Comics Reviews: Flash 314, Wonder Woman 296, Green Lantern 157, Jonah Hex 65

Flash 314 coverFlash #314 – “Look Upon the Eradicator” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

This one starts in a fancy penthouse, with a dope dealer paying off a distributor to move some product. They’re interrupted by a weirdo in a cloak who calls himself the Eradicator. He lives up to his name by shooting energy beams from his eyes, dissolving the two dope dealers into piles of goo. While his pet panther (!) prowls around, Eradicator goes on a diatribe about how he’s going to eliminate crime in Central City. At Utopia Towers, Barry goes to see his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Fiona Webb. Lately she’s mostly been off again because she’s been hanging out with State Senator Creed Phillips (who’s also her boss, but she doesn’t seem bothered by that). Fiona has a date with Creed that night and leaves Barry to lock up her place. Barry gets a call from police headquarters and heads down to see what’s going on. Along the way, Flash takes care of someBarry watches Phillips on TV gang members who were harassing a kid, and gives the kid a super-speed lift home. While he’s playing hero, he almost gets blasted by Golden Glider, but her brother (Captain Cold) stops her, saying he didn’t bust her out of jail just so Flash could toss her right back in. She agrees to play things cool, but still wants to get back at Flash. At police HQ, Barry examines the remains of the dope dealers and concludes they were subjected to a massive molecular distortion that mutated their cells into something resembling baking soda. On the poor side of town, Mick Rory is having nightmares about his old life as Heat Wave. He wakes up and finds it snowing in his room; yup, it’s Captain Cold and Golden Glider, there to send Mick a message about going straight. Apparently they’re worried about Mick being a “good example” for other Captain Cold and Golden Glider give Mick a messagecrooks, so they slap him around a bit and Golden Glider lays some of her high tech gems on his chest. These particular gems are no gift though … they burn through Mick’s clothes and into his flesh. It’s weird seeing them like this; I’m so used to the bromance between Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell on the Flash TV show. At police HQ, Barry and his lab assistant (Patty) watch a news report with Creed Phillips spouting on about crime in Central City. He makes it sound like Flash is somewhat responsible for his Rogues Gallery terrorizing the city all the time. There may be a valid point there, but Barry’s not happy about it and announces he won’t be voting for Phillips. Patty (who doesn’t know Barry is the Flash) wonders if Barry’s dislike of Phillips has more to do with Fiona Webb than politics. Captain Frye corners Barry and invites him home for dinner, an invitation Barry’s been duckingCaptain Invincible makes his debut for a while. After dinner, Frye’s wife cleans up while the Captain shows Barry his basement gym. (This incarnation of Captain Frye isn’t gay, obviously.) Turns out Frye has come up with a costumed superhero identity and wants to share it with Barry, which is strange since he hasn’t even told his wife yet. The costume looks like something a ten-year-old whipped up, and Frye’s skills don’t match his enthusiasm. When he tries to demonstrate a fighting technique, he passes out. (This guy just had a heart attack a year ago, so he probably shouldn’t be screwing around like this anyway.) Barry changes Frye’s clothes at super-speed before his wife comes downstairs, saving him the embarrassment of explaining his “Captain Invincible” suit to her. Across town, Creed Phillips Flash saves Mickdrops Fiona off at home (in a helicopter … probably funded by taxpayers) and Fiona figures she’s in love. As Barry leaves Frye’s house, Frye thanks him for keeping his secret, but can’t be dissuaded from going ahead with his Captain Invincible idea. On the way home, Barry hears an emergency call for Mick Rory’s place and zooms over as the Flash. He finds the jewels Golden Glider used on Mick aren’t really burning him, they just cast the illusion that they were searing his flesh, while they actually pinned him down with a heavy gravity field. Flash gets rid of the gems and saves Mick from a cold-based booby trap in his closet. As Flash heads home, he zips past Philips’s building and notices a couple of guys dressed in black scaling the wall. He uses super-speed vibrations to knock them off, checks the penthouse at top speed, andEradicator eradicates an assassin catches the crooks before they hit the ground. Turns out they were hired to kill Phillips, but they don’t tell Flash there was a third man on the team. The third guy watches from nearby, certain his cohorts will cover for him. But he gets a nasty surprise when Eradicator shows up and tosses him off the building. The guy turns into powder before he has a chance to splatter on the ground—small consolation, I know—and Eradicator goes on another diatribe about getting rid of crime in Central City. We’ll see if he succeeds next issue.

Wonder Woman 296 coverWonder Woman #296 – “Mind Games” – Roy Thomas (plot), Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, Wonder Woman was captured by a villain with the unlikely name of General Electric, who’s been distributing an electronic game (Commander Video) that saps people’s willpower. The General has entranced a number of Pentagon workers (including General Darnell and Steve Trevor), as well as a bunch of soldiers who have been supplying him with weapons. Wonder Woman wakes up tied to a chair, which means she’s lost her Amazon strength (as always happens whenever she’s tied up by a man … no BDSM for her). General Electric says he’s going to entrance her like the rest of his puppets and turns on a big-screen version of the Commander Video game. Wonder Woman tries to resist, but can feel the game eroding her willEtta finds Wonder Woman power. At the Pentagon, Steve has recovered from the game’s influence, but General Darnell is still enthralled and orders his men to hunt Wonder Woman down. He gets a call from General Electric telling him about Wonder Woman’s capture, which Etta listens in on. Etta and Steve figure out the General is based at a prison and bluff their way past the guards. Etta finds Wonder Woman tied up in front of the video game, but she’s grabbed by the guards. With Etta’s life at stake, Wonder Woman agrees to play the game, but she uses her knowledge of combat to beat the game. General Electric decides it’s time to go all out and projects his consciousness into an avatar in the game. Wonder Woman’s consciousness is drawn from her body and their astral forms fight inside Wonder Woman pounds Electric's avatarthe game. Wonder Woman kicks Electric’s ass and he retreats into his physical body, threatening to destroy the game and trap Wonder Woman’s astral form forever. Steve shows up and totals the generator in the prison, knocking General Electric out and giving Wonder Woman time to rejoin her physical body. Etta frees Wonder Woman, they all evacuate the prison before it goes up in flames and Wonder Woman manages to mitigate some of the damage. I guess defeating General Electric canceled his influence over everyone’s mind, because when we see General Darnell again he’s back to normal. Etta gives him a video game as a present, but don’t worry … this one’s just video shuffleboard.

Huntress – “The Huntress is Back in Town” – Paul Levitz (plot), Joey Cavalieri/Joe Staton/Jerry Ordway

This one starts with Huntress stopping some muggers on a subway. Afterwards, her boyfriend Harry Sims (also the Gotham District Attorney) gives Helena Wayne shit for risking her life that way, but Helena says sheHuntress pounds dope dealers couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. Helena checks in with her law partner, Arthur Cranston, who was starting to wonder if she’d quit on him. At the D.A.’s office, Harry almost gives away Helena’s secret when Commissioner O’Hara makes an offhand remark about Huntress being Harry’s girlfriend (because Harry is well-known for cooperating with superhero types). Later, Huntress busts up a drug distribution place and wonders if there’s something more she can do to fight crime. She gets an idea, but we’ll have to wait until next issue to see what it is.

Green Lantern 157 coverGreen Lantern #157 – “There’s No Grave Like Home” – Mike W. Barr/Keith Pollard/Mike DeCarlo

This one starts with Green Lantern returning to his asteroid home (where he’s been living during his extended space mission) after last issue’s adventures. When he arrives, his house animates and attacks him, and after he destroys it, the very rock of the asteroid turns into a humanoid shape (looking like one of Marvel’s Stone Men from Saturn) and tries to kill him. GL solves the problem by blasting the entire asteroid to hell, but notices a strange rock hovering near him, glowing blue. Before he can analyze it, the rock blasts him, knocking him out. We learn it’s Hector Hammond who’s behind these attacks; Hammond is still in prison on Earth,GL and Hammond fight in space but he’s found a way to send his consciousness out into the galaxy. He detected an analogue of the artifact that originally evolved him to his present state (the blue meteor), but since it was stuck in the middle of GL’s asteroid, Hammond had to trick Lantern into freeing it. Hammond brings the meteor to Earth and uses its power to bust out of prison. He goes through a space warp, bt is shocked to find Green Lantern waiting for him. GL recognized the meteor as the source of Hammond’s power, so he protected himself from it. The two of them engage in a duel, tossing comets around and trying to freeze each other. Hammond ultimately decides to attack mentally instead of physically and seizes control of Lantern’s mind. Before Hammond can force GL to kill himself, GL uses his will power to push back at Hammond. Hammond suddenly starts devolving back into a normal human and GL reveals he analyzed the meteor and found that a side-effect Hammond starts devolvingof its restoring Hammond’s physical mobility was him turning back to a normal person and losing his vast mental prowess. Being normal is too much for Hammond to take, so he retreats into another space warp. GL knows where to find him and sends an energy duplicate of himself to Hammond’s prison on Earth. Hammond says he’d rather be imprisoned and immobilized with his mental superiority than free without it. While his duplicate is on Earth, GL stops by to say hi to Carol Ferris, who says she doesn’t mind waiting for his space exile to end. There’s a Green Lantern Corps back-up in this issue about the human GL, Charlie Vickers. He bitches and moans about how much he hates being a Lantern, how he’s tired of helping freaky-looking aliens, and how he misses Earth … but he’s too proud (or scared) to quit. Then he gets a call about a planet that’s being shaken apart and goes to help. The story is continued next issue, but I gotta say these GLC back-ups aren’t doing much for me.

Jonah Hex 65 coverJonah Hex #65 – “The Vendetta” – Michael FleisherDick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with a gang of outlaws (the Crenshaw boys) attacking a train. But they get more than they bargained for because Jonah Hex is a passenger on this particular train. Hex has been after the Crenshaws for a while and figured they’d hit this train, as it’s carrying a lot of government payroll money. Hex blows away a couple of the gang, but the rest take off with the loot. It’s getting dark, so Hex heads for the nearest town, intending to take up the trail in the morning. The nearest town is Clearwater Springs, where we see the local sheriff (Barstow) collecting his monthly protection money from store owners. Not only is Barstow extorting money from the locals, he’s apparently getting paid off by the local bandits as well. As Barstow heads for his office, he sees Jonah Hex in the street and freaks out. Barstow figures Hex is after him, althoughHex pounds a bully they haven’t seen each other for fifteen years. Barstow comes to his senses and realizes Hex being in Clearwater Springs may just be a coincidence. He decides he’d better warn his old friend, Rod Webster, who was part of whatever happened fifteen years ago. Barstow goes to send Webster a telegram. Hex is heading for the hotel when he sees a couple of kids fighting. One kid is getting the worst of it and Hex breaks them up, but the other kid’s dad comes along and gets snotty about a “dirty Reb” messing with his son. Hex beats the shit out of him, leaving him in a water trough. Meanwhile, Sheriff Barstow tells his henchmen that Jonah Hex is in town, possibly looking to settle an old score with him. He shows them a picture of himself with Hex and a few others (including a good-looking blonde woman) from when they Hex takes out some train robberswere scouting for the Army back in 1859. The next day, Hex tracks the train robbers to an old adobe cliff dwelling. As he sneaks up on them, he overhears how they’re paying off a local sheriff named Walt Barstow … a name that Hex recognizes. He bags the bandits and takes them to the next town over, thinking he’d better check out Sheriff Barstow a little more closely. Back in Clearwater Springs, Hex breaks into the sheriff’s office and finds the old photo, which starts a flashback sequence. Back in 1859, Hex was engaged to Cassie Wainwright, daughter of the Army colonel Hex was scouting for. One day, the colonel sent a bunch of the scouts (including Barstow and Webster) to pick up the payroll in a nearby town. Cassie went along to pick up her wedding dress and Hex stayed behind since the colonel said it’d be bad luckCassie left for dead for him to see Cassie’s dress before the wedding. It turned out to be bad luck for Cassie; Barstow and the others planned to steal the payroll and take off, and when Cassie objected, they knocked her out and left her in Comanche Territory. By the time Hex found her, there wasn’t much left. He vowed to avenge her, but the tail had gone cold and then the Civil War started, which occupied his attention for the next few years. Now that Hex has accidentally stumbled across Barstow, the fires of vengeance have been stoked up, and he’s ready to avenge Cassie. As he comes out of the Sheriff’s office, Barstow and a couple of henchmen are waiting for him. Hex tells the henchmen this Hex shoots Barstowisn’t their fight and it isn’t worth dying over. They agree and take off, leaving Barstow to face Hex alone. Barstow offers to leave town and go as far away as he can get and Hex lets him go. But Barstow has second thoughts about running away and tries to come around and surprise Hex from behind. Hex guns him down and finds the telegram in his pocket, warning Webster. Hex contemplates whether he should track down Webster (and the rest) or just let it be; we’ll see what his decision is next issue … though I can make a pretty good guess.

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