Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #5

Wonder Woman Wednesdays

Sensation Comics #5Sensation Comics #5 takes Wonder Woman on adventures in the Navy. That’s right, her position as the military’s savior is not just limited to the Army. Diana doesn’t discriminate.

Here we see Diana filling in as Colonel Darnell’s date — this would be the second time she’s gone to parties accompanying him — since his wife couldn’t make it. Being the Colonel’s date gives her the honor of breaking a champagne bottle against the Navy’s newly commissioned submarine, the Octopus. However, Diana notices it’s too heavy to be champagne. It must be a bomb! So she throws the bottle into the ocean — pretending that her extra strong throw worthy of a World Series’ winning baseball team was just a silly accident. Oops. And good thing she did, as the bottle explodes on impact into the ocean.

Then Diana faints. Because that’s what a human woman would do! (I bet Etta wouldn’t have.)

Diana defuses the bomb and then faints.
Diana defuses the bomb and then faints.

Instead of halting the Octopus’ launch, even for a quick inspection, the Navy sends it down. Only to have it trapped at the bottom by a Nazi magnetic beam. My resident scientist tells me this is only mildly possible in real life. Perhaps if it was a really powerful beam, but there are too many unrealistic requirements to make the beam actually effective.

The always stealthy Nazis have parked their boat within telescope view of shore. So Steve heads off on a boat to hunt them down, and he’s quickly joined by Wonder Woman. She transforms from the “demure little Army nurse” to “that glorious creature of strength and beauty — Wonder Woman.” Yes, for a woman to be beautiful and strong, she must also be otherworldly.

Quickly, the Nazis are defeated by Steve, his friend the Nazi’s attempted to scapegoat, and Wonder Woman. Especially when Wonder Woman punches one hard in the jaw. The Nazis believe Steve’s friend to be a ghost and Wonder Woman to be a shedevil. (Has there not been a Nazi bulletin warning them to run the other way when they see Wonder Woman arrive on scene?)

Speaking of our salacious shedevil, I was thinking about about her Wonder Woman costume. Specifically her culottes. (And Etta’s too.) This weekend, my grandma-not-law and her sister were visiting, and they were talking about how they didn’t wear pants — until two years ago — because their father declared that any daughter of his wearing pants would have them ripped off. So I called my grandma. She doesn’t remember wearing pants until the 1950s and recalls my great-grandma out farming in long skirts in the 1940s. (We’re still in 1942 with Sensation Comics.) And grandma doesn’t recall culottes being in style until much later. According to Wikipedia, culottes have been acceptable for farm work and riding horses since the late Victorian era. So Wonder Woman’s completely fine running around in them while fighting, but Etta might not be given she never wears anything else.

On another progressive women’s fashion note, Etta’s crew of sorority sisters show up wearing bikinis. While this is the era where bikinis started to be mass produced in their modernized form, the modern bikini debuted in 1946. That’s right; Peter was ahead of the bikini-style curve in his drawings. I don’t wonder if some little girls had Wonder Woman banned from their house due to indecent dressing of her helpers.

On a less progressive note, Etta’s once again trashed for not being able to control her candy addiction. (It’s why she’s fat, don’t you know. /sarcasm) I wish Marston would stop making her jovial personality be funny because of the punchline “because she loves candy and it makes her fat.” Here Etta’s particularly upset when she jumps in the ocean with her candy box still in her arm. Instead of just letting it go, she swims with it and only captures Nazis with her free hand. Then she complains that she ruined such a good box of candy. But she’s going to eat it anyway. As Etta proceeds to eat, she discovers that her bonbons now taste like saltwater taffy. Ugh.

Etta and Beeta Lambda save the day with bikinis and bonbons.
Etta and Beeta Lambda save the day with bikinis and bonbons.

On the other hand, in almost every comic, it’s Etta and her sorority sisters who capture the Nazis and play their prison guards. In this particular tale, there’s a whole submarine full of Navy officers and a lot of other military personnel there for the Octopus’ send off, but it’s Etta and company playing the muscle. (Granted, after Wonder Woman’s subdued a lot of them and is the one to dive down to free the men in the submarine.)

Though I do like Marston putting a lampshade on Etta’s involvement in the following scene:

Admiral Funston admits that perhaps Etta secretly runs the Navy.
Admiral Funston admits that perhaps Etta secretly runs the Navy.

The comic ends with Steve professing his love about Wonder Woman (just like the comics before) and Diana worried how he just doesn’t care enough about her. Maybe next week, he’ll put two-and-two together. And next week, Diana gets her lasso. That’s right, bondage fun.

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