Comics Reviews: Flash 325, Wonder Woman 307, Green Lantern 168, Jonah Hex 76

Flash 325 coverFlash #325 – “Dead Reckoning” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Dennis Jensen

This one starts not long after last issue, with Professor Zoom’s corpse being loaded into a coroner’s ambulance. The press are swarming around the church, talking to anyone they can about Flash killing Zoom to stop him from killing Fiona Webb. Flash and Fiona are inside the church, away from the prying eyes of the reporters, and Fiona thanks him again for saving her. She’s kinda out of it because she’s still trying to come to terms with her fiance Barry Allen standing her up on their wedding day. (Fiona doesn’t know that Flash is Barry Allen, or that he missed the wedding because heFlash and Kid Flash save jet was fighting Zoom.) Fiona almost faints and Flash takes her out of the church at super-speed. The cops confiscate the videographer’s camera, hoping to find evidence about what exactly led to Zoom’s death. Flash takes Fiona to the hospital, where he’s told she may have just had an anxiety attack … or it might be the beginning of a complete nervous breakdown. The next day, Captain Boomerang and Captain Cold infiltrate the morgue to “liberate” Zoom’s body, while Trickster steals his uniform from the police evidence locker. The three Rogues take Zoom’s corpse and fly off in one of Captain Boomerang’s giant contraptions. Meanwhile, Flash has been zipping around helping people at top speed: he restores order at a circus stampede, saves a motorcyclist from plunging off a cliff, and brings a runaway stealth jet down for a gentle landing. He gets some help with the jet from Kid Flash, Rogues blow Zoom's casket to helland admits he’s been throwing himself into altruism to ease his conscience over killing Zoom. They head home, where Barry’s parents try to comfort him. He calls the hospital to check on Fiona, but she’s still sedated, and only relatives are allowed to visit. On a clifftop outside of Central City, the Rogues (joined by Weather Wizard and Pied Piper) come together to see Zoom off. It seems like they’re there to pay homage to a fellow Rogue, but it turns out they’re pissed off that Zoom let himself get killed. Apparently being beaten by Flash is no big deal, but dying is unforgivable. They destroy Zoom’s coffin with their powers and leave, tossing a few taunts each other’s way. Downtown, the District Attorney (Anton Harvey) watches the video of Flash killing Zoom over and over, hoping to find something that’ll let him drop the case. But the tape (and the autopsy, which was performed before Zoom’s body wasBarry talks to Fiona stolen) indicates that Flash used excessive force in stopping the villain, so Harvey tells his people to issue a bench warrant for the Flash. That night, Flash goes to Fiona’s hospital room (sneaking in at invisible super-speed) and changes back to Barry before waking her. She’s glad to see him and he says that he really wasn’t trying to stand her up and he’ll explain everything tomorrow after he gets her out of the hospital. Fiona passes out again and Barry hears a report on the radio urging Flash to come to police headquarters. He heads out, promising Fiona he’ll be back soon. When Fiona wakes up, the doctor doesn’t believe Barry was actually there (since hospital security is strict at night), so he tells her she was just dreaming. At police headquarters, Captain Frye reluctantly arrests Flash for manslaughter.

Wonder Woman 307 coverWonder Woman #307 – “Vulcan’s Daggers” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck/Sal Trapani

Last issue, Steve Trevor was attacked on the steps of the Capitol Building by Aegeus, who he and Wonder Woman first fought in issue 299. Wonder Woman jumps Aegeus and wraps him up in her magic lasso, but Aegeus has some new weaponry. Last time they fought he wielded Zeus’s thunderbolts, but now he has Vulcan’s daggers, which can apparently cut through anything … including Wonder Woman’s lasso. She quickly disarms Aegeus, tossing his daggers aside, and checks on Steve. Aegeus summons the daggers back magically and attacks again, saying Wonder Woman’s death isn’t part of his current employer’s plans, it’s just a bonus. One of the daggers shatters one of Wonder Woman’s bracelets and she pulls back from the fight. When an Amazon’s bracelets are broken, sheAegeus digs his own hole turns into a raging berzerker, so Wonder Woman has to struggle to maintain control. Aegeus tries to take advantage, but Steve manages to throw him off balance and Wonder Woman grabs him, jumping into the sky with him. As they plummet earthward, Aegeus uses his daggers to cut into the ground to spare himself the impact, but Wonder Woman spins him rapidly, causing him to bore deep into the ground. The leaves Aegeus and takes Steve—who still has one of Aegeus’s daggers in his shoulder—to a hospital. The doctors can’t figure out how to remove the dagger and Wonder Woman speculates that only Aegeus can remove it. Steve tells her the attack probably has something to do with Senator Abernathy’s case (which we saw last issue). explanationsWonder Woman changes to Diana Prince and goes to the Pentagon to brief General Darnell and Major Griggs about Steve. She explains to Griggs that Senator Abernathy was attacked by commandos with Russian-made guns and that Abernathy is rumoured to be up for a job as the President’s arms negotiator. Darnell says that rumour is laughable, since Abernathy was pressured into revealing top secret information five years ago that sabotages American-Soviet arms talks. Steve was going to talk to someone from Abernathy’s past when Aegeus attacked, so Aegeus is probably working for whoever’s after Abernathy. They’re interrupted by Abernathy’s daughter (Lisa) and his former aide (Kohler), who want to come clean about Abernathy’s past. Since Diana and the others already know, Griggs suggests they go public; if someone’s trying to keep Abernathy from talking, they might stop once thetalking to Lisa and Kohler secret is out. Lisa is a reporter, so she could easily do it, but Diana says she’d like to save Abernathy’s reputation as well as his life. Diana goes to visit Steve (whose life is being drained by Aegeus’s dagger) and mulls over the problem with Griggs. Steve groggily suggests that someone might just want them to think the Soviets are involved and Diana and Griggs figure out who the main suspect is. Griggs goes to find him while Diana heads for Abernathy’s room as Wonder Woman. She finds Aegeus there, ready to waste Abernathy. She subdues Aegeus, but Griggs comes in with Kohler in custody and says she’ll have to let Aegeus go. Turns out Kohler’s some kind of Soviet-hating nutcase, who was trying to sabotage any possible arms talks because he assumed the capturing AegeusSoviets would break the agreements anyway. He wanted the truth about Abernathy to come out and to have the Russians blamed for killing him. Griggs points out that Kohler can be handled quietly, but if Aegeus is taken into custody, the truth will come out, ruining Abernathy’s rep and any possible arms talks. Wonder Woman agrees to free Aegeus, but only if he removes the dagger from Steve’s shoulder. Aegeus swears he’ll get revenge, but as far as I know, this is his last appearance. Steve recovers once the dagger is out and tells Diana Prince there’s something important he needs to talk to her about. Are we going to see another superhero/civilian identity romance triangle? I hope not, but we’ll see next issue.

Huntress – “Side Effects” – Joey Cavalieri/Mike Hernandez/Frank Giacoia

Last issue, Huntress escaped from Arkham with an undercover cop, but before she could get off the grounds, the hallucinogen she was injected with kicked in. She finds herself in a nightmarish scene (which looks very Ditko-Huntress's fever dreamsesque), where her innermost fears are amplified and made manifest. We get some gratuitous nudity as Huntress confronts her fears of losing her father (Batman) because of his lifestyle, her fear of not measuring up to his heroic status, and the fear of turning into a criminal like her mother (Catwoman). She tries to run away and blunders into her boyfriend (Gotham district attorney Harry Sims), then ends up falling through a hellscape (which includes a Dr. Strange cameo … I told you it was Ditko-esque) and wakes up on the Arkham grounds with the cop trying to revive her. She assures him she’s fine, but she never really did overcome her fears, she just ran from them …

Green Lantern 168 coverGreen Lantern #168 – “A Ring of Endless Might” – Joey Cavalieri/George Tuska/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, some Green Lanterns found out the Guardians of the Universe had constructed special new rings that didn’t suffer from the impurity that made them powerless against anything yellow. The Guardians refused to distribute the new rings, so a trio of Lanterns stole them. Hal Jordan, Earth’s Green Lantern, recovered two of the rings and is now trying to get the last one. Unfortunately, the ring seems to have corrupted its wielder (Kaylark), turning her into a brutal despot named Surrenda who steals stuff from her own people. Green lantern watches Kaylark’s soldiers (a bunch of jackbooted women) roughing up the peasants and stealing their shit. The soldiers spot him and attack, forcing him to surrender by threateningfighting Kaylark innocent civilians. Turns out that’s part of GL’s plan, so he can get in to see the new Empress. Meanwhile, Surrenda (or Kaylark, if you prefer) is entertaining the Freelancers, the pirates who originally alerted her to the existence of the modified rings. They demand she honour their deal and let them study the ring so they can duplicate it, but she just kicks their asses and throws them in prison. GL is dragged in to see her and realizes he may be in trouble, since everything in the throne room is yellow. He and Surrenda have a brief ring duel as he tries to get through to her. Meanwhile, the Freelancers escape from the prison by outwitting the guards with an old Hope and Crosby routine. GL manages to trap Surrenda in a force bubble and wonders how to defeat her. He recalls that Galius Zed was almost consumed by the power of his ring, blowing up the citadelwhich was Zed;s biggest fear, and Eddore used his ring to amalgamate his people into one being, with Eddore’s biggest fear being losing his individuality. So if GL can figure out Kaylark’s biggest fear, maybe he can find out why she became Surrenda. He uses his ring to probe her mind, finding out that she came from a broken family on a world where such families were treated with contempt. Kaylark was afraid of going her whole life unloved and unrecognized, hence turning herself into a grasping dictator. Now that she’s recognized the fear, she can overcome it, but the Freelancers show up and try to drain GL’s ring of its energy. GL can still control the ambient energy by sheer will power, so he pounds the pirates and confiscates Kaylark’s ring. After destroying her palace, he turns Kaylark (and the pirates) over to the Guardians and wonders if his space exile will soon come to an end. His recent companion Onu wonders where she fits in with his future plans; spoiler … I don’t think she does.

Jonah Hex 76 coverJonah Hex #76 – “Caged” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tonmy DeZuniga

This one starts with Hex out shooting a deer for him and Emmylou to eat for supper. He’s feeling guilty because he knows Emmylou loves him, but he doesn’t love her and hasn’t had the heart to tell her. At camp, he’s kind of a dick to her, but before he ca work up the courage to dump her, they’re ambushed by some gunmen. Hex wastes them, but doesn’t recognize them so he figures they were just bandits. Turns out they were actually working for Quentin Turnbull, who still hates Hex for (supposedly) getting his son killed back during the War. Turnbull is pissed off when he finds out his hired guns failed to kill Hex, but seeing a possum in a cage gives him a better idea for revenge. Instead of taking Hex’s life, he’ll take his freedom. Way out West, Hex and Emmylou ride into town and he puts off her discussion of settling down once again. When he goes to stable the horses, he gets conked on the head and wakes up out in themaking a deal with Phelps country with a fancy-dressed dude who claims to be the Governor, Mackenzie Phelps. Phelps tells Hex he wants him to commit some kind of crime and gt thrown in the state penitentiary to investigate conditions there. Phelps has heard rumours of brutality, terrible conditions, and rampant corruption among the guards. He says he’ll pay Hex well to get thrown is the hoosegow, see what’s going on firsthand, and fill him in. Phelps promises Hex will be sprung after about a month, but Hex isn’t stupid; he makes Phelps put everything in writing (including that he’s acting under the Governor’s authority) in case something goes wrong. Phelps agrees and Hex heads back to town to pack. Emmylou isn’t happy he’s leaving (especially since he won’t tell her where he’s going) and he treats her like shit again. She says maybe she’s better off Hex gets poundedon her own than with a guy who’s using her as a stand-in for the wife that walked out on him. A couple weeks later, Hex starts robbing banks and trains, not even trying to hide his identity. It isn’t long before a posse brings him in and he’s sentenced to 25 years in the state pen. On her brother’s farm, Mei Ling (Hex’s estranged wife) reads the newspaper story about his capture and doesn’t believe that he suddenly turned into a criminal. Elsewhere, Emmylou reads the same story and has the same reaction, vowing to help Hex if she can. In prison, Hex soon learns that the place is corrupt, with the guards and administration taking most of the state funding and giving the prisoners slop to eat. Hex defends an older guy who has trouble with the hard labour the prisoners are forced to endure and ends up getting the shit kicked out of him. Hex is tossed into solitary confinement … maybe for a couple of months. We’ll see if he gets out next issue.

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