Comics Reviews: JLA 163, Superboy & the Legion 248, Jonah Hex 21

JLA 163 coverJustice League of America #163 – “Concert of the Damned” – Gerry Conway/Dick Dillin/Frank Chiaramonte

This one starts with Green Arrow walking through the front door of Oliver Queen’s apartment (way to protect the old secret identity, Ollie) and finding a weirdo named Anton Allegro waiting inside. Allegro is there looking for Oliver Queen, but he attacks Green Arrow with a strange electronic accordion that creates solid creatures from sounds. The creatures attack Arrow and pound him. Up on the JLA Satellite, the team is trying to get answers from Zatanna’s father, Zatara. You’ll remember Zatanna realized last issue that someone had tampered with her memories. She tracked the problem to her old family home, where she found her father,Green Arrow pounded Zatara, stuck in an inter-dimensional warp. She freed him and now she and the other JLAers want answers. Zatanna says she’ll get the truth from her father, since it’s her memory he screwed with. The League gets an emergency signal from Black Canary, who tells them she interrupted Anton Allegro’s attack on Green Arrow just in time to save the Emerald Archer’s life. Apparently Allegro bragged about having other targets, so Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl head down to Earth to talk to Arrow. But Allegro’s already stalking his next target, a guy named Lewis Weldon, the conductor of the Star City Symphony. Allegro says Weldon always hated his music, so he uses his funky music box to create more murderous creatures that attack Weldon at a concert. At Green Arrow’s place, Arrow tells the JLA that he met Allegro years ago, when Oliver Queen was still rich. Allegro said he’d invented a new synthesizer that could duplicate any music, but claimed everyone was against him Allegro's originbecause his own music was too “out there” for them to understand. Allegro said his manager, his wife, and his mentor (who just happened to be Lewis Weldon) had all screwed him over and he wanted to get back at them. Oliver saw a bank robbery outside, so he threw Allegro a few bucks and told him to fuck off, thus earning a spot on Allegro’s shit list. The bank robbers were using a tank (!), so Green Arrow tried a “tuning fork arrow” to shake the tank to pieces. But Allegro was leaving the building and caught the full effect of the tuning fork arrow, which deafened him. I guess that explains why Allegro was so eager to attack Green Arrow. Oliver paid Allegro’s hospital bills and gave him money until he lost his fortune. Apparently, Allegro got some powers and is now eliminating everyone he thinks wronged him. The JLA send Arrow to the Satellite and set out to find Allegro, using GL’s ring as a tuning fork. They find Allegro’s apartment, but he’s waiting for them and has his sound creatures attack. Green Lantern, being who he is, gets knocked out and Batman just barely saves Black Canary from getting wasted, butAllegro attacks the shock waves from the near miss knock everyone out. On the Satellite, Green Arrow and Red Tornado (who was injured last issue) wish they could join the mission. They wonder how Zatanna’s interrogation of her father is going. Interrogation is the right word, as Zatanna uses magic to compel Zatara to tell her the truth. Zatara says Zatanna’s mother (Sindella) died in a car crash when Zatanna was a child, although no remains were found. When Zatara and Zatanna were finishing their farewell tour in Providence a couple of weeks ago, Zatanna’s costume suddenly turned into the one she currently wears—which just happens to be an exact duplicate of the one Sindella wore when Zatara met her. Zatara thought Sindella might be trying to contact Zatanna, but he feared she was dead and reaching out from the spirit world. He thought Sindella's facethe accident that killed Sindella might’ve drove her crazy, so he cast the forgetfulness spell on Zatanna to spare her any pain. He went to the old family home and tried to contact Sindella; he saw a glimpse of her face, but was pulled into the portal he was conjuring. Sindella told him to resist being pulled in, and he did, until Zatanna freed him. Zatanna forgives his lies and says they should try to contact Sindella together, but Zatara warns that he knows nothing about Sindella’s background or where she was from, so it could be dangerous. They try anyway, and Sindella’s face appears to them, but before they can learn anything, the portal dissolves. Elsewhere, Superman finds his JLA teammates unconscious, except for Batman. Batman finds the address of Allegro’s ex-wife and tells Supes he has a plan. At the ex-wife’s place in Boston, Allegro has his creatures attack and kill her. Superman busts in and gets decked by Allegro’s sound monsters; Allegro takes off and we see that it was a fake-out: Batman and Superman substituted a Superman robot for Allegro’s ex, so the real woman is still alive.wife killing But Allegro’s killing spree isn’t done yet, and the heroes wonder where he’ll strike next. We’ll find out next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • Since losing his fortune, Green Arrow/Oliver Queen lives in a small apartment over Dinah’s flower shop.
  • Turns out the “Zatara” Batman spoke to in issue 161 while trying to track down Zatanna was just a simulacrum left by the real Zatara.

LSH 248 coverSuperboy & the Legion #248 – “Beneath the Streets Lurks … Death” – Gerry Conway/Joe Staton/Dave Hunt

This one starts with Earth still cleaning up in the aftermath of the recent Khund Invasion. Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, Shadow Lass, and Phantom Girl are exploring the sewers beneath Metropolis with a contingent of Science Police officers. Seems the filtration system hasn’t been working right and the techs and SP officers who were sent to check it came back raving about being attacked and the water coming alive. The Legionnaires think it sounds crazy, but they’ve decided to check it out. Sun Boy is joking about giant alligators in the sewer when Shadow Lass gets pounded by tendrils snaking out of the water. It seems the techs and SP officers weren’t crazy; there actually is a slime monster in the sewers. It attacks the rest of the Legionnaires and the SP, who are all understandably freaked out. Phantom Girl lures it into smashing against a wall and Cosmic Boy builds a ladder for the SP officers to escape, while Sun Boy usesmonster fight his powers to barbecue the monstrosity. They celebrate their triumph, but soon realize Shadow Lass is hurt. Back at Legion headquarters, Lightning Lad is trying to be domestic by making dinner for Saturn Girl, who keeps reading his mind. She’s appreciative of his efforts, but before she can “reward” him, they get a distress call about Shadow Lass. They bring Shadow Lass in and Sun Boy blames himself for her injuries, since he was fucking around joking instead of paying attention. Mon-El freaks when he sees Shadow Lass and takes her in to Brainiac 5’s lab. Brainy’s in a weird mood, saying he doesn’t want to stop his experiments to treat Shadow Lass. Mon-El basically threatens him into helping and Brainy does some scientific bullshit and says Shady will either live or die, depending on how she progresses over the next twelve hours. Brainy then goes back to his experiments, leaving the others to comment on how slimedcold and distant he’s been lately. Mon-El is ready to pound Brainy, but Superboy holds him back. Mon-El stays with Shady and the others leave. On R.J. Brande’s asteroid, we see Brande learning that he’s overspent and gone broke. He can hardly believe it, but before he can figure out what’s up, the slime monster (or a different one) pops up from his sink and grabs him. Brande manages to get off a distress call before he’s slimed. Superboy and Cosmic Boy are working out at headquarters when the call comes in and they lead Phantom Girl, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl to answer the distress call. Sun Boy and Brainy stay behind, and Sun Boy again reflects on how cold Brainy has been lately. His reverie is interrupted by the slime monster, which bursts up through the kitchen sink and grabs them. We’ll see if they escape next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • So this monster grew in the sewers and it’s made up of garbage and other detritus … I guess that means it’s (at least partially) a shit monster? No wonder everyone’s so freaked out by it.
  • Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are married now, but the Legion Constitution was recently amended so they could return as active members.

Jonah hex 21 coverJonah Hex #21 – “The Buryin’” – Michael Fleisher/Vicente Alcazar

Last issue, Hex ran into his long-lost father, Woodson Hex, during a stagecoach robbery. You know, the same father that sold Hex to the Comanches when he was a kid. True to form, Woodson turned out to be in cahoots with the thieves, double-crossed everyone, and faked his death. He then dug up the gold stolen from the stagecoach and headed for town. Woodson is spending those gold double-eagles like they’re going out of style, which naturally attracts all sorts of attention. Woodson thinks he’s getting lucky when a barroom floozy turns her charms on him, but she’s working with a gang of crooks to get their hands on all that gold. Woodson tells the floozy he’s got more gold stashed in his room and they head upstairs. Woodson is hammered out of his mind, but when the crooks start creeping up to the room, he hears them and jams a chair under the door. When they try to get in, Woodson realizes the floozy was playing himbarber shop and decks her. He retrieves the hidden gold and goes out the window, looking for a place to hide. The crooks bust down the door and chase him, so he goes into an undertaker’s parlor and hides the loot in a coffin with a fresh corpse. On the way out, the crooks catch him and he says he only had a bit of money and that his son Jonah has the rest. Some of the crooks take Woodson to an abandoned mill and the rest go to track down Jonah. Jonah is in the barber shop getting a shave when three of the crooks come in with guns drawn. Hex’s face is covered by a hot towel, but he tells the shoeshine kid (Sammy) to go arrange for a couple of funerals  and the kid mentions there’s three crooks not two. Hex blows them away and thanks the kid, since he hadn’t heard the third guy come in. The rest of the gang decides not to tangle with Hex right away; they bribe Sammy to lure Hex into an ambush and conk him out. Then they have second thoughts about Sammy talking and conk him out too. They try to beat the truth out of Hex about the money, but he can’t tell them anything since he believes the money water wheelwas lost and his father is dead. They kick the shit out of him and take him to the mill. Hex wakes up in the old mill, strapped with his father to the water wheel. They’re tied by rawhide ropes looped around their throats, and since rawhide shrinks when it gets wet, enough turns of the water wheel will end up choking them if they don’t spill about where the money is. Woodson manages to reach the Bowie knife Hex keeps in his collar and Hex cuts them loose. They get the drop on the crooks, but Woodson leaves Hex and tries to take off. Hex wastes all the crooks and catches Woodson before he can get away. Hex says Woodson better lead him to the gold or he’ll blow him away. Back in town, the funeral procession is pulling out with the coffin that contains the loot. The Hexes go along, planning to dig it up after the funeral. Of course, Woodson is already planning on betraying his son again and keeping all the gold himself. But they both get a surprise, as the funeral procession stops at an abandoned silver mine. Seems the dead man worked the mine for forty years, beyond all hope of a big strike, and his last wish was to be sealed up inside the mine. So the coffin is put in the mine and the shaft is dynamited, burying the dead guy—and all the gold. The Hexes part ways, making sure to head in opposite directions.

Noticeable Things:

  • I’m surprised they brought Hex’s father back so soon. I thought there would’ve been a few issues between his appearances at least.
  • Woodson promises to give Etta the floozy a whole blouseful of double-eagles; consider her anatomy, that’s a lot of gold.

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