Comics Reviews: Flash 257, Wonder Woman 239, Green Lantern 100

Flash 257 coverFlash #257 – “The Golden Glider’s Triple Play” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin

This issue starts with Barry and Iris on their way to Fallville to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Barry’s parents. But they’re being shadowed by someone with sinister motives … Golden Glider. She drops a tree in their path and when Barry stops the car, another tree falls right on top of it. Barry uses his super-speed vibrations to vibrate himself, Iris, and the car through the tree and out of harm. When he and Iris look at the tree stump,falling trees they see it was severed with some kind of laser. Realizing the whole thing was a trap, they leave without discussing it in case someone’s listening. Unfortunately for them, Golden Glider saw the whole “vibrating car” thing, which confirmed her suspicions that Barry Allen is really the Flash. She heads for Barry’s parents’ house to prepare a surprise for him. Barry and Iris get to his parents’ house and go through the usual family stuff. That night, Iris is apparently in the mood for some lovin’ but Barry’s too busy thinking about the falling trees. A huge glowing diamond appears in their room and Barry changes to Flash and chases it outside. Golden Glider’s waiting for him and tells him she knows his secret identity. She uses another gem from her costume to make Flash super-heavy, so he sinks into the ground. By the time he recovers, she’s gone, but the trauma makes him keel over. Another gem lying next to him projects a weird vision into his head; his parents are both sick, running high fevers and blood pressures. They call Flash heavyfor an ambulance, saying without treatment they’ll be dead within the hour. Flash wakes up and thinks it was a hallucination, but when he gets back to the house, there’s a cop car and an ambulance there. He vibes through the wall and changes back to Barry. His parents confirm that they are deathly ill with some unknown malady, but there’s a force field around the house keeping them inside and the paramedics out. Barry realizes his super-speed must’ve been enough to get through the force field, then goes to check on Iris, who’s also sick as a dog. Golden Glider appears in a giant prism to taunt Barry. She says the force field is tuned so it will only let him through, not anyone he’s carrying. She wants him to watch his parents and Iris die, so she’ll have revenge for The Top’s death (aka Roscoe Dillon, her boyfriend). Barry freaks, but can’t really do anything. He makes the three victims comfortable, then heads out to try and get answers from Golden Glider. When they fight, she magnifies her pearl attackpearls and bombards Flash with them. He tosses them all aside at super-speed then whips around behind her and knocks her on her ass. Flash threatens to take her through the barrier, which would kill her since it’s tuned only to him. But she doesn’t care; she says if she dies, she and Roscoe will be together again. I can’t decide if she’s really devoted or really nuts. Of course, Flash doesn’t kill her, he dumps her ass outside before going back into the house to look for the source of the sickness. He scours the place but can’t figure out what the source might be. He starts thinking about the Top’s M.O. Of using top-themed crap, then realizes that all of Golden Glider’s stuff is gem related. He goes through the house and removes everything even remotely resembling gems or jewelry (and it makes quite a pile—the Allen’s must be jewel thieves or something), but it doesn’t seem to help. jewelsHe finally spots some diamonds on the monogram on Iris’s suitcase and flings it through the roof, giving it enough super-vibration that it disintegrates outside. That immediately gets rid of the force field and the mysterious sickness. As the Allens celebrate their Golden Anniversary, Barry thinks about Golden Glider, who got away but left him a note promising revenge.

Noticeable Things: 

  • I’m glad Golden Glider finally put two and two together. In issue #250 she jumped to the conclusion that Iris was cheating on Barry with the Flash, but never seemed to suspect the more obvious answer … that Barry IS the Flash.
  • Golden Glider was smart enough to figure out Flash’s secret identity, and to build numerous high-tech deathtraps, but her math skills aren’t so good. While she’s ruminating about discovering Barry’s secret, she says she was 99% certain he was Flash and the falling tree escape eliminated “that doubtful 10%.”
  • After Barry chases the big diamond from his room, his parents knock on the door and say they were worried because they heard Iris shout Barry’s name; maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t jump her when she was in the mood.Iris in the mood
  • When Flash knocks Golden Glider down, she tries to play the “you struck a woman from behind” card, but if she’s gonna threaten to kill someone’s wife and parents, I think she probably shouldn’t expect gentlemanly behaviour.
  • I gotta say, Golden Glider is pretty kick-ass; not only does she discover Flash’s secret identity, but she’s not afraid of dying. She’s a better villain than all the other Rogues put together.

Wonder Woman 239Wonder Woman #239 – “A Duke Named Deception” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Wonder Woman beating the crap out of a bunch of Nazi spies/assassins. Apparently, these guys are after MacArthur just like Kung was last issue. Jay (Flash) Garrick shows up and wastes the Nazis at super-speed. But Wonder Woman’s not really happy about his help, since she sees it as evidence that he didn’t trust her to take care of it herself. She leaves in a huff, though she later admits to herself that General MacArthur’s sexist attitude might’ve been bothering her more than she thought, and that’s why she let Jay have it. At the hotel,Flash vs Nazis Etta is entertaining (ahem) Lieutenant Marchand, the Free French soldier who served with her brother in North Africa. The two of them head out to the Copacabana and Diana thinks that there’s something about Marchand she doesn’t trust. In a hospital, Steve Trevor is shown photos of Wonder Woman freaking out on American soldiers (a couple issues ago) and trying to protect Kung, the Japanese assassin (last issue). Steve says there must be an explanation, but he’s too weak to leave the hospital, so the order banning Wonder Woman from Army Intelligence ops stands. Elsewhere, Mars (the God of War) is throwing a hissy fit because Wonder Woman has been helping to slow down World War II. The Duke of Deception makes a suggestion; since Wonder Woman is already on the outs with certain Statue smashedmembers of the Army, if they make it look like she’s attacking the Army again it would get her in trouble and cause the War to escalate. Mars sends him to Earth to carry out his plan. In Lower Manhattan, Diana and Jay are apologizing to each other. Jay admits that he (and the other JSAers) have gotten so used to the way things are done that they never stopped to consider any alternatives. So when Diana (who came from a place where women do anything and everything) tried to get them to see how fucked up the system was, they had a hard time breaking out of their old patterns. She apologizes too for freaking out and suggests dinner at the Copa (checking up on Etta, maybe?), but before they can leave, Diana sees the Statue of Liberty come to life. She changes to Wonder Woman and attacks the Statue, finally managing to knock it down. Jay is appalled, since from his point of view she just smashed the (inanimate) Statue of Liberty to shit. Wonder Woman gives him shit again and takes off, but sees a bunch of Nazis invading New Jersey. Again she believes it and goes to pound them. Unfortunately, it’s another illusion and she’s actually pounding Americanfake Nazis sailors. Some top Army generals are observing her freak-outs and put out “capture-or-kill” orders. Flash tries to follow Wonder Woman and stop her, but halfway across the Hudson, he’s jumped by a monster conjured by the Duke of Deception. Right after Wonder Woman finishes pounding the sailors (still thinking they’re Nazi soldiers) the Army shows up and orders her to surrender or be attacked. We’ll see what her decision is next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • All the spies that Wonder Woman and Flash pound have thick German accents. I’m not sure how effective they’d be as espionage agents.
  • Mars apparently has his headquarters on the planet Mars, not in Olympus.
  • This is another of those late 70s attempts at addressing feminism (or male writers’ ideas of feminism) that were so prevalent in comics back then. This one’s not as clumsy as some;  Diana and Jay both make good points, though Diana immediately jumping to “men are stupid” every time Jay disagrees with her gets a little tedious. I mean, he was right about the Statue of Liberty not being a threat, so maybe he’s not the only one who needs to modify his thinking? Or maybe that was Gerry’s point, that both sides need to give a little to (potentially) gain a lot.

Green Lantern 100 coverGreen Lantern #100 – “Rider of the Air Waves” – Denny O’Neil/Alex Saviuk/Vince Colletta

This is a double-size anniversary issue, so we get two stories instead of one. The first shows us Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan driving around in his new big rig. Carol Ferris bought it for him (or lent him the money, or whatever) last issue and he’s already out on the road. He gets a call for help over his CB; it’s kind of garbled, but he makes it out and changes to Green Lantern to investigate. He finds some hijackers knocking off a semi full of furs and kicks their asses. The victim turns out to be a trucker named Bertha Vann aka Goldilocks … she’s pretty hot, too.Goldilocks After GL frees her, she mentions the interference on the CB and GL tries to track it with his ring. He finds the source and discovers a two-dimensional figure trapped in the ether. He frees the guy and gets a punch in the mouth for his trouble, which he returns with gusto. He cages the aggressive little punk, but soon finds out he’s a good guy named Air Wave.GL vs Air Wave Technically, he’s Air Wave II because his dad was the original Air Wave, but he’s dead now. Air Wave thought GL was the one who trapped him, so that’s why he took a swing at him. GL promises to help tutor him as a superhero, starting with tracking down who trapped him in the first place. Speaking of which, we see a goofy-looking guy named Master-Tek who’s gathering all the “broadcast energy” within twenty miles and shooting it at an underground communications facility that controls a quarter of the phone lines in the U.S. Master-Tek is being paid by a foreign country to fuck up America’s comm system and he’s getting pretty close to pulling it off. Nearby, GL and Air Wave use Hal’s truck (and Air GL shaken Wave finds the name “Hal Jordan” fascinating for some reason) to call the cops, but the signal is completely blocked. Goldilocks says she’s only got dead air too. Air Wave asks GL to fly him around, since he can’t ride the airwaves when there aren’t any. He uses his helmet to track the source and they find Master-Tek juicing the communications complex. GL tackles him but almost gets shaken to pieces. Air Wave takes off until he finds where Master-Tek is pulling the broadcast energy from. He then rides the waves back and pops Master-Tek in the mouth. But Master-Tek is tougher than he looks and decks Air Wave. Before he can finish him, GL recovers and punches the villain out. He takes Master-Tek to jail and when he returns, Air Wave tells him he figured out that Hal Jordan and Green Lantern are one and the same. Air Wave reveals that his name is Hal Jordan too, and GL realizes his Uncle Larry Jordan was the first Air Wave (making this one his cousin). Sounds like we’ll be seeing more of this kid in future issues.

Noticeable Things:

  • I can’t help thinking this “truck driver” chapter of Hal’s life was inspired by the trucker craze at the time (Smokey and the Bandit, B.J. And the Bear, Convoy).
  • There’s a lot of CB lingo in this one, which I probably would’ve loved as a kid, but now I find kind of annoying.
  • Speaking of CBs, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure you have to hold the button in order to transmit, so I have no idea how Goldilocks called for help when her hands were tied and her face was a foot away from the handset.
  • Green Lantern says his friend Green Arrow can teach Air Wave to fight; I can’t wait to see that.
  • I’m not sure about the whole Air Wave thing. If Larry Jordan (aka the original Air Wave) was Hal’s uncle, that means he was on Earth-1, as Air Wave II obviously is. But a few years from now in All-Star Squadron, Air Wave is depicted as an Earth-2 hero. Did he change Earths at some point? Or were there two Air Waves?
  • Alex Saviuk’s art is pretty good here. I always liked his later stuffbug eyes (especially on Web of Spider-Man) but this is my first exposure to his Green Lantern work. I noticed in Web that he’s really good at drawing “civilians” —I always loved his Mary Jane Watson—and he makes Goldilocks look pretty good here. Another thing I notice with Saviuk is that he’s good with facial expressions; I see a couple of his trademark “bulging eyes” looks here.

explosion“Beware the Blazing Inferno” – Elliott S! Maggin/Mike Grell/Vince Colletta

This is the Green Arrow and Black Canary half of the issue, which starts a new chapter for the heroes just as the first part did for Hal Jordan. We see a rock concert  at South End High School. The band is Great Frog, which all you trivia buffs out there will recognize as Roy (Speedy) Harper’s band. But as the show goes on, a huge explosion rips through the crowd. We see Oliver Queen talking to the Mayor, who says he has a big job he wants to talk to Ollie about. But the Mayor is interrupted by an aide telling him about the “latest” explosion, and Dinah comes in to tell Ollie the same thing. They head for the school and find the crowd freaking out, their panic potentially more damaging than the initial explosion. Roy is still on stage, his leg broken, and Green Arrow swings over the crowd to help him. Black Canary calms the mob byCanary saves kid riding around on her motorbike; she also saves a kid from getting trampled. GA asks Roy why he just happened to be playing at a place that got bombed, and Roy says he’s been doing a little detective work. He knows a local gang, the Blazing Infernos, bought a load of explosives using a credit card from some local businessmen (Marcus Barkis and Fish). The Mayor asks Green Arrow for a chat, but when he hints he might know GA’s secret identity, Ollie and Canary take off. The Mayor tells Commissioner Durgin (who doesn’t seem to like costumed vigilantes) that he wants Oliver Queen to succeed him as Mayor … and that he suspects Oliver is Green Arrow. That night, Green Arrow and Black Canary bust into the Blazing Inferno hideout and kick their asses. They try not to hurt the kids too much, so they have a bit more trouble than they should. Roy shows up to help and they catch some vs corporate thugsof the gang members. Green Arrow explains to them about Marcus Barkis and Fish; they’re insurance company bigwigs who have been using the gang to sow destruction so they can raise their rates and get even richer off the backs of poor people. The kids tell GA where the fat cats’ offices are and he, Black Canary, and Roy head over there. They get jumped by corporate thugs, but make short work of them and invade the building. Green Arrow catches the three crooked businessmen and they’re hauled off by the cops. Ollie goes to se the Mayor, who’s trying to figure out a way to trick Ollie into running as his successor, but Ollie surprises everyone when he volunteers to run. Later, Dinah asks him if he’s sure about wanting to be Mayor, as politics have killed bigger men than him, but Ollie says he’s survived a lot of shit over the years and he’s ready for whatever comes next.

Noticeable Things:

  • Dinah apparently watches “As the World Turns”.
  • Seems weird that businessmen would use their corporate credit card to buy explosives … it’s so easy to trace. Wasn’t the whole point of using the street gang to keep their hands clean?

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