Comics Reviews: Flash 302, Wonder Woman 284, Green Lantern 145, Jonah Hex 53

Flash 302 coverFlash #302 – “Lisa Starts With an L and That Stands for Lethal” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Bob Smith

For the last few issues, we’ve seen Henry Allen (Barry’s father) acting strangely, even canoodling with a young woman named Lisa last issue right after his wife woke from her coma. It’s obvious “Henry” isn’t himself and he has a special hatred for Flash, who he knows is Barry Allen. But he’s been feigning ignorance of Barry’s secret, so when he returns to Barry’s apartment and sees Barry zooming around preparing supper at super-speed, he pretends to be shocked. Barry has finally decided to let his father in on his secret identity (mainly because it’s hard for him to hide it while the old man’s living there) and Henry plays along, first actingFlash gets some action from Golden Glider shocked then telling Barry how proud he is. The next day, a new statue of the Flash (a very avant-garde statue) is unveiled downtown and Golden Glider shows up to wreck it with her high-tech jewels. Flash chases her until she threatens the crowd with more gems that grow into huge ice spears. Flash knows these weapons are attracted to body heat, so he uses some friction to attract the spears and avoids being skewered by burrowing underground. He’s about to grab Golden Glider when he suddenly changes his mind and starts kissing her. The crowd gets pissed off and are ready to rip Glider apart, so Flash speeds her off to safety. Elsewhere in Central City, Detective Frank Curtis sees a familiar face (Henry Allen) with an unfamiliar one (a good-looking Curtis watches Henry and Lisayoung woman, or as Frank refers to her “the redhead with the legs”). He follows them into the Aquarium, where we see Henry telling the woman (whose name is Lisa, just like Golden Glider’s real name) about how he had to pretend to be shocked when Barry revealed his secret identity. Lisa tells Henry how she used a gem to hypnotize Flash into falling for her and saving her from the mob. She pretty much admits she wants to bang the Flash (which Curtis overhears), but Henry doesn’t seem jealous; in fact, he seems happy that Lisa likes Flash’s body. Hmmm, I think I know what their plan is. Later, Barry and Henry watch a TV news report about how the people of Central City are pissed off at Flash for helping Golden Glider … they were even throwing eggs at him outside the police station. Barry tells his father he doesn’t even know why he suddenly had the hots for Golden Glider and Henry says he believes him, picking up a photo of Iris to reminisce. Barry gets uncomfortable talking about Iris and Henry gives him a newspaper clipping about a jewel exhibit, reasoning that Golden Glider might strike there to get raw material for her jewel weapons. Flash heads out to check and as soon as he’s gone, Henry calls Golden Glider to tell her Flash is on the way. She heads over to rob the jewel exhibit, planning on mesmerizingHenry talks to Barry about Iris Flash again when he shows up. But even though Glider takes her time, Flash doesn’t show up; he’s figured out the best way to avoid being enthralled is to strike long-distance. Flash uses his super-speed to toss gravel, tar, cement, and water at Golden Glider from a safe distance. She knocked down and mired in the concrete and Flash blasts the mask (and its hypnotic gem) off her head with a fire hose. He tells her he knows how she made him fall for her … she hypnotized him into thinking she was Iris. Flash figured it out earlier when Henry showed him Iris’s photo and he hallucinated seeing Golden Glider’s mask on Iris’s face. Glider promises she’s not done with golden Glider taken down from a distanceFlash as she’s hauled off to jail. Meanwhile, Frank Curtis has developed photos he took of Henry Allen making out with Lisa, but he’s not sure how to let Barry know about his dad’s screwing around. Outside town, we see Henry Allen reading about Golden Glider’s capture—or at least, the guy currently using Henry Allen’s body. Yup, it’s the classic body switch, but this time with a twist … the guy who’s taken over Henry Allen is Flash’s old enemy the Top … except the Top has been dead for the last few years. We’ll see what Top’s plans are and how they come off next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • The sculptor of the weird Flash statue is named Henri Arnu, but I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be based on a real artist; he looks a little like Christo, but his hair’s not as wild and he’s younger, so probably not based on him.

Firestorm – “Invitation to Revelation” – Gerry Conway/Denys Cowan/Rodin Rodriguez

Last issue, Firestorm tracked Hyena to the house of Ronnie’s girlfriend, Doreen Day. He’s shocked, so when Doreen and her sister Summer come out of the house, he phases through the wall to snoop around. Summer’s room seems like it belongs to a kid, even though she’s ten years older than Doreen. Professor Stein suggests Summer may be avoiding dealing with theFirestorm blasts Hyena present by holding onto the past. Firestorm finds Summer’s diary, but before he can read it, Hyena shows up and attacks him. Firestorm takes off with Hyena clinging to him. He flies up in the air, then hits her with a powerful blast that sends her plummeting toward the ground. He zooms down to catch her, but Hyena saves herself and attacks him again, causing him to drop Summer’s diary. Hyena’s momentum carries her and Firestorm out over the river where she lets him fall into the water, saving herself by landing on a passing truck with her athletic prowess. Firestorm bobs to the surface unconscious as a garbage scow bears down on him. We’ll see if he avoids getting trashed next issue.

Wonder Woman 284 coverWonder Woman #284 – “Shadow of the Dragon” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, and Chinese Secret Service officer Lao Chen investigated a faction of Chinese insurgents working for someone called the Red Dragon, who wants to take over China and return it to a feudal state. Red Dragon operatives have been stealing American military weapons to use in their revolution and Wonder Woman and Steve tracked them to a restaurant in San Francisco. They got more than they bargained for when a gigantic dragon rose up from the basement, threatening to smash them all. The Red Dragon soldiers freak out, saying the dragon is uncontrollable since Wonder Woman smashed the control device, a medallion with a printed circuit on the back. Wonder Woman quickly gets Steve and Chen to safety; Steve is pissed off that she’s savingWonder Woman impales the dragon him again, but Chen has no problem with her protecting him, since he prefers not to get smeared by a huge dragon. Wonder Woman takes the dragon on, snaring it with her magic lasso and impaling on a streetlight, which causes it to short out. Yup, it was a giant robot … makes sense, since a living creature couldn’t be controlled by the printed circuit on the medallion. Under the restaurant, they find another huge stockpile of stolen Army weapons, including a new cruise missile called the 120-7 which can evade all known anti-missile systems. Wonder Woman ducks out and changes to Diana Prince, but when she comes in Steve gives her a funny look; she wonders if he suspects her double identity. Diana and Steve go to Peiping (as Beijing was called back then) with Chen to fight the Red Dragon more directly. We get gas attacksome comments from Diana (or Gerry Conway) about Communist China, how everything is so dull and regimented. But Diana notices the people seem similar to Americans, laughing and living their daily lives, as people do everywhere. Chen takes his visitors to a special bunker set up to combat the Red Dragon. He tells them about an Army expedition against Red Dragon that was almost obliterated, only a few survivors returning to warn of a major offensive about to take place. Diana notices a technician acting weird and tries to shield Steve as the tech tosses a grenade. It turns out to be a gas grenade and they’re all knocked out, though Diana sees the tech bending over Steve right before she passes out. When they wake in the infirmary, everyone seems fine, but Diana wonders why they were knocked out in the first place and suspects there’s more going on. We see that she’sSteve refuses to stop the missile right, as Steve now has a tiny piece of “organic plastic” implanted behind his ear; I smell a Manchurian Candidate rip-off coming. In Red Dragon’s palace in Tibet (where everything looks straight out of a Sax Rohmer novel), an underling reports that Steve Trevor has a control chip implanted now. Red Dragon is pleased and launches a 120-7 missile at the Great Wall of China. It’s detected right away and Steve, Diana, and Chen head out to stop it with a device that can remotely abort the missile strike. But instead of stopping the missile, Steve smashes the control device, obviously acting on Red Dragon’s command. As the missile steaks toward the Wall and Steve smiles like a maniac, Diana wonders if it’s too late to do anything. We’ll fid out the answer to that question next issue.

Huntress and Robin – “Together Again—for the First Time” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Bob Smith

Last issue, Dick (Robin) Grayson stopped by to help Helena (Huntress) Wayne take care of the Joker, and Dick asked Helena for a favour in return. Their law partner, Arthur Cranston, is being sued for false representation and Dick wants Helena’s help to prove the whole thing is bogus. Cranston’s newest employees (Francy, Charlie, and Tyler) also refuse to desert him in his hour of need, so he’s got plenty of help on hand. Cranston is accused ofmobster threatened by Robin and Huntress falsifying test results from a lab about a product that turned out to be unsafe, so Huntress breaks into the lab to check their files. She finds the records have been altered, which means the lab falsified the results, not Cranston. Dick digs around and finds the product in question is made by a company called Stenville Enterprises, a front for the Mob. Huntress and Robin break into the (unnamed) Mob boss’s house and let him know it would be in his best interest to clean up the frame job on Cranston. He sees sense and calls it off right after they leave.

Green Lantern 145 coverGreen Lantern #145 – “Golden Dawn … Golden Death” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

This one starts with Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan and Carol Ferris checking out Carol’s new, ultra-modern house in Pacific Palisades. Carol’s dad got it for her as a peace-offering (or to shut her up) after treating her like crap when he took back control of Ferris Aircraft. Hal and Carol check the place out and she gives him a key, though she says it’s for a gardener’s house out back. I don’t know why Marv is being so coy; it’s obvious Hal and Carol are banging, so why not just say they’re living together? Maybe the Comics Code didn’t approve that sentiment in 1981. Hal and Carol eventually get tired of boning and head to work, having a “relationship talk” on the way. Basically, Carol’s not into the whole “wife and kids” thing, and Hal’s says he’s cool with things the way they are. NotGoldface pounds his own men too far from Carol’s house, another big mansion sits by the cliffside, but this one has armed guards all over the place. The owner (who we saw last issue) is stealing some moves from the Kingpin, having a bunch of his minions attack so he can beat the shit out of them. But this dude is a lot … shinier than the Kingpin; his skin seems to be made of gold, which apparently gives him super-strength. I wonder who hat could be? He really is like Kingpin, getting reports from operatives around the world on dope, guns, and terrorism. When some other criminal bosses ask for proof of his power before they join his organization, he gets pissed off but says he’ll give them proof if they come to his place. At Ferris Aircraft, Hal introduces Tom Richard feeling some painKalmaku to the new Vice-President, Richard Davis, who’s an old friend of Hal’s from the Air Force. Richard has some kind of chest pain while talking to them, but passes it off as heartburn. Hal isn’t so sure, since Richard’s sweating like a pig, but there’s a general meeting called so he can’t ponder it too much. Mr. Ferris is trying to keep Ferris Aircraft afloat and says the only way to do that is to keep their government contracts from being canceled. He has info that if they dump their solar-powered jet plans, the rest of their government contracts will be safe. Bruce Gordon isn’t happy, since whoever patents the solar jet will make shitloads of money … plus solar power is Bruce’s baby. Hal tells him things will probably work out okay (way to spout the empty platitudes, Hal) and leaves to change into Green Lantern. We seeBloch blackmails Deems the gold gangster talking to a mousy-looking dude named Stanley, who he’s keeping locked up. Stanley wants out, but the gold boss says Stanley’s “special powers” are going to help him become the biggest mob boss on the West Coast. In Washington, we see Congressman Jason Bloch up to his old tricks, blackmailing a colleague (Harry Deems) to get him to sway the House committee to cancel all government contracts for Ferris Aircraft. (Bloch’s father used to be Ferris’s partner, got swindled and tried to get revenge, and made his sons promise to ruin Ferris before dying.) Deems is pissed off at Bloch, but doesn’t have much choice; Bloch has proof he banged his secretary, so he’s got Deems right where he wants him. Deems knows even if he can get the committee to do what Bloch wants, the GL tries to track Tattooed Man's killerblackmail won’t end … he’s on the hook to Bloch for the rest of his life. Back in California, GL tries to track down the guy who shot Tattooed Man last issue. He traces the killer to a shabby apartment, but the murderer has already been silenced, and the trail ends there. GL remembers a private jet at the airport when Tattooed Man was first shot at and uses his ring to bring up its image in his mind. He recognizes the symbol on the jet and has an idea who killed Tattooed Man, but he’s not happy since this is one foe his ring can’t affect at all. In Pacific Palisades, the golden mob boss has brought the other biggest mobsters in the state to his place to prove he’s the right one to lead them. When Green Lantern shows up, the gold boss says it’s his perfectGoldface revealed opportunity to prove himself (and hints that his prisoner, Stanley, had something to do with GL showing p there). As most of you have guessed, the big boss turns out to be GL’s old enemy, Goldface. But he’s been working out (and maybe juicing) because he’s way bulkier and stronger than he ever was before. GL’s ring can’t affect his yellow skin and Goldface kicks the shit out of Green Lantern, impressing the hell out of the other mobsters. Goldface pounds GL into unconsciousness and prepares to finish him off … we’ll have to wait until next issue to see if he succeeds.

jonah hex 53 coverJonah Hex #53 – “The Haunting” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex went after some bandits who had kidnapped Petey, the neighbour kid who helps Hex on his farm. But it turned out to be a trap and Hex walked into a cabin full of dynamite, which the kidnappers set off. The kidnappers think Petey is Hex’s kid, so they head back toward Hex’s farm, thinking they can ransom Petey to hex’s wife, Mei Ling. Of course Hex isn’t dead … he saw the wrappers from the dynamite in the fire and jumped out the cabin window just before the place blew up. Hex trails the kidnappers and takes one of them out with his rope, then gets the drop on the other one. He frees Petey and takes him home to a grateful mother, then drops the kidnapper at the sheriff’s office in town. By the time Hex gets home, it’s late, and Mei Ling and the baby are nowhere toMei Ling leaves be found. She swore she’d walk out if he went out killing again, even to rescue Petey, and it looks like she kept her promise. A storm blows up, pouring down rain in buckets so even Hex can’t track Mei Ling. She stops by the McCabe farmhouse to say goodbye and meets Emmylou, the girl Hex rescued from Indians a couple issues ago. The McCabes try to talk Mei Ling out of leaving, but her mind is made up. At home, Hex figures she’ll come back on her own, so he decides to get hammered. After pounding a bottle of whisky he starts seeing things … people, actually. He sees visions of El Papagayo, Turnbull, his father (Woodson Hex), and even the Chameleon (the actor who burned up A drunken Hex freaks outtrying to kill Hex). After firing off most of his ammo (and wasting the scarecrow) Hex finally realizes none of his adversaries are real and he’s all alone. The next morning, Emmylou comes over to see him—she always had a thing for him since he rescued her—but he’s saddling up, getting ready to leave. Hex says it’s time for him to get back into bounty hunting and make a pile of money. Emmylou wants to go with him, but he says no; she promises she’ll never forget him, but Hex knows she will.

 

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