Comics Reviews: Flash 316, Wonder Woman 298, Green Lantern 159, Jonah Hex 67

Flash 316 coverFlash #316 – “Speed Kills” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

Last issue, Goldface came to Central City to take over the mobs and decided he’d better deal with Flash too. He started busting up the police station and when Flash showed up to fight him, he sent the speedster flying into an alley a few blocks away. Flash wakes up in the alley and zips back to the cop shop. This time he doesn’t confront Goldface head on; he uses his super-speed to hammer the armoured villain through the floor into the sewers, then tries to push him right out of town. But Goldface turns the tables, decking Flash and burying him in a sewer pipe under mounds of rock. Flash crawls out of a manhole (freaking out a traffic cop) and heads home, where he’s surprised to find he has company. Mick Rory (aka the reformed crook Heat Wave) has broken in to hide outMick surprises Barry at home from Goldface, who wants Mick because it’s rumoured he knows Flash’s secret identity. Obviously those rumours are true, and Mick explain how he didn’t actually know who Flash was even after seeing his unmasked face in issue 266. But he recently saw a photo of Barry Allen in the newspaper and finally was able to put a name to the face. Mick assures Barry he hasn’t told anyone and mentions how Goldface is after him. Barry says it’s cool if he stays there until Goldface is taken care of. Across town, Senator Creed Phillips stops by his doctor’s office for an appointment to look at some anomaly in his x-rays. He’s shocked to find the doctor has been killed, turned to flakes by the vigilante known as Eradicator. Phillips wonders why Eradicator would kill the doctor, since he’s only gone after criminals until now. Phillips doesn’t Captain Invincible jumps Mickwant to hurt his political career, so he takes off and decides to keep his mouth shut about the dead doctor. The next day, Goldface wastes a random beat cop and ends a message that he’ll keep killing cops unless Flash stays off the streets of Central City. Mick is watching the broadcast at Barry’s place and wonders how Flash can fight Goldface if he can’t even appear in public. While he’s ruminating, Mick gets jumped by Captain Invincible, who just happened to be lurking outside Barry’s window. Who the hell is Captain Invincible, you ask? He’s Captain Frye, Barry’s superior on the police force, who’s trying to start a side career as a costumed crimefighter. When Barry gets home, he’s startled to find Mick tied up and Captain Invincible waiting triumphantly. Barry explains that Mick is a friend and takes Captain Frye toPhillips losing it the roof to talk. After promising not to tell Flash Captain Invincible’s secret identity, Barry promises to let him know the Captain is ready to help against Eradicator. At Senator Phillips’s place, he’s having some kind of strange spell and treats his current girlfriend, Fiona Webb (who used to be Barry’s girlfriend) like crap. She gets all weepy as Phillips wanders off to get some air. Meanwhile, Flash has been zipping around the city at super-speed, not wanting to put any more cops in danger by letting himself be seen. He comes up with an idea to get to Goldface without showing himself. He mentions his idea to Mick, since it involves Heat Wave. Mick’s not thrilled, having put that part of his life behind him, but Flash assures him it’s for a Fiona makes a strange callgood cause. Later, some of Goldface’s men are robbing a jewelry expo when Heat Wave shows up to stop them. But his heat-gun backfires, knocking him out. The thieves know Goldface has been looking for Heat Wave, so they take him to their boss’s mansion. At Barry’s place, the phone rings and Fiona starts spilling her guts, sounding like she wants Barry back now that Phillips is acting weird. She hangs up before learning it’s Mick who answered the phone, not Barry. Mick seems to know a lot about Barry’s romantic situation, but figures he’s better off without Fiona. (Although if he could see the way she’s dressed right now, he might change his mind.) The next day, Fiona’s at work, making excuses for Phillips, who she hasn’t seen since yesterday. Meanwhile, Eradicator rousts some punk in an alley and gets the location ofunderwater fight Goldface’s mansion from him before dissolving him into powder. At that particular mansion, Heat Wave is brought before Goldface, but of course it’s really Flash in disguise. He knocks Goldface through the window into the water and tries to take him out. But Goldface’s armour has an internal air supply, giving him an advantage. He knocks Flash out and ties him to an anchor underwater. Up top, Eradicator has arrived and wastes all Goldface’s men in anticipation of facing Goldface himself. We’ll see how that confrontation goes next issue.

Wonder Woman 298 coverWonder Woman #298 – “Catacombs” – Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a Greek terrorist named Aegeus was imbued with godly power by a mysterious stranger on a remote Greek island. Aegeus ended up confronting Wonder Woman and kidnapping Steve Trevor via one of his “teleporting thunderbolts”. This issue opens with the military trying to figure out exactly what happened to Steve. Etta Candy informs them Diana Prince has already volunteered to go to Greece to consult with the authorities about Aegeus, but we see Wonder Woman heading to Paradise Island to confer with her mother, Hippolyta. Wonder Woman mentions how Aegeus bragged about wielding Zeus’s thunderbolts and riding Pegasus and her mother confirms it. We get a lesson in Greek mythology as Hippolyta tells the story of Bellerophon, the first mortal master of Pegasus. Bellerophon slew the chimera and fought the Amazons, but became arrogant and tried to fly up to Olympus. He was cast down and blinded, so Hippolyta figures he must be the one who gaveBellerophon's story Aegeus the thunderbolts and the golden bridle that allows him to ride Pegasus. Wonder Woman wonders why Bellerophon and Aegeus would want Steve. On Bellerophon’s island, we see the answer to that question: Bellerophon wants the location of Paradise Island so he can use their purple healing ray to heal himself. But since Steve was unconscious most of the time he was on Paradise Island, he has no idea how to find it, and wouldn’t tell them even if he did. Aegeus gets rough and Steve manages to break free and flee deeper onto the island. He falls through an old trap door and winds up in an ancient shrine to Athena, where he finds a skeletal warrior dressed like Wonder Woman holding a big shield. Meanwhile, Diana Prince is talking to the Greek police, who have no leads on Aegeus’s hideout. They mention he may be hiding on an uncharted island in the Aegean Sea and Diana wonders if Aegeus has Steve finds the shrinefound Themiscyra, the original home of the Amazons before they went to Paradise Island. (In post-Crisis history, Themiscyra and Paradise Island are synonymous, but here they’re two separate places.) On the island, Steve takes the shield from the skeleton and is discovered by one of Aegeus’s men. The thug sees a golden sceptre clutched in the skeleton’s hand an tries to grab it, but is instantly skeletonized himself by a ray of light. Steve is saved by the shield. But he’s found by another of Aegeus’s terrorists, this one a woman named Sofia Constantinas (who’s also Aegeus’s lover apparently). A statue of Athena comes to life and gives Sofia shit, telling her Aegeus has gone mad with power and no longer believes in their cause. Athena says Sofia has allowed her ideals to become corrupted, making her rob and kill in the name of freedom. Before Sofia an digest Athena’s words, Aegeus showsWonder Woman falls up and congratulates her for finding Steve. Athena disappears and Sofia hands Steve over to Aegeus, but Athena’s words may have had some effect after all; Steve slips the sceptre under his shirt before being taken above ground and Sofia doesn’t rat him out to Aegeus. Steve says he’ll take Aegeus to Paradise Island and they fly off on Pegasus. Wonder Woman intercepts them and Steve tries to use the sceptre on Aegeus but it’s knocked from his hand. The sceptre hits Wonder Woman and she falls into the sea, leaving Steve to wonder if he’s just killed the woman he loves.

Huntress – “The Squeeze on Gotham” – Joey Cavalieri/Joe Staton/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a new superhero named Blackwing tried to take on some guys running a protection racket, but he ended up falling off a roof right into the bad guys’ clutches. They unmasked him and Huntress was shocked to see Blackwing is a colleague from her law firm, Charley Bullock. The thugs’ Huntress pounds thugsgetaway car shows up and the head thug (Toro) decides to bring Charley back to their hideout as insurance. Huntress tags the car with a tracer and follows them into a gentrified neighbourhood, where they’re meeting their boss, a guy calling himself Boa—partly because he’s into big snakes, and partly because he likes putting the squeeze on shop owners. Charley is only pretending to be unconscious, but he’s too scared to do anything but go along. Toro and his boys bring Charley to Boa and report that they’ve delivered all the invitations to the big meeting tonight. Toro suggests Boa could make an example of Charley at the meeting, but Boa says he already has a victim prepared so he’ll just have to waste Charley right now. Huntress busts in and starts kicking ass, but gets wrapped up by Boa’s pet constrictor, which really starts putting the squeeze on her. We’ll see how she wriggles out of this one next issue.

Green Lantern 159 coverGreen Lantern #159 – “When Evil Stars Begin to Fall” – Mike W. Barr/Keith Pollard/Mike DeCarlo

This one starts with Green Lantern finishing a shakedown cruise of his new spaceship (acquired from the grateful Talkorians last issue). He comes across an Earth-like planet that’s been devastated, with burnt-out cities and pockmarked landscape all over. GL sees a giant black hand in nearby space and goes to check it out. It turns out to be an energy field that’s absorbing all the energy in the region, even the light from the stars. GL gets blasted as he reaches the hand and finds his old nemesis Evil Star (and a few of his Starling homunculi) are the ones behind the energy field. Evil Star is using the absorbed energy to make himself young again. (He was returned to his true age and condemned to float through the universe by theEvil Star rejuvenated Guardians in GL 131, but broke loose when the Guardians needed all their powers to fight Nekron.) Evil Star orders his Starlings to kill Green Lantern, who immediately knows he’s in trouble since the Starlings are basically invulnerable and can’t be harmed by his ring. On Earth, a kid named Donny Weems finds a weird crystal while playing baseball and seems enraptured by it. Back in space, GL uses his ring to disguise himself as a Starling, confusing the other Starlings and allowing him to get close to Evil Star. He puts Evil Star inside a punching bag and pummels the shit out of it, knocking the villain (and the Starlings) unconscious. GL uses his ring to probe Evil Star’s mind for his plans and we get a recap of his origin. Basically, he was a decent guy who feared dying so he figured out a way to stay forever young by wearing GL vs Evil Starthe Star-Band. But the Star-Band has the side-effect of turning anyone who wears it evil. Evil Star tried to resist wearing it, especially after his wife and son died of old age, but the fear of death always overcame his reluctance. He ended up wiping out all life on his planet, which is the lifeless planet GL found at the beginning of this story. Before GL can figure out what Evil Star wants to do on his lifeless world, he villain wakes up and surrounds himself with yellow solar energy. Evil Star admits that the stellar radiation he’s been absorbing can turn anyone it touches evil like him. On Oa, the Guardians are dismissing a Lantern named Eddore, who looks like a big wisp of gas or plasma. Eddore isn’t happy about not being able to completeeddore vows to finish his mission his mission, but the Guardians say the mission falls outside his sector so it’s not his responsibility anymore. Eddore leaves, but vows to finish his mission no matter what. In deep space, Evil Star is ready to unleash his evil radiation across the galaxy, but Green Lantern offers to be turned evil voluntarily if Evil Star spares everyone else. Evil Star agrees and blasts GL with the radiation, instantly turning him into an evil prick. The two evildoers go to a nearby planet to wreak havoc, smashing up a city with a tornado. GL says he’d rather be destroying people than buildings and heads off to smash a dam and flood the city. He wonders why he never did stuff GL decks Evil Starlike this before and that makes him think back to his past. He remembers Carol, Tom, and Abin Sur, all of whom trusted and believed in him. He breaks the evil influence and goes after Evil Star, using the Starlings as an indestructible shield when Evil Star tries to blast him. GL decks the villain and tears part of the Star-Band out, leaving just enough to keep Evil Star alive. He wraps the Starlings around Evil star and sends them off into space again in a green energy bubble. GL feels bad that Evil Star can’t stop being evil as long as he wears the Band, and can’t remove it without dying. GL figures he’ll try to help rebuild Evil Star’s home planet, thinking that if there’s hope for his people, there might just be hope for him.

Jonah Hex 67 coverJonah Hex #67 – “Deadman’s Hand” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with a gambler named Croy reading about Jonah Hex’s run-in with Webster last issue. Croy and Webster were part of the gang that robbed an Army payroll and left Hex’s fiancée (Cassie Wainwright) to the tender mercies of the Apaches fifteen years ago. Croy figures Hex must be settling old debts and he’s so rattled he gets caught pulling aces from the holdout up his left sleeve. Luckily for him, the holdout up his right sleeve has a Derringer and he shoots his way out of the bar and takes off, figuring he’d better find Hex before Hex finds him. A week later in Careysburg, New Mexico, Hex pounds some drunken scumbags who are messing with a saloon girl named Lisa. She thanks himLisa gets shot with some hot sex and afterwards they start talking. Lisa wishes women could go around kicking ass like men do. She puts on Hex’s hat and pretends to be a gunfighter, but she’s got lousy timing; Croy is across the street and sees the silhouette through the window. He shoots Lisa, thinking she’s Hex, and by the time Hex gets across the street, Croy is gone. Hex takes Lisa’s body to the mortician and pays for her coffin, but the assholes from the night before show up for revenge. They draw on him and he guns them all down right there in the mortuary; I doubt if he’ll spring for their coffins. As he’s leaving, Croy takes another shot but Hex sees movement on the roof and moves at the last second so the shot just grazes his head. The doctor and his assistant take Hex kills Croycare of Hex, who’s in a blind fever for three days, reliving a tortured dream about finding Cassie’s ravaged body fifteen years ago. Hex comes out of his fever dream and thinks he’s still seeing things, as the doctor’s assistant looks a lot like Cassie. News gets around and Croy hears that Hex is recovering, so he sneaks into the doctor’s place to stab Hex while he sleeps. Hex is expecting him and substitutes a few pillows, getting the drop on Croy. Hex notices the holdout mechanism, so he’s ready when Croy whips out his Derringer. Hex blows him away and marvels at the aces that fall out of Croy’s sleeve, thinking it’s one hell of a losing hand.

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