she fell, she realized this mud-man had super-strength. “So be it!” she said and charged toward the creature.
Wonder Woman struck with all her might and fell through his now-pliable form. Covered with mud, she got back up and breathed a sigh of relief that Mala could not see her now. She knew the little blonde still resented her taking Diana’s role. It was not a personal affront. She was just that devoted to Diana.
Nubia spun around and used her golden lasso to created a whirlwind. She scattered the creature and smiled in satisfaction as it crumbled.
Making her way onward toward a high slope, she reached the top and fell as a flaming being blasted her with heat. It appeared to be made of flickering flame.
“Bah! Elementals! How annoying!” she said.
She rolled aside from a barrage of flame and lifted a huge stone from the ground. Heaving it high over her head with her muscles rippling, she smashed it down on the flaming being. “No oxygen, no fire!” she mused and rubbed her hands together in relief. I suppose I must face creatures of water and of air, ere I’m done, she thought.
Wonder Woman reached a temple and, as she prepared to enter the ornate building, thought, This is where Paula said I’d find the Star Sword.
Nubia entered the temple and frowned as she saw nothing. The place was bare, entirely devoid of any life or any objects. Certainly, nothing with a radiation like that of the Sun Sword could be seen. “By Hera’s pale cheeks, what lies within?” she muttered.
Standing in the center of the temple, she suddenly vanished from view, only to reappear in another dimension.
“Ah, the temple was but a portal to the true home of the Star Sword!” she realized as she saw the gleaming blade suspended far above her. Simple enough for me to jump up and claim it, she thought.
Wonder Woman did so, but as her hand touched the hilt, she received a surge of energy that stunned her. She fell hard and shook her head.
“Obviously, the blade has magical defenses,” she said. “That could make this harder than I anticipated. I pray I may return in time to prevent the aliens from invading.”
“Your purpose is benign,” intoned an unseen speaker. “You seek security, not conquest. You may approach the Star Sword.”
“My thanks,” she said wryly. Clutching the Star Sword, she found herself back on the Forbidden Island.
As she exited, she saw two more elementals, one of water and one swirling above that was apparently made of air. The sight of the Star Sword in her hand altered their conduct.
“We beg pardon, mistress!” they said.
Wonder Woman nodded curtly and flew off in the swan ship. “Now to return and safeguard my sisters,” she vowed.