Last issue, someone sapped all the colour out of Central City—twice—but Flash couldn’t figure out who was behind it. He got a visit from Shade, who told him the colour that was leached from Central City had showed up in Keystone City on Earth-2. That made it harder for Shade to use his darkness powers, so he offered to help Flash find the colour-thief. Flash wasn’t too enthusiastic, so Shade retreated into another dimension and maintained contact through his wand while Flash mulled over his offer. As this issue opens, we find out the obvious suspect (Rainbow Raider) really is behind the colour manipulations. He’s been messing around with some experimental paints, trying to find the formula to reflect every colour equally … thus granting him the power to make himself invisible. Being colour-blind, it took him a few tries to perfect it, but he finally found the right formula. Using the invisibility paint, Raider escapes easily from his minimum-security prison. At Barry Allen’s place, his father (Henry) stands over his sleeping son with a gun in his hand. Henry’s been acting weird since he came to stay with Barry following a car accident that left Barry’s mom in a coma. Henry contemplates blowing Barry away, but decides he wants his revenge to be drawn-out … plus, the colour has just disappeared from Central City again and Henry wants that mystery solved so it doesn’t interfere with his own plans. He wakes Barry, who makes an excuse and leaves to change into the Flash. Flash zips off to Earth-2, where he confirms Shade’s story, then returns home to reluctantly team up with the villain. Flash figures Rainbow Raider has to be behind the colour theft and zooms off to find him, bringing Shade along for the ride. (Shade doesn’t seem to care for high-speed travel.) Outside Central City, Rainbow Raider uses a giant colour cannon that’s hooked to a dimensional prism to irradiate himself with energy. Flash and Shade have been running a search grid and Flash notices multi-coloured smoke on the horizon, so they head over to check it out. On finding Raider’s apparatus, Flash correctly deduces that the cannon is what stole the colour from Central City, transferring it through the prism to Earth-2. Shade wonders what Rainbow Raider’s angle is, since super-criminals don’t do stuff like that just for the hell of it. Rainbow Raider jumps out, blasting Flash with his energy goggles, and we find out Raider has gained what he always wanted … regular colour-vision. His blast makes Flash’s molecules implode one by one, but since Flash has complete control over all his body’s molecules, he counteracts the implosions by vibrating each molecule at a certain frequency. He grabs Raider’s goggles, but finds out Raider has internalized the power and gets blasted again, this time with a beam that increases his body’s kinetic energy to deadly levels. Flash speeds up to burn off the excess energy and wonders why Shade isn’t helping him. Shade does blast Flash with a darkness beam from his wand before taking off back to Earth-2. The darkness spreads over his whole body and Flash figures Shade betrayed him, but soon finds out differently; when Rainbow Raider blasts him again, the darkness protects Flash, giving him a chance to deck Raider. Flash destroys Raider’s machines, which brings the colour back to Central City (and to Flash himself). We get a couple of vignettes at the end, with Henry and Captain Frye comparing notes on where Barry is … or isn’t. And we see someone encased in bandages from head to foot in a clinic outside of Central City. The patient’s name? Barry Allen. We’ll see what that’s all about in next issue; it’s number 300, so you know it’s gonna be special.
- Barry’s still wondering if he should tell his father about his secret identity, but as we’ve seen, Henry knows already.
- I’m being a bit coy about Henry Allen and why he’s acting so weird because I already know the answer; I haven’t read these issues, but I’m vaguely familiar with the overall storyline (as many of you probably are too), so I’m trying not to say too much before the big reveal.
Firestorm – “The Robbery” – Gerry Conway/Denys Cowan/Dennis Jensen
This is a different kind of story, more about the villain than the hero, although I don’t think it’s quite as profound as Gerry wanted it to be. Basically, it’s about a pair of inept burglars named Bennie and Sybil. Bennie seems to wish he was a super-villain, since they have advantages that regular crooks like him don’t. But Bennie is also happy that he doesn’t have to deal with super-heroes, figuring a nobody like him is far beneath their notice. Bennie tries to rifle a safe but sets off an alarm, so he and Sybil have to take off, chased by the cops. They lose the cops on the Triborough Bridge by heading down a dead-end to a hazardous waste disposal site. Sybil gets the bright idea that they can get into the big time by stealing a waste canister and ransoming it to the city. When they leave, they’re intercepted by Firestorm, who removes the waste canister right before it explodes, then turns the thieves over to the cops. Bennie is somewhat gratified to know that even a guy like him is important enough to get the attention of a super-hero.
Last issue, Etta Candy was taken by a demon named Baal-Satyr as payment for a favour he did for a guy named Pound. Wonder Woman was out of her depth dealing with demons, so she enlisted the help of Jason Blood, using a rhyme she learned from Mother Juju to change him into Etrigan the Demon. Etrigan takes Wonder Woman into the netherworld to find Baal-Satyr and Etta. Diana’s mind is blown by the weirdness of the netherworld and she and Etrigan are forced to fight deadly monsters called reptawks. Back on Earth, Jason Blood’s friend Randu Singh is observing Etrigan and Wonder Woman remotely, while Blood’s girlfriend (Glenda) worries about Blood’s soul. Singh is not just a passive observer, he represents a link back to the real world that Etrigan can follow when it’s time to return. But a sphere of energy comes through the window, knocking Singh out and severing the link. We see that the sphere was sent by Klarion (aka Witchboy), who we found out last issue was the one behind this whole scheme. Klarion arranged for Baal-Satyr to cure Pound’s crippled legs (although Pound seems to be turning into some kind of beast now), using Etta as payment. But Klarion has his own grudge against Etrigan, hence his severing the link to Randu Singh. In the netherworld, Etrigan and Wonder Woman find Baal-Satyr’s castle and sneak in through the waste chute. (We see what looks like water falling on them as they climb, but from Wonder Woman’s reaction I assume it’s actually shit.) They find the room where Baal-Satyr is about to sacrifice Etta and Etrigan jumps him. They roll into some mystical fire and Wonder Woman tries to help Etrigan by dousing them with water. It’s more effective than she thought, as the water dissolves Baal-Satyr. On Earth, Randu and Glenda try to re-establish the psychic link with Etrigan by enacting a ritual. In the netherworld, Etta is in shock (convenient, since it saves Wonder Woman trying to explain what the hell’s going on) and Etrigan prepares to return to Earth … but soon realizes the link has been broken, so they’re stuck in the netherworld. We’ll see how they get out next issue.
Huntress – “Always Leave ’Em Laughing” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Steve Mitchell
Last issue, Gotham District Attorney Harry Sims ended up with a dose of joker venom that left him near death with a macabre grin on his face. After taking him to hospital, Huntress feels powerless to do anything more, so she puts in an appearance at her law office as Helena Wayne, where she meets three new employees (Van Dyne, DeVito, and Bullock). Later, Helena goes to see Commissioner O’Hara to see if she can get any info on Joker, but O’Hara gets shot with a Joker dart, giving him the same freakish grin as Harry. Huntress goes after Joker, cornering him but almost getting a venom-filled dart for her troubles. She falls off the roof and by the time she’s recovered, Joker is gone. She vows to track him down, but first smashes her crossbow since it fires darts and she thinks it’s too similar to Joker’s preferred method of killing. Seems like she’s cutting off her nose to spite her face, but we’ll see what happens next issue.
Last issue, Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan and Carol Ferris were on vacation in Canada when they ran into a hidden town full of aliens called the Omega Men. Unfortunately, some of the Omega Men (Demonia, Harpis, Tigorr, Broot, and others) aren’t all that fond of humans, so they decided to kill Green Lantern and Carol. As this issue opens, the Omega Men leader Primus stops his fellow aliens from killing the humans. Their internal squabbles are temporarily forgotten when Nimbus reports that Hunters are approaching their hidden city. GL and Carol are taken for questioning by Primus’s wife, Kalista, who demonstrates that she has enough power to keep GL in line. Kalista gives GL and Carol (and us) the origin of the Omega Men: they’re from Euphorix in the Vegan star system, which was invaded by the Citadel, a cabal of power-hungry dictators who enslave or wipe out every planet they can. The Omega Men were captured but managed to escape, although they lost many of their people. They fled, pursued closely by Citadel Hunters; one of the Omega Men, Lambien (who’s so powerful he’s almost a god), sacrificed himself to stop the Hunters’ ion bomb. The Hunters were obliterated and Lambien was killed, but the Omega Men took his body and placed it in a stasis chamber (hoping he might rejuvenate somehow) while they looked for a place to hide. They found Earth and settled in the Canadian wilderness, using their powers and technology to stay hidden. The Hunters have finally tracked them down, so they have no choice but to fight. Green lantern says he’ll help, since he’s pledged to uphold freedom in the galaxy. The Hunters attack and the Omega Men and GL fight back as best they can, but they’re really outnumbered. Demonia sneaks off during the battle, not caring what happens to her fellow Omega Men (or eve her sister, Harpis). She finds Carol in the rejuvenation chamber and figures she can trade her to the Hunters for her own life. Before she can grab Carol, the rejuvenation pod opens and Lambien emerges, stripping away Demonia’s demon form with his energy. But Lambien is no longer the near-god he once as, he’s now found true godhood, calling himself Auron. What does this mean for the Omega Men and the Hunters? We’ll find out next issue.
This one starts with Jonah Hex getting ready to ride out to hunt for some meat. It’s winter and his wife, Mei Ling, is pregnant, so Hex figures he’d better stock up before it gets too cold. Mei Ling hopes he’ll be back by the next day, since it’s his birthday and she’s planning to surprise him. Hex finds a big elk and tries to shoot it, but the buck moves at the last minute. Hex waits a bit, then trails the elk (on foot) and finds it dead, but as he starts butchering it, he realizes he’s not alone. A group of Crow warriors is sneaking up on him and Hex takes an arrow in the shoulder. He shoots back until his rifle jams and he’s forced to use it as a club. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring his pistols, having promised Mei Ling he’d leave them at home. He manages to pound all the Crow except one, but before he can take the last one out, she yells for him to stop … in English. She turns out to be a white girl named Emmylou Hartley, whose family was wiped out by the Crow a few years back. Emmylou was taken alive and married one of the Crow chiefs. She played the dutiful wife for years until she saw a chance to run away. The crow Hex killed were sent to bring her back and she’s grateful that he stopped them. Hex says he’ll take her back to civilization and lets her ride his horse as they make their way through the woods. The weather turns bad and Hex’s horse is spooked by an owl and slides off a cliff. Emmylou grabs the edge and Hex barely manages to pull her back up. Hex knows they can’t last long in the storm, so he finds a cave where they can wait it out. The cave already has an occupant, a pissed off bear, and Hex’s rifle is still jammed. He gets slapped around by the bear, then makes like Davy Crockett (or Tarzan) and stabs it to death with his Bowie knife. Emmylou tries to dress his wounds and they end up smooching, but Hex is a happily married man, so he pushes her away … though it’s not a hundred percent clear who actually initiated it. After butchering the bear, Hex leads Emmylou down the hill to a rancher’s place, a guy named McCabe. McCabe takes them in and takes care of Hex’s wounds. He and his wife say Emmylou can stay with them. She hopes Hex will come back to visit … at least until McCabe mentions Hex’s wife. Hex borrows a horse and heads home, where Mei Ling is glad to see him but worried when she notices how beat up he is. She also wonders why the bear meat is wrapped in a woman’s shawl, but Hex isn’t in the mood to talk about that. Mei Ling gives him his surprise … a birthday cake she made. Hex says she shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble, but she says she did it because she loves him so much. He echoes that sentiment and things end on a happy note for once. I’m sure it won’t last.