Comics Reviews: Flash 273, Wonder Woman 255, Green Lantern 116

Flash 273 coverFlash #273 – “Harvest of Hate” – Cary Bates/Alex Saviuk/Frank Chiaramonte

This issue starts right where the last one left off, with Flash just having crashed through a brick wall. He was following a crooked cop who’d stolen drugs from police headquarters when he was compelled to change course and ended up smashing through the wall. A young woman kneels over him, bragging about how she made him come to her because the two of them are “mind-mates”. Flash hears her, even though he’s half out of it, but before he can get his marbles together, the woman disappears and a couple of guard dogs show up. Flash realizes he must be on a private estate and vibrates loose before the dogs can gnaw him too much. He zips around front and sees the estate is the Tabor Institute for Psychicdogged Research. He searches the place at super-speed, looking for the girl, but she’s not there. He does find her creepy shrine to him, but can’t figure out who she is, so he leaves. At a nearby disco, we see the girl in question (whose name is Melanie) joining her friends. She goes on about the Flash and how hot she is for him because he’s one of a kind, but her friends aren’t too impressed. At home, Iris is watching “The Waltons” when Barry comes home and tries to talk to him, but he falls asleep. The next day, Iris goes to the hair salon to get a bold new hairstyle; I guess she figures Barry will jump her as soon as he sees it. At work, Barry’s called in to see Chief Paulson, who reminds him he’s been making a lot of stupid mistakes lately. Barry apologizes and fills the Chief in on some important stuff. He says the Nephron Project (a program to curb criminal behaviour by manipulating the criminal’s brain) is dangerous and should be Iris feeling neglectedshut down. He also mentions the heroin smuggling that’s been going on inside the police department, using his lab as a hiding place for the stash. The Chief says he’ll check things out, but that they’ll have to wait until they have an airtight case. At home, Iris surprises Barry with her new hairstyle. It’s … different. Barry’s reaction isn’t much better than mine, but he covers pretty well. Unfortunately, he sees a news bulletin about a riot at the prison by inmates who are protesting the Nephron Project. So he takes off, leaving Iris and her kicky new ’do to another lonely night of masturbation. At the prison, Flash saves Dr. Nephron, the guy in charge of the Project, from splattering after some inmates toss him out a window. Flash heads inside andriot fight starts kicking ass at super-speed, but gets tripped up and slapped around by some prisoners. He recovers and decides to take them out by feeding each inmate sleeping pills at super-speed. They all keel over, to the relief of the guards, but Flash can’t find Clive Yorkin, the guy who volunteered for the Nephron Project. The fact that the experimental procedure seems to have turned Yorkin into a raving loon is what set off the riot in the first place. Flash finds Yorkin in the lab and is shocked to see … he really is a raving loon. We’ll see what Flash does about that next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • I don’t know why the guard dogs didn’t get out through the hole in the wall. Maybe the guard called them back before they could get out.
  • When Melanie goes to the disco, she turns down a dance with some dude named Dack and her friend says Dack is one of the most eligible “Johns” around. I assume that was some attempt at 70s slang that I’m not familiar with, but it makes it sound like Melanie and her friends are all hookers.
  • Maybe it’s just paranoia after reading so many comics, but I get the feeling Barry’s Chief is in on the heroin ring. The way he asked if Barry had told anyone else about it, and how he said not to say anything until they had more evidence … I’m thinking he’s probably the one running the operation.
  • I’m not sure why the prisoners were rioting over Yorkin’s condition; he volunteered and all the other prisoners refused to take part in the Project, so it’s not like they were all going to suffer the same fate.
  • I really like Alex Saviuk’s art here; it’s even better than over in Green Lantern. Maybe it’s the inker, but it reminds me of his later style on Web of Spider-Man, which I always loved.

Wonder Woman 255 coverWonder Woman #255 – “Menace of the Mental Murderer” – Paul Levitz/Jose Delbo/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Wonder Woman arriving at the United Nations Building in New York and changing to Diana Prince so she can attend a conference on peaceful uses of spaceflight. A Dr. Strenzic is scheduled to speak and he’s introduced by Diana’s old boss, Morgan Tracy (who looks like a Tony Stark wannabe). As Strenzic begins speaking, Diana notices something suspicious and leaves to change back to Wonder Woman. A guard behind Strenzic pulls a gun and Wonder Woman knocks it out of his hand by throwing her tiara. Morgan Tracy decks the suddenly murderous guard and Wonder Woman changes back to Diana so she won’t be missed. Outside, her colleagues tell her what happened and Morgan Tracy stops by to chat. She’s still pissed off at him for cooperating with the military over Steve Trevor’s “murder” case, so shecrazy guard mouths off a bit and leaves. Tracy is suspicious of how Diana always seems to pop up in the middle of every mysterious event. Wonder Woman heads downtown to hang out at some snooty French café. At the UN, Tracy tells the security guys that the guard who tried to kill Strenzic has no memory of doing it, almost like he was hypnotized. An alarm goes off and they rush to the Records Room, where the door has been torn from the hinges. Another guard goes all catatonic and tries to shoot Tracy, but he’s disarmed by the others. Tracy tells one of his men to check the records to see if anything was taken. In the foreground, we see Diana Prince’s file is empty. The next day, it snows and Wonder Woman helps a stuck bus get out of a bus rescuesnow bank. At the UN, Diana is informed by Tracy that her file was stolen and decides to make herself scarce. A woman named Fischer greets her and asks if she’ll come back to work with her, but Diana blows her off. Outside, Wonder Woman surveys the UN Plaza, wondering what the hell’s going on and how it involves her. She sees Strenzic arrive and a bunch of protesters swarming around. Suddenly, all the cops turn murdery and try to kill Strenzic. Wonder Woman leaps down and deflects the bullets, then uses her lasso to knock the cops out. She gets Strenzic out of the crowd, but Tracy tries to stab him. Wonder Woman stops him and wonders who’s controlling all the spontaneous assassins. A dude named Bushmaster pops up out of nowhere on a flying scooter and zaps Wonder Woman with a ray that almost knocks her out. Bushmaster says he’s responsible for the attacks on Strenzic. He gives Strenzic a gunWonder Woman vs Bushmaster and hypnotizes him into shooting himself. I’m not sure why he doesn’t just waste Strenzic himself, since he’s got him at his mercy, but whatever. Wonder Woman recovers and smashes Bushmaster’s scooter, then destroys the gun before Strenzic can blow himself away. Bushmaster tries to zap Wonder Woman again, but she deflects it with her bracelets and Bushmaster takes off. I guess she didn’t hit his scooter hard enough to wreck it. Wonder Woman notices a suspicious boat in the East River, but before she can get close, it takes off at high speed. Diana heads back to Houston and we see Bushmaster reporting back to “control” that he failed to kill Strenzic, but did manage to steal the file on Diana Prince. We’ll find out more about that in future issues.

Noticeable Things:

  • We’re not told what country Strenzic is from. The name sounds vaguely Slavic, and the Eastern Bloc were the “bad guys” in the late 70s; there’s also a mention of Strenzic’s country sending mercenaries to underdeveloped countries. That could be a reference to Cuban and Russian troops being sent to African countries like Angola. Of course, the Rhodesian war was still on in 1979, and lots of mercenaries were involved in that too.
  • Bushmaster is a very “Marvel” villain, which is weird since Paul Levitz and Jose Delbo did little to no work for Marvel. Bushmaster reminds me a little of Deathlok and a lot of Centurius.
  • I think Bushmaster turns out to be working for an international crime syndicate called the Cartel, but we don’t find that out for a while.

Green Lantern 116 coverGreen Lantern #116 – “My Ring, My Enemy” – Denny O’Neil/Alex Saviuk/Dave Hunt

This one starts with Green Arrow calling Green Lantern for help. A giant disembodied eye is hovering over Star City and Green Arrow’s arrows don’t affect it. GL’s ring doesn’t do much better; in fact, it does worse, as the ring’s energy turns on GL, almost strangling him, then knocking him out (which we all saw coming, naturally). We see a weird dude with a big eye on his helmet (professor Ojo) watching on a monitor from his Arctic base. His majordomo, Mincher, wonders how Ojo made GL’s ring turn on him, but Ojo says he had nothing to do with that. He does pronounce himself satisfied with the test of the giant floating eye and says Star City will be a good place for his plan. Back in Star City, GL realizes the ring is fucked up (he had trouble with it last issue too), so heGL wrapped up by his own ring figures he should head to Oa and get the Guardians to look at I. Arrow thinks it might be a tad dangerous, using a faulty ring to warp across space, but GL is determined to go … alone. He heads into space, where his semi has been orbiting. He takes the power battery down to Earth before heading for Oa. The next morning, Ollie Queen (aka Green Arrow) shows up with some breakfast and sees GL charging his ring. Ollie is shocked when GL suddenly shatters into pieces and disappears. His freak-out is interrupted by Guy Gardner, who tells Ollie he’s filling in for GL while he’s away. Arrow decides he’d better show Guy the ropes and hopes Hal is okay, wherever he is. We see Hal in space, going through a warp that’s supposed to take him to Oa. But he ends up in the middle of a desert somewhere, and his ring stops working. On Earth, Guy and Arrow find the giant eye, but don’t have much luck against it. Guy gets cocky Guy saves Arrow but misses the eyeand misses his shot, but does save Arrow’s life. In the desert, GL has been wandering for hours when he’s pulled under the sand. Turns out he is on Oa after all, just on the opposite side from where he usually goes. The Guardians tell him they neutralized his ring and teleported him to the desert because their scans indicate a problem with the ring. The Guardians check out the ring and say it’s the battery that’s fucked up; it causes the ring to disobey commands sometimes and can even screw with time, making future events appear in the present. GL figures the battery was damaged when Crumbler tried to waste him a couple issues ago, so the Guardians give him a replacement battery and tell him to destroy the original since it’s very dangerous. On Earth, Guy chokes down some of Oliver’s (in)famous chili and bids him and Dinah good night. On the way home, Guy runs into the giant eye and blasts it to shit. He’s prettyGuy disappears stoked and can’t wait to recharge the ring. Professor Ojo is aware of the eye’s destruction, but doesn’t seem to care too much. GL gets back and tells Ollie and Dinah the battery was to blame for his trouble. Ollie tells him the weird vision he had of he battery exploding and GL freaks, remembering what the Guardians said about future events appearing in the present. He busts into Guy’s chamber, but it’s too late; Ollie vision comes true and Guy disintegrates, leaving the three heroes feeling cheated, since they had no chance to stop it. Of course, we know Guy’s not really dead, but we’ll have to wait to see how he comes back.

Noticeable Things:

  • I think this is only Guy Gardner’s third appearance. He first appeared in Green Lantern #59, where we learned that when Abin Sur was looking for someone on Earth to bequeath the ring to, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner were both qualified, but Hal was closer. In a sort of “What If?” story, Hal saw what would’ve happened if Guy had been GL instead of him … he would’ve ended up dying and giving Hal the ring anyway. After that, Hal found Guy and became friends with him, but never told him he was a GL candidate. In GL #87, Guy was hit by a bus rescuing a kid and John  Stewart became the alternate GL, but Guy still didn’t know he was a GL candidate. So in this issue, Guy says he just found out about the whole GL thing the same morning he met Oliver.
  • Apparently whatever ailment kept Guy from being a Green Lantern is finished. He claims to be Hal’s back-up, ahead of John Stewart.
  • This version of Guy is not too  bad. He seems proud to be a Lantern, but at least he’s not the insufferable prick that we know later in DeMatteis/Giffen’s Justice League.
  • Professor Ojo is obviously meant to be a Spanish speaker, but his stereotyped dialogue is tiring.

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