Comics Reviews: Flash 341, Green Lantern 184, Warlord 89

Flash 341 coverFlash #341 – “Trial and Tribulation” – Cary Bastes/Carmine Infantino/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, we were promised a big bombshell at Flash’s trial and as this story opens, we find out what it is: the manslaughter charge against Flash has been dropped. Don’t celebrate yet … the charge has actually been amended to one of second-degree murder since the prosecution now contends that Flash killed Professor Zoom willfully not accidentally. Flash’s lawyer (Cecile Horton) tried to get the new charge dismissed, but couldn’t, and she had no way to let Flash know since he was incommunicado (being held captive by Big Sir). Speaking of which, the five Rogues (Captain Cold, Trickster, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, and Captain Boomerang) who gave Big Sir his high-tech armour and talked him into attacking Flash assume their archenemy isRogues on a crime spree dead, so they’ve been running wild in Central City for the last twenty-four hours. When Trickster sees a news bulletin about Flash’s charges being upgraded, he realizes Flash is still alive and gets pissed off that the Rogues’ plan didn’t work. In court, Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny testifies to what he witnessed the day of Barry and Fiona’s almost-wedding, when Flash killed Zoom. Ralph makes Flash sound heroic, saying he did what he had to do I order to save Fiona from Zoom. (Naturally, Ralph doesn’t let on that Flash and Barry Allen are one and the same.) The District Attorney prosecuting the case (Slater) chooses an interesting way to attack Ralph’s testimony. Slater uses a gun Slater's demonstrationthat fires colored paint pellets to make Ralph admit that no one (except Flash) could possibly see something traveling so fast (about 500 miles per hour), so Ralph’s testimony should be discounted since Flash and Zoom were moving at super-speed, far more than 500 mph. So not only Ralph’s testimony, but that of all the defense witnesses should be ignored since they couldn’t possibly have seen what happened. Across town, Big Sir is continuing his one-man crusade to help animals by attacking a dog catcher and making him free all the strays he’s rounded up. The Rogues get together and Trickster tells them their plan to use Big Sir against Flash failed. They do have a back-up plan, but it entails messing with Big Sir’s mind, which could put Big Sir in danger of severe brain damage … or worse. The Rogues aren’tFiona's testimony all that worried about it: either Big Sir will kill Flash, or he’ll die himself. Captain Boomerang has a pretty good idea where to find their gigantic pawn. At the trial, Fiona testifies about how Flash tried to comfort her after Zoom’s attack, which Slater twists to make it look like Flash was being callous after having just killed someone. But Cecile gets Fiona to admit that Flash didn’t know Zoom was dead (since Captain Frye hadn’t told them yet) so he couldn’t have been dismissive about killing Zoom. At a cemetery across town, private investigator Sid Dithers (who was hired by Flash to find out why Cecile hates him so much) asks about a grave that Cecile visits often and learns it’s Big Sir brainwashedthe grave of her father, Jack O’Malley, a former cop. Meanwhile, Big Sir has busted into an animal shelter to free the caged animals, but fails to recognize Captain Boomerang and Trickster, who have taken the place of the regular workers. The two villains pretend to agree with Big Sir’s animal liberation plans and lure him into the back room where Weather Wizard knocks him out. The Rogues take Big Sir out into the country where Trickster subjects him to a hypnosis machine that’s cranked up to eleven, pounding a suggestion into Big Sir’s head that he hates Flash and wants to kill him. Trickster says after Big Sir wastes Flash, his the hypnosis will cause permanent brain damage, which the other Rogues find hilarious. At theBig Sir smashes Flash in the face courthouse, the trial is adjourned for the day, but Cecile warns Flash there’s a long way to go before a verdict comes down. She also tells him he’d better not disappear again during the trial. Their conversation is interrupted by Big Sir, who jumps down from the sky and smashes Flash in the face with his mace, repeating his mantra of wanting to kill Flash over and over. Cecile’s hatred of Flash seems to have cooled a bit and she’s genuinely worried for his safety, telling him to get away from Big Sir and get to a doctor. Flash takes off so fast Big Sir can’t follow him, but he’s so disoriented from the mace hit that he ends up in a field on the edge of town, where he passes out. A couple of kids playing catch find him and one of them takes his mask off to see Flash’s real face. But his face is so fucked up from Big Sir’s mace strike that he’s pretty much unrecognizable and the kids freak out and take off.

Green Lantern 184 coverGreen Lantern #184 – “Earth’s Other Green Lantern” – John Broome/Gil Kane/Sid Greene

This is a reprint of Green Lantern 59, which first introduced Guy Gardner, Hal Jordan’s alternate. Since it’s a reprint, I won’t go into too much detail about the story, but it’s basically a What If? Scenario that shows what might’ve happened if Guy had been chosen to be GL instead of Hal. (Apparently, Hal and Guy were equally qualified, Hal just happened to be closer when Abin Sur sent out his distress call.) In this fantasy scenario, Guy ends up dying of some alien plague and giving his ring to Hal, so Hal figures he was fated to be GL one way or another. Hal ended up hanging out with Guy, but didn’t tell him about Guy almost being chosen as a Green Lantern (though Guy did eventually find out and never let anyone forget it).

Warlord 89 coverWarlord #89 – “Innocence Avenged” – Cary Burkett/Rich Buckler

Last issue, Travis Morgan and friends landed in Bakwele to resupply their ship and found that Bakwele had been taken by the New Atlanteans. Morgan made contact with a smuggler named Patch, but her association with Morgan ended up getting her son (Avenel) kidnapped. This issue opens with Morgan, Patch, and Scarheart tracking the guard captain who grabbed Avenel. They follow him to a brothel where Morgan jumps him in the garden and threatens him until he admits turning Avenel over to the governor. The governor is a guy called DeMarkal, who was assigned to rule Bakwele by the New Atlantean beast-men and finds his duties boring. DeMarkal takes pleasure in trying to frighten Avenel intoTinder in demon's lair giving up info on Morgan and the other rebels in the city. At Patch’s place, she gives Morgan shit for getting her son kidnapped and he convinces her that he’ll do what he can to get Avenel back. Many miles away in the Valley of the Lion, Morgan’s son Tinder and his new friend Chakka explore the cavern they found last issue. Tinder is so fascinated by the heaps of gold (and a huge glowing gem) he finds to notice the eyes in the portrait of the demon on the wall start to shine. At the governor’s palace in Bakwele, Sabre-tooth (the half-lion beast-man who fought Morgan before) shows up to see who DeMarkal has caught. Sabre-tooth tries to get Avenel to talk about his mother’s Sabre-tooth threatens the governorsmuggling operation, which is sneaking supplies to rebel groups all over Skartaris. Avenel won’t talk and tells Sabre-tooth his days are numbered because the Warlord will soon come to liberate Bakwele and everywhere else the New Atlanteans have taken over. Sabre-tooth freaks out, telling DeMarkal that talk of liberation is even more dangerous to their rule than the smuggling. Sabre-tooth decides he’d better make an example of Avenel and crush his talk of the Warlord at the same time. Sabre-tooth sets up a platform in the city square where he plans to flog Avenel in public. Sabre-tooth knows Morgan might try a rescue, so he has extra guards in the crowd, crossbowmen in surrounding buildings, and a high-tech cannon on a rooftop. Morgan and Patch slip into the crowd in disguise and Sabre-toothMorgan decks Patch starts telling a bunch of lies about how he killed Morgan and how Morgan begged for his life and offered to betray his friends at the end. Patch is surprised, since she didn’t know Morgan was the Warlord. When Sabre-tooth starts whipping Avenel, Patch is ready to throw her life away to save him, so Morgan decks her and has Scarheart carry her to safety. One of Patch’s men tells Morgan there’s a secret way to approach the square, but he’ll have to swim underwater for a long way. While Sabre-tooth keeps whipping Avenel, exhorting him to denounce the Warlord, Morgan swims through the tunnel and comes up behind the platform, jumping Sabre-tooth (who almost shits a brick when he sees Morgan). As the crowd looks on, Morgan Morgan fights Sabre-toothdisarms Sabre-tooth and holds him at sword-point. Morgan forces Sabre-tooth to release Avenel and to admit that he’s a liar and a coward. Morgan takes off with Avenel and the crowd (impressed at seeing the great Warlord in person) prevents the guards from following. Back at Patch’s hideout, Avenel assumes Morgan is going to lead the people of Bakwele in an uprising against the Atlanteans, but Morgan says he has to leave and liberate Shamballah. Patch gives him shit, saying the Warlord is a legend and no longer has the luxury of running around wherever he likes. Patch points out that sooner or later, Morgan will have to live up to his legend by doing the hard work of actually leading people. Morgan broods about that as his ship puts out to sea again.

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