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The Avengers in Diana comic: Story Three

Part One - Issue 205, January 21st 1967

The mystery of the golden dresses.
A FEW short blasts on the horn of her Lotus Elan brought John Steed hurrying out of his London flat to meet Emma Peel.  The "Avengers" had a very important appointment - according to Mrs Peel.

Mrs Peel has invited Steed to join her for an important appointment at one of London’s most exclusive fashion salons. While Mrs Peel studies the new creations on display, Steed studies the audience. He notices that is made up of the wives of influential and important men – including the foreign minister’s wife and General Frobisher’s wife.

The Avengers - Diana #205Emma interrupts Steed’s reverie when the dress she came to see is due to be unveiled. The dress is the smash of the show – a special new weave in gold wire and silk, it seems to gleam like gold. When the show finishes there is a rush to place orders for the dresses.

A few days later, Steed is on his way to visit Mrs. Peel when he spies a news stand – General Frobisher has gone missing. That evening Steed and Mrs Peel are watching television when the news is announced that Admiral Caine and the Foreign Minister have also gone missing. Steed thinks it’s all too coincidental, especially when Mrs Peel tells him that all of the women ordered one of the Golden Dresses from Madame Zingara.

Next day, the pair decide to visit Madame Zingara’s salon. Mrs Peel wears a pair of sunglasses in case she is recognised, and Steed remains with the Bentley. Mrs Peel introduces herself as the wife of Air Vice-Marshal Clinton, and says that she wants to buy one of the Golden Dresses. While Madame Zingara is away checking the stock room Mrs Peel has a quick snoop around. In a drawer she finds a piece of paper listing many important people in the country. The people who have already gone missing are crossed out.

Meanwhile, in the stockroom, Madame Zingara is speaking into a tiny microphone. She asks for a Golden Dress, and a pair of shiny steel claws, holding one of the dresses, springs out of a panel in the wall. One of Madame Zingara’s assistants appears, and she warns her to be careful – the dress must not be touched by human hands until Mrs Clinton touches it.

Part Two - Issue 206, January 28th 1967

In which Mrs Peel acts very strangely indeed!
JOHN STEED and Emma Peel, "The Avengers", are secretly investigating Madame Zingara - owner of one of London's most exclusive fashion salons.  Certain very important people from high-up positions in the Government and the armed forces have mysteriously disappeared.  The Avengers are following a lead, knowing that the wives of the missing V.I.P.'s have recently bought one of Madame Zingara's fantastic new golden dresses.  Now Mrs Peel, posing as the wife of Air Vice-Marshal Clinton, goes to buy a golden dress.

The Avengers - Diana #206The Golden Dress is presented to ‘Air Vice-Marshal Clinton’s wife’, and when she has left the Air Vice-Marshal’s name is crossed off Madame Zingara’s list. Emma meets Steed round the back of the Salon and tells him about the strange list of names. They go back to Mrs Peel’s flat for coffee.

Mrs Peel changes into her Golden Dress, but Steed fails to notice a strange look in her eye. When Steed’s back is turned, Mrs Peel picks up a large wooden ornament and knocks him out with one blow to the skull. As if hypnotised, she picks up the phone and makes a call – she tells the person on the other end of the line that she has done her part and that it is now time for them to come and pick up her husband.

Half an hour later two men arrive at the flat. In the meantime, Mrs Peel has changed out of the Golden Dress into one of her more usual outfits. The men take away Steed and the dress. They take Steed to a run-down tramp steamer on the Thames.

The Captain asks who he is and is told that he is Air Vice-Marshal Clinton, the name sounds familiar to the Captain, but he can’t remember why. He browses through some magazines and finds a reference to the Air Vice-Marshal, along with a photo. He realises that Steed is an impostor.

Back at her flat, Emma comes around from the trance she had fallen into when wearing the Golden Dress. She wonders where Steed and her Golden Dress have vanished to. On the floor she finds the blood-stained wooden ornament.

Back at the ship, the villains place Steed’s unconscious body in a weighted sack and then, undercover of darkness, throw it into the murky waters of the Thames.

Part Three - Issue 207, February 4th 1967.

Things that go bump in the night!
JOHN STEED of "The Avengers" is in deadly danger.  While investigating the mysterious disappearance of certain high-up people in the Government and the armed forces, Steed is kidnapped, sewn into a weighted sack and dumped overboard from a tramp steamer moored in the Thames.  Meanwhile at her flat, Emma Peel is coming out of a strange trance brought on by the fantastic golden dress which she brought from the sinister Madame Zingara, while posing as the wife of an Air Vice-Marshal.  Mrs Peel is still unaware that it was the strange power of the dress that made her knock out Steed and hand him over to Madame Zingara's accomplices.

The ice cold water of the Thames revives Steed, and he frees himself from the sack by using a spring-loaded knife in the toe of his shoe to rip it open.

The Avengers - Diana #207In the meantime, Emma sets off for Madame Zingara’s salon. She is hoping to pick up some clues about where Steed is, and why her mind is a blank. Madame Zingara receives a call from the Captain of the ship who tells her that Steed was an impostor, and that he suspects somebody may be on to them. Madame Zingara says that she will come straight away.

As she is about to leave in her golden Rolls Royce car, Emma arriving in her Lotus Elan decides to follow her. Keeping a safe distance, she follows her to the tramp steamer. After Madame Zingara boards the boat, Emma sneaks on. Hearing voices she starts moving in their direction in the dark. Coming from the opposite direction is a cold and wet John Steed. They bump into one another in the dark. They recognise one another and move towards the source of the sound. Peering through an open porthole, they hear Madame Zingara and the Captain talking about their other ‘guests’.

The boat weighs anchor and starts off for destination unknown. Steed and Mrs Peel hide in one of the lifeboats. Later, the ship stops just short of a small island. A motor cruiser comes out to meet the steamer. When the cruiser’s crew have boarded the larger boat, Steed and Mrs. Peel lower themselves into it and hide under a pile of rope and sailcloth.

The motor cruiser moves back to the island and the occupants of it clamber ashore and move towards a house perched high on the cliffside. After they have crossed the beach a mysterious man in the house turns the power back on for some mysterious purpose. As the Avengers start to cross the beach, Emma pull up. She has seen something in the sand and doesn’t like the look of it. Steed tells her that it looks like they have just walked into the middle of a minefield.

Part Four - Issue 208, February 11th 1967.

Torpedo Ahoy!
The "Avengers", John Steed and Emma Peel, follow a gang of international crooks to their secret hide-out on a mysterious island in the North Sea.  Madame Zingara, the sinister leader of the gang, is a top fashion designer whose fantastic Golden Dress creation has been used to enslave the wives of certain important men in the Government and armed forces.  While in the strange power of the Golden Dress, the wives have led their unsuspecting husbands into the clutches of enemies of Britain.  The island beach the Avengers are crossing is sewn with deadly mines.

The Avengers in Diana comic #208Steed and Mrs Peel retrace their steps back to the jetty by placing their feet in the footsteps they have created in the sand and walking backwards. They requisition a rowing boat and start around the island to find an alternative route to the house. Unknown to them, they are quickly spotted by a midget submarine on patrol around the island. It fires a torpedo at them. Mrs Peel spots a flock of seagulls taking to hurried flight after they are disturbed by the wake of the torpedo and surmises that it could be something aimed at them. They dive from the rowing boat in time to see it blown to pieces.

Steed and Mrs. Peel begin the arduous climb to the top of the cliff. When they get there they approach the house and, looking through a window, they see the missing V.I.P.s. They are about to be forced onto the boat and taken to an unnamed country when Steed and Mrs Peel make their move. Seizing burning torches, they rout the villains. Madame Zingara is no match for the pair and she confesses her evil plan. The dresses, which were woven in fine metal strands were charged with electrical power which had a strange hypnotic effect on the wearer, she had planned to remove the country’s most brilliant men and replace them with her own specially-selected followers.

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