Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #11

Wonder Woman Wednesdays

Sensation Comics #11

In Sensation Comics #11, Marston has held in his cabinet of curiosities long enough. They’re back and with full-force. And I also say, with a breath of relief, that even though his fetishes are on display, this is the least offensive tale I’ve read in a while. Yes, cabniet of curiosities is open, but the young girls and boys reading this aren’t going to get it. It’ll go right over their heads.

Most all of Wonder Woman’s tales have taken place in America (with brief trips to Paradise Island, Europe, and Mexico) and very much centered on the fact that Wonder Woman’s here to protect American interests. However, Sensation Comics #11 marks a departure from this. Notably, this is the first tale which mentions Wonder Woman’s membership to the JLA. Her missions with them is where she met Queen Desira of Venus. And in this tale, Queen Desira calls on Wonder Woman to help her friends over on Planet Eros.

There’s a funny moment where Wonder Woman reminds Desira that she does not possess a space ship. (Logic in comics?) But Desira has that solved. You see when people sleep, their astral bodies can go on any adventure, including one to the light-years away Eros. Wonder Woman brings both Etta and Steve along for the trip because Etta insists she come, and for some reason, Wonder Woman thinks the people of Eros will respect Steve’s position in the U.S. Army. Okay, Wonder Woman, I guess that’s a fine excuse to bring your crush. (Steve’s also treated like the “girl” in this scene as he goes to Eros only half-dressed in his uniform because he was being too slow.) To protect her secret identity, Wonder Woman falls asleep in Etta’s dorm room.

Sensation Comics #11 Wonder Woman, Etta Candy, Steve Trevor, and Queen Desira
The legroom on the astral plane is phenomenal. But do they serve fresh baked cookies in coach?

While the trio adventures to Eros, Darnell and Lila notice that Diana and Steve are missing. They find a seemingly comatose Steve in his apartment and Diana missing from hers. Luckily for them, the headmistress of Holliday College finds Etta and Wonder Woman and brings them to the same army hospital where Steve is.

Meanwhile, on the planet of Eros, a woman named Rebla has rebelled against the government. (Yeah, Marston, can you just get a tad more creative with those names?) You see, Rebla is very upset that she’s no longer in prison. That’s right, to every Earthling’s confusion, on Eros at age 15, every girl goes to prison. In prison, she can study and do whatever she wants, including learning the fine art of Man Fishing. The girls are kept there as they grow into young women, and then Marya, the Planetary Mother and Supreme Judge of Eros, sentences them to their life’s work.

Sensation Comics #11 Rebla in prison
Rebla gets a lesson in Man Fishing.

In Rebla’s case, she’s supposed to be the leader of Trans Mountainia, which one assumes is some sort of city. But being leader is all work and no fun. So instead, Rebla shirks off her duty and just works on her paralyzing ray gun, which was her passion in prison.

When everyone’s angry at Rebla for not acting as leader, including Marya, Rebla decides that if she’s going to be leader, she’ll show everyone how it’s done. She declares war on Marya and the rest of Eros and sends her male-only troops into battle armed with paralyzing ray guns. Thankfully, Wonder Woman’s created a device, much like her bullet-dodging bracelets, which deflects the rays. A clunky combination of bracelets, chains, and boots. I’m sure Marston thought he was putting science in there somewhere.

Unfortunately, for Wonder Woman, the all-women (and Steve) troops of Eros don’t have the same mad skills at using their bracelets like Wonder Woman. Eventually, they’re all captured, especially since the ray guns shoot as far as one mile. (Good thing they use the empirical system on Eros.)

Sensation Comics #11 Wonder Woman and Etta Candy
Wonder Woman and Etta bring in the Eros cavalry to stop Rebla.

Now this is where Marston’s curiosities come out to play (okay, we already had the sport of Man Fishing and the all-female prison). Wonder Woman’s led off to jail, but kept paralyzed, because at least Rebla has that kind of foresight. Playing a psychological tactic, Wonder Woman reminds Rebla about all the fun she had in jail and she could go back there if she just surrendered to her jailers.

Of course, this prison has a twist. It’s run by men, and the people of Trans Mountainia and Eros in general are now ruled by Dominus, a man. (Do I need to spell this out?) When Rebla asks to work in her lab, the male guard threatens to whip her. That’s right, prison with men is no fun at all. Rebla knows that if Wonder Woman’s unparalyzed, she can rip her cage open, so Rebla tries to get Dominus to let her work her mo-jo on Wonder Woman. But Dominus has decided to let Wonder Woman die.

Sensation Comics #11 Rebla and Dominus
Rebla really hates how men run prisons. No storytime and no electrical engineering fun.

Oddly enough, Steve comes to everyone’s rescue. He strangles a guard through the bars and manages to get the keys to start freeing everyone. Except Wonder Woman, whose cell key is not on the guard’s chain. However, once Rebla’s free, she unparalyzes Wonder Woman.

Sensation Comics #11 Steve Trevor and a prison guard
Usually, Steve plays damsel in distress. But here, he remembers he did train as a soldier.

And for the first time, Wonder Woman’s angry. Like Hulk smash angry. Which is what she does with those bars. Then she promptly goes and smacks Dominus. Which restores rule of Eros to Marya. Rebla is seen as unfit for rule, and she happily goes back to the kind of prison where the guards are female and you fish for men.

Sensation Comics #11 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman SMASHES that cage and ends this war.

Marya offers a prison sentence to Wonder Woman, Etta, and Steve, but they head back to Earth instead. They suddenly wake up, much to everyone’s surprise after they’d been sleeping for 10 days. (Seriously, Peter, the hospital would hook them up with IVs, not just let them sleep. You could’ve drawn some medical equipment.)

Sensation Comics #11 Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, and Wonder Woman
The trio wakes up, all rested from their adventures.

Wonder Woman rushes away so she can appear as Diana Prince, causing everyone to be content that the status quo is back in order. That’s right, no one bothered to even ask the trio why they were sleeping for 10 days.

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