Comics Reviews: Flash 342, Wonder Woman 323, Green Lantern 185, Warlord 90, Jonah Hex 89

Flash 342 coverFlash #342 – “Smash-Up” – Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a few of Flash’s Rogues (Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Captain Boomerang, Trickster, and Mirror Master) brainwashed Big Sir into attacking Flash and Big Sir whacked the Speedster right in the face with his mace outside the courthouse where Flash’s murder trial is taking place. Flash took off, leaving his lawyer Cecile Horton to fend off reporters. Flash managed to get away from Big Sir, but was so disoriented he collapsed in a field outside town where he was found by some kids. They unmasked him, but his face was so mangled by Big Sir’s mace that it freaked them out and they took off. Flash realizes he’s hurt pretty bad, but can’t go to a local doctor for fear his secret identity will get out. So he zips across the ocean at super-speed, heading for Gorilla City and its super-scientific apes. The Rogues figureapes reconstruct Barry's face Flash is dead (or soon will be) and anticipate an unfettered orgy of looting and pillaging Central City. Flash barely makes it to Gorilla City and the apes take him in. Solovar tells Flash their advanced medical techniques can restore his face exactly as it was before. Right before the operation, Flash asks Solovar to do something for him; we don’t hear what it is, but I’m assuming he asked Solovar to change his face so he no longer looks like Barry Allen. Due to the gorillas’ super-tech, the operation is finished by morning and Solovar tells Flash he’ll be able to leave within a few hours. Flash tells Solovar about Big Sir and asks if the apes could help restore his mind and wipe out the Rogues’ brainwashing. Solovar says they’ll do their best. Flash gets back to Central Rip Hunter testifiesCity by the time his trial reconvenes and Cecile puts a scientist on the stand who claims that Flash technically didn’t kill Zoom, because Zoom’s consciousness would’ve returned to the future where he was from at the point of death. Slater (the Prosecutor) impugns that testimony by calling time-travel expert Rip Hunter to the stand. Rip contends that someone killed during time-travel is definitely dead. Across town, the apes trap Big Sir using a baby gorilla as bait and take him back to Gorilla City. Later that night, the Rogues get a call from Big Sir to meet them at an old junkyard because he wants to show them Flash’s dead body. The Rogues show up but find a live Flash waiting for them, along with a newly intelligent Big Sir. Yeah, the gorillas found that Big Sir’s stupidity was from some virus he got as a kid,Flash and Big Sir fight Rogues so they cured him and educated him, turning him into the equivalent of a Ph.D. with a 170 IQ! Big Sir and Flash kick the shit out of the Rogues and Big Sir says he’s retiring from the superhuman business and donating his armour and weapons to the Flash Museum. The next day, Flash is stopped outside the courtroom by Dithers, the private investigator he hired to find out why Cecile Horton hates him so much. Dithers gives Flash the file he’s put together on Cecile’s past and says once Flash reads it, he’ll understand everything.

Wonder Woman 323 coverWonder Woman #323 – “Night of Many Wonders” – Dan Mishkin/Don Heck

This one opens with Dr. Psycho making a deal with the Monitor for an ecto-plasmic extractor and spouting a bunch of grandiose crap. At Etta and Diana’s place, Lisa Abernathy is worried about her missing daughter Eloise and Etta’s almost-boyfriend (Howard) suggests Eloise might’ve wandered off at the Pentagon. Etta and Howard head over there to look for her and “borrow” a prototype life readings sensor to track her. They get some readings from a restricted lab, but it turns out to be Cheetah, who almost slaughters them. They take off and Howard tells Etta he already knows her secret, so she can turn into Wonder Woman toEtta and Howard run into Cheetah fight Cheetah. Etta tries to explain she’s not Wonder Woman, but she and Howard get steamrolled by Cheetah. Meanwhile, the real Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are returning from Paradise Island. They take a short detour to Brazil to see the Amazons there, but Wonder Woman realizes she’s trying to find a substitute for her mother (with whom she had a big fight last issue), so she turns around and heads for Washington. In the Pentagon, Cheetah overhears Howard call Etta Wonder Woman and believes it, despite Etta’s protests. Howard blasts Cheetah with a fire extinguisher and he and Etta take off, with the pissed-off Cheetah right behind them. Meanwhile, Silver Swan has Glitch freaks outcontacted the Monitor, wanting him to find Captain Wonder for her. She doesn’t know Captain Wonder is really Dr. Psycho, but Monitor does. Lisa calls her Senator boyfriend, who’s reluctant to help find Eloise since it could ruin both their careers if news of their romance got out. As for Eloise, she’s hanging out with the other kids she met last issue, hiding out in a closed computer store from the aliens that are hunting Glitch, Steve’s goofy little gremlin pal. Glitch uses the computers to monitor the aliens’ communications, but they detect him and a hologram appears in the store, scaring the shit out of Glitch. In the Smithsonian Museum, Cheetah brings Etta, Howard, and the ecto-plasmic extractor to Dr. Psycho, who uses it to transform into Captain Wonder (noSilver Swan attacks Cheetah longer needing a human medium). Cheetah tells Captain Wonder that Etta is Wonder Woman and he believes it too, binding her wrists to remove her powers. He and Cheetah argue over whether to kill her or not and as they’re tussling, Silver Swan busts in and thinks Cheetah’s putting the moves on her man. Cheetah and Silver Swan fight until Captain Wonder breaks it up and when he tells Silver Swan Etta is Wonder Woman … yup, she believes it too (and lets it slip that she’s really Helen Alexandros, which Etta didn’t know). In orbit, Monitor gets a call from Angle Man about re-powering his Angler device and Monitor sends him to runaway shuttlethe Smithsonian too … the more the merrier. As if we didn’t have enough characters to keep track of, we get a short interlude with Gardner Grayle, who’s still having apocalyptic visions of the future and is contemplating becoming Atomic Knight again. At the Smithsonian, Angle Man follows Monitor’s directions to the Daedalus shuttle, which apparently absorbed his Angler’s power. He drains the power back from the shuttle, but that starts the shuttle up, sending it crashing through the wall. Captain Wonder and Silver Swan stop the runaway shuttle and Wonder and Cheetah go to see where it came from, leaving Silver Swan burning with jealousy. Etta frees herself from her ropes andWonder-Etta makes her debut tells Howard she’s not really Wonder Woman. Howard notices the ecto-plasmic extractor and tells Etta she could be Wonder Woman if she wanted. Cheetah and Captain Wonder confront Angle Man, but their fight is interrupted by Wonder-Etta, who jumps in and starts kicking ass (having already taken out Silver Swan). Etta’s not a seasoned fighter, so she almost gets killed, but the real Wonder Woman (and Steve) shows up in time to save her. Wonder Woman captures Angle Man and Etta decks Cheetah before transforming back to herself. Howard tells Etta he loves her, even though she isn’t Wonder Woman. Later, Diana’s Wonder Woman and Etta mop up the villainsfeeling unappreciated, since her civilian identity is so unobtrusive (by design) that Howard never even considered she might be Wonder Woman. When Keith Griggs shows up to put the moves on her again, she’s into it and invites him in for some sex. (At least, that’s what I choose to believe.) Meanwhile, the kids are following Glitch through the streets but he ends up running right into another hologram and getting teleported away … along with Eloise and a couple other kids.

Green Lantern 185 coverGreen Lantern #185 – “In Blackest Day …” – Len Wein/Dave Gibbons

This one starts with Green Lantern John Stewart having dinner with Tawny Young, the reporter who caught his eye a couple issues back. GL tries to get romantic, but Tawny wants to do her job and asks GL who he is and how he became Green Lantern. That starts John thinking back to a few weeks ago when the Guardians of the universe whisked him to Oa without any warning and told him they wanted him as a full-time Green Lantern. John had subbed as Green lantern before, but wasn’t really interested in doing it full-time. A few of Hal Jordan’s fellow Lanterns (Katma Tui, Arrkis Chummuck, Xax, Arisia, and Tomar-Re) confronted John and tried to change his mind. Katma finally forced John toKatma talks John into joining the Corps accept by implying he’d look like a coward if he refused, so John agreed to be the next Green Lantern. (I think the John-Katma romance is already being set up here.) Of course, he can’t tell any of that to Tawny, so he just says “no comment”, which pisses her off enough to dump food on him and storm off. At Ferris Aircraft, Tom Kalmaku and Bruce Gordon are finishing up the solar jet before its test flight the next day. Gordon gets another threatening phone call and we see the caller is Eclipso … which seems impossible, since Eclipso is supposedly part of Bruce Gordon. Hal and Carol walk around the facility, discussing Hal’s test flight tomorrow and we see them being Hal thanks Rich Daviswatched by Predator, who’s still trying to figure out who’s threatening the solar jet project. The next day, Clay Kendall is released from hospital and brought to Ferris by his fiancée April and their friend Jake. Jake thinks Clay sounds more cheerful, but he’s still depressed about being in a wheelchair. At the solar jet test, all of Ferris’s employees gather to listen to Carl Ferris’s speech. Rich Davis gets bored and heads to the hangar where Hal is preparing for his test flight. Davis is still bitter that Hal is making the flight instead of him, but he’s surprised when Hal heaps praise on him and says he wouldn’t be half the pilot he is now without Davis as his mentor. A few minutes later, everyone watches Hal climb into the solar jet, although he doesn’t actuallyDavis and the jet disappear speak to anyone. Yeah, you know where this is going. Hal staggers out of the hangar moments later and says Davis knocked him out and took his flight suit. Over the radio, Davis apologizes but says with his bad heart, this might be his last chance to do a test flight. Since he’s already up, they decide to let him go ahead and he puts the jet through its paces. The tests go off without a hitch, but before Davis can bring the jet back, he runs into a weird column of black light generated by what looks like a miniature moon eclipsing the sun. Davis and the jet both disappear. Davis finds himself (and the jet) in a hangar somewhere else and meets the person who brought him there … Eclipso.

Warlord 90 coverWarlord #90 – “Demons of Days Past” – Cary Burkett/Rich Buckler

This one starts with Travis Morgan’s ship stopping to take on water and wait for Captain Hawk to deliver the slaves he promised to liberate. Morgan wanders off to brood about Patch’s words last issue, when she gave him shit for not living up to his own ideals of freedom and justice. Morgan runs into a strange old man who seems to be able to read Morgan’s mind (or soul) and tells him he needs to choose between being a ruler who leads people to victory over their enemies and establishes a strong kingdom, or an adventurer who goes from one fight to the next. Both are noble callings, but Morgan has to pick one.Jennifer releases Tinder and Chakka While Morgan is thinking about it, the old man disappears. Many miles away under the Fire Mountain, Jennifer Morgan, Faaldren, and Ashir find the chamber where Tinder stumbled on the magic gem last issue. Jennifer recognizes it as the chamber of the Evil one that she visited in the past (in issue 66) and uses her magic to free Tinder (and Chakka) from the gem’s influence. Tinder is still fascinated by the gem, but Jennifer tells him it’s dangerous and she needs to study it. Tinder introduces them to Chakka and they leave, after Jennifer warns Ashir not to take any of the gold unless he wants to end up cursed. Meanwhile, Morgan’s crew is putting up a temporary putting the demon back in the bottlecamp to meet Captain Hawk and Tara asks Morgan how he intends to pay Hawk the seven gold pieces per slave he promised. Morgan says he knows where to get the money, but Tara won’t let him go gallivanting off by himself, so he invites her along. They head for the ruins of Shaban D’aba (which we saw in issue 31) where the temple pyramid holds heaps of treasure. After almost getting killed by dinosaurs, Morgan and Tara reach the pyramid and climb up to the secret door. They’re interrupted by some villagers coming to the pyramid with sacrifices for a demon they say lives inside. The demon manifests and Morgan and Tara hide inside the pyramid, but the demon pushes the door open to get at them. Tara finds an empty bottle and figures maybe the demon was trapped in it, since it wasn’t around last time Morgan was there. Hoping there’s some enchantment left in the bottle, Morgan uses it against the demon, trapping it within. So I guess the treasure is theirs again and it looks like Morgan and Tara are about to bang on top of all that gold. As usual, the art is great, including a couple of cool two-page splashes.opening splash pages

 

Jonah Hex 89 coverJonah Hex #89 – “Blood Legacy” – Michael Fleisher/Mark Texeira/Dennis Jenke

Last issue, Jonah Hex caught up with his old flame Emmylou as she was helping rob a bank and she ended up shooting him. Hex’s wound doesn’t kill him, but the doctor tells him he has to stay off his feet and avoid booze, tobacco, and spicy foods until he heals. Hex’s landlady (Mrs. Crowley) promises the doctor she’ll keep Hex in line. Out at their cabin, Emmylou is heartbroken that she shot Hex, but Brett (the bandit who brainwashed her into joining his gang) and his other two molls try to convince her she had no choice but to shoot Hex, and that loyalties should lie with them instead of Hex. Meanwhile, the Gray Ghost’s son (Jeremy Ashford) takes up his mantle reluctantly, aiming to find Hex andMrs. Crowley rousts Hex from the hotel kill him for wasting his father. At the boarding house, Hex sneaks out and heads to the hotel for a real meal and a few drinks. Some drunken asshole starts mouthing off, but before Hex can kill him, Mrs. Crowley shows up and drags Hex back to the boarding house. In a different saloon in a different town, Adrian is finding out that life as a saloon girl has its drawbacks … like drunk customers trying to put the moves on her. After she knocks one guy out with a club, the rest are about to pound her when a slick-looking gambler jumps in and beats the shit out of them. Back at the boardinghouse, Jeremy shows up looking for Hex, but Hex sees someone across the street with a gun and Hex saves Jeremy and goes after the gunmanpushes Jeremy to the ground just as a bullet whizzes by. Hex takes the gunman down and introduces himself to Jeremy. Mrs. Crowley insists on giving Jeremy a free room and Jeremy feels weird that the guy he’s sworn to kill saved his life. That night, he puts on the Gray Ghost outfit and sneaks down the hall to kill Hex. Hex is in a deep sleep, having a weird dream about being chased across the desert and caught by Mei Ling, Emmylou, and Adrian … all of whom want to kill him. Jeremy feels guilty about wanting to kill Hex, especially when he’s defenseless, so he goes back to his own room and swears he’ll kill Hex tomorrow, face-to-face. In the other town, the Gambler (Mr. Erdnase) walks Adrian home and says he’d like to get to know her better. She agrees to have lunch with him the next day. At the boarding house, Hex is outside getting some air (with a blanket, since Mrs. Crowley insisted) when JeremyJeremy chooses not to kill Hex comes to talk to him. Jeremy tells Hex he’s Gray Ghost’s son (which Hex already guessed because he saw the Gray Ghost outfit in Jeremy’s bag when he saved his life) and he’s come to kill Hex. Jeremy pulls a gun and Hex tells him to forget his promise to his father and just walk away. Hex says his own life has been mired in blood and death for years, but Jeremy doesn’t have to throw his life away too. Jeremy wants to honour his promise, but can’t kill the man who saved his life. He leaves Hex and goes inside, feeling like he betrayed his father. We see that Hex had a gun ready under the blanket and is relieved he didn’t have to use it. But Jeremy feels so bad about not fulfilling his promise, he ends up blowing his own brains out.

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