This one continues right from last issue, with Superman finding Black Lightning standing over Jimmy Olsen’s body and getting ready to pound Lightning’s ass into the ground. Of course, we know that it was Cyclotronic Man who almost wasted Jimmy (and there’s a handy flashback to remind us), but Supes doesn’t, so he and Lightning mix it up. Lightning does okay for a bit, but obviously he’s no match for Superman. Lightning is like Cool Hand Luke though, and just keeps on fighting. Jimmy interrupts the fight to tell Superman what really happened, and Cyclotronic Man decides that’s the perfect time to attack. His “speeding up a person’s molecules” power actually seems to be hurting Superman, but before he can finish him off, Black Lightning saves Superman’s ass. Cyclotronic Man gets pissed off and tries to bring the whole building down. At the hospital, Inspector Henderson is checking out, against his doctor’s advice. The doc says Henderson’s heart attack wasn’t just brought on by his confrontation with Black Lightning, but by the stress of his job in general. Henderson says he’ll retire after the 100 are eliminated from Metropolis. Back at the fight, Cyclotronic Man is celebrating killing Superman and Black Lightning, but he’s a bit premature. Supes flies out of the collapsing building carrying Lightning and Jimmy and Lightning gives Cyclotronic Man a swift kick in the mouth. Cyclotronic Man takes off, but before Lightning can chase him, Superman says e has to turn Lightning in, since he’s wanted for murder. Lightning talks to Supes about street-level crime in Metropolis and says it takes someone like him, who’s willing to fight at street-level instead of just flying overhead, to eradicate it. He tells Superman to check the police evidence, which he does with his telescopic vision. The evidence shows Joey Toledo was killed by one of Merlyn’s arrows, so Supes knows Lightning is innocent, though he still wonders why Henderson put out an APB for Lightning’s arrest. Lightning doesn’t know, but asks Supes to find Cyclotronic Man with his telescopic vision. When he does, he throws Lightning to the empty warehouse where Cyclotronic Man is located. Lightning crashes through the roof and finds Cyclotronic Man meeting with the guy in the gimp mask from last issue. He says that’s the guy who’s been narcing on Lightning and warning the 100 about the cops. While Lightning is distracted, Cyclotronic Man tries to waste him, but Lightning turns the tables and kicks his ass. Lightning bags Cyclotronic Man, but the gimp-mask dude gets away. Superman shows up and says Jimmy’s okay, and he and Lightning seem cool with each other. Later, we see Mr. Gimp putting away his mask and complaining about how his plans didn’t work out. He hears someone coming and when he goes to look, it’s his dad just getting home from the hospital. Yup, the major player with the 100 is Inspector Henderson’s son, Andy. How’s that for a twist? We’ll see what comes of it next issue.
- The whole “heroes fighting heroes” thing has always been a bit of a Marvel trope, but I notice DC was doing it in the late 70s too.
- When Superman throws Lightning toward the warehouse containing Cyclotronic Man, it’s kind of like Colossus and Wolverine’s fastball special, except Supes seems to grab Lightning by his pec. Talk about a tittie twister.
This one starts with a U.S. Marshal named Toby Ruster rousting a sleeping Jonah Hex from his bedroll to tell him he’s under arrest. Ruster has been tracking Hex for a while now, determined to take him in for the triple killing in Wyandott back in issue #2. of course, we know Hex didn’t do it—he was set up by Turnbull. But nobody else knows that yet, so there’s still a $10,000 price on his head. Ruster handcuffs himself to Hex and they set off for Wyandott. On the way, they come to a river, swollen with rain. And an old man who looks like Gabby Hayes operating a raft. He doesn’t want to ferry them across until the river goes down, but once he hears Ruster’s prisoner is Jonah Hex, he decides to make the crossing right away, despite the danger. Partway across, Gabby falls into the river and a spooked horse bashes Ruster’s brains out. Hex knows he can’t swim for it while dragging Ruster’s corpse, so he just tries to hang on. Eventually, the raft busts up and they float downriver where they’re spotted by a guy named George and his sweetheart Emmylou. George pulls Hex (and Ruster) out, and Hex puts on Ruster’s badge and claims to be him to avoid any trouble. George and Emmylou take Hex to a doctor, then to the blacksmith to bust the cuffs. Emmylou seems like she’s got the hots for Hex, and George isn’t too happy about it. While they’re at the blacksmith’s, some guy comes in and says the bank is being robbed. Since Hex is pretending to be a Marshall (and the town has no regular Sheriff), he’s forced to go stop the robbers. He grabs some dynamite and starts tossing it at the robbers. A couple get blown to hell and the rest take off. They release the tied up bank manager and now Emmylou is really creaming in her corset over Hex. George gets all huffy and goes for a walk and Emmylou feels bad so she goes with him. They find a dead horse by the river and George finds a Wanted poster in the saddlebags. He realizes Hex is a wanted criminal, not a Marshall and runs to tell the bank manager. Emmylou tries to talk him out of it, but that just makes him more determined. When he gets to the bank, he overhears the manager talking about how the bank job was a setup; the manager was in on it and he’s mad that Hex fucked everything up. They hear George outside and one of the manager’s boys shoots him. They find the Wanted poster and decide to stage another robbery and set Hex up for it, plus collect the bounty on his head. Emmylou sees them shoot George and hears them planning the set up, so she goes to warn Hex. She has trouble finding him, but finally catches up to him just as he’s about to enter the bank. She warns him, but one of the ambushers shoots her. Hex conks out the crooked bank manager, then blows away all the crooks. The next day, the townsfolk tell Hex Emmylou will live and the crooked manager is going to jail. They say it’s technically their duty to turn Hex in, but they make a bunch of excuses and let him go. On the way out of town, he’s tosses the Marshall’s star in the dirt.
- George is pretty damn strong; he hefts a tree and pulls Hex and Ruster out of the water.
- It’s weird that no one in the town recognizes Hex. There are Wanted posters of him all over the South, and his scar is pretty distinctive. Even through word of mouth someone should’ve guessed who he was … or maybe he wasn’t a “legend” at this point.
- I have no idea why a blacksmith would have a crate of dynamite lying around.