Comics Reviews: Flash 320, Wonder Woman 302, Green Lantern 163, Jonah Hex 71

Flash 320 coverFlash #320 – “The Final Purge” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Rodin Rodriguez

Last issue, the deadly vigilante known as Eradicator was revealed to be Senator Creed Phillips, who kidnapped his girlfriend Fiona Webb and is holding her outside town while Flash and the cops frantically search for her. We see Flash sneaking down an alley and breaking into a mirror store. Later, Mirror Master and a couple of henchmen return after a successful robbery to find Flash caught in one of Mirror Master’s traps. But when one of the thugs tries to unmask the speedster, it turns out to be Eradicator and the thug gets dissolved into powder. The other thug ends upMirror Master runs like hell the same way and Mirror Master runs like hell before Eradicator can finish him off too. Mirror Master runs into some cops and begs them to arrest him so he’ll be safe. At police headquarters, Barry Allen and Captain Frye talk about Eradicator and Frye confides in Barry about almost getting killed last issue. Of course, Barry already knew that, since he’s the one who saved Frye as the Flash, but Frye is unaware of Barry’s secret identity. Frye wonders if his broken arm wasn’t an accident but Flash’s way of keeping Captain Invincible (Frye’s goofy costumed persona) out of the hunt for Eradicator. That’s exactly was it was, but Barry says Flash would never do such a thing to a fellow crimefighter. In an old windmill (!) outside Central City, Eradicator holds Fiona Webb as he flips back and forth between his two Eradicator's split personalitypersonae. As Creed Phillips, he tells Fiona he loves her and would never hurt her, but when she suggests he turn himself in and plead insanity, Eradicator’s personality pops back up. Eradicator knows Flash will find him soon and plans to use Fiona as a distraction. Meanwhile, Green lantern Tomar-Re (who was dispatched to Earth last issue to give Flash some kind of dire warning) runs into a yellow meteor swarm and ends up plummeting to Earth. Flash talks to Mirror master, who tells him one of the trick mirrors at his hideout may retain an image of Eradicator. Flash checks it out and by making the mirror vibrate at the proper frequency, picks up Eradicator’s trail. He follows it to the windmill, where he finds Fiona drugged and half out of it. He’s so distracted by her that Eradicator jumps him, locking his deadly grip on Flash’s shoulder. Flash takes off at super-speed, but Eradicator hangs on,Flash gets jumped saying that once the dissolving process has started, there’s no escaping it. Flash’s body starts to dissolve, but he retains control over his molecules and drags Eradicator all over the countryside, through forests and rivers, trying to loosen his grip. Flash manages to bring Phillips’s personality out briefly by appealing to his conscience, but Eradicator takes back control right away. Flash takes Eradicator to a cemetery where his recent victims have been buried. When Eradicator sees the graves, Phillips’s personality takes over. He feels guilty for all the people Eradicator killed and knows there’s only one way to end it. He reverses the dissolving process on Flash, drawing the deadly energy back into himself. As Phillips dissolves, he asks Flash to tell Fiona he really did love her. A few hundred miles away, some farmers find Tomar-Re in a field and recognize him as a Green lantern, though not the one they’re familiar with. We’ll see what Tomar’s big message is next issue.

Wonder Woman 302 coverWonder Woman #302 – “Victory” – Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

This issue opens with Wonder Woman chained in an underground cave after being defeated by the sword-wielding skeleton last issue. As she struggles to break free, Wonder Woman remembers a story her mother told her about the first Wonder Woman, an Amazon named Artemis. Artemis and Hippolyta contested for the rulership of the Amazons and Hippolyta won, but Athena and Aphrodite decided to make Artemis their champion and sent her out into Man’s World. Unfortunately, Artemis became corrupted by outside influences, a fate Hipployta feared might befall her daughter as well. Now Artemis’s skeleton has been freed from its tomb and wants revenge on Hippolyta. Up above, Artemis attacks the Amazons, telling Hippolyta someone freed her and told her where to find Paradise Island. Hippolyta reminds her that they used to be best friends, but Artemis says their friendship ended when Hippolyta wasWonder Woman breaks her chains crowned Queen. Now all that’s left is revenge. In the underground cave, Wonder Woman strains herself to the utmost and finally breaks her chains, but the cave starts collapsing around her. Up top, Artemis knows the Amazons’ weakness (thanks to her new mistress) and breaks some of their bracelets, which makes them go nuts. She fights her way through the guards to confront Hippolyta. In the cave, Wonder Woman notices some water seeping through a crack and figures she might be able to open a fissure to the sea. But after pounding away at the rocks, she’s almost ready to give up. She perseveres and busts open a crack, letting the ocean’s waters pour in and sweep away Wonder Woman beats Artemisthe rocks. She fights her way through the rubble in the water and surfaces, nearly spent. But she knows she has to face Artemis again and hastens to confront her. They face off and Wonder Woman ends the fight quickly by ripping the skeleton’s sword away from her. The undead Amazon crumbles to dust and Wonder Woman feels a bit guilty until Hippolyta tells her Artemis was already dead until her new mistress re-animated her bones. They wonder who the new mistress might be and we see a woman watching them through a crystal ball from a remote island. The woman (who I’m assuming is Circe) vows she’s not done with Wonder Woman yet.

Noticeable Things:

  • The cave where Wonder Woman is chained once led to Hades until Hippolyta had it blocked off. The chains used to bind her were one of Hades’ tortures; they led to a chamber where two ogres continually pull the chains down after giving a bit of slack, just to give some false hope and then take it away.

Huntress – “Dying to Take You Away” – Joey Cavalieri/Mike DeCarlo/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Huntress confronting a high-tech bank robber with the idiotic name of Pat Pending. He uses tech to get through security devices but Huntress has staked out a likely target and is waiting for him. They fightHuntress pounds Pat Pending and she gets surprised (and almost electrocuted) by his fancy vest, but Huntress shorts the vest out with some water and kicks his ass. Pending decides he can still get some revenge and pops a pill while she’s not looking. When she clears the rubble off Pending, she finds he has no pulse and isn’t breathing. She freaks out, wondering if she accidentally killed him. I’m thinking the pill just slows his metabolism to simulate death, but Huntress is pretty worried. She leaves, figuring she can turn herself in if she’s responsible. When the cops find Pending, the coroner gives a vague cops check the scenepronouncement of the cause of death, which a reporter inflates to make Huntress sound bad. Helena’s boyfriend (and the District Attorney) Harry Sims, who’s never been crazy about her costumed antics as Huntress, freaks out. Harry wonders why she had to kick the shit out of Pending and why she left the scene. Now that she’s had time to think it over, Helena is sure she didn’t hit Pending hard enough to kill him and doesn’t remember anything else that might’ve accidentally done him in. She figures they’d better figure out exactly what did kill Pending, before she ends up getting railroaded.

Green Lantern 163 coverGreen Lantern #163 – “… Or Give Me Death, Part II” – Mike W. Barr/Keith Pollard/Rick Hoberg

This story is only seven pages long and it’s obviously filler; I think Green Lantern was in a bit of a tailspin at this point. Last issue, Green Lantern’s ship turned against him after the A.I. went nuts. The ship took his Power Battery and threatened to eject it out of an airlock if Lantern couldn’t get to it in time. Lantern and his new/old girlfriend, Onu, made their way through the ship, fighting past numerous traps on the way. This issue opens with them almost getting crushed in a room where the gravity is turned way up, then having to survive the toxic environment of another chamber. TheyGL grabs his battery finally make it to the airlock, but the ship ejects the Power Battery before GL can grab it. He launches himself (and Onu) out into cold, airless space and just manages to grab the Lantern before he and Onu explode. He recharges his ring and stops the errant ship, but has to perform a more somber duty … informing Ph’rax’s parents about his death and vowing to find out who’s behind it all. Before GL can figure out what to do next, he disappears, leaving his ring behind. We’ll see where GL ends up next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • There’s a short interlude with Eddore, the gas cloud Green Lantern, who’s still determined to carry out his mission, even though the Guardians have forbidden him to do so. Arisia tries to stop him and Eddore takes her down so he can go on with his unsanctioned mission.

Jonah Hex 71 coverJonah Hex #71 – “The Masquerade” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex ran into Ernest Daniels, the last of the men responsible for the death of Hex’s fiancée fifteen years ago. Ernest has been feeling guilty ever since, doing charitable deeds to make up for his criminal past, but it hasn’t salved his conscience. So Ernest (and his son Tim) came looking for Hex to apologize in person, but they got caught up with some crazy Native Americans who want to go all Helter Skelter and start a war with the white man. Hex was getting ready to go after the crazy Indians to stop them from blowing up a river and drowning a couple of towns, when Ernest’s other son Jason showed up with some scoundrels to kill them. Jason explains that he’s tired of seeing his father piss away his inheritance on charity. After Jason wounds his father in theJason impaled head, Hex tries to talk some sense into him, but ends up blowing his henchmen away and impaling Jason with a stalactite. Hex heads out to stop the Indians from diverting the river and gets a bullet through the leg as he approaches. Ernest shows up to help, saying he’s felt guilty over what happened fifteen years ago but now figures he can make up for it. Ernest tries to undo some of the dynamite charges and ends up getting jumped by a couple of Indians. As they fight over the dynamite, the megalomaniacal leader decides to detonate the charge, even though his men will be blown up too. Ernest fights free and leaps off a cliff with the charge, which detonates in mid-air, saving the valley. Hex shows up and takes the Indians into custody. Later, Tim says Hex wastes bandidoshe’s glad his father could save all the people in the valley to make amends for his criminal past. Hex and Emmy (the woman he’s been traveling with) head into town and Hex gets a shock when he sees a woman who resembles his wife, Mei Ling. (She looks more like Madame Xanadu to me.) Later, Emmy goes missing and Hex learns she left with a Mexican dude, who left behind a souvenir … a parrot feather. Hex figures his old enemy El Papagayo (who we last saw in issue 55) took Emmy, so he rides into Mexico to look for her. He goes to one of El Papagayo’s haunts and ends up wasting a couple of pistoleros. El Papagayo comes in and congratulates him. He admits he took Emmy and says she’ll be returned safe and sound if Hex does Papagayo a little favour. Apparently the federales have been getting closer and closer to killing El Papagayo, laying traps for him everywhere. There’s a masked ball at the President’s place next week and El Papagayo wants to steal the First Lady’sHex walks into an ambush emerald necklace, but the heat is too much. He wants Hex to go in and steal the necklace, but in order to keep his rep intact, Papagayo needs Hex to be disguised as him. Hex isn’t too happy about that idea, but Emmy’s life is at stake, so he agrees. A week later, Hex (disguised as El Papagayo) sneaks onto the President’s estate to crash the party. Unlike El Papagayo, Hex is careful not to slaughter every guard he meets. Hex bursts into the ballroom and snags the necklace, then heads for the getaway horse El Papagayo promised would be waiting. The horse is there … but so is an ambush of federales, ready to blow “El Papagayo” away.


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