"Caged": With Maxine and Etta captured, Wonder Woman is forced to surrender to Armbruster and Choi. Soon, the Amazon Princess finds herself stripped of her armaments and locked in an electronic cage deep within To-Choi Industries' main research facility; as extra leverage, Choi confines Maxine a
Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #44 is an issue of the series Wonder Woman (Volume 2) with a cover date of July, 1990.
Synopsis for "Caged"
With Maxine and Etta captured, Wonder Woman is forced to surrender to Armbruster and Choi. Soon, the Amazon Princess finds herself stripped of her armaments and locked in an electronic cage deep within To-Choi Industries' main research facility; as extra leverage, Choi confines Maxine and Etta to a similar cage elsewhere in the facility, wired to deliver a fatal shock at any irregularity.
As Choi taunts the three captives from a closed-circuit screen, the Silver Swan frantically apologizes to Armbruster for her prior disobedience. Reaffirming his "love" for her, Armbruster sends her into an experimental chamber designed to revitalize her powers through unprecedented doses of chemicals and radiation. Defiant, Wonder Woman and Etta voice their own theory: that the Swan is starting to revert to her pre-conversion self both physically and mentally, and the "experiment" is meant to negate this, keeping her forever loyal to Armbruster.
When Choi remains impassive, Etta suddenly jolts her cage, brutally electrocuting herself and Maxine. As the two women crumple lifelessly, an unnerved Wonder Woman tears her own cage apart, sparking a power surge that threatens to overload the entire facility. This forces Choi and the rest of the facility staff to shut down and recalibrate every instrument - save for the Swan's chamber, which Armbruster demands be kept at full power, no matter what the risk to the Swan.
Moments later, Choi finds himself cornered by Wonder Woman, who effortlessly subdues him and recovers her tiara and lasso. After putting Choi under the lasso's power, the Amazon Princess is relieved to find Etta and Maxine alive (having insulated themselves with a rubber waist-trimmer Etta bought for fitness purposes) as well. Before they can do much else, however, the entire facility begins to quake; the Swan, at last understanding how little Armbruster cares about her, has freed herself with a cry of pure rage.
Finding his staff downed and his equipment in shreds, a terrified Armbruster tries to flee, the Swan in close pursuit. Soon, they are intercepted by Wonder Woman, who captures Armbruster but refuses to let the Swan kill him in cold blood. Though all too willing to fight, the Swan is talked down by Maxine and Choi, the latter simultaneously urging Armbruster to confess everything.
Impelled by Wonder Woman's lasso, Armbruster admits that it was Dr. Buchman who had originally found and sympathized with the disfigured Valerie Beaudry; that he himself had never loved her, only meant to create a human weapon for foreign investors; and that he had killed Dr. Buchman during a particularly heated argument over moral scruples. Afterward, he had led the Swan to think herself responsible - and fed her jealousy of Wonder Woman - to instill her with a killer's mindset.
As the Swan steps closer, brimming with fury, Maxine and Wonder Woman beg her one last time to remember Valerie Beaudry's humanity - to remember the inner beauty that forged a friendship with Maxine long before the Swan was created. At last, their words reach the unbalanced young woman, who quietly, tearfully surrenders.
In following days, Armbruster is given to the authorities, while Etta is flown to Themyscira to recover alongside Solomon Buchman. Though both heal without incident, Buchman remains bitter over his father's death, and uneasy about his own prospects - an unease that even Wonder Woman is hard-pressed to answer.
Appearing in "Caged"
- Etta reveals herself to be a fan of the Dallas Cowboys - the first Post-Crisis reference to her Texan background.