Comics Review: Flash 265, Wonder Woman 247, Green Lantern 108

Flash 265 coverFlash #265 – “Shift the Earth Goodbye” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin

This takes place not long after last issue, when Golden Glider broke Barry and Iris up and almost killed them both. But now they’re back together, taking a romantic trip in the country. Iris convinced Barry to drive to their destination (someplace called Mount Roanoke) instead of just zipping there with his super-speed. It’s obviously more romantic if they spend more time together, but as we’ll see, they would’ve been better off taking the Flash Express. On the highway, they have a blow-out and Barry changes the tire at super-speed without pulling over, or even telling Iris what happened. Barry suddenly turns off the highwaytire change onto a dirt road, saying he knows of a great resort off the beaten track. Iris is skeptical at first, but they soon find a fancy hotel that looks like a castle. They check in (under their own names, of course) and the desk clerk seems to have been expecting them. Iris thins Barry had it all planned until the clerk tells them they should be wearing their pendants openly—like everyone else at the hotel. In their room, Iris wonders what’s up with the whole pendant thing and Barry says he didn’t know about the place ahead of time; he just had an irresistible urge to drive off the highway and it led them there. Barry figures there must’ve been another couple on their way who didn’t make it, so he changes to Flash and does a high-speed search. He finds a rockslide and a car buried underneath with a couple of dead people inside. He takes the corpses out and puts them in a cave (saying he’ll take care of them later) and he takes the gunspendants the dead couple were wearing back to the hotel. Barry and Iris put on the pendants and Barry figures the pendants must be a homing beacon to lead guests to the hotel. When he was vibrating at super-speed (while changing the tire) he accidentally matched frequencies, hence the compulsion to go to the hotel. Barry and Iris have a new compulsion from the pendants … to go downstairs to a conference room. They do and soon realize all the other people at the hotel are aliens disguised as humans. The aliens mention that they’ve been setting up and charging “cosmictron power rods”. The head alien says (more for the Allens and the readers’ benefit, since all the aliens should already know) that their planet once passed through the tail of a comet and the same comet is back for another pass. This time, they’re going to use the cosmictron rods to exchange places with Earth (the alien planet is in a parallel dimension) so Earth will be bombarded by the energy from the comet’s tail. Before Barry can figure out what to do, the aliens from the crashed car show up. Turns out theyhelping aliens weren’t really dead, just recovering in some kind of stasis. The aliens realize they have visitors and drop their disguises. Barry zips outside with Iris at super-speed and the aliens send remote-controlled weapons after them. Flash draws the weapons away, then tricks them into blowing each other up. Flash’s super-speed has upset the delicate balance of the alien devices, so they can’t shift Earth to the other dimension. But it turns out the aliens were actually trying to help Earthlings, not harm them; the comet that irradiated the alien world made them immune to a certain space-borne disease. That disease is approaching Earth and the aliens wanted to immunize Earthlings against it, as a show of cosmic brotherhood or something. Flash feels like an idiot, but uses his super-speed to power up the alien machines long enough for Earth to momentarily shift dimensions and receive its cosmic inoculation from the comet. The aliens phase back to their own dimension and Flash whisks Iris to Mount Roanoke for some sweet lovin’.

Noticeable Things:

  • We learn the Allens are away when we see newspapers accumulating on the step. You’d think a police guy like Barry would be smart enough not to let papers pile up like that. Isn’t he worried about burglars?
  • When Barry changes the tire at high speed, how does he open the trunk? He couldn’t have used the ignition key … unless he took the key off the ring. Or maybe there’s a trunk release lever on Barry’s car?
  • The hotel register shows the names of a couple of other guests, Harvey Gilbert and Al Sirois. I don’t know who Harvey Gilbert is, but Al Sirois is an artist who did some work for DC among others.
  • Flash asks why the aliens didn’t just offer the “comet immunization” to Earth, and the aliens rightly point out that Earthlings tend to be murderously paranoid when it comes to aliens.
  • There’s a Kid Flash back-up story (by Paul Kupperberg/Alex Saviuk/Bob Smith) that has to do with Wally West acting as a camp counselor for a bunch of kids. An alien ship lands and Wally thinks the alien (who looks like a huge turd with four arms) is attacking, but it turns out he was just a tourist taking a picture. No, seriously.

Wonder Woman 247 coverWonder Woman #247 – “The Inside-Out Man” – Jack C. Harris/Jose Delbo/Joe Giella

This one starts at a secret military facility in Manhattan, where a couple of Army guys (Truman and Bradley) have been investigating Steve Trevor’s death. Of course, we know Trevor was resurrected by Aphrodite and is now Steve Howard, but that’s kinda hard to explain to most people, so it’s remained a secret. But the Army has noticed some resemblance between Howard and Trevor and think Howard might know something, so they decide to pick him up. We also find out that Truman was that shadowy guy slipping out of Diana’s apartment at the end of last issue; he was planting a bug. Diana and Steve have a lunch date, but Diana’s not really that into Steve anymore. Apparently, Steve Howard isn’t just Steve Trevor with dark hair; whatever Diana felt for Steve before, she’s not feeling it now. Before she can tell him, Truman shows up and takes Steve at gunpoint. Diana changes to Wonder Woman, but before she can follow, aWonder Woman vs Inversion ray shoots from a nearby building and turns her invisible jet inside-out. She busts through the window and finds a guy calling himself Inversion, the Inside-Out Man … and he’s aptly named. She assumes Inversion is connected to the Army’s snatching of Steve, but it turns out Inversion was trying to invent a teleporter and accidentally tuned himself inside-out. When he saw Wonder Woman using a JLA teleporter to go to the Satellite a few days ago, he decided to grab her—not to find a way to cure his condition, but to make everyone else on Earth inside-out as well. Yeah, I think this guy’s brain is inside-out. He suckers Wonder Woman with a booby-trapped weapon, then uses her lasso to compel her obedience. He makes her show him how to activate the JLA transporter, then heads up to the Satellite. But security protocols send him right back, where Wonder Woman (now free of his control because he beamed out of range) Star Trek solutionuses a variation on an old Star Trek trick. She sends Inversion back to the Satellite, but slows his transport so she can zip up there in her jet and meet him. Unfortunately, she forgets to call ahead and Elongated Man tries to blast her. He finally recognizes her and brings her inside, where she pulls out what looks like an old-style vacuum tube. Inversion is trapped inside the tube, just like Professor Moriarty on Star Trek: TNG. She uses the JLA transporter to bring Inversion’s equipment up where she can rewire it. When she tries to reverse everything, her jet goes back to normal but Inversion is still trapped (and twisted) inside the tube. She heads for Paradise Island, thinking their advanced technology is the only thing that might save Inversion now. The issue ends with Wonder Woman pondering how the Amazons were once enslaved, which I guess is supposed to lead right into the back-up story. But the way it ends is very sudden; I actually thought there was a page missing, but apparently it’s just a really awkward segué.

Noticeable Things:

  • It’s said that unauthorized transports to the JLA Satellite are scanned and returned to where they came from, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that. There have been plenty of unauthorized transports to the Satellite over the years. Maybe this is a new thing? It does make sense, but I have no idea if it’s used from here on out.
  • Ralph fires at Wonder Woman because he doesn’t recognize her invisible jet while it’s inside-out, but how many invisible jets are there? Couldn’t he figure out that it was probably Wonder Woman’s jet? I thought Ralph was supposed to be smart.
  • Wonder Woman uses her “full-body condom” spacesuit in this issue again, though I’m not sure how she and Ralph talk to each other in space.
  • The back-up is a Tale of the Amazons by Bob Toomey and Maurice Whitman (and friends). It shows Hippolyta (the Queen of the Amazons and Wonderkraken attack Woman’s mother), along with a bunch of other Amazons, chained and forced to work as menial labourers for Hercules, who stole Hippolyta’s enchanted girdle as one of his Twelve Labours. Hippolyta’s best friend (named Diana, naturally) tries to fight back against Hercules. Hippolyta gets her girdle back and the Amazons are freed, but Diana dies. The Amazons take Hercules ship and sail off, soon getting attacked by a kraken. They fight and get some help from a talking sea serpent that kills the kraken, then sends them into a maelstrom. The sea serpent says the maelstrom leads to another dimension where the Amazons will be safe and can start a new life. I don’t know if this was meant to be the canonical origin of the Amazons, but I don’t think it lasted very long. Whitman’s art is pretty good—the women look great—with some of the faces having a Ditko-ish quality.

Green Lantern 108 coverGreen Lantern #108 – “The Third Identity of Replikon” – Denny O’Neil/MikeGrell/Bruce Patterson

This one starts with a sentient gas cloud (named Xum) out in the asteroid field looking after its “children”, a couple of space eggs. Xum runs across a space probe and decides to go inside for a peek around. Weeks later, the space probe is heading back to Earth but has malfunctioned, so Green Lantern helps it make a smooth landing at Ferris. Carol Ferris tries to explain to a government prick named Brophy that nobody knows why the probe malfunctioned, so blaming Ferris is premature. He orders her to find out what went wrong or risk being frozen out of future government contracts. Hal Jordan shows up with his big rig to transport the probe to Star City. Inside the probe, we see Xum changing itself into an amalgam of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (who it observed when the probe passed by the JLA Satellite). Xum (orReplikon attacks GL Replikon, I guess) busts out and kicks Green Lantern’s ass, then takes off. A day later in Star City, Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen is serving some homemade chili to Dinah (Black Canary) Lance and it’s apparently hot enough to make her cry. They hear someone busting up Dinah’s flower shop below and it’s a bunch of punks who previously tried to shake her down for money. Ollie and Dinah change into their fighting togs (Ollie’s word, not mine) and start pounding the punks, who turn out to be a band trying to get money for equipment and shit. Replikon shows up and starts slapping Green Arrow around, using some of the same judo moves that Black Canary used on the punks. Green Lantern shows up and Replikon slaps them all around a bit, until Canary realizes he’s just imitating what he’s seen them do. They all hit group attackhim at once, reasoning he can’t duplicate three things at once, and knock him down. The punks are scared straight from watching the heroes in action, but Replikon starts heating up and flies into the air with Arrow clinging to him. Replikon fades away and Arrow falls, getting a last-minute save from GL. They all feel stupid for letting Replikon get away, especially GL. He goes to meet Carol at her hotel, but finds her having dinner with a suave dude named Andre. Hal gets all jealous and leaves and when Andre says good night to Carol, we see she’s kinda hot for him. But Andre turns out to be … you guessed it, Replikon. And now Replikon has decided to waste Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary, followed by the rest of humanity. Why? We’ll find out next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • For some reason, Carol finds Brophy attractive, even though she thinks he’s a twit. And Andre apparently makes her moist as well. Maybe she’s just getting tired of Hal, hmmm?
  • Replikon looks like a dark version of Marvel’s Super-Adaptoid. He also bears a striking resemblance to the Animated Series Batman, but I’m not sure if that’s just a coincidence or not.
  • There’s a back-up story about the Earth-2 Green Lantern by Cary Burkett, Mike Vosburg, and Bob Smith. Alan (Green Lantern) Scott has noticed hiscrazy ring ring acting weird lately, so he goes to some building to test it. The ring acts up, blowing a hole in the wall and almost wasting some thieves. Alan is ready to pack it in, but after a pep talk from Jay (Flash) Garrick, he heads back to the building and finds a trail of green energy leading away. He follows it to Chinatown and finds a Tong society called the Green Dragon. They refer to GL as the “Champion of the Green Flame” and attack. He pounds them, but gets blindsided by the head of the Tong, who GL thinks looks familiar. As GL keels over, one of the Tong underlings reaches for his ring.

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