A quick recap of last issue: a villain named the Clown blames the Mayor, the Governor, the head of the local power company, and the Flash for an accident that wiped out three of his family members and left him mute. Clown and his family were acrobats and a power failure at a circus precipitated the fatal fall. Flash was supposed to be at the circus that night but was on a JLA mission, and the Clown thinks if the speedster had been there, his family might still be alive. So he’s captured Flash (and the Mayor, Governor, and power company head) and put them in an elaborate unicycle on a high tension power line. The unicycle runs on power from the lines, so when the Clown disrupts the power, they’ll fall to their deaths like his family did. Oh, and he’s using his high-tech calliope to send out a signal that paralyzes Flash so he can’t use his super-speed. I think that catches us up. Just as Clown turns off the power, Flash busts his restraints and throws the balancing pole he’s holding at the villain, knocking him off the calliope. That restores Flash’s speed and he zips down just in time to keep the three dignitaries from splattering. The Clown gets back to the calliope and tries to shut Flash’s powers down again, but Flash avoids that by moving faster than the speed of sound, so the notes from the calliope can’t reach him. He uses a series of sonic booms to cancel the sound from the calliope, ending with a sonic boom right in the Clown’s face. Flash disassembles the calliope and uses the sound tubes to fence the Clown in. The Clown breaks down and writes “help me” in the dirt. The cops show up to haul the Clown away and we see the weird stalker woman who’s been following Flash and collecting stuff from his fights over the last couple of issues. She’s pretty jazzed to see Flash in action and is ready to put her big plan into motion. Later at the prison, Barry Allen goes to see Dr. Nephron (who’s come up with a way to “cure” criminal behaviour by stimulating the brain) and his volunteer, a prisoner named Yorkin. Nephron tells Barry he’s been increasing the frequency of the treatments and Yorkin is freaking out. As soon as his restraints are removed, Yorkin tries to get away, but Nephron has a couple of goons with him and they wrestle Yorkin into the chair and strap him down. Before Nephron can continue the treatment, Barry says his methods are too extreme and threatens to tell he police Commissioner. Nephron pretends to back down, but as soon as Barry leaves, he keeps subjecting Yorkin to the treatment. At the police lab, Barry’s assistant Pam takes a call from Iris, who’s trying to mend fences after hanging up on Barry earlier in the day. When Barry arrives, Pam tells him Iris is preparing a special midnight supper for them, which I assume is code for intercourse. Pam has trouble with a lab test and Barry examines the silver nitrate they’ve been using. He’s surprised to find out it’s heroin—specifically, the heroin that went missing from the evidence room. He sends Pam on an errand and tests all the other silver nitrate, which all contains heroin. He realizes whoever stole the heroin from the evidence room stashed it in his lab. He decides to leave it where it is so the thieves don’t know he’s onto them. When Barry leaves, we see the same shady bearded dude who was watching him last issue. It turns out to be a police Detective named Curtis, who’s the leader of the drug thieves. He lets himself into Barry’s lab. At home, Barry and Iris enjoy their midnight supper, which is just a regular meal, but it could still end in intercourse—at least until he gets an alarm letting him know someone’s in his lab; seems he rigged a photo-electric eye to let him know if anyone messed with the heroin. He takes off (which pisses Iris off again) and at police headquarters he sees an unmarked cop car outside. He already figured the thief must be someone with a key—in other words, a cop—so he’s not surprised. He checks the lab and the heroin has been replaced with silver nitrate, so he goes after the crooked cop, following him invisibly at super-speed to find out who he’s working for. But as he’s running, some outside force intrudes its way into his mind, forcing him to veer off and head down another street. He tries to stop but can only slow himself a bit. He sees a wall coming up and tries to vibrate through, but it turns out to be a hologram. Another wall looms up, but this one’s real and he crashes right into it, knocking himself out. The weird stalker woman stands over him in triumph, musing on whether it would be more fun to give Flash his free will back or force him to do what she wants. We’ll see which one she picks next issue.
- We learn that Iris reads Cosmopolitan magazine.
- Barry takes the heroin at super-speed to test it at a fancy hospital lab. He’s shown zipping in, testing the heroin, and zipping out before anyone even notices, but that doesn’t make sense. Barry can do things at super-speed, but he can’t speed up chemical reactions. The time it would take to run the test would still be the same, which means that guy in the lab would notice him standing there waiting for the test to be done.
- The pacing of this one is a little weird; the wrap-up of the Clown story is almost perfunctory, with the drug and stalker sub-plots moving to the forefront.
This one starts with Wonder Woman saving a car that’s just plunged into the river. The passengers are Diana Prince’s fellow astronauts-in-training, Mike Bailey and Stacy Macklin. She uses her invisible jet to lift the car out of the river, then takes off. She’s being observed from Olympus by friendly (Athena and Aphrodite) and not so friendly (Mars, Duke of Deception, Earl of Greed, Lord Conquest) gods and goddesses. Mars is pissed off and says Diana shouldn’t be Wonder Woman since she lost the latest contest on Paradise Island, but Athena reminds him that Diana just took her rightful place back after the contest winner was killed. Mars is still mad and says Diana left Paradise Island without permission and should be punished. Athena and Aphrodite vow to keep an eye on Diana, suspecting Mars is planning some shit. We see Angle Man languishing in prison, lamenting the fact that he can’t come up with a new angle to use against Wonder Woman. Suddenly, he gets an inspiration for a new angle … almost like a bolt from the blue. At astronaut training, Mike and Stacy tell Diana about Wonder Woman rescuing them and she pretends disbelief. General Novack and Starfield, the overseers of their training, tell them Angle Man has threatened to steal the space shuttle. Diana takes off and heads for Cape Canaveral as Wonder Woman. She arrives just in time to see the shuttle vanish and figures the best place to hide it is in space. Sure enough, the shuttle is in orbit and Angle Man is standing on the hull—in airless space! Wonder Woman can’t figure out how he’s able to withstand the freezing, airless conditions (me, I’m wondering how they can talk in space, since sound wouldn’t carry), but she gets over her shock and tries to attack. Angle Man has a force field around the shuttle that teleports Wonder Woman away at right angle’s whenever she makes contact. Her jet and lasso are ineffective as well, since Angle Man has attuned the field to her and all her stuff. That gives her an idea and she heads down to Earth to recruit some help, since Angle Man says he’ll destroy the shuttle in 72 hours if he doesn’t get a huge ransom. At NASA, Wonder Woman gets General Novack to whip up a weapon to intimidate Angle Man but not really hurt him. She also asks Mike and Stacy to go up in another shuttle and tackle Angle Man. Mike’s not sure what good they can do, but Stacy reasons that if Angle Man’s force field is set to repel Wonder Woman, then anyone else should be able to get through. But Mike starts acting weird and pushes up the launch schedule. Wonder Woman tests the weapon Novack made and it’s way more destructive than she’d asked for. Novack starts ranting about conquest and when the second shuttle takes off early, Starfield says he wants to seize both shuttles and ransom them for a shitload of money. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on and Wonder Woman finally gets it: Mike was being deceptive, Starfield is being greedy, and Novack wants conquest … Mars’s minions have taken over the bodies of the humans. Wonder Woman heads into space in her jet just as Mike tells Stacy this is Wonder Woman’s new test and if she fails, she’ll lose her powers and have to return to Paradise Island. Wonder Woman busts into the shuttle and decks Mike, forcing Duke of Deception from his body. Wonder Woman grabs Stacy (who she’s figured out is inhabited by Athena) and launches her at Angle Man, who has been taken over by Mars. Mars says Athena used trickery to help Diana, but she points out his entire plan was trickery, so he and his minions leave the human bodies they usurped and head back to Olympus. So I guess this story was to confirm Diana in her role as Wonder Woman and remove the lingering threat of the gods’ wrath. But this isn’t the last we’ll see of Mars or his lackeys.
- Nobody seems to question Diana Prince’s absence through this whole thing, even though she was ordered to stay with the other trainees.
This one starts not long after last issue ended, with Green Lantern finding his power lantern in the woods and recharging his ring. I guess that explains why he didn’t recharge in the hospital last issue after being pounded by the Crumbler. Green Arrow and Black Canary send GL back to the hospital, since he has a concussion, and go looking for Crumbler. They find him on a bridge, which he dissolves out from under them as soon as he sees them coming. They fall into the icy river and Green Arrow is knocked out, which is a change … usually it’s GL. Black Canary gets him out of the vehicle and uses one of his magnesium arrows to burn through the thick ice just in time to save him from drowning. Unfortunately, both of them are in danger of hypothermia. At the hospital, the doctor is telling Green Lantern he’ll have to stay for observation when Arrow and Canary are rushed into the ER. Arrow tells GL about Crumbler heading for Star City and GL ignores the doctor and takes off to find the villain. We see Crumbler visiting a psychiatrist and get a half-assed origin story. Basically, he was a science nerd but his dad was a prick and smashed all his science stuff, so he invented a glove that disintegrates things. Crumbler gets pissed off when the shrink tells him their time’s up and goes on a rampage through the city. After hiding his semi and power battery in space, GL follows Crumbler’s trail of destruction to an office building in Star City. A cop tells him Crumbler has disintegrated half the support pillars inside the building; any more and the whole thing will collapse, killing hundreds of people. GL tries to use his ring to zap Crumbler from afar, but the beam peters out before it even gets inside the building. GL isn’t sure why the ring failed, but figures it’s probably his concussion fucking him up. The building’s foundations start to crack and the whole thing starts tilting, which freaks out everyone inside. GL asks Crumbler what he wants, and Crumbler says he wants to work on his daddy issues; he wants an apology from his father. But when GL goes to see the father, he’s still an asshole and refuses to apologize to his son, even to save a bunch of innocent people. He says he doesn’t care how many people die, as long as his son is one of them. When GL gets back to the building, the whole thing is really tilting, throwing a woman out a window. GL catches her with his ring, which works just fine, so he figures maybe he can trust it for short distances. He has a cop lead him into the basement to look at the supports under the pillars. They’re cracking from the strain, but the cop tells GL where Crumbler is standing on the floor above and GL uses his ring to bring Crumbler right through the floor into the basement. Crumbler threatens to disintegrate him, but GL takes him out the old-fashioned way—with a punch in the mouth. Everyone’s evacuated from the building (although they all seem to be standing right beside it … wasn’t it about to collapse?) and GL tells the cops to go easy on Crumbler, since he’s kind of a victim too. Normally, I’d think that was bullshit, but after seeing what a prick his father is, I can buy it. At the hospital, Green Arrow and Black Canary are going to be fine and GL wonders why his ring failed back in Star City. In orbit, we see his power battery glow ominously … but we’ll have to wait until next issue to see what that’s all about.