Paula may have reformed last story from Wonder Woman #3, but now she has to prove that her devotion to Wonder Woman is true. And it is literally a trial by fire.
But first, Colonel Darnell is distressed that his best secretary Diana Prince is missing. Steve’s a little bit like ‘oh, well, I found her horse and clothes and Paula’s car.’ Oh, Wonder Woman, you can really do better than Steve.
Good old Kibby Maxwell shows up as he’s the last eyewitness to see Diana Prince and Paula. When Darnell and Steve ask Kibby if he remembers Paula and have him look at a photo of her, he remembers seeing her lurking around the munitions factory that his mother Ann works at. (A little 1940s culture with woman working at the munitions factory as all the men are off at war.)
Steve heads over to question Ann about Paula. She says Paula pretended to be a government inspector, and then some Nazi guy (who we never see again) calls Ann into the warehouse. Where she’s hit over the head. Meanwhile, Kibby comes to the factory as every day, he walks his mom home. As he waits for her, there’s a fire! As all the women run out, Kibby doesn’t see his mother. So he goes in to save her. He finds her tied up.
Back on Paradise Island, Paula confesses that there’s a bomb at the munitions factory and that she needs to go back to America with Wonder Woman to stop it. Mala doesn’t trust her. But Wonder Woman does, so together, they rush to the factory. But it’s too late, the fire’s already burning. Steve throws a fit when he sees Paula and puts her in chains.
Wonder Woman sees Kibby in the top of the building and uses a firefighter’s ladder to reach the top window. His mom’s still tied up, but Wonder Woman breaks her chains. She puts Ann on her shoulders and Kibby in her arms and walks the tightrope back to safety.
While Wonder Woman’s busy with her rescue, Paula remembers there’s a bomb in the building. She doesn’t want Wonder Woman to die and only she can disable it. However, Steve won’t let her go. So she hits Steve with her chains and runs off into the burning building. Paula disables the bomb and throws it into a pool of water, collapsing inside the building. Wonder Woman rescues her, but the emergency room doctors say that Paula is dying from smoke inhalation and burns and only has hours to live.
Luckily, Wonder Woman has her background in health care, being a fake army nurse and that one time she healed Steve with purple light. She makes a secret ointment to apply to Paula’s wounds. Paula miraculously heals. The doctor is amazed. However, the burns have left Paula badly scared and she puts a veil over her face because she’s ashamed. (Because having her daughter put in a concentration camp and almost dying isn’t — after dying twice, once executed by the US government — enough; Paula must be ugly too!)
Steve and the US Army demand that Paula goes on trial for her crimes. However, Wonder Woman makes a passionate speech that Paula’s already been tried for her crimes (no double jeopardy). Of course, since the children this comic book was aimed at probably didn’t understand the full implications of double jeopardy, Etta and Paula herself take the stand to argue to find Paula innocent.
Wonder Woman pleas for Paula’s life by saying that she saved her life. And then, finally, Paula reveals her scared face to the jury and the court audience. (We readers do not see Paula’s face at all.) Everyone is horrified. Immediately, the jury yells out that they find Paul not guilty. (Yeah, not how the legal system works — I know, I’ve watched hours of Law & Order — but it’s a kids’ comic so I’ll let it pass.)
Once again, Paula pledges herself to Wonder Woman’s service. Wonder Woman takes Paula back to Paradise Island because Paula is to be of the service of Aphrodite, not Wonder Woman. Aphrodite takes pity on Paula and restores her beauty as Paula devotes herself to the goddess. Of course, now Wonder Woman is worried she’s going to use Paula wrongly. (Yeah…I don’t want to go there.)
Okay, maybe I went there. A little bit.
Discover Paula’s new hotness, I mean, good soul, buy Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 2 by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter and support this blog.