Comics Reviews: Flash 267, Wonder Woman 249, Green Lantern 110

Flash 267 coverFlash #267 – “Heat Wave’s Blaze of Glory” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Heat Wave giving us a recap of last issue: Heat Wave went to a criminal shrink and found out he had a phobia about cold because of a childhood incident. He overcame the phobia by breaking into the home of an Arctic explorer who’d been cryogenically frozen, then luring Flash there and swapping him for the frozen explorer. So now Flash is trapped in a cryo-tube, not due to be woken up for decades—or longer. Heat Wave also unmasked Flash, but didn’t recognize him as Barry Allen (though he thought there was something familiar about him). Heat Wave leaves Flash to his fate, but the freezing hasn’t quite taken effect yet. Flash is too numb from cold to vibrate his way out, but he does manage to move a finger enough to shoot off some stray molecules. He keeps doing that and (after a pseudo-scientificmiraculous escape explanation about the molecules causing a chain reaction that leads to a vibrational wave) manages to total the room he’s in, which smashes the cryo-tube and frees him. He gets the two servants (who Heat Wave hypnotized last issue) out just before the house collapses. The Arctic explorer’s body was still inside; of course, he was already dead, but Flash still feels guilty and blames Heat Wave for taking the explorer’s body out of the cryo-tube. Flash discovers that a residual effect of his escape makes his body convert to energy when he tries to use his super speed vibrations. At home, Barry is unwinding by indulging in his favourite hobby when the neighbour kid, Barney, comes by. Iris tells him Barry’s busy and Barney peeks through the window to see what Barry’s hobby is. No, it’s not beating off to pictures of Golden Glider … Barry collects comic books. Barney is quite impressed and wanders off, leaving Barry to tell Iris energy formhe’s going after Heat Wave. Flash zips all over town, looking anywhere he thinks Heat Wave might be, and finally finds him robbing a jewelry store. They fight and Flash’s body changes to energy when he tries to vibrate, startling Heat Wave. But the fiery crook recovers and blasts Flash into space. Flash manages to convert into pure light and reflect himself off a satellite right back where he came from. He pounds Heat Wave and takes him to jail. Turns out Heat Wave’s blast cured Flash of his “changing to energy” thing somehow, so that’s that problem solved. But Heat Wave still saw Barry’s face when he unmasked Flash and vows to figure out Flash’s secret identity. Of course, Flash knows Heat Wave saw him unmasked, so he’s kinda freaked out, but there’s nothing he can do except wait and see what Heat Wave does.

Noticeable Things:

  • What’s with this Barney kid always coming over to see Barry anyway? Where the hell are his parents?
  • Barry’s comic collection is mostly Golden Age, including stuff like Flash Comics (starring Jay Garrick), Green Lantern, All-Star, and  even Whiz Comics with Captain Marvel.
  • There’s a back-up story called “The Origin of the Flash’s Uniform” by Bates/Saviuk/Chiaramonte. It’s set back when Barry first got his powers. Heprofessor west's amnesia tells Iris’s father, Professor West (after Iris gets pissed off at him missing a date—remember when that used to happen every issue?), about his super speed and the Professor designs the Flash costume and the ring that it’s stored in. Later, Professor West is conked out by crooks trying to steal his stamp collection (!) and Flash shows up to pound the crooks. But the conk on the head gave Professor West selective amnesia (very selective) and he’s forgotten about Barry having super powers. Barry decides that’s for the best and leaves him in ignorance.

Wonder Woman 249 coverWonder Woman #249 – “The Sinister Seeker of Secrets” – Jack C. Harris/Jose Delbo/Joe Giella

You may remember last issue ended on a tragic note, with Steve Trevor dying in Wonder Woman’s arms. You’d think that would be the end of Steve’s usefulness as a plot point, but you’d be wrong. This issue opens with Wonder Woman at Steve’s funeral. She’s flagged down by Shiera Hall (aka Hawkgirl), but before they can talk, they’re interrupted by a guy that looks like David Niven’s long-lost son—except with blond hair. He says his name is Greg Trevor … yup, he’s Steve’s brother. He takes Wonder Woman and Shiera for a ride in his fancy car and tells them he works for the same “Organization” that Steve did. They were tracking some group called U.N.R.E.S.T. (that stands for United Nationalists for Revelation of Essential Secret Technologies, in case you were wondering) who have threatened to harm members of the Justice League if the JLA doesn’t share their superior technology with the rest of humanity. As Greg is telling themexploded car this, we hear an ominous ticking coming from underneath the car. Luckily, Wonder Woman hears it too, just in time for everyone to bail out before the car blows up. Greg says the attack could be U.N.R.E.S.T. Trying to make good on their threat. Wonder Woman and Shiera take off and Shiera changes to Hawkgirl. She tries to get Wonder Woman to open up about Steve’s death, but the Amazon is reluctant to talk about her feelings. She does mention that Steve had been acting weird lately and it might’ve been because of the U.N.R.E.S.T. Case. They try to warn the JLA but their signals are jammed, so they head to Shiera’s hotel, where Greg calls them (The Organization has ways of tracking people, you know.) Diana’s not ready to trust Greg with her secret identity, so she changes back to Wonder Woman and she and Shiera meet Greg at a restaurant. He mentions the jamming signal, but before they can discuss it further, missile defeatedWonder Woman notices a gun in the light fixture (!) and Wonder Woman just barely moves out of the way in time. (Why didn’t she use her bracelets to deflect the bullet? Good question. Maybe she didn’t want to start ricocheting bullets around a crowded restaurant.) Greg says U.N.R.E.S.T. Is everywhere; they’ve even infiltrated the Organization. Wonder Woman says she’s leaving to warn the JLA and she heads out in her invisible jet, followed closely by Hawkgirl. Someone (his face is obscured, but you all know who it is, don’t you?) shoots a missile at them. The missile follows Wonder Woman’s plane unerringly, even resisting Hawkgirl’s attempts to manually change its course. Wonder Woman decides to let the missile hit her bracelets, hoping they’ll absorb the impact. But at the last second, she notices a homing beacon on her bracelet and tosses it aside. The missile follows and blows up harmlessly. Wonder Woman figures out who planted the homing device and Hawkgirl uses Thanagarianvillain revealed lenses in her mask to track the missile’s trail back to its source. Yup, it’s Greg Trevor who’s behind all of this, as I’m sure most of you figured out a while ago. Hawkgirl trashes his machinery and Wonder Woman asks him what the hell his problem is. He says he was jealous of Steve getting all the glory and hanging around with a superhero, but he’s also pissed off that Steve’s dead. So, jealousy and revenge? I guess it works. Oh, it turns out that there is no U.N.R.E.S.T., it was just Greg himself. A couple of guys show up from the Organization (apparently that part was true) and say Greg went rogue and they’re taking him in. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl part, with Diana still wondering what she’s going to do for a job. But then she receives a very special letter from NASA. What could that be about? We’ll have to wait until next issue to see.

Noticeable Things:

  • When Shiera first changes to Hawkgirl, she’s not shy about stripping down inShiera strips down front of Wonder Woman (who makes no attempt to avert her eyes).
  • This issue was marginally better than the last few, but it seems like Jack C. Harris still can’t figure out what direction to go; he tried the occult route—with terrible results—now he’s doing the Man From UNCLE as written by John LeCarre. The espionage angle could be interesting, but he’s not giving us enough time to digest stuff. He should’ve had Greg around for a few issues, let us get used to him as a new friend for Diana, then revealed his duplicity. But the one-and-done thing just didn’t work for me. Hopefully, the upcoming astronaut subplot will be better.
  • There’s a Tales of the Amazons back-up by Toomey/Whitman/Nym. It’s … not very good. The Amazons are still sailing through space on their ship with Char (the half-bird, half-centaur dude from last issue). They agreed to help Char take back his kingdom, but when they get to the planetoid, it’s desolate. Hippolyta and Char find his castle and its overrun by these weird bird-men that look like rejects from the 60s Spider-Man cartoon. Hippolyta and Char kick the shit out of the bird-men, except for one who says he’s supposed to be a sacrifice to the Nameless God who’s taken over the castle. Char, Hippolyta, and the bird-dude go into the castle and find a bunch of bones. The Nameless God rises up to attack, and … that’s it. It was probably meant to be continued next issue, but the Implosion screws that up, so we never find out if Char gets his castle back or not … but with the Amazons helping him, he probably did.

Green Lantern 110 coverGreen Lantern #110 – “Brand of Power” – Denny O’Neil/Mike Grell/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Green Arrow being culturally insensitive, wearing a Native American headdress while shooting some arrows. (Well, he’s every other kind of insensitive, so why not that too?) He’s using a bow and arrows that Speedy brought him from some trip. Arrow gives Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan advice about Carol Ferris, who dumped Hal last issue. Unfortunately, his advice basically boils down to “Chicks, they’re all crazy, am I right?” (Told you he was insensitive.) Dinah (Black Canary) Lance overhears and tells him he’s on his own tonight, so he and Green Lantern head into space to retrieve Hal’s semi truck. They encounter something called the Silver Twist (which they’ve run into before in GL 92) which can pullsilver twist people into other realities. That’s what happens here … they find themselves in an Old West town and almost get shot by stereotypical gunslingers who think they’re the bad guys. GL’s ring can only shoot out one single, narrow beam at a time (kinda like a gunshot, you get it?) and Green Arrow is stuck with the Native American bow and arrows he was using before instead of his usual fancy ones. They grab some cover and try to fight back, but the real bad guys show up, led by a four-armed alien named Borch, who’s using some kind of ray guns. GL gets knocked out (of course) and Arrow grabs him and looks for a place to hide. The townsfolk are ready to blast him again, but a dance hall floozie points out that the townsfolk were the ones who attacked GL and GA without even asking whose side they were on. Luckily for our heroes, these are the shootoutpolitest gunslingers this side of the Silver Twist and they apologize for jumping to conclusions.  They learn the bad guys (led by Borch) are trying to turn the town lawless, so the heroes decide to have a showdown with them. GL faces Borch (who says he’s a “reality hopper” whatever that means) while Green Arrow pounds the guys who were getting ready to ambush Lantern. GL and Borch face off and GL’s ring comes out on top (as if there were any doubt). They find a hole in the ground that leads back to normal space, leaving Borch to the mercies of the townsfolk. Green Lantern speculates that the Silver Twist created the Western scenario from their subconscious minds, since Green Arrow was pretending to be a Native American earlier.

Noticeable Things:

  • Seriously, why is Dinah even with Ollie?
  • Arrow says Speedy brought the Native American bow and arrows back from a trip “out West”, but aren’t they in California? It don’t get much more “west” than that. Do people in California refer to states like Arizona or Nevada as “out West”?
  • Hal parks his semi truck in space when he’s not using it. I wonder if he’s a Deep Purple fan?
  • This story manages to hit pretty much every Western cliché: John Wayne, High Noon, the Lone Ranger (the floozie asks “who were those masked men?”) and Clint Eastwood, who GL is dressed as for the shootout. (I actually thought he might be pulling a “Fistful of Dollars” thing and hiding a stove lid under the poncho, but I guess Denny didn’t want to go quite that far.)
  • There’s a Golden Age GL back-up (by Burkett/Ortiz/Colletta) that continues straight from last issue. A quick recap: Green Lantern’s ring (that’s the Earth-2 GL, Alan Scott) had been acting up lately and he found out that Chang, the guy who first fashioned the green meteorite into the Magic Lantern hundreds of years ago, is still alive. Apparently, he held onto a pieceChang defeated by a tree of the meteorite and it’s kept him young. He’s been trying to master the use of the meteorite fragment and take control of GL’s ring. Last issue, Chang’s daughter Lo-Lanke (who GL thought was helping him) betrayed him and threw him into a pit of green fire. Chang seals the pit and transforms himself into a dragon for some reason. GL pops out of the pit, wondering why he’s not dead, then realizes Lo-Lanke slipped his ring into his belt; so, I guess she’s on his side after all. GL communes with the “spirit” of his ring, which tells him the ring became corrupted (and vulnerable to Chang’s tampering) when GL used the ring for evil purposes in All-Star Comics 68. Of course, he was being controlled by the Psycho-Pirate, but I guess that doesn’t matter as far as the ring is concerned. GL fights Dragon Chang and beats him. Chang is crushed by a tree when he tries to use his meteorite fragment to stop it. He obviously didn’t know the ring/meteorite was useless against wood. Lo-Lanke shows up and confesses that she knew the ring’s vulnerability to wood, but didn’t tell Chang. She also says Chang was her husband, not her father. She says she’s sad about losing her immortality, but happy to have regained her soul.

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