Comics Reviews: Flash 330, Wonder Woman 312, Green Lantern 173, Jonah Hex 81

Flash 330 coverFlash #330 – “Beware the Land of Grodd” – Cary Bates (plot), Joey Cavalieri/Carmine Infantino/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Fiona Webb strapped down in a strait-jacket, rambling about Barry Allen. A reporter for a sleazy tabloid sneaks into her room to record her loony monologue, but Flash vibrates into the room and grabs the guy. Flash is so pissed off at this tabloid vulture, he takes the guy outside and sends him through a car wash at super-speed to dampen his spirits. Flash destroys the tape and checks on Fiona, who’s drifted off to sleep. At police headquarters, Angelo Torres’ mother is there to ask the cops to find her missing son. Frank Curtis tells her Angelo might just be asserting hisFlash lured in by Grodd independence and he’ll probably come home soon. Of course, we saw last issue that Angelo has been mentally dominated by Gorilla Grodd, who’s using street punks as operatives now. On TV, the slick lawyer named Redik gives an interview where he talks shit about the small-town attorney (Peter Farley) Flash has hired to defend him. I guess Redik’s still mad about losing out on such a high profile client. Flash and Farley review Flash’s case trying to figure out a defense for involuntary manslaughter. The next day, Flash is called to the police station by Captain Frye, who asks him to look into Barry Allen’s disappearance. Frank Curtis also mentions Angelo is missing and Flash says he’ll look for him right away, since he’s met Angelo before and helped steer Flash fights punkhim away from a life of crime. Flash zips around Central City, finding no trace of Angelo, so he heads outside the city limits. He runs across a strange tendril of smoke, or maybe mist, that almost seems to move with a will of its own. The smoke leads him to a deserted area where it curls into a spiral. Flash is compelled by some chemical in the smoke to follow it, running in a tight circle faster and faster until he ends up in a nether-dimension. We see that Grodd has orchestrated this and he follows Flash to the nether-dimension. Flash finds Angelo in the nether-dimension, but he also finds the two street punks Grodd is using as henchmen. Apparently, Grodd controls the nether-dimension, so the longer Flash spends there, the more it drains his speed. The two punks have an advantage since they can basically just wish forAngelo controlled by Grodd powers and Grodd will grant them. Too bad they don’t have enough brains to wield the power, giving Flash the upper hand. He takes out the first guy, but the second one gains super-speed just as Flash’s speed deserts him. Before the punk can kill Flash, Grodd wastes him, saying Flash’s death is his privilege alone. As Flash tries to figure out where his speed went, we learn Angelo is still in Grodd’s mental thrall and the super-ape has been draining Flash’s speed through Angelo, in anticipation of finishing the Scarlet Speedster forever. We’ll see if Grodd succeeds next issue.

Wonder Woman 312Wonder Woman #312 – “Escape” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck

Last issue, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor tracked her stolen jet to a weird aircraft graveyard in the sky, where they found a spaceship cobbled together from airplane parts populated by huge aliens and tiny gremlins who do the aliens’ bidding … like stealing aircraft to add to the ship. Wonder Woman and Steve ended up in a scrap room about to fall into a laser array. She whips her magic lasso around at super-speed to deflect the lasers and Steve tosses her tiara to knock out the controls. They find more gremlins disassembling a Russian spacecraft and Steve grabs one of them. One of the huge aliens comes in, but when Wonder Woman takes it down they realize it’s just a robot. The captured gremlin explains the other gremlins were using the robot to scaregremlins origin them. It was based on their former alien overlords, the Ytirflirks (a name Douglas Adams would probably love), who were too big (and clumsy) to manipulate tools, so the gremlins did all the maintenance work for them, allowing the aliens to conquer and enslave to their hearts’ content. The gremlins got tired of the Ytirflirks’ abuse, so they stole a ship and took off. They couldn’t fly too well and crash landed in Siberia (75 years ago, which I assume is a reference to the Tunguska Incident). Ever since, the gremlins have been stealing parts from planes to repair the ship. Wonder Woman’s sympathy for them goes right out the window when she finds out they’ve dismantled her invisible jet. Meanwhile, Lisa Abernathy is still trying to get information Griggs attacked by Circe's animal-menfrom General Darnell about Major Griggs, but Darnell won’t talk. We see Griggs on a small Caribbean island, being chased by various animals, most of which aren’t native to the Caribbean (and all of whom were once human). As Griggs is jumped by a man transformed into a panther, we find out Circe is the one changing the people into animals. On the spaceship, Wonder Woman orders the gremlin they caught to fix her plane, which is hooked to the ship’s main propulsion system to give it enough power to clear Earth’s atmosphere. Wonder Woman draws the other gremlins off, giving Steve and the friendly gremlin time to fix the plane and disconnect it just before the spaceship leaves Earth. The gremlin repairs the invisible jet in time to keep it from crashing, but he’s stuck on Earth now. It looks like Steve and Wondergremlin fixes jet Woman have their own version of the Great Gazoo now. Have I mentioned how stupid this story is? Wonder Woman offers to tell Steve her secret identity, but he prefers the mystery to the reality, saying he’d hate to find out she was “someone who sweeps up the Pentagon at night”. Snobby bastard. On Paradise Island, Sofia Constantinos snoops around and finds the memories that Hippolyta extracted from Wonder Woman (which Sofia learned about in issue 308). I don’t know what Sofia’s going to do with those memories, but I don’t think it’ll be good.

Huntress – “The Voice of the People” – Joey Cavalieri/Dan Spiegle

This one starts with a protest in downtown Gotham against vigilantes in general and Huntress in particular. Reporter Nedra Borrower is there, stirring up shit (she has a personal grudge against Huntress) and talking up Huntress jumped by a mobher lover and Gotham’s favourite new demagogue, Terry Marsh. But Terry turns out to be working with Earthworm, trying to get vigilantes banned and using his connections to find buyers for the babies Earthworm “acquires”. The baby Earthworm left on Marsh’s doorstep last issue was a warning to stick to the plan instead of trying to build himself a political career. The warning backfired, since Nedra as at Marsh’s place and insisted on turning the baby over to the police. Earthworm is pissed off about losing a perfectly healthy baby, so he leaves his henchman to pound a little sense into Marsh. At the protest, Nedra spots Huntress on a rooftop and challenges her to come down and face the crowd. Nedra has gotten everyone so worked up, a bunch of them climb up to grab Huntress. She swings to another roof where another mob is waiting to jump her. She can’t fight back without hurting them and damaging her reputation even more, so they start to overwhelm her.

Green Lantern 173Green Lantern #173 – “Old Friends, New Foes” – Len Wein/Dave Gibbons

This one starts with Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan, who’s finally back on Earth after his long space exile, flying around outside Coast City. GL stops a drunk driver from killing anyone and heads home for a morning quickie with Carol Ferris. We see the Monitor and his assistant Lyla in their satellite in Earth orbit discussing Jason Bloch and his vendetta against Ferris aircraft. Monitor is still being written as some kind of power broker for villains, not the cosmic entity he’ll later become. When Hal and Carol get to Ferris Aircraft, Hal pushes someone out of the way of a falling girder. It turns out to be his old pal Richard Davis, but after Hal leaves, Davis isn’t all that thrilled that Hal saved him. Carol takes Hal to a research lab to introduce him (and us) to some new characters: ClayHal's psionic experiment Kendall (the guy Hal thought Carol was kissing last issue); April O’Rourke (an Irish stereotype who looks and sounds like Siryn from X-Force); and Jake (a Hispanic dude with a ridiculously long name). These three are studying psionics, trying to harness the power of the human brain for telekinesis. They haven’t had much luck and Carol suggests Hal try their brain-power machine. It looks like Hal is actually successful, as he makes a paper airplane spin and fly off its stand. But Hal claims it was a breeze blowing through the open window and makes a hasty exit. Clay isn’t convinced that it was just the wind that made the paper plane move. Upstate, a Ferris truck is hijacked by a costumed goon with a heavy German accent named Javelin, who seems Javelin attacks Green Lanternto be working for someone else. At Ferris, Hal stops in to see his best buddy, Tom Kalmaku, who’s working on Bruce Gordon’s solar-powered jet. Gordon (who used to be Eclipso) comes by with Carol, who tells Hal he’ll be test flying the jet as soon as the new solar engine is delivered. You see where this is going, don’t you? Yeah, Carol gets a phone call about the solar engine being hijacked and Hal makes an excuse so he can change to Green Lantern and investigate. GL finds the truck and learns about Javelin’s attack and that he had help from some guys on hover-sleds. GL tracks them and deals with them easily, but gets jumped by Javelin. They mix it up and Javelin uses one of his gimmicky weapons to coat GL in yellow plastic, sending him plummeting toward the ground.

Jonah Hex 81Jonah Hex #81 – “The Alliance” – Michael Fleisher/Dick Ayers/Tony DeZuniga

Last issue, Jonah Hex went to retrieve the Governor’s letter that clears him of robbery, but was ambushed by his old nemesis, Quentin Turnbull. Hex tricked Turnbull into reaching into the hiding place for the letter and Turnbull was bitten by a rattlesnake. Hex got the letter and was ready to leave when Turnbull pulled a gun. Before he can shoot, the poison gets to him and Hex prepares to leave him to his fate. But for some weird reason, Hex decides to stay and suck the poison out of Turnbull’s hand. I know Hex is supposed to be an honourable man, but he’s wasted plenty of people before, so to save the life of a man who wants him dead seems a little too much. Back in town, Marshal J.D. Hart turns in therockslide guys who jumped him last issue and learns that Hex busted out of jail not long before. Hart is surprised, but figures Hex probably got tired of waiting for him to come back with the letter, so he took matters into his own hands. Hart decides it’s time he did the same, resolving to begin courting Hex’s estranged wife, Mei Ling. Hex and Turnbull (who’s still weak from the poison) are heading back to town in Turnbull’s carriage when an avalanche blocks both ends of the canyon they’re traveling through. If that seems like too much of a coincidence, you’re right … the rockslide was engineered by El Papagayo, who’s still pissed off about Hex besting him back in issue 72. in town, Emmylou Hartley decides Turnbull tries to talk his way outit’s time to give up on Hex since he just keeps breaking her heart. She heads out of town, tossing a lecherous asshole in a water trough on the way out. In the canyon, Hex and Turnbull have sheltered in a cave. Turnbull tells Papagayo he hates Hex too and tries to leave. He almost gets killed, but Hex saves him again, saying two of them have a better chance of survival than one. Hex takes a bullet in the leg and asks Turnbull if he has another gun, which Turnbull denies. Back in town, Hart takes Mei Ling out to dinner and puts the moves on her afterward. She doesn’t seem too bothered by it. In the cave, Hex is asleep and Turnbull pulls out a Derringer (we all knew he was lying, didn’t we?), but before he can kill Hex, he sees some of Papagayo’s men sneaking up toshooting the ambushers the cave. He takes a shot and Hex rolls over, blasting the rest of the ambushers. The one Turnbull shot is still alive and Hex figures they can use him as a human shield to get to the carriage. They go out slowly, expecting to get blasted at any second, but they make it to the carriage. They take off and find some of the rocks have been moved, allowing them to exit the canyon. Turnbull is happy, but Hex is worried since El Papagayo isn’t the type to give up so easily. Turnbull finds a note on the seat from Papagayo saying Adios and we see the bandido is watching from a nearby ridge. He focuses his binoculars on the underside of the carriage, where a lit stick of dynamite is attached to the axle. As El Papagayo looks on in triumph, the dynamite explodes, blowing the carriage to pieces.

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