Comics Reviews: Flash 279, Wonder Woman 261, Green Lantern 122

Flash 279 coverFlash #279 – “Death-Feast” – Cary Bates/Alex Saviuk/Frank Chiaramonte

You’ll remember last issue ended on a big cliffhanger, with crazed convict (and number one suspect in the murder of Iris Allen) Clive Yorkin ambushing the Flash and using a weird new power to drain Flash’s life-force. Yorkin used it earlier on some innocent bystanders and on Heat Wave, which left them looking old and ravaged. Flash tries to fight Yorkin, but can’t vibrate out of his grasp because can somehow match his vibrations. Flash figures it’s all over and starts thinking about his dead wife and being re-united with her. Those tender thoughts have a strange effect on Yorkin, causing him to freak outFlash breaks away from Yorkin and run off before doing much damage to Flash. It’s almost like Flash’s happy thoughts about iris made Yorkin physically ill. Flash decides to check on Heat Wave instead of chasing Yorkin, and it’s a good thing he does; Heat Wave’s hair has turned white and he’s in shock from Yorkin’s attack. Flash takes him to the hospital at super-speed and then heads home. The next day, Barry and his Police detective friend Frank Curtis talk to Melanie, the weirdo teenager who had a thing for Flash until she saw him up close. They ended up being friends—sort of—and since Melanie has some kind of mental powers, Barry figures she might be able to help them track down Iris’s killer. Curtis is skeptical, but Melanie gets some vibes from the abandoned Sandman costume found outside the Allen and Curtismansion where Iris was killed. (You’ll remember the party guest dressed as Sandman was the one who dosed Barry with PCP.) Melanie tracks the vibes to a shabby apartment, with Curtis complaining the whole way. But he goes along because Barry is so insistent. Neither of them notices a guy hanging around in a phone booth across from the apartment. Barry and Curtis bust into the room like Starsky and Hutch and find a dude named Patterson. Patterson admits he was hired to dose Barry with a shitload of PCP, but insists he knows nothing about Iris’s murder. Before they can get anything else out of him, a guy in an apartment across the street calls Patterson and asks if the guys with him are cops. When he says yes, the guy across the street activates a booby trap in the phone, blowing Patterson to hell. Barry is too surprised to save Patterson, but manages to put up a super-speed shockwave to spare himself and Curtis from the explosion. Obviously, someone didn’t want Patterson to talk, but Barry and Curtis wonder if this whole thing is connected to their ongoing drug case. When theyMelanie prepares to track Yorkin get outside, Melanie is gone, having left a note saying she had positive vibes that they’d be okay. But we see Melanie in a cab, and the real reason she left is that Barry’s emotions about Iris’s death were affecting her psychic powers. Barry’s grief is so strong, Melanie actually relived the murder scene through his eyes, so now she heads out to the mansion to look for clues. She finds a shard of glass from the window Yorkin escaped through and figures she can use her psychic powers to track Yorkin down as a favour to Barry. Speaking of Yorkin, he’s hanging around the old warehouse district and attracts the attention of the local beat cops. They’re too smart to tangle with him one-on-one, so they call for back-up. But apparently they’re not smart enough to look in the back seat before leaving the scene, because Yorkin is hiding there and drains their life-force. A few local hoboes hear the car crash and go to help, but Yorkin ambushes them and drains them too. Later, a news report mentions the latest Yorkin casualties and also running up the water streamthe escape of Mick Rory (aka Heat Wave) from the mental hospital where he was being held. When Flash hears fire alarms, it doesn’t take him long to figure out who’s responsible. He heads to the fire and rescues some bystanders (by running up the water stream from the fire hose!) and some firemen. He heads back inside and finds Heat Wave trying to burn the whole building down. Flash disarms him, but Heat Wave insists Yorkin is there somewhere; Flash humours him, saying he’ll search the area after he drops Heat Wave back at the hospital. A few moments after they take off, Melanie shows up, following the psychic emanations from the piece of glass. She hears a noise and tries to hide and we see Yorkin emerging from the basement where he sheltered from the fire. So now that Melanie has tracked Yorkin down, what’s she going to do with him? We’ll find out next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • Melanie knows Flash’s secret identity, but she’s keeping her mouth shut.
  • Melanie’s still wearing the same clothes she always does … I’m thinking she either has only the one outfit, or a whole bunch of identical ones.
  • This storyline is actually pretty good, with the whole “drug ring inside the police department” and Yorkin’s craziness, and Iris’s death. I’ve read that killing Iris was supposed to regenerate sales and I have to think it probably worked; I already know who killed Iris and I’m still excited to read the next issue. Alex Saviuk’s art is good too … I always liked him on Web of Spider-Man.

Wonder Woman 261 coverWonder Woman #261 – “Quest to the Palace at the Edge of Time” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Vince Colletta

Over the last couple of issues, Mars (God of War) has tried to take over Earth as a precursor to ruling Olympus, since Zeus is off on some secret mission across the universe. Mars kidnapped an ad-man from Earth to help him win the hearts and minds of humanity before his takeover. Hermes stole Wonder Woman’s bracelets, which made her go crazy. Mars’s pawn, Hercules, showed up and defeated her, earning the gratitude of the fickle masses. But Wonder Woman escaped and is doing her best to fight the berzerker rage welling up inside her. And she has the help of an unknown benefactor; a woman in a cloak stole back Diana’s bracelets from Hermes. Mars is in New York, looking for Wonder Woman and showing his true colours by being a petulant prick. The citizens are starting to realize what a mistake they made backing Hercules and Mars, but it may be too late. Wonder Woman tries to fly to Paradise Island in her invisible jet (since Mars is blocking radio traffic to and from the island) and Mars sends a couple ofMars being a dick Hellhounds after her. She escapes by luring them into the ocean, where they disintegrate, but when she gets to Paradise Island, the place is surrounded by a glass dome and all the Amazons seem to be fading out. Wonder Woman’s benefactor shows up—it’s Aphrodite, in case you hadn’t already guessed—and explains it’s all an illusion caused by the Duke of Deception. Aphrodite returns Diana’s bracelets and congratulates her for subsuming her rage so well. She then tells Wonder Woman about Mars’s scheme to rule Earth (and Olympus) and says Zeus is currently at some kind of Gods’ conclave in a place called the Palace at the Edge of the Universe, so Diana will have to go tell him what’s going on. Aphrodite tells her the way and gives her jet lightspeed capability, and Wonder Woman takes off. In New York, they call in the Air Force to pacify Mars, but he slaps the planes down like King Kong. In Olympus, Monte Markham (the ad exec who’s been advising Mars on his takeover of Earth) wonders why Mars is ruining all the goodwill he built up by acting like an asshole. Hermes says that’s just The PalaceMars’s way, and Markham wishes he could get the hell away from all these crazy immortals. Meanwhile, across the universe, Wonder Woman goes through a weird space warp and fights some metallic giants before finding the Palace at the Edge of the Universe. Inside, she finds Zeus—and a bunch of other gods—but they all seem lifeless, like statues. Aphrodite’s astral self shows up and tells Diana the gods are meeting on the astral plane, but she can save humanity if she takes the Gong of Justice from the Palace and rings it three times back on Earth. By the time Wonder Woman returns, Mars is ready to obliterate the U.S. Military, but after she rings the gong three times, Mars is banished, all the damage is re[paired, and everyone (except her) forgets what happened. Yeah, it’s one of those stories. Aphrodite tells Diana she did well, but Diana is a little pissed off at how people turned n her so easily after one little rampage. Aphrodite says she has to be patient … they’re only human after all.

Noticeable Things:

  • The Palace looks kind of … Ditko-esque to me.
  • I don’t know why Aphrodite didn’t just tell Diana about the Gong of Justice in the first place, instead of telling her she had to go to the Palace to see Zeus.
  • In a short epilogue, we see the ad-man, Markham, lamenting that nothing exciting ever happens in his business; I guess he’s no Don Draper.

Green Lantern 122 coverGreen Lantern #122 – “With These Rings …” – Denny O’Neil/Don Heck/Vince Colletta

Over the last few issues, Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan has met, wooed, and banged Kari Limbo, Romany psychic and former girlfriend of Hal’s recently-deceased fellow Lantern, Guy Gardner. Everything has been moving at breakneck speed, so of course it’s now their wedding day. Green Lantern takes Kari to the church, where Green Arrow, Black Canary, Flash, and Superman are waiting. Kari has one of her weird psychic trances and draws a Phantom Zone projector in the dirt; she says she could sense that someone she cares a lot about is in agony and the Phantom Zone projector is the cause. That freaks Superman out and he goes to his Fortress to check on his projector, which he activates for some reason. Tentacles shoot out of the Phantom Zone and pull him in. Back at the church, Arrow wonders if Hal will give up being Green Lantern after he’s married, and Hal says he plans to. Hal’s old friend Tom Kalmaku shows up for theLantern vs Lantern wedding and they get the ceremony started. But before it’s over, Kari has another vision and keels over. She’s mumbling about superman being in danger in the Phantom Zone from a power ring, so GL heads to the Fortress to check things out. Right after he leaves, Kari starts reliving Guy Gardner’s death (even though she didn’t witness it) and talking about how much she loves him … which makes Green Arrow and Black Canary wonder why Kari’s marrying Hal. At the Fortress, Superman’s defenses keep GL from entering, but he uses his ring to phase the Phantom Zone projector through the wall. He activates the projector and sees someone inside the Zone … someone familiar. He plunges into the Zone and is immediately embroiled in a fight with another Green Lantern. It turns out to be Guy Gardner, who wasn’t disintegrated, just projected into the Phantom Zone somehow. Guy is ready to waste Green Lantern because he knows about Hal and Kari, but GL soon figures out there’s Superman kicks backmore to Guy’s anger than meets the eye. Some of the Phantom Zone’s permanent residents introduce themselves, including Superman’s old nemesis, General Zod. GL figures Zod is controlling Guy somehow, feeding his anger until it turns to homicidal rage. Zod says he and some of his Zone friends are augmenting Guy’s willpower, making him  too strong for GL to fight alone. But Zod and his henchmen have captured Superman (and pounded the shit out of him), so GL can’t retreat for fear they’ll kill the Man of Steel. (Superman isn’t invulnerable in the Phantom Zone.) Turns out Supes was faking it, and he gives his captors a couple of good kicks in the head. He and GL try to fight the Phantom Zone villains, but Superman’s lack of powers makes him vulnerable, so GL grabs him and they take off. Green Lantern swears to Zod he’ll be back to rescue Guy from his influence and he takes Superman out of the zone. GL goes back to tell Kari what happened, but her psychic powers have let her see it all. She tells Hal she can’t marry him knowing Guy is still alive and they postpone the wedding. Next issue, we’ll see if Hal can rescue Guy from the Phantom Zone … and if he does, what that means for him and Kari.

Noticeable Things:

  • I find it weird that Green Lantern is marrying Kari in his costumed identity, not as Hal Jordan. Would that even be legal?
  • I’m surprised that more JLA members aren’t there; we see Superman, Flash, and (briefly) Hawkman, but that’s it. And why are all the other heroes in costume (including the groom), but Black Canary is there as Dinah Drake?
  • We find out Tom Kalmaku now owns a chain of service stations—and that he now hates the name Pie-Face. About time that was addressed.
  • Guy says he was watching Hal “touching and kissing” Kari from the Phantom Zone; I assume that means he watched them banging too … no wonder he’s so pissed off.
  • If you’re wondering how GL and Superman got out of the inescapable Phantom Zone, GL says he set up a link between the projector and his power battery, so there would be a temporary link back to Earth that only he could use.

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