… or more properly, Etta Candy: Agent of ARGUS #1, because while Diana gets a good showing in this DC Digital First comic, this isn’t her story. Etta Candy, a supporting player in Diana’s adventures since the Golden Age, steps up to show us just what she can do.
Andrea Shea’s tale begins with Wonder Woman fighting KGBeast in Russia. He’s handling protection for the illegal sale of an ‘electro magnetic pulse bomb’. She’s working with US security group ARGUS, but it turns out Diana is mainly on distraction duty. The person whose job it is stop the sale of the Maguffin Bomb is field agent Etta Candy.
Ah, the hapless tourist bit. Etta gets the case containing the weapon, but, through bad luck, winds up captured by two enemy agents, one of whom sees through her disguise, while making some very wrong assumptions.
Can Etta get out of this situation without the help of her Amazon ally? You betcha – with courage, smarts and empathy. But that’s not the story over…
If you have access to online buying, shell out the tiny amount DC is asking for this 24pp done-in-one – it cost me UK79p, in the US I believe it’s 99c… wherever you are, it’s going to be a total bargain. Shea gives us a well-paced piece that mixes character and action to hugely entertaining effect. It’s the character aspect that interests me most, though. DC has been inconsistent in its approach to Etta over her eight decades of existence – up-for-anything sorority sister who would deck you were you to attempt to fat shame her, diet-obsessed military intelligence operative, insecure Air Force secretary, and recently, spy with supermodel looks.
This Etta is a blend, with the role of the modern Commander Candy and the cheerful gutsiness and looks of the original (the current canon comics version is African American). And it works wonderfully well, giving us an Etta well suited to living in Diana’s dangerous world. I love the humanity Shea gives Etta, as she reaches out to show one of her opposites a route out of the rotten situation they’re in.
Diana isn’t forgotten, always ready to protect Etta, but Shea shows that Etta has the stuff to save herself when Wonder Woman isn’t around – remember, on this mission, she’s Diana’s boss.
Meghan Hetrick’s illustrations are terrific – Diana and Etta are beautiful, but not sexualised, while KGBeast has visual charisma and the new characters their own personalities. The storytelling is splendid, with a fun spread showing Etta’s escape particularly well executed.
The colours of Arif Prianto are nicely naturalistic and the letters of Travis Lanham spot on. All in all, editor Andrew Marino has assembled a fine creative team and I’d be delighted were they to give us more adventures of Wonder Woman – and Etta.