Comics Reviews: Flash 294, Wonder Woman 276, Green Lantern 137, Jonah Hex 45

Flash 294 coverFlash #294 – “The Fiend the World Forgot” – Cary Bates/Don Heck

Ah, finally an issue Gulliver can enjoy! This one starts in the Gorilla City Embassy in New York, where the ape delegates within are amusing themselves with typically human diversions … ping pong, poker, and reruns of Gilligan’s Island. In Gorilla City, Solovar is holding a meeting with an ape council (and a human guest) about how the gorillas have influenced Earth society for the better since they revealed themselves to the world a few years ago. But Solovar is worried that the contact hasn’t been entirely beneficial for the gorillas. Back in New York, the Embassy is invaded by terrorists, of the homegrown urban guerrilla (as opposed to “urban gorilla”) types, like the Weather Underground. The apes try to talk to them, but the terrorists just brandish their guns and tell them to shut up. In Gorilla City, Solovar explains to Flash (he was the special guest, in case you couldn’t guess) thatFlash finds the bomb the apes who have spent time at the Embassy have been tainted by their contact with humans. They now devote much of their time to leisure activities (as we saw earlier) instead of concentrating 100% on the betterment of gorilla-kind. Before Solovar can elaborate, they get an emergency signal from the Embassy. Flash zips off at super-speed to help, but encounters a ship in trouble halfway across the ocean, so he’s delayed while he stops to help the ship. At the Embassy, the terrorists demand the apes turn over some super-scientific weapons, but the gorillas inform them that they don’t use weapons in Gorilla City. The gunmen ask them to construct some, but Flash shows up and disarms all the terrorists. One of them won’t take no for an answer, activating a bomb in the Embassy building. He figures Flash will have to save them (since he’s a good guy) but won’t be able to save the apes because they’re too heavy. The gorillas concur, telling Flash to save the humans, but the Scarlet Speedster zooms off instead. He speeds through the Grodd fake outbuilding, finds the bomb, and takes it out to a safe area before it blows up … all in under a second. The Embassy invasion convinces Solovar he’s right about the bad influence humans have had on his people, so he goes ahead with his plan: Operation Worldwash. You can probably guess what the project entails by the name. We get a look at the high-tech, telepathically-shielded prison where ape villain Grodd is kept, but his guard is startled to find a naked human inside the cell, yelling for help. The human says his name is William Dawson (if that name sounds familiar … you’re right!) and he was getting into the shower in Central City when he found himself inside the cell. The apes figure Grodd somehow overcame the psychic barriers around the cell and exchanged places with Dawson. The apes let Dawson out and give him some clothes, but decide they’d better not let him leave until Solovar returns. They send Flash a warning, but he’s not home. In fact, Flash and Solovar are both at the North Pole setting up a Mytronic projector that’ll broadcast a beam over the Earth to make everyone forget the existence of Gorilla City and its super-intelligent inhabitants. (Flash is given a special vibrational frequency so he can avoid the effects.) Flash helps them set upeveryone forgets Grodd and heads for home as Solovar gets a call about Grodd switching places with Dawson. Solovar immediately realizes Grodd can’t have teleported out of his cell and orders the apes to throw Dawson back into prison. But Dawson has already slipped out of the city and we see him transform back into Grodd. Since he couldn’t direct his vast mental powers outward, Grodd turned them inward and manipulated his own body to change into human form. In Central City, Flash is saving a couple of window washers from a fall when he gets a call from Solovar about Grodd’s escape. We see Grodd at the North Pole; having knocked out the guards, he’s tweaked the Mytronic projector to affect not only humans, but his fellow apes as well. In New York, the effects are already being felt, as nobody remembers what the Gorilla Embassy building is all about. Inside, Solovar sends Flash to the North Pole to check on his guards, who haven’t reported in lately. When Flash gets there, the guards can’t remember who knocked them out and what’s worse, Flash can’t even remember who he was supposed to be warning them against. Yup, Grodd has made sure the entire world has forgotten his existence, which might make it hard for Flash to fight him. We’ll see next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • In the opening scene, one of the apes is playing ping-pong with the paddle held in his foot.
  • Solovar lists some of the more egregious ways the apes are wasting their time with human pursuits: transcendental meditation, pinball, and disco dancing. I have no idea why they didn’t show some apes disco dancing … I really want to see that scene.

Firestorm splashFirestorm – “The Typhoon is a Storm of the Soul” – Gerry Conway/Jim Starlin/Bob Wiacek

This one starts with Firestorm foiling a mugging on the subway. Afterwards, he splits into Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein. Ronnie told the Professor the truth about their merging into Firestorm a couple issues ago, so Stein no longer thinks he’s going nuts. But the fact that he gets pulled out of wherever he happens to be when Ronnie decides to become Firestorm is pretty inconvenient sometimes. Stein mentions that he’s going to be working on a project in the South Pacific for a couple of months, so Ronnie can’t become Firestorm in that time, since Stein would have no way to get back to the ship after they split. Ronnie doesn’t want to ruin Stein’s opportunity, so he agrees. A few days later, Stein is on the ship in the Pacific Ocean where the project (a bathysphere called Manta) is about to be launched. Stein isn’t completelyFirestorm shows up on the ship sure the power source is ready, and the bathysphere designer (and pilot), Drake, wants to run some more tests, but the captain is a total prick and insists they launch the bathysphere. When a storm blows up, the captain decides to cut the bathysphere loose, consigning Drake to death. Stein protests and when the sailors rough him up, he summons Firestorm. Ronnie is at home studying (and worrying about missing two months’ worth of JLA meetings) when he finds himself transformed into Firestorm and appearing on the ship. We’ll see what he does there next issue.

Wonder Woman 276 coverWonder Woman #276 – “Seek the Serpent—Find Death” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Joe Giella

This one starts with Wonder Woman watching Priscilla Rich’s funeral. Wonder Woman just fought a new Cheetah (Debbi Domaine) who she believes was brainwashed into being a super-villain. Since Priscilla was the first Cheetah, Wonder Woman figures she might pick up a clue at Priscilla’s funeral. Sure enough, she spots a guy in a snake outfit spying on the funeral and goes after him. He’s tougher than he looks and takes off in a flying saucer-type vehicle. Wonder Woman gets her fingers stuck in the hatch and clings to the outside as the snake-dude calls his boss, Kobra. Kobra says sacrifices have to be made to keep Wonder Woman from finding out too much. The snake soldier understands and Wonder Woman just manages to pull free before the saucer self-destructs. In his hideout, Kobra revels in his successes so far—toppling governments and destabilizing entire economies. He now prepares to use stolen weapons to bring the worldsaucer self-destruct to its knees. In Washington, Diana searches for info on the snake guy who blew himself up. She finds a cryptic reference to Kobra, Carlsbad Caverns, and her old boss at the U.N., Morgan Tracy. Steve interrupts her to say he has to go to someplace called Mountpeak Point. He leaves Diana in charge and she keeps pondering the Kobra info. Steve goes down the coast to Mountpeak Point, which is a covert nuclear facility working on a dirty nuke. Steve puts on a radiation suit and heads inside, finding the head scientist dead and the Cobalt 93 bomb missing. In Washington, Diana remembers her mother’s warning about pounding Kobra cultistssomeone orchestrating chaos all over the globe. She figures out Kobra must be the guy behind the Cartel (which she put away back in issue 268) and the one causing all the havoc in the world. She ditches Etta and heads off to Carlsbad Caverns in her invisible jet. At Carlsbad, she finds a Kobra Cult headquarters and gets ambushed by a bunch of cultists. She pounds them all, but the leaders escape in another saucer. They leave behind evidence of their plans though, and guess what? Yup, it involves the stolen Cobalt 93 bomb. We’ll see what they do with it next issue.

Huntress splashHuntress – “A Friend in Need” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, Gotham District Attorney Harry Sims took a header out of his office window (turns out he had a helping hand) and was caught by Huntress and Power Girl. He revealed that he knows Huntress’s secret identity, so she knocks him out and sends Power Girl back to see who pushed him out the window. Power Girl is surprised to find Sims is still in the office, holding a press conference. Turns out it’s not really Sims, it’s Thinker using his mental projector helmet to hypnotize everyone into thinking he’s Sims. Power Girl knows some bullshit is going on, but Thinker uses the helmet to hypnotize her too. At Helena’s office, her secretary Carole (who’s being blackmailed by Thinker) decides to confide in Helena about her trouble. But when she walks in on Helena tending to Sims on her office couch (fully clothed), she gets all embarrassed and takes off.Power Girl decks Thinker Helena can’t go after her because Sims has told her about Thinker, so she has to change back to Huntress and find him. She heads for Sims’ office, where Thinker has Power Girl in his thrall. Huntress smashes part of Thinker’s helmet with a Batarang, but he still has enough control over Power Girl to make her attack Huntress. Huntress is almost overwhelmed by Power Girl’s strength, but manages to redirect her momentum so she knocks Thinker out instead. That snaps Power Girl out of her trance and she smashes Thinker’s helmet. Huntress leaves her to clean up so she can go back and clear the air with Sims. We’ll see how that goes next issue.

Green Lantern 137 coverGreen Lantern #137 – “Time Times Two Equals Death” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

Last issue, some scientists in the year 5708 tried to bring Green Lantern to the future to help against a Gordanian invasion. (Lantern has journeyed to that particular time period before, though he always forgets it afterward.) But something went wrong and GL ended up losing his memory and facing a different Gordanian invasion, a few millennia earlier, at the side of Space Ranger. The Gordanians captured GL, Space Ranger, and Cryll (Ranger’s shapeshifting companion) and are planning on auctioning Earth off to the highest bidder. Cryll uses his shapeshifting abilities to bust loose and he and Ranger pound the Gordanians. GL gets free too, but his memory hasn’t come back yet, so he still doesn’t even know how to use his ring. Ranger’s girlfriend, Myra, busts into the ship to help, but gets blasted. Cryll tries to save her as the Gordanians regroup and Ranger tries to figure out a way to release EarthGL shows up in 5708 from their tractor beam. GL says he knows a way, but before he can elucidate, he’s shanghaied by a time ray to 5708. The head scientist (Dasor) restores Lantern’s memories of himself, but not of the era he was just in, so whatever his brilliant plan was to defeat the Gordanians, he can’t remember it. Dasor says their history tapes from Space Ranger’s era are spotty at best, so they have no idea how to fight the Gordanian invasion. The Gordanians bust in and capture everyone, including Iona, the woman who has the hots for GL. When they wake up on the Gordanian ship, she tells him hat they’ve brought him to their era before, even though there’s a chance that the time travel radiation might kill him. She also mentions that she was assigned to be his lover on previous trips, to keep him from asking too many questions, but she ended up falling for him for real. Lantern isn’t sure what to say and gets even more GL blows up the Gordanian shipflustered when she says she wants to come back to the 20th Century with him … assuming they live long enough. The Gordanian captain knows GL’s ring doesn’t work against anything yellow (like the Gordanians’ ship and their armour), so he slaps GL around a bit. Lantern uses his ring to create a force field around himself and Iona, then blows out the coolant lines and explodes the starship. He does the same to the rest of the fleet and returns to the council chamber with Iona. She asks again to go back with him, but he slips her some tongue and erases her memory with his ring so she won’t be pining for him forever. He heads back in time to help Space Ranger and pops into the middle of a fight. He saves Myra andGL helps Space Ranger pulls Space Ranger and Cryll out with her into a protective bubble. He then uses the same trick to blow up the Gordanian ship, and cuts the tractor beam holding the Earth. The rest of the Gordanians take off (not to return for a millennia or so, as we’ve seen) and Space Ranger and the others ask GL if he can hang around for a while. But GL has to save Tom from Eclipso and find out who kidnapped Carol, so he can’t stay. We’ll see what happens when he returns to the present next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • Space Ranger is a very Doc Smith-type hero, part swashbuckler and part scientific genius. Appropriate, since the Green Lantern Corps is based on Smith’s books.
  • We learn that the Gordanians in 5708 have switched their allegiance; they now work for the Psions instead of the Citadel.
  • GL cleanses the dangerous radiation from his body before heading back in time, so I guess that wasn’t much of a threat once he knew about it.

Jonah Hex 45 coverJonah Hex #45 – “Blood Wedding” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex agreed to give up his violent lifestyle and settle down to the life of a farmer so he could marry the love of his life, Mei Ling. That sounds romantic, but the odds are really stacked against them. This story starts with Mei Ling picking out a wedding dress while a trio of judgmental hags make snotty comments about race-mixing in the background. As Hex leaves the store, he’s recognized by some outlaws and almost gets shot. Remembering his promise to Mei Ling, he doesn’t waste the guy who tried to plug him, he just beats the shit out of him. Hex and Mei Ling go to visit her brother, Mei Wong, and his wife to give them the good news. But Mei Wong isn’t big on race-mixing either, and really isn’t cool with his sister marrying a gunslinger. He says if Mei Ling goes through with the wedding, she’s no longer his sister. The thug that Hex pounded earlier goes to see some of hisHex dunks a thug hoodlum friends and lets them know Hex is getting married soon. In town, the three old bats try to talk the banker out of selling Hex and Mei Ling a farm outside of town. The banker isn’t as racist as everyone else and says Hex and Mei Ling are a fine couple, so there’s no reason not to sell them the farm. The old battle-axes say they won’t keep their money in his bank anymore, and neither will any of their friends. On the day of the wedding, the church is packed and Hex even wears a formal outfit, leaving his guns in the hotel room as a sign of his promise. The wedding goes off fine, but right afterwards a dude comes in and says the McCaffrey boys have doused half the town in kerosene and will burn the mother down if Hex doesn’t come out to face them. He refuses, Hex guns down the bad guystrying to keep his promise to his new bride, but the townsfolk get all surly and say it’s his fault the town might get torched. The dude who brought the bad news also brought Hex’s guns, so he finally agrees to go talk to the McCaffreys. He’s ready to let them leave without a fight, but when they start talking shit about Mei Ling, hex guns them all down. Mei Ling is disappointed, but seems to realize Hex didn’t really have a choice. Hex asks the banker for the keys to their new farm but he says there was a mistake … the farm had already been sold to someone else and he “forgot”. Hex is ready to deck him, but Mei Ling stops him and they head out to find a less racist place to live. Good luck with that.

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