Comics Reviews: Flash 287, Wonder Woman 269, Green Lantern 130

Flash 287 coverFlash #287 – “Dr. Alchemy and Mr. Desmond” – Cary Bates/Don Heck/Frank Chiaramonte

This one starts in the police science lab, where Barry Allen and his lab assistant (Patty) are working on vest made of a new element called  Dyrithum. It supposedly has he same hardness as diamond, but it’s too heavy to make bullet-proof vests out of, so Barry and Patty are tasked with finding a way to make a lightweight vest from the material. Barry goes to get coffee and while he’s gone, someone melts a hole in the lab wall. That someone turns out to be Dr. Alchemy, using his Philosopher’s Stone to alter the elemental structure of the wall. He uses the stone to knock Patty out with a dose of ether, then turns the Dyrithum vest to aluminum so he and his henchmen can steal it moreFlash catches bullets easily. Barry returns, but zips away at high speed before the villains can see him. He returns as Flash and catches all the thugs’ submachine gun bullets in glass beakers (to keep them from wrecking the lab) before taking out the gunmen. Dr. Alchemy leaves a wall of ice to cover his escape, but Flash busts right through. As he’s trying to nab the villain outside, Flash keels over thanks to a dose of carbon monoxide Dr. Alchemy whipped up. Alchemy gets away and Flash changes back to Barry and returns to the lab, where Captain Frye gives him shit for wimping out and leaving Patty to Dr. Alchemy’s mercy. Barry says he smelled the ether and went for help, then ran into Flash outside and helped him recover from Alchemy’s CO attack. Frye apologizes and puts out an APB on Dr. Alchemy, as Barry wonders why Alchemy has gone back to his criminal ways. We get a quick rundown of Dr. Alchemy’s history: Albert Rita contradicts AlDesmond found the Philosopher’s Stone and became a supervillain, but reformed in prison, married a nice woman, and settled down in the burbs. It’s almost like the criminal and normal parts of Desmond are two distinct personalities; Desmond has had a few relapses (calling himself Mr. Element for a time), but has been a law-abiding citizen for a while now. Flash heads to Desmond’s house to see what’s going on. He talks to Desmond’s wife Rita (as Barry Allen) and she says she heard about Alchemy’s raid on police headquarters but doesn’t know what’s going on. Al Desmond shows up while they’re talking and says he had nothing to do with the robbery, but Barry’s not sure; he knows Desmond’s M.O., his voice, his mannerisms, and he’s sure the Dr. Alchemy he fought was Al Desmond. (Of course, he doesn’t mention that, he just says Flash “told him” that he thought it was Desmond he faced.) Desmond says he has a perfect alibi for the crime: he and Rita were fixing the washing machine for a couple of hours at the time of the heist. But Rita says Al is lying, that he left early that day and there was nothing wrong with the washer. Desmond freaks out, accusing her of lying.Flash and Fiona The cops show up to take him in and more evidence piles up against him: several witnesses say they saw him near the police station just before the robbery, and the Dyrithum vest is found in his garage. Flash isn’t quite convinced; Desmond’s denials strike him as being honest, so he wonders if Desmond’s slit personality could cause him to commit crimes without remembering. The next day, Flash saves a runaway taxi that has a familiar passenger … Fiona Webb, Barry’s hot but standoffish new neighbour. Fiona’s in quite a state, verging on tears, and asks if Flash can take her to the police station where she has some “personal business”. He does, but when they get there, the building is lit up like the sun. Flash figures Al must’ve somehow regained telepathic power of his Philosopher’s Stone and used it to conjure some sodium, which ignited on contact with air. He finds Al’s cell empty (the bars transmuted to gold two Al Desmondsand bent apart) and searches the building at super-speed. Outside, Fiona tells him she saw Dr. Alchemy heading into the park, so Flash follows and grabs him. But it turns out to be some drunk dressed in Dr. Alchemy’s costume; the real Alchemy got away, and Flash has to accept the fact that Al Desmond has returned to a life of crime. Or has he? We see Al chained to the wall of a cave outside Central City, as another Dr. Alchemy taunts him. The new Dr. Alchemy also refers to himself as Al Desmond (though they look nothing alike) and says he’s pulling off the perfect crime. He can do whatever he wants as Dr. Alchemy, then leave the cops to put away Al Desmond for crimes he didn’t commit. We’ll see who this new guy is and if his plan works next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • Patty’s dressed in a pretty snazzy dress-and-boots combo, not the kind of thing you’d expect someone to wear at work, even under a lab coat. Maybe she has a hot date later.
  • Flash calls Fiona “Miss Webb” a couple of times, but she never tells him her name. If she’s smart, she might wonder about that …

Wonder Woman 269 coverWonder Woman #269 – “Return to Paradise Island” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Bob Smith, Wally Wood

This one starts with someone pushing a kid from a crowded subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Luckily, Diana Prince is there and quickly switches to Wonder Woman. She stops the train, but when she lassoes the three culprits who she’s sure pushed the kid, they deny it. The cops tell her if she uses her lasso to compel the truth from them, it’ll be useless in court. All the other witnesses have disappeared from the scene (New Yorkers … never want to get involved) and even the kid that got pushed tells her to drop it. She does, but the whole thing leaves a sour taste. Later at home, her grocery bag busts, spilling all her stuff on the hallway floor. Her neighbour Tod helps pick up her stuff and offers to cook dinner for her. She falls asleep while he’s cooking and has a weird dream about how shitty the world is and how everyone is against her. Tod wonders about her nightmare, but as they’re eating dinnernews cycle he brings up their potential romance. He tells her he loves her (which is a little weird, since they’ve only kissed once and have hardly spent any time together), but she’s not really feeling it. Tod leaves and Diana wonders if losing Steve Trevor has fucked her up so much that she can never have a real relationship again. She tries to relax by watching TV, but the news is full of terrible stuff (as usual) and she freaks out. She suddenly decides she’s sick of all the crazy bullshit that happens in the outside world and wants to go home to Paradise Island, where peace and love reign supreme. She zips off in her invisible jet and when she reaches Paradise Island, her mother Hippolyte is thrilled to see her. But Diana soon finds out Paradise Island isn’t as peaceful as she’d hoped; a volcano pops up near the island, spewing lava and causing an earthquake. Hippolyte says that’s been happening a lot lately, and Diana heads down salamander fightwith some fellow Amazons to see what they can do. She figures if they can cap the volcano and redirect the lava out to sea, the island should be safe. But when she tries to stop up the cone of the volcano, she ends up lassoing a gigantic fire salamander, a magical beast. She and the other Amazons manage to drag the salamander to the ocean, where the waters disintegrate it, giving them time to fix the volcano. Diana wonders if the salamander’s presence indicates some kind of magical attack on Paradise Island. She confesses to her mother that she returned hoping to forget Steve Trevor, but she’s afraid she’ll never be able to put him out of her mind. Hippolyte thinks to herself that maybe there’s a way to get rid of Steve’s memory for good. I smell a reboot! We’ll see what happens next issue.

Green Lantern 130 coverGreen Lantern #130 – “Sonar’s Sonic-Atomic Attack” – Bob Rozakis/Joe Staton/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Green Lantern foiling the theft of a jet from Ferris Aircraft by supervillain Sonar … at least, that’s what GL thought he was doing. Turns out Sonar’s country Modora bought this jet (and two more) legally, so GL is out of line. Carol gives him shit, then makes it worse by telling him Hal Jordan has to fly one of the jets to Modora and train their pilots to fly it. And to really rub salt in the wound, his partner on the mission is Rance Rideout, the asshole cowboy pilot that Carol hired a couple issues ago. In Modora, Hal is amused when Sonar gives him and Rance medals for their help training the pilots, but Hal decides to stick around and see what Sonar is up to. As GL, he follows the Modoran jets, which turn and attack him. He takes out two of them, but gets ambushed by Sonar and wakes up in a Modoran jail. Sonar tells GL he’s been convicted of espionage and will be executed by being tied to a bomb … a nuclear bomb. Where did a shithole  like Modora get a nuke? While GL was fighting the other two jets,catching Sonar Sonar flew over a Communist country and used his jet’s “missile capture” technology (a feature designed by Ferris) to nab a missile that was fired at him. (I have no idea why a country would be stupid enough to use a nuke as an anti-aircraft missile, but whatever.) Sonar says they’re going to make the world take notice of Modora by detonating the nuke in the Pacific, while GL is strapped to it. The nuke is painted yellow, so GL’s ring (which the Modorans were unable to get off his finger) can’t affect it. GL uses the ring to probe every square inch of the missile and finds a tiny spot that’s not covered in yellow paint. He bores into the missile through that pinhole, screwing up its innards with his ring energy. When he bomb is dropped it doesn’t explode, though it still breaks apart and almost knocks GL out. He rounds up Sonar and his co-pilot, taking them to the World Court to be tried for stealing the nuke.

GLC trialGreen Lantern Corps – “The Trial of Arrkis Chummuck: Indictment” – Bob Toomey/Alex Saviuk/Augie Scotto

This is the first appearance and origin of Arkkis Chummuck, who’ll become a Green Lantern Corps regular. Right now, he’s a brand new member of the GLC and he’s about to be kicked out after being accused of murder. Fellow Corps member Malet Dasim prosecutes and Chummuck is defended by a bird-like alien, one of the same species Chummuck is accused of murdering. Chummuck tells how his planet (later known as Toomey VI) is full of a warlike species, who revel in fighting and defeating other races. They invaded a nearby planet (Xanshi, the planet of the bird-aliens) and the Toomeyan champion Tarrik started pounding all the Xanshis. But the Xanshis had their own champion, Reever, who also happened to be a Green Lantern. Reever single-handedly pounded all the Toomeyans, telling them not to return. On going home, the defeated  Toomeyans chose to be disintegrated rather than lose their warrior names.Chummuck attacks Reever Chummuck wasn’t a warrior, he was an archivist (a position with no honour, as non-combatants aren’t respected on Toomey VI), but he used his knowledge to figure out how to defeat Reever. He stole a ship and attacked Xanshi, and when Reever confronted him, Chummuck went after him wearing a yellow battle-suit. He pounded Reever, but went a little overboard; Reever died, but as his last act, he passed on his Green Lantern ring to Chummuck, saying he was worthy. Chummuck accepted the ring and promptly ate Reever’s dead body. Will that constitute a separate charge against him? We’ll have to wait until next issue to find out.

Noticeable Things:

  • If you’re not familiar with Sonar, he’s a goofball villain who’s obsessed with putting Modora “on the map” and making it into a world power … or at least a place people have actually heard of.
  • Hal says Modora’s Main Street is only one block long; I’m not sure if that’s hyperbole, but he does mention that Modora had to lease an airstrip in a neighbouring country just so the jets would have somewhere to take off and land.

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