Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wonder Woman vs. Dr. Poison: Sensation Comics #2
Last time, I promised that we'd meet Wonder Woman's first costumed villain in this issue. What I didn't tell you is that we also get to meet Etta Candy for the first time and get our fist glimpse at William Moulton Marston's bondage fetish.
The story opens with Steve Trevor's being kind of a baby about being laid up. He has valuable information concerning the identities of foreign spies and wants to get back to Intelligence HQ to share it. Apparently, they can't debrief him in the hospital or something. Wonder Woman, posing as Steve's nurse Diana Prince, feels duty-bound to keep him settled, but her plans go awry when the foreign spies kidnap Steve and her with him. She decides to play along to find out where their hideout is.
At the hideout, they meet the ringleader behind the kidnapping and Steve immediately identifies the ghoul-faced physician as Dr. Poison.
When Poison threatens Steve, "Diana" nearly blows her cover by snapping the ropes she's tied up with, but her captors - while impressed - don't make the connection that she's super-human. Stupid captors.
Unfortunately, Poison holds a scalpel to Steve's throat until Diana allows herself to be recaptured. I'm still giving Steve the benefit of the doubt in this issue. He seems pretty helpless, but he's also still seriously injured, not only from crashing on Paradise Island, but from over-exerting himself last issue and being buried beneath an exploded building for a bit.
Anyway, Diana's taken to another room and hogtied.
Oh, Marston. This isn't quite as kinky as the book would later become, but if you know the direction it eventually took you can see the roots of it here. At first read though, the scene makes enough sense to the story that it feels pretty harmless.
Once the guards leave, Diane wastes no time in breaking free and changing into her costume.
Oh, Marston. Lucky they didn't check your bag too, WW.
Worried that Dr. Poison will kill Steve if she attacks directly, Wonder Woman decides to escape and come up with another plan. Oddly enough, when the outside guards see her, their first connection is to her role as a stage performer, not a super-hero. That doesn't keep them from shooting at her though.
So, what's Wonder Woman's plan? It's revealed slowly, but we learn first that it involves a woman named Etta Candy who attends the Holliday College for Women.
Now, if you're like me, you're wondering, "Who is this Etta Candy person and if she's Wonder Woman's friend, why is this the first time we're hearing about her?"
All becomes clear when Wonder Woman finally tracks Etta down.
Apparently, Wonder Woman's been going through the real Diana Prince's things and found a reference to Diana's friend Etta from the hospital. Maybe an old, pre-appendectomy photo, because Etta explains that she started pigging out after she had her appendix removed and could eat whatever she wanted. There's something not quite right about that story, but we'll let it slide. I don't know enough about appendectomies to call BS on it.
Wonder Woman has Etta round up all the hot, athletic girls at Holliday and recruits them into an army to rescue Steve. The girls march up to the bad guys' hideout and offer to put on a dance for the spies. "We're just girls and we want men!" Wonder Woman explains.
Too bad for the spies, the dance quickly becomes violent.
This is also the first direct example of Wonder Woman's inspiring other women. Yes, she's inspiring them to distract a bunch of thugs with an impromptu social gathering, but it's a start.
With the goons subdued, Wonder Woman rushes off to rescue Steve and the two of them confront Dr. Poison. Then, in a sudden plot twist...!
What the-? I totally didn't see that coming. Not enough of an expert on delicate hands, I suppose. (Although I did go back and check some of the panels where Poison wasn't wearing gloves and damned if those hands aren't delicate!)
Who the heck is Princess Maru? Not important, apparently. It's enough for us to know that she's eeeevil. And probably Japanese. But while Wonder Woman takes Steve back to the hospital, Etta has Maru totally under control.
And proceeds to spank her.