Last issue, Barry (Flash) Allen found out his wife Iris was dead. Barry had been drugged at a costume party and found escaped prisoner Clive Yorkin standing over Iris’s body. In his grief, Flash tried to get his friends in the JLA to bring Iris back somehow, but they all said it was impossible, so Flash went nuts and attacked them; that’s where this issue starts. Flash does pretty well against the combined efforts of his teammates, managing to run rings around them—literally. They finally get the upper hand when Superman clotheslines Flash and Green Lantern and Wonder Woman use their power to restrain him. Flash tries to drill through the floor of the Satellite at super-speed, but the effort is too much and he passes out. Upon examination, they find traces of the PCP Barry was dosed with at the costume party still in his system. Batman speculates it might be the combination of the drugs and Barry’s grief that made him go nuts, and says they’d better keep an eye on him at Iris’s funeral in case he freaks out again; bad enough if he exposed his own secret identity, but he could expose all of theirs too. At the funeral, Barry acts quite normally … almost too much so, as he seems to be holding in all his grief about Iris. At home later, he calls a reporter at Picture News (as the Flash) and tells her to be at the dedication of the new wing of the Flash Museum because he might have some very interesting “final words” to say. That gets her attention, making her wonder if Flash is retiring or leaving town. Elsewhere, we see Melanie, the strange girl with mind-control powers who had a thing for the Flash until she forced him to unmask and pronounced him too “ordinary” for her. She seems to have gotten past her obsessive crush and when she reads about Iris’s death in the newspaper, she feels bad for what she did to Barry and wonders if there’s any way to make it up to him. At home, Barry reads the speculation over Flash’s possible retirement and it’s obvious he’s planning something big. He decides to take a quick run around town for old time’s sake and sees another Flash running right at him. It turns out to be a mirror and Flash ends up in some melted pavement near a disabled armoured truck. Mirror Master is using a solar mirror to direct heat beams at the street as he sucks the cash from the armoured truck with the blades of his hovercraft. Flash dodges the heat beams, but ends up crashing through the window of a candy store. Flash tosses a bunch of chocolate bars into Mirror Master’s cash flow and the chocolate gums up his hovercraft, causing him to crash. Flash leaves Mirror Master to the cops and changes back to Barry Allen, apparently for the last time, as he throws away the ring containing his costume. A familiar-looking figure picks it up. A few blocks away, at the Museum dedication, Barry goes up on the dais to make an announcement. I guess they just let anyone walk up and start talking … or maybe they’re indulging Barry because of his recent tragedy. Anyway, he’s about to confess his double identity when he sees Melanie in the crowd. That only stops him momentarily, but the crowd starts getting restless and basically hounds him off the stage; they came there to see Flash, not some forensic technician. Barry leaves and Melanie stops him and returns his ring. She says the crowd reflects the mood of the whole city—they need Flash and don’t want him to pack it in. Barry hesitates, but puts on his Flash costume and Melanie screws with his head a bit by saying he looks ordinary … extra-ordinary! Flash thanks her and goes back to the Museum to receive the cheers of the crowd.
- Superman says Barry was given enough PCP to kill an elephant and only his speedy metabolism saved him.
- Nobody seems to think it’s weird that Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Diana Prince are at Iris’s funeral. Clark has an excuse, since Iris was a fellow journalist, but the others should make people wonder.
- A few other notable attendees at Iris’s service: Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris, Wally (Kid Flash) West, Ralph and Sue Dibny, Detective Curtis and Chief Paulson, Ira West (Iris’s father), Dexter Myles (curator of the Flash Museum), and Barry’s parents (his father is referred to as “Thomas Allen” here, though later he’s called Henry; I think they covered by saying his full name was Henry Thomas Allen).
- Melanie is wearing the exact same clothes she always does; I think maybe she only has the one outfit.
- It’s nice to see Barry getting his shit together, but the whole thing seems a bit quick; one minute he’s attacking the JLA and ready to blow his secret identity, the next he’s back to normal. Obviously Melanie’s pep talk helped, and some of his earlier behaviour could be attributed to the drugs in his system, but it still seems to have been wrapped up pretty fast. I hope he doesn’t immediately get over Iris’s death; I know Fiona Webb will be showing up next year sometime, but Barry’s grief should be allowed to run its course.
This one starts with Wonder Woman saving a jumbo jet that’s out of control. She pulls the plane out of its death-dive with her magic lasso, but diverts it into the path of some skydivers, knocking two of them out. Wonder Woman pulls a Sully Sullenberger, landing the plane on the water, then goes back up and uses her gliding ability to guide the unconscious skydivers to a watery landing of their own. She heads back to Manhattan, where we see an ad-man named Martin Markham receiving a summons from the Messenger God, Hermes. Markham is taken to Olympus and he’s freaking out, but Hermes says his special talents are required. Seeing as how Markham is a sleazy advertising exec, it seems strange that Gods would need him for anything … but I guess it depends on the God in question. Diana Prince returns to her apartment and meets her neighbour, Lance, who invites her to a party the following Saturday. In Olympus, Markham meets the temporary ruler, Mars (Zeus is away on some mission across the galaxy) and Mars says he wants to consolidate his power before Zeus’s return. Aphrodite stands up to him and Mars threatens to kill her, but she says he can’t slay a fellow God with impunity and Mars backs down. He tells Markham he wants to use his talent for knowing how to manipulate humans to help him take over Earth as a prelude to taking Olympus. Markham gives him some advice and we later see a huge explosion in Times Square. Wonder Woman zooms in to help and Hermes steals her bracelets at super-speed. Whenever Wonder Woman loses her bracelets, she goes nuts, and that’s what happens here; she starts tearing up Times Square and the crowd—who were cheering her a minute ago—now turn on her and start talking shit about her. Markham tells Mars that humans are fickle in their loyalties and they set part two of the plan into motion. Hercules shows up out of nowhere to challenge the maddened Amazon and they start beating the shit out of each other. Hercules finally decks Wonder Woman, earning the plaudits of the crowd and paving the way for Mars to take over Earth. They figure with Hercules as the people’s champion instead of Wonder Woman, Mars can just strut right in and rule the roost; apparently they don’t know about the umpteen other superheroes on Earth. As Hermes stands watching the spectacle, a mysterious woman in a cloak steals Wonder Woman’s bracelets off his belt and melts into the crowd.
- Diana’s neighbour Lance … I know I’m playing into the stereotype, but I can’t help wonder if he’s meant to be gay. He lives with his “roommate”, Tod, he’s a dancer, his name is Lance … maybe he’s not gay, but he certainly checks all the boxes. The weird thing is, I can’t tell if Diana is supposed to be attracted to him or not; it seems like she kinda is, but she was also pretty anxious to get him out of her place.
- Diana apparently lives in one of those buildings that’s just packed with artistic types; besides Lance and Tod, there are three artists, two actors, a musician, and an ancient languages prof from NYU.
- As far as I can tell, these are supposed to be Greek Gods, so I’m not sure why the God of War is Mars and not Ares, especially when all the other Gods use the Greek names.
This one starts with a hurricane battering the Florida coast. A guy (Juan Pinto) is running for shelter and almost gets smashed by a falling tree, but under the tree’s roots is an old box. Pinto thinks he’s hit the jackpot, but before he can see if the box is loaded with loot, a figure rises up in front of him, looking like an old conquistador. Pinto freaks and takes off, running right into the path of Hal Jordan, who’s trying to steer his semi through the hurricane. Hal changes to Green Lantern in time to stop Pinto from getting squashed and sticks him in the back of his rig after Pinto starts babbling about El Espectro—the ghost. GL recharges his ring, unaware that El Espectro is watching him. Not too far away, Oliver Queen, Dinah Lance, and Kari Limbo are having some chili in a diner. Before Ollie can taste the delectable delight, El Espectro shows up and grabs the bowl, slurping it down. Maybe this guy isn’t a ghost after all. Ollie objects, but gets slapped down, as does Dinah when she intervenes. Ollie tosses a coffee urn at the El Espectro, but the spectre slices it in half with his sword. Outside, El Espectro slices down a palm tree and Ollie is almost crushed, but GL saves him at the last second. They compare notes and realize they’re looking for the same guy. Kari uses the helmet El Espectro dropped to get a vision of his past: he was a guy named Jaime Sanchez who traveled with Ponce de Leon in search of the Fountain of Youth. Sanchez and two other men struck off on their own and found the Fountain, from which Sanchez drank. But his men betrayed him and buried him alive, right before being killed by Native Americans. Sanchez spent the last 466 years going crazy in his coffin, kept alive by the drink he took from the Fountain of Youth, until the hurricane uncovered him. They go looking for him and find him rousting a couple of boathouse workers, stealing their booze. He pounds Green Arrow and tosses Black Canary around, although he’s somewhat taken with her, calling her a “mujer hermosa”—beautiful woman. Green Lantern is distracted by a tidal wave that’s heading for shore, but he finds the dazed Green Arrow and enters the boathouse to see Black Canary getting thrown around. GL tackles El Espectro, but his sword absorbed some kind of golden liquid from the Fountain of Youth, so it can cut through anything GL’s ring can conjure up. The tidal wave hits, smashing the boathouse to matchsticks and sweeping El Espectro away. GL manages to retrieve Green Arrow and Black Canary, who aren’t hurt. Hal’s truck is smashed, but somehow Juan Pinto survived. Kari is fine too; she was out helping hurricane victims. They look for El Espectro, but his footprints stop suddenly, and his sword has disappeared. But don’t worry, all you El Espectro fans … we’ll see him again next issue.
- Kari Limbo reveals she knows Green Lantern’s secret identity … which probably means she’s figured out who Green Arrow and Black Canary are as well.