Comics Reviews: Flash 269, Wonder Woman 251, Green Lantern 112

Flash 269 coverFlash #269 – “Domain of the Dark-Eyed Dragons” – Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with a guy named Robert Manners, who’s a world-famous scientist and explorer, freaking out in a hospital. Why is he freaking out? Because his daughter Gail has been in a coma for almost a week. Before the coma, Gail was having weird premonitions, which ended up coming true. Gail is also a friend (or maybe girlfriend, I’m not sure) of Wally West, aka Kid Flash. The doctor treating Gail thinks Kid Flash—or the original Flash, he’s not picky—may be able to help Gail out of her coma. We switch to a scene that’s been depicted in countless action movies: a car barrels down a hill and smashes into a gasoline truck, causing a huge explosion. Unlike in the movies,truck explosion Flash shows up and saves the drivers of both vehicles, then uses super speed to extinguish the fire. While he’s stamping out the remnants of the blaze (at super speed, naturally) Kid Flash shows up to help. He explains to Flash about Gail’s problem and Flash agrees to help. At home, they explain to Iris (and us) what the plan is; apparently, Gail and her father have appeared before, back in Flash #120. in that issue, an earthquake somehow threw Barry, Iris, Wally, Gail, and Dr. Manners back to the Age of the Dinosaurs. (I haven’t read it, but I’m assuming it was some sort of Lost World homage/rip-off.) As soon as they got back, Gail started having her premonitions, accompanied by headaches and other symptoms. It got progressively worse until she finally lapsed into the coma. Dr. Manners thinks whatever caused Gail’s plesiosaur attackproblems originated in the past, so he wants Flash to use the cosmic treadmill to take them back to the dino-days. Iris asks the obvious question: if whatever affected Gail was something in the past, why were none of the others affected? Barry and Wally don’t know, but they decide to try the one-in-a-million shot and take Gail and her father back to the distant past. Gail’s doctor thinks they’re crazy and leaves them to it. Dr. Manners’ yacht retraces the exact route they took years ago, and when they reach the South American coast opposite the “Lost Valley”, Flash uses a portable cosmic treadmill to cause vibrations in the yacht. The vibrations match those of the earthquake from a few years back and the results are the same—they end up back in the prehistoric. The yacht is attacked by a plesiosaur, which the two Flashes get rid of … although Kid Flash almost gets buried in the sea bed. Gail wakes up from her coma,Gryk attack understandably confused; I would be too if I woke up in the prehistoric. Flash thinks something in that time period must be affecting Gail, so he and Kid Flash go looking for it. Along the way, they encounter other dinosaurs, all exhibiting behaviour that should be far beyond their primitive brainpower. While they’re discussing it, a reptilian alien (a Gryk) tries to blow them away. The vibrate away harmlessly and try to grab him, but he teleports away. Conveniently, the Gryk’s communicate by telepathy on a frequency that the Flashes super speed somehow allows them to pick up. They track the Gryks to a volcano where they’re about to set off a “Remma device” which will hyper-accelerate the intelligence of the dinosaurs, allowing them to take over Earth. Apparently, that’s basically what happened on the Gryks on their homeworld (though I assume theirs was a volcano blowsnatural process), so they’re passing it on. Flash attacks the Remma device, which is heavily shielded, and the Gryks try to blast him. But he’s just the distraction; Kid Flash is whizzing around the volcano at super speed, which causes lava to spew forth and destroy the Remma device. Flash gets the aliens out before they fry and hopes they destroyed the device before it did too much damage to Earth’s evolutionary process. They speculate that on their earlier trip, Gail was probably affected by the Remma devices radiation coinciding with her brainwaves … whatever that means. I guess that explains why nobody else was affected, since their brainwaves would be different. Now that the device is destroyed, Gail is apparently cured and Flash treadmills them all back to the present.

Noticeable Things:

  • The dinosaurs are some of the more obscure ones: Alzadasaurus (now known as Callawayasaurus); Quetzalcoatlus; Gallimimus; and Prenocephale. I get the feeling someone gave Cary Bates a dinosaur book for his birthday and he was making use of it.
  • If you’re wondering how the Flashes could hide from the telepathic Gryks, Barry speculates the human mind operates on too weak a wavelength for the Gryks to detect them.
  • I hope setting off that volcano in the past doesn’t have “Sound of Thunder” style repercussions in the future. Flash certainly didn’t seem too worried about it.
  • Kid Flash mentions that the Gryks just “went home” after the Remma device was destroyed and gave up their ideas of conquest. Would hostile aliens really give up that easily? Even if they didn’t return to Earth, they might still try the same thing on some other planet.
  • When they first get back to the past, Flash mentions that the cosmic treadmill is somewhat imprecise, so he can’t guarantee they’re in the same time period as the earlier expedition. But at the end, when they return to the present, Flash seems to be able to pinpoint the exact time. Maybe the treadmill is attuned to the present somehow?

Wonder Woman 251Wonder Woman #251 – “The Name is Wonder Woman” – Jack C. Harris/Jose Delbo/Vince Colletta

This one opens with an ass shot of the new Wonder Woman. New Wonder Woman? Ass shot? Let me catch you up: last issue, Diana was challenged by an Amazon named Orana, who wanted to take over her mantle of Wonder Woman. Orana is kind of an asshole, caring more about winning than being an ambassador of peace and understanding. But she won (because Diana was too busy helping people and being noble) and became the new Wonder Woman. But Diana doesn’t trust her to do the right thing, so she plans to secretly sneak off Paradise Island and back to Man’s World, even though the gods say only one Amazon is allowed to do that. As for why they decided to have Orana’s ass prominently displayed on the splash page … I guess they were trying to increase the “horny teenage boy” demographic. Orana isn’tgratuitous ass exactly fitting in seamlessly; she trashes a hotel lobby and wonders why nobody accepts her as the new Wonder Woman. On Paradise Island, Diana pulls off her escape by stealing a rocket ship and as soon as Hippolyta realizes who the thief is, she orders the Amazons to let her go. Diana returns to her fancy apartment and changes. She laments having to change clothes the old-fashioned way, but it gives the creators an excuse for some more T&A. Diana’s neighbours are gathered in the hall, wondering where she’s been for the last while. A dude named Conrad Starfield is there too, to tell her she’s been accepted at NASA. Seriously, the guy works for NASA and his name is Starfield? Whatever. Elsewhere, some thieves are fleeing the cops in a high-tech vehicle when Orana shows up … and attacks the cops. Once she realizes her mistake, she goes after the crooks, but smashes through their trunk instead of their engine and they get away. The cops mention that the thieves are led by someone named warheadWarhead and wish the “old” Wonder Woman was still around. Orana sees a photo of Diana Prince in the newspaper and freaks out. She busts into Diana’s place, but Diana tells her that Orana won the competition to be Wonder Woman, but Diana Prince’s life is still her own. Orana mentions Warhead and we see the ma himself back in his hideout, wearing a ridiculous costume. Warhead is some kind of munitions dealer who was injured in an accident, so I guess the stupid costume is part of him now or something? Diana tells Orana that before Warhead makes a munitions sale, he always runs a test first; he detonates a weapon and kills a shitload of people to prove its efficacy. He’s ready to sell a high-yield neutron bomb (which kills people, but leaves structures intact), so his test will involve targeting the biggest group of people he can find. Orana thinks Diana’s bullshitting, since no species could be that callous and unfeeling. She really doesn’t know much about humans, does she? On Paradise Island, Hippolyta is still covering for Diana, but expects some kind of retaliationstopping the bomb from the gods. Diana figures the Columbus Day Parade will be Warhead’s target and is gratified to see Orana took her advice and has staked out the Parade. Warhead’s men show up and try to shoot Orana, who’s too busy playing bullets ’n bracelets that she doesn’t see them drop the neutron bomb. Diana does see it and catches the bomb before it detonates. Warhead shoots Orana and Diana throws the neutron bomb at Warhead’s plane, blowing it to shit. She takes Orana’s corpse back to Paradise Island and is proclaimed Wonder Woman again. Seriously, Orana and Warhead’s deaths and Diana’s return to Paradise Island all happen in the last two pages. I know comic books have a limited number of pages, but that is not great pacing.

Noticeable Things:

  • When Orana is trashing the hotel, one of the employees looks at a photo of the real Wonder Woman in the newspaper and proclaims Orana an impostor. Apparently none of them noticed Orana has red hair … probably because nobody’s looking at her above the neck.
  • I’m not sure why the neutron bomb detonating in the air over New York City didn’t kill anyone.

Green Lantern 112 coverGreen Lantern #112 – “Starheart Connection” – Denny O’Neil/Alex Saviuk/Vince Colletta

Last issue, we learned that the Guardians of the Universe once created a massive stone called the Starheart and tried to contain all magic in the universe inside it so the cosmos would be ruled by logic and order. Obviously that didn’t work, since there are plenty of magic-wielders in the DC Universe. But a large part of magic was contained in the Starheart, which was hidden inside a sun. Now someone has stolen the Starheart, which could threaten the entire multiverse. Since the Earth-2 Green Lantern (Alan Scott, to whom I’ll henceforth be referring as Alan to avoid confusion) gets his ring’s power from the Starheart, he was called in to help Earth-1’s GL (Hal Jordan) and Green Arrow, who basically just tagged along for the ride. They found the thief, but got blasted by his power. We get a quick recap of how Alan Scott found a mystical green railway lantern that spoke to him (calling itself the Green Flame of Life)GLs get blasted and he fashioned the ring from it. The voice in the lantern told him it was made from a green meteor that crashed to Earth in the Himalayas, but Alan doesn’t know how the lantern itself was constructed or how it got to the united States. The trio track the Starheart thief to a rogue planet which is divided perfectly in half; one half is primeval forest, the other a vast high-tech city. Green Arrow surmises that the forest is ruled by magic and the city by technology … much as Hal’s ring is based on science and Alan’s on magic. Get used to that, because the whole technology/magic duality continues throughout this story. As they approach the city/forest divide, both GLs rings disappear and Hal is pulled into the forest while Alan is pulled into the city. Green Arrow just crash lands on his ass. He’s attacked by Gestapo-looking dudes from the city and runs right into some crimson-skinned trolls from the forest. He tries to fight but gets his ass kicked by the soldiers and trolls, who seem to be fighting Zalazcooperating. Arrow wakes up and meets Zalaz, a Two-Face style alien who says he stole the Starheart to save his love, M’La, from dying. (She’s apparently the hottest woman in the universe, by the way.) He dumps Arrow down into the chamber where the two Lanterns are imprisoned. Zalaz tells them they’ll be treated well, but can never leave. Their rings (which Zalaz gave back to them for some reason) can’t bust out of the prison because the walls are made of yellow petrified wood. (Hal’s ring can’t affect anything yellow, and Alan’s can’t affect wood.) They combine their rings, thus canceling the flaws in each, and bust out. They confront Zalaz, who tries to fight them, but Hal points out that he’s draining the Starheart to oppose them and it won’t be able to keep M’La alive if he drains it completely. Zalaz doesn’t care (it’s against his nature to ask for help), so he decks Green Arrow and keeps fighting. He uses the Starheart to drain his own life-force and channel it into M’La, who recovers. Everyone agrees she is the hottest woman they’ve ever seen, except Green Arrow, who refuses tojust don't look look at her. That might seem strange for a horndog like Arrow, but he explains that if he sees how hot M’La is, he’ll never be able to look at any other women again. Now that sounds like the Green Arrow I know. The Starheart begins speaking and Alan learns that the Green Flame of Life is the sentience that grew in the Starheart after all the magic was imprisoned there. The Green Flame tells him that it knew it would be released someday, which is why it sent part of its power to Earth-1 as the green meteor—so Alan would receive that power and use it to do good. The Green Flame says it can’t be allowed freedom, since that could threaten the multiverse. M’La offers to take the Starheart back to the sun it was originally hidden and guard it until the end of time. She zaps everyone back to their respective homes.

Noticeable Things:

  • I get the feeling this story was just a way of connecting the rings of the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Green Lanterns, though I’m not sure why they thought that story was necessary.
  • M’La is said to be the most beautiful woman in the universe, but Alex Saviuk makes a point of never showing us her face, which I think is a nice touch. Reminds me of Downwind Jaxon in the old Smilin’ Jack comic strip; women always went wild for him, but we never got to see his face. MAD Magazine did a funny take on that, where it was revealed his popularity with women was because he had a $10,000 bill clamped in his teeth.

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