Comics Reviews: Flash 338, Wonder Woman 320, Green Lantern 181, Jonah Hex 87, Warlord Annual 3

Flash 338 coverFlash #338 – “The Revenge of the Rogues” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, pied Piper used his ultimate weapon to summon what he calls “Speed Demons”, extra-dimensional creatures that move at super-speed. The Speed Demons surrounded Flash, paralyzing him and pulling him toward some power lines. Flash can’t move his extremities, but he still manages to start spinning at super-speed, tossing the Speed Demons off his body and into the power lines. The Demons are disintegrated, but the power lines break and Flash gets feeling back in his legs just in time to avoid getting fried. For some reason, Pied Piper didn’t hang around to watch Flash’s demise; he’s back in his mansion gloating when Flash shows up and shakes the whole place to pieces around him. Piper is so freaked out to learn FlashFlash destroys Pied Piper's place survived that he has a nervous breakdown, foaming at the mouth and basically going catatonic. Piper is taken to a mental hospital and a reporter asks Flash if he went overboard while apprehending Piper. Flash says all super-villains are screwed in the head to begin with, so a breakdown is hardly unexpected, and Captain Frye backs him up. Captain Boomerang and Mirror Master hear about Piper’s ignominious defeat and start talking revenge, since such a humiliation makes all the Rogues look bad by association. At the police station, Captain Frye has called in a psychic named Dreed to help find the missing Barry Allen. Dreed handles some of Barry’s papers and office supplies, but gets no vibes until Frye gives him Barry’s ring. Dreed gets Dufus freaking outsome serious vibes from that, but naturally neither he nor Frye know that ring once housed Barry’s Flash costume. At the mental hospital, Boomerang and Mirror Master bluff their way in by pretending to be cops. They run into a huge patient named Dufus who’s throwing orderlies around because they messed with his pet mouse. Luckily, Dufus passes out from the sedatives he was given earlier. Boomerang and mirror Master go in to see Pied Piper, who’s not catatonic but does seem to have a radical personality change. He tells his fellow Rogues he likes being in the hospital; he’s got three hots and a cot, and doesn’t have to worry about Flash anymore. He urges them to give up their criminal ways and join him in the hospital, but they decline, bothered by how far a once great villain has fallen. Across town, an accountant named Newbury gets hit by lightning from a storm that appearsRogues agree to make Flash pay and disappears rather quickly. Newbury is fine, at least physically, but we’re told he’s undergone a strange transformation, the ramifications of which we’ll have to wait to see. Outside town, Boomerang and Mirror Master are joined by Weather Wizard, Captain Cold, and Trickster, who all agree that Flash must’ve driven Pied Piper over the edge and should pay for it. Downtown, Flash contacts a private detective named Dithers and hires him to look into Cecile Horton’s background to find out why she hates Flash so much. Meanwhile, the Rogues go back to the mental hospital and break out Dufus (and his mouse), freezing him with Captain Cold’s gun. Using equipment they got Big Sir debutsfrom the Monitor, they outfit Dufus with a costume and weapons and name him Big Sir. (Although his costume looks more like a leather fetish outfit than a super-villain costume; maybe Monitor mixed up their order with one from an S&M club.) They plan to unleash Big Sir on the Flash, figuring he won’t know how to fight someone who’s completely irrational. Back in Central City, Flash and Cecile call a truce, of sorts: she promises not to mention how much she hates him as long as he stops asking why she hates him. Flash agrees, but of course Cecile doesn’t know about the detective he hired to check into her past.

Wonder Woman 320 coverWonder Woman #320 – “Launch on Warning” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck/Rick Magyar

Last issue, Dr. Cyber impersonated Diana Prince and stole the launch codes for American nuclear missiles, framing Diana as a traitor. This issue opens with World War III almost starting when an American submarine gets the go-ahead to launch nukes at the USSR. They’re maintaining radio silence, so they don’t know exactly what’s going on, but the codes check out so they prepare to launch. The sub is suddenly pulled sideways by an overwhelming force—Wonder Woman, who’s outside dragging the sub with her magic lasso. The sub Captain realizes something weird is going on and orders his crew to surface and break radio silence. Wonder Woman knows she barely averted a nuclear war this time, but might not be so lucky next time Dr. Cyber pulls some shit. Speaking ofSofia being questioned Cyber, she’s interrogating Sofia Constantinos (who she captured last issue), but Sofia still hasn’t broken. At the Pentagon, Steve Trevor tells General Darnell he knows Diana is being set up, but won’t say how he knows. (Steve knows because his stupid little gremlin friend saw Cyber kidnap Sofia, but he can hardly tell Darnell that.) Darnell agrees to give him some slack, but makes him promise to report any developments to him or Major Griggs. Speaking of Griggs, he got a mysterious phone call asking him to meet in the subway. He’s pushed onto the track in front of an oncoming train, but Diana (who’s the one who called Griggs) saves his ass. Diana figures starting a war isn’t Dr. Cyber’s real intention and asks Keith to check the computer room where the codes are Diana saves Griggs from the trainstored for clues. At Etta and Diana’s place, Etta and friends watch a news report about a possible traitor at the Pentagon. Etta gets mad at Lisa for reporting the story, but Lisa points out she could’ve gone a lot farther, like mentioning Diana’s name. Etta’s pseudo-boyfriend hints that Etta should let Wonder Woman handle this, and from the way he’s acting he seems to think Etta is Wonder Woman (although she doesn’t realize that). Outside Washington at a special bunker set up for the president in case of nuclear war, Griggs and Diana sneak onto the grounds. Apparently, Griggs found the theft of the nuke codes was a cover and Cyber actually stole other secret ciphers, hoping to sell them to the highest bidder. Griggs traced the transmission here, but he’s pissed off when Diana won’t let him accompany her inside. She saysGriggs kisses Diana he’ll get in trouble if he gets caught, but naturally she just doesn’t want him around so she can change to Wonder Woman. Griggs gives her a big smooch before leaving and she pretends she didn’t enjoy it. Eros is watching from nearby, still obsessed with making Diana his. Diana heads inside, changing to Wonder Woman, but is surprised to find Steve already there. He followed one of Cyber’s men there and snuck in. They find Cyber’s lab where she’s holding Sofia and Cyber tries to blast them. Wonder Woman deflects the blast and brings down some machinery right on top of Cyber, pinning her to the ground. While Steve releases Sofia, Wonder Woman tries to get answers from Cyber. Cyber tosses a couple of devices at her and Steve gets zapped trying to help. The devices shoot out wire that entangles Wonder Woman and heats up the more she struggles, threatening to burn her to a crisp.

Huntress – “Flashbacks” – Joey Cavalieri/Stan Woch

This one starts with Helena (Huntress) Wayne having a nightmare about Huntress passes outher dead mother, the Earth-2 Catwoman. She’s been having the nightmares a lot lately and there’s been a rash of robberies in Gotham, pulled off by a very talented thief. Huntress goes to investigate the latest robbery, has a vision of her mother, and passes out. She wakes up and takes off, wondering if she could be committing the robberies during blackouts. She goes to see her cop friend tom (who has the hots for her) and asks him to recommend a therapist … preferably female. Tom introduces her to June Moorman, a therapist for the police department, who takes Huntress to her office to talk. While Huntress is telling June about her blackouts and dreams, June pulls a gun and points it at the oblivious heroine.

Green Lantern 181 coverGreen Lantern #181 – “Take This Job and Shove It!” – Len Wein/Dave Gibbons

This one starts with Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan flying through space toward Oa to tell the Guardians of the universe he’s decided to resign as a Lantern. He runs into a strange meteor swarm that follows him as he changes direction. When he stops to deal with the meteors, GL realizes he’s not alone. Back on Earth at Ferris Aircraft, John Stewart (who’s a back-up Green Lantern, though nobody but Hal knows that) drops by to check the place out. Carol has hired John (on Hal’s recommendation) to rebuild Ferris after it was destroyed by the Demolition Team and John wants to make Ferris bigger and better than ever. Carol’s all for that, although she’s not sure how the company can afford it. In Washington, Jason Bloch (the congressman behind the attack on Ferris) is freaking out, wondering if the Demolition Team will rat him out to get aBloch gets killed deal. Bloch finds someone In his office, who reminds him he was warned to back off his revenge scheme by Con-Trol, the big petrochemical company. We can’t really see who’s threatening Bloch, but judging by the shape of the head (and the gleaming claws) it could be Predator, who was the one who defeated the Demolition Team and saved Ferris Aircraft. Predator (or whoever it is) slices Bloch to ribbons and he stumbles into the hallway, bleeding like a stuck pig. He collapses and is found by a woman, who listens as Bloch gasps out his last words about how Hal Jordan is really Green Lantern and how Bloch has proof in his office safe. Luckily for Hal, Bloch’s audience is Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman); of course, Diana already Katma decks Halknew GL’s secret identity, but she certainly won’t repeat Bloch’s last words to anyone. Out in space, Green Lantern is confronted by his fellow GLs (Katma Tui, Arisia, Tomar-Re, Xax, and Arkkis Chummuck), who don’t want him to quit the Corps. GL explains that he’s thought about this for a long time and he has to quit so he can honour his commitment to Carol. That really pisses Katma Tui off, since GL talked her out of quitting the Corps years ago to marry her sweetheart, telling her duty was more important than personal feelings. Even after Katma decks him, Hal is adamant and heads off to Oa. Back in Coast City, Clay Kendall is trying to adjust to life with a broken back, but even his fiancée April can’t bring him out of his depression. On Oa, Hal tells the Guardians he’s tired of having to answer every time they call and he figures he’s earned a rest after everything he’s done as Green Lantern. HeHal gives up the ring tells them he doesn’t care who becomes the new Lantern of Sector 2814, as long as it isn’t him. The Guardians finally agree to his request,taking back his ring and telling him they hope he won’t regret his decision. After saying goodbye to his former fellow Corps members, Hal is teleported home by the Guardians. In Coast City, a meeting at Ferris Aircraft is interrupted by a shady-looking dude calling himself Smith, who says he represents someone who can help finance Ferris’s rebuilding efforts. Later, Hal comes to Carol’s place and tells her he’s quit the Corps; she can hardly believe it, but he swears it’s true and that he ants to concentrate of being plain old Hal Jordan from now on. As they look out at the night sky, Carol is happy but Hal still has a tiny doubt about whether he did the right thing.

Jonah Hex 87 coverJonah Hex #87 “Resurrections” – Michael Fleisher/Tony DeZuniga

This one starts with Jonah He walking out on his latest flame (Adrian) because he can’t handle her highbrow lifestyle in New Orleans. Adrian is pissed off, seeing as how she defied her family to be with Hex and even got shot on his account, but Hex is adamant. He says she can come with him if she wants, but life on the dusty trail doesn’t appeal to a city girl like Adrian. Elsewhere, Brett is reading a newspaper about his bank robbery that went a little wonky last issue. (You’ll remember Brett brainwashed Emmylou into going along on the robbery, giving her an empty rifle. Emmylou’s mask was pulled off by a heroic bystander, who Brett then shot.) Brett points out that Emmylou might’ve got her headtrain derailed bashed in, so she should be grateful. Naturally, Brett’s idea of gratitude includes physical rewards, but before he can go too far his other brainwashed girls (Camille and Sandy) show up to interrupt his fun. A few days later, Hex is riding on a train headed north after talking the engineer into giving him a lift. Unfortunately, this train is the target of some bandits, who blow up the tracks and derail the train. Hex barely survives and runs off into a nearby swamp. The bandits see him and figure they better kill him in case he saw their faces. In the town where Brett’s bank robbery took place, some witnesses have described Emmylou’s face well enough that an artist drew a pretty good likeness of Adrian gets sexyher for the Wanted posters. In the swamp, Hex’s guns are clogged with mud, so he’s forced to improvise, sharpening stakes with his Bowie knife. Back in New Orleans, Adrian is regretting letting Hex leave (or not going with him) and gets herself all sexed up to try and lure him back. In the swamp, Hex uses booby traps to whittle down his enemies, impaling one on a tree branch and another in a pit full of stakes. At Brett’s hideout, Camille and Sandy tell Brett he’s getting too close to Emmylou, but he dismisses their jealousy, saying there’s plenty of him to go around. In the swamp, the last two bandits build a fire to keep warm at night, but that just lets Hex know exactly where they are. He sneaks up and jumps them, killing one and pounding the other. In the Louisiana countryside, the Gray Ghost dies from the gunshot woundsHex pounds bandits sustained fighting Hex last issue, but not before making his son Jeremy swear to take over his mantle as avenger of Confederate wrongs. Jeremy agrees to become the new Gray Ghost and after his father dies, he vows to get revenge on Hex for killing him. Back in town, Hex turns in the bandits who wrecked the train (or what’s left of them), earning the Sheriff’s gratitude. He tells Hex he’s welcome to bring in any other wanted felons and Hex is shocked to see the poster depicting his former squeeze, Emmylou.

Warlord Annual 3 coverWarlord Annual #3 – “”Full Circle” – Cary Burkett/Dan Jurgens/Mike DeCarlo

This concludes the big time-travel epic running in Warlord for the past few months. I’ll go back to reviewing the regular issues in a couple weeks, In the last issue, Travis Morgan, Shakira, Krystovar, Reno, and Lieutenant Cole went back in time to prevent the nuclear war that devastated the world and turned America into a fascist state. They succeeded, but a temporal anomaly hurled them through time and this issue opens with them coming to rest in the distant past. They’re attacked by carnivorous birds and have to fight to survive, but get a reprieve when a dude on a dinosaur (Kotan) rides up and whistles, sending the birds flying away. Apparently Kotan can control the birds with his whistle, like aMorgan attacks Daamon primitive form of falconry. Kotan tells them they’re in ancient Atlantis and invites them to Challa-Bel-Nalla, the city where Lord Daamon rules and worships the Red-Moon gods. Cole is hurt, so he has to be carried, and Kotan uses a levitation device to bring the time-ships along too. Kotan says the device came from the Red-Moon gods and Reno wonders if they can help them return to their proper time. When they reach the palace, Morgan is stunned to see Deimos watching them from a balcony. He grabs a sword and is about to waste him, when Shakira tells him he’s made a mistake … this isn’t Deimos. (She can tell by his scent.) Turns out this guy is Deimos’s remote ancestor, so Morgan is forced to apologize but he instinctively distrusts Daamon. When Morgan invitation to the huntand the others are shown to their rooms, Daamon talks to his wife (Jezreen), who wonders why Daamon didn’t execute Morgan for trying to kill him. Daamon says Morgan must be powerful (since he arrived from nowhere in a futuristic ship), maybe even more powerful than the Red-Moon gods. Daamon decides to use magic to learn more about Morgan, which worries Jezreen. Daamon communes with his descendant Deimos and sees how Morgan killed him. Deimos’s spirit begs Daamon to avenge him. While Morgan and company are at dinner, Jezreen drops by to invite Morgan to go on a dinosaur hunt tomorrow with Daamon. Morgan and Shakira agree to join the hunt. The next morning, Daamon tells Jezreen he’ll try to arrange an “accident” for Morgan during the hunt so Morgan’s friends don’t get suspicious and Daamon can learn the secrets of the time-ships from them. The hunters corner a T-Rex in a gorge and close in, but when Morgan closes in to try and kill the beast, someone shoots his mount with an arrow and he’s thrown … right in front of the T-Rex. Shakira rides in to skewer the great lizard, distracting it long enough for Morgan to get up. Morgan and Shakira fight the T-RexHe returns the favour, jumping on the dinosaur’s tail to stop it from killing Shakira. Morgan uses his Automag to blow the T-Rex’s brains out, ending the hunt. When they return to the city, a herald tells Daamon one of the Red-Moon gods wants to talk to him, so Morgan tells Shakira to follow Daamon in cat form and eavesdrop. She overhears the Red-Moon godShakira caught (who’s some kind of alien) asking Daamon about the time-ships. While Daamon tries to stall (still hoping to use the time-ships for his own purposes), the alien detects Shakira’s presence and blasts her. The alien is fascinated by Shakira’s metamorphing power and commands Daamon to bring her to them for use in their experiments. While Reno works on repairing the time-ships so they can use them without destroying time itself, Morgan sees Daamon flying Shakira up toward a huge blood-red moon. A passerby tells him the Red-Moon gods dwell there and Daamon is taking them a sacrifice. Morgan and Krystovar take one of the ships (over Reno’s objections) and fly up to the “moon”, which turns out to be a space station. freeing prisonersWhen they’re attacked by aliens on sky-sleds, Morgan realizes these are the same aliens he fought in Skartaris back in issue 18. When Morgan and Krystovar board the station they fight their way past some aliens into a room filled with cages holding warped humanoid specimens. Morgan explains that the Red-Moon aliens perform experiments on other races, hoping to find viable candidates for cross-breeding to keep their race from dying out. Krystovar points out that this must be the origin of the New Atlanteans’ beast-making device, that turns people into half-animals. Morgan releases one of the failed experiments, who frees the others to fight the aliens. Morgan and Krystovar find Shakira about to be dissected by Daamon and the alien leader. Daamon frees her, but when the alien encases Morgan and KrystovarShakira saved by tractor beam in a force field, Daamon takes off with Shakira. Morgan and Krystovar are freed when the released prisoners bust in and take out the aliens, starting a chain reaction that’ll destroy the station. Daamon takes off in Morgan’s time-ship, pursued by Morgan and Krystovar on a sky-sled. Daamon doesn’t know what he’s doing and the unstable ship starts overheating, so Morgan tells Shakira to bail out and grabs her with the sky-sled’s tractor beam. Daamon is thrown out of time by the chronal disruption from the time-ship and the Red-Moon station blows up, ending the alien threat. Morgan shows Reno the fancy lab in Daamon’s castle and Reno cobbles together a device that pulls the other time-ships from last issue out of the time-stream and meeting themselves from an earlier timerestores them to their proper place. Reno says they need to shunt the chronal radiation somewhere and detects a place that’ll be perfect, since it already has a chronal disruption. Guards bring Jezreen and her baby to Morgan and he contemplates killing the child, stopping Deimos from ever being born, which would save Morgan a lot of misery … but he decides to let the child live. As Reno works on the time-ships, we get a rerun of the weird scene from Warlord 79, where Morgan, Shakira, and Reno encountered versions of themselves, but this time they’re experiencing it from the other side (so to speak), so Morgan kinda understands now. He, Shakira, and Krystovar are caught in a time cloud and thrown back where they started, the ancient Atlantean cavern in Skartaris, where Tara is overjoyed to see Morgan. Morgan and Krystovar realize the cavern must be the place where Reno detected the time anomaly and Morgan figures Reno and Cole probably lived the rest of their lives in ancient Atlantis … which explains the weird mix of technologies in the cavern, and why Cole’s identity tape was found there.

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