Comics Reviews: Flash 298, Wonder Woman 280, Green Lantern 141, Jonah Hex 49

Flash 298 coverFlash #298 – “A Deadly Shade of Peril” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Bob Smith

This one starts with Barry Allen making a super-speed exit from his lab at police headquarters, leaving Captain Frye and Patty Spivot wondering where he is. Barry’s in a hurry to meet his father at the hospital. When he gets there, he sees the kid responsible for his parents’ accident trying to apologize to Henry Allen, but Henry’s not in a forgiving mood and gives the kid hell. Barry says he might’ve been a bit harsh and his dad agrees, saying he’s not really himself since the accident. (As we saw last issue, there’s something weird about Henry, so his statement could be taken literally.) They go in to see Barry’s mom, who’s still in a coma, and are startled when everythingblack and white world starts to lose colour except Barry. He heads off to investigate and finds all of Central City affected by the black and white blight, but he can’t figure out what’s causing it. The new colourless environment screws up people’s depth perception, so Flash has to rescue citizens from several minor accidents. He figures his super-speed aura is protecting him from whatever is draining the colour from Central City, but after a while the colour returns as mysteriously as it went. Barry goes back to police HQ, where Captain Frye is very understanding (for once) about him being late, since he assumes Barry was at the hospital seeing his mom. Barry checks with the computer tech to find out where Roy G. Bivolo (aka Rainbow Raider) is being held and finds out he’s in a minimum-security prison upstate. Flash zips up to check on him and finds out Bivolo was there (and closely monitored) the whole time the captured by Shadeblack and white stuff was happening in Central City. Flash heads home and ponders whether he should tell his father (who’s staying with him) about his secret identity, since he’s getting tired of sneaking around and making excuses. He sees a TV report about another colour drain I the city and changes to Flash to check it out. As he leaves, we see his father is just pretending to be asleep … and he’s grinning like a maniac. When Flash gets downtown, he finds a bank being robbed by Shade, the darkness-wielding villain from Earth-2. Flash assumes Shade is behind the colour drain and that seems to be the case when the colour returns just after Shade traps Flash in a dimensional warp. But Shade insists he had nothing to do with the colour drain and says he came because he needs help. Flash gets out of the warp and almost captures Shade, who retreats into another dark dimension and communicating through his cane. Shade says Keystone City has been overloaded with bursts of colourShade's offer and Henry Allen acting homicidal corresponding to the colour drains in Central City. Since the two cities occupy the same space on separate Earths, and since Shade can’t use his darkness powers when there’s an overload of colour around him, he wants to find out who’s screwing with the spectrum and stop them as much as Flash does. As Flash ponders Shade’s offer to cooperate, we see Rainbow Raider gloating in prison. Apparently, he is the one behind the colour drains, but those were just test runs … his master plan is yet to come. And as if that weren’t enough, we see a crazed-looking Henry Allen finding Flash’s extra costume and contemplating killing his own son! Looks like Flash has three problems on his hands now; we’ll see how he handles them next issue.

Firestorm – “The Multiplex Complex” – Gerry Conway/Denys Cowan/Bob Wiacek

Last issue Martin Stein was working at Concordance Research when Multiplex busted in to steal a new radar prototype. Stein summoned Ronnie Firestorm knocked out by mini-MultiplexesRaymond to for Firestorm, but Ronnie had just knocked himself out playing basketball, so Stein’s persona is the dominant one this time around instead of Ronnie’s. Stein isn’t as adept at using Firestorm’s powers as Ronnie is, but he manages to take down some of Multiplex’s tiny duplicates. Unfortunately, it’s a set-up and Firestorm gets conked out and tied up by his Lilliputian adversaries. Multiplex takes Firestorm back to his hideout and gloats a bit. Stein figures out Multiplex chose this hideout (an old factory) because he needs periodic power feeds. Firestorm busts loose and uses the factory wiring to drain Multiplex’s power instead of feeding him. Ronnie congratulates Stein on his success, but the professor says he’ll be glad to go back to the status quo, with Ronnie in the driver’s seat.

Wonder Woman 280 coverWonder Woman #280 – “In the Claws of Demons” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Etta Candy was kidnapped by demon worshippers whom Wonder Woman tracked to a research complex (the Delphi Foundation) near Washington, D.C. where she found Etta about to be sacrificed by an actual demon. Wonder Woman jumps the demon (named Baal-Satyr), but she has trouble against its otherworldly power. In a booth above the room, a bunch of scientists are observing the proceedings and are freaked out at the turn things have taken. Their boss (who’s hidden in shadow so we can’t see him) says it’s no big deal … they just have to get rid of everyone. He triggers a machine gun that blows away most of the people below. Wonder Woman uses her bracelets to save herself and Baal-Satyr is merely annoyed by the bullets … so annoyed he blasts the machine gun.Wonder Woman fights Baal Satyr Baal-satyr says the humans have no power over him and he responded to their summons because he felt like it. He attacks Wonder Woman, mauling her with his claws until she finally kicks him away. He slams her to the floor and she wakes up back near the city in a ditch, with Etta nowhere to be seen. As Diana Prince, she returns to Delphi with Steve Trevor in tow, telling him Etta has disappeared and she thinks the Delphi Foundation is involved. They speak to the director, Oscar Pound (who looks a bit like Dr. Faustus from Marvel comics); judging by his profile and the fact that he’s in a wheelchair, Pound is the shadowy leader we saw giving orders last night. He says Delphi has nothing to hide and lets Steve and Diana look around the facility, but when they leave his office, we see Pound isn’t alone. Klarion (aka Witchboy) is Klarion and Poundhiding in the closet and we soon find out what’s been going on. Klarion promised Pound a cure for his paralyzed legs, so they rented the apartment under Diana and Etta and lured Etta to serve as payment to Baal-Satyr for curing Pound. It worked, but Pound’s legs aren’t back to 100% yet, and he wonders if summoning a demon was maybe going a bit too far. He also wonders if Klarion has plans of his own. Meanwhile, when Diana and Steve check the room where she fought the demon, it’s completely different, looking like a regular computer lab. Steve isn’t too impressed and Diana feels stupid, but she knows she didn’t imagine it all. She goes to see Mother Juju, the Haitian stereotype who’s been advising her on mystical matters. Juju says she needsBlood turns into Etrigan professional help and tells her to go see Jason Blood (aka Etrigan the Demon) in Gotham. When she gets there, Blood is sparring with Randu Singh and denies knowing anything about Etrigan, so Wonder Woman recites the rhyme that triggers his transformation. Singh isn’t too happy, but Etrigan is thrilled to be free once more and promises to help Wonder Woman find Etta. The issue ends with them heading into the netherworld … we’ll see what happen when they get there next issue.

Huntress getting squeezed by LionmaneHuntress – “Lion at Bay” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell

Last issue, huntress found herself at Gull’s Island Prison when a bunch of convicts took over the place, led by Lionmane. Huntress sent a call to the cops and confronted Lionmane personally, hoping to distract him and the other prisoners and keep them from killing any hostages. Turns out Lionmane used to be part of Catwoman’s gang and she once hid some loot in a place called Fagan’s Wood. Lionmane beat the hell out of her, but she gassed him and left him for the cops; he never did find where she hid the loot, so when Huntress mentions knowing the secret of Fagan’s Wood, that gets Lionmane’s attention. (Huntress knows the whole story because she’s Catwoman’s daughter, though Lionmane doesn’t know that.) He pounds the shit out of her until she gets a burst of energy from her mother’s spirit and knocks LionmaneHuntress pounds Lionmane out with a rock. The fight was distracting enough that the cops managed to surround the place and they now take all the prisoners in. Meanwhile in Gotham, Huntress’s almost boyfriend, District Attorney Harry Sims, is sitting in the park lamenting the fact that Huntress knocked him out and sent him off Gull’s Island. He wishes he could’ve stuck around to help her and he’s so distracted that he doesn’t notice a weirdo coming up behind him. Sims ends up sitting on the park bench with a huge grin on his face; I’m not sure if he’s dead or not, but we all know whose trademark that rictus is, don’t we?

Green Lantern 141 coverGreen Lantern #141 – “The Lurkers in the Shadow” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

This one starts with Hal Jordan attending a meeting at Ferris Aircraft. Now that the saboteurs have been stopped and Carol and her parents rescued, Hal figures things will go back to normal. But Carol’s father is acting like a total prick, firing a bunch of people, demoting Carol to be his secretary, and taking over the running of the company himself. He treats everyone like shit—even demoting Tom back to mechanic—and yammers on about how inferior women are at business … no wonder his ex-partner wanted to kill him. Hal’s ready to tell him to fuck off, but Carol points out he should have another job lined up before quitting Ferris. Up in Canada, a couple of youngsters trying to elope get lost and are frightened by a freaky-looking bird woman named Harpis. She heads back to a fancy compound full of other weirdos (yup, these are the Omega Men)Omega Men intro and tells the leader (Primus) about the humans. Harpis says she agrees with her sister (Demonia) who thins they should just subjugate humanity instead of hiding. Primus reminds her they fled the Citadel to get away from tyranny, so becoming tyrants themselves would be rather ironic. Primus asks if there’s any sign of the “Hunters” and Harpis says no, but Primus figures they’ll show up eventually. He points out a chamber where someone important is healing and hopes the guy will be fully healed before the Hunters show up. Back in California, Hal has trouble getting hired as a test pilot, since his fearlessness makes him too great a risk. Carol suggests they get away from all the bullshit and take a vacation. They head up to Canada and bum around for a while before getting stranded in the middle of Hal and Carol on vacationnowhere. Hal’s ring indicates a town nearby, even though it’s not on the map. They head for the town, which of course is the place where the Omega men are hiding. Primus decides they’ll let the humans in, but disguise themselves to avert suspicion. Unfortunately, their behaviour is plenty suspicious and when Harpis comes in saying a Hunter patrol is on its way, Primus uses his power to whisk Hal and Carol miles away. Naturally, Hal is intrigued and heads back to the town (and naturally Carol insists on going along); they find a force-field around the town, but Green Lantern pushes through with his ring. Primus figures it’s time to drop the disguises, so GL and Carol are startled to see the Omega men in all their alien glory. Demonia, Harpis,GL and Carol in trouble Tigorr, and Broot attack, trying to kill GL and Carol. Seems Demonia wants to take over leadership from Primus because she considers him weak; Harpis agrees with Demonia’s human-killing policy, but thinks Primus is a good leader. Before Demonia can kill GL and Tigorr can kill Carol, GL busts free and blasts both of them. Primus and his wife, Kalista, try to stop the fight, but Demonia and the others are determined to kill the human intruders. we’ll see if they succeed next issue.

Jonah Hex 49 coverJonah Hex #49 – “Reap the Grim Harvest” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Jonah Hex and his wife, Mei Ling, admiring the bounty of their farm. They’ve settled down to a life of domestic bliss and have just finished their first harvest, which they need because they’ve got a $6,000 mortgage payment coming due in a week. They decide to celebrate with a little naked swimming in the creek, but their fun is interrupted when Mei Ling sees smoke. Seems Hex was a bit too casual about where he tossed his cigarette and lit the corn crib on fire. The blaze quickly spreads, taking out the rest of the crops and burning the barn down. Hex gets the horses out but the barn’s a total on the farm Hex says he’ll get the mortgage money by next week and Mei Ling accuses him of starting the fire on purpose so he’ll have an excuse to go back to being a bounty hunter. Hex points out that he isn’t wearing his six-guns, so how could he do any gunslinging? He heads for town and Mei Ling feels bad for being suspicious, but when she opens the drawer where Hex’s six-guns are supposed to be, they’re gone. In town, Hex is in a shitty mood and drops by the Sheriff’s office to see what rewards are on offer for criminals. He takes a handful and heads out and we get scenes of Hex capturing (and sometimes killing) various scumbags, interspersed with Mei Ling feeling sick and dynamiting the cabingoing to the doctor in town; you can probably guess where this is going. Hex finishes his spree by dynamiting a cabin full of miscreants … I hope there was enough of the carcasses left to claim the rewards. He returns home (apparently everything happened in the space of one day!) and dumps the cash on the kitchen table. He tries to bullshit Mei Ling about where he got it, but she says she knows he was out bounty hunting. Before he can try to explain, she tells him she’s pregnant. Hex is surprised, but seems pretty happy about it, and the news seems to have mellowed Mei Ling’s feelings about how Hex earns his money … or at least distracted her for a while.

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