Comics Reviews: Flash 261, Wonder Woman 243, Green Lantern 104

 

Flash 261 coverFlash #261 – “The Lure of the Ringmaster” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank Giacoia

This one starts with Barry Allen at work, getting a call from his wife, Iris. She reminds him to pick up groceries on the way home and he gets mad when she suggests he write it down. Outside, he answers a random pay phone and it’s Golden Glider on the line. In fact, she’s in the phone booth right opposite Barry. She attacks him, but he can’t fight back without giving away his secret identity—a fact Glider’s counting on, since she knows Barry’s secret. She knocks him through a hedge and he comes back as Flash. Glider blasts Flash from behind and puts duplicates of her glider-skates on his feet. But these skates are designed to draw on his super speed to send him flying into orbit. Flash grabs a handy skyscraperFlash skating spire and whirls around until the skates fly off his feet, then heads back to tackle Glider. He follows her ice trail, but gets randomly conked out by some kid throwing a frisbee through a window and lands in a pile of dirt. Flash wakes up and goes home. Iris isn’t happy he forgot the groceries, and she’s even less happy about the dirt on the couch, until Barry tells her about Golden Glider. Next morning, Barry wakes up to find Iris is already gone. She leaves a note saying she’s interviewing some new sensation called Ringmaster and she’ll meet Barry for lunch. At the police station, Barry sees Golden Glider being hauled in and learns Ringmaster is the one who caught her. The Police Captain shows Barry some news footage of Ringmaster catching Glider. Ringmaster is a new superhero who uses various rings as weapons, kinda like Marvel’s Ringer … except I can’t decide which of them is a bigger goof. Barry’s a touch jealous, but realizes Ringmaster is an ally, not a rival. He wonders why Golden Glider Iris goes flyingwas just zooming around, since her sole motivation has always been revenge on Flash for the death of her boyfriend, the Top. Barry shows up for his lunch date with Iris and finds out she’s at some hotel, still interviewing Ringmaster. We see the end of Iris’s interview (on the hotel roof) and she asks for a demonstration of Ringmaster’s power. He says she has to trust him completely, and for some reason, she does. So he knocks her off the roof. Barry sees her falling and changes to Flash, but she’s already being saved by a couple of anti-gravity rings. Iris gets back to the roof and Flash watches as Ringmaster kinda puts the moves on her. If seems a bit gauche, it makes more sense when we see Golden Glider in prison, gloating that she’s the one who “created” Ringmaster, and her plan is going perfectly. What exactly is her plan, other than having Ringmaster get into Iris’s pants? We’ll have to wait until next issue to see.

Noticeable Things:

  • If you’re wondering why Barry would answer a pay phone for no reason, he says the phone is sometimes used by cops to receive tips from their snitches. I guess I can buy that, since the phone is right outside police headquarters.
  • Barry’s either not very observant or he really loves Iris, ’cause  I recognized Golden Glider’s gams right away behind that phone booth.Glider's gams
  • Golden Glider is still wearing her costume in jail for some reason.

Wonder Woman 243 coverWonder Woman #243 – “The Five-Sided Square” – Jack C. Harris/Jose Delbo/Frank Chiaramonte

This one starts with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy at a movie theatre when Angle Man comes through the screen. Everyone freaks out, thinking he’s a Martian or something. Steve tries to deck him, but Angle Man uses his Angler to teleport outside, where he realizes he’s in the 1940s, but is confused to see a poster of Wonder Woman on the wall. Angle Man knows his Angler has brought him back in time, but he doesn’t realize it’s also brought him from Earth-1 to Earth-2, home of the Golden Age Wonder Woman. Speaking of which, we see her at a JSA meeting and when the alert comes through about Angle Man in Washington, Wonder Woman goes to handle it alone. As she approaches, her invisible plane is teleported through a space warp (and buckles at right angles) and she winds up outside the theatre. She grabs Angle Man, but he teleports out of her lasso and blasts her with the Angler. We get a quick recap of the whole Earth-1/Earth-2 thing and a mention of WW #228, where the two Wonder Women met. Angle Man blasts onder WomanOn Earth-1, Wonder Woman is in the JLA Satellite and just happens to be checking out Angle Man’s Angler device (which is in the JLA Trophy Room) when it disappears. We see the Angler appear in Angle Man’s cell in prison and watch as he teleports away … which is where the issue started, with him appearing on Earth-2. Through the vagaries of time and inter-dimensional travel, the Earth-1 Wonder Woman is warped through to Earth-2 at the exact moment Angle Man blasts her counterpart. Everybody on Earth-1 thinks Angle Man created a duplicate Wonder Woman (including him) and the Earth-2 Wonder Woman doesn’t remember her earlier meeting with her alter ego because her mother brainwashed her to forget it. The Earth-1 Wonder Woman uses her lasso to compel her doppleganger’s memory to come back, and they go after Angle Man. After a brief chase, they figure out how to double deckermathematically predict where his Angler will send him and lie in wait. When he pops up, they deck him and take the Angler. Earth-1 Wonder Woman knows there’s just enough power left in the Angler to get her and Angle Man back to Earth-1 in 1978. She uses her lasso to make her counterpart (and Steve and Etta) forget everything about parallel Earths and time travel, then zaps herself and Angle Man home. She tosses the villain back in jail and reads a newspaper that conveniently came through the space-time warp about her Earth-2 counterpart getting an award from Harry Truman.

Noticeable Things:

  • This issue finally gets us back to the Earth-1, present-day Wonder Woman. I guess the comics were kind of following the TV show, which had the first season set during World War II, and subsequent seasons in the present.
  • We learn that Angle Man’s Angler was given to him by Darkseid, but Angle Man doesn’t know how it works (nor does Wonder Woman, for that matter).
  • I’m not sure how (or why) the Angler brought Wonder Woman from Earth-1, or why it brought Angle Man there in the first place. Everyone chalks it up to “this device is so weird, we have no clue how it works”, but it seems like a lot of plot convenience to me.
  • Wonder Woman uses the JLA transporter to return Angle Man to his prison cell, but doesn’t there have to be a receiving booth at the other end? I doubt if there’d be a booth inside Angle Man’s cell.
  • This issue and the last one seem really rushed and have very thin plots. I’m hoping that’s just because Jack C. Harris is rushing to get back to the status quo (i.e. Earth-1 Wonder Woman stories) and not because it’s his normal style.
  • At the end of the issue, it almost seemed like Steve was going to propose, but Wonder Woman cuts him off and says she has to devote all her time to being a superhero. I guess that’s a “no” then.

Green Lantern 104 coverGreen Lantern #104 – “Proof of the Peril” – Denny O’Neil/Alex Saviuk/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Green Arrow teaching the new Air Wave (Harold Jordan aka Green Lantern’s cousin) how to fight. Problem is, Air Wave’s not too good yet. He can’t fly worth a damn and his punching is pretty weak (especially compared to Arrow’s mighty wallop). Arrow tells him to keep practicing and heads off for some sad business. It seems the Great Gazoo—I mean Itty—has died, and Arrow, Lantern, Carol Ferris, and Black Canary hold a brief service and bury him in the backyard. Beats flushing him down the toilet, I guess. After the service, Arrow and GL argue about a guy named Professor Drok, who’s been experimenting with some new “thermoquartic energy device”. Yeah, I don’t know what that is either, but it’s apparently pretty dangerous. I suppose it’s a comic book substitute for nuclear energy or something. Anyway, Arrow wants to go shut Drok down, but GL says he can’t just interfere without the Guardians’ say-so. Arrow says the Guardians don’t know shit about Earth and calls GL their puppet before stalking off in a huff. GL decides he can at least keep an eye onArrow punch Drok in case something happens. Arrow joins some protesters outside Drok’s lab, including Air Wave, who’s there in costume. Inside, we see Drok telling some reporters that he’s found a way to bring quarks up to the surface from the “magma layer” beneath the Earth. He claims the quarks have been under such pressure for millions of years that they’re just bursting with energy, so if he brings them up they could solve the energy crisis. Even for a comic, that’s pretty dubious science. When he turns his machine on, a bunch of big purple capsules come flying up from underground. The same thing happens outside and Green Arrow sends Air Wave to check the lab while he deals with some looters. In the lab, Air Wave grabs a capsule and it stretches him out like Elongated Man and pulls him right up into the air. Green Lantern sees the capsules flying away from the lab, causing destruction in their wake (burst water mains, upheaved ground) and goes after them. They pass over Itty’s grave and we GL blasts capsulessee some ground movement from the gravesite. GL goes back to the lab and finds Arrow slapping Drok around. Drok admits he had idea what the hell he was doing and doesn’t know how to stop the flying capsules. GL seals off his machine and goes after the capsules to play a hunch. He scoops up a bunch of dirt and dumps it on the capsules, which causes them to blow up. GL reasoned since the capsules were affecting the ground, that soil would affect them in return and cause a chain reaction. I’m not sure I follow that logic, but it worked, so what the hell. Back at Carol’s place, we learn that Drok’s machine was confiscated, but Drok got off scot-free since he technically didn’t commit a crime. Ollie’s pissed off about that, but Dinah tells him to calm the fuck down and celebrate the win. Outside, we see whatever the hell crawled out of Itty’s grave coming toward the house. We’ll have to wait and see what’s up with that.

Noticeable Things:

  • Drok is a very Marvelesque villain. He looks kind of Kirbyish and would fit in perfectly in a Fantastic Four story.
  • Apparently, one of Air Wave’s powers is to make himself flatten out. I wonder if he’s an ancestor of Ronn-Karr? Maybe he can join the Great Lakes Avengers.flattened Air Wave
  • I have to say, I’ve never been a big fan of Itty. I was kinda glad when I thought we’d never see him again, but then they pulled that shit at the end. Hopefully this will all be settled next issue and we can forget he ever existed, like Poochie.
  • Everyone seems to have forgotten about Air Wave. Green Arrow sent him in to see what was up in the lab and hasn’t seen him since, but just says “Oh, I’m sure the kid will turn up.” Way to be a mentor there, Ollie.

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