Astral Bodies, Ray Guns, and the Wonder of it All

Astral

Astral Bodies, Ray Guns, and the Wonder of it All

The Golden Age of Wonder Woman

One of the most fascinating elements of Golden Age Wonder Woman are the tools available to her. “Mission to Planet Eros” introduces the reader to a number of fascinating tools that haven’t been mentioned before (Marston 1). The story opens with Diana Prince dressing for work by putting on earrings. She notes, “When I visited Venus for the Justice Society, Queen Desira magnetized these earrings with her lips. […] She said the earrings would give me magnetic hearing, and she could speak to me from Venus. I have a feeling she’s trying to contact me now—oh—my ears are tingling!” (Marston 74).

Queen Desira appears to Diana and asks her to dress as Wonder Woman. She then asks her to send her astral body to the planet Eros (Marston 74). The key here is that one’s astral body wears the same clothes as his or her physical body. Diana must change into her costume so she can be recognized as Wonder Woman. This prevents her double-identity being revealed, so Diana dresses as Wonder Woman and goes to Etta Candy’s dorm room to sleep. This visit results in Etta Candy insisting on visiting Eros with her. Both women go to sleep and send their astral bodies to Steve Trevor’s to invite his astral body along with them (Marston 74). Trevor agrees and changes into his uniform to go back to sleep, so that the three of them can follow Queen Desira to Eros.

Planet Eros

Once the trio arrive on the Planet Eros we hear about a prisoner named Rebla who has invented a “paralysis ray.” This weapon paralyzes anyone it touches, and the paralysis can only be released by the touch of a “copper tube” (Marston 78). Rebla goes on to perfect a ray gun that uses the same technology as her “paralysis ray” but allows distance between the shooter and the victim (Marston 79).

In response to these inventions, Wonder Woman invents “ray-proof bracelets” and trains an army of girls to defend themselves against the paralysis weapons. The development of these weapons and defense strategies communicates the swiftness with which women can create new (and dangerous) technologies. Marston’s belief in the power and ingenuity of women shines through in this story, but the surreal approach flattens the story. No one featured in the story is concerned about the actions around them. They simply go to work inventing a new weapon to respond to their circumstances. This results in an unusual message. What can mere mortals take from this? Is the message that we can change our mindsets to simply address our challenges?

To Discuss

What do you think the message of the swiftness with which these characters invent new technologies is? Tell us in the comments!

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