Comics Reviews: Flash 311, Wonder Woman 293, Green Lantern 154, Jonah Hex 62

Flash 311 coverFlash #311 – “Captives of the Boom-Boom-Boomerang” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Frank Giacoia

Last issue, Colonel Computron (yeah, I know) reappeared, still looking for revenge against W.W. Wiggins. Computron’s identity is a mystery, but it could be either Basil Nurblin (who developed the Computron toy for Wiggins and got nothing in return) or his wife Francine. It could even be their daughter, Lena, since she’s studying science in college. Anyway, Computron tried to kill Wiggins and Captain Boomerang (who feels he owes Wiggins for giving him his first job) saved him, but Flash told Wiggins not to trust Boomerang. It seems Flash may have been right, because Computron offered Boomerang a deal: if Boomerang lets Computron kill Wiggins, Computron will also get rid of the Flash. This issue starts with Wiggins announcing to his assembled employees that Computron is probably one of them (something Flash discovered last issue). Wiggins hopes he’ll spook Computron into making a move, but he feels less proud of his plan when he realizes Flash isn’t going to be sticking around to watch him 24/7. After Flash leaves, Captain Boomerang drops in for a visitFiona mad and mentions the deal Computron offered him. Boomerang does feel obligated to Wiggins for all his help over the years, but getting rid of Flash is a hard thing to refuse. Wiggins says maybe he and Boomerang can strike a deal of their own. At home, Barry Allen greets his sometime girlfriend, Fiona Webb, who we haven’t seen for a while. Fiona’s pissed off about a story she saw in a tabloid about Barry dating Daphne Dean (which we saw in issue 308). Barry wants to reassure Fiona there’s nothing to worry about, but he’s not sure what his feelings are toward Daphne, or if his feelings for Fiona are stronger. He overhears a police call about a giant boomerang downtown and heads over to check it out. The giant boomerang is made of the same circuitry as Colonel Computron’s outfit and when Flash gets close, Captain caught in the trapBoomerang distracts him long enough for Computron to zap him with a blast that slows hi down. The giant boomerang starts vibrating at a frequency designed to throw it back in time, and Computron shows his true colours by knocking Captain Boomerang into the circuitry so he’s transported back in time along with Flash. They wind up in the South Seas in the 1600s, where the boomerang fortuitously lands on a pirate ship. Flash is still unconscious, so Boomerang has to face the pirates alone and gets his ass kicked. He and Flash are tied to a yard-arm and dangled over the water. The pirates prepare to wound them (to draw sharks) and Boomerang uses a tiny electro-rang to wake Flash up. Flash zooms around, pounding pirates as Boomerang cheerson the pirate ship him on. Back in the 20th Century, all three Nurblins leave their apartment at the same time, and all are very circumspect about where they’re going. I guess Cary is dragging out the mystery of Computron’s identity, but to be honest, I stopped caring a while ago. In the 17th Century, Flash starts vibrating the giant Boomerang for a return trip to the present. Captain Boomerang admits he was planning on double-crossing Computron himself, since he feels he owes Wiggins a debt. While they’ve been gone, Computron has fought his (or her) way through Wiggins’s bodyguards and hooked him to an electric chair. The chair is wired to a (very primitive) video game designed to electrocute Wiggins if his ship is hit by missiles in the game. Of course, Computron has Flash saves Wigginsrigged the game so Wiggins will die, but Flash and Boomerang show up to help. As Boomerang wraps Computron up, Flash uses his speed to help Wiggins dodge the missiles in the game, then gets him out of the chair before Wiggins gets a hot shot. Computron takes off, smashing through the ceiling with Boomerang’s cables wrapped around him. Boomerang starts to follow, but Flash knocks him out, saying he has to pay for his past crimes whether or not he was helping Wiggins this time. Back at the Nurblin house, all three of them are still being canny about their activities that night, leaving us in the dark as to who’s Computron.

Noticeable Things:

  • There’s a Dr. Fate back-up (by Gerber, Pasko/Giffen/Mahlstedt) which basically boils down to Dr. Fate being trapped in another dimension fighting a Lord of Chaos, while Inza Nelson is romanced by some Professor named Vern Copeland … and judging by the last panel, I’d say Copeland is gonna get lucky with Inza.

Wonder Woman 293 coverWonder Woman #293 – “Countdown to Chaos” – Paul Levitz, Roy Thomas/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

Over the last couple of issues, a powerful being called the Adjudicator has come to judge Earth, as he has done for countless other worlds … none of which survived. But Adjudicator is intrigued by humanity’s contradictions, and by the fact there are many parallel Earths, so he create his Four Horsemen to test some of the Earths to see if they’re worthy of survival. So far, Earth-1, Earth-2, and Earth-X have been spared (thanks to various resident super-heroines), but if any of the Earths fails the test, its destruction will start a chain reaction, wiping out every Earth in the multiverse. This issue starts with Raven (of the New Teen Titans) being hit with a wave of pain that knocks her out. Her teammates (Wonder Girl and Starfire) take her to Paradise Island where Hippolyta tells them Raven’sWonder Girl and Starfire fight Death pain comes from a separate world. Hippolyta says if the pain isn’t stopped at its source, Raven could die. She sends Wonder Girl and Starfire through a dimensional warp to another Earth. This Earth (which we’ll call Earth-I) is something of a utopia; through advanced science, the inhabitants have conquered disease and war, effectively making death a thing of the past. Naturally, this is where the Adjudicator has sent his final Horseman … Death itself. Death’s wanton slaying of a people unused to mortality is what caused the psychic backlash affecting Raven. Wonder Girl and Starfire save some people from Death’s rampage and try to fight him, but are almost killed for their efforts. Before Death can finish them, the inhabitants of Earth-I stand up to him, saying they’re willing to give their lives for the heroines who tried to captured heroinesprotect them. The Adjudicator sees this and has a realization; he makes Death vanish from Earth-I, which instantly revives Raven back on Paradise Island. Before Hippolyta can recall Wonder Girl and Starfire, Raven vanishes, along with all the women who opposed Adjudicator in previous issues. (Which includes, besides Starfire and Wonder Girl, Power Girl, Supergirl, Madame Xanadu, Zatanna, Huntress, Black Canary, Phantom Lady, and the star of the comic, Wonder Woman.) They appear in Adjudicator’s spaceship, encased in diamond crystals. Adjudicator has seen hat what sets Earth-1 and its counterparts aside from other planets is the spirit of self-sacrifice, manifest in even the non-superpowered people. He’s decided to keep the super-heroines as souvenirs and to destroy all the Earths; I guess humans didn’t impress him too much after all. Wonder Woman tries to reason with him and gets nowhere, so she uses her magic lasso to bust out of her crystal. Adjudicator tries to blast her, but she deflects the energy to shatter the crystals containing Power Girl, Supergirl, Starfire, and Wonder Girl, who quickly free the others … and just in time, as the Adjudicator summons his Four Horsemen to protect him. Adjudicator passes judgmentAs the heroines engage the Horsemen, Adjudicator passes final judgment and begins causing the various Earths to fade out of existence. The heroines also begin fading; soon they’re so insubstantial they can’t touch anything. Wonder Woman uses her magic lasso again, snagging Adjudicator long enough for her to ask him why he goes around judging worlds and who gaveWonder Woman blasted him that task. Like something out of an old Star Trek episode, Adjudicator remembers that some Overseers set him to judging and obliterating planets to keep him out of trouble; yeah, he’s basically a cosmic nutcase and wasting planets is the Overseers’ equivalent of basket-weaving. Now that Adjudicator has remembered his roots, the Overseers take notice and pluck him and his spaceship back to wherever he came from. Zatanna teleports all the heroines back to their various Earths just in time. So, that’s the big superheroine crossover; not much to it in the end. It was nice seeing all the female heroes together, but I would’ve liked more interaction, on both a personal level and in the big fight scenes.

Green Lantern 154 coverGreen Lantern #154 – “Rotten to the Corps” – Mike W. Barr/Joe Staton/Bob Smith

Green Lantern has recently been exiled to space by the Guardians of the Universe, who think he’s been neglecting most of Space Sector 2814 to concentrate on Earth … which is true. Green Lantern’s ring receives a strange beacon from a planet and he goes to investigate. He finds the inhabitants (reptilian aliens with four arms) about to be wiped out by a volcano. He rescues the aliens and diverts the lava flow. The aliens know GL, even though he’s never met them before, and they seem to think they summoned him somehow. They tell him their food supply is very close to the volcano, so he digs everything up and replants it closer to their village. They thank him and lead him to an altar shaped like a Power Battery. The altar is heaped with gold, gems, and food, and GL wonders why they’re rewarding him for helping them. GL figures the aliens have mistaken him for someone else and soon finds out who it is … Dalor,GL meets Dalor the Green Lantern of Sector 2813. It seems GL has accidentally crossed into the neighbouring Sector while following the signal beacon. Dalor says it’s no big deal and the aliens beg Dalor’s forgiveness for offering their “bounty” to the wrong guy. GL sees a signal beacon and realizes it was meant to summon Dalor but he answered the call instead. He asks Dalor about the whole “bounty” thing and Dalor explains that the aliens pay for his protection. GL gets pissed off and takes Dalor to his place for a chat. Dalor explains that all the planets in his Sector reward him with something of value for his services. GL tells him he’s supposed to help them out of a sense of duty, but Dalor says he’ll do things his own way. They both get another signal from the four-armed aliens and GL tells Dalor he’ll handle it alone. Dalor figures GL decks DalorGL is trying to jack his rewards, so he imprisons GL in an energy cage and heads back t the planet. Since the cage is made of Dalor’s willpower, GL exerts his own will and breaks free. He finds the planet inundated with a poisonous yellow cloud of sulphur from the volcano. Dalor’s ring couldn’t protect him from the yellow gas, so he and all the aliens are dying on the surface of the planet. GL uses his ring to create a fan and blows away all the poisonous gas. Most of the aliens (and Dalor) revive, but the chief is dead. GL decks Dalor, but before he can pound him some more, a Guardian telepathically informs him that they’ve seen everything. The Guardian says whoever is responsible for the chief’s death will pay by losing his ring … and maybe his life.

Noticeable Things:

  • Sector 2813 is the one Tomar-Re usually looks after, so I’m not sure why Dalor is the Lantern of that Sector in this story. Maybe Tomar-Re is away or incapacitated, and Dalor is the alternate Lantern for the Sector? (Interesting bit of trivia: Sector 2813 is also the Sector where Krypton used to be.)
  • There’s a Green Lantern Corps back-up (by P. Kupperberg/P. Cullins/R. Rodriguez) about the celery-headed Lantern, Medphyl. He tracks some space pirates to an icy planet called Cyr, where the cold will kill Medphyl if he doesn’t constantly sheathe himself in a protective aura. Medphyl tracks down the pirates, but not until afterMedphyl dodges blasts they’ve decimated a village of natives (who look like zombie Ewoks). Medphyl is ready to pound the pirates, but it starts snowing, and guess what colour snow is on Cyr? Yup, it’s yellow. (Feel free to make your own yellow snow jokes.) So Medphyl’s aura can’t protect him from the snow and he has to expose himself to the pirates to keep them from killing more natives. Medphyl dodges the pirates’ blasts long enough for them to melt the snow cover from the ground, allowing Medphyl to retreat underground to escape the snow and the blaster fire. He surfaces and slaps the pirates around, caging them and taking shelter in a cave to wait out the snowfall.

Jonah Hex 62 coverJonah Hex #62 – “The Belly of the Malay Tiger” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex was kidnapped and taken to China so he could assassinate the Emperor on behalf of the warlord of the White Lotus Society. Hex’s cooperation was insured when his estranged wife (Mei Ling) was also kidnapped; the two of them were snuck into the Emperor’s palace, but things went wrong and (while Mei Ling slipped into a secret passage) Hex found himself pursued by guards right into a dead-end corridor. Hex figures he’s a goner, but the guards just tie him up and drag him before the Emperor. The Emperor wants to know about the woman who helped Hex, but he refuses to say anything about Mei Ling, so he’s dragged off to the torture chamber. Meanwhile, Mei Ling is worried about Hex and slips out of the secret passage to look for him. She runs into a guard andHex and Mei Ling swing out the window distracts him with her charms, getting close enough to grab his knife. She learns that Hex has been taken to the torture chamber and leaves the guard tied up after relieving him of his weapons. Hex is being used as a punching bag by the torturer, but he doesn’t talk, so he’s strung upside-down from the ceiling. Before the torturer can use the hot poker, Hex throws his hidden Bowie knife and kills the guy. Mei Ling comes busting in and unties Hex. They flee through the palace and Hex shoots a guard, but they get turned around and end up in one of the main chambers. Hex finds out the hard way the rifle Mei Ling pilfered is a single shot muzzle-loader, so he pushes a huge vase down on the people below. He and Mei Ling swing from the chandelier right through the window and into the garden. There’s a snow leopard prowling around, but Hex beats it down and they jump over the wall. The Hex and Mei Ling get reacquaintedEmperor sends his soldiers out to scour the streets for the fugitives, so they’re forced to skulk down alleyways. They run into another American named Barnaby Sledge (aka Barnacle), a sailor who’s shacking up with a Chinese woman even though he has a wife back home; I guess the “girl in every port” stuff is true for him. He offers to hide Hex and Mei Ling and to get them out of China on his ship, which is carrying a cargo of silk back to the States. Hex is grateful but Mei Ling doesn’t trust Barnacle, thinking there’s something wrong about him. Hex and Mei Ling seem to be getting along better … in fact, I’m pretty sure they end up getting it on. (And Barnacle watches them doing it … creepy bastard.) The next day, Barnacle sneaksHex finds the opium them down to the shore and takes them to his ship, the Malay Tiger; Barnacle is first mate and says they’ll meet Captain Quirt soon. Far to the South, the White Lotus Society’s stronghold is raided by the Emperor’s soldiers; the warlord poisons himself rather than be captured, but his majordomo (Wu) escapes, vowing revenge on Hex and Mei Ling. On the Malay Tiger, Hex and Mei Ling are hiding in the cargo hold and Hex realizes the cargo isn’t Chinese silk … it’s Chinese opium. Now that they know the truth, Barnacle says they’ll have to be dealt with.

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