This one’s a bit strange, so bear with me. It hinges on the premise (first revealed in Flash #203) that Iris West (Barry’s wife) was sent from the future as a baby because her parents thought the world was on the brink of nuclear war. The baby appeared in the backyard of Ira West and his wife and they decided to raise Iris as their own. Iris and Barry eventually found out the truth and actually visited her real parents in the future. So this story starts out in the future, with Iris’s biological father, Eric Russell, looking through old news archives of 1978 trying to find something about Flash for his scrapbook. He sees an article about one of his own ancestors (Philip Russell) fighting the Flash. He checks other newspapers and sees that Philip died that same morning, several hours before fighting Flash, and he got married later that night to some society babe. Eric’s curiosity is piqued, so he asks Barry and Iris (who are visiting from the past) if he and his wife can come back to 1978 for a visit. Barry and Iris are thrilled and they all vibrate back in time. They surprise some burglars when they materialize, but Flash makes quick work of them. Iris and her mom go shopping and Eric uses his future tech to teleport across the country to San Francisco, where his ancestor lives. Barry wonders where he went and decides to track him down by attuning his super speed aura to Eric’s teleportational energy … or something. Eric uses an invisibility field to eavesdrop on his ancestor Philip’s fiancée at the morgue. He then breaks into Philip’s office (Philip was a private eye) and reads through his files. Turns out Philip was on the trail of a criminal called the Viper and wrote in his notes that the Viper has been eliminated for good. Eric thinks Philip might have killed the Viper … but in that case, who killed Philip? Flash is searching the city for Eric and runs into a weirdo with snakes for hands robbing a bank. They fight and Flash ends up getting a whiff of petrifying gas. At Philip’s office, Eric uncovers the truth: Philip and the Viper are the same person! Philip apparently has a split personality and has been fighting to suppress his criminal side. He thought he’d gotten rid of his Viper side forever, but the Viper personality put him into a trance so deep it simulated death. Now Viper is running wild (and fighting Flash). Eric says he can cure the multiple personalities easily with his futuristic tech, but doesn’t dare for fear of altering the future catastrophically. Viper/Philip tosses a petrified Flash into the water, but Flash turns the tables and knocks him out. Eric shows up and tells Flash everything, but says they can’t interfere with destiny. Flash reminds him that they’re already part of Philip Russell’s destiny and if Eric saw a newspaper article about Philip getting married that night, they have to make sure it happens. They cure Philip’s personality disorder, Flash returns all the stolen loot, and they get Philip to his (extremely relieved) fiancée and they get married. That insures that Eric’s ancestral line is safe, though they don’t seem inclined to tell their wives the whole story.
- If Iris’s dad collects stuff about Flash for a scrapbook, why didn’t he already have the articles in question? After all, Flash’s entire career is ancient history to him, so why would he be filling the scrapbook piecemeal?
- Women’s fashions in the future are pretty sexy; both Iris and her mom are wearing mini-dresses.
- I’m not sure how Barry tracked Eric’s trail; the panels show Flash following a trail along the road, but if Eric teleported straight to San Francisco, why would there be a trail over land?
- Flash was able to follow Eric’s trail across the country, but it disappeared as soon as he got to the city. Why? Plot convenience.
- This is one of those ontological paradox time travel stories, where someone from the future is aware of an event from the past, then travels back in time to make it happen. But if Barry and Eric were the catalysts for Philip’s wedding, how could Eric read about the wedding in the future when he hadn’t acted yet? It’s the old “chicken or egg” scenario.
- The whole “Iris is from the future” thing is pretty weird; it’ll get more play in upcoming issues. I’m not sure exactly when Iris is from; post-Crisis sources say either 2927 or 2945. The latter story involved the John Fox version of Flash time-traveling, helping send Iris to the past, and then averting the nuclear crisis.
Okay, so this is the debut of the new creative team, Harris and Delbo. Unfortunately, they decided to forget about everything that came before and do their own thing … which is fine, but they leave some stuff unanswered, mainly the ongoing subplot of what was up with Etta’s shady French fiancé. This story takes place around V-J Day (September 2, 1945), which means we’ve jumped forward a couple years since last issue. So no closure on the Etta story, I guess. Anyway, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are in a parade celebrating the end of the War. They run into General Blankenship (who’s retiring) and Etta Candy (who’s going back to college). A spaceship shows up out of nowhere and beams Steve up. Wonder Woman tries to stop it but gets knocked out. When she wakes up, she heads for Paradise island to see if their high-tech devices can track the spaceship. Hippolyta tells Wonder Woman Steve is okay and shows her video of him returning from the spaceship. He’s been transformed into some kind of Dr. strange/Adam Warlock weirdo, but Hippolyta says he’s in no danger. Wonder Woman isn’t convinced and gets ready to help him, but Hippolyta reminds her that her mission was to help end the War (and Mars’s influence over humans) and she’s done that. Wonder Woman says the War may be over, but there’s still evil in the world and it’s her duty to fight it—including whatever’s been done to Steve. Hippolyta is proud of her daughter, but fears she may have lost her. Weirdo Steve returns to Earth and says humans are too destructive (as evinced by Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and that they need to be pushed toward becoming a peaceful race. Wonder Woman says removing free will is the opposite of everything they fought for in WW II, but Weirdo Steve starts transforming people into exact copies of himself. He says they aren’t clones, they’re actually separate bodies with a single hive-mind and he plans on making everyone on Earth part of it so they’ll all be enlightened like him. Wonder Woman tries to stop him but just ends up making more copies. Hippolyta watches through her viewscreen and considers calling Diana home, since Amazon science says humans will eventually evolve into a hive-mind anyway. But Dr. Fate and Spectre pop up on the screen and tell her this isn’t natural and Wonder Woman needs to keep fighting it. Hippolyta agrees to warn her. Wonder Woman uses her invisible jet to corral the weirdos before they can spread through the city and grabs the with her lasso. The spaceship appears again and Wonder Woman gives an impassioned speech about individuality and free will. Apparently, it was effective, as the spaceship transforms all the people—including Steve—back to normal and takes off. Wonder Woman recommits to being a hero and Diana and Steve decide to stay in the Army. Elsewhere in the city, Angle Man pops up out of nowhere; we’ll have to wait till next issue to see wha that’s all about.
- Some of Harris’s dialogue sounds strange, like when Blankenship says (about Wonder Woman) “Blasted mysterious female’s always had me mystified.”
- Etta manages to get in a “woo woo” at the end of the story. She also says she’s studying to be a dietitian, so they get one last fat joke in too.
If you remember from last issue, Green Lantern is stuck in a pocket of null-time, and Green Arrow is about to get tossed out an air-lock by an alien named Taupin who’s running a spaceship that feeds off enslaved people—one of whom is Dinah (Black Canary) Lance. But Dinah kicks Taupin’s ass, saving Arrow from getting tossed. When Dinah flipped Arrow into the wall last issue, her control wire broke, freeing her from Taupin’s thrall. They free the other enthralled people and Arrow says he’ll try to land the ship. But another spaceship shows up and grabs them in a tractor beam. Taupin uses the distraction to take off in an escape pod, passing by GL’s time-null prison. The new spaceship takes a shot at Taupin and misses, but the blast disrupts the time-null zone long enough for GL to bust out. But he’s been in the time-null zone for two weeks, so all the time he missed is integrated into his system at once, which disorients him. He sees a big spaceship firing on the small escape pod, so he instinctively helps the underdog, allowing Taupin to escape to Earth. GL also heads to Earth to try and get his shit together, leaving Arrow and Dinah’s ship to be sucked up by the intruders. Taupin lands on Earth and demands asylum, saying he’s being persecuted by evil aliens. Naturally, the United Nations start arguing like a bunch of five-year olds. The intruder ship’s captain (Pi-X-Square) says he has human hostages and will kill them if Taupin isn’t handed over in thirty minutes. GL goes into action, but Pi-X-Square says any energy directed at his ship will kill the hostages immediately. On the captured ship, Green Arrow says they have to give GL a chance to act, so he shoots an arrow at the bigger ship’s hull, knowing it’ll bring someone outside to see what is was. Arrow launches himself out the air-lock, saying humans can survive ten seconds in deep space. As the seconds tick by, he makes it to the bigger ship, takes out the alien, and makes it inside. He’s grabbed by a couple of guards and kicks their asses, then heads for the bridge. He finds Pi-X-Square and decks him, then turns off the energy field around the captured ship. GL zips inside the big ship and threatens to waste Pi-X-Square if he doesn’t get lost. He tells his fleet they’re outta there and GL and Arrow return all the people on Taupin’s ship to Earth. Dinah says the U.N. Has decided to turn Taupin over to Pi-X-Square, but Pi is no longer around to accept him. Green Arrow thinks it’s hilarious that the politicians end up looking stupid, even though he’s soon going to be a politician himself, after agreeing to run for mayor.
- Hal says green Lanterns aren’t allowed to interfere in political matters unless lives are at stake. I guess it’s their version of the Prime Directive. (Though I’d say lives are always at stake when you’re dealing with politics.)
- Hal is still training his cousin Harold (aka Airwave II), but hasn’t let him cut loose yet.
- I’m not sure how Green Arrow and Dinah are standing there talking after he opens the air-lock, or why Dinah wasn’t pulled out too. Maybe there’s some kind of force field in the opening, like in Star Wars.
This one starts with Firestorm (on his way to school) stopping some loan sharks from pounding an old man. Ronnie Raymond is still loving being a super-hero and he figures it’s a great way to impress women. But when he tries to show off to some babes, he ends up freaking them out instead and has to take off. Professor Stein tries to give him some advice, but Ronnie’s down on himself as usual. He and Stein split and, as usual, Stein can’t remember anything that happened while they were merged. That doesn’t do him any favours, as the cops want to know what happened at the Hudson Nuclear Plant the previous night. Danton Black shows up and accuses Stein of being behind the explosion at the Plant. Last issue, Black accused Stein of stealing his design to build the Plant, but we know he’s full of shit. He tried to break into the Plant to copy Stein’s designs but got caught in the explosion himself. It seems to have had an effect, as he’s now seeing double and fighting a huge headache. At school, Ronnie has another run-in with cliff Carmichael, asshole genius. Doreen seems to like Firestorm, but when Ronnie gets home he finds out his dad doesn’t care for the new super-hero, saying he’s a dangerous vigilante. Ronnie leaves, feeling like crap again, since all he wants is to have his dad (and Doreen) be proud of him. In Metropolis, Clark Kent finishes a news report about Firestorm and decides to check him out—as Superman. At the Hudson Plant, Stein is repairing damage from the explosion when he’s jumped by a couple of costumed scumbags calling themselves Multiplex. When Multiplex punches Stein, Ronnie feels it twelve miles away. He knows Stein is in trouble and concentrates on changing to Firestorm. Even though they’re far apart, it works and Firestorm appears in Stein’s place at the Plant, surprising Multiplex. Firestorm watches Multiplex go into the core and siphon energy, then attacks. But Multiplex slaps him around a bit before Firestorm can get them outside the Plant. He’s still getting his ass kicked when Superman comes by to check things out. Firestorm uses his matter-altering ability to grab Multiplex, but the villain blasts him with a fire hydrant, sending him flying into Superman’s arms. Firestorm’s so freaked out at meeting Supes that he doesn’t notice Multiplex getting away. Ronnie reasons (with a little prompting from Stein) that if Multiplex is trying to steal nuclear energy, there’s another place he could go—State university in New York. Firestorm heads over there and finds Multiplex about to drain the pile. Firestorm takes a shot, but misses Multiplex, who starts absorbing the energy. But it backfires and Firestorm decks Multiplex—both of them. When Superman shows up, Firestorm reveals that his “missed” shot was actually on target; he changed the nuclear energy in the rods to phosphorescence, with screwed Multiplex up when he tried to drain them. They unmask Multiplex and Firestorm recognizes Danton Black. They take him to hospital and as the energy wears off, he reverts back to one person. Firestorm wonders if he’ll remember being Multiplex, or if he’ll become Multiplex again if he’s exposed to nuclear energy. Superman tells him he has promise, and says he may even recommend him for JLA membership someday, which makes Firestorm pretty damn happy.
- The Spider-Man parallels continue here, with Ronnie’s teen angst ramping up nicely.
- Having Superman guest star in a new series seems to be something of a tradition, probably to get more fans interested. Marvel did the same thing with Spider-Man, especially in the 90s.
- I know Supes wanted to observe the new hero in action, but you’d think he’d lend a hand in stopping Multiplex.