"The Tournament of the Crown": The Amazons of Bana-Mighdall turn every available weapon on Hermes, to little gain; the Messenger-God only presses his attack with renewed fury, apparently indifferent to any injury. Desperate to prevent more bloodshed, Wonder Woman quickly intervenes, and successf
- The time has come, my sisters, to teach those treacherous jackals that death is a brew that no one serves better than an Amazon.
- — Faruka
Synopsis for "The Tournament of the Crown"
The Amazons of Bana-Mighdall turn every available weapon on Hermes, to little gain; the Messenger-God only presses his attack with renewed fury, apparently indifferent to any injury. Desperate to prevent more bloodshed, Wonder Woman quickly intervenes, and successfully calms Hermes. Shortly after, Nehebka orders the city's sentries to stand down, lest any crossfire defy Queen Anahid's last command by harming Wonder Woman.
Unfortunately, tensions reignite when Hermes explains the reason behind his rampage: Gaea herself has ordered him to recover her girdle from the "defilers" of Bana-Mighdall. Though Wonder Woman finds herself sympathizing, Nehebka vehemently refuses to surrender Bana-Mighdall's holiest relic to a male, especially a self-proclaimed Olympian (as Bana-Mighdall stands by Antiope's rejection of Olympus, treasuring the girdle only as a relic of Phthia). If Hermes does not withdraw, Nehebka means to attack again - whatever the consequences.
Meanwhile, Julia arrives in Egypt, accompanied by an equally anxious Steve. The pair are received by Dr. Suakin as well as Gen. Masat of the Egyptian Air Force, who voices misgivings about both Steve's background and Wonder Woman's (technically illegal) presence in Egypt. Hoping to allay these suspicions, Steve presents a tool left him by Hermes: a miniature caduceus enchanted to trace its master anywhere in the world.
The caduceus leads Steve and Gen. Masat deep into the Eastern Desert, all the way to the magical sandstorm surrounding Bana-Mighdall. After a quick investigation, both men agree the storm must hide something. To Steve's - and Julia's - horror, however, the General immediately readies an airstrike, having (correctly) decided that "something" may include the perpetrators of the Syene Kesh massacre.
Unaware of this new threat, and unable to mediate Hermes and Nehebka, Wonder Woman diverts the former by asking him to examine the barely-alive Cheetah. At the same time, Nehebka finds her authority challenged by Faruka, who demands a new, stronger regime altogether. Though she has long anticipated such treachery, Nehebka gravely misjudges the depths of Faruka's ambition; for Faruka has not only allied with other militants, but stolen Gaea's girdle to empower the fiercest of them, a strange armored warrior known only as Shim'Tar.
With Shim'Tar by her side, Faruka invokes the Tournament of the Crown, which allows any Amazon to claim Bana-Mighdall's throne by ritual combat. Caught off-guard by her foe's superhuman abilities, Nehebka is easily slain, allowing Shim'Tar to crown herself Queen - with Faruka her chief adviser. Her power now undisputed, Faruka sends Shim'Tar to destroy the last traces of foreign "corruption" in Bana-Mighdall: Wonder Woman and Hermes.
Though Hermes - already weakened from his earlier bouts - is quickly beaten by Shim'Tar, Wonder Woman manages to hold off the armored Queen, allowing the staggered Messenger-God to escape and continue searching for Gaea's girdle. Indeed, the brawl between Wonder Woman and Shim'Tar captivates every other Amazon save Batiri, a young priestess who heeds Hermes' desperation. Together, Hermes and Batiri discover the girdle's theft - just as the first of Gen. Masat's bombers begin approaching Bana-Mighdall.
Appearing in "The Tournament of the Crown"
- Amazons of Bana-Mighdall
- Julia Kapatelis
- Steve Trevor
- Barbara Minerva
- Col. Hadal (Appears only as a corpse)
- Gen. Masat
- Dr. Osman Suakin