Adventure 460 – Barry Allen lives Jay Garrick’s nightmare, Deadman deals with a circus fire, Wonder Woman battles for Steve Trevor’s soul, Green Lantern and New Gods end, and Aquaman begins for the fourth time
The line-up changes almost immediately with the second Dollar Comic issue of Adventure, 460 (Dec 78), partly as a result of the infamous “DC Implosion.” Having lost his own comic, Aquaman moves back into Adventure, which causes the abrupt end to Green Lantern’s run. Other victims of the Implosion would also find homes in this book in the coming months.
Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin craft an enjoyable variation on the long-running team-ups of the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Flashes. After hanging out for the first couple pages, Barry Allen tries to head home, but instead gets pulled into a weird alternate reality.
He encounters The Shade, and though he tries to fight him, the Shade appears confused by this, and insists they are friends – as well as insisting that Barry is really Jay Garrick.
Jay’s wife Joan has the same view of Barry’s identity, though in this world she has become the wife of the Fiddler, another of Garrick’s old foes.
Finally the Wizard shows up, bragging about his plan to drive Jay Garrick insane. Barry simply fell into the magical trap by accident, but as it was not designed for him, he also escapes with ease.
The Shade and the Fiddler, both last seen in JLA/JSA team-ups, do not really appear in this tale, they are simply magical constructs. The Wizard appears between the final story in Secret Society of Super-Villains, and its follow-up in the pages of Justice League of America. But again he is not really there, hia appearance is part of the spell he had set-up before the events at the conclusion of SSoSV.
Len Wein and Jim Aparo continue the Deadman saga begun in the previous issue, as Lorna finds herself pestered by agents of a mysterious businessman trying to take over the circus.
Once again Inga is certain that she is the cause of the problems, even though this appears unlikely to the other characters. The bad guys start a fire in the circus, and Deadman inhabits his brother’s body once again to help save people.
Meanwhile, a second mysterious man, being tortured at orders of the first, escapes from his captors. The story continues next issue.
The New Gods saga by Gerry Conway and Don Newton comes to a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion in this issue.
Darkseid beats up Highfather, in a sequence that is not particularly impressive for either character.
On Earth, the humans assembled by Darkseid join together and emit the Anti-Life Equation, which simply wipes out the Antagonist. Lightray, Forager, Metron and Jezebel just sort of stand around looking impressed.
Darkseid attempts to pierce the Source Wall, but his approach causes him to increase in size, like the Promethean Giants. DeSaad mistakes this as an attack, and fires a cannon at him, blasting Darkseid to pieces, and the story comes to an end, without even the long forecast battle between Darkseid and Orion.
Most of the major players return a couple years down the road in the JLA/JSA crossover in which the Apocalyptians try to bring Darkseid back to life. Others have to wait until Kirby’s next work on the series, in the mid-80s.
His own book having fallen prey to the DC Implosion, Aquaman returns to the pages of Adventure, Mera in tow, as he deals with Landau, an arrogant hunter of whales.
The story, by Paul Kupperberg, is pretty basic, and Don Newton is far from my favourite artist on Aquaman.
Green Lantern’s last story in this book, by Cary Burkett, with art by Joe Staton, sees him deal with one of his rarer foes, a magical being called Myrwhydden.
Their last encounter had been back in the mid-60s, in Green Lantern’s own book, and concluded with Myrwhydden imprisoned inside Hal’s ring. He reveals that the energy leeches from the previous issue had drawn him out of the ring, and so once again he pursues his goal of stealing Green Lantern’s battery and ring to use to power his own magic.
And once again Green Lantern whups him. But this time, rather than putting him back in the ring, he delivers Myrwhydden to the Guardians of the Universe to imprison. Myrwhydden returns in the early 80s, in Green Lantern’s own book.
The final story in the issue, a Wonder Woman tale by Jack C Harris and Jack Abel, is the best in the book. It’s an epilogue of sorts to the death of Steve Trevor that occurred the previous month in her own book.
Distraught, Diana pleads with Aphrodite to bring Steve Trevor back to life, as she had done once before, in the early 70s. Aphrodite refuses, and Diana decides to head to the afterworld to take on Pluto himself in order to save Steve.
They battle, but it becomes apparent to Wonder Woman that Pluto does not have Steve Trevor, that he has passed on to a different plane. Pluto was merely delaying Diana in his realm, waiting until her separation from her physical form brought about her own death. Steve’s ghost leads Diana back to her body, and she has no choice but to accept his death.
In fact, Steve’s absence from the realm of Pluto was due to more of Aphrodite’s manipulations, but that will not be made clear, or even hinted at, until the 80s.