Comics Reviews JLA 182, Legion of Super-Heroes 267, Jonah Hex 40

JLA 182 coverJustice League of America #182 – “Reprise” – Gerry Conway/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, Green Arrow quit the JLA to focus more on helping regular people instead of taking on cosmic-level threats. But we all know a break-up never takes the first time around, so this issue deals with Green Arrow’s decision and makes us think he might change his mind. As the story opens, he’s so lost in thought about his decision that he almost walks right past some punks stripping a car. But he snaps out of his reverie in time to collar them. A bum wanders by, checking out the action, and we see that it’s the JLA’s old foe, Felix Faust. Faust doesn’t seem to care too much about what Green Arrow is doing and keeps right on walking. Just after wrapping up the car thieves, Arrow is shanghaied to the JLA Satellite courtesy of Green Lantern’s ring … and he’s not happy about it. His friends wantFaust possessed a better explanation than he gave last issue, but Arrow’s not inclined to give them one. He tries to leave, but the teleporter doesn’t work (since it only works for League members, which he isn’t anymore) and nobody will take him back to Earth, so he decides to sit and pout until they give in. I gotta say, if it’s a contest of who can out-stubborn the other, my money’s on Green  Arrow. Back in Star City, Felix Faust heads into the library (where he’s curator of special books) and we learn that he underwent primal scream therapy in prison; yup, he yelled away all his negativity and now he’s a law-abiding citizen. But his luck hasn’t gotten any better; when he opens a new shipment of rare books, one of the tomes turns out to be the journal of Nostromus, a sorcerer who was burned at the stake by the Spanish Inquisition (which I’m fire demonsure he never expected). The book erupts with eldritch energy, blasting Faust. On the Satellite, Black Canary tries to talk some sense into Green Arrow, but before that can happen a beam of light flashes into the Satellite, showing an image of Felix Faust in torment. Faust warns them that Nostromus’s spirit was hidden in his journal and has taken over his body and is taking him to Nostromus’s grave in a small Alpine village. Nostromus plans to reunite his soul with his corpse and wreak havoc on the world. Faust begs the JLA for help and disappears. They quickly track Faust’s energy to the Alps and head down to tackle Nostromus. Green Arrow reluctantly tags along. When they arrive in the Alpine village, a flame monster manifests and starts pounding them; since the monster is magical, even Superman is affected. Batman uses foam pellets from his belt to smother the flame-creature, but he gets zapped withkill the book magical bolts. Inside the tomb, Nostromus uses Faust to recite the spell to bring his bod back, but before he can complete it, Green Arrow puts an arrow through Nostromus’s journal. That breaks the spell, banishing Nostromus and freeing Faust. The others assume Arrow will want to rejoin, but he says his decision stands—he’s still quitting. He asks Black Canary to go with him, but she says the League gave her a home when she had nothing so she can’t just walk away. Green Arrow leaves and it kinda seems like he and Canary are broken up now … though with them it’s hard to keep track.

Elongated Man – “The Sun Queen Snatch” – Paul Kupperberg/Rodin Rodreguez/Vince Colletta

Don’t let the suggestive title fool you … the Sun Queen is a cruise ship, where Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny and his wife Sue are on vacation with Carter and Shiera Hall (Hawkman and Hawkgirl). Naturally, Ralph can’t just relax, he has to look for Ralph grabs the chopperexcitement. Ralph spots a babe named Olivia Saint-Dobbins, whose father owns the ship (plus quite a few more), but Sue drags him away before he can ogle Olivia too much. Later, Olivia’s father tells her he’s cutting her off and she warns him there’ll be consequences. She leaves with a couple of rough-looking dudes, which makes Ralph suspicious, so he follows. He overhears the thugs talking like they’re going to kidnap Olivia, but he ends up grabbing the wrong guys. The next day, Ralph looks all over for the thugs and finally finds them in a hold where a helicopter is kept. He waits until they make their move and goes after them, but when he boards the chopper he realizes Olivia is in on the kidnapping to get money from her father. Ralph disables the chopper and it ends up in the water, though nobody’s hurt. Carter saw Ralph board the chopper and went to get his Hawkman costume, but by the time he finds it, the adventure’s all over and Ralph is relaxing in a deck chair.

LSH 267 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #267 – “To Bottle a Genie” – Gerry Conway/Jimmy Janes/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel accidentally freed a genie named Kantuu (or an alien resembling a genie) from its bottle on frontier planet Wondil IX. The genie immediately headed for Earth, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel called Legion HQ and told Colossal Boy and Element Lad what was happening. They all confronted the genie in outer space, but when Bouncing Boy tried to wish it back into the bottle, the genie just laughed and kicked the shit out of them. The genie continued toward Earth, leaving the Legionnaires floating in space. Duo Damsel wakes up in time to help the others, and saves Element Lad’s life by sealing a crack in his helmet. Kantuu runs across a mobile mining city called Vulkan thatVulkan destroyed mines ore on a fiery planet. Vulkan’s spacefleet scrambles to attack Kantuu. One of the pilots (who are all women) is named Tage and her boyfriend Rin is a miner in the city … you can see where this is going, can’t you? Yup, after being wounded by Tage, Kantuu destroys the city and everyone in it, then takes out his frustrations on the spaceships, crushing Tage’s ship in his gigantic hand. The four Legionnaires are still on Kantuu’s trail in their Legion cruiser, trying to figure out why wishing him back to his bottle didn’t work. Bouncing Boy finally remembers that the bottle broke when Kantuu emerged, so Kantuu couldn’t return to it; like most genies, Kantuu is very literal when it comes to wishes. The cruiser finds the remains of Vulkan and rescues Tage, the lone survivor. She’s devastated, but not too devastated to recount Kantuu’s origin (which he Kantuu deckedconveniently shared with her because of his massive ego). Kantuu was the war-leader of an alien species called Djinn who once attacked Oa. The Guardians of the Universe pounded the Djinn and imprisoned them all in bottles as a lesson in humility, decreeing that the Djinn would have to perform three services for whoever let them out of their bottles. Saladin found Kantuu’s bottle, and his third wish was that Kantuu disappear from Earth, which is how he ended up on Wondil IX. Naturally, being imprisoned and being forced to obey his rescuers demands hasn’t taught Kantuu humility, it just pissed him off, and now he’s heading for Earth to free others of his race. When Kantuu arrives on Earth, he heads to a Middle East bazaar and opens a genie bottle, but gets quite a shock; instead of Barbara Eden popping out, it’s Colossal Boy. He decks Kantuu and Bouncing Boy wishes for the genie to reconstruct his shattered bottle. Kantuu does, butDuo Damsel vs Kantuu slaps Bouncing Boy away before he can make his third wish. Since Duo Damsel was involved in freeing Kantuu, she can make a wish too, and wishes him to seal himself in his bottle again forever. Kantuu has no choice but to obey (if he’d killed one of Duo Damsel’s alters, the other would’ve wished for Kantuu to destroy himself) and he goes into the new bottle. We find out the Legionnaires burned out the cruiser’s engines beating Kantuu to Earth, and that they’ve located the other Djinn bottles and are stashing them all on the moon. I thought the moon was inhabited in the Legion’s time, but I guess not.

Shadow Lass guides the tour“The Grounded Legionnaires” – Paul Kupperberg/Steve Ditko/Dave Hunt

The back-up story has to do with the origin of the Legion Flight Rings. They used to use anti-gravity belts to fly, but switched to rings later on. Shadow Lass is giving a tour of Legion HQ to a bunch of kids and explains how the Flight Rings are attuned to each wearer and can be turned invisible while worn. She cues up the computer to tell them the rings’ story, like when the teacher wants a break and shows a film in class. Way back in Adventure Comics 303, Mon-El was rescued from the Phantom Zone permanently and inducted into the team. He gave the Legion a new anti-gravity element he’d synthesized as a way of thanking them. A few months later, Mon-El, Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5, and Saturn Girl were returning from a mission when they got a call from the Science Police saying a space elevator carrying ore was stuck. They went to check it out and found a goofball called Vibrex trying to hijack the ore. He used his vibratory powers to render the anti-lead serum in Mon-El’s blood useless, almost killing him. Vibrex’s power also renderedVibrex pounded the anti-gravity belts inert and the Legionnaires started falling, but they recovered (as did Mon-El) once they were out of range of Vibrex’s power. Cosmic Boy used his powers to keep the ore elevator from moving and Vibrex blasted him again. The other three attacked and Vibrex tried to render their belts useless again, but this time it didn’t work and they ended up beating the shit out of him. Cosmic Boy busted back in and used a combination of his magnetic powers and Brainy’s force field to cancel Vibrex’s powers. Brainy helpfully explained that he’d been tinkering with the anti-gravity metal and found it could be mentally controlled. So he whipped up the flight rings, which they kept molecularly stable through will power (and a mental boost from Saturn Girl) while Vibrex concentrated on their useless belts. So I guess that’s the origin of the flight rings, though it’s not much of an origin; I think it was superseded post-Crisis.

Jonah Hex 40 coverJonah Hex #40 – “The Rainmaker” – Michael Fleisher/Dan Spiegle

This one starts with Hex lamenting the ten-week drought that’s been going on lately. He sees a wagon being chased by Paiutes and shoots a couple of them. The rest take off and the wagon’s owner thanks him. The guy is a really slick type named Timmons who talks like he swallowed a dictionary and claims to be a rainmaker. The Paiutes hired him to make it rain and weren’t happy when nothing happened. He shot a couple of them while trying to get away, hence their avid pursuit. Timmons invites Hex to join him in Fairgood’s Meadow, where a bunch more suckers—uh, I mean customers—have hired him to produce rain. Timmons sends up a balloon with some kind of electrical device attached. He claims it’ll produce a cloudburst by the next day or the townsfolk won’t owe him a cent. Hex notices three scumbags hanging around, one ofrobbery gone wrong whom is Three-Fingers McAllister, wanted for robbery. The three varmints slip away and head toward town and Hex follows, figuring they’re up to no good. He’s right … they’re robbing the Wells Fargo office. Hex decks their lookout (who looks like Gabby Hayes) and shoots one of the robbers inside the office. But another thief surprises Hex and blasts him across the chest. The remaining thieves take their loot and ride off to their hideout, where their boss turns out to be … yeah, you guessed it: it’s Timmons. His rainmaking crap was a way of getting everyone out of town so his boys could rob the Wells Fargo office without attracting attention. Back in town, the doctor has dug the slugs out of Hex’s chest and stitched him up. Hex is hot to go after the robbers and sets out on their trail, even though the doctor warns against it. At the hideout, Timmons gets up in the middle of the night and blows away his accomplices while they sleep; I guess he doesn’t like to share. Hex shows up, but he’s in such bad shape Timmons takes him out poetic justiceeasily. Before Timmons can finish him, it starts raining like hell and Timmons figures it’ll cover his tracks so he’d better get going. Timmons is pretty full of himself and starts thinking maybe he really did make it rain. He stops at the ferry across the river, which is running high because of the rain. The ferryman says he’ll take him across, but when he notices all the loot Timmons is carrying, Timmons blows him away. Timmons takes the ferry and his horse, but the river’s too wild and the raft capsizes. Timmons loses all the money bags, but manages to struggle to shore … where the angry Paiutes are waiting to greet him. When Hex finally comes to, it’s almost dawn and the rain is letting up. Even Hex can’t track Timmons after the deluge, so he rides down to the river, figuring Timmons made it across with the loot and is long gone. But we see Timmons, just out of Hex’s sight, pinned to a tree with numerous arrows. Poetic justice, I’d say.

There were Scalphunter back-ups in this and the next few Hex comics, but I don’t have them and don’t particularly care to look for them, as I was never a big Scalphunter fan.

 

 

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