Comics Reviews: Flash 303, Wonder Woman 285, Green Lantern 146, Jonah Hex 54

Flash 303 coverFlash #303 – “The Top is Alive and Well and in Henry Allen” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Bob Smith

Last issue we saw that Barry Allen’s father, Henry (who’s been acting weird for the last few issues), dressed himself up in the Top’s old costume, even though the Top has been dead for years. Barry still doesn’t suspect there’s anything amiss with Henry, but Barry’s mother is apparently sharper than her son. She mentions that something’s off about Henry, but Barry assures her everything is fine, even though he hasn’t actually seen his dad for a whole day. Barry gets a ride home from Detective frank Curtis, who shows him the photos he took of Henry cavorting with a hot little redhead. Barry gets allBarry deals with Henry's traps defensive, certain there’s an explanation, but he gets an eye-opener upon returning home. Several death-traps have been set up to kill Barry as soon as he walks through the door, but he manages to evade them with his super-speed. Henry has left a video to taunt Barry, saying he knows the traps won’t kill him but he’ll figure out another way. Barry finally has to admit there’s something wrong with his father, and on studying the photos Curtis took, he thinks he knows what it might be. He recognizes Henry’s companion as Lisa Snart (aka Golden Glider) in a red wig and goes to see her at the jail. She doesn’t shed any light on what’s happening and Barry Flash deals with the gasassumes she’s hypnotized his father somehow to get at him. (Lisa knows Barry is the Flash, so he’s been expecting her to use that knowledge against him.) At work the next day, Barry hears a ruckus in the corridor and finds a top spewing out a bunch of noxious gas. He changes to Flash and funnels the gas away, then heads up to the jail cells, since the Top made him think of Roscoe Dillon, his old enemy the Top, who was Lisa Snart’s boyfriend. Flash figures Roscoe taught Lisa how to build and use special tops and thinks she might be trying to escape. Sure enough, there’s a big hole in the wall of Lisa’s cell and a sonic top that caused the breach. Flash goes after her and is startled to run into his father wearing the Top’s old costume. He assumes Lisa is controlling Henry somehow and tries to shake the truth out of her, but she spins out of his grasp using some tricks Roscoe taught her. HenryFlash blasted by Top in Henry Allen's body tosses an electrical top that zaps Flash long enough for the villainous lovers to take off. Barry goes to the hospital later to visit his mom, wondering how to tell her about Henry. He runs into the youngster (Jack Morgan) who caused the crash that put Henry and Nora in hospital in the first place. Jack has come to see Nora and admits that after he crash, Henry Allen actually died momentarily; his heart stopped until Jack (who’s had lifeguard training) used CPR to bring him back. That gives Barry an idea and he goes to check with a professor at the Paranormal Studies Institute. She confirms his suspicions; if someone dies and their astral self—their spirit—exits their body, another astral form could inhabit the body. She also says the odds of the original Flash trappedspirit re-entering its body are pretty slim. Barry finally knows what happened: his father died during the car crash and Roscoe Dillon’s spirit (which was apparently just hanging around) went into Henry Allen’s body and has been there ever since. Back at home, Top and Golden Glider send him a message to come to their hideout. It’s obviously a trap, but Flash has no choice but to check it out. When he gets there, he’s caught in an ionically-charged ring of metal. Because of Top’s earlier electrical attack, Flash’s body is charged with ions too so he’s forced to run around the ring at top speed. Top and Glider know what a strain that puts on Flash’s heart, so they plan to put him over the edge by blowing Henry Allen’s head off right in front of the Speedster. Flash manages to exit the ring and stop the bullet from killing his father (or his father’s body, I guess) but the strain brings on a heart attack, just as theFlash fakes his death fiendish duo planned. Flash’s spirit rises up from his body and Roscoe Dillon abandons Henry Allen to inhabit the Flash. Lisa is pretty excited about Roscoe being in Flash’s bod (if I was Roscoe I’d have a few questions for her), but her horniness is curtailed when she finds out Flash faked his heart attack. He also faked his spirit leaving his body—which should’ve been obvious since astral forms are invisible, but I guess Lisa was too busy thinking about that super-speed loving she was about to get. Flash shakes Lisa into unconsciousness and Henry Allen ends up back inside his own body. There’s no explanation as to how that happened, so I guess Henry’s spirit was hanging around just like Dillon’s was during the accident. Dillon’s spirit presumably fades into the ether, although it’s not specifically mentioned.

Firestorm – “The Hyena Syndrome” – Gerry Conway/Pat Broderick/Adrian Gonzales

Last issue, Firestorm tracked Hyena to the house of Ronnie Raymond’s Hyena says hi to her sistergirlfriend, Doreen Day, where he found a diary in Doreen’s sister Summer’s room. Before he could read it, Hyena attacked and beat the crap out of him, leaving him unconscious in the river, right in the path of a tugboat. Professor Stein tries to control Firestorm, but can’t muster enough energy, so he just yells for Ronnie to wake up. It works and Firestorm rouses just in time to save himself. He heads back to where he dropped the diary and after reading it, zips back to Doreen’s house. Meanwhile, Doreen has returned home wondering where her sister got to. She finds Summer in bed, sweating like a pig and half delirious, so she goes to get a cold cloth. When she gets back, Summer is gone but Hyena is waiting for her … and she’s not in a good mood. We’ll see if Doreen survives her sister’s wrath next issue.

Wonder Woman 285 coverWonder Woman #285 – “Dragon Hunt” – Gerry Conway/Jose Delbo/Dave Hunt

Last issue, Steve Trevor and Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince went to China with Lao Chen to find the warlord known as Red Dragon, who has been stealing America weapons to take over China and return it to the feudal age. Red Dragon launched a cruise missile at the Great Wall and Steve was supposed to stop it with an override he’d brought, but Steve had previously been brainwashed by Red Dragon’s men, so he destroyed the override device. Diana changes to Wonder Woman in a flash and intercepts the missile, tearing out its guidance system and dumping it into the ocean. Steve is taken into custody, but he’s in some kind of trance so it’s obvious his mind is not his own. At Red Dragon’s headquarters, he does the villain cliché of beating the shit out of his ownSteve examined by acupuncturist men to prove how tough he is. When he hears that his missile failed, he kills the henchman who told him and starts making new plans. Steve is being examined by an acupuncturist (in case we didn’t have enough Chinese stereotypes yet), who says Steve can think normally, he just cant act on those thoughts. And whatever’s preventing him from acting is taking a toll on his body that’ll eventually kill him. The only thing that might cure him is some flower that grows in the southwestern hills … which is very close to where Red Dragon has his headquarters. Obviously it’s a trap, but Wonder Woman can’t let Steve die and Lao Chen comes along too with a bunch of soldiers. They find the plant but are ambushed by hypnotic fireworks (one more stereotype!) and taken by Red Dragon’s men. Diana’s reflexes let her avoid being Wonder Woman pounds Red Dragonhypnotized, so she follows the soldiers to Red Dragon’s fortress where she mugs a guard and steals his outfit. With her body, she’s not exactly inconspicuous, so it’s not surprising that Red Dragon is waiting for her in an amphitheatre. Steve is there too, ready to blow her away on Red Dragon’s command. But Steve’s love for Wonder Woman breaks the hypnosis and he shoots at Red Dragon instead. Red Dragon is pissed off and decides to deal with Wonder Woman himself, but he soon finds out that’s easier said than done. Steve uses the machine gun to stop Red Dragon’s men from interfering, figuring he owes it to Wonder Woman after all the times she’s saved his ass. She pounds Red Dragon and she and Steve make out like teenagers. Steve says he still kinda resents her saving him all the time, but it’s his problem and he’ll learn to deal with it. How enlightened of him.

Noticeable Things:

  • The missile is supposedly aimed at the Great Wall near Beijing, but Wonder Woman drops it in the Pacific Ocean, which is 70 miles or so from Beijing. I guess she could’ve diverted the missile that far, but it sure seemed like the people in Beijing were watching her dump the missile in the ocean, which would be impossible.

Huntress splashHuntress – “The Man in the Murder Ward” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Bob Smith

This one starts with Helena (Huntress) Wayne visiting her sorta-boyfriend, Harry Sims, in hospital where he’s still recovering from Joker’s attack a few issues back. Harry knows Helena is Huntress and isn’t sure he can handle a relationship with someone who’s always putting her life on the line. Helena says she’ll give him time to think and goes off to do a workout with Dick (Robin) Grayson. She discusses Harry’s reticence with Dick and he says it might make more sense for her to date someone who’s used to the superhero lifestyle. There’s a weird moment where it seems like she and Dick might be kinda hot for each other, which is kinda creepy since they were basically raised like brotherHuntress takes Carson down and sister. Helena gets a call for help from Harry and she and Dick suit up and rush to the hospital. Harry is being held but a nutcase convict named Carson, who wants to get out of town using Harry as a hostage. He’s threatening to pull out Harry’s IV, which will apparently kill him instantly. I’m not sure what kind of IV that is, but it seems like a stretch. Huntress offers herself as a hostage instead, so Carson clears the room and has a nurse tie her up. Harry won’t let Huntress sacrifice herself for him, so he pulls out the IV himself, distracting Carson long enough for Huntress to take him down. The IV is re-inserted and Harry is fine, but he tells huntress he has to get away and think about whether he wants a relationship with someone whose life is so dangerous.

Green Lantern 146 coverGreen Lantern #146 – “Prisons and Other Cages” – Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton

Last issue, Green Lantern was captured by a seriously beefed-up Goldface, who’s trying to organize all the West Coast mobs under his control. Goldface convenes a meeting with all the mobsters to talk to them about HIVE, who have been muscling in on the West Coast. Goldface proposes that he lead all the West Coast mobs and stop HIVE from encroaching on their territory. The gang bosses are reluctant until they see that Goldface has captured Green Lantern and is holding him in a transparent yellow prison. At Ferris Aircraft, a government investigator drops by to ask Bruce Gordon some questions about why Green Lantern always seems to be hanging around Ferris. Outside, Carol runs into RichGL fights Goldface Davis, the new VP (and Hal Jordan’s old Air Force instructor) but she brushes off his attempts at being friendly. Carol finds Tom Kalmaku to ask where Hal is, but Tom has no idea. Tom is distracted when his wife Tegra calls about their new apartment, so Carol leaves. At Goldface’s hideout, the gangsters are still hesitant to just turn their mobs over to Goldface, so he uses his trump card … a douchey guy named Stanley who has some kind of mind-control powers. Stanley’s powers are painful, so he’s reluctant to use them, but Goldface slaps him around until he gives in. Stanley’s not happy though, and promises Goldface will pay for mistreating him someday. Green Lantern escapes his yellow prison by heating the air enough to blow Green Lantern gets arrestedthe walls out. He and Goldface start fighting and Goldface’s new strength and immunity to GL’s ring give him an edge, but Lantern finally manages to wrap Goldface in some metal. During the fight, Goldface sends Stanley on an errand and by the time the fight’s over, the cops show up … but they aren’t there to take Goldface in. Goldface tells the cops that GL busted in and started assaulting him and the mobsters all back him up. Since GL did invade private property and start a fight (and since none of these mobsters is currently wanted), the cops have no choice but to take GL in. Carol and Tom promise to get him a lawyer, but he’ll have to spend at least one night in jail. When the cops ask for his ring, GL sends it flying right out of the precinct to safety. His problems go from bad to worse as the ringless Green Lantern finds out his cellmate is his old nemesis, Black Hand. We see Goldface talking on the phone to Congressman Jason Bloch (who has a grudge against GL and Ferris Aircraft because he blames them for his father’s death), and we learn the whole thing was a set-up. Goldface wanted GL to invade his house so he’d be arrested and jailed, and he assures Bloch that GL won’t be coming out alive. We’ll see if he’s right next issue.

Jonah Hex 54 coverJonah Hex #54 – “Trapped in the Parrot’s Lair” – Michael Fleisher/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Hex getting some service at a house of ill repute, but don’t get too excited … he’s just having a bath. A couple of gunslingers bust in to kill him, but he knifes one and shoots he other. He’s pissed off that the madam charges him for the mess, but pays anyway; I guess he has to keep on her good side in case he needs another bath sometime in the future. As Hex heads to a more respectable hotel, a guy sees him and runs to the telegraph office to send a wire. The recipient is Quentin Turnbull, who isn’t happy to hear Hex is still alive. Turnbull blames Hex for his son’s death and sent a bunch of ex-Confederate soldiers to kill him. They thought they’d succeeded, but now Turnbull knows he was wrong. The ex-Confederates are hanging aroundHex fakes out the sentries Turnbull’s place and promise they’ll get Hex for real this time. At the hotel, someone follows Hex up to his room, so he waits to surprise the prowler. It turns out to be Colonel Sanchez (from issue 9), wanting Hex’s help in dealing with El Papagayo. Last time Hex saw Papagayo, he was getting knifed by his girlfriend, but Sanchez says Papagayo survived and is causing trouble again. The Mexican government are offering Hex $10,000 to go to El Papagayo’s mountain stronghold and bring him back … dead or alive. Hex takes the job and heads into Mexico. He’s ambushed by a couple of Papagayo’s guards, but he uses the old “dummy on the horse” trick to get the drop on them. After disguising himself as a bandido, Hex heads for Papagayo’s stronghold. But another sentry has been observing Hex through a spyglass Hex gets some help escaping the welland rides to warn El Papagayo, so when Hex gets to the hideout he’s captured easily. El Papagayo ties Hex into an old dry well and hooks a donkey up to the apparatus that used to bring up water; now, the donkey’s relentless pace tightens a rawhide noose around Hex’s throat. He cuts himself loose with the Bowie knife he keeps in his collar (you’d think El Papagayo would’ve had him searched more thoroughly), but when he’s climbing out a guard is waiting to shoot him. The guard gets stabbed by Carmelita, El Papagayo’s woman; turns out she’s working undercover for Sanchez. She gets Hex out of the hideout and rides with him to safety, but she has to go back to avoid suspicion. Before she can head back, Turnbull’s Confederate thugs surprise them. We’ll see how Hex deals with them next issue.

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