Comics Reviews: JLA 226, Legion of Super-Heroes 311, Tales of the Teen Titans 42, Warlord 81

JLA 226 coverJustice League of America #226 – “Hell on Earth” – Joey Cavalieri/Chuck Patton/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a cult known as Fiatlux started recruiting people who were missing something in their lives. They also stole a new substance called Luciferase from the lab of Ray Palmer, alerting the JLA to their misdeeds. The leader of Fiatlux was playing a more dangerous game and used the Luciferase summon a demon from Perdition named Hellrazer. Zatanna, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Hawkgirl arrived at cult headquarters just in time for the summoning. Hellrazer calls forth some more demons (which he calls Djinn) to fight the JLA, who are outmatched by the mystical forces. Zatanna casts a spell to destroy the cauldron the leader used to summon Hellrazer, which forces theZatanna abducted demon back to Perdition. Unfortunately, he decides to take Zatanna with him, disappearing with her into the smoking remains of the cauldron. The others find the cult leader dead and Black Canary discovers that the smoke from the ruined cauldron is actually a portal to Perdition. The trio of JLAers walk through the portal to look for Zatanna. Meanwhile on the JLA Satellite, Hawkman, Atom, Red Tornado, and Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny are trying to track the Luciferase that was stolen from Atom’s lab last issue. After making some repairs to the Satellite computer, they get a hit in Fez, Morocco and head down to check it out. They wear disguises as they home scaring off thievesin on the Luciferase, but have to spend some time slapping down a gaggle of thieves. Across town at Rick’s Cafe Americain (I thought that was in Casablanca? Maybe it’s a franchise.), some guys from the United Arab Republic have a clandestine meeting with Fiatlux and their leader, Lord Arsenic. But it turns out these “terrorists” are really Mossad agents, there to wipe out Fiatlux and prevent Lord Arsenic from using the Luciferase. Arsenic hides in a back room and pours the Luciferase onto an artifact, the Mask of Set. The Luciferase empowers the Mask, which fills Arsenic with power. When the MossadArsenic kills Mossad agents agents bust in, he incinerates them with his new powers and decides he no longer needs his Fiatlux followers, burning some of them too. Arsenic blasts his way up through the cafe, as the JLA members home in on the amped up energy signal. In Perdition, Hellrazer tells Zatanna he has a plan and she’s part of it … even if he has to force her. At the cafe in Fez, the JLA show up and rescue the patrons from the destruction. They’re attacked by Arsenic, who has transformed into the Egyptian god Set and now has amazing destructive powers. Set tosses the JLA around like rag dolls until Atom notices a mirrored disco ball reflects Set’s blasts. They lure him into firing at them and Ralph reflects the Ralph takes Set downblast right back at Set, reversing the transformation. He changes back into lord Arsenic, the wannabe sorcerer, and tells the JLA where to find the rest of the Luciferase. In Perdition, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl find Zatanna and rescue her, but there’s no sign of Hellrazer. Zatanna manages to duplicate Hellrazer’s spell to get back to Earth, which makes Hawkgirl suspicious since Zatanna has never had that level of power before. Hawkgirl’s suspicions are apparently justified, as we see a very sinister look on Zatanna’s face when they return to Earth.

LSH 311 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #311 – “Destruction by Design” – Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Larry Mahlstedt

This one starts with the complete and total destruction of Legion Headquarters; must be a weekday. The only people present to witness this monumental event are Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, who are giving a tour to Legion superfan Flynt Brojj. Bouncing Boy knows Brainiac 5 was inside the building, but he can’t break through the rubble to find him. Brainy’s fine, still inside what’s left of his lab. He was making another attempt to save Danielle Foccart and rid her of the presence of COMPUTO. Looks like things didn’t quite work out. Brainy’s mishap did have one unfortunate side-effect … it gave COMPUTO control of Danielle again. In case you’reBrainiac blasted out of HQ wondering, the rest of the Legion is heading back from Khundia, but Wildfire decides he has something better to do and takes off. In the remains of Legion HQ, COMPUTO attacks Brainiac 5, who defends himself with his personal force-field, then switches the force-field so it encases Danielle’s body, stopping COMPUTO from doing any more damage. Brainy says he already had a plan in place to separate COMPUTO from Danielle and confine the malevolent computer-mind safely. He puts that plan into action, which causes another explosion. Brainy is blown right out of the lab, where Bouncing Boy saves him from splattering. Brainy explains to his teammates (and the Science Police) that he lured COMPUT|O into attacking by dropping the force-field so he could contain COMPUTO’s energy in a specially-built globe, freeing Danielle from its influence at the same time. Shvaughn Erin says the United Planets will be so grateful that COMPUTO is no longer a threat, they’ll probably help rebuild the HQ. Brainy says that won’t be necessary as the rubble of the old HQ automatically transforms into a new and much grander headquarters. new HQBrainy says he’s integrated COMPUTO into the HQ as an AI in charge of everything, which doesn’t make his teammates too happy considering all the trouble COMPUTO has caused in the past.

“A Shared Destiny” – Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen/Gene Colan/Larry Mahlstedt

This story follows Wildfire after he left the Legion cruiser so abruptly, as I mentioned above. He’s going to find Dawnstar, who’s still off on her spiritWildfire on Starhaven quest to find her soulmate. Wildfire goes to Starhaven, Dawnstar’s home where her parents tell him she’s off on her quest. They aren’t thrilled that he might interrupt her quest, especially since it’s obvious he loves her and just as obvious there can never really be anything between them, since Wildfire is non-corporeal energy now. Meanwhile, Dawnstar is flying through the solar system, lamenting the fact that Wildfire can’t be her soulmate even though she loves him. She rescues a spaceship in trouble in the asteroid belt and heads for her naming-place … Venus, the Dawn Star. As Dawnstar tries to get a vision of Wildfire and Dawnstar work things outher future in the cloud cover, Wildfire shows up to apologize for freaking out when she told him about her spirit quest (back in issue 304). She gets pissed off that he’s interrupting her ritual, but he tells her he loves her and hopes he guy she ends up with appreciates her. Dawnstar returns to Starhaven and tells her parents Wildfire is her soulmate, even though there can be no physical love between them. She says she might find someone else to take care of the physical aspects of love, or she might not; either way, she believes the Creator would approve of her choice of Wildfire as a soulmate, since he’s the one who makes her happy.

Noticeable Things:

  • Flynt was last seen in 1975, in Superboy and the Legion 209. The character was an homage to two real-life Legion fans, Mike Flynn and Harry Broertjes.

Tales of Teen Titans 42 coverTales of the Teen Titans #42 – “The Eyes of Tara Markov” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/

This is part 1 of the Judas Contract, where things really start getting wild. I love the title of this issue, which I’m assuming was inspired by “The Eyes of Laura Mars”, though I haven’t seen that movie. This one starts with Tara (Terra) Markov taking photos with her contact lens camera for the Terminator. Only this time, she’s taking photos of the Titans in their civilian identities, starting at Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy’s photo studio, where Donna is getting some bikini shots of Starfire. They all go to Donna’s apartment where we see Terry Long, Donna’s fiancé and the world’s most hated supporting character. They’reTara spying planning the wedding, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, so Gar says they can hold the wedding at his (well, Steve Dayton’s) mansion. Donna asks Dick Grayson to give her away, and asks Starfire and Tara to be bridesmaids (apparently Raven has already declined). Tara seems touched by Donna including her; will this change her mind about spying on the Titans? Don’t count on it. They drop by Dick’s apartment next, and Tara is still taking pictures. As they leave, Tara speaks for readers everywhere and asks Gar (Changeling) Logan why he acts like such an idiot all the time. Gar says he feels inadequate around the other Titans, since all of them would be successful without their Thumper taunts Victorpowers, but he’s got nothing else going for him. Tara tries to give him some advice, but he doesn’t want to listen. They drop by a park and watch Vic (Cyborg) Stone attempting to ice skate … and failing miserably. Of course, Gar makes fun of him, with a nod to Bambi. They go by Vic’s place, which is in a run-down neighbourhood. Vic finds a letter saying his grandparents are coming home and freaks out, though he won’t explain why. Later, Gar and Tara get all smoochy-smoochy down at the docks, even as we’re reminded that Tara’s still spying. At Titan Tower, Tara tries to get Raven to open up, but Raven’s empathic abilities mean she can detect some bad vibes coming from Tara. She’s not sure if it’s Tara herself, or just some residue of Trigon’s evil, butStarfire vs Wonder Girl with staves she’s pretty snotty to Tara. That makes Tara mad and she vows that she’ll take care of Raven herself when the time comes. The next day, the Titans are testing themselves at their HQ. Cyborg lifts a magnetized five ton weight (Pfffft, Spider-Man can lift twice that!) to prove that he can still push himself beyond his limits, like he did when he was fully human. Wonder Girl and Starfire do their best Robin Hood vs. Little John impersonation, fighting each other with quarterstaves. But instead of fighting on a log over a river, they seem to be on an air mattress in the swimming pool; either way, the loser gets wet. Starfire wins, extending her unbeaten streak, but they hug it out afterwards. Terra goes nutsNext up are Changeling and Terra, who mix it up outside. Of course, Changeling is an obnoxious ass and Terra lets her psycho side show when she freaks out and tries to kill him. She apologizes profusely and says it’s a delayed reaction from when she was held by the terrorists. Strangely, they all seem to believe her (with the possible exception of Raven, but she isn’t really the type to share her feelings anyway). Anyway, this one doesn’t end with a hug. Back at Casa Terminator, Slade Wilson tells Tara she almost blew it by letting her true emotions show. She isn’t worried, but Slade says the Titans shouldn’t be underestimated. They prepare to attack the Titans, using the knowledge of their civilian identities gleaned by Tara. It seems Slade is completing theSlade finalizes his plans contract his son Grant (aka Ravager from issue #2) had with HIVE to kill the Titans. Since Grant died, Slade figured it was his obligation to finish what his son started. They leave to carry out the assignment and we see that Slade is a spyee as well as a spyer; a woman (plus some dude with blond hair in a really funky perm) is watching Slade and Terra … and she seems to know Slade from way back. Who is she? We’ll have to wait until next issue to see.

 

Warlord 81 coverWarlord #81 – “Thief’s Magic” – Cary Burkett/Dan Jurgens/Dan Adkins

This one starts with a furtive figure sneaking into the camp of Jennifer Morgan and her bodyguard Faaldren. Jennifer’s magic alerts her and she wakes up in time to grab the thief in a spell. It turns out to be Tinder, who we last saw back in issue 61. Tinder tells Jennifer how he traveled with a merchant who taught him the art of thievery until their camp was attacked by soldiers on dinosaurs, who were led by a half-man, half-bull. Tinder escaped and wandered until he stumbled across Jennifer’s campsite and decided to help himself to their stuff. Jennifer’s magic tells her he’s not lying and she feels a strange kinship with him. Not surprising, since he’s her half-brother, althoughJennifer searches for her father neither of them know that. Jennifer mentions Shamballah and Tinder tells her that city has fallen to invaders. Jennifer is worried and tries a locator spell to find her father, but the spell doesn’t work … meaning Travis Morgan is no longer in Skartaris, or he’s dead. Of course, we know Morgan isn’t in Skartaris, he’s on Earth in the far future, and he’s actually dreaming about Tinder. Morgan is having a nightmare about killing his son, not realizing he only killed a clone and his real son was switched. Jennifer decides they should head for Shamballah anyway, but the minotaur and his soldiers find them before they get far. Jennifer uses her magic to fight the soldiers and is Tinder summons a demon trainshot in the shoulder by a crossbow, screwing up her concentration. Faaldren kills the minotaur’s mount before being captured and Jennifer summons some phantom soldiers to distract the attackers. She needs help and tells Tinder to touch her magic ring and think of the scariest thing he can. His thoughts (and Jennifer’s magic) conjure up a train with a demonic face that sends the soldiers running like rabbits. Jennifer wonders how Tinder could know what a train is, since he’s never been to the outside world. She’s intrigued by Tinder, so when he asks her to train him in magic, she agrees (over Faaldren’s objections). So Jennifer is now unknowingly tutoring her own brother in magic; I’m sure nothing bad will happen because of that.

Jinal and company in the desertBarren Earth – “Other Survivors” – Gary Cohn/Ron Randall

This one starts with Jinal, Skinner, Renna, and Yisrah traveling across the vast desert with Barasha and a whole horde of Harahashan. Barasha and his mate (Lur) try to teach Jinal some of their language, but she doesn’t pick it up easily. Soon most of the Harahashan head off in another direction, leaving Jinal and company to go on alone. Jinal still wants Yisrah to lead them to the floating city of D’roz and Yisrah tells her about the city as they travel. Yisrah says the Old ones who dwell in D’roz once saved the world and that theyQlov camp sometimes allow select people to enter the city for short periods. Jinal is shocked to hear Barasha once spent some time studying in D’roz. Not too far away, we see a quartet of Qlov soldiers, survivors of the same battle that left Jinal stranded here. They’ve set up a camp and have been listening to a pulsing signal for the last few months … a signal that finally changes, letting them know they aren’t alone.

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