Meanwhile, in the great halls of the Undercover Capes Podcast studios, a silent alarm has been triggered during the network’s off hours by a person or persons unknown. Without hesitation, the Cape’s ever reliable and cognizant andriod, S.O.F.I.A. (Systemically Omnipotent Fully Independent Automaton), sends a distress call to the 13th Crusader.
“What seems to be the trouble S.O.F.I.A.?”
“An unidentified subject is attempting to infiltrate our headquarters. I am also detecting an anomalous energy signature. Your immediate presence is required until this potential threat has been identified, and if necessary, neutralized”, replied the android.
“On my way now S.O.F.I.A.”
As soon as the 13th Crusader arrives within a short distance of the disturbance, he dismounts from his noble mare, named Gwendy, and casts his gaze skyward, in awe of the powerful force crackling throughout the air. He unsheathed his indestructible sword in preparation for battle, but is immediately engulfed in an aura of blue energy, the likes of which he has never encountered before. Somehow, the powerful knight manages to break away from the dynamic blue energy and he decides to gather himself to consider a more effective strategy.
“S.O.F.I.A.! Contact the rest of the Undercover Capes team! Try reaching the Comic Crusaders too! Whatever this is, it’s not good. I’m definitely going to need all the help I can get!”
“I’m sorry sir. Both teams are unavailable at the moment”, replied S.O.F.I.A. “I can try to summon the nearest available metahuman to assist you”.
“Do it!” exclaimed the legendary knight.
Within thirteen short moments, a figure is seen flying in from a distance…splitting the clouds in a sky filled with mysterious power. The figure finally lands on the ground with a forceful thump that could easily be mistaken for a small seismic event. S.O.F.I.A.’s call for help is answered by someone the 13th Crusader knows of quite well, but never thought he would meet…
“State your purpose knight”, said the majestic heroine, in a voice that could easily make the gods green with envy. “How may the Princess of Themyscira be of assistance?”
For the first time in his crime-fighting career, the 13th Crusader is absolutely speechless; somehow, he musters enough concentration to stare away from the stunning Princess and points toward the threat attempting to destroy his home away from home.
“Come on…let’s go”, said Wonder Woman, as she armed herself with her magnificent Amazonian blade and remarkable shield.
Together, they marched onward to meet the unwanted visitor. At last, they reach their destination, and find a man, an unclothed being with blue skin, who begins staring at them quizzically. The 13th Crusader then whispers to Wonder Woman, “I know who he is. That’s Dr. Manhattan. I’ll try talking to him.”
“Dr. Osterman! I am the 13th Crusader! I’m not sure why you’re here, but you cannot remain! This is not yet your time…you must leave at once!”
Dr. Manhattan smirks caustically at the heroic knight, and then turns his attention away from the heroes.
“I don’t know why he’s here Diana, but we…we have to stop him…at all costs, before he manipulates reality as we know it.”
The two heroes dash towards Dr. Manhattan. The 13th Crusader tackles him using his shield, knocking his opponent off-balance temporarily. He then takes his sword and plants it firmly into the being’s collarbone while twisting it violently. Dr. Manhattan raises both hands in an effort to remove the enchanted blade, but while doing so, Wonder Woman seizes the opportunity to lunge at him and subsequently, she chops off his exposed…
Inexplicably, Dr. Manhattan disappears and all of reality remains intact…at least for the time being.
“I’m sure glad you’re on our side Princess. I owe you one, for sure”, cited the knight.
“You fought with honor and also without fear. It was a pleasure to finally meet you as well Crusader, despite the circumstances.”
“Wait…WHAT?! You know of me?”, uttered the surprised 13th Crusader.
“Indeed I do. I am aware that you are a comic book reviewer as well as a host on a show dedicated to discussing the exploits that feature most of my allies…and enemies. However, I have also heard you weren’t much of a fan of my adventures from times past. I’ll tell you what knight…if you wish to consider repaying your debt for my help, then you can do so by answering, in front of me, what your thoughts are on my latest comic book. Then I’ll determine if your debt has been repaid.”
Before the 13th Crusader can react, he finds himself ensnared within Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.
“Okay. I know what your lasso does. Yes, you are correct. I was never much of a follower of your solo books. I’ve always enjoyed the appearances you’ve made in the old Justice League books though. Your current comic book series has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Greg Rucka is very good writer who is scripting a story that has motivated me enough to research more about your past. His passion for writing your adventures is evident. His dialogue for Cheetah has been straight out fantastic”.
The Amazon angrily replies, “You favor my enemy then knight?”
“I have a newfound respect for her…the Barbara Minerva Cheetah that is. Before your current series launched, whenever Cheetah was mentioned to me, my brain immediately thought of the Priscilla Rich Cheetah. I guess that’s because I grew up watching the Challenge of the Super-Friends cartoon that featured a campy Priscilla Rich Cheetah always being thwarted by you. But while we’re on the subject of your nemesis, I am absolutely convinced that the way Liam Sharp is depicting her of late, it’s sheer artistic perfection. I firmly believe that Sharp’s animalistic and realistic rendition of Cheetah, has redefined what she’s supposed to look like. His background art is also breathtaking. The amount of detail that goes into the surrounding environment that both you and Cheetah are placed in, is positively incredible. Sharp is easily my favorite artist right now, and I’m genuinely excited and very much eager to see more of his splendid work on future issues. Oh yeah, and of course, his rendition of you is superb, especially during the scene where you and Cheetah rescued Steve Trevor’s men. Your regal beauty and fierce fighting spirit as you fought alongside Cheetah were on full display.”
“Your book, simply put Princess, is a must read. It’s certainly special and it should be on every comic book collector’s pull list”.
Wonder Woman removes her lasso from the admirable knight, but doesn’t utter a single word while doing so. Instead, she simply smiles…
Until next time Crusaders!
Wonder Woman #5
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Liam Sharp
Colors: Laura Martin
Published by DC Comics