This one starts with flash tracking Captain Boomerang to a hidden lair underneath an Australian theme park. Boomerang has stolen some necklaces with his trick boomerangs and Flash followed them straight back to his hideout. Naturally Boomerang doesn’t give up without a fight and deploys a variety of trick boomerangs (electrical, explosive) against the Scarlet Speedster. When Flash evades all the fancy boomerangs, the Captain tries to escape on a flying table that’s shaped like … you guessed it, a boomerang. Flash grounds the table before Boomerang can get far and questions him about the masquerade party a while back. Flash has figured out that the “party guest” dressed as Captain Boomerang was the genuine article and wants know if he had anything to do with the death of the young woman at the party. (Of course, the woman in question is Iris, Flash’s recently departed wife, but he doesn’t let on to Boomerang how close they were.) Boomerang says he was just there to case the place and knows nothing about the murder; he also says he’s not the only genuine villain who pretended to be a party guest that night. Flash takes off after warning Boomerang he’ll be in trouble if he lied. Boomerang is surprised that Flash didn’t take him in for stealing the necklaces—or even confiscate the stolen stuff. Why not? We’ll get the answer to that soon. In the meantime, Barry Allen goes to the police lab and hypnotizes himself to jog his memory about everything that happened the night Iris was killed. Barry’s friend, Detective Frank Curtis comes in and Barry shares the results of his self-mesmerism. He remembers the guy in the Sandman costume pressing his “gun” against Barry’s shoulder and figures that’s when he was injected with the huge dose of PCP that screwed him up later. Barry says the last thing he remembers is seeing Clive Yorkin jump out the window as Barry held Iris’s dead body in his arms. Curtis has just come from the prison lab where Yorkin was experimented on and has Yorkin’s file. Turns out Yorkin is actually dyslexic, which means his brain is sort of cross-wired for transmitting information. That explains why Yorkin kept pushing the “pain” button when Barry found him strapped in the chair at the prison: Yorkin thought he as pushing the “pleasure” button. It also explains why the conditioning didn’t work; the process was supposed to make Yorkin react positively to positive stimuli and negatively to criminal behaviour, but because of his dyslexia it had the opposite effect. Speaking of Yorkin, he’s roaming around the city looking like Mr. Hyde. He pounds some guy and sneaks into a movie theatre, where he assaults a couple who are making out. Everybody freaks and Yorkin crashes through the main doors and takes off. Barry and Curtis go back to the mansion where the fateful party was held and look at the guest list; most of the bad guys signed in with their villainous monikers. A maid gives them a Sandman costume she says was found in the bushes, confirming he was probably the one who dosed Barry with the PCP. They wonder who ordered Barry to be hit, since Yorkin is way too whacked out to have it. On the way home, Barry gets a silent alarm call and takes off, running past the theatre where Yorkin caused all the trouble. Flash probably should’ve stopped, because we see the two teenagers being loaded into the ambulance and they both look ancient: white hair, wrinkles, blue skin … all just from Yorkin grabbing them by the shoulders. But Flash has his own little sting going on; apparently he’s planted fake jewelry at various locales and made it easy for super-villains to go after it. That explains why he didn’t care about the stuff Captain Boomerang stole—it was fake. His alarm going off means another Rogue has taken the bait; this time it’s Heat Wave. They tussle and Flash tries to ask him about the masquerade party, but Yorkin shows up and distracts him. Heat Wave tries to escape, but Yorkin grabs him and starts aging him (or draining his life force, or whatever the hell he does to people). Flash saves Heat wave and is horrified at what Yorkin’s touch has done. He goes after the maniac, but gets jumped. Yorkin starts using his deadly power on Flash … and as we saw a couple issues ago, Flash can’t vibrate free of Yorkin’s grip because Yorkin can somehow match his vibrations and keep hold of him. So it looks like Flash may join Iris in the afterlife sooner than expected. We’ll see if he does next issue.
- On the splash page, it says Flash has made peace with Iris’s death, but won’t rest until her killer is found and put away. Yorkin is the obvious suspect, and Flash seems to assume it’s him most of the time, but the fact he’s questioning other villains makes it look like he’s not 100% sure.
- If Yorkin’s file had the info about his dyslexia, why didn’t the doctor pick a different test subject? Couldn’t he predict what was going to happen?
Last issue, Mars decided to get rid of Wonder Woman as a precursor to taking over Earth (which itself is a precursor to taking over Olympus, since Zeus is away), so he kidnapped an ad executive (Martin Markham) to advise him on how to destroy Wonder Woman’s reputation. Following the advice, Hermes stole Wonder Woman’s bracelets, which made her go crazy and start smashing stuff like the Hulk, which made humans hate her. Hercules then showed up and defeated her, earning the crowd’s favour. A mysterious woman in a cloak (who’s most likely Aphrodite, or someone working for her) stole the bracelets back from Hermes, but hasn’t returned them to Wonder Woman yet. This issue opens with Wonder Woman being imprisoned in a high-tech cell (which was originally meant for villains) by a couple of cops. Because her hands have been chained by a man (with handcuffs), she’s lost her strength, but she’s still feeling the berzerker rage and has to concentrate all her willpower to suppress it. One of the cops is decent to her and the other is a dick, but she doesn’t say anything to either one, as she’s too busy trying not to freak out. Uptown, Hercules shows his true colours as he assaults a reporter and smashes his camera, but that doesn’t seem to sway the crowd against him. Herc tells everyone that their true saviour is Mars, God of War, and that he’s coming to usher in a new era on Earth. That gets their attention. In Olympus, Hermes explains to Markham that Mars plans to enslave all of humanity, and says he couldn’t have done it without Markham’s help. Markham seems a tad … bothered by that. At the prison, Wonder Woman tricks the nice cop into taking off her cuffs, then decks him and takes off. She smashes her way out, still barely keeping her berzerker side in check. She gets away and changes to Diana Prince, still fighting to stay in control. The woman in the cloak (who seems to be able to read her mind) watches and thinks to herself that Diana is being tested … and is passing so far. When news of Wonder Woman’s escape reaches the crowd, they beg Hercules to capture her again. But Mars says Hercules works for him and that he can bring Wonder Woman in, as long as his deed is flashed around the world by the TV crews. Mars figures the hero-worship he gets from the world’s populace will feed his power until he’s unstoppable. But he can’t locate Wonder Woman anywhere, so his plan is kinda stalled. I guess he doesn’t know her secret identity? Diana goes home and barely restrains herself from beating the shit out of her pushy neighbour, Lance. He was being a total pain in the ass, so she might’ve been justified in pounding him. She changes back to Wonder Woman and tries to contact her mother on Paradise Island by mental radio, but Mars has jammed the transmission somehow. He tells her (telepathically) that he’s going to destroy her, then wipe out the rest of the Amazons. Wonder Woman freaks and almost smashes the radio, but stops herself. She realizes she has to fight back her berzerker rage and focus on her reason, her intellect, to overcome Mars. Outside, we see the cloaked woman watching again, and looking quite pleased with Wonder Woman’s progress. I get the feeling this whole three-parter is to get rid of the whole “chained Amazon” trope that the bracelets of submission have always represented. Maybe DC were trying to get more enlightened in the 70s. We’ll see if anything comes of it next issue.
You’ll remember last issue Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Kari Limbo fought a guy called El Espectro. Despite the name, Espectro’s not actually a ghost; he’s a Spanish conquistador who drank from the Fountain of Youth 400 years ago and was buried alive, only to be recently uncovered by a hurricane. Naturally, all that time underground drove him nuts. Espectro got way, but not before destroying Hal Jordan’s big rig. Kari tries to use her clairvoyance to find Espectro like she did last issue by grasping his helmet, but this time it backfires; she seems to be transported to some weird dimension where someone is calling her name. The strain is too much and she’s knocked for a loop. GL and Arrow leave her with Black Canary as they prepare to track down El Espectro. Speaking of him, he’s not too far away at a local airport. He boards a private jet and pounds the pilot. The jet’s owner turns out to be Carol Ferris, who calms Espectro by speaking Spanish to him. Espectro orders her to get the “machine” in the air so he can get his long-awaited revenge. GL and Arrow stop some looters taking advantage of the hurricane’s destruction and learn that Espectro passed that way, heading for the airport. At the hotel, Kari tells Dinah that she’s in love with GL, but she doesn’t mention the voice she keeps hearing inside her head, calling her name. GL and Arrow find the plane Espectro hijacked and bust in. GL’s ring is powerless against Espectro’s sword since it has some kind of golden aura around it, so Lantern uses his fists to subdue the conquistador. Just as GL is about to finish him, he’s distracted when he notices Carol; it’s always a shock to run into the ex, isn’t it? Espectro takes advantage and pounds GL, knocking him out (naturally), stripping off his ring, and tossing him out of the plane. Arrow decks Espectro, grabs the ring, and plummets out after his friend. Arrow uses a bola arrow to return GL’s ring and he returns the favour by saving Arrow’s ass. They head back after the plane, but Espectro has ordered Carol to fly to Spain so he can use the “flying machine” against the hated English. Unfortunately, their flight path takes them through some secret Navy maneuvers and they’re shot down. Carol lands on the aircraft carrier, where the Captain is freaked out about accidentally shooting down a civilian craft. He soon realizes he has bigger problems when El Espectro starts the carrier deck on fire. GL shows up and puts ut the fire, but Espectro grabs Arrow and threatens to cut his head off. GL tosses his ring away, but uses his willpower to activate it remotely, cutting a hole in the deck and dropping all three of them into the hangars below. GL smashes Espectro, finally knocking him out. Later, Hal tells Kari he loves her and she proposes to him … and he says yes! So I guess we’ll be seeing a wedding next issue … or will we?
- Did Lantern really not recognize Carol’s jet? Arrow recognized it right away, and Hal used to work at Ferris.
- Carol sure acted weird this issue. When Lantern and Arrow plummeted out of the plane, she didn’t seem to care one way or another, saying they lived violently so they may as well die that way. But after the fight, she offered Hal a job at Ferris Aircraft again.
- The Hal/Kari Limbo romance continues to proceed at breakneck speed; they only met a few issues ago and now they’re getting married. I never thought I’d wish for decompressed storylines, but this plot is too far the other direction.