Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sensation Comics #1 Review

This is easily the goofiest comic I've ever read. It's a ton of fun, but it's also just really silly and there are stupid moments that you can't help but laugh at. It's also the oldest comic I've ever read, and so I tried to put myself into the mindset of someone living back then, but I just couldn't see how it held up then as well as now.

It's not the first comic to feature Wonder Woman but is the first one to mainly feature the adventures of Wonder Woman, and is the continuation of her origins, as she dons her identity Diana Prince and establishes herself in Washington, D.C.

Is it bad? No. Is it good? Well, at the time I suppose it's good. It's perfectly harmless, too, so it's not like it's going to damage the reputation of Wonder Woman. It almost feels like the origin of Captain America, as Diana goes from a showgirl to becoming a super-hero in the name of America.

So, in keeping with the theme of the month, let's take a look at "Sensation Comics #1!"

Defending 'murica...with bracelets!

The cover is alright, featuring the pivotal moment within the comic that gets everything kicked into gear. And it holds nothing back from instilling in us that Wonder Woman fights for truth, justice, and the American Way. But nothing like Superman, that would be absolutely ridiculous. My only problem with the cover is that Wonder Woman isn't even looking at the people shooting her, so it looks like she's just doing a little dance while people are happening to shoot at her. Or maybe that's the secret behind Amazonian power.

A deserted barn! A perfect place for zombies to invade and hide my plane!

After a page of exposition and the narrator reminding us that Wonder Woman is going to save the world of man from the evils of man because she is a woman, Diana parks her "transparent plane" into a random barn and presumably carries Steve Trevor to the hospital, then speeds off.

Yeah, we do get beat over the head with the whole "man is bad" thing for the first page and thankfully it kind of goes away. I don't mind feminism in comics, heck one of my favorite Avengers/ Guardians of the Galaxy is a woman, but the whole "man is bad, man only creates war" aspect of comics is a bit tiring and has been beaten to death. I can't complain too much that it's in this comic seeing as how, well, Wonder Woman was a huge leap for the industry at the time, but I can't help but roll my eyes nowadays at the sight of it.

Diana decides to kill time like any woman would, shopping!

Don't hate me for writing that, the comic literally says: "always the woman, Diana goes shopping..."

The sour grapes insult WILL make a comeback!

Some of the older women begin to berate Diana for wearing such scantily clad clothing. Funny how nothing has changed, then, about super heroines wearing revealing costumes. It's still a funny moment, sheerly due to the dialogue here.

Because all men will tell another woman to check out a scantily clad Amazon.

Even the men are attracted to Wonder Woman! What a shocker!

The beginning of this book is, indeed, basically just people either wiggling their finger at Diana or drooling over Diana. Nothing really happens, but that's also the point of the story. Diana is looking for something to do while she waits for Steve Trevor to come out of his unconscious state, though for some reason they make it seem like he's in a coma even though he just saw Diana and passed out on the first page.

Finally, though, we get some action, as Diana spots a bank robbery in progress and is able to easily handle the robbers by blocking their bullets with her bracelets, which was apparently a game she used to play called "bullets and bracelets." Okay...

She tries to flee but is avidly pursued by a man in a green buggy trying to get her attention. Now, you know a comic is dated when the man expresses surprise that someone with super speed is able to run faster than 35 mph! He continues to be shocked as Wonder Woman's speed climbs and climbs until somewhere around 80 mph he's finally able to catch her!

1.21 GIGA WATTS?!?!

The man asks Diana to take part in a show he's going to put on that will make big bucks, shee? And of course, Diana accepts.

They'll call me...Wonder America! No...Captain Woman! And I'll get to punch Hitler!

When Diana finds out that Trevor is awake, she decides to stop the act and rushes off to find him. Which also raises the question of how long they've been doing this/ how long Trevor has been out? Was he really in a coma or something? Or did they manage to organize all of this and put on a multitude of shows in just under a day? Are we still in Washington, D.C.?

Wonder Woman, defender of her money and breaker of cars.

Typical of stereotypical businessmen in the 1940s, the man tries to sneak away with all of Diana's earnings. Diana does not take too kindly to that, and manages to stop the man by grabbing onto the back of his car before he can get away. She makes a bad joke and manages to get away with it, leaving the man hanging without any money. Oh well.

The next day, Diana tries to find Trevor but instead finds a nurse whose husband was just shipped to South America and the two don't have enough money to communicate. Uh...okay. I mean, I have no idea what things were like back then, but I kind of find it hard to believe that a nurse of all professions does not have enough money to contact her husband.

I will steal your identity like I stole my money, mwahahaha! I am Wonder Woman, conqueror of DC!

Wonder Woman finds out that the other woman's name is Diana and that the two look exactly alike. The other woman, in a nutshell, gives Wonder Woman her last name and heads off with all of her money that Diana gave her to go see her husband, dropping everything and everyone who cared about her and now is being replaced by a total stranger. Wow. Better hope Wonder Woman is a good doctor, right?

Trevor wakes up and thinks that Diana is...Diana. But Wonder Woman says otherwise and Trevor leaves, getting right back to work in trying to find that mysterious bomber that would have destroyed an entire US army base. He finds the bomber and tries to take it down. Wonder Woman goes after him in the "transparent plane" and manages to rescue Trevor.

Best moment of the issue: Wonder Woman reaches out, punches the bomber pilot in the face, and exclaims, "Why, he's been wounded!"

As if that punch to the face was going to tickle him or something.

Trevor and Wonder Woman decide to go to the bomber's secret base, which Wonder Woman conveniently had her mother look up before she left, and attack, managing to find the leader but he gets away in a massive explosion. Wonder Woman saves Trevor at the cost of a broken leg which is drawn akin to a noodle. Yup, that's how it looks in real life, too!

Also: Hitler was in one of the panels for some reason. I guess they were German. Maybe.

Anyway the two go back and Trevor gets put in the hospital again. Diana tries hitting on him but he says that he only has eyes for Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman she is her own enemy in trying to get to Trevor romantically, ending the issue.

This comic is so silly and so much fun that it's hard not to break a smile reading it. I mean it's just so innocent and whimsical and such a product of the time. Does it hold up today? It holds up alright. There are a few moments about feminism and being a strong woman that make me roll my eyes about how in-your-face they are, but other than that, the characters are classics, Wonder Woman is a joy, and the dialogue is great to read in a retrospective manner. If you're curious about the origins of Wonder Woman in mainstream comics, or looking for a good laugh, check out this comic.

Next week, we jump ahead decades to look at the rebirth of one of comics greatest teams in "Avengers #1" by Jonathan Hickman.

If you want to stay up to date on when I post, follow me on Twitter @seanovan13 and on Instagram @seanovan10. Thanks for reading!

Also I'm reviewing the anime Sword Art Online episode-by-episode on my other blog, I just started the Fairy Dance/ ALO arc (so, Episode 15) if you want to catch up on my thoughts and continue following!

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