Comics Reviews: Flash 297, Wonder Woman 279, Green Lantern 140, Jonah Hex 48

Flash 297 coverFlash #297 – “Capt. Cold’s Cold, Cold Flame” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Bob Smith

This one starts with Barry Allen’s parents (Henry and Nora) driving down to Central City to visit him. They haven’t seen him since Iris’s funeral, almost a year ago. They’ve deliberately kept their distance to let Barry work through his grief by himself. Now that Barry’s seeing Fiona Webb, they figure he’s pretty much over Iris, though I’m not sure Nora is … she still has Barry and Iris’s wedding photo with her. As they’re rounding a hairpin turn, some young punk isn’t paying attention and almost runs right into them. Henry swerves to avoid the other car, plunging over the cliff. In Central City, three thieves pull off a daring daylight robbery and take off on motorcycles. Flash catches a couple of them, but the last one is bagged by an unexpected ally … Captain Cold.Captain Cold helps Flash catch thieves Apparently, Captain Cold has been acting like a good guy since his last parole, but Flash isn’t buying it. He figures the hero routine is part of some new scheme of Cold’s and is just waiting for the icy villain to show his true colours. As Flash changes back to Barry Allen, he gets a call about his parents’ accident and rushes to the hospital. Henry turns out to be fine, but Nora is in a coma and the doctors aren’t sure if she’ll ever come out of it. At a fancy mansion outside town, we find out why Captain Cold has been playing the hero lately … he’s in love. Len Snart (Cold’s civilian identity) has fallen for a model named Myrna Troy and he’s changed his ways to keep her happy. Back at the hospital, Henry wishes he could’ve done more to avoid the accident, but Barry reminds him there’d be four dead bodies if he hadn’t swerved off the cliff. Henry tells Barry that Nora’s coma could last months or even years … or maybe forever. Cold catches MyrnaLate that night, we see Captain Cold breaking into the jewelry exchange and stealing a bunch of stuff. But this isn’t the Captain Cold we all know; when the villain returns to Myrna Troy’s place, “he” is jumped by Len Snart and unmasked … as Myrna Troy herself! Yup, she was playing Snart all along, talking him into leaving his Captain Cold stuff at her place so she could steal stuff and he’d take the blame. He points out how rich she is and that the only reason for her to steal is for fun. Since the cops wouldn’t believe him—and they’d assume his girlfriend was covering for him if Myrna confessed—Snart says he’ll have to take care of her himself. At the hospital, a cop tells Barry that Captain Cold hit the jewelry exchange and the police tracked him to Myrna Troy’s house. Barry decides to change to Flash and bring Cold in. When he gets to Myrna’s house (which is surrounded by SWAT), he finds Cold and Myrna frozen in a gyrating ring of “cold-fire”, a substance that has put them into a freeze so deep that it’s basically suspended animation. Cold left a suicidevolcano solution note (so to speak) explaining Myrna’s betrayal, but Flash figures she doesn’t deserve this. He tries to vibrate inside the cold rings, but the cold is too intense even for him, so he figures he better heat things up a bit. He drills into the earth and brings up a spout of magma, freeing Cold and Myrna from the rings. He rushes the to hospital, leaving the SWAT guys to deal with the newly activated volcano in Myrna’s living room; talk about overkill. A few days later, Henry Allen is released from hospital and moves in with Barry. But Henry is having some very dark thoughts about getting rid of Flash for good. Why would Henry Allen want to kill his own son? We’ll see more of this mystery next issue.

Firestorm splashFirestorm – “Multiplex Means Multiple Choice … Death” – Gerry Conway/Denys Cowan/Bob Wiacek

This one starts with a bored Ronnie Raymond doodling in his notebook in school. His teacher asks to see it, but luckily for Ronnie, Cliff Carmichael is still an asshole and trips him on the way to the teacher’s desk. The notebook disappears and when the bell rings the teacher forgets about it. Ronnie’s friend (or girlfriend, I’m not sure exactly what their status is) Doreen gives him the notebook. Ronnie figures it fell under Doreen’s desk, but I’m wondering if she didn’t hide it on purpose; there are drawings of Firestorm in the book, so maybe Doreen knows Ronnie’s secret and was covering for him? Ronnie shows his gratitude by telling her he has basketball practice that night, so she’ll have to wait if she wants to hang out. Meanwhile, Professor Stein is at work at Concordance Research, where he’s trying to determine where all Firestorm’s power comes from. He knows it can’t be created from nothing, but before he can dig too deep, he’sFirestorm pops up surprised by a visitor … Multiplex. Multiplex is an old colleague of Stein’s (who gained powers in the same explosion that created Firestorm) and he’s at Concordance to steal the new radar tech they’re developing for the military. Multiplex knocks Stein down and starts looking for the radar research. At school, Ronnie is playing basketball and runs into the pole, knocking himself out. The coach gives the whole team shit for being clumsy oafs and during his tirade, Ronnie vanishes. Stein has initiated a Firestorm fusion, but because Ronnie is out of it, Stein’s psyche is dominant in Firestorm for once … a situation that freaks Stein out, since he has no clue what to do and Multiplex is pissed off to see his archenemy.

Wonder Woman 279 coverWonder Woman #279 – “The Strange Disappearance of Etta Candy” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

This one starts with a freaked-out Wonder Woman stumbling into Mother Juju’s place. Mother Juju is the Haitian stereotype who helped Diana track down Kobra a couple issues ago. Juju quickly realizes that Wonder Woman and Diana Prince are the same person and manages to calm the agitated Amazon enough to recount what happened. We get a flashback to earlier in the evening. Diana was returning from a date with General Darnell; he’s been ardently—or obnoxiously—pursuing her for the last few issues, even though she’s made it clear she’s not really into him. He givesDiana unwinds her a big smooch and she puts up with it, probably afraid of losing her job if she decks him. We get some philosophy that was ahead of its time, as Diana muses about how men treat women and how a nice girl like Etta can’t get any action because she doesn’t meet the male standard of beauty. She also wonders if her own infatuation with Steve isn’t a bit childish and naive. Diana then changes into a barely-there outfit and goes to check on Etta; yeah, there’s definitely something going on there … she dresses a lot sexier for Etta than for Darnell, that’s for sure.  But there’s no midnight lovin’ for Diana tonight, as Etta’s room is locked and weird smoke is coming from under the door. Diana busts in, but Etta’s gone and she hears strange chanting in Latin from the apartment below. She changes to Wonder Woman, fearing Etta may have been kidnapped by a satanic cult. She lowers Wonder Woman blasted through the windowherself down to look in the window and is startled by what she sees. Before we get to see it, the window explodes outward, sending Wonder Woman plunging to the ground. She recovers and smashes into the room, finding a pentagram with bloodstains in it but no Etta. As Wonder Woman finishes telling her story to Mother Juju, we learn what she saw through the window that got her so worked up: a black mass, with some freak in a goat-head mask about to sacrifice Etta in the pentagram. Mother Juju uses her own magic to conjure a vision of a place called the Delphi Foundation. Wonder Woman knows it’s a think-tank near Washington, run by a dude named Oscar Pound, a Dr. Strangelove-type who’s fanatical about privacy. Wonder Woman heads overEtta about to be sacrificed to Delphi, trying to sneak in. She sets off an alarm and figures she might as well go all out, so she smashes through a window and grabs a Delphi employee. He tells her Etta is being used for Project Summons and leads her to a lab. When he opens it, smoke pours out and Wonder Woman sees Etta being menaced by demons as some scientists look on from a booth. So maybe the Baphomet look-alike back at the apartment wasn’t wearing a mask after all? We’ll find out (and get a guest appearance from Etrigan the Demon) next issue.

Huntress splashHuntress – “Lionhunt” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, Huntress went to talk to Harry Sims about him knowing her secret identity. Harry was at Gull Island, top security prison, for a meeting, but some inmates staged a break out just as Huntress was leaving. She decided to stick around and try to stop the prisoners, especially when she learned the leader was her old foe Lionmane. Harry wanted to help, but she knocked him out to keep him safe. This issue starts with Huntress stealthily taking out a contingent of prisoners and rescuing some cops who showed up in a police launch. She tells the cops to take Harry back to Gotham and call in reinforcements; she says she’ll try to distract Lionmane. Huntress knows she (or the cops) can’t just rush in without the prisoners slaughtering all the hostage guards and other prison staff. She decides to get Lionmane’sHuntress in trouble attention and starts by rescuing the warden. She leaves Lionmane a note, telling him if he can beat her one-on-one she’ll give him the warden … and the secret of Fagan’s Wood. That means something to Lionmane, something to do with Catwoman and some stolen loot. Of course, we know Catwoman was Huntress’s mother, but Lionmane doesn’t know that, although it sounds like he might’ve been the one who killed Catwoman. Cops surround the island and Huntress shows up in the yard to challenge Lionmane. He grabs her, threatening to break her in half if she doesn’t tell him everything she knows about Fagan’s Wood. Not exactly an auspicious beginning, but I’m sure Huntress has a plan; we’ll see what it is next issue.

Green Lantern 140 coverGreen Lantern #140 – “As Ye Sow …” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

This one starts with Ferris Aircraft’s Los Angeles plant blowing up. Green Lantern shows up to contain the damage and rescue the workers, musing on all the shit that’s happened to Ferris lately: their Coast City facility was blown up, all their governments contracts are about to be canceled, and Carol Ferris and her parents have been kidnapped. Speaking of Carol, GL spots her fleeing the plant, but when he confronts her she pretends to hardly know him. He pushes her for answers and she whips her shirt open, making GL think it’s his lucky day. But instead of a peep show, he sees Carol has a bomb strapped to her chest. She tells him to stay out of her business and takes off. We learn that the guy who kidnapped her (a weirdo with a scarred face who bears a grudge againstBloch's blackmail the entire Ferris family) has been monitoring her, hence her pretense of not knowing Green Lantern all that well. In Washington, a Congressman named Jason Bloch gets a call from his father about GL’s interference in the Ferris sabotage and blackmails a fellow Congressman into digging up dirt on Lantern. We see Carol returning to her tormentor (Conrad Bloch), who tells her parents he’s going to kill her once he’s finished forcing her to carry out his dirty work. In Washington, we see Jason Bloch blackmailing another dude into making sure that Ferris’s canceled government contracts go to his brother’s company instead. Back in L.A., Hal and Tom meet with Bruce Gordon, who apologizes for lying about being Eclipso. But now that his dark alter has been banished, Hal says he’s welcome to come back to work at Ferris … as long as he does Hal a small favour. Later, Green Lantern uses Ferris’s GL roughs up Ben Blochsupercomputer to check out the info he discovered on Lucifer Island a couple issues ago. The info leads him to the Bloch family and GL goes to Bloch Industries to tell Benjamin Bloch that his father, Conrad, has kidnapped Carol Ferris and sabotaged Ferris Aircraft … and GL has proof. Benjamin plays it cool and tries to have GL tossed out, but Lantern pounds Benjamin’s men and roughs him up. In Conrad Bloch’s mountain mansion, we finally get his backstory: he and Carl Ferris were partners in what was later Ferris Aircraft, but Conrad went a bit wild with success and Carl ended up taking over the company … legally, but Conrad took it hard. He became a booze-hound, which drove his wife away and almost killed him. Conrad managed to get his shit together and start his own company from the ground up. He and his sons built it into a viable concern, hanging everything on a new solar-powered jet. But Ferrissabotage gone wrong beat them to the punch, winning the government contract and driving Bloch’s company into the ground. Bloch figured if he could delay Ferris’s jet, he could regain the contract, but when he tried to sabotage Ferris with a solar bomb, it went off prematurely, burning most of his body. Now all Conrad can think of is ruining Ferris like Ferris ruined him. Before Conrad can take the ultimate revenge by killing Carol, GL shows up. He used a solar tracker borrowed from Bruce Gordon to trace the emanations from the bomb on Carol’s chest, which he recognized as using solar cells for power. (He couldn’t track it with his ring because the solar emanations are yellow … or something.) GL knocks Conrad down but he’s ready to set off the bomb on Carol and kill Bloch taken downeveryone, including himself. GL encases Conrad in a green energy field, blocking the signal to detonate the bomb. Conrad tries to amp up the signal, but the feedback shocks him, putting him into a coma. Carol’s father feels responsible and says he’ll pay for Conrad’s care. A month later, Conrad dies and Benjamin calls his brother to tell him, letting Jason know that their father’s dying wish was not only to ruin Ferris Aircraft, but to destroy Green Lantern. Jason swears he’ll do it. Yeah, this is gonna be an ongoing thing in the comic for a while … but next issue we get the introduction of everybody’s favourite weirdos, the Omega Men.

Jonah Hex 48 coverJonah Hex #48 – “The Vulture Creek Massacre” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Jonah Hex practicing his marksmanship by shooting some empty bottles. That doesn’t sit well with his new wife, Mei Ling, since Hex promised he’d give up his violent ways when they got married. Hex is chafing at her constant criticism, but before it can turn into an argument an old friend (Samson Graves) shows up. Graves heard about Hex getting married and had to stop by to see for himself. Graves is no gentleman, spitting tobacco all over the place and slurping his tea like a boor. He also mentions that he hates kids, so he’s glad Hex and Mei Ling don’t have any. Mei Ling wonders why Graves never takes off his gloves and he tells a story about how he and Hex were scouts for the Fourth Cavalry years ago. Graves found a dead Paiute girl and tried to take her to her village, but the other Paiutes got the wrong idea and tortured Graves,Graves ambushing Crow cutting all his fingers off. Hex rescued him, but Graves has worn gloves (with wooden dowels in them for appearance’s sake) ever since. Graves admits his visit wasn’t completely spontaneous; he ran afoul of some Crow warriors who attacked him when he stopped for a drink at Vulture Creek. Graves fought his way past them, but they’ve been on his trail ever since. Hex says he’ll go with Graves and try to talk to the Crow, but he takes his guns along, something that doesn’t sit well with Mei Ling. When Graves and Hex find the Crow war party, Hex recognizes one of them … a brave named High-Hands Bear who dd some scouting for Hex’s unit during the War. Hex figures he can just talk things out with High-Hands Bear, but Graves fucks that up by shooting at the Crow. Graves seems to be out of it, going on about being attacked like he has some kind of PTSD. Hex tries to knock some sense into him and they Hex helps his friendend up beating the shit out of each other. The fight distracts them enough for the Crow to surround them. Hex appeals to High-Hands Bear (who remembers Hex) and says the whole thing started when the Crow attacked Graves at Vulture Creek. Turns out Graves was lying; he actually started everything by murdering a bunch of Crow kids who were swimming in the creek. Graves freaks out, telling Hex he can’t help it that he hates kids so much. The Crow say they want to take him back to their village for justice, which includes torture. Graves begs Hex to help him and Hex blows him away … for which Graves thanks him with his last breath. When Hex gets home, Mei Ling is gone with the buckboard. Hex finds her quickly, but she says she’s tired of all the violent shit in their lives, so she’s leaving. Hex promises her it’ll never happen again and convinces her to give him one more chance. Yeah, I have a feeling this marriage isn’t going to last.

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