Comics Reviews: Flash 326, Wonder Woman 308, Green Lantern 169, Jonah Hex 77

Flash 326 coverFlash #326 – “Shame in Scarlet” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Gary Martin

This one starts with Flash being booked for manslaughter for killing Professor Zoom a couple issues ago. The police station is surrounded by reporters going nuts for the story, but the cops keep them out. Captain Frye goes out to talk to them and ends up giving them shit for acting like vultures. Flash is processed, but the cops are pretty lenient, not making him take his mask off or give them his fingerprints. Weather Wizard is being booked at the same time and makes fun of Flash for being a criminal like him now. Weather Wizard uses a false tooth to create a mini-thunderstorm that frees him from his cuffs with a bolt of lightning, then grows large enough to cause chaos in the station. The copscatching Weather Wizard rush in to grab Weather Wizard and Flash quickly jumps in to help, but the cops think he’s nuts when he zips right past Weather Wizard and attacks a police lieutenant. Turns out Weather Wizard used some kind of hologram tech to make himself look like the lieutenant and vice versa, but Flash’s speed-trained eyes noticed a weird vibrational frequency. Flash is taken to the holding cells where he endures the jeers of the other inmates. At the hospital, Fiona Webb insists she saw Barry Allen in her room the night before and her doctor insists that’s impossible, since someone would have to turn invisible to get past their security unseen. (Of course, Barry was invisible at super-speed, but neither the doctors nor Fiona know that.) The trashing Barry's placedoctors think Fiona might be schizophrenic and seeing things, but she’s certain she saw Barry and believes he’ll come see her again. Meanwhile, Detective Frank Curtis tries to help a street punk named Angelo, recommending leniency for trying to steal an old lady’s purse. Angelo isn’t too grateful (in fact he’s kind of a dick), but Curtis figures there’s a good kid buried under the big mouth. Flash gets released on his own recognizance and heads home to think things over. He figures he can’t resume his life as Barry Allen while the manslaughter charge is hanging over Flash’s head because when Barry reappears Fiona will want to get married and he can’t marry her until the case is settled. Flash decides Barry Allen has to vanish and he gets pissed off and trashes the apartment. Barry’s neighbours (Mack and Troy Nathan) come to check out the noise and wonder if whoever trashed the place hascatching glass anything to do with Barry not being around lately. At the courthouse, reporters talk to the district attorney (Harvey), who tells them he expects the grand jury to indict Flash and that superheroes have to be treated like anyone else under the law. We never see Harvey’s face (and didn’t see it last issue either), so I’m thinking he’s someone we might recognize. Downtown, a woman yells that someone stole her necklace and Flash sees Angelo running across the street. A car swerves to miss him and smashes through a store window. Flash has to catch all the flying shards of glass, cutting his hands up pretty good. He grabs Angelo but finds out Angelo was chasing the actual thief, who the Fiona losing itcops just grabbed a block away. Angelo gets pissed off at Flash assuming he was the thief and leaves. One of the cops tells Flash his brother-in-law is a great lawyer, then notices Flash bleeding all over the place and advises him to go to a hospital. He zooms over to get his hands stitched up, but it turns out to be the same hospital Fiona is in. she’s half out of it from sedation, but somehow senses that Barry is nearby and goes running into the emergency room toward Flash, professing her undying love for Barry. Has Fiona figured out Flash’s secret? There’s a blond dude on a gurney right in front of Flash, so I’m gonna say this is a big fake-out, but we’ll see next issue.

Wonder Woman 308 coverWonder Woman #308 – “Heritage” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck

This one starts with Wonder Woman on Paradise Island undergoing a ceremony to replace her bracelet and lasso that were damaged fighting Aegeus last issue. Sofia Constantinas has snuck up to watch Wonder Woman receiving her new tools from Athena and Aphrodite and hangs around after Wonder Woman leaves to eavesdrop on Hippolyta’s conversation with the goddesses. Hippolyta is worried that Wonder Woman is considering sharing her secret identity with Steve Trevor and mentions that Steve has been brought back from the dead twice. Before Sofia can hear more, Wonder Woman catches her eavesdropping. In Star City, Black Canary comes upon a woman chasing anBlack Canary and Zenna mind-switch old man and tries to intervene. The woman uses some kind of psycho-kinetic power to throw up a wall of flame, forcing Canary to ditch her motorcycle. But it turns out the woman isn’t the bad guy after all; the old man is a Nazi and he calls some apes out of a warehouse (!) to grab the woman. Black Canary realizes her mistake but can’t do anything about it. The woman gives her a really intense stare as she’s dragged off and Canary turns around and rides away. I’m calling the mind-switch right now. On Paradise Island, Sofia apologizes for snooping and Wonder Woman promises not to rat her out to Hippolyta. When Sofia mentions Steve dying twice, Wonder Woman goes Sofia gets suspiciousinto a momentary trance and can’t remember what they were just talking about. That makes Sofia curious and she decides to do a little digging. Wonder Woman heads up to the JLA Satellite and finds Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny half-unconscious. Ralph says Black Canary showed up, asked if this was the JLA Satellite (yeah, that’s not suspicious), and decked him. According to the Satellite monitors, Canary is currently ransacking the JLA weapon storage. In Washington, Major Griggs gets a new assignment in the Caribbean (and flirts with Etta), but that assignment was supposed to be Steve’s, so Etta wonders how he’ll react when he finds out Griggs took his place. On the Satellite, Wonder Woman and Ralph try to grab the fake Black Canary and she shoots at them with a laser pistol from the armory. Wonderfixing the Satellite hole Woman deflects the beam, blasting a hole in the Satellite. She and Ralph have to scramble to seal the breach before they get pulled into space. Wonder Woman uses her lasso to compel Canary to spill her guts. She says she’s actually Zenna Persik, a Romani woman whose parents died at Auschwitz, and she was trying to catch their killer (Karl Schlagel) when Black canary screwed things up. Zenna admits she used Romani psionic powers (or Gypsy magic as she calls it) to switch minds with Black Canary and came to the Satellite to find a weapon. She says Canary was captured (in Zenna’s body) and is at Schlagel’s mercy … or already dead. In Star City, Canary isn’t dead, but she Black Canary in troublewakes up (in Zenna’s body) in a filthy warehouse and wonders what the hell’s going on. Schlagel interrogated her when he first captured her and she realized she’d switched bodies. She couldn’t answer his questions, so he drugged her and tossed her in a locked room. She busts through the rotten floorboards and follows a hallway to a room where she finds a bunch of kids hooked up to a weird machine. She has no idea what’s going on, but she’s so distracted that the apes grab her again, and Schlagel says it’s time to finish her off for good since she doesn’t know anything.

Huntress – “Pressure” – Joey Cavalieri/Michael Hernandez/Frank Giacoia

This one starts with Huntress observing some crooks about to make a dope deal. While she waits for it to go down, she thinks back to earlier that day. She was at the apartment of Gary Minelli, the undercover cop she met at Arkham a couple issues back. Gary brought her to his place after she passedHuntress at Gary's place out last issue since he didn’t know where she lived. He puts the moves on her and she’s kinda into it (and she sure isn’t shy about walking around in front of him in a towel and without her mask). At Arkham, a reporter named Nedra Borrower wrapped the story about Huntress exposing Undertaker’s schemes and implicating him in Pat Pending’s death. Nedra is pissed off because Huntress is a hero who does what she wants, where Nedra had always taken shit from everyone when she tried to compete with guys on the same level. She’d been bullied and called unladylike (or a lesbian) for wanting to beat the guys at their own game, so she gave up on her goals. Now her goal is to Huntress swings into actionmake Huntress suffer and she swears not to give up on this one. As villain motivations go, that sounds pretty stupid, but whatever. Downtown, Commissioner O’Hara tells D.A. Harry Sims that he’s tired of taking shit from the public over vigilantes like Huntress. He’s going to assign a cop to keep tabs on vigilantes—especially Huntress—and guess who that cop is? Yup, Gary Minelli. Back in the present, the drug deal finally happens and Huntress leaps into action, but the package they were handing over turns out not to be drugs. What is it? We’ll have to wait and see.

Green Lantern 169 coverGreen Lantern #169 – “Off on a Tanjent” – Joey Cavalieri/Howard Simpson/Gary Martin

This is the definition of a fill-in issue, with Green Lantern only showing up (barely) in the framing sequence (which was drawn by Jose Delbo). Turns out the last few issues, featuring a contingent on Lanterns rebelling against the Guardians because they were hoarding more powerful rings, was all just bullshit. Yeah, none of it really happened, it was just some mind-fuck the Guardians came up with to test Hal Jordan’s commitment to the Corps or something. When Krista (who’s not really dead) asks if Hal should be beyond that sort of shit-test, the Guardians launch into a story about a bunch of aliens. On a planet called Tanjent, the inhabitants have vast mental powers, allowing them to do almost anything … even create new life from nothing. But one kid (Symon)Symon exiled is kind of a psychic nerd; he’s terrible at using his mental powers and since mental prowess is so important on Tanjent, he’s ostracized by his peers and his family is ashamed of him. His father (who’s a real prick) exiles Symon to the moon where he manages to eke out an existence. He’s contacted by the Guardians of the Universe, who say his reverence for life (including his own) qualifies him to be a Green Lantern. After training he’s assigned to the space sector that contains his home planet. Symon doesn’t want to go back because he thinks everyone there is smarter than him, but the Guardians tell him to trust himself. Symon returns to Tanjent and finds an alien fleet above the planet. The fleet isn’t doing anything hostile (in fact, they haven’t even tried to communicate with Tanjent), but Tanjent gets paranoid and attacks Guardian pep talkthem. Symon stops the fighting and taps into the group mind on Tanjent (which he’d never been able to do before) to find out what their next move will be. He finds out they’re freaking out about the aliens, even though they’ve done nothing provocative. Symon is shocked to find out one of the minds in the group is himself, but he has to stop another attack from Tanjent before he can investigate. Turns out his parents cloned him and the clone got elected as a magistrate. Symon freaks out and decides to let the aliens total the planet if they want to, but the Guardians tell him he needs to get over himself and be the bigger person. He goes back to Tanjent and stops another attack, this time by some machines called Squarejaws that crunch anything their heat-seeking sensors latch onto. The Squarejaws are yellow, so Symon moves the alien ships down to the planet and the magistrates have to call off the Squarejaws to prevent them from destroying Tanjent. Symon (who’saliens revealed wearing a mask) asks his clone why he keeps attacking the alien ships and the clone says the aliens are obviously hostile, even though they haven’t actually done anything. The alien ships open up and the “aliens” turn out to be a bunch of people who were exiled from Tanjent for having sub-standard mental powers, like Symon. While in exile, they ran across aliens who were planning to invade Tanjent and defeated them, taking their ships to return and claim their birthright. Symon reveals his identity to his “brother” and the clone welcomes the exiles—including Symon—home. The Guardians conclude their tale and Krista is just as confused as I am; what the hell did any of that have to do with them testing Hal Jordan? Anyway, the Guardians say Hal’s reckoning is coming up soon and Krista wonders who’s right and who’s wrong in all this. I’ll be glad when GL gets back to Earth; the creators are obviously running out of space stories to tell.

Jonah Hex 77 coverJonah Hex #77 – “Over the Wall” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex was asked by the governor to act as his undercover spy inside a prison, gathering information on the deplorable conditions within. After getting the governor to sign a paper saying Hex was acting under his orders, Hex got himself arrested and tossed in prison for what was supposed to be a month. But he got pounded by guards and tossed into solitary for an indefinite stay. Hex’s time in solitary is driving him nuts and he’s constantly having to fight off the rats just to eat the crappy food he’s given. He gets a visit from his old nemesis Quentin Turnbull, who tells him this whole thing was a trap. Turnbull had the governor (one of his cronies) set it all up, so now Hex is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. Hex freaks and starts stranglingHex pounded again Turnbull, but the guards come in and beat the shit out of him. The beating, coupled with the bread-and-water diet he’s been on, leave Hex in a bad way. The warden decides not to call a doctor, figuring if Hex dies he won’t be able to tell anyone how the prison is run. Meanwhile, Emmylou Hartley (Hex’s current girlfriend) comes to visit him and is told he’s in solitary for two months and can’t receive visitors. When the two months is up, Emmylou comes back and the warden tells her Hex is dead. He shows her the gravestone but refuses to let her take the body, claiming Hex died of some kind of fever and he doesn’t want to start an epidemic. Emmylou is pretty freaked out and the news soon spreads all over the West. Mei Ling (Hex’s estranged wife) sees the newspaper headline and governor busts his head openmourns her husband, even though they were separated. In the prison, Hex actually is pretty sick, but he’s not dead yet. A guard taunts him with the newspaper and Hex pounds him, stealing his keys and finding all his clothes and guns in the storage room. Hex makes his way outside and gets into a guard tower, where he uses the Gatling gun to mow down a bunch of guards before going over the wall. At the governor’s mansion, news about the escape gets out and he calls Turnbull to come right away. Turnbull is pissed off about Hex’s escape and he’s apoplectic about the letter the governor signed exonerating Hex. Turnbull freaks out so bad that he governor is startled and trips, cracking his head open on the fireplace. Turnbull leaves, thinking Hex must’veEmmylou in trouble trusted the letter to someone before going to prison. Hex shows up at the governor’s mansion just in time to be blamed for the governor’s death. Hex steals a horse and takes off, wondering how much crazier things are going to get. Meanwhile, Emmylou is convinced Hex is still alive, so when someone shows up at her door with a message from a friend, she opens the door. It turns out to be Turnbull and a couple of thugs wanting the letter he’s sure Hex entrusted to her.

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