This is one of those fake-out issues where they show you the “guest stars” on the cover, but they never appear in the actual story. You’ll see what I mean as we go on. This issue starts with Barney Sands (twelve year-old neighbor of Barry and Iris Allen) looking all over the place for an old comic he lost. Elsewhere in Central City, Flash is tracking down someone named Griselda, who turns out to be a bear that escaped from the zoo. Griselda almost wastes Flash, but he uses super speed to dig a hole in the ground and trap her. Flash returns home just in time to meet Barney, who’s returning his microscope. Barry asks Barney to help him sort through his comics (Barry is a collector too) and Barney finds his missing comic (Flash Comics #26, from 1942) in Barry’s collection. Barry says he never had that issue and has no idea how it got there—a likely story. Barney goes home, leaving the comic behind for Barry to examine, but before he gets a chance, the comic disappears right in front of his eyes. Barry changes to Flash and follows a faint radiation trail, concluding that someone teleported the comic away. The trail leads to a comic convention where the comic has appeared at a dealer’s table. When someone offers the dealer a trade on the comic, the dealer says it’s not his but he was thinking about it all morning, wishing he had a copy. Barry comes up and offers to buy it, but before the dealer can set a price, two thugs dressed like the Golden Age Green Lantern and Wildcat show up and take the comic at gunpoint. They leave the convention with Barry as a hostage, but Barry escapes by ducking into an elevator. He quickly changes to Flash and catches the thugs outside before they can get away. While Flash is pounding the thugs, someone else shows up with a gun and takes the comic from the cabbie. By the time Flash questions the cabbie, the trail is cold. We see the guy who took the comic, a crime boss of some kind, addressing his fellow crooks in their hideout in the woods. Apparently some scientist devised a formula (called XCV) that would teleport whatever it was sprayed on to anyone who concentrated on it. The scientist tested the formula on one of his son’s comics (Flash #26, obviously) and it worked; wherever the son happened to be, he could teleport the comic to himself just by concentrating. The crooks planned to spray valuables with the formula, then teleport them away later. But one day, the comic disappeared, probably because someone else was thinking about it even harder than the scientist’s kid, and the crooks were afraid the cops might get hold of it and find out about the secret formula. So they started buying every copy of Flash #26 they could find, until they finally found—and stole—the right one at the Convention. While the boss is gloating, the comic disappears and Flash comes busting in and wails on everybody. Later, Barry explains to Barney that Flash teleported the comic to himself, then followed the radiation trail to the crooks’ hideout. The cops kept the comic with the formula on it, but Barry took two of the copies of Flash #26 that the crooks had bought earlier, one for Barney and one for himself. So, everyone’s happy … well, except the crooks.
- It’s a little weird that it never once occurred to Barney that Barry might’ve stolen the comic, but I guess Barry’s such an upstanding citizen Barney knows he wouldn’t steal.
- If Barry and Barney are such comics fans, why weren’t they at the Convention? Flash seemed surprised when he tracked the stolen comic there; he should’ve at least known the Convention was on.
- I’m not sure about the ethics of taking the comics from the bad guys. Sure they paid for them, so it’s not like the comics are stolen property; but they did belong to the criminals, so Barry just taking a couple of them seems a bit iffy. He justifies it by saying, “They don’t need them anymore.” By that logic, he could take their houses, cars, and bank accounts too.
This one starts with Wonder Woman being summoned to Paradise Island by her mother, Queen Hippolyta. It seems another Amazon (a snotty redhead named Orana) has challenged Diana’s right to be the Amazons’ champion and representative to the outside world. Hippolyta’s not happy about it, but Orana’s challenge is in accordance with all the ancient laws, so it’s deemed legitimate. Hippolyta calls a tournament, much like the one where Diana originally won the right to be Wonder Woman, and says whoever wins will be the new Amazon champion. Wonder Woman gives back her tiara and magic lasso, since they belong to the champion. Hippolyta isn’t sure what to root for; she knows being Wonder Woman makes Diana happy, but if she loses, Hippolyta will have her daughter back. Orana is confident she can win the championship; she’s apparently been practicing for years in anticipation of calling a new tournament. The contest begins with a Royal Rumble where the Amazons all fight each other from dawn to dusk. Orana avoids going head to head with Diana, preferring to gauge all her strengths and weaknesses before taking her on. After the first day, only six Amazons are left, including Diana and Orana. Diana asks her mother if she’d prefer her to lose the tournament and Hippolyta says she wants her to win, but Diana can tell she’d rather have her back on Paradise Island. Diana is pretty banged up and takes a therapeutic bath, then hits the hay. Orana on the other hand, is out partying all night. The next day, Hippolyta calls on Neptune to set the next challenge. He conjures a bunch of fierce sea creatures and the Amazons have to fight them all day again, but now they have to fight underwater and are only allowed to come up for air once every hour. Diana rescues two of her fellow Amazons from the creatures, while Orana slaughters all the monsters that she faces; Orana figures strength is more important than compassion. So only four are left for the next day’s challenge; they have to use their inborn ability to glide on air currents to stay aloft for an entire day. Diana’s a little rusty, since she’s been using her invisible jet for the last few years, but she manages to stay up. A giant roc attacks them, thinking they invaded its territory and Diana again saves her fellow Amazons, almost getting knocked out for her trouble. Two of the Amazons return the favor by keeping the roc busy until Diana recovers. They’re disqualified (which Orana assumes Diana planned), so it’s down to Orana and Diana for the last test … is anyone shocked? The final challenge is to go into space on an Amazon rocket ship (!) and race across a meteor field, stepping from meteor to meteor before they hit the atmosphere and start burning up. Orana starts kicking meteors out of her path, but when they endanger people on Earth, Diana concentrates on deflecting the meteors back into space and loses the race. Because Diana showed courage, skill, and—most of all—compassion, Hippolyta declares her the winner and still champion. Pretty much all the Amazons seem to agree, but the Olympian Gods show up and say Orana won according to the ancient laws. Diana realizes they can’t go against the will of the gods, so she relinquishes the title of Wonder Woman to Orana, along with the tiara and lasso. She urges Orana to use compassion to guide her and to teach the ideals of the Amazons to everyone, especially Americans. Orana says she’ll do her sisters proud and everyone starts celebrating. But Diana’s not sure if Orana’s right for the job, so she vows to defy the gods and secretly follow Orana back to Man’s World. We’ll see what happens with that next issue.
- When Orana is partying, she’s got some girls with her; I’m betting drinking wasn’t the only thing they got up to that night.
- The four tests are based on the four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire.
- Diana tells Orana the united States is the nation that’s closest to the embodiment of Amazonian ideals. Seeing as how Amazons are pacifists who teach tolerance and acceptance, I’d say she’s way off.
- This is sort of written like it’s meant to be the new status quo, but I don’t think Orana actually lasts very long. (Only one more issue, if I’m not mistaken.)
This one starts with Green Arrow and Green Lantern in Star City. Arrow is trying to help GL reconnect with humanity after his breakup with Carol. They see some thugs about to rob a fortune-teller and go after them. One of the thugs gets turned to stone, but GL says he didn’t do it and there’s something wrong with his ring because he can’t change the guy back. The fortune teller claims she did it, just by wishing bad luck on the robber. We get a quick recap of GL’s origin, then he and Arrow take a space warp to Oa to ask the Guardians of the Universe what’s up with GL’s ring. A Guardian tells them that he and his fellow Guardians tried to banish magic from the cosmos a long time ago, so Order and Logic could reign supreme. They took a magical artifact called the Starheart and hid it in the sun, but a being from outside the galaxy has found it. The Starheart is giving off magical emanations (which explains why the fortune teller’s curse worked) and GL’s ring can’t do anything, since it’s based on science. The Guardian says the guy who has the Starheart is moving between dimensions, where he might be able to rend the fabric of reality if he’s not stopped. GL decides they should get help from Alan Scott, the Earth-1 Green Lantern (who I’ll be referring to as Alan from here on out, to avoid confusion), since his ring is based on the occult instead of science. On Earth-2, we see Alan pounding some safecrackers when he feels an irresistible summons. He follows it and ends up on Oa, where GL explains things and asks for his help. Alan agrees and they (along with Green Arrow) head off into deep space. They find the “star thief” and confront him, but he blasts the two Lanterns, leaving them groggy. Green Arrow asks what their plan is, and … that’s the end of the issue. We’ll have to wait to find out what happens.
- This is my last review for 1978 comics, and my last review of 2017. Whoooo! My first year! I hope you’ll all join me in the New Year when I start on 1979 comics. I’ll have a preview of my plans for the 1979 issues on Friday. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and I hope I’ll see you next year too. (And don’t be afraid to leave a comment; I’ll try to respond as fast as possible.)