Comics Reviews: Flash 317, Wonder Woman 299, Green Lantern 160, Jonah Hex 68

Flash 317 coverFlash #317 – “A Fast Way to Die” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

Last issue ended with Goldface beating the crap out of Flash and tying his unconscious body to an anchor at the bottom of a lake. Goldface gloats about beating the speedster and heads for the surface, figuring Flash is dead. But Flash has been faking it, holding his breath until Goldface left. He’s almost out of breath and still hurting from the beating, so all he can do is spin his body around at super-speed, hoping to pull the anchor loose from the lake-bed. On the surface, Goldface is surprised to find his men have been turned into little piles of dust and realizes Eradicator must’ve tracked him down. Sure enough, Eradicator is waiting to kill Goldface too, but Goldface’s golden armour protects him from Eradicator’s transmutational touch, which apparently only works on organic molecules. Meanwhile, Flash’s gambitGoldface vs Eradicator hasn’t worked; the anchor has only moved a bit and he’s too exhausted to try again. But his spinning has wound the rope up so tight it starts unwinding in the opposite direction, spinning Flash even faster than before and finally dislodging the anchor. Flash finds the dead mobsters on the surface and knows Eradicator is around. He finds Eradicator turning a tree into an acid that can seep through Goldface’s armour and kill him. Goldface melts into a hole in the ground, but quickly surfaces and runs inside his mansion. Flash goes after him and gets ambushed, but his speed allows him to evade Goldface’s heat beam and actually push the villain into its path. Goldface ends up outside in an unconscious heap. Eradicator tries to kill him again, Flash saves Goldfacethis time turning the ground into a deadly gas, but Flash uses a vortex to dissipate the gas. By the time he finishes, Eradicator has gotten away, so he settles for taking Goldface into custody. Later, Mick Rory thanks Barry for letting hi hide out at his place while Goldface was after him, but now that Goldface is in jail Mick figures he can return home. Captain Frye (who’s still on his “I wanna be a superhero” kick) calls to tell Barry to watch a newscast. Barry catches some pundit going on about how neither the cops nor the Flash have stopped Eradicator from killing criminals yet, insinuating that maybe the cops aren’t all that motivated to stop someone who’s wasting bad guys. Frye says they have to stop Eradicator and Barry has to talk him out of playing hero. Just down the hall, Senator Creed Phillips is apologizing to Fiona Webb for running out on her the other night. She falls for his smooth bullshit and agrees to go out with him that night, just missing a phone call from Barry, who still has a thing for her. After their date, Creed and Fionamuggers eradicated get jumped by muggers and Fiona is knocked out. The muggers try to rob Creed and he turns into Eradicator and dissolves them into powder. When Fiona wakes up, Creed is standing there looking at her. She sees what’s left of the crooks and realizes Eradicator must’ve been there. Creed says anything is possible and they head for home. Now, it’s not really a shock that Creed is Eradicator (that’s been obvious for a while), but I’m not quite sure if we’re supposed to believe Creed knows he’s Eradicator or not. It kinda seems like maybe he turns into Eradicator and forgets everything he’s done when he turns back to Creed Phillips (which is why he was surprised when the doctor called about the bullet wounds a couple issues ago). But Eradicator seems to Flash almost goes too farknow when Creed is in trouble (which is why he wasted that doctor), so maybe the amnesia only works one way? Or maybe Creed’s just pretending not to remember and actually is aware of everything. Anyway, Flash is out looking for Eradicator when he stumbles across a couple guys who used explosives to crack an armoured car. Flash rushes the guards to the hospital ad when he gets back, one of the thieves is using a kid as a hostage. Flash gets so mad he starts beating the shit out of he guy, who begs him to stop. Flash stops himself before he goes too far, remembering that Eradicator is the crazed vigilante, not him. Meanwhile, Eradicator has decided that Flash’s opposition to his methods makes him as bad as the criminals, so he vows to eradicate Flash. We’ll see if he succeeds next issue.

Wonder Woman 299 coverWonder Woman #299 – “Target: Paradise” – Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, Aegeus (who had just been given powers by Bellerophon, an old enemy of the Amazons) kidnapped Steve Trevor so he could use him to find Paradise Island. When Wonder Woman tried to stop him, she was blasted by Athena’s sceptre (which Aegeus took from a temple) and fell into the Aegean Sea. She makes it to Bellerophon’s island hideout, but is immediately attacked by Aegeus’s terrorist band. She deflects all their bullets and disarms them, but Bellrophon tells her Steve isn’t there. She finds it funny Aegeus is trying to use Steve to find Paradise Island, since Steve doesn’t actually know the way. Over the Atlantic, Aegeus has found that out for himself, but Steve has gotten him close enough to Paradise Island (somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle) forSteve's glider him to home in with his mystical senses. Aegeus tosses a thunderbolt that clears the clouds and reveals Paradise Island below in all its splendour. Aegeus threatens to destroy all the Amazons and tosses Steve off his horse. If a man sets foot on Paradise Island, it will mean the end of the Amazons, but Hippolyta catches Steve before he touches the ground and has him taken to nearby Science Island. On Bellerophon’s isle, he and Wonder Woman fight and he gives her a tough go, despite being centuries old and blind. She finally knocks him out and before the terrorists can shoot her, one of them (Sofia Constantinas, who we met last issue) turns her gun on them and forces them to surrender. Helena says she saw a vision of Athena in the temple and Wonder Woman fights Aegeusit convinced her she was on the wrong side. She mentions the sceptre killing a terrorist but sparing Steve, and Wonder Woman says the sceptre’s main function is to find and obliterate evil. On Paradise Island, Aegeus is raining down thunderbolts, trying to destroy the whole place. Steve asks if the Amazons have any kind of aerial defenses and Paula says they never really developed anything like that … but she might have something he can use. Steve ends up using a hang-glider to confront Aegeus, but can only swoop around and distract him. Aegeus busts the glider and Steve falls, but wonder Woman shows up and catches him. She sets him down on Science Island and kicks Aegeus’s ass. Before she can capture him, Aegeus uses his last teleport bolt to escape, vowing to return.

Huntress – “Stranglehold” – Joey Cavalieri/Joe Staton/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, Huntress was caught by a crimelord named Boa (who has a trained boa constrictor, of course) after trying to rescue Charley, who had dressed as a new crimefighter (Blackwing) to stop Boa’s protection racket. Charley (who just happens to be Helena Wayne’s colleague at her law firm) was caught first and when Huntress tried to save him, she ended up gettingHuntress pounds thugs squeezed by Boa’s snake. Boa and his men leave Huntress to die, even tossing her weapons on the floor nearby to taunt her. She uses breath control to resist the snake’s coils, but is running short of breath when Charley wakes up and slices the snake up with Huntress’s daggers. Charley apologizes for getting her involved and says he wanted to emulate Batman and give people hope. Huntress says Batman would be proud of Charley and takes off to find Boa, who’s holding a big meeting where he’s putting the squeeze on more business owners. Huntress busts in and kicks everyone’s ass (including another huge snake), then calls the cops to haul them away.

Green Lantern 160 coverGreen Lantern #160 – “Head Trip” – Mike W. Barr/Keith Pollard/Sam De La Rosa

Green Lantern is chilling out on Evil Star’s old planet after last issue’s adventure, when something takes over his ring and pulls him right off the planet. Whatever it is has a stronger force of will than GL and it pulls him right through a space warp to another planet. He soon realizes he’s been shanghaied by the Headmen; no, these aren’t the goofy Marvel villains, they’re an even goofier race of hyper-evolved aliens with giant heads. They use their mental powers to suppress GL’s ability to use his ring and he soon finds himself re-united with an oldOnu's story flame, Onu Murtu. GL first met Onu way back in Green Lantern 36, when she came to Earth looking for help to fight the Headmen. Apparently everyone on the Headmen’s planet (Garon) is subjected to an evolving ray at birth and the hyper-evolved ones end up ruling the rest, who are docile like sheep. But Onu had a natural immunity to the ray and tried to lead a rebellion against the Headmen. GL helped her (and she had the hots for him), but she ended up going back to her planet to keep fighting. Obviously, her rebellion hasn’t made much progress. Back on Earth, Donny Weems (who we saw find a strange crystal GL fights Headmenlast issue), blows his school to shit when some kids make fun of him. Donny freaks out and runs off and we see there’s some kind of malevolent entity inside the crystal. On Garon, the Headmen contact Lord Tiror, the new leader of the Citadel (the old leader having been killed recently by Blackfire), and petition to join the Citadel. The Headmen offer to show their worth by killing a Green Lantern. They return GL’s control over his ring and let him go, sending killers after him. Lantern uses his ring to slap his pursuers around, which Tiror finds funny. Meanwhile on Tront (a planet populated by gaseous plasma beings), another Green lantern named Eddore (who we also saw last issue) is preparing to go on a mission, even though the Guardians have expresslyGL and Onu have one last hot night together forbidden him to do so. On Garon, GL heads back to Headmen headquarters and disarms them, giving their weapons to Onu and her rebels. But the Headmen are immune to their own weapons and turn GL’s ring back on him, knocking him out and impressing the hell out of Tiror. GL and Onu are thrown into prison, pending their execution the next day. I’m pretty sure they spend their last night getting it on, and in the morning they’re taken before a firing squad. Before they can be blown away, the cavalry shows up in the form of the Omega Men, who are here to pay GL back for helping them a while ago. We’ll see how that goes next issue.

Jonah Hex 68 coverJonah Hex #68 – “Gunfight at Gravesboro” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Jonah Hex arriving in Gravesboro, where he’s promptly challenged by some loser who wants to get famous for killing the great Jonah Hex. Naturally Hex blows the guy away (impressing the hell out of a kid who works at the livery stable), which brings the local sheriff to see what the commotion is. Luckily for Hex, the sheriff is an old pal named George Rehnquist and he’s glad to see Hex, even congratulating him on getting rid of a useless scumbag. The locals soon hear about Hex’s feat and a bunch of businessmen get together and decide to offer Hex the position of sheriff. It seems Rehnquist is pretty oldHex shows his shooting skill and not as spry as he used to be, which makes Gravesboro a magnet for troublemakers thinking they’ll have an easy time there. One guy points out that having Hex as sheriff might draw unwanted attention, but the others figure Hex can act as sheriff temporarily until Gravesboro loses its rep as a haven for assholes. They offer Hex the job, but he doesn’t want to be responsible for getting his friend Rehnquist thrown out on his ass, so he declines. The businessmen say Hex could act as Rehnquist’s deputy for a while, make some money cleaning up the town, and probably prolong Rehnquist’s life in the process. Hex agrees but doesn’t think Rehnquist will Kincaid takes out his pursuersbe happy about the idea. Elsewhere, a couple of hired guns are tracking a guy named Kincaid, who lures them into an ambush and wastes them. Seems Kincaid and the gunmen were working for a couple of rivals trying to get water rights from someone. Kincaid lets his boss know he succeeded and gets paid off, then says he has some personal business to take care of … with a man named Hex. In Gravesboro, Rehnquist is telling Hex he doesn’t need a deputy when some guys start busting up the saloon. Rehnquist goes in but gets his ass kicked and ends up humiliated, kinda like Dean Martin in Rio Bravo. Hex comes in and uses his marksmanship to screw with the assholes, making them look stupid and scaring the shit out of them. In the next town over,troublemaker gives up Kincaid rescues an Indian named White Claw from being hanged. White Claw knows Kincaid wants his help in dealing with Hex; apparently the two of them were involved in the payroll theft that ended with Hex’s fiancée (Cassie Wainwright) getting slaughtered by Comanches. Everyone else involved has been killed by Hex lately (as we’ve seen in the last few issues), so Kincaid figures they should get Hex before he gets them. In Gravesboro, some scumbag starts causing trouble at the local cathouse, so Rehnquist comes to sort it out. The guy is belligerent at first, but when he sees Hex standing behind Rehnquist, he hands over his gun without a fight. Rehnquist feels pretty good about himself until the guy clues him in. Later, someone comes to tell Rehnquist that Kincaid (whose reputation as a killer is well known) is in the saloon and is threatening to Hex walking into a trapstart wasting people unless Hex shows up to face him. Rehnquist says he’ll handle things himself since he’s the sheriff. Hex is asleep in his hotel room, dreaming about bringing Cassie’s body back to the fort fifteen years ago. Hex broke the news to the fort’s commander, who was also Cassie’s father. He was so distraught at losing his daughter, he blew his brains out. Hex wakes up to someone pounding on his door and soon learns about Kincaid and his threats. Hex heads over to the saloon, where Kincaid has Rehnquist at a table; Rehnquist looks pretty stiff … he’s either dead or in shock. Hex comes in to confront Kincaid, but doesn’t notice White Claw lurking upstairs with a tomahawk.

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