Comics Reviews: Flash 295, Wonder Woman 277, Green Lantern 138, Jonah Hex 46

Flash 295 coverFlash #295 – “In Grodd We Trust” – Cary Bates/Don Heck

Last issue, Solovar was worried that his fellow super-intelligent apes were being corrupted by decadent human influences, so he came up with a way to make everyone on Earth (except Flash) forget the existence of Gorilla City and its inhabitants. But simian super-villain Grodd went a little farther, sabotaging the memory-wiping machine so everyone (including Flash and the other gorillas) forgot that Grodd existed. When this issue starts, Solovar’s plan has worked; nobody can remember who used to occupy the Gorilla City Embassy in New York, but they’re surprised to find piles of banana peels in the trash out back. Barry is on a date with Fiona Webb and muses on Solovar’s plan and how he’s the onlyGrodd attacks Solovar while disguised as Flash one who remembers Gorilla City. At the now-empty Embassy, Solovar enjoys a break after confirming the success of his memory-wiping plan. But something keeps nagging at his subconscious, and it causes him to have a weird dream where Flash attacks him. When Flash takes off his cowl, he’s not Barry Allen but some bald asshole who tries to kill Solovar is a rockslide. Solovar wakes up and wonders why he’d dream about someone pretending to be Flash attacking him. We see the real Flash returning home and going to bed after a hard day. The bald scumbag from Solovar’s dream sneaks into Barry’s room and lifts the ring that contains his costume. Barry has a dream of his own, except this time Solovar’s trying to kill him. He wakes up and wonders about the weird dream, but falls asleep again right away. The bald dude slips back into Barry’s room and replaces the ring. The next day, we see baldy (who’s obviously Grodd masquerading as a human) flying around the Arctic Flash and Solovar's fake fightin a high-tech aircraft. He’s sent fake messages to Flash and Solovar, thinking the subliminal suggestions he planted in their dreams will make them fight for real when they see each other. His plan works and Flash attacks Solovar, but as Grodd comes in for a closer look, Flash uses a super-speed vortex to trap Grodd’s ship while Solovar keeps him off-balance with his mental powers. They freeze Grodd into a block of ice and prepare to take him to Gorilla City. There they scan Grodd’s mind and learn the truth, and we get a rundown of what happened. Grodd appeared in Solovar’s “dream” as Flash, then used Flash’s ring to dress him in his costume and pretended to be Solovar during their fight, but both “dreams” actually happened. Flash realized his dream was a fake because he usually dreams in super-speed. He alerted Solovar, who fortified their minds with mental shields, which is why they didn’t really try to kill each other on sight. With Grodd taken care of, Solovar invites Flash to a Banana Banquet, which sounds vaguely suggestive to me.

Noticeable Things:

  • Last issue we got a shot of the gorillas playing ping-pong; this time we see them playing volleyball. If Ape Volleyball was an Olympic sport, I’d watch the hell out of it. Someone needs to get on that.
  • If you’re wondering what happened to photos, files, and other hard evidence of the super-apes’ existence, we’re told that Solovar’s memory-wipe makes people see all such evidence as blank paper. Presumably it would do the same for film or videotape.

Firestorm – “By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Dangerous Sea” – Gerry Conway/Jim Starlin/Bob Wiacek

Last issue, Professor Stein took a job on a ship in the Southern Pacific, effectively ending his Firestorm partnership with Ronnie Raymond for a couple months. The expedition was to test a nuclear powered bathysphere, but the captain of the ship freaked when a storm blew up and he tried to cutFirestorm pounds sailors the bathysphere loose, dooming the scientist inside (Drake). Stein triggered the change into Firestorm, which scares the shit out of the captain and his crew. Firestorm retrieves the bathysphere and Drake is fine … at least until the captain shoots him to keep him quiet about trying to abandon him. Drake falls into the bathysphere, where the nuclear power source is ruptured. Firestorm kicks the shit out of the captain and his crew, but the bathysphere explodes in a blast of nuclear energy. Firestorm assumes Drake is dead, but he’s been transformed into Typhoon, a guy who can manipulate his body and the weather around him. Typhoon is pretty pissed off about almost getting killed and he seems to have chosen Firestorm as his first target. We’ll see how that turns out next issue.

Wonder Woman 277 coverWonder Woman #277 – “The Kobra Ultimatum” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Wonder Woman discovered that Kobra and his cult of fanatical followers have been orchestrating disasters and manipulating events all over the world as a precursor to taking over. Kobra’s latest triumph is stealing a top-secret nuclear bomb called Cobalt 93. This issue opens with Kobra and his men celebrating. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is returning from Carlsbad Caverns with the prisoners she took and she’s disturbed by the theft of the powerful Cobalt 93 device. She tries to interrogate the captive cultists with her Lasso of Truth, but they’re so fanatical they actually resist the Lasso’s magic and end up killing themselves (very messily).

Diana and Etta making friends
Etta definitely looks satisfied.

In Washington, Steve Trevor is giving a briefing on the Cobalt 93 theft when Kobra appears on the monitor. He tells them he wants half the world’s money (the Gross International Product) or he’ll use the Cobalt 93 bomb to poison the Middle East oilfields for 100 years. As Diana arrives home, Etta is raiding the fridge and gets all pouty that Diana hasn’t been spending much time at home and doesn’t want to be “friends”. I know there are endless jokes about Diana and Eta, but she really does come across more as a needy romantic interest than as someone who just wants a friend. And later we see Etta asleep and Diana tiptoeing out of her room wearing a see-through negligée … Diana says they were just talking, but don’t try to tell me nothing else happened. The next day, Diana goes to see a stereotypical Haitian woman named Mother Juju, who has some kind of psychic powers. Juju relates Kobra’s origin: basically he Kobra triumphantwas raised from a baby to lead the Cobra Cult, which has been around since the days of the British Raj, fighting against colonialism. But now they’ve become imperialist themselves, expanding outside India and trying to take over the world with Kobra as their leader. Wonder Woman heads to New Delhi, hoping to find more answers and is directed to an old temple of Kali. She pokes around inside and falls through the floor into a subterranean chamber where she’s startled to be surrounded by venomous snakes. Even more startling is Kobra standing a few feet away floating. We’ll see how the Amazon Princess gets out of this one next issue.

 

Noticeable Things:

  • When Kobra makes his threat about poisoning the oilfields, we get what sounds like Gerry’s opinion coming through: one of the government guys says they won’t give in to energy blackmail and another says, “Why not? We’ve already given in to the Arabs, haven’t we?”

Huntress – “Secrets, Secrets, Everywhere” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, Huntress and Power Girl caught the Thinker and saved Gotham District Attorney Harry Sims, who Thinker had been blackmailing. But Sims revealed he knew Huntress’s secret identity as Helena Wayne, so as this issue opens, she’s freaking out wondering how to deal. Helena’s secretaryHuntress tracks Joe on the train Carole has also been a victim of blackmail; I thought it was Thinker blackmailing her too, but it turns out to be her ex-husband, Joe. He’s forcing Carole to let him look through Helena’s files for dirt he can use to squeeze other people. Carole is sick of him manipulating her, but when she gets mouthy he starts slapping her around. Huntress shows up and runs Joe off. Carole confides in her about the blackmail, though we don’t hear exactly what Joe has on her. Huntress follows Joe and catches him on a train where she decks him. She drags his ass back and convinces Carole to press charges for the blackmail. Carole is reluctant, but Huntress tells her that it’s better to face really tough problems head on instead of trying to avoid them. Huntress then decides to follow her own advice and goes to find Sims.

Green Lantern 138 coverGreen Lantern #138 – “Total Eclipso” – Marv Wolfman (story), Roy Thomas/Joe Staton

After all the futuristic shenanigans of the last couple issues, Green Lantern returns to the present only seconds after he left. He confronts Eclipso and buries him under some rubble. Lantern is glad to find Tom Kalmaku is still alive, though he’s hurt. GL sends him to the nearest hospital with his ring, just before Eclipso recovers and almost blasts GL. When Eclipso tries to use his black diamond, GL manages to counteract its power with his ring, turning Eclipso back into Bruce Gordon. Lantern is ready to take Gordon to prison and on the way,changing Eclipso back Gordon tells Eclipso’s origin story. Bruce Gordon was a scientist researching eclipses on a South Pacific island when some crazy witch doctor attacked him during an eclipse. Gordon was scratched by the witch doctor’s black diamond, which caused him to manifest the evil personality of Eclipso. Gordon has tried to get rid of his alter ego, who hates him with a passion, eve destroying his life’s work, a solar-powered city. Gordon found out Eclipso could be temporarily banished by bright light, but hasn’t managed to get rid of him permanently. GL checks Tom at the hospital and finds out he’s fine, so he lets Gordon go, saying he isn’t responsible for what his alter ego did. GL goes to look for Carol Ferris, who was kidnapped in New York a few issues Carol sees her captor's faceago. We see Carol (and her parents) being held captive on an island somewhere. Her captor seems to have provided some amenities (she’s swimming in a pool wearing a skimpy bikini), but a couple issues ago he was hunting her through the wilderness, so I guess it isn’t exactly paradise. Carol demands to know who her captor is and why he’s screwing with them. He says he hates the Ferris family and when he takes off his hat and coat, they’re shocked to see he barely looks human. Back in California, Bruce Gordon is bathed by a ray from his watch as he sleeps and he takes off from his place, still asleep as far as I can see. GL checks out the room Carol stayed in when she was kidnapped and uses his ring to track her psychic residue to an Atlantic island. He finds an abandoned base with evidence that whoever was there hated the Ferrises with a passion. He goes through the trash to find some clues and heads back to the mainland. In California, Eclipso has broken intoGL confronts Eclipso in space Ferris Aircraft and is launching a rocket that Bruce Gordon secretly built there. Apparently, Eclipso can influence Gordon subconsciously, so he made Gordon build the rocket and its payload secretly, keeping everything off the books. Eclipso also planted the hypnotic suggestion in Gordon’s watch for him to come to Ferris and view film of an eclipse, which brought out his villainous side. The rocket takes off, sending a man-made moon into orbit between Earth and the sun … a permanent eclipse, in other words. (Eclipso refers to it as the Murder Moon … catchy.) GL comes up to check things out after noticing the trouble at Ferris Aircraft, but he’s ambushed by Eclipso, who tells him that Bruce Gordon isn’t the only one with a dark side … he figures everybody has one. To test his theory, Eclipso bathes GL in the energy from his black diamond and sure enough, Lantern’s dark side starts to emerge. He ends up half-light, half-dark and wonders what’ll happen if his evil side wins out. We’ll get the answer to that queasy question next issue.

Jonah Hex 46 coverJonah Hex #46 – “Death in the Grass” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue Jonah Hex married his sweetheart, Mei Ling, and promised to leave his violent life behind him. But that’s easier said than done, especially when the newlyweds are confronted by racist assholes everywhere they go. After traveling around for three weeks, they still haven’t found a place to live and when they try to stop at a lonely inn during a storm, the manager tells them it’s for whites only. A trio of scumbags backs him up and Mei Ling stops Hex from pounding them. The three racists aren’t satisfied and decide to follow the couple, hoping to get some revenge for Hex threatening to kick their asses. The next day, the storm has stopped but the muddy road causes Hex’s buckboard to overturn in a rut. Mei Ling jumps clear, but Hex is slammed into the ground, which hurts his back so much he can barely move. He tells Mei Ling to ride to therattlesnake shake nearest town (not the inn with the racist proprietor) and bring back a doctor. She leaves him propped against a rock with some binoculars and rides for town. The three racists from the inn see Hex’s plight and figure he’ll be an easy mark, but he spots them with the binoculars and crawls into some tall grass nearby. The thugs start searching for Hex, who lies in ambush in the grass. When one guy gets close, Hex tries to shoot him, but his pistols are clogged with mud from the spill he took. He manages to toss his Bowie knife and kill the thug, but has to crawl away without grabbing the guy’s rifle, or retrieving his knife. Hex almost runs straight into a rattlesnake and figures he can use the deadly reptile to his own advantage. He wraps the snake in his coat and when another thug finds him, lighting up some grassHex pretends the bundle is a bunch of money and offers it to his foe. When the greedy bastard opens the coat, the pissed off rattler bites his throat and slithers off. The dying thug’s cries bring the last gunman before Hex can grab the guy’s gun, so he’s forced to crawl away empty-handed again. Hex reaches the edge of the tall grass and spots a deserted farm across an open field. He knows he’ll be seen if he tries to crawl across the field, so he comes up with a distraction. He uses he binoculars to light the tall grass on fire (his matches were wet from earlier), which makes the thug run for cover in a nearby creek. In town, Mei Ling finds a doctor and tells him she needs his help. Back at the farm, Hex crawls to the barn and uses a rope to hoist himself up to the hayloft. The loft floor is rotten, which gives Hex an idea. Once the fire has burned itself out, the last gunman comes to the barn, having easily tracked Hex through the field. The thug climbs into the loftpitchfork rating (which Hex has covered with hay), but before he can blow Hex away, Hex challenges him to come closer and fight. The gunman can see Hex is in no shape to fight, so he steps forward, falling through the rotten loft boards and landing neck-first on a pitchfork. Later, the doctor tells Hex his spinal trauma is only temporary and he’ll be fine in a few weeks. Hex asks who owns the farm and coincidentally, the doctor owns it (he bought it a couple months back as an investment from a family that went west), and he’s much more enlightened than most; he agrees to sell Hex and Mei Ling the farm once Hex has recovered. Mei Ling is thrilled that they can finally settle down and live a boring life, and we see Hex’s back isn’t so bad as to keep him from banging.

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