Adventure 463 – Flash battles an Image-Eater, Deadman gains a body, the JSA bury Batman, Aquaman defeats the evil farmers and Wonder Woman takes on Queen Bee
Adventure 463 (June 1979) opens with a Flash story that is only remarkable in the way it ignores the major events taking place in his own book at this time.
Cary Bates, Don Heck and Joe Giella tell a story that has the Flash returning from a visit with Jay Garrick on Earth-2, and stumbling across an ancient spirit, the Urtumi, that feeds on the after-images he leaves behind while running.
I never understood how Don Heck got so much work in comics. I don’t believe there was ever a single panel he drew that I liked.
Conversely, I don’t think there was ever a single panel Jose Luis Gacia-Lopez drew that I didn’t love. With Frank Chiaramonte on inks, and Len Wein in the driver’s seat, the Deadman storyline that opened his run in Adventure comes to a powerful conclusion.
Despite Kronsky’s unstable nature, Deadman still holds out hope that his helmet will create a new body for him, and he tries a variety of ways to access it.
Finally, he inhabits Inga, and almost succeeds at his goal, but the body explodes. The helmet will only work for Kronsky, and only almost worked for Inga because of their genetic similarity.
Ultimately, Kronsky sacrifices the helmet, which is driving him insane, to be able to stay with his family.
Paul Levitz and Joe Staton bring the death of Batman storyline to a conclusion, as Dr Fate leads the team in hunting down the man responsible, Frederic Vaux, a patsy of darker forces.
Vaux used the powers he was given to convince Jensen that Wayne had framed him, and gave him the power to destroy him. Why did the mysterious dark forces choose to operate in such a roundabout way? That’s never addressed, and this final chapter is not really very fulfilling in terms of the villains.
Vuax casts a spell to remove the memories of everyone on Earth, part of the larger plan to enslave him. After his defeat by Dr Fate, as the spell begins to wear off, Fate makes sure that the exact circumstances of Bruce Wayne’s death are not remembered, restoring his secret identity, as well as those of Helena and Dick Grayson.
All in all, the death of Batman storyline is far better in terms of what it achieved, than in how it achieved it.
Aquaman’s battle with United Food Products over their farming of the sea beds near Atlantis concludes this issue, by Paul Kupperberg, Don Heck and Joe Giella.
Aquaman is opposed by the Atlanteans, Vulko, Mera and even Aqualad, whom he gets into a fight with, but he pursues the UFP anyway, with Aqualad in hot pursuit.
The leader proudly proclaims that the true plans were to destroy Atlantis, and please note the unusual garb of the sailor standing next to him in the first panel. As I said, there is more to this storyline than it seems at first.
Aqualad overhears, and joins Aquaman as they destroy the UFP base. Back in Atlantis, even Vulko finally concedes that the UFP were dangerous. But their plans are far from over…
Wonder Woman is seen at work for the only time during her run in Adventure, as astronaut in training Diana Prince, in this story by Gerry Conway, with art by Joe Staton and Frank McLauglin.
She is sealed in a sensory deprivation test, which saves her when a swarm of deadly bees attack NASA. She uses her lasso to round up the bees, saving her co-workers, and then follows them back to their giant lair.
She discovers JLA villain Zazzala, the Queen Bee, an alien conqueror. Though she bests Queen Bee in combat, she is forced to release her when Zazzala reveals that the scientists stung by the bees had their minds drained as the result, and the honetcomb contains their combined mental faculties, which only Zazzala can return to them.
Queen Bee last appeared facing the Justice League three years earlier in their own book. The story concludes next issue.