Comics Reviews: Flash 323, Wonder Woman 305, Green Lantern 166, Jonah Hex 74

Flash 323 coverFlash #323 – “Run Flash—Run for Your Wife” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Rodin Rodriguez

Last issue, Barry Allen proposed to his girlfriend Fiona Webb and they decided to skip the long engagement and get married right away. This issue opens with Firestorm and Wonder Woman discussing the hasty decision on the JLA Satellite. Firestorm is kinda pissed off that Flash didn’t give his Justice League pals more notice, but Wonder Woman says Flash is lucky to have found someone else he loves after losing his first wife Iris (in issue 275), so he’s entitled to do things however he wants. In Central City, Barry is zooming around at super-speed trying to get ready. His father tells him to relax and forget about being the Flash. (Barry hasn’t told Fiona about his heroic identity yet.) Barry’s mom is still hung up on Iris, but her husband warns her not to let nostalgia spoil their son’s big day. While he’s getting ready, Barry gets a telepathic message from a GuardianFlash recalls his fights with Zoom of the Universe, who tells him their regular messenger (Tomar-Re) wasn’t able to get through to him. If the Guardians could transmit the message to Flash directly, why the hell did they bother sending Tomar? Anyway, the Guardian tells Barry that Professor Zoom, his arch-nemesis (and Iris’s killer), has escaped from the nether-dimension where Flash stranded him in issue 283. I thought Barry might’ve had an inkling of that last issue after finding Saber-tooth dead in the Flash Museum, but this news seems to shock him. He tells the Guardians not to interfere and takes off to find Professor Zoom. Barry’s parents come looking for him and find his clothes, but can’t figure out why Barry would just take off on his wedding day. Flash goes to the museum to look for clues and finds a recording from Zoom, wedding guests arrivetaunting him. Zoom has been observing from the nether-realm he was stranded in for the past four years, dreaming of revenge. Zoom knows about Barry and Fiona getting married and says he has plans for the happy couple, unless Flash can home in on his location first. At the church, Henry and Nora Allen wonder where Barry could be, but decide to go ahead with everything and hope he shows up. Other guests arrive for the wedding: Ralph Dibny, Dexter Myles, Patty Spivot, Captain Frye, Frank Curtis, and Mack and Troy Nathan all show up. Fiona is getting ready, unaware that the groom hasn’t arrived yet. Flash is scouring the city looking for Zoom when he finally realizes Zoom gave him the clue he needs; Zoom said Flash had to “home in on” him, so Flash heads to his old house, the one he and Iris used to share. At theFiona heartbroken and Flash about to be neckbroken church, everyone’s wondering where the hell Barry is and his parents are hoping it’s some emergency he’s dealing with as Flash … the alternative being that he ditched Fiona at the altar. At his old House, Flash finds Zoom and attacks him, pretty much totaling the place (and scaring the shit out of a young couple who were thinking about buying the place). As Fiona comes to terms with the fact that Barry isn’t showing up for the wedding (he’s over an hour late now), Flash is about to get choked to death by Zoom across town. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out next issue.

Wonder Woman 305Wonder Woman #305 – “The Day of the Man-Beasts” – Dan Mishkin/Gene Colan/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Diana Prince looking forward to a restful day hanging out with Etta Candy. But we get a clue that Diana’s day will be anything but restful, as a sinister face appears in her mirror as she’s turning away. She and Etta take their bicycles out to go for a picnic, passing their landlord (ex-Senator Abernathy) on the way. Rumour has it that the President is going to make Abernathy his new Special Arms Negotiator, so a gaggle of reporters is asking Abernathy for confirmation. He denies the rumours, saying he retired from government a decade ago and has no intention of coming back. Diana and Etta ride past the White House and are suddenly attacked by a minotaur. Diana shoves Etta out of the way, but it’s obviousWonder Woman fights minotaur the minotaur is after Diana (and knows she’s Wonder Woman). She tells Etta to go for help and the minotaur carries Diana off, saying his mistress is calling him. She recalls the skeletal warrior she fought (in issue 302) alluding to a mistress as well, and wonders who keeps sending these minions after her. Diana breaks free and changes to Wonder Woman, ensnaring the minotaur in her magic lasso. She compels him to tell her who he works for, but he manages to resist the lasso’s magic. When she presses him, he reverts back to human form with no memory of what happened. Wonder Woman realizes he was changed into a minotaur by powerful magic and tells the Secret Service to take care of the confused guy. A giant bird swoops down to grab Wonder Woman and carry her off. She snags the flag atop the White House and Wonder Woman fights giant birdwraps around the bird’s head, causing it to drop her. The bird also changes back to human form and wonder Woman catches him before he splatters on the ground. The human-to-animal transformations have told Wonder Woman who her adversary is … Circe, who has been known for turning men into beasts since the time of Odysseus. Wonder Woman calls out, asking Circe why she’s been attacking her. Circe’s voice comes from the statue of Freedom on the U.S. Capitol dome, saying the Fates have decreed that she and Wonder Woman will be enemies, so she decided to strike first instead of waiting. Circe topples the statue and Wonder Woman catches it before it hits the ground. She realizes she has a powerful new enemy to contend with.

Huntress – “Straitjacket” – Joey Cavalieri/Mike Hernandez/Rick Bryant

Last issue, Dr. Tarr and his brutish henchman (Milo) knocked Huntress out and whisked her off in an ambulance after she ended their racket of killing criminals and burning the remains in a crematorium. They take Huntress to Arkham Asylum, which seems to have been taken over by the lunatics. (TheHuntress checked in to Arkham front desk is manned by a guy who looks like Groucho Marx and a woman who looks kinda like Ann-Margret, but talks in rhyme.) Huntress is put into a straitjacket (Michael Bair seems to have a thing for bondage, not to mention Huntress’s ass) and taken inside, where numerous crazies are running wild (including Little Orphan Annie). Tarr tells her that Milo thought his dentist was implanting transmitters in his teeth that allowed the Russians to control his mind (the dentist being a Communist), so Milo strangled him and filed all his teeth to points to block the signals. Downtown, a group of “concerned citizens” are giving District Attorney Harry Sims shit because of all the vigilantes in Gotham. They still believe huntress killed Pat Pending a few issues back, even though Harry reminds them there’s no evidence Huntress meets the Professoragainst her. Harry isn’t sure what to do, since Huntress is his girlfriend and he doesn’t really like her vigilante lifestyle, so allying with these protesters might help him get Huntress off the streets and out of danger … but Gotham needs its heroes too. At Arkham, Huntress is introduced to Tarr’s boss (the Professor), who wears a weird necklace and sounds like a nutcase. He injects her with a hallucinogen and tells Tarr and Milo to throw her in the Violent Ward. Tarr tells Milo to gas the Ward so they aren’t attacked when they open the door, but the gas doesn’t seem to work and the violent psychopaths bust through the door before Tarr even opens it. Of course Huntress is in a straitjacket and drugged, so there’s not much she can do … or is there? We’ll see next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • There’s a pin-up of Wonder Woman by Mike Hernandez and RickMichael Bair pin-up Bryant in this issue; in case you’re wondering “Mike Hernandez” is actually Michael Bair and this is his first work at DC (and according to Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, his second work anywhere, his only previous job being a Moon Knight story over at Marvel).

 

 

Green lantern 166 coverGreen Lantern #166 – “Yellow is the Color of Fear” – Joey Cavalieri/George Tuska/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with a rookie Green Lantern named Krista on the desert planet of Tatooine—oh sorry, I mean Sikarra. Krista is being battered by a powerful sandstorm and her ring is useless, since the sand is yellow. She’s caught in a whirlwind and pulled toward the gaping maw of the Sarlaac—er, I mean, the Tracheus Rex. Krista manages to send out a distress call as she slides toward her doom. On another planet, a goofball villain called Kilobyte is trying to float a city (Heliopolis) right off the planet for ransom. Green Lantern Hal Jordan pulls the city back with his ring until it can be moored safely, then he kicks the crap out of Kilobyte. GL sees Krista’s emergency call and follows it to Sikarra, where he’s just in time to see her get swallowed by the Tracheus Rex. GL dives down the monster’s throatGL pulls Krista out of the monster's mouth where he finds Krista unconscious, already injured from the beast’s toxic yellow saliva. GL uses his ring to pry the beast’s mouth open and flies out with Krista in his arms. He decides to take her back to Oa for healing. A heated debate is taking place on Oa, where several Lanterns (Eddore, Galius Zed, and Kaylark) are pissed off at the Guardians of the Universe. Apparently the Guardians have created advanced rings that don’t have the weakness rendering them powerless against anything yellow. But the Guardians refuse to give these rings to the Corps members. GL brings Krista back, but it’s too late … she’s dead. When they hear that Krista died from yellow poison (and Galius Zed pounds GLsand) the rebellious Lanterns freak out and attack the Guardians, demanding access to the advanced rings. The Guardians run away and GL tries to stop his fellow Lanterns. The pissed-off trio gets to the Central Power Battery, where they find the advanced rings and claim them. The Guardians flee again and Eddore and Kaylark head for their home planets, vowing to follow their own paths instead of being dictated to by the Guardians. Galius Zed sticks around to take care of Green Lantern, beating the shit out of him and saying he’ll no longer take orders from the Guardians or anyone else. Looks like civil war in the Corps, but we’ll have to wait until next issue to see what happens.

Noticeable Things:

  • This whole story is kinda strange, introducing elements we haven’t seen before; the Guardians all have names and individual looks instead of the usual homogeneity. And the idea of special rings that can overcome the yellow impurity reminds me of Geoff Johns’ tweak decades later of the GLs being able to affect the colour yellow if they could master their fears and exert enough will power. I wonder if Johns got the inspiration from this story?

Jonah Hex 74 coverJonah Hex #74 – “The Bloody Saga of Railroad Bill” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with a railroad baron named Thorgson hiring Jonah Hex to catch a bandit who’s been robbing trains. The bandit is known as Railroad Bill (although his real name is William Clinton—no relation, I’m sure) and he’s proved impossible to catch so far because regular folks see him as a sort of Robin Hood figure, stealing from the greedy Eastern railroads and banks. Franklin says he hired a Pinkerton agent named Graphus to get Railroad Bill, but he hasn’t had any luck so Thorgson wants Hex to bring the bandit in. A week later, Railroad Bill (who looks a lot like Robert Redford) rides into a town called Franklin Forks to hold up the bank. The Pinkerton agent Graphus knows Bill’s plan somehow and has menmain street massacre poised on rooftops along the street to start shooting as soon as Bill and his gang come out with their hands full of loot. Inside, Bill adds to his reputation as a man of the people by making sure his men don’t hurt anyone, and by handing a wad of cash to an old Confederate veteran who was afraid of losing all his money in the robbery. As Graphus and his men wait to ambush Bill, a bunch of women from the nearby church fill the street, but Graphus tells his men to blast Bill when he comes out, regardless of the civilians. When Bill emerges from the bank, Graphus and his men start shooting, killing eight of Bill’s men … and a couple of church women. Bill is wounded and takes off with his remaining four men. Graphus ignores the anger of the townsfolk and leads his men Bill saves Hexafter Bill. Bill tells his men to split up, but Graphus stays on Bill’s ass and shoots his horse out from under him. Graphus is getting ready to hang Bill when Jonah Hex shows up hoping to take Bill in himself and collect his reward. Bill pulls out a hidden knife and stabs one of Graphus’s men, then takes off. Hex offers to bring him back but Graphus assumes Hex is in league with Bill and shoots him. Bill figures he better pay Hex back for saving his ass, so he comes back and scatters the posse, picking Hex up and riding off with him. They stop at a nearby farm (whose owner is a fan of Bill’s war against the railroads) and borrow a wagon, disguising Bill as a farmer and Hex as his wife. The disguise doesn’t work perfectly and Bill ends up having to kill a couple of posse members with a hold-out Derringer he keeps up his sleeve. Turns outGraphus plans another massacre Bill recognized Hex right away and knows why he’s there, but figures he still owes him. Bill says he’s taking Hex to his mother’s place to get patched up, but if they run into each other again later, all bets are off. At Bill’s mother’s house, Hex gets fixed up and Bill wonders how Graphus knew where he was going to strike. One of Bill’s men (Terry) gets nervous and later, when everyone’s asleep, Terry sneaks out and goes to meet Graphus in he woods. He gives Graphus shit for not getting Bill in town and tells him where Bill is holed up. Graphus says he’ll get his men together and they’ll burn down the house and everyone in it … including Hex and all the civilians.

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