Comics Reviews: JLA 227, Legion of Super-Heroes 312, Tales of the Teen Titans 43, Warlord 82

JLA 227 coverJustice League of America #227 – “Dragon Keep” – Joey Cavalieri/Chuck Patton/Mark Alexander

This one starts on a lonely island in the Pacific where a bunch of Fiatlux brothers are trying to escape. They end up being devoured by strange flora and fauna on the island, including a couple of dragons. The last leader of Fiatlux (the Falconer, aka Lord Claw) gloats that he’s now the supreme commander of the group, since his two rivals have been taken care of (as we saw in the last couple of issues). On the JLA Satellite, Atom, Red Tornado, Hawkman, and Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny ponder the strange new compound Atom discovered,Hawkgirl gets suspicious Luciferase. He’d thought it to be a new element with some kind of internal power source, but now it seems to be a catalyst for magic. Hawkman tracks some Luciferase to an island near Japan. In the extra-dimensional limbo, Zatanna, Hawkgirl, Black Canary, and Green Arrow are still looking for a way home. Zatanna’s powers seem stronger than usual and she manages to open a portal between dimensions, which makes Hawkgirl suspicious. Near Japan, the JLA approach in a plane and get attacked by dragons. Inside Fiatlux headquarters, Lord Claw narrates his origin for some captive Fiatlux members (and us, of course): he was a geneticist who figured out how to fighting monstersturn reptiles back into dinosaurs. He realized Luciferase is an elixir for demons, so now he plans on changing his captives into more monsters for his island. The JLA takes out the dragons, which really pisses off lord Claw. He cranks the island’s defenses up to eleven, making the whole place come alive and attack. The JLA fends off the dangerous creatures (and foliage) and soon realize that the volcano powering the island is going to blow. Zatanna and her contingent of JLAers pops back through a dimensional warp and Zatanna contains the power of the exploding volcano. Turns out Zatanna was possessed by Hellrazer last issue (not exactly a shocking plot twist) and he leaves her body to invade Lord Claw’s lair and kill the last Fiatlux leader.Zatanna banishes Hellrazer Apparently Fiatlux were Hellrazer’s puppets, obtaining the Luciferase for him so he could use it to manifest on Earth and take over. He emerges from the volcano and slaps the JLA around like they were nothing. Zatanna is pissed off about being possessed and recalls the spell Hellrazer used to escape Perdition in he first place. She casts it, opening a portal between dimensions, allowing Hellrazer’s fellow demons drag him back to Perdition. As he’s being pulled through, Hellrazer curses Zatanna and her descendants for ten thousand years. She doesn’t really seem all that worried by it.

LSH 312 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #312 – “Good Cop, Bad Cop” – Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Karl Kesel

This one starts with Sun Boy putting the moves on Science Police officer Gigi Cusimano. Their sexy times are interrupted by an emergency call from Metropolis Stadium, where something big is going down. Sun Boy gives Gigi a lift and they find out a bomb has gone off in the Stadium and everyone is trying to get out at the same time. Colossal Boy and Element lad were already there (on a double date), so they’re trying to alleviate the situation. Chief Zendak shows up to spray tranquilizing mist on the crowd and settle them down. At the new Legion Headquarters, Brainiac 5 is debugging the computers and talking to Blok, who volunteers for a mission to help rebuild Daxam. At the Stadium, ZendakShrinking Violet checks out admits the Science Police were aware of the bomb threat, but assumed it was another crank. They checked the stadium out and had an officer (Shvaughn Erin) on hand, but apparently their procedures failed this time. Zendak takes Element Lad, Sun Boy, and Colossal Boy to Science Police headquarters and shows them the SP computer, which is pretty much foolproof. Since the computer failed to detect the real threat at the Stadium, the only conclusion is that someone in the Science Police tampered with it. On Medicus One (the orbiting medical station) Shrinking Violet decides to check herself out against Dr. Gym’ll’s medical advice. Violet has a new look and a new disguised Legionnairesattitude … she’s looking for revenge against somebody. At SP headquarters, Gigi is on monitor duty and bored out of her mind. Shvaughn brings in a couple of new officers, who turn out to be Element Lad and Colossal Boy in disguise, hoping to figure out who the rotten apple is in the Science Police. (We find out Gigi and Colossal Boy know each other from way back, but we’ll have to wait for a future story to get the details.) Another bomb (or a series of bombs) goes off, this time on Restaurant Row, and the SP rushes to the scene (including Element Lad and Colossal Boy in disguise). Cosmic Boy, Phantom Girl, and Invisible Kid are there already rescuing victims and Superboy shows up to put out the fires, after being called in by Element Lad. The SPrescuing explosion victims discuss the new bombing (the restaurant owners were threatened but didn’t report it because the threats linked to the Stadium bombing weren’t made public) and Zendak brings in White Witch to figure out who’s been tampering with the computers. She conjures an image of someone in a Science Police uniform, but before they can make out a face, the security protocols kick in and the image dissolves. At Legion HQ, Danielle Foccart is heading home to see her family now that Brainy has removed all traces of COMPUTO from her system. She thanks Brainy and transports away, which causes a strange distortion in the transport field. Brainy wonders if it was just a mastermind makes plansglitch or something more; maybe integrating COMPUTO into the new HQ’s computer system wasn’t such a great idea after all. We see the mastermind behind the bombings (although we aren’t told his name) and he seems to have a low opinion of the Science Police. He sends a couple more bomb threats, one of which is to SP headquarters, promising to blow up their armory in ten minutes. Zendak calls in the Legion and white Witch searches for a bomb, although the security scans didn’t find anything. SP headquarters is right beside Earth’s government buildings, so they don’t really have time for a full evacuation. Shvaughn and Element Lad wonder if this threat could be a hoax, but the bomb goes off right on time. Superboy funnels the shockwaveSuperboy shows up to help upward while Cosmic Boy contains all the debris. Element Lad has put up an Inertron shield to protect Zendak and the others inside the headquarters. Zendak almost wishes he’d blown up with the HQ because the bomber’s second threat is even worse than this one: he says he’ll kill Earth’s President (Marte Allon, who’s also Colossal Boy’s mom) if he doesn’t get a million credits by noon. There’s a short epilogue of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl moving out of Legion HQ until after their baby is born.

Tales of Teen Titans 43 coverTales of the Teen Titans #43 – “Betrayal” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo

This one gets crazy right away. We see Dick Grayson working at his desk (on a typewriter… man, I feel old) and Terminator comes busting in the window. I’m assuming this is Dick’s apartment, where Gar and Tara saw him last issue, but why does his desk have a name plate on it? Do people use name plates in their own homes? Maybe he’s at some kind of office? I have no idea. Anyway, Dick and Terminator fight, and it’s obvious Terminator knows his secret identity. He mentions the HIVE contract and says he doesn’t want to kill him, since the terms are “dead or alive”. Dick starts analyzing the situation (that’s what a decade hanging out withStarfire gets blasted Batman will get you) and he gets Terminator to knock him out the window so he can go look for the others. Terminator goes after him, but Dick gets away. We see the woman from the end of last issue and the blond dude, whose name is Joseph; he not only has that wild perm, but some pretty crazy mutton-chops too. They’re still following Terminator, who’s kinda shook up about losing Dick Grayson, and is worried about Terra double-crossing him. He actually sounds pretty paranoid. When his emergency signal goes unanswered, Dick starts checking on the other Titans. He finds Kory and Donna’s place blown up and we get a flashback of Kory opening a “present” supposedly sent by Cyborg gets zappedDick himself. It explodes and knocks her out. Dick checks Donna’s studio and realizes she was taken too. We get another flashback of her mixing photo chemicals and the mixture giving off a gas that knocks her out. Dick deduces that Terminator must’ve switched chemicals so Donna would accidentally create ether. It’s obvious Terminator had knowledge of their civilian identities, so Dick takes Donna’s car and goes to look for the others. He doesn’t seem to notice the woman and Joseph (who we learn is her son) following. He checks Cyborg’s place and sees he was taken too, this time with the old “electrically-charged metal bands in the kitchen chair” trick. I’m not sure how Terminator got the bands, the mechanism, and the power source insideTerra takes Raven down that chair… it looks pretty spindly to me. Anyway, Dick heads for Titan Tower next, hoping to find Terra or Raven. But neither of them are there, though there are signs of a fight, including some of Terra’s “earthworks”. Dick is worried that Terminator has taken Terra and Raven, but the woman who was following him made it to the Tower ahead of him and tells him Terra was working with Terminator all along and she’s the one who pounded Raven. Dick doesn’t want to believe Terra betrayed them, so he calls Gar Logan’s place. The maid (who’s dressed like someone from a 1920s burlesque show) goes to find him. Gar hasn’t been jumped… yet. In fact, he’s autographing photos of himself and sticking them in envelopes; it seems someone sent him a bunch of photos (and return envelopes) out of the blue begging him Gar licking toxic envelopesto sign and return them… nothing suspicious about that at all. Naturally, the envelope glue is poisoned (maybe that’s where Seinfeld got the idea) and Gar keels over, as Terminator calls him a “vainglorious dolt”; hey, when he’s right, he’s right.When Gar can’t be found, Dick realizes everyone but him has been taken and it must’ve been an inside job. He starts to believe the woman (whose name is Adeline), but wonders how she knows so much about Terminator. She then reveals the shocking truth: “He was… my boyfriend!” No wait, that’s “Young Frankenstein”; what Adeline actually says is that Slade Wilson used to be her husband. We then see Terminator delivering the Titans to a HIVE base in the Rocky Mountains. And on that dramatic note, the issue ends. I like how Dick was acting kinda like Batman in this issue, putting clues together and going about everything methodically instead of rushing off half-cocked. I guess there’s a reason he’s the leader.

Warlord 82 coverWarlord #82 – “Revolution” – Cary Burkett/Dan Jurgens/Dan Adkins

After being captured last issue by government forces in the year 2303, Travis Morgan, Shakira, Krystovar, and Reno are hauled to Washington in an aircraft. Upon landing, Morgan tries to explain to a government official named Dubrow that they aren’t spies, but Dubrow freaks out and the guards beat the shit out of Morgan. He and the others are hauled off to the slave camps. Back in Skartaris, Tara is pissed off because she has to delay looking for Morgan in order to free her ship from the New Atlanteans. She swears to find MorganMorgan blasted by Dubrow's men as soon as she’s rescued her people. In the future United States, Morgan wakes up in a slave camp and learns that Reno and Shakira have been taken elsewhere. He meets a fellow slave named Duncan, who fills him in on recent history. After the nuclear war, martial law was declared and people were forced to help rebuild the economy and infrastructure. But the economy never recovered and the people ended up being enslaved just to keep things running. Washington was protected from nuclear blasts by a force shield, but the rest of the country got nuked. Morgan, Krystovar, and Duncan are taken to a hydroponics farm to work, harvesting food for the city. Morgan notices Morgan goes after the guardsDubrow with the President and Duncan tells him Dubrow is the only one who even has access to the Commander-in-Chief. Morgan does the same thing he did in Skartaris, stirring up the other slaves into a frenzy of rebellion. After planning for a few days, they make their move. Duncan used to be a hydroponics engineer (how convenient) and tells Morgan how to sabotage one of the pumps. Morgan slips away and fucks up the pump, causing an explosion. The slaves attack and Morgan does his usual heroics, taking out all the guards and winning the battle. Morgan gets all patriotic, saying they have to free all the other slaves and restore democracy to what’s left of America.

Barren Earth – “Open City” – Gary Cohn/Ron Randall

After trekking across the desert for weeks, Barasha leads Jinal, Renna, Skinner, Yisrah, and the rest to a city called Skeen, which he says the Old Ones maintain as a sort of embassy for outsiders. Barasha and Lur head offbrawl in the bath house to make contact with the Old Ones, while Yisrah goes to equip himself with the tools of his trade. Renna takes Jinal to an all-female bath house where they end up in a hot tub. Before things can get too interesting, some other women come in and try to push them around. Naturally, Renna pushes back, starting a huge brawl. Jinal and Renna decide to get the hell out of there, leaving their clothes and weapons behind. Luckily, Yisrah has gotten his equipment and burns a hole through the wall, retrieving Jinal and Renna’s stuff, which impresses the hell out of Jinal.

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