Comics Reviews: Flash 291, Wonder Woman 273, Green Lantern 134

Flash 291 coverFlash #291 – “The Saber-tooth is a Very Deadly Beast” – Cary Bates/Don Heck

Last issue, we found out that Barry;s neighbour, Fiona Webb, is in witness protection after ratting out her criminal boss to the feds. She was brainwashed to forget her old life and moved to Central City under a new name, but her ex-boss tracked her down and sent an assassin named Saber-tooth (no, not the Wolverine guy) after her. As if that wasn’t enough, her scuzzy boss looks exactly like Barry Allen, so she’s been freaking out lately, thinking Barry was trying to kill her. Last issue, Flash caught Saber-tooth, but when Fiona went home she found Barry’s doppleganger, her ex-boss (Ross Malverk), waiting in her apartment with a gun. Fiona tosses a lamp at Malverk, causing his shot to go wild. Troy, the kid next door, hears the shot and pretends the cops are right outside before bursting in. He catches a glimpse of Barry Allen climbing out the window with a gun. At the police station, Captain Frye isFlash runs up a beam of light praising Flash for bringing in Saber-tooth, and Frye is even more nauseating when he tries to be nice. Flash hears the desk patching through a call for Barry Allen and zips up to his lab in time to answer. Troy’s dad, Mack, warns Barry the cops are looking for him and that Troy and Fiona swear he was in her apartment with a gun. Mack doesn’t believe it, which is why he’s letting Barry know. Flash goes to find King Faraday, the fed he met last issue, but Faraday has troubles of his own. In a scene straight out of GTA San Andreas, Faraday’s helicopter is blasted by some thugs with a rocket launcher. Flash shows up in time to save Faraday (by running up the dust particles in a searchlight beam!) and lowering the chopper before it crashes. Flash and Faraday catch the thugs and pound them, and Flash says there’s someone Faraday has to meet. He takes Faraday to the police station and quickly Flash foils rocket attackchanges to Barry Allen. When Faraday sees Barry’s resemblance to Malverk, he understands why Fiona has been accusing him of trying to kill her. Outside the station, a thug shoots an arrow into Saber-tooth’s cell with a bundle attached; it contains make-up and a Derringer so Saber-tooth can escape. Barry and Faraday let Mack in on Fiona’s secret and the fact that Barry’s double is a criminal. Faraday says Fiona is protected around the clock now, so Malverk can’t get near her. As Flash heads back to the police station to do some lab work, he sees another rocket, this time heading for Saber-tooth’s cell. Flash deflects the rocket and catches the would-be killers. Faraday says Saber-tooth owes Flash, since Malverk obviously sent the killers to get rid of him as a loose end. But a cop comes in and says Saber-tooth has been found dead in his cell. It turns out to be a guard who’s dead … Saber-toothSaber tooth fight killed him and used the makeup to take his place. Now that Saber-tooth is loose, and knows Malverk tried to have him killed, he’d like some revenge. Malverk does the smart thing and turns himself in, confessing to everything, including the rocket attack on Faraday’s chopper. Flash figures he can draw Saber-tooth out and asks Faraday to keep a lid on Malverk’s surrender for twelve hours. Barry Allen wanders around the seedy part of town, pretending to be Malverk and the ruse works. Saber-tooth tries to kill him and ends up facing Flash, who beats him after being temporarily blinded. Later, Fiona apologizes to Barry and invites him over for dinner.

Noticeable Things:

  • If Fiona (or Beverly Lewis) was brainwashed to forget her old life, I’m not sure how she recognizes Malverk. Maybe seeing Barry all the time brought it back bit by bit, or maybe the real Malverk showing up with a gun jolted her memory.
  • Obviously Barry was innocent all along, but if Fiona’s memory is back, wouldn’t she still be freaked out being close to him, especially since Malverk tried to kill her personally? It seems a bit too soon for a dinner date.

Firestorm splashFirestorm – “The Hyena Laughs Last”– Gerry Conway/George Perez/Bob Smith

Last issue, Ronnie finally told Professor Stein the truth about their merging into Firestorm, so Stein doesn’t think he’s going crazy any more. He’s still a bit shaky and after he and Ronnie separate in a warehouse, Stein wants to go get a drink. Ronnie reminds him he promised to lay off the booze and Stein says he’ll keep that promise. Ronnie heads to school, where his supporting cast is pretty much as we left them: Cliff Carmichael is still an intellectual asshole and Doreen Day still defends Ronnie every chance she gets. I had thought Ronnie and Doreen were dating, but she refers to him as a “friend”, so maybe not. He accompanies her to the airport to pick up her sister, Summer. (Yeah, I know.) Last time they met, Summer was really snotty to Ronnie and that also hasn’t changed. Downtown, Professor Stein has gotten a job at a place called Concordance Research and wants to get loaded to celebrate, butHyena attacks he stops himself. He sees someone—or something—jumping across the rooftops and has a nagging feeling he’s seen it before. Stein can’t remember what happens when he and Ronnie are Firestorm, but he obviously has some kind of subconscious memories. While he’s trying to remember, Stein almost gets run over and the trauma causes him to trigger the merging, bringing Ronnie to him and forming firestorm. I’m not sure if that’s ever happened before; usually Ronnie is the one who triggers the change. Stein tells Ronnie he saw someone who almost killed them last time they met and when Firestorm flies up to the roof, we see it’s Hyena … and she’s still pissed off at Firestorm. We’ll see what she does next issue.

Wonder Woman 273 coverWonder Woman #273 – “The Right Angle”– Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Angle Man stole the new space shuttle (Daedalus) and used his Angler device to send Wonder Woman into what looks like another dimension. At the launch pad, Steve Trevor and the rest of the team are freaking out; one second the shuttle was taking off, the next it disappeared, seeming to veer off at a right angle into nothingness. Angle Man shows up and demands half a billion dollars in silver (I guess the gold market was too unstable for his tastes … or maybe he’s friends with the Hunt brothers). When the guards try to shoot him, he uses his Angler to make the bullets veer away, then summons a gateway and disappears. Wonder Woman is still trapped in the “angle dimension”, but realizes she’s just been shunted at a 90 degree angle to reality, so she uses her magic lasso to rope a tower in the real world and haul herself back.shadowy menace Gerry’s rally pushing the romance angle (so to speak) between Wonder Woman and Steve; they both have sappy thoughts about each other constantly. Steve asks her out to dinner and she accepts, then takes off so she can change back to Diana Prince. Steve hadn’t even noticed Diana was gone, so at least we won’t get the usual goofy love triangle super-heroes always seem to fall into. Near Denver, a plane inexplicably runs out of fuel and makes an emergency landing worthy of Sully Sullenberger. A flying saucer skims by and we see an operative reporting to the shadowy, hooded figure we’ve seen before about sabotaging the plane. The hooded figure says it doesn’t matter that everyone lived, the near-crash will make the company’s stock tank and he’ll reap the benefits … which will help in his plan to take over the world. In Washington, Diana and Etta Candy look for a place together and find a great townhouse. They’re sure they can’t afford it, but the landlord (Russell smashing the anglerAbernathy) is an ex-Senator who has a soft spot for the Armed forces, so he gives it to them for only $300 a month. Later, Wonder Woman and Steve have a very public date at a disco, with the press hounding them as they arrive. Turns out Wonder Woman tipped off the reporters; she’s using herself as bait to draw Angle Man out. It works and she recognizes him in civilian clothes at the disco. They fight and he tries to “angle” her to the same place he sent the Daedalus, but she grabs him, pulling him into the angle dimension too. He freaks when she smashes his angler, but she quickly decks him and uses the same trick as last time, looping her lasso around something in the real world and pulling herself (and the unconscious Angle Man) out. She claims she can find her way back to the angle dimension and retrieve the Daedalus, though I’m not sure how exactly. It doesn’t seem to be a high priority, as Steve invites her for a long walk.

Noticeable Things:

  • Steve may not notice Diana, but from the way Etta’s looking at her when they’re discussing finding a place, she might just have an admirer after all. That would’ve been an interesting direction to go, but I guess they never could’ve gotten away with it back then.
  • Wonder Woman wears a cape at the disco.
  • Even though he’s supposed to be a brand new Steve Trevor, this one refers to Wonder Woman as “angel”, just like the others did.

Huntress – “Girl in a Gilded Cage” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, Solomon Grundy broke into the vault of an art gallery to steal a bunch of paintings (with a gang of thugs) and found a statue of a woman that he fell in love with. Huntress tracked him down and when the state was broken, it looked like Grundy was going to strangle her. But we see here that he shut her up in a cage, using her as a “pretty lady” substitute for theGrundy down the drain broken statue. Luckily, all he wants to do is look at her. Huntress’s predicament means she misses a meeting (as Helena Wayne) with District Attorney Harry Sims. He wanted to ask her advice about a new policy he’s thinking of implementing, cracking down on costumed vigilantes in Gotham. Since Helena’s father (Bruce Wayne) was friendly toward super-heroes, Sims thought Helena could give him some insight, but the press has already gotten wind of the story, so it’s too late. In Grundy’s lair, Huntress tricks Grundy and breaks out of her cage. He takes out his thugs and lures Grundy into falling down a hole into the sewers, where he’s swept away. She intimidates the thugs into confessing how they burned some fake paintings so the gallery would have to open the vault, giving them access to the valuable artworks inside. In a courtroom, Harry Sims has a conversation with the reporter who broke the story on his vigilante stance, a guy named Pinson. Pinson shows Sims photos of Huntress bringing in the art thieves, but Sims asks Pinson if he’ll be so admiring when Huntress wants to play not just judge and jury, but executioner too.

Green Lantern 134 coverGreen Lantern #134 – “Mind Over Magnetism” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

Last issue, Green Lantern ended up at the North Magnetic Pole, facing his old adversary, Dr. Polaris. GL surrendered to keep Polaris from killing him and this issue opens with Polaris in Los Angeles. He’s got GL’s ring, and between that and his own magnetism, he seems to be able to control people’s will power, turning them into mindless slaves. He takes out the cops and Army that come after him, adding them to his ranks, and says he gets stronger with every person he enthralls. Once he takes over all of Los Angeles, he’ll have enough power to rule the universe. Back at the North Pole, GL breaks free of the power absorber Polaris left him in. We get a flashback, showing that GL’s surrender was a ruse; he pretended to discharge his ring, but willed the power to return after he was captured. Polaris anticipated that, and built his fortress to absorb the ring’s power and transfer it to him. Polaris stole GL’s ring and left him atGL fights a polar bear the North Pole, saying there was a National Geographic station 100 miles away … if he ever got loose. GL is loose, but isn’t sure which way to go to find the Station. He picks a direction and starts walking, passing across ice floes where he has to eat raw fish and almost gets wasted by a polar bear. He refuses to give up, staggering southward and wondering where Carol is right now. We see she’s still in New York, wondering about GL. They’d reconciled last issue and Carol was on her way to Washington to stop the government from canceling Ferris Aircraft’s contracts. Carol was almost kidnapped, but got away. The kidnapper hasn’t given up and comes right through her hotel window, dragging her out and saying he’s taking her to her parents (who were also kidnapped last issue). Since Carol doesn’t show up in Washington, the government cancels the contracts. When Tom Kalmaku hears the news, GL fights a wolfback at Ferris in Coast City, he’s so devastated he just walks out. In the Arctic, GL realizes his costume is keeping him from freezing (since it was designed to be worn in space), but his ring-generated mask disappears. He’s attacked by a wolf and tumbles down a cliff, landing on the wolf and killing it. While unconscious, he dreams of Carol and when he wakes up, he’s gone snowblind. I’m not sure how he could go snowblind while unconscious, but whatever. Even that doesn’t stop him and he keeps walking. He keels over and smells ham, so he’s either fund the Nat-Geo Station or he’s having a stroke. He staggers to the Station and passes out just inside the door. In California, Tom gets a call from Bruce Gordon and freaks out, running out of the house. Tegra (Tom’s wife) talks to Gordon and we learn that Ferris Aircraft have been bombed; the entire facility is blown to hell. Tom drives along the coast, lamenting his shitty luck. He’d owned a bunch of gas stations, but the gasGL mad at Tom crisis put him out of business, so he took his old job back at Ferris. Now that’s gone too and he has no idea how he’ll provide for his family. He decides to pull a Willy Loman, reasoning he’s worth more dead than alive. Before he can jump into the ocean, Hal Jordan shows up (I’m assuming some time has passed, giving Hal time to get back from the Arctic) and gives Tom shit for being a quitter. Hal says he’s lost his ring, his sight (which has only partially returned), and a dangerous maniac is on the loose, planning to take over the world … but he’s not giving up. Hal tells Tom he might as well jump if he’s going to cop out when Hal needs him most. That gets through, and Tom asks how he can help. We’ll see the answer to that next issue.

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