Comics Reviews: Flash 290, Wonder Woman 272, Green Lantern 133

Flash 290 coverFlash #290 – “Will You Believe Me When I’m Dead?” – Cary Bates/Don Heck/Frank Chiaramonte

Last issue ended with Barry’s attractive new neighbour, Fiona Webb, at the police station to make a complaint against a man in her building who’s been stalking her and who she’s certain is going to kill her. This man’s name? Barry Allen. Flash shows up at the station with the unconscious Dr. Alchemy just in time to hear Fiona’s plea for help. Naturally, the cops figure she’s wrong, since Barry is a highly respected police scientist. Fiona gets frustrated and leaves and Flash stops her outside to ask about her problem. She starts telling him about Barry Allen, but she’s interrupted when a flock of pigeons drops miniature bombs toward them.Flash switches back and forth Flash grabs Fiona and vibrates so the bombs don’t hit them, then uses a super-speed vortex to direct the shockwave harmlessly upward. He checks one of the pigeons (which is real … I figured they’d be robots) and finds a tiny camera on its leg. Obviously, the pigeons were trained to drop their payload on a certain target … Fiona. She says Barry Allen must be behind it and asks Flash to take her home. Fiona says if Barry Allen isn’t at home, that proves he was probably behind the murder attempt. Flash agrees, but says if Barry is home, Fiona will have to accept that she’s wrong about him. When they get to Barry’s place, Flash uses the old “switch-identities-at-super-speed” trick to make it look like Barry is answering the door to Fiona and Flash. Fiona is stunned, but tells Flash Barry could’ve just hired someone to kill her. Flash asks why Barry Allen would want her dead and she doesn’t know. Flash lifts an ashtray from her apartment and analyzes it at the police lab, Barry goes inside the computerputting Fiona’s prints into the national database. The computer can’t find anything on Fiona Webb and the tech says her identity might be classified at the federal level. When he goes to get some coffee Barry runs Fiona’s print again and vibrates inside the computer where he can observe the particular section the computer is searching before it runs up against the classified brick wall. Barry then sifts through a bunch of data cards at super-speed until he finds the one matching Fiona’s print. Turns out her real name is Beverly Lewis and she’s from Corlyville, Idaho. Barr asks his other neighbour, Mack (and his son Troy) to look out for Fiona for a day or so, but not to mention it was Barry’s idea. Flash heads to Idaho to look for info on Beverly Lewis and runs into government agent King Faraday, who confirms Flash’s identityFlash meets King Faraday shooting a sleep dart at him. Faraday tells Flash that Beverly Lewis worked for a businessman named Malverk, who turned out to be a mob boss. Beverly saw Malverk kill someone and went to the cops. After testifying against him, she was given a new identity and put in Witness Protection. She even volunteered to be brainwashed to forget her old life and “become” Fiona Webb. Malverk has just busted out of jail and when Flash sees a photo of him, he understands why Fiona’s so worked up about Barry Allen. We don’t get to see Malverk’s face, but I assume he looks exactly like Barry. Back in Central City, Fiona is having dinner at Mack and Troy’s place and seems like she’s finally relaxing. But we see someone hiding in Mack’s Flash fights Sabretooth disguised as Mackkitchen, ready to knock him out when he comes in for more wine. In Idaho, Faraday tells Flash that Malverk hired an assassin named Sabretooth, who’s a master of disguise. Faraday has surveillance on Fiona, but the pigeon bomb attack tells him Sabretooth knows who his target is. At Mack’s place, Sabretooth has taken Mack’s place (he must be a master of fast disguise) and tries to kill Fiona with a flame-throwing wine bottle. Flash shows up and gets her out of harm’s way, then knocks Sabretooth out and takes him to the cops. Fiona tends to Mack’s head wound, then goes home to wait for Flash to return. But she gets a nasty shock … a guy is waiting for her with a silenced pistol, and he looks exactly like Barry Allen. I assume this is Malverk, but we’ll have to wait until next issue to find out.

Noticeable Things:

  • I know there was no internet in 1980, but ARPAnet had been around for a while and telex machines even longer. Did police computers actually have thousands of data cards inside them with everyone’s info on them? That … doesn’t sound right. I assumed the computer sent a request to other computers, received a reply, and printed out the info.
  • In Corlyville, Flash checks the Town Hall for Beverly Lewis’s records and is shown her birth certificate and high school report cards. Do they really keep report cards on file? And I thought birth records were filed with the county, not the city … unless Corlyville is the county seat and its Town Hall contains birth records for the whole county.
  • Flash fought Sabretooth before, back in Flash 234.

Firestorm – “The Secret History of the Nuclear Man” – Gerry Conway/George Perez/Bob Smith

This is continued from last issue, when Ronnie Raymond finally decided to clue Martin Stein in about the whole “shared-identity-as-Firestorm” thing Firestorm shows Stein proof(which Stein can’t remember), instead of letting Stein think he was going crazy. Better late than never, I guess. Ronnie finishes recounting their origin and what’s happened since, but Stein figures he’s just having another delusion … or maybe a drunken hallucination, since he’s become a bit of a booze-hound since he started having his Firestorm-related blackouts. Ronnie triggers the change into Firestorm and discusses the situation with Stein, who says his individual self would need concrete proof to believe such an outlandish story. Firestorm uses his molecular-changing ability to conjure up a camera and takes a photo of himself splitting back into Ronnie and Stein. Stein has no choice but to believe Ronnie’s story, but it does seem to ease his mind somewhat. Next issue we’ll get back to a regular story with the reappearance of the Hyena.

Wonder Woman 272 coverWonder Woman #272 – “The Man With All the Angles” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

On the way to her new job at the Pentagon, Wonder Woman stops to pull a car out of the river. The driver turns out to be her boss General Darnell, who says his brakes failed. Wonder Woman doesn’t stick around for kudos; she heads to the Pentagon and changes to Diana Prince. We learn Diana is now working as an adjutant to Steve Trevor in Special Assignments, and they both work under General Darnell. Diana planted fake records to get the job, partly to be near Steve (so much for Women’s Lib), and partly to investigate the supposed worldwide conspiracy about which her mother warned her last issue. She checks in with Lieutenant Etta Candy and learns the launch of the new super-duper space shuttle (the Daedalus) is still on schedule. Steve arrives and they get a call about General Darnell’s accident. They head to theWonder Woman disappears into the angle dimension shuttle launch anyway and it takes off on schedule. But as it lifts off, the shuttle disappears after seeming to turn sideways at an impossible angle … an effect Diana has seen before. She tracks the vibrations from the missing shuttle and finds her old foe Angle Man in a hangar not far from the base … but the Daedalus isn’t there. She douses Angle Man in gasoline and he pretends to be incapacitated to lure her closer. He blasts her with his angler device, causing her to disappear like the shuttle did. Angle Man creates a portal for himself and steps through. Meanwhile, we see Wonder Woman is lost in some kind of weird angle dimension; we’ll have to wait until next issue to see how she gets out.

Noticeable Things:

  • In case you’re not up to speed, the new status quo is that this version of Steve Trevor is from another dimension, but thanks to a spell by Aphrodite, he doesn’t remember his old life and thinks he’s always lived on this Earth. And everyone else thinks so too, except Wonder Woman. Also thanks to Aphrodite, Wonder Woman doesn’t remember the first two Steve Trevors (or that she was in love with them) but does feel a certain “connection” to this Steve Trevor. Basically, DC wanted Steve Trevor to come back and be Wonder Woman’s love interest again, and this was how they chose to do it. Not exactly seamless, but it’s comics, so what are you gonna do?

Huntress confronts GrundyHuntress – “The Monster and the Masterpiece” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, Huntress was investigating the senseless destruction of some artworks, but when she returned to the gallery to follow up on a hunch, she found Solomon Grundy busting into the vault. She challenges Grundy and (naturally) gets her ass kicked, but Grundy isn’t interested in killing her (even though she’s Green Lantern’s friend), he just wants what he came for … a classical-style statue of a woman. The next day, Helena Wayne startles everyone by coming into work all beat up. District Attorney Harry Sims is there to ask Helena or a favour, although we don’t hear exactly what it is; something to do with consumer law. We also see the law firm’s executive assistant (Carole) sending an envelope full of cash to someone who’s been bothering her; she refers to him as “that shark-toothed creep”. I assume these are plot seeds that’ll pay off in a few issues.Huntress about to be strangled Helena ponders her friend’s destroyed art again and goes over what she discovered (that the burned paintings were fakes). She decides to pay another unfriendly visit to the local art forger, who she pressures into giving up some info. That leads her to Grundy’s hideout, where he seems to have fallen in love with the statue he stole. Maybe him and Clayface can double date. Huntress busts in and pounds Grundy’s henchmen, then shoots him full of tranquilizer darts. But the darts don’t faze him and he comes after Huntress, accidentally smashing the statue. Grundy blames Huntress for the “pretty lady” being smashed and says he’s going to smash her to get even.

Green Lantern 133 coverGreen Lantern #133 – “Nightmare at the North Pole” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

This one starts with a weird tower being formed from volcanic rock at the North Magnetic Pole. Inside, Dr. Polaris hangs suspended in mid-air, calling out for Green Lantern over and over. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is in Coast City, testing a new solar-powered aircraft, the SP-3. But something goes wrong and Hal changes to Green Lantern to keep the plane from crashing. This is just the latest SP-3 test and something has gone wrong with all of them, so Lantern wants to keep the plane intact so Ferris techs can figure out what’s wrong. But he’s hit with a massive energy wave that gives him a splitting headache and causes him to lose concentration. The plane breaks up and all Lantern can do is keep the pieces from being scattered so the techs will have an easier time going through the wreckage. He finds traces of magnetic energy on theCarol freaks out wrecked plane, which wasn’t present in any of the previous wrecks. He heads back to Ferris Aircraft to give Carol (his boss and ex) the bad news. She freaks out and Hal says maybe the design was faulty and solar-powered aircraft just aren’t feasible. But the designer insists he’s an expert on solar power, having designed something called Solar City. Hal reminds him that solar city was destroyed and the designer says that was sabotage. Hal wonders if the same person might be sabotaging the SP-3, a supposition that freaks the designer out. Oh, did I forget to mention the designer’s name? Dr. Bruce Gordon. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. As if Carol wasn’t having enough problems, she’s slapped with a summons from the FAA; seems the Hal and Carol reconcilegovernment is thinking about canceling their contracts with Ferris Aircraft … which would pretty much tank the company. Carol tries to call her father in Europe for advice, but we see that he and Carol’s mom are being kidnapped and taken to a place called Lucifer Island. There, someone (whose face we don’t see) says they’re going to destroy Mr. Ferris’s company, his daughter, and everything he’s stood for. Back in Coast City, Carol admits to Hal that she’s been an asshole to him lately because she resented her dependence on him … and his affair with Kari Limbo. She apologizes and asks if there’s still a chance for them; judging by the tears in Hal’s eyes, I’d say yes. After banging on Carol’s desk (I assume), Green Lantern prepares to take her to Washington to answer the FAA summons. Bruce Gordon sees them leave and worries that having Green LanternGL attacked Carol runs for cover around might ruin his plans. GL and Carol take the scenic route to Washington, swinging by New York. They’re attacked by flying cars and other metal debris, which attaches itself to GL, almost crushing him. When he tries to free himself, his ring doesn’t work; to make things worse, someone in a mask tries to grab Carol (who GL set down to keep her safe) and she’s forced to take off. GL sees her, but is helpless to do anything as he’s crushed into unconsciousness and whisked northward by the metal pieces imprisoning him. Carol runs to a police station, but when the cops check outside, her attacker is gone. She pretends she was mistaken, but knows someone is after her. GL’s trip GL fights Dr Polarisends at the North Pole, where a supposedly helpless Dr. Polaris begs him for help escaping from the magnetic field he’s trapped in. GL helps, but it’s a trap and Polaris attacks him. Polaris has internalized his magnetic power (he used to have a gun) and he has the ability to cancel the magnetic field around GL’s ring, rendering it useless. Polaris manages to get Lantern in a do-or-die situation, so Lantern surrenders. Polaris puts Lantern into a fancy machine and drains his ring’s power, which makes Polaris even stronger … maybe too strong for GL to beat. We’ll see next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • Dr. Polaris is really Neal Emerson, an old friend of GL, who experimented with magnetism and got in over his head. Magnetic energy has a negative effect on Emerson, turning him into an evil prick. Last time they met, Emerson’s evil persona was supposedly destroyed … obviously, that didn’t stick.
  • Polaris claims he had nothing to do with the SP-3 accident, despite the magnetic residue GL found on the wreckage.
  • Marv Wolfman really hits the ground running here; he’s already got numerous sub-plots going: Bruce Gordon; Ferris Aircraft’s troubles; Carol’s parents getting kidnapped; and Hal and Carol’s reconciliation. That last one felt kinda forced to me, like Marv wanted to reset the status quo and didn’t feel like taking the time to do it organically.
  • There was an Adam Strange back-up in this issue, but I don’t have it, so I obviously won’t be reviewing it.

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