Comics Reviews: Flash 329, Wonder Woman 311, Green Lantern 172, Jonah Hex 80

Flash 329 coverFlash #329 – “What is the Sinister Secret of Simian and Son?” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with some cops responding to a mugging in Central City. They hold the three muggers at gunpoint, but it turns out to be a ruse. The “victim” is really Gorilla Grodd using his mental powers to make himself look human. Grodd blasts the cops with mental energy and he and his trio of thugs steal the cop car. Grodd uses his powers to make the car look like a flashy Cadillac, so he and his criminal buddies can stay somewhat inconspicuous. I’m not sure why Grodd’s so chummy with these punks; he’s always had contempt for humans in general. On the JLA Satellite, we finally (!) get Superman’s decision on whether Flash should be kicked out of theSuperman's decision League because he’s been arrested for killing Zoom. Superman goes against the odds and chooses to let Flash stay, pending the outcome of his trial. Superman’s decision is immediately rendered moot when Flash tells them his current problems are enough of a distraction, so he might not even show up for the next JLA meeting. In Central City, a slick (and nationally famous) lawyer arrives (N.D. Redik) and everyone is speculating that he’s there to defend Flash on his manslaughter charge. Redik denies it, but he says he’d certainly take the case if Flash asked … and he’d win. While on his way to Masonville to see an old friend, Flash rescues a guy whose car is plunging Flash saves Farleyoff a cliff. In one of those coincidences that only happen in fiction, the guy turns out to be the old friend Flash was going to see, a lawyer named Peter Farley. Of course, Farley is an old pal of Barry Allen, not Flash, so the Scarlet Speedster says Barry recommended Farley as a good lawyer. Barry Allen has actually been “missing” because Flash doesn’t want to put Fiona Webb through any more trauma. Farley agrees to take Flash’s case. In Central City, Angelo (the kid Flash helped a while back) is handing out flyers to get people to contribute to a defense fund for Flash. Angelo gives a TV interview on how Flash helped him turn his life around and get away from his gang. That pisses off Dirk, leader of the gang and Grodd’s chief flunky. Dirk grabs Angelo and takesFiona freaks out him to Grodd’s penthouse, where the Super-Simian informs Angelo he’s going to help defeat Flash. At the hospital, Barry’s parents visit Fiona, who seems to be doing much better. But when they show her a photo of Barry, she completely loses her shit and has to be sedated. At the police station, Captain Frye and Patty Spivot (who’s dressed pretty sexy for work) are cleaning out Barry’s office. Patty gives Frye Barry’s ring (the one that usually holds his costume) and Frye swears he’ll find out what happened to Barry. Farley takes Flash to a mountaintop mansion owned by his law partner, telling Flash he can Flash feeling the pressurestay there while the trial’s on to keep away from the media. When Redik gets the news that Flash has hired some nobody as his lawyer, he’s pretty pissed off. Angelo goes home under Grodd’s mental control (scarfing down bananas like crazy) and mouths off to his mom, even fantasizing about killing her. Grodd tells him to concentrate on their plan to attack Flash. Speaking of which, the Scarlet Speedster finishes some business with Farley and goes for a run. Farley wonders how Flash stays so cool with all the shit that’s going on lately, but we see Flash isn’t quite as calm and collected as he makes people think.

Wonder Woman 311 coverWonder Woman #311 – “Gremlins” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck

This … this is not a good story. I think they were really running out of ideas by this point. We start with Wonder Woman’s invisible plane buzzing people on the ground in Washington. The plane won’t respond to her mental commands and when she jumps aboard, she finds a freaky little gremlin controlling the plane. She’s thrown off and ends up being picked up by Steve Trevor in his fighter jet. Steve tells her the invisible plane flew through a secret military base not long ago and she mentions the gremlin (which Steve accepts quite readily). They track her plane up into the clouds where they find a sort of Sargasso Sea of lost aircraft, including zeppelins, biplanes, and even satellites. A gremlin rips one of the engines off Steve’s jet and takes it up through theSteve helps Wonder Woman clouds to a gigantic spaceship. They run into the ship’s crew (a bunch of big aliens) who aren’t very friendly. As Wonder Woman smashes their defenses, Steve tries to crawl through a hole to the outer hull, but ends up falling farther inside the ship and knocking himself out. In Washington, General Darnell leaves a closed-door Senate hearing and refuses to say what it’s about to reporters (including Lisa Abernathy). On the alien ship, Wonder Woman finds Steve in what seems to be a junk room, but gets her leg caught under some scrap. Steve digs her out and she’s so impressed she’s ready to share her secret identity with him right then and there. Before she can, the room tilts, throwing them both down toward some kind of laser trash incinerator.

Huntress – “Crocodile Tears” – Joey Cavalieri/Tim Burgard/Mike DeCarlo

Last issue, Huntress followed a punk into the sewers hoping he’d lead her to Earthworm, who’s been kidnapping and selling babies. Instead, she ran into Huntress fights alligatorsa trio of hungry alligators. She’s too soft-hearted to just kill them, but she manages to knock them around and get clear. She catches the guy she was following (who calls himself Runner, since he does errands for Earthworm) and intimidates him into talking. Runner admits the gators belong to Earthworm, but doesn’t know where he is now. Huntress tells him to pass on the message that she’s coming for Earthworm and the baby he stole. Elsewhere, we see anti-vigilante politician Terry Marsh and reporter Nedra Borrower (who has a personal grudge against Huntress), obviously enjoying some post-coital afterglow. They’re actually watching a newscast of Nedra interviewing Terry on his anti-superhero stance. Someone rings Terry’s doorbell and he finds a baby on the doorstep with a note asking him to care for it. We see Earthworm across the street, loving Terry’s confusion.

Green Lantern 172 coverGreen Lantern #172 – “Judgment Day” – Len Wein/Dave Gibbons

This one starts with Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan zipping through a meteor shower thinking about how his space exile might finally be over. He’s so distracted with thoughts of Earth, he almost forgets to deal with the meteors before they hit an inhabited planet. Luckily, he gets his head on straight and uses his ring (and a little billiards strategy) to take care of the meteors. He heads back to Oa to petition the Guardians to let him return to Earth. Hal is happy to find a bunch of his fellow Green Lanterns (Katma Tui, Arrkis, Eddore, Arisia, Green Man) there to support him. (Salakk is there too and he’s still an asshole.) Hal asks the Guardians to end his exile so he can go home andHal leaves Oa they’re disappointed that he still seems to care more about Earth than the rest of his Sector. Hal explains that his friends and family on Earth help make him who he is and giving up his ties to them would make him a worse Green Lantern, not a better one. The Guardians finally agree to let him return to Earth as long as he promises to respond to any emergency in his Sector immediately. Hal says goodbye to his friends in the Corps (Arisia still has a thing for him) and heads home to Earth. We get a brief mention that he dropped Dorine off on Evil Star’s homeworld, which her people are colonizing—you know, in case anyone gives a damn what happened to her. Hal goes straight to Carol Ferris’s place, but gets a shock when he sees her kissing some blond stud. He freaks and takes off, wondering if he was stupid to expect Carol to GL pounds robberswait a whole year for him to get back. He comes across a store where some punks are holding hostages after a botched robbery and welcomes the chance to vent. GL takes the robbers out quite easily and heads over to Ferris Aircraft to pack up his stuff. Carol comes in, having seen GL’s heroics on the news and asks why he hasn’t been to see her. Hal mentions the blond dude and she starts laughing, telling him that was Clay Kendall, a Ferris employee who just got a big promotion and she was congratulating him. Carol says she’d have waited forever for Hal to get back and they finally have their long-delayed reunion. I assume some heavy banging took place soon after. So, that’s the end of the space exile storyline, finally. Let’s hope Len Wein can get back to some good stories instead of the crap we’ve been subjected to lately.

Jonah Hex 80 coverJonah Hex #80 – “Day of the Rattler” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex tricked the bounty hunter following him into drinking poisoned water in the middle of the desert, but Hex succumbed to his wounds and thirst. Marshal J.D. Hart finds Hex and revives him before it’s too late, but runs into a posse on the way out of the desert. Hex is still wanted for breaking out of prison after being convicted of robbery (which was a set-up by his old enemy Quentin Turnbull) and is now suspected of killing the Governor (which was also Turnbull’s fault). Hart allows the posse to take Hex in and put him in jail, figuring he’ll be safe there. When Hex wakes up, Hart tells him he picked up most of his gear, including his weapons, but Hex is more concerned with the letter he had the Governor sign before going to prison. That letter exonerates Hex forEmmylou reads about Hex the robberies, so he tells Hart where to find it, asking him to bring it back and clear Hex’s name. Quentin Turnbull is in town and sends some hired guns to follow Hart and prevent him from finding the letter. Meanwhile, Hex’s latest girlfriend (Emmylou Hartley, who’s wearing the Old West version of a go-go dancer’s outfit) reads about his capture in the newspaper and decides to help him. She’s not the only woman who wants to give Hex a hand: his estranged wife, Mei Ling, reads about Hex’s plight and heads to the same town to see what she can do. Hart realizes he’s being followed and jumps a couple of the bandits. His prowess with his fists and six-shooters keeps them off balance, but as usual, he doesn’t kill them. That turns out to be a mistake, as a third thug Hart jumps his pursuersgets the drop on Hart and he’s captured. In town, Emmylou visits Hex and he tells her Hart should be back soon with the letter. While Hex and Emmylou are making out, Mei Ling shows up (which the Sheriff finds amusing), but Emmylou realizes Hex still loves his wife more than her, so she leaves. Turnbull’s men have taken Hart to a deserted cabin where Turnbull asks him about the letter clearing Hex. Hart refuses to talk, so Turnbull tells his boys to “persuade” Hart and leaves. In town, Hex is surprised when Man-of-Two-Bloods (the Indian kid Hex helped a couple issues back) shows up to pay back his debt … by dynamiting a hole in the jailhouse. Hex gets his weapons back and he and Man-of-Two-Bloods take off. Turnbull sees them and decides to follow Hex, knowing he’ll go to get the letter. In the cabin, Hart knocks over theTurnbull gets a surprise stove, starting a fire and burning his ropes off. He takes down his captors, actually wounding one of them in the shoulder, which for a pacifist like Hart is pretty violent. Out in the middle of nowhere, Hex goes to the hole in the rocks where he hid the letter. Before he can retrieve it, Turnbull shows up with a gun. He tells Hex to back off and reaches into the hole for the letter. Turnbull gets a surprise when he’s bitten by a rattlesnake. As the poison courses through Turnbull’s veins, Hex uses a forked stick to pin the rattler long enough to grab the letter. Turnbull begs Hex for help, but he walks away, leaving Turnbull to die from the rattler venom. Turnbull figures he might as well take Hex with him and aims his gun at Hex’s back.

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