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World's Finest Comics 204
"Journey To The End of Hope!"


Story By: Denny O'Neil
Art By: Dick Dillin & Joe Giella
Editing By Julius Schwartz

On the Neal Adams-drawn cover, the man of steel and Diana Prince wonder how the killing of a student in a campus riot in 1971 -- causes the death of everyone on Earth 200 years later! (Holy World's Finest, Batman! Someone better call the masked manhunter to solve this mystery!)

On the splash page, Superman soars above the campus of a eastern university, and sees an ugly situation developing there! The students are upset -- and the guards are barely able to restrain themselves! He sees no reason to interfere -- yet! And he hopes that there won't be!

Faster than a speeding bullet, Superman heads for the Galaxy Building... and inside, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent enters the offices of the Daily Planet... He meets Perry White, who hands him an application for a computer-dating service! (Holy Ultivac, Batman!) The gruff editor wants Clark to submit it... the Daily Planet should get a fine feature story from his experience! He reminds Perry that he's a television newscaster now -- but the editor knows that Clark is still a newspaperman at heart -- and besides, Perry has already cleared it with Morgan Edge! After telling the newscaster that he expects the article for the Sunday Edition, the editor mutters, "Great Caesar's Ghost!" Why did he do that? He considers the computer matching things as pure hogwash! Ah well.. perhaps Clark will bring in a fine story after all...

At a small boutique in Greenwich Village -- Diana Prince hears the voice of her mentor, I-Ching! The past few months have seen her alone, and such a thing is not healthy for one so young! He realizes that her romantic life has been fraught with sadness... but this shouldn't deter her! I-Ching has a suggestion! There are machines which can help in finding suitable companions, and he has an application for one of them! (Holy Windows '95, Batman!) Diana is surprised that her teacher would want her to use a computer-dating service! He tells her to trust in his years... He wishes nothing but her welfare! At I-Ching's insistence, she agrees to fill it out and send it in --! Once she has gone, the aged mentor wonders if he has gone senile! He dislikes machinery which performs tasks best left to flesh and blood! (Holy Viagra, Batman!) Perhaps the trip will cheer up his student's mood...

Days pass, and Diana Prince -- the former Wonder Woman -- goes to meet her date... She is supposed to meet the "man of her dreams" (Holy Gaiman, Batman!) -- according to the dating-computer -- on the corner! The man will be wearing a carnation --

Clark Kent is surprised to see that Diana Prince -- is his... date?? She's sorry to disappoint him, but the mild-mannered reporter is just amazed! Diana figures that it makes some sense... they were Justice League teammates -- and she had... super-power, as his... friend... Superman does! Clark figures that it must be tough being an ordinary gal after being an amazing amazon for many years! He tells her that they are to appear on a radio talk show, and Diana doesn't see any reason why they can't have fun! As they head for the station, three teenagers see a couple of well-dressed victims passing by! While the mild-mannered reporter is figuring out that the station entrance must be in the back, Diana tells him that a trio of grotties are heading their way! She has a feeling that she's going to get some exercise! (Holy Jane Fonda, Batman!)

The grotties demand their bread -- or else they'll cut them into itty, teeny bits! (Holy Kibble, Batman!) While Clark is acting the coward to keep his identity a secret, Diana tells him that she'll handle the petunias! She's seen scarier teddy bears and waded into them with the martial arts, while the mild-mannered reporter watches her progress, and sees that Diana doesn't need any super-powers!

Clark smiles as he watches her use judo... karate... kung-fu... and sees that she's doing beautifully! Her fighting skills are the trademark of a true artist! A judo throw falls one thug, while the other is downed by a karate chop! The mild-mannered reporter tells his friend that she's dynamite, while she tells Clark that I-Ching's most important lesson is that violence is horrible -- and he prays that some day it won't be necessary! The grotties have been made to look like feebs, while one of them plans to have a rematch with the dumb chick... armed with a gun!

At the broadcasting building... Diana is nervous that the people will be listening to them -- and Clark knows the feeling! He'd rather face a herd of wild elephants than a microphone! They ride the elevator and arrive at their floor! At that moment, Clark and Diana emerge from the elevator... into a desolate flat plain! Stunned, they stare, and the words come slowly... His x-ray vision sees nothing on the other side of the elevator doors, while Diana is suddenly unable to b-breathe!

The mild-mannered reporter sees that the air contains very little oxygen, and that it's mostly nitrogen and hydrogen! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) With frost on the ground... the man of steel knows that there must be oxygen present -- and his x-ray vision finds a pocket under the soil! A heart-beat later... and Diana finds herself in a natural cavern filled with breathable air! Superman tells her to stay put -- and he'll be back in two breaths! He can't let the oxygen escape into the atmosphere! He doesn't need it -- but Diana is only... human! He begins to build from the soil...

The man of steel has built an adobe to keep Diana safe while he investigates where they are! He has cut a door in the adobe... just in case! In the air, Superman sees no sign of plants... of animals! Nothing but frozen emptiness from horizon to horizon -- It's obvious to him that they are on an alien world! A world where civilization and intelligent life never developed! (Holy MTV, Batman!)

He is soon mistaken -- for the man of steel soon comes across a tower! (Holy Stephen King, Batman!) His x-ray vision is unable to penetrate the strange, shimmering metal, and he can't find any other opening, either! KRUUSH Superman makes his own opening, but as he passes through the wall, automatic restraining devices -- the size of economy-sized handcuffs grasp at his wrists! W-RAKK The cuffs are broken, for even in this strange place, he is still a man of steel!

Z-HHHHHHT More automatic security -- in the form of ray-blasters! On closer inspection, Superman sees that they are advanced lasers! After getting his hands on them, they are now tied into a bow! He comes to a portal, which has been designed without a doorbell -- V-OOOMP Inside, the man of steel is greeted by a shadowy presence, who has been waiting for him -- for years and years!

It is a thing of wires - and - batteries, electricity -- and atomic energy created by his descendants! (Holy Energizer Bunny, Batman!) Superman realizes that they are on Earth! The Earth will soon be this wasteland -- in a mere two centuries! (Holy J. Alfred Prufock, Batman!) They have been brought to the future -- and by the reckoning, the present year is 2171! This is one of many possible futures, one which is quite grim and bleak! Decades ago, mankind destroyed itself with war and pollution -- (Holy Absolutely Nothing, Batman!) All that they left was the final modification of the computers developed in the man of steel's era! It has summoned them in order to observe near-perfect specimens of the beings who created him! It had recently developed the ability to sent probes into the past! It discovered Superman and Diana Prince as among the most extra-ordinary of beings! It had also found itself able to place thoughts into minds of beings long dead!

It was the one who gave Perry White and I-Ching the idea for them to use the dating service! (Holy Jim Lange, Batman!) It then caused events so that the man of steel and the new Wonder Woman would go to where his time-travelling beam would bring them to 2171. The second reason is that its calculations have found other futures where mankind prospered and survived! A riot will occur in 1971! On the screen, the campus protesters and security guards are seen --with one person killed in the riot! The same person who will save mankind from its end should he live... It wants Superman and Diana to save the man, and the man of steel wants to know how the man will save mankind! It is a highly complicated course of events, but the man destined to die is also the world's savior, should he live! Peering at another screen, Superman sees the area where he left Diana...

The grotties have followed them, and are heading for the shelter! An hour ago, they saw the elevator pointer show that Clark and Diana got off at the twentieth floor! They took the car, and entered the time-warp, where they, like Superman and Diana have found themselves in a grim future...

They find themselves unable to breathe and head for the shelter! Inside, they are able to breathe, and find themselves together with Diana Prince! As she assumes a defensive position, one of the grotties pulls out his gun!

Before he can fire his gun, Superman arrives through the floor! BLAM BLAM The bullets bounce off of the man of steel's chest! (Holy Chest In Time, Batman!) He bends the tip of the pistol, then snaps his finger, and the thug is sent backwards by the force of the light tap!

The remaining grotties run headfirst into Superman's invulnerable body, and knock themselves out. Diana thanks the man of steel for helping her in a situation where she might not been able to handle it! They embrace, and she considers him to be a nicer guy than she gave him credit for! It's funny that they've been acquaintances for years -- yet never gotten to be friends! Diana thinks that maybe they should do something about that! He admits that in another second or so, he'll feel like kissing her -- and they both know that he shouldn't! She reluctantly agrees...

He flies her through a tunnel he made to the thing... which will explain to her why they are here... and what they have to do! While they were gone, the computer had exhausted the last of its energy... it is dying! (Holy Exxon, Batman!) Their mission is to prevent this future from becoming a reality! They must save the life of a college kid on campus... one who will change the course of history -- even though he has no idea of his own importance!

Diana is scared that without the computer they can't return to 1971 -- much less prevent a death! The man of steel is sure that the time-displacement caused by the machine is still intact! They'll collect the grotties -- and search for the way to the past!

In the adobe shelter, Superman tells the thugs that they are about to do a tricky and dangerous maneuver! If they try anything, he'll slam them -- and hard! He flies them through the roof of the tower, where the space-time gap appeared -- and the man of steel begins to fly at light-speed! He whirls faster and faster... the velocity building onto velocity! The fabric of space-time bends, changes, tears... until the ghostly box-like chamber appeared around them...

They are back in the elevator in 1971, where Superman managed to squeeze them through the gap before it closed! They haven't time to congratulate themselves or turn the grotties over to the police -- but Superman will do just that when he repairs the damage to the elevator wall he is about to do. The man of steel takes Diana through the wall of the elevator, and head for the campus below! She is to try and reason with the students, while the man of steel has some words with the guards! The students aren't impressed by her plea for no violence, and want to deal with the "pigs" who won't negotiate!

One of the protesters is about to throw a molotov cocktail, but is tackled by Diana! The device is sent towards a parked car... where it bursts into flame -- She tells the students to get down before the fire strikes the gas tank -- A dozen yards away, Superman asks the captain to call off his men, while the man tells him that the guards are already tense from being spat upon and cursed at! (Holy Jemas, Batman!) Seeing the flaming remains of the car, two of the guards raise their rifles and take aim at a long-haired freak! KA-BLAM

VOOOMF The sound of the automobile is heard along the campus... and as the smoke clears... Diana brings over a boy... who matches the description that the machine gave him! The man of steel is pleased to see him alive, and congratulates her on their success! There is a call for a doctor... One of the guards has been shot! The hole in the man's chest could have been caused by a stray bullet or a piece of shrapnel from the explosion! He was a new man hired to be a special guard! Diana wonders... was he the man they were looking for? Even Superman doesn't know... They'll never know -- until it's too late! "Those who live by the sword, so shall they die.. and perhaps a world will die with them..."

The cover of Neal Adams has Superman resembling Mike Henry (who played Tarzan in a '60s movie) and Diana Prince wearing an outfit you would expect to see on Nancy Sinatra.

In 1971, Clark Kent is a mild-mannered television newscaster for a major metropolitan televsion station.

In 1971, Diana Prince has a small boutique in Greenwich Village and is being mentored by an elderly man named I-Ching.

In the same decade, Cathy Lee Crosby would star in a movie as "Wonder Woman." (Holy "That's Incredible," Batman!)

In the same decade, Lynda Carter would appear as Wonder Woman on ABC and later on CBS. One show would be set during World War II, while the other program would be set in the present-day.

For his blind date with Diana Prince, Clark has changed from his blue suit and white hat for a brown suit and tan hat.

The interesting thing about D.C. sound effects vs Marvel sound effects is that they don't have exclamation points at the end, unlike their Simekian Marvel counterpart.

Futuristic computers have been seen in comic books: Ultivac in The Challengers of the Unknown, the computer which kept war going on Earth-X in JLA #107 - #108, to give a couple of examples.

The idea that one person is integral to the future well-being of an entire world has been seen in the original Star Trek episode, "The City On The Edge Of Forever."

Against an armed grotty, Diana Prince may find it difficult to play "bullets and bracelets," but she's still game.

The term, "grotty," was coined in a scene between George Harrison and Kenneth Haigh in the film, "A Hard Day's Night."

Superman and Wonder Woman have shared a kiss in Action Comics #600, by John Byrne and George Perez, while Wonder Woman #300 saw the super-duo together as man and wife, in a story where the man of steel, not Steve Trevor, was the one to land on Paradise Island.

This Review Is Dedicated To WRHBill, Bob Buethe, and Jen Contino

Steve Chung
"Journey To The End of Review!"