Posts tagged ‘Iris Allen’

Detective 336 – Batman under a witch’s curse, and the Elongated Man in a trap for the Flash

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Batman and Robin deal with a broomstick riding witch in Detective 336 (Feb. 65), a Fox/Moldoff/Giella tale.

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Batman and Robin are called to a robbery, where the witch announces that she will be removing their senses one at a time as the evening, and her crime spree, progress.

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And that’s essentially what happens, though the two heroes always manage to prevail.

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Robin is the one to figure out that the broomstick is the actual source of her powers, and unseats her, freeing Batman from her spell.

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The whole thing turns out to be a ploy by the Outsider, who brags at the end to Batman.

Later continuity would add even more to this story, when it was revealed that the witch was actually Zatanna, in disguise and under the thrall of the Outsider.

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The Elongated Man gets to penetrate a house of traps set for the Flash in this Fox story, with art by Infantino and Greene.

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Ralph and Sue are on their way to Central City to visit Barry and Iris, when Ralph is alerted to a house rigged up by Mirror Master.  Sue goes off to lunch with Iris while Ralph navigates through the various traps, finding the man running it while Mirror Master is away.

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It turns out Flash chose to leave the house to Ralph, rather than dealing with it after he defeated Mirror Master, because he figured Ralph would enjoy it.  And, he did.  That’s a true buddy.

The story ends with the two couples going out for a refined dinner.

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Adventure 462 – Batman dies, Flash stalks his wife, Deadman has trouble with in-laws, Wonder Woman vs Sargon the Sorceror and Aquaman battles corporate farms

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The Justice Society may not have had a long run in Adventure Comics, but as the cover to issue 462 (April 1979) makes clear, some of it’s most important stories occurred during it.  Paul Levitz and Joe Staton kill off Batman in a not-so-great, but certainly memorable, tale.

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Picking up from where the last issue left off, Dr Fate attempts to get Bruce Wayne to safety, and the rest of the team revive long enough to battle, and fall, to Bill Jensen again.

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But there is no avoiding where this story is going.  Bruce dons his Batman garb one final time to face down Jensen, and both die in a cataclysmic explosion.

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The funeral scene is the best part of the story, with grieving Helena persuading Dick not to take over the role of Batman.  Bruce’s identity has been exposed to the world in his death, and theirs have been compromised as well.  But it’s left to Dr Fate to point out that the story has climaxed,but not ended.  Who or what was behind Jensen’s attack?

The story concludes next issue.

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The Flash’s marital troubles had taken centre stage in his own book, and spill over in this story by Cary Bates, with dreadful art by Don Heck and Joe Giella.

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Barry Allen gets so jealous when he discovers Iris is meeting another man that he spies on her by vibrating invisibly and following her.  It turns out the “other man” is simply an old friend, a scientist who has been working on a device to access the astral plane.

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Flash follows her there as well, which is not such a bad thing, as he rescues her from an astral demon.  And though they do communicate their feelings for each other in the astral realm, Iris has no memory of it and is simply angered and humiliated when she finds that Barry has been stalking her.

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Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dick Giordano take over the art on Len Wein’s Deadman saga with this issue.

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It turns out that Kronsky has been developing a helmet that would give thoughts physical form, and no one is more thrilled to hear this than Boston Brand, as it would mean he could get his own body again.  Cleveland would also likely be excited, if he knew his brother kept hitching a ride in his body.

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Solomon and his goons have come to the circus as well, in pursuit of Kronsky and the helmet, and Garica-Lopez does some great work with the battle between the mobsters and the circus folk.

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But it was the horrifying final page that really stuck in my mind as a kid, as Kronsky retrieves the helmet he had hidden with Inga, and uses it to murder Solomon and his men.  Turns out Kronsky might not be such a victim after all.

The story concludes next issue.

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The Ruby of Life, which gave Sargon the Sorceror his powers, has come into the possession of Queen Hippolyta in the Wonder Woman story in this issue, by Jack C Harris and Jack Abel.

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Sargon, originally a hero in the 1940s, had returned as a villain in the 60s, but his last appearance, in a Justice League story in the early 70s, had seen him back on the side of the angels.  In this story he convinces a young couple sailing near Paradise Island to land and steal the gem back for him.

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It turns out he needs them to do this because he is actually imprisoned within the stone, and is merely sending an image to the couple.  Wonder Woman shatters the gem, freeing Sargon and releasing him from the spell of the jewel.  But as he has the stone again a few years down the road, it is clear that the magical gem cannot be so easily destroyed, nor can its possession of Sargon end.

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I may not have cared for Don Newton’s art on Aquaman, but at least it was better than Don Heck, who takes over with this issue, as Paul Kupperberg continues his story of evil farmers bringing doom to Atlantis.

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Even with evidence of the environmental destruction the UFP are causing, Vulko remains completely unconcerned, convinced that they will find some solution in time.  Corporate greed versus the environment, been going on for a long time.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 461 – Barry Allen framed for murder, Deadman finds the bad guys, Aquaman takes a stand against farming, Wonder Woman teams with Wonder Girl, and the Justice Society of America begins

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The number of series in Adventure 461 (Feb 79) drops from six to five, though with no drop in pages.  Rather, the Justice Society is given a double length series as they move from their own comic, cancelled as part of the DC Implosion.

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The Flash gets an entertaining and off-beat tale by Cary Bates, with art by Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin.  Barry and Iris are travelling by car, and stop at a gas station.  A hunter comes out, drops his gun, and Barry picks it up and shoots the man dead.

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Iris cannot figure out what is going on, and upon visiting Barry in prison, discovers that he has no idea either.  The gun shot itself, and when he raced to stop the bullets, he discovered there were none, the man had squibs planted in his coat that exploded.

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Sticking around to try to figure out the situation, Barry is set up by another faked death, and then meant to be killed escaping.  But of course he uses his super-speed to avoid that fate, and manages to find the supposed victim and clear his name of the crime.  It was all an attempt to frame and kill an outsider, while allowing a wanted criminal (the hunter) to fake his own death.

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In this instalment of the Deadman story, Len Wein and Jim Aparo slow down a bit, recapping past events as Deadman tries to figure out what is going on.  He figures out that the man behind the fire and attempted murder was Solomon, a wealthy industrialist, and tracks him down, learning that the other man who escaped, Kronsky, was being held by him to extract information.

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Inga reveals more of her past to Cleveland, that her father was a prominent scientist who disappeared a few years before she escaped from Russia.

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So all in all it’s really no surprise when Kronsky shows up at the circus, and we discover he is Inga’s father.

But at least the story has taken a clear form before its climax.

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The Justice Society begin their run in Adventure with a three-page introduction, of the team itself, as well as Earth-2. Paul Levitz and Joe Staton then give  play to Power Girl, trying to prove herself to the dismissive older heroes, Green Lantern, Flash and Wildcat.

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Robin shows up at the headquarters, where he reveals that he has known Helena was really the Huntress all along, even if Bruce never figured out what his daughter was up to.

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Then the action gets going as a powerful madman, Bill Jensen, takes over some twin towers and demands that Bruce Wayne, the current Police Commissioner of Gotham City, be turned over to him for vengeance.  Jensen quickly takes down Power Girl, Flash, Green Lantern, Huntress and Robin before Wayne arrives.

He blames Wayne for framing him for a murder he didn’t commit, and his attempt to kill Bruce is only thwarted by the power of Dr. Fate.

The story continues next issue.

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This beginning chapter to a new Aquaman storyline is a less than impressive start, although the story will improve as it goes on.  Paul Kupperberg and Don Newton have Aquaman discover that a company, Universal Food Products, has begun extensive farming of the lands around Atlantis.

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Aquaman distrusts the company immediately, and Vulko’s defense of them certainly calls into question his abilities as king.  Aqualad joins Aquaman as he seeks out information on land from the company headquarters, and discovers that UFP’s real plan is the destruction of Atlantis.

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Wonder Woman gets an extremely rare team-up with Wonder Girl in this story by Jack C Harris and Jack Abel.  Wonder Girl had been introduced as a member of the Teen Titans, an a backstory involving Wonder Woman was ascribed to her (and flashbacked to in this story), but in truth she had never been a sidekick in Wonder Woman’s comic.

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Wonder Woman finds her at a special school, while tracking down some Amazon-costumed thieves.  Donna refuses to accept any connection between the school and Diana’s case, but Diana sticks around and discovers that the head of the school is really the old, lame, JLA villain Headmaster Mind.  He has conned the girls into believing they are drawing powers from Wonder Girl as she sleeps.  The Wonder women simply turn the tables on him, convincing the girls that they have stopped the fake device from working, their powers in reality just came from their belief in the machine.

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It’s not a bad story in concept, though not great in execution.

Wonder Girl had last appeared in a Flash Super-Spectacular, and next appeared in an issue of Brave and the Bold later in the year, both times as part of the Teen Titans.

Headmaster Mind had not appeared since battling the JLA in the late 60s, and as he made no further appearances, it seems he really did die in the explosion at the end of this story.

 

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