Comics Reviews: Flash 266, Wonder Woman 248, Green Lantern 109

Flash 266 coverFlash #266 – “Heat Wave Plays It Cool” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Heat Wave and three of his henchmen pulling a Trojan Horse; they want to rob an exhibit of Egyptian artifacts at Central City Museum, so they hide inside a pyramid replica that the curator is bringing in to give the exhibit some extra Egyptian flavour. When the exhibit opens, Iris is there to cover it for Picture News and Barry’s tagging along. Heat Wave and his boys emerge from the pyramid and disable the guards, but Barry changes to Flash and takes out the three henchmen by getting them in a slipstream and slamming them into the wall. Heat Wave melts down through the floor and Flash goes after him, but when he lands in the basement, his boots stick to the melted floor. Heat Wave tries to blast him, but FlashFlash escapes jumps out of his boots to avoid the shot, then lands back in them and vibrates free. Heat Wave’s fiery blast hits the air-conditioning unit and it explodes, turning the room cold. Flash vibrates through the flying debris, but one final fragment knocks him out. Heat Wave has a perfect opportunity to finish him off, but instead he flees the frozen room as fast as he can. When Flash wakes up, he wonders why Heat Wave didn’t kill him. Upstairs, the henchmen are being carted off by the cops and Iris wonders why Heat Wave would work with losers like them. Heat Wave is wondering that himself; we see him talking to Dr. Synett, the “underworld shrink” (who looks like an evil James Gordon to me). Synett says Heat Wave feels inadequate, that’s why he worked with such idiots and why he didn’t kill Flash when he had the chance. Synett originuses a Strobacon to regress Heat Wave and delve into his memories. When Mick Rory (Heat Wave’s real name) was a kid, he was on a school field trip to a meat-packing plant (what the hell kind of school did he go to?) and got locked in the freezer. He warmed his hands by blowing on them just enough to operate the door handle and get out. Ever since then he’s been obsessed with heat and Synett points out that he’s also afraid of the cold. That’s why he ran off from the frozen room instead of killing Flash, why he’s always had trouble with Captain Cold, and even why his last jewelry store robbery went sour (because he was stealing “ice”—that one seems like a stretch to me). Synett says Rory has to face his fear of cold in order to become a top-level super-crook. A week later, Barry overhears the police captain at the station taking a call (just the latest of many) from someone wanting Flash to go to the estate of an Arctic explorer who died a year ago. Barry changes to Flash and heads over, musing that the dead explorer wasFlash onked obsessed with cold; his mansion is shaped like a giant igloo and he’s rumoured to have had himself cryogenically frozen. When Flash gets there, he notices the butler and maid are kinda out of it and Heat Wave pops up and attacks. Flash puts him away fast, but it turns out to be the butler wearing Heat Wave’s costume. Heat Wave was dressed as the butler and conks Flash from behind. Heat Wave gloats that he’s over his fear of cold and unmasks the unconscious Flash. Barry Allen looks familiar, but Heat Wave can’t place him, so he shoves Flash into the Arctic explorer’s cryogenic tube (after disposing of the dead explorer’s body) and freezes him, to be opened in the far future. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to the Flash-sicle next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • It doesn’t say how long Heat Wave and his goons are inside the pyramid before the exhibit opens, but I hope it wasn’t too long; otherwise they’d be a bit ripe.
  • Heat Wave uses his heat gun to set off the bullets in the guards’ guns and in their pockets. The art shows the bullets just popping like firecrackers, but if bullets were heated up enough to detonate, I think they’d be flying around all over the place. Most of those guards (and lots of bystanders) would be dead.
  • Heat Wave takes everyone (including the guards) out by making it so hot they pass out. Flash’s super speed aura protects him, and the henchmen are apparently wearing air-conditioned underwear. That proves how stupid Heat Wave is; he could market those undies and make a mint!
  • I think this is the first time Heat Wave’s origin has ever been depicted.
  • There’s a back-up story about Kid Flash saving a teenager from a lightning strike. The lightning removes Kid Flash’s powers and transfers them to the teenager, who starts committing crimes. Kid Flash tricks the teenager into getting zapped by some power lines and Kid Flash gets his powers back. Strangely, he doesn’t seem too mad at the teenager, although he does take him in.

Wonder Woman 248 coverWonder Woman #248 – “The Crypt of the Dark Commander” – Jack C. Harris/Jose Delbo/Joe Giella

If you remember, last issue left off with Wonder Woman taking Inversion, the Inside-Out Man to Paradise Island to try and get him back to normal. But even Paradise Island’s fancy technology can’t work miracles, so she has to leave Inversion there while the Amazon machine continue to work on him. Wonder Woman heads back to New York to look for Steve Howard, who was mugged last issue by some Army guys who want to ask about the connection between him and the (supposedly) dead Steve Trevor. Of course, we know Aphrodite resurrected Steve Trevor as Steve Howard, but that’s kinda hard to explain to the Army brass. The Army guys take him into a car wash with a secret elevator that goes underground. Major Bradley starts Major Bradley demon loverinterrogating him—quite intensely, by the looks of it. Wonder Woman goes (as Diana Prince) to see her boss at the United Nations and demands answers. Meanwhile, Major Bradley has figured out—because of the dyed hair and unaltered fingerprints—that Steve Howard is Steve Trevor. But he keeps pushing, wanting to know how Steve made the switch. Bradley seems obsessed, going on about the “secret of life”. He leaves Steve shackled up and heads to another part of the complex, one that was there before the Army moved in. Bradley goes into an ancient chamber and we find out he worships the Dark Commander, a freaky-looking corpse in a crypt. At the U.N., Diana’s boss admits he was told to look the other way while the Army grabbed Steve. Diana steals Steve’s file and quits her job. From the file, she figures out where they’re deathholding Steve and smashes down into the ground. When she shows up in the underground base, the soldiers think she’s nuts and attack her. She pounds them and makes them tell her exactly where Steve is being held. Meanwhile, Major Bradley (now wearing a cultist robe) decides to use Steve’s life force to bring back the Dark Commander. It works, but the demon isn’t grateful and cuts Bradley down without a thought. Wonder Woman shows up and confronts the Dark Commander. They’re pretty evenly matched until Lieutenant Truman tells her about Steve’s life force powering the demon. She breaks the link, which dissolves the demon, but seems to kill Steve in the process. Naturally, she’s not happy. Is Steve really dead? We’ll see next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • The car wash with the secret elevator and the underground base seem more like spy stuff than Army. Like something out of Marvel’s SHIELD, James Bond, or even Get Smart.
  • I have to say, Harris’s run on Wonder Woman is pretty disjointed. It’s like he doesn’t know what he wants the theme to be, so he’s flailing around, throwing everything into the mix to see what works. I have no problem with Wonder Woman facing more magical threats (it makes sense, considering her origins), but the execution in these last few issues has been sloppy at best.
  • I’m almost hoping Steve really does stay dead, because he’s a bit of a millstone around Wonder Woman’s neck. It’d be nice to see her doing her own thing without always running to rescue him every two minutes.
  • There’s a “Tale of the Amazons” back-up (by Toomey, Whitman, andspider rescue Colletta). It’s nothing spectacular; the Amazons end up in a new dimension (continuing where they left off last issue), but are still in their ship on an ocean. They meet some half-bird guy, who they mistrust because he’s an arrogant male. The ship is trapped in a giant spider web and one of the Amazons is grabbed by the spider. The half-bird guy finally rescues her when Hippolyta agrees to help him get his throne back from his brother. At the end, I think we’re actually supposed to feel bad for the spider.

Green Lantern 109 coverGreen Lantern #109 – “Assault on Replikon” – Denny O’Neil/Mike Grell/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Replikon—in his human guise as Andre—studying in the Star City library. He leaves and runs into Carol Ferris, who he as kind of romancing last issue. Or maybe she was romancing him? Hal Jordan happens along (the library sure is a popular spot) and he’s still jealous of Andre. We see Andre leave and change back to Replikon, contemplating making some radical changes to Earth’s environment to facilitate his children being raised there. Back in his truck, Hal gets a distress call about something at Star City Chemical Works and changes to Green Lantern to check it out. He finds the main chemical tank spewing fluorocarbons, which would destroy the ozone layer and render Earth uninhabitable. GL plugs the leak and contains the fluorocarbons, but gets jumped by Replikon. He tosses the fluorocarbons (still encased in green energy) into space, but gets slapped around by Replikon.GL pounded He plays possum and tails Replikon, watching him change into Andre. GL figures he needs some back-up, so he goes to see Ollie and Dinah. They decide to set a trap and GL talks Carol into going along with it. She reluctantly lures Andre to an abandoned buildingReplikon captured where Black Canary and Green Arrow jump him. GL zips in as well and the three of them use lights and explosions to disorient and distract Replikon. They maneuver him into a lead cylinder that they buried previously and GL takes him back to the asteroid belt where he came from. Replikon says he wanted to change Earth’s atmosphere to recreate his home planet so his children could grow up there. GL says eliminating billions of lives just so three aliens can live is a bit out of balance. He leaves Replikon there to brood—and hate. When GL returns to Earth, Carol dumps him … rather precipitously, I’d say. We’ll see what comes of that next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • In case you’re wondering why everyone’s in Star City as this issue starts, last ish Carol and Hal brought a malfunctioning space probe to Star City to a Ferris Air research lab. Hal’s truck broke down, so he had to stick around. I guess Carol was waiting for the work to be done on the probe.
  • GL knew Replikon came from the asteroid belt because he showed up right after the Ferris probe returned from there.
  • I don’t mind Denny wanting to change the status quo (i.e. Carol breaking up with Hal), but the way it was done seemed awfully quick. There were hints of it in the last issue or two, but overall it seemed like Denny just wanted to get it over with, so he rushed ahead with it. A little more foreshadowing would’ve been nice. But Kari Limbo is on the horizon, so I guess Denny didn’t feel like screwing around.
  • There’s an Earth-2 Green Lantern back-up (by Burkett/Ortiz/Colletta) that continues from last issue. You may remember Green Lantern’s ring was acting up, so he went to Chinatown and got jumped by some Tong. After GL was knocked out, one of the Tong tried to put on his ring; unfortunately for him, the ring can’t be worn by someone whose purpose is evil, so he gets incinerated. GL takes off then returns as AlanLo-Lanke Scott to snoop around, hoping to figure out what’s causing his ring to quit sometimes. He runs into a sexy Chinese girl (who has kind of a Caniff Dragon Lady look to her); she’s the one who was watching him change into GL last issue. Her name is Lo-Lanke and she tells him her father is a guy named Chang, who was the one who fashioned the GL lantern out of a meteorite hundreds of years ago. Chang kept a piece of the meteorite and it kept him alive all that time. He finally mastered the green energy and it’s him whose been screwing with GL’s ring, trying to assert control of it. Chang shows up (thanking his daughter for distracting GL) and he and GL fight. They’re evenly matched and GL can’t summon enough will power to defeat him. When GL gets blasted, Lo-Lanke removes his ring and Chang digs a pit and fills it with green fire. He commands Lo-Lanke to push GL into the pit … and she does. Is this the end of Green Lantern? We’ll see next issue.

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