Comics reviews: Flash 322, Wonder Woman 304, Green Lantern 165, Jonah Hex 73

Flash 322 coverFlash #322 – “Burning a Speedster at Both Ends” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

This one starts with Green Lantern Tomar-Re preparing to leave the farm where he crash-landed last issue. The farm family have been very good to Tomar, taking care of him, feeding him, and even letting him use an old tractor to assemble a crude spaceship. (Tomar’s ring is out of charge.) Tomar heads to Central City to deliver the dire message the Guardians sent him to give Flash. But Flash (or his alter ego, Barry Allen) has other things on his mind at the moment. He’s just proposed to Fiona Webb on a carriage ride through theBarry and Fiona park and she’s accepted. This seems pretty quick, considering was supposedly in love with Creed Phillips (aka Eradicator) for the last half dozen or so issues. But Fiona insists she was only in love with Creed’s public persona, not the real person underneath. That makes her sound a bit shallow, but Barry doesn’t seem to mind. Fiona’s pretty keen to get things started and suggests they get married next week. Unbeknownst to the happy couple, they’re being watched by the assassin Saber-tooth, who was contracted to kill Barry last issue and is measuring him for another strike. We learn that Saber-tooth was hired by the brother of someone Barry sent to prison, so that explains why someone wants him dead. Outside Barry’s apartment, Tomar-Re lands his ship but before he can look for Flash, he’s jumped by someone who was keeping a vigil outside the building … Tomar jumped by ZoomProfessor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash. Last issue, Zoom escaped from the other dimension he’d been trapped in for years and now he wants revenge on Flash. He wonders if Tomar is there to warn Flash about his escape, so he knocks Tomar out and reconfigures the ship at super speed, making it space-worthy. Zoom doesn’t want the Green Lantern Corps on his ass for killing one of their own, so he puts the unconscious Tomar in the ship and blasts it into space. Barry is spreading the news about his wedding that weekend, telling everyone at police headquarters and his parents. The news makes the papers, which attracts Saber-tooth’s attention. When Barry takes Fiona out on a romantic boat trip, Saber-tooth follows and blows up a bridge just as the boat asses underneath. Again Barry’s super-speed saves him and Fiona, this time allowing him to capsize the boat and swim away from the falling stones. Heescaping Saber-tooth's bridge collapse changes to Flash and zips around to look for the would-be killer, but Saber-tooth has escaped through an underwater pipe. Barry wakes up Fiona and makes up an excuse as to why they’re still alive, but he knows now that someone is gunning for Barry Allen. He figures he’d better not appear in public with Fiona until the killer is caught. Somehow Saber-tooth realizes Barry escaped the explosion and devises a scheme to lure him to his death. Saber-tooth ties up Dexter Miles (curator of the Flash Museum) and impersonates him to get Barry to come to the Museum. We learn that this isn’t the original Saber-tooth, this is a protege of the original. But Saber-tooth isn’t aware that Zoom is lurking in the Museum and overhears the plans to lure Barry (who Zoom knows is Flash) into a trap. Meanwhile out in space, Tomar-Zoom confronts the disguised Saber-toothRe’s ship is found by the celery Green Lantern, Medphyll, and Tomar says they have to report to the Guardians that his mission failed and that Earth may be in grave danger. At the Flash Museum, Saber-tooth sets up a deathtrap to blow Barry Allen away, but Zoom doesn’t want anyone killing his nemesis except him, so he destroys the trap and kills Saber-tooth. Outside, Barry hears Saber-tooth’s death scream and comes in to find the assassin hanging dead from the ceiling. Turns out this Saber-tooth is a woman (Loretta Norden), who was trained by the original and broke out of prison recently. Barry finds a note pinned to her corpse and realizes who his “saviour” was … Zoom.

Wonder Woman 304 coverWonder Woman #304 – “Polaris Means Peril” – Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a magnetic anomaly destroyed a military jet using a new navigation system and when Steve Trevor and Keith Griggs went to investigate the site, they ended up running into Dr. Polaris, who was using the magnetic navigation system to reconstitute himself. Wonder Woman tackled the villain, but he sent Steve and Keith’s planes on a collision course to distract her. She manages to snag Keith’s plane with her lasso, diverting it enough to avoid a crash. Keith flies out of Polaris’s range and Steve bails out of his plane right before Polaris breaks it up. Steve’s parachute doesn’t open, but Wonder Woman saves him. Polaris demands revenge against Green Lantern and when Wonder Woman says he’s on an extended mission off-planet, Polaris refuses to believe her. Hedeflecting shrapnel sends shrapnel from Steve’s destroyed plane flying at them, forcing Wonder Woman to deflect the shards with her bracelets. Polaris gets away before she can stop him, but when they meet up with Keith, he says Polaris was headed for the North Pole. Wonder Woman changes to Diana Prince to meet Steve and Keith back at the Pentagon and pretends she was knocked out by feedback during the crisis. Steve tells Diana to go get some rest, which gives her a chance to change back to Wonder Woman and join the effort to find Polaris. General Darnell tells them Polaris has issued an ultimatum: if Green Lantern doesn’t show up to face him, he’ll shift Earth’s magnetic poles, which could cause planet-wide devastation. Polaris has ensconced himself in his Arctic fortress and Etta remarks that they need Green Lantern to lure punching Polarishim out. Unfortunately, Green Lantern’s not around, but Steve gets an idea. He dresses up like Green Lantern and “flies” by dangling from a wire attached to Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. The ruse works and Polaris emerges from his fortress to fight his old foe, giving Keith the chance to sneak inside and sabotage whatever machinery Polaris might use to alter Earth’s magnetic field. Polaris finally realizes he’s facing an impostor but Wonder Woman jumps him and knocks him on his ass. Keith’s sabotage pays off, blowing part of the fortress to hell. Polaris rushes back to protect his equipment and Wonder Woman drags Keith out of the fortress right before the whole place blows up. Is Polaris dead? Probably not, but I guess we’re supposed to think so.

Huntress – “Last Rites” – Joey Cavalieri/Mike DeCarlo/Pablo Marcos

Last issue, Huntress was investigating a guy called the Undertaker, who promises to help criminals fake their deaths so they can evade the law in exchange for half their take. But Undertaker has actually been killing his clients and taking all their money. When Huntress found out, she got conked by Undertaker’s brutish assistant (Milo) and placed on a conveyorHuntress pounds Undertaker belt feeding into a cremation furnace. She uses the heat from the furnace to burn through the ropes around her ankles (her boots are fire-proof) and flips free at the last moment. She hides as the Undertaker, Dr. Tarr, and Milo bring another dead client down to feed into the furnace. Milo cranks up the heat and Huntress jumps them, tangling Milo in her ropes before facing off with Undertaker. Milo and Dr. Tarr flee, leaving Huntress to pound Undertaker. She realizes the stoked up furnace is about to blow and gets out as fast as she can. When the building blows, she assumes everyone inside is dead and tries to call the fire department. But Milo and Tarr got out and they jump her, tying her into a stretcher and driving off with her in an ambulance.

Green Lantern 165 coverGreen Lantern #165 – “The Curse of Krystayl” – Mike W. Barr/Keith Pollard/Dan Adkins

This one starts with a Guardian of the Universe telepathically waking up John Stewart to tell him he’s needed as Green Lantern. John’s a bit reluctant (especially since he’s not in bed alone), but when the Guardian tells him all of humanity might be at risk, he agrees to help. He’s sent to find Green Arrow and helps him catch some street punks. Arrow is even more reluctant to do the Guardians any favours, but the possibility of many senseless deaths changes his mind. The Guardian tells them there’s a being of pure crystal that is growing bigger all the time by absorbing carbon-based life … like humans. The Guardian says the crystal warrior came from the planet Krystayl, where it was built as a weapon that could absorb all its builder’s enemies. The Green Lantern Corps destroyed it (killing all the people it absorbed), but a shard traveled throughJohn drops the victims space until it landed on Earth and was found by a kid. The kid’s hatred of his school activated the crystal and allowed the crystal warrior to take shape again. Unfortunately, it’s still following its directive to absorb all carbon-based life. John and Arrow tackle the crystal giant, but their weapons can’t do much to harm it. Despite the Guardian’s orders, they don’t want to destroy it outright for fear of killing all the humans it’s already absorbed. John tries to lift a bunch of bystanders out of the way, but his will power isn’t strong enough and they fall right onto the crystal creature, which absorbs them. John is stunned by his mistake and Arrow gets his arm turned to crystal before John snaps out of it and blasts the behemoth, giving them a few minutes’ respite. John tries to burn and drill the crystal from Arrow’s arm shattered crystalbefore using a chisel to strike the weak point and shatter it. That gives Arrow an idea how to stop the creature without killing anyone. He distracts the giant while John looks for its weakest point. Unfortunately, when the creature absorbs some more people, it grows and the weak point changes, forcing John to start over. He finally finds the new weak point (right on the creature’s chin) and highlights it so Green Arrow can put an arrow into it. That shatters the creature into a million pieces, freeing all the people it absorbed unharmed. John collects all the crystal pieces and he and Arrow head out for some chili. There’s an epilogue about Eddore (the gas-cloud Green Lantern) finding his old friend Galius Zed, who tries to capture Eddore since he’s acting against the Guardians’ orders. But Eddore uses his Power Battery to hypnotize Galius … or maybe to unhypnotize him, since Eddore claims the Guardians are the bad guys and they have to warn the other Lanterns. We’ll see what that’s about next issue.

Jonah Hex 73 coverJonah Hex #73 – “The Wheelchair Bounty Hunter” – Michael Fleisher/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

This one starts with Jonah Hex and a guy named Nathanson sneaking up on the campsite where outlaw Jody Mantlo and his gang are holed up. Nathanson was a member of Mantlo’s gang, but led Hex here for a cut of the reward. Hex jumps out to surprise the bandit beside the fire, but it turns out to be a dummy. Mantlo and his boys pop out of the brush and cover Hex with their guns. Turns out Nathanson was bullshitting Hex; he was leading him into Mantlo’s trap all along. Mantlo’s not too grateful though; he detonates the dynamite under the campsite, blowing Nathanson and Hex to hell. Mantlo and his gang leave and hours later a young Mexican kid (Manuel) comes by the horrific scene. He finds Nathanson dead, but Hex isHex fakes out the killer still alive somehow, though he’s in pretty bad shape. Manuel takes Hex to a doctor in town, but one of Mantlo’s men notices Hex being dragged inside. The doctor patches Hex up and tells him both his legs are busted, so he’ll have to stay off his feet for a few weeks. Hex is ready to go after Mantlo’s gang right away, but the doctor says it’s either bed or a wheelchair for him until his legs heal. Mantlo’s thug knocks out the doctor and tries to kill Hex, but he falls for the old “pillows under the covers” trick and Hex blows him away instead. Hex hires Manuel to take him back to the old campsite so he can track Mantlo from there. Mantlo’s gang split up, so Hex has to track them one by one. He gets the first guy gambling in a saloon and the second one when he’s about to bang a Hex wastes everyonefloozie. But another of the gang sees Hex kill his friend and rides off to warn Mantlo. So when Hex and Manuel follow Mantlo’s trail to an old cabin on a mountain, Mantlo is lying in wait with three of his men. Mantlo shoots Manuel and pushes Hex over the cliff in his wheelchair. Hex manages to lasso a branch on the way down, saving himself from a fatal landing. His wheelchair is still serviceable, so he makes his way painfully back up the trail and comes busting into the cabin, gunning down Mantlo and his men. Turns out Manuel isn’t dead either … the bullet just grazed his scalp (although it sure looked like it hit him in the gut in the original panel). So all’s well that ends well, I guess.

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