"Bloodvine": The background of his story laid, Chuma explains to Wonder Woman the nature of the Cheetah - no mere animal, no mere brute, but a deity akin to Urzkartaga himself. To successfully undertake the Cheetah's rites is to prove oneself worthy of being the Vine-God's consort and champion,
- This sort of thing doesn't happen to Barbara Minerva. I don't let it.
Appearing in "Bloodvine"
- Afeisume (Flashback only) (Dies in flashback)
- Mosach (Flashback only) (Dies in flashback)
- Urzkartaga, the plant god
- Ens. Assad (Single appearance)
- Col. Ghidammi
- Capt. Abber
- Tom Leavens (Flashback only) (Dies in flashback)
- Youngston (Deceased)
- Africa (Flashback and main story)
- Mediterranean Sea
- United Kingdom
- Lasso of Truth (Behind the scenes)
- Unnamed Libyan ship
Synopsis for "Bloodvine"
The background of his story laid, Chuma explains to Wonder Woman the nature of the Cheetah - no mere animal, no mere brute, but a deity akin to Urzkartaga himself. To successfully undertake the Cheetah's rites is to prove oneself worthy of being the Vine-God's consort and champion, to be infused with strength, speed, and savagery enough to protect his interests and his cult.
For generations, the Cheetah had watched over Chuma's people, remaining eternally young from fresh sacrifices and repetitions of the rites. Eventually, however, the sacrifices began to dwindle; the Cheetah had worked her powers too well, her reputation scaring away most outsiders. By the time of Dr. Minerva's expedition, the cult had become a shadow of its former self, with Chuma its only living priest and the Cheetah almost dead from lack of worthy sacrifice.
It was in hopes of restoring the Cheetah, restoring Urzkartaga's faith, that Chuma had trapped the expedition - all in vain, once the Boatengans had slaughtered the cult, Cheetah and all. Reduced to the Vine-God's last believer, his only wish to die for his failures, Chuma had instead found himself trapped in a crumbling temple with Dr. Minerva. To his surprise, his would-be victim refused to kill him, instead demanding to take the Cheetah's rites.
Seconds later, the temple's rubble-sealed mouth was approached by Dr. Minerva's colleague Tom Leavens, the only other survivor of the Boatengan raid (the raiders having gone on a looting spree several miles away). At once, Dr. Minerva talked Leavens through clearing the rubble, then knifed him in the back; with his blood and Chuma's knowledge, she fulfilled the rites and became the new Cheetah, whereupon she slaughtered the raiders and won Chuma's loyalty forevermore.
This arrangement, however, meant suffering as well as power; displeased by his new consort's lack of virginity, the Vine-God often inflicted spells of intense pain, which eventually reduced Dr. Minerva's human form to a brittle husk. Only the Cheetah form offered relief, and so Dr. Minerva obsessed herself with constantly killing, constantly satisfying the rites - until the Lasso of Truth, suddenly and inexplicably, captured her obsessions instead.
His story told, Chuma is quickly seized by Wonder Woman, who had scented poison all along and only pretended to drink his tea and succumb. Upon searching Chuma's luggage, the Amazon Princess finds a plane ticket to Egypt, where she races without hesitation. There, amidst the barren deserts, she encounters a sandstorm that flings her into a strange, mosque-like building - and a company of armed women who are unmistakably Amazons, two apparently killed by the Cheetah, the others very much alive and intent on killing their newest intruder.
- Wonder Woman explains that scenting poisons in drinks is an ancient Amazon custom. This will be elaborated on in issue #50.
- No trivia.
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