Comics Reviews: Flash 324, Wonder Woman 306, Green Lantern 167, Jonah Hex 75

Flash 324 coverFlash #324 – “The Slayer and the Slain” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

This one starts in Central City, where a nurse accidentally loses control of a baby carriage, which goes careening down a hill. Like the old movie cliché, there are a couple of guys carrying a mirror across the street and the baby carriage heads straight for them. The baby is saved at the last second by someone who vibrates it through the mirror at super-speed (which startles the guys so much they drop the mirror). No, it’s not Flash, it’s his one-time partner, Kid Flash (aka Wally West), who’s in town for Barry Allen’s wedding to Fiona Webb. Kid Flash is a little late, but it doesn’t really matter, since Barry is a lot late; he still hasn’t shown up for the wedding and Fiona is distraught. Why is Barry missing hisZoom's snow sculpture own wedding? Because he’s fighting for his life against his archenemy, Professor Zoom, who attacked him last issue. Flash manages to break Zoom’s choke-hold, but the speedy villain is just getting started. He leads Flash on a high-speed chase across the globe, taunting him all the way. At the church, Wally confers with Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny and Barry’s father, but neither of them know why Barry is so late. They assume he ran into trouble as Flash, so Wally decides to suit up and go look for him. Before he can even get into costume, a Guardian of the Universe appears (telepathically) and stops him, saying Flash has to deal with this fight on his own. Zoom leads Flash to the Himalayas, where he sculpts the face of Barry’s first wife Iris (who Zoom Flash saves people on the beachmurdered). Flash destroys the sculpture and tries to bury Zoom in the snow, but Zoom burrows underground, hotly pursued by Flash. At the church, Captain Frye has his fellow officers checking hospitals to see if Barry has been admitted. Fiona’s starting to look less sad and more pissed off as the minutes go by. Zoom surfaces in Miami Beach and whips up a tidal wave, forcing Flash to save the innocent people along the beach. Zoom heads for Cape Canaveral and hitches a ride on a rocket, hoping to ride the jettisoned first stage back to the ocean where Flash can’t find him. But Flash got aboard the rocket too and shakes it apart, forcing Zoom to run back to the Florida coast across he ocean’s surface. Zoom tires of the chase and tells Flash he’s going to repeat history by killing his new wife, Fiona Webb. Back in Central City, Fiona’s had enough and decides to leave the church. She runs into the videographerFlash stops Zoom permanently outside (he’s pretty damn late too) and tells him not to bother setting up, since the wedding is off. Zoom shows up and prepares to vibrate his hand into Fiona’s brain like he did with Iris, but Flash catches him at the last moment and grabs him from behind. Zoom hits the ground and Flash tells Fiona what happened (though he can’t comfort her the way he’d like, since she doesn’t know his secret identity) and she says she doesn’t really care if she lives or dies right now. The cops check out Zoom and find his neck is broken … Flash killed him. Yup, this is the start of the seemingly endless storyline of Flash killing Zoom and going on trial for it. We’ll see the immediate fallout next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • The nurse with the baby carriage is recounting the storyline from a soap opera to soothe the baby; she claims it’s from Days of Our Lives, but the character names—Mac, Rachel, Steven, Alice, Ada—are from Another World.

Wonder Woman 306 coverWonder Woman #306 – “Secrets and Suspicions” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck

This one starts with Wonder Woman returning to the townhouse she shares (as Diana Prince) with Etta Candy. Diana finds Etta entertaining their landlord, ex-Senator Abernathy. Diana mentions the rumours about Abernathy being appointed a special arms control ambassador, but Abernathy denies it again. He gets so worked up about it, he has a heart attack and Diana has to give him CPR. Instead of calling an ambulance, Etta calls Steve Trevor; she says Steve ordered her to call him first if anything unusual happened to Abernathy. Steve shows up with a bunch of soldiers and some EMTs. Diana is pissed off that Steve’s treating Abernathy’s heart attack like a commando operation, but he says someone may be after Abernathy, so he asked Etta to keep an eye on him. Diana wonders why he didn’t ask her and Steve says she was too busy workingWonder Woman pounds gunmen with Major Griggs, but Diana feels like he’s hiding something. After Steve and his team leave to take Abernathy to Walter Reed Hospital, Diana changes to Wonder Woman to follow them. Steve’s convoy is ambushed by some guys with assault rifles trying to get at Abernathy. Wonder Woman takes them down, but Steve won’t let her use her magic lasso to interrogate them, which makes her more certain that Steve’s hiding something. The next day, Diana goes to visit Abernathy and meets his daughter Lisa (a reporter) and an old intelligence colleague, Howard Kohler. Steve comes in and isn’t thrilled to see Diana there. She’s been considering telling him the truth about her dual identity, but decides now isn’t the right time. Steve starts asking Abernathy questions about his past and who might want to hurt him; it Diana kisses Steveseems like Steve already has an idea who it is but wants confirmation. He starts badgering Abernathy and Diana pulls him back. On the way back to the Pentagon, she gives him shit for treating Abernathy so callously and Steve finally comes clean. Apparently Abernathy gave secret info to the Russians that ended up sabotaging delicate arms negotiations. Abernathy’s wife was dying and the Russians convinced him they could cure her (and that the info he was passing on wasn’t all that damaging). That’s why Abernathy resigned his senate seat and wants nothing to do with politics. Steve didn’t tell Diana because she cares so much for Abernathy and he didn’t want to hurt her. She thanks him (with a kiss) and wonders if she should reveal her identity after all. Before she has a chance to think about it too hard, Aegeus shows up on the Capitol steps and stabs Steve with one of his daggers.

Huntress – “It’s … Madness” – Joey Cavalieri/Mike Hernandez/Rick J. Bryant

Last issue, Huntress was taken to Arkham Asylum by Dr. Tarr (and his partner in crime, Professor Fether … yeah, I know) and found herselfHuntress amidst chaotic inmates drugged and wrapped in a straitjacket. The inmates from the Violent Ward have just broken loose and are running amok. Huntress is surprised that they completely ignore her and go after Tarr and Fether, looking for revenge. Tarr’s bruiser Milo however, does come after Huntress, who’s still weak from the drugs in her system. Downtown, Chief O’Hara is fielding questions from the press about vigilantes (and Huntress in particular, who’s still suspected of killing Pat Pending). O’Hara defends Huntress, reminding the reporters there’s no real evidence against her, but he says if the people of Gotham want an end to costumed vigilantes, he’ll take their wishes into Minelli frees Huntressconsideration. At Arkham, Milo is strangling Huntress when another inmate knocks him out. The inmate (Minelli) frees Huntress from her straitjacket and explains he (and most of the other inmates in the Violent Ward) aren’t really crazy. Tarr runs a mob operation and kidnaps enemies of mobsters who pay him and incarcerates them in Arkham, where Fether runs experiments on some of them. Minelli says he’s actually a cop who pissed off the mob and his fellow cops by trying to testify about payoffs on the force. Minelli and huntress bust through a window and head for the fence around Arkham, but when Minelli gets there, Huntress has disappeared.

Noticeable Things:

  • The artist Mike Hernandez is Michael Bair, and he really seems to have a thing for Huntress’s ass.

Green Lantern 167 coverGreen Lantern #167 – “Ring Against Ring” – Joey Cavalieri/George Tuska/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, some Green Lanterns (Galius Zed, Eddore, and Kaylark) confirmed their suspicions that the Guardians of the Universe had special rings that weren’t powerless against the colour yellow, but were keeping the rings from the Green lantern Corps for some reason. Galius Zed and his cohorts attacked the Guardians and took the special rings and when Earth’s Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) tried to stop them, Galius pounded him. GL wakes up and goes after Galius again (who’s ranting about the Guardians betraying the Corps), engaging him in a ring duel. Galius’s new ring is technically more powerful than GL’s, but Galius burns himself out trying to wield it, using up all his will power. While Galius is unconscious, GL commands his ring to tell its own origin story. Not long ago, Kaylark and Eddore were patrolling near Oa when they ranflashback to Kaylark and Eddore meeting pirates into some space pirates. The Pirates (Chance, Harrow, and Risque, who’s got a real Joan Jett thing going) turned out to be arms dealers who use advanced computers to analyze weapons on various planets so they can figure out what to steal or duplicate. They showed Eddore and Kaylark the Guardians building a new ring that was effective against the colour yellow. Kaylark refused to believe it, since so many Lanterns have been killed because of the yellow impurity in the Central Power Battery. (Of course, we now know it was the entity Parallax that was inside the Power Battery, but that wasn’t even on the radar back when this story came out.) The pirates convinced Eddore and Kaylark to acquire a ring for them to analyze and they enlisted Galius Zed to Eddore absorbs his own peoplehelp. Green Lantern decides he’d better retrieve these new rings before someone really gets hurt. He repairs the Power Battery and heads off to Tront, Eddore’s home planet. Back on Earth, Tom Kalmaku is asked to conduct a little industrial espionage against Ferris Aircraft by a guy who works for Block Aircraft, one of Ferris’s rivals. The guy reminds Tom that Ferris has been screwing him over lately, so he doesn’t really owe them anything. Tom says he’ll think about it. On Tront, GL discovers that Eddore has drawn countless Trontians into himself, forming a huge amalgamated being that can put their collective will power to use. As Eddore pulls even more Trontians into himself, GL blasts them with more and more power, causing them to growKaylark crowns herself empress so unwieldy that they keel over. While the giant Trontian is trapped like a turtle on its back, GL takes the new ring and heads for Kaylark’s planet. GL recalls Eddore saying that a villain once tried to bring all the Trontians together into one and since then, Trontians have had a pathological fear of losing their individuality … so why would Eddore meld them together like that? On D’xe (Kaylark’s planet), having the new ring has really gone to her head. She’s demanding tribute from the other inhabitants and has shed her Green Lantern mantle, crowning herself Empress Surrenda. We’ll see how GL deals with that next issue.

Jonah Hex 75 coverJonah Hex #75 – “The Bloody Saga of Railroad Bill-Part 2” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex was hired to bring in a train (and bank) robber called Railroad Bill, who’s been hard to catch because he’s kind of a hero to the have-nots. A Pinkerton agent named Graphus had previously been hired to eliminate Bill and he got it into his head that Hex and Bill were working together. Graphus wounded Hex and Bill saved his life, taking him to his mother’s cabin to heal. Thanks to a traitor in Bill’s gang, Graphus has located the cabin and plans to kill everyone inside, including Bill’s mother and sister. (Graphus doesn’t worry too much about innocent bystanders.)dynamite in the cabin Bill catches the traitor sneaking back in and shoots him, but Graphus and another man are creeping up outside with some dynamite. Graphus orders his man to toss the dynamite into the cabin, despite the two women being right there. As it turns out, the women are the only ones killed by the blast and Bill vows he’ll kill Graphus in revenge. Hex reminds him they need to get out of the cabin, so Bill and his last four men follow Hex out the back. Graphus’s men are waiting, but the outlaws (and Hex) shoot their way clear—with Hex saving Bill’s life—and ride off. Graphus declines to chase them right away, since his own horses are worn out from riding all night. Some distance away, Bill thanks Bill almost shoots Hex on the trainHex for saving him, but says there’s no way he’s going to prison and he sure won’t let himself be hanged, so if Hex insists on coming after him again they’ll be enemies. Hex agrees and rides off. Three weeks later, Bill and his men hit a train and Hex is waiting in a boxcar to ambush them. Bill is on the roof of the boxcar and yells at Hex before shooting, giving Hex time to dodge and take refuge in the boxcar. Bill and his men ride away and they accuse him of warning Hex on purpose so he didn’t have to kill him. With his men turning against him, Bill promises to take care of Hex so they’ll have free rein to hit whatever targets they want. Bill sends his men into town and goes looking for Hex. He finds Hex’s campsite and prepares to blow him away from a nearby ridge, but Graphus walks in and gets the drop on Hex. Graphus saysHex shoots Bill, not knowing he was out of ammo he’s captured Bill’s men but he wants to know where Bill is and assumes Hex knows. Graphus is ready to shoot Hex, but Bill blows Graphus away instead, giving Hex a chance to dive for cover behind a big rock. Bill wastes all his rifle shells trying to hit Hex and decides to get the hell out of there. He climbs down the back side of the ridge, but Hex is there waiting for him. Bill knows he’ll hang if Hex takes him in, so he pretends his rifle is still loaded and raises it toward Hex, who blows him away. Hex finds out Bill was out of ammo and feels shitty for killing him in the Old West version of “suicide by cop”.

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