Justice League

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2002-11-01
  • Publisher: Bantam Books for Young Readers
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The arch-villain Darkseid has captured Wonder Woman and locked her up in a filthy dungeon on the planet Apokolips. He hopes to break her will and use her against Superman and the Justice League. Robbed of her armor and her magic lasso, it takes all of Diana's power to resist her captor, knowing she must escape soon or betray her friends. As she musters her strength to break free, Wonder Woman must prove to herself that she is a super hero with or without her magical weaponsor die trying.

Author Biography

<b>Louise Simonson</b> worked in comics for Warren Publishing and Marvel Comics before leaving her editorial position to pursue a freelance writing career. She has since written many novels based on comic book characters, including the hit junior novel <i>Superman: Doomsday & Beyond</i>.



"Remember! We don't act until we know what we're up against!"

Wonder Woman brushed her long, dark, windblown hair from her eyes and grimaced, glancing over toward the dome of the National Gallery of Art, where Green Lantern and Hawkgirl perched, surveying the Washington, D.C., skyline. GL is giving orders as usual, Wonder Woman thought, acting like the rest of us are rank amateurs.

Their silhouettes were clear against the night sky, and she saw Hawkgirl ruffle her wing feathers in a half-insulted, half-amused gesture. "To do otherwise might make matters worse, Green Lantern. You don't need to teach me my business."

Through the communication device worn in her ear, Wonder Woman could tell that Hawkgirl's voice was chiding. Hawkgirl had been a top cop on her homeworld, Thanagar. She knew what she was doing.

Wonder Woman could also hear the murmuring voices of Superman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter. They were at the end of the long park known as the Mall, standing atop the Capitol Building, discussing the Justice League's options.

Batman had picked up vague rumors of a planned attack on Washington, which he had traced back to a member of Intergang, one of the human thugs allied with the other-dimensional ruler of the New Gods, Darkseid. Batman wasn't sure--none of them were sure--what was going to happen next. Or if anything would happen. But the members of the Justice League planned to counter any threat to the safety and security of the United States and its citizens.

From atop the roof of the cylindrical Hirshhorn Museum, Wonder Woman scanned the heavens.

The Flash crouched beside her, polishing off his first sizzling slice of ham, sausage, and pepperoni pizza, then reaching into the box for a second slice. The red-suited superspeedster, who expended enormous amounts of energy when he ran, had to refuel constantly.

He bit into the gooey mound and yelped. "Hot! Hot! Yikes!" Then he glanced up at Wonder Woman. "Want some?"

"Hush!" Wonder Woman hissed. "I thought I saw something."

"Don't get your tiara in a twist, your royal highness!" Flash mumbled sarcastically, his mouth full. "With all humility, Princess Diana, you don't know what you're missing!"

I sounded like my mother in one of her stressed-out moods, Wonder Woman thought. What's wrong with me?

She stared intently into the night sky. Her people believed the stars held answers. She could use some now.

What am I doing here? she asked herself. Exiled forever from the Amazons and Themyscira, our secret island home?

She told herself it was her own choice to live here in what the Amazons called Man's World. She truly believed that the larger Earth needed her special abilities. And yet, away from the miraculous island of immortal warrior women and their queen, her mother . . . without a place among her people, who was she?

As a child on Themyscira, Diana had once tried to hold water in the cupped palms of her hands. But no matter how tightly she pressed her fingers together, the water trickled away.

She was grown now, but she was clutching just as tightly to her Amazon identity, she thought. And, like the water, she felt it slipping through her fingers.

Out of the corner of her eye, Wonder Woman spotted a wavering shimmer in the starlight.

"There it is again! What is it?" She flew a few feet into the air, straining to get a closer look.

Flash grabbed the golden lasso that hung from a loop at her waist. "Wonder Woman! Wait!" he said.

She turned in midair and hissed. "Let go! There's something there!"

"Maybe to your goddess-like eyes, Princess, but I can't see--"

"Obviously," she whispered. "You see as humans see. But Darkseid is one of the New Gods and has the tricks of a god. And we Amazons deal with gods on a regular basis! Now let go!"

She jerked free and whirled up into the air.

"Ever hear of teamwork?" Flash began, but she was already gone. "Might as well save my breath to cool my pizza," he muttered to himself.

I know the Flash thinks I can be a royal pain, Wonder Woman thought as she flew up toward the faint shimmer. I guess I can, but-- Oh, how can I expect him to understand when I don't understand myself? This isn't what we planned, but how else can I be sure?

Wonder Woman heard Superman speaking over the communicator. "Diana, what--?" His voice dissolved in a crackle of static.

"Superman?" she said. But he didn't seem to be able to hear her either.

Whatever is up there is interfering with League communications equipment, Wonder Woman thought. I wonder--

Then suddenly she slammed into an object that should not have been there.

For an instant it flickered into almost-visibility--an armored, brick-colored creature with rudimentary wings, holding a gleaming bomb-shaped canister as long as her arm. Its demonic, helmeted face snarled rage through inch-long fangs.

A jumble of monster voices surrounded her.

"We're cloaked!"

"How'd she see us?"

"Who cares! Destroy her--and get on with the mission!"

"Deliver the cylinder--"

Something struck her from behind, and for an instant, she was immobilized. Then she fell. Above her, the sky looked empty. But Wonder Woman had seen the monster. Smelled it. Knew its size and the faint sounds of its flight.

She fought off the paralysis, righted herself, and snatched her golden lasso from its catch at her waist. She whirled the rope overhead and flung it toward the spot where she expected the invisible monster to be.

The loop settled--and the rope went taut.

"Got you!" she muttered.

Energy blasts flew at her, apparently out of thin air. She held the rope tight with one hand and deflected the blasts with the bracelet on her other wrist. She heard muffled oaths and several screams as the ricocheting energy struck her assailants.

Serves them right! she thought grimly.

Suddenly, from all sides, invisible clawed hands delivered a barrage of blows. The air reeked of monster breath.

There are dozens of them, she thought.

A blast of heat vision scythed upward from below, and a monster voice screamed, "It's Superman!"

Superman! Wonder Woman thought. Her struggle had taken mere seconds, but it had alarmed the League. They knew she was in trouble, even if they couldn't see the cause.

Wonder Woman jerked the rope with all her strength, pulling the invisible monster toward her.

He slammed into her. And again she saw him. When I'm this close, she reasoned, I must be inside the invisibility field with him.

The monster clutched the cylinder protectively. "Sorry, Charlie!" she growled, and wrenched it from the monster's hands.

"She has the Brain Binder!" a voice cried. "Get it!"

Another moaned, "No time! Superman's almost on us!"

A roaring vortex, appearing out of nowhere, encompassed them. "Desaad has sent a Boom Tube!" a gargoyle voice shouted. "Take her with us, back to Apokolips!"

Wonder Woman could barely hear their voices over the roar that surrounded her. Invisible hands dragged her toward the vortex.

"We failed to deploy the Brain Binder!"

"But others will succeed!"

"Not a chance!" Wonder Woman yelled. Fighting the inexorable pull of the Boom Tube, she wrenched her arms free and hurled the canister downward.

"Superman!" she shouted. "Catch!"

Then, as the clamoring darkness enveloped her, she realized, That might have worked--if the canister hadn't also been invisible!

Excerpted from The Gauntlet by Louise Simonson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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