Wonder Woman #29

    Wonder Woman » Wonder Woman #29 - Bloodvine released by DC Comics on April 1989.

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    The origin of the Cheetah continues to be revealed, as Diana heads to Egypt in search of more answers.

    In the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, a naval patrol boat pulls up along a freighter that is still smoking from what looks like a recent attack. They climb on board to investigate and discover that it is the Libyan ship they have been pursuing before. There are signs of struggle and some of the booty has been looted. One of the officers investigate some more and step inside to find bodies that look like it has been torn apart by an animal.

    In England, in Barbara Minerva’s castle, Chuma continues his story about Minerva becoming the Cheetah. He tells how the Temple of Urzkartaga had been ruined due to expeditions and a gun pointing at him would surely mean his death. Barbara questioned Chuma, asking him why she should not shoot him in the head and he replies that he has nothing to live for, seeing as his god is dead now. He pleads to her to shoot him dead and he doesn’t understand why she didn’t do so. He thinks back and realises Barbara’s face had broken into a sly smile, which meant that Urzkartaga had given him another chance. Barbara had asked him about the ritual he was performing. Who was the cat-woman standing by his feet and what’s the history of the ceremony. She also comments on the woman being human. She was human, and she was the god that protected the great God. She was the Cheetah! Barbara was skeptical as she questioned the whole god thing, and Chuma asked her that with all her expeditions, she had surely encountered something that was beyond scientific explanation.

    Barbara was suspicious. She had heard of this Cat God, but why had she not defended her tribe against attackers. And if the tribe wanted to be isolated, why did Chuma lead her to the tribe? Chuma replied that it was only an act of desperation, and that they needed new blood. Many years ago, the tribe had led the drunk into the tribe for new blood and soon after, other tribes had learned of Boatengan's raids and hired armed assassins. Many cultists were captured but none of them betrayed their god – except one. The traitor was also captured, but he escaped and made it back to camp. The Cheetah had killed him for his ways. Two of the assassins escaped and returned with a party and killed all the tribesmen and Cheetah. The Boatengan had learned of the death of the traitor and in this time, Cheetah had never killed one of her own followers. The priests had been saying that he was a traitor and the other cultists took it as a bad sign and began killing the priests, feeding their blood to Cheetah. Chuma tried to warn them that doing so was a corrupt sacrifice, but they did not listen and under these rituals, Cheetah was becoming weaker. Chuma was then the only priest left and the followers had seen what they had done. Chuma prayed for something good to happen and he learned of Barbara’s expedition and saw it as a chance to get Cheetah strong again.

    Barbara was interested and Cheetah had been kept alive but soon she would be nothing. Chuma begged for her to end his life but she felt it would not suit her needs and she wanted to know how the ritual would’ve gone if they did not interrupt him. Chuma showed Barbara what would’ve happened and showed her a plant on an altar. A mix from the vine and blood would keep Cheetah immortal. She then demanded that he make her mortal, and Chuma replied that he could do no such thing. He would need fresh blood and she requested if the blood could come from her own body. Soon, Tom Leavens, who was a colleague and was calling out for her and she instructed him to get some explosives and blast this entrance clear. He soon blasted out the rubble but the sound had alerted the raiders and they turned back to the entrance while Leavens was helping Barbara and Chuma out. Barbara realised they did not have a lot of time, and stabbed Tom in the back, killing him. With fresh blood, she asked Chuma to perform the ritual but Chuma replied that she would need to drink the blood! And with that, she opened his wound up and drank the blood. Chuma then began the ritual and Barbara lay naked on the altar and cut he wrist, draining her blood and offered it to the plant. The plant then accepted. Chuma then dressed her in a cheetah costume and put markings of a cheetah on her face. Outside, the tribesmen were getting closer and plucked a leaf from the plant and mixed it with some herbs. Barbara then drank the liquefied mix, and the tribesmen were outside. The tribesmen outside were studying the dead body and they hear a growl coming from a tree and find Cheetah. The men were shocked, but Cheetah took no time and tore them apart. They set fire to the village and had taken the plant along with her to England. But there was one thing that Chuma was not prepared for, and it was the “side effects”. The original ceremony had to be a virgin, and Barbara was not and the Plant God was very jealous. With that, Barbara’s body began to deteriorate and if she was the Cheetah, only then was she strong. The potion which made her strong was beginning to run out and hunting down new bodies was Cheetah’s aim. Until she found the Lasso of Truth, of course. When Barbara got hold of the lasso, something strange happened to her, and even Chuma was stumped. Standing over Wonder Woman, he tells her when Barbara heard she was coming, she ordered him to tell Wonder Woman the Cheetah’s origin and now that he has finished, he must tend to his plant. Wonder Woman asks if he is going to the plant. He then realises that Wonder Woman’s speech is long slurred and that she had been tricking him all this time. Suddenly, she leaps to her feet and tackles him and is confused as to why the poison did not kill her. She tells him that ever since they were drugged many centuries ago by Hercules, they had found ways to evade that with herbology. All they had to do was smell the herb and identify it. Wonder Woman then asks where Barbara is and she spots a plane ticket and reading it, says she is going to Egypt.

    Meanwhile in Libya, a tracking station spots a fast moving object and assume it is some kind of jet, but is suddenly disappears! Wonder Woman, now in her costume, arrives in Egypt and she feels that her lasso is close by. Suddenly a sandstorm storms up and she can hear wailing – she is definitely on the right track and can feel it in the whirlwind. She dives inside and finds herself fighting against strong winds and jagged rocks. Her eyes are irritated from the sand but she has to get through. She must. She bursts through and plunges below, into an ancient city. She falls through a glass ceiling and walks through a corridor and sees two dead women in armour. It must have been Cheetah’s work and she sees the bracelets they are wearing and what they are wearing seem very familiar. She then finds herself surrounded by more armoured women holding guns and they yell something in their language… Diana recognises it… it’s Themyscrian! She realises that they too are Amazons and they are about to kill her.


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    I saw that coming a mile away 0

    This is really not a separate issue, it more like one big issue between 28 and 29 which got split for space reasons.  Here Chuma continues to tell Diana the origin of the Cheetah.  This part was fairly entertaining and it is clear that for the first time in her character history that someone has put a great deal of thought into a meaningful background for her.  Most of the issue revolves solely around this, but when Chuma has spoken to the end Diana reveals that she was faking being poisoned the...

    4 out of 5 found this review helpful.
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