This one starts with a time-traveler from the future appearing in a fancy spaceship (or time-ship, I guess) in 1982. He buzzes several superhero haunts (the Fortress of Solitude, Wayne Manor, Paradise Island, and the JLA Satellite) before heading down to Earth. In Central City, Barry Allen is out jogging with his boss, Captain Frye of the Central City Police Department. They’re interrupted when the time-ship zooms overheard and grabs Barry, leaving Frye behind. The time-ship’s occupant assures Barry his secret identity is safe, as Frye’s memory has been altered so he believes he was out jogging alone. The time traveler (a dumpy little yellow guy named Kryad) knows Barry is the Flash, so Barry quickly changes into costume and asks Kryad what he wants. Kryad says he’s from far in the future, from a time after terrible wars gave way to an era of peace and scientific advancements. Kryad says the wars wiped out a lot of historical records, so the heroes of the 20th Century took on the status of legends. Kryad found evidence that the heroes actually existed and came back in time to check, not just for curiosity’s sake but because he needs super power to save his own era from destruction. Kryad says he really wanted Green Lantern’s power ring, but since GL is exiled in space right now, Kryad will settle for taking Flash’s super-speed. Unfortunately, that’ll kill Flash, but Kryad says it’s for the greater good, which I’m sure is a huge comfort. Kryad uses his futuristic tech to immobilize Flash and drain the super-speed from his body. (Kryad refers to it as a “unique energy force” which in hindsight is probably the Speed Force, although that idea wouldn’t be around for a decade or so.) Flash can’t move to break loose from Kryad’s force bubble, but manages to accelerate his heartbeat, causing his blood to speed up and he then transfers that energy through his whole body, vibrating free from Kryad’s control. Flash catches Kryad before he can react and Kryad is surprised Flash that doesn’t kill him. When Kryad was telepathically telling his story, the psychic connection allowed Flash to see the menace that threatens Kryad’s time, so he agrees to help. Flash can’t just hand over his own speed powers, but he gets another idea. He and Kryad travel a few years into the past, to the night when Barry first got his speed powers. I’m sure most of you know, Flash got his super-speed when a lightning bolt hit him in his lab, knocking him into a shelf full of chemicals that spilled all over him. The lightning/chemical combination gave him his powers, but the precise mixture of chemicals would be impossible to duplicate. Flash (who’s basically a phantom in the past, since he can’t co-exist with his original self) takes Kryad to the lab right after the accident. At the time, Barry didn’t know he had super-speed yet, so he changed his clothes and threw the chemical-soaked duds in the garbage. Phantom-Flash tells Kryad to grab the clothes, since they basically contain the chemical formula to duplicate the accident. They return to the present, where Kryad’s machines extract the chemicals and imbue him with super-speed. After a little practice with Flash (who gives Kryad a spare costume and ring), Kryad heads back to the future. Apparently the big threat to his era is a monster (that kinda looks like the Glob from marvel) that feeds on the powerful mental energy of that era’s inhabitants, draining their brains and killing them in the process. Since physical combat has been forgotten, Kryad needed a non-mental power to fight the monster. Kryad uses super-speed vibrations against the monster, but it starts draining his brain so he decides to do something extreme. Flash followed Kryad at invisible super-speed and sees what Kryad’s plan is; he tries to talk him out of it, but Kryad says it’s the only way. He sets up ultra-frequency vibrations in his own body, then blows the monster to hell from the inside, sacrificing himself to save his people. The other future-people see Flash and freak out, realizing he’s not just a myth. They eventually erect a statue to him, giving him credit for saving them … which kinda sucks for Kryad, since he was the real hero.
- Kryad is said to be from nearly 8000 years in the future (or the 98th Century); I’m not sure if this is meant to be THE future, or just one possible alternate timeline … probably the latter.
- Flash’s accident is said to have occurred April 23 at 6:14 PM, but the year isn’t specified; it just says it happened “a few years” ago. I’m not sure if that date and time remained canon, but probably not.
- Flash returns to the 20th Century in Kryad’s time-ship, but it’s not said what happens to the ship afterward. I’m assuming he either sent it back on auto-pilot or destroyed it.
- There’s a Dr. Fate back-up (by Pasko/Giffen/Mahlstedt) wrapping up the Malferrazae storyline. Basically, Inza isn’t really dead (whatever magic keeps her from aging is keeping her alive) and she urges Fate to get his helmet back from the demon and save Earth. Malferrazae is surprised and deduces that stripping Inza’s jealousy out of her and turning it into a demon might’ve taken away her self-centeredness as well, allowing her to put the world’s needs ahead of her own. Malferrazae wants Fate’s helmet, but the demon won’t give it up since the demon is now Inza’s jealousy incarnate, it wants Fate for itself. Fate tricks the demon and gets his helmet back. He defeats Malferrazae and restores Inza, who says she can’t be too pissed off at Fate since he brought Kent Nelson back to her.
This one starts with Diana Prince and Etta Candy talking in their office at the Pentagon (and Etta shoveling chocolates into her mouth, as usual). Etta mentions their new roommate (Helen Alexandros) has moved out; Diana doesn’t tell her Helen was also Silver Swan, super-villain extraordinaire. General Darnell breezes through, telling Diana to find Steve Trevor because something big is going down. Steve’s not in his office, so Diana changes to Wonder Woman and heads outside to see what’s up. It turns out to be a gigantic weirdo with a glowing disco ball in his hand … at least, that what it looks like to me. The huge being isn’t really doing anything, just standing beside the Washington Monument and staring at everyone, but the Army shows up and starts firing mortars at him. Wonder Woman deflects the first one, but the second grazes the giant, finally getting a reaction. He shoots light from his disco prism, turning he soldiers to crystal before they fade into nothingness. Wonder Woman uses her magic lasso to compel the giant to leave, but he shakes it off effortlessly. He then establishes a mind link with her and she finds out his purpose. Apparently this huge goofball (called the Adjudicator) has visited countless worlds, appearing first during the height of civilization, then again later when the worlds have sunk into decadence or ruin. The Adjudicator then judges and obliterates the world and moves on. But Earth has him puzzled; despite being unworthy (by his standards) Earthlings haven’t yet destroyed themselves. The Adjudicator also notes the existence of countless parallel Earths and wonders if one of them might be worthy of survival. He disappears, but Wonder Woman has gleaned from his stray thoughts that he plans to pick four alternate Earths and test them to see if they’re worthy. Wonder Woman knows if even one Earth fails the test, it’ll be destroyed and that will set off a chain reaction destroying all the other worlds too. (No, the Adjudicator isn’t the Anti-Monitor, though this premise does sound a bit like Crisis.) Wonder Woman goes to warn the JLA (and Supergirl) about the Adjudicator and they ponder his tests. Supergirl says there are some alternate Earths that are of particular significance, including Earth-2. Black Canary uses the trans-dimensional teleporter to head over to Earth-2 (since she’s originally from there) and warn the JSA about the Adjudicator. The other JLAers go out to get more info on their foe, while Wonder Woman stays behind. Zatanna stays too and tells Wonder Woman she’s had a magical insight into Adjudicator’s possible plans. Zatanna teleports them to India, where she believes Adjudicator’s first strike will come. We see Adjudicator in Limbo, studying the infinite number of Earths (especially Earth-2) and finally conjuring forth four minions that have been whispered of in one form or another since time began … the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Adjudicator send Famine to Earth-1, where Zatanna and Wonder Woman are waiting. Zatanna sensed Adjudicator would use the Horsemen, so she brought them to India since it was the hungriest place on Earth at the time. Sure enough, Famine shows up and the two super-heroines tackle him. He uses his eldritch power to make them gaunt from hunger, but Zatanna’s magic soon reverses that (and we get some editorializing from Roy about how Americans confuse appetite for hunger). Wonder Woman and Zatanna go after Famine again, this time using Zatanna’s magic to soften him up. Wonder Woman tries her magic lasso, but since Famine is just a manifestation of Adjudicator’s will, she can’t affect him. She tries a physical assault and Adjudicator pops up. Before Zatanna can attack, Adjudicator makes Famine disappear and vanishes right after him. Wonder Woman understands that Adjudicator will be focusing on the three remaining tests and vows to defend those other three Earths as best she can. We’ll see how that goes next issue.
Last issue, the Guardians of the Universe banished Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan to space since he’d been concentrating all his time on Earth and neglecting the rest of Sector 2814. But as this issue starts, it seems the Guardians having been flexing a bit, keeping Hal languishing around on an asteroid for five weeks before finally giving him an assignment. They send GL to the planet M’Brai to avert a disaster, but won’t tell him what the problem is, saying he has to use his own initiative to figure it out. On arriving at M’Brai, GL discounts a couple of possibilities (a meteor storm and any tectonic activity), then finds a couple of alien races engaged in a war. Some beast-like humanoids are attacking a city full of highly evolved humanoids; GL figures the beast-men are from another planet, trying to steal resources, or maybe wanting the planet for its strategic importance in a larger conflict. The evolved aliens start blasting the primitives with mental rays, setting some of them on fire. GL tries to stop the fighting, but gets blasted himself after one of his evolved foes disappears in a flash of light. GL drifts away on the tide, unconscious. He’s picked up by a third group of aliens and finally decides to use his ring as a universal translator so he can talk to them. He learns that his rescuers (the Cormm), the primitives, and the evolved race (the Queln) are all native to M’Brai. GL knows how strange it is for multiple sentient races to evolve on one planet and wonders if the world’s twin suns might have something to do with it. A Cormm soldier comes in to report the Queln are making a major push against them and the primitives. GL notices a strange patch of peeling skin on the Cormm’s face and wonders why it looks so familiar. He speculates that the Guardians may want him to stop the Queln from obliterating the other races … or maybe they want him to sort out the weird evolutionary divergence on the planet. The Queln attack savagely, killing many primitives. They also attack the Cormm and their ray weapons devolve the Cormm back into fish. GL finally has an inkling of what’s happening, but first he has to stop the fighting. He runs the primitives off and attacks the Queln city. The Queln take notice and consider GL an interesting specimen—they kinda talk like the Talosians in Star Trek. One of the Queln disappears in another flash of light, but GL’s not impressed. He is distracted though, and ends up being knocked out and captured. Back in the Cormm city, we see some Cormm leaders talking about what to do next. One of the Cormm disappears in a burst of light … and it’s the Cormm that had the weird patch of peeling skin on his face. GL wakes up inside a liquid prison and hears the Queln discussing their plan to use the devolving ray from space and wipe out all their enemies at once. They’re also talking about dissecting Green Lantern, so he recharges his ring (the power battery is kept with him invisibly at all times). Outside, the Cormm have decided to go down fighting and mount an all-out attack on the Queln city. After recharging, GL notices something strange … one of the Queln has a peeling patch of skin on his face. Green Lantern finally realizes the secret of M’Brai. You’ve probably figured it out too, but if not we’ll see it here next issue.
- There’s a Green Lantern Corps back-up about a Lantern named Jeryll (on a paradisiacal planet called Glirell), who accidentally kills some nutcase who attacks her. Since the planet is so peaceful, Jeryll gets in shit (and her boyfriend dumps her), and ends up being sentenced to exile. Before she leaves, the planet is attacked by a Drelite fleet and Jeryll wants to do her duty as a Lantern and protect the planet. But the council warns her not to use force, only diplomacy, so she says she’ll try it their way.
This is basically just a transition issue, getting Jonah Hex from America to China. Last issue, Hex was drugged and spirited away on a Chinese sailing ship bound for the Orient. He wakes up on the ship and realizes his predicament; he tries to fight his way past the crew, but they overwhelm him and drag him before the man who kidnapped him, Wu Bong Phat. Wu tells Hex that there’s no point trying to escape, since they’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Wu also says that his organization (the White Lotus Society) needs Hex for a job and if he helps Wu out, he’ll be sent home safe and sound. Since Hex killed a sailor during his escape attempt, he’s forced to take that sailor’s place and work on the ship. As they near Shanghai, the ship is attacked by pirates and blown to shit. Hex dives overboard and swims toward land, barely making it before collapsing. He’s found by an elderly Chinese couple, who nurse him through a bad fever for a week or so. When he’s recovered, the couple’s home is invaded by some thugs who knock Hex out and drag him to a nearby castle. It turns out to belong to Wu’s boss, Yan Hsi-Shen (Wu escaped the sinking ship in a lifeboat). Yan is the warlord of the White Lotus Society and wants Hex to do a job for him, for which he’ll be well paid. Hex isn’t inclined to do any favours for his kidnappers, so he tells them to go to hell. Wu anticipated that, so he brings out his trump card … Hex’s estranged wife, Mei Ling, who’s also been kidnapped.