Sensation Comics #16 is both the most offensive and the most entertaining plot that Marston has written in a while. There was a lot of heart-and-soul in this comic. It’s essentially a romantic-comedy with a spy-catching thriller stuck in there too. Think Wonder Woman as a Liam Neeson character catching spies while stuck in 27 Dresses. Or something like that.
The comic starts with Diana receiving a telegram from Etta announcing that she is getting married. Marston spends about half a page with Diana, Steve, and even Colonel Darnell laughing about Etta getting married. That’s right, even Etta’s best friends, whose butts she’s saved again and again, can’t believe anyone would want to marry her.
I mean, who needs enemies when you can have friends like Diana and Steve?
This makes me even more glad that Etta marries Steve. Because seriously, what a bunch of assholes. I hope every night when Steve closes his eyes, he feels guilty for being such a jerk. (Yes, I *know* DC messed with the worlds that the Golden Age stuff is supposed to take place on.) And of course, the only reason Etta sent the telegram is because she wanted Diana there. She even lets her bring Steve along.
Of course, first thing, Diana catches Etta’s finance Prince Hylo Goulash making out with a famous dancer and movie star Fifi La Strange. La Strange indeed, Marston. When Diana tries to let her friend know that Hylo isn’t the loving gentleman he pretends to be, someone tries to kill Diana! And Fifi holds the smoking gun!
But before Fifi can be interrogated, there’s a scene with a masked man ordering unnamed Mexican workers to blow up the Candy oil well. (Maybe this is really what happened in the Gulf…)
Hard Candy, Etta’s father, rides off to stop the gusher and the fire as the well explodes. Etta rushes inside to mental radio Wonder Woman, who appears way too quickly for Etta to not make the Diana-Wonder Woman connection.
At the gusher/fire, the firefighters are having no luck putting out the blaze. It just keeps burning hotter. So Wonder Woman dons the asbestos firefighting suit to go put out the fire. Yes, asbestos. But I suppose that’s probably what firefighters wore back then. The fire is so hot, it burns the gloves as Wonder Woman seals the pipe and tosses the blazing section away from the well and over the heads of the onlookers.
Hard and Wonder Woman deduce that it was sabotage by the smell of the Earth. (No joke.) Meanwhile, Fifi seduces Steve as he wants to further question her about the attempt on Diana’s life. And as in every issue, a bad guy sneaks up behind Steve and knocks him out. Steve must have some serious brain damage. He’s then captured and flown by the bad guys to Rock Top.
Side note: On our last adventures to Candy Ranch, Mexican people were actually treated pretty well. But here, there are some bad stereotypes, and I don’t just mean that they’re all wearing sombreros and throwing woven blankets over their shoulders. Or that none of them have names.
Still suspicious of Fifi, when Wonder Woman discovers that Steve’s missing, she lassos Fifi and compels her to take her to the enemies. On the way there, Wonder Woman and Fifi run into the Holliday College Girls who were out in the wilderness practicing their marching band skills for Etta’s wedding. Of course, they were. They all go together to the enemy’s secret, but empty, cave.
As Fifi escapes, the bad men and their masked leader show up and take everyone hostage. They go high into the mountains where all the Holliday girls and Wonder Woman are put into a jail. There Wonder Woman discover that her jailers aren’t Mexican, but Italians disguised as Mexicans. (Because they look so much alike.) And Wonder Woman has an idea!
“Latins love music.” And thus, if the Holliday Girls start playing their instruments and singing, their Italian guards will be unable to resist the call to dance. And dancing needs female dance partners. Soon enough, all the women are out of their cells, singing and playing music and dancing with their captors.
Until the song ends and Wonder Woman breaks out of her cell. Then they tie up their captors and put them in jail. Those, Italians, such suckers for music. (Note to prisoners: music is way more effective than the whole climbing out through the laundry shoot or using your superhero’s superpowers.)
Of course, after this is where things get really crazy. The men tell Wonder Woman about Rock Top, the enemy’s secret hideout. It’s a half-mile up a sheer cliff side, and Wonder Woman left her invisible jet back in DC and there’s no time to lose. (Too bad she can’t fly yet.) The Holliday girls remind her that not even she can jump a 1/2 mile into the sky.
So what do they do? They construct a kite. A kite big enough for Wonder Woman to climb on and ride all the way to Rock Top.
Luckily for Steve, Wonder Woman interrupts the Japanese spies who are about to execute him. (Warning: Extreme racism about Japanese and Asian people in general.) But the spies escape by making a makeshift pulley out of the kite string as Wonder Woman unties Steve. (I assume the Holliday girls capture the Japanese spies, but the comic never says.)
Wonder Woman and Steve race down to go after the masked leader. Wonder Woman catches and de-masks him as he approaches the Candy Ranch. It’s Prince Hylo Goulash. Or Karl Schultz as his fellow Gestapo agents know him.
Apparently, Etta started the wedding without her best friend and Steve there (which makes sense given what assholes they were earlier) and the Holliday Girls and her fiance. But Etta’s super angry that Hylo hasn’t shown up and has already decided that she’s not marrying him. So when Wonder Woman drags him to the chapel to reveal his true nature, Etta socks him.
But the weirdness isn’t over. Turns out Fifi is a twin, and it wasn’t Fifi at the Candy Ranch with Hylo, it was Malone, Fifi’s twin sister and an undercover cop.
Back at the Candy Ranch, Etta is rightful throwing a tantrum. All she wants to do is go outside to ride and eat candy with her best friend Diana. So Wonder Woman gets her lazy butt up off the love seat and goes to change into her Diana outfit. But while she’s staring into the mirror, Wonder Woman gives herself a firm talking to about thinking people are crooks, like she did with Fifi, when they are not.
Oh, Marston, minus the racism and mocking Etta, this was exactly the kind of tale that I’d been missing.