World’s Finest 279 – Alfred prefers Superman, Green Arrow and the cult, Hawkman and the hyperspace whirlpool, and the secret brother of Freddy Freeman

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Cary Burkett is joined by Keith Pollard and Mike DeCarlo as they begin a multi-part story in World’s Finest 279 (May 1982).

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The story itself is not bad, but by far my favourite scene comes right at the start, with Superman in the Batcave, complimenting Alfred on his service, and Alfred thinking how much he prefers the considerate Superman to Green Arrow.

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Then we get down to the action, as Batman faces a new villain, Captain Cutlass, complete with pirate themed henchmen.  Numerous wealthy people are being kidnapped, and Cutlass is clearly part of the scheme, but not the only mover involved.

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Superman deals with a localized earthquake, which also seems to be part of the plan, but clearly outside Cutlass’ control.

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It does not take long before we get introduced to the team behind this, who interact according to their names.  Lead by a general, whose identity is not revealed yet, the story brings back Colonel Sulphur, a minor Batman villain last seen a couple years earlier in Brave and the Bold, as well as Green Lantern villain Major Disaster.  Despite the fact that none of these people really hold the ranks they claim, they appear to content to let those ranks determine their status.  This is very odd, considering that Major Disaster is far more powerful than the two men above him.

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Batman attempts to infiltrate the group, allowing himself to be captured as Bruce Wayne, but is exposed by the one in charge – yet another minor villain of his, General Scarr.

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Joey Cavlieri takes over the scripting of the Green Arrow series with this issue, while Von Eeden and Mahlstedt continue on the art.  The story deals with a cult patterned on the Moonies, and the daughter of one of the reporters Oliver Queen works with on the Daily Star has become a member.

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Concerned, Green Arrow seeks out a group dedicated to retrieving kids from the cult.  But he does not quite trust them, and rightly so, as the group is really part of the cult, keeping tabs on those out to shut them down.  By talking to them about the girl, Green Arrow has simply placed her in more danger.

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Hawkman’s story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, follows immediately after the previous issue, and must take place before the Superman/Batman story in this issue, as the heroes are just leaving Thanagar as the tale opens.

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Hawkman continues the search for his wife, finding a whirlpool in hyperspace. Even I know this is completely outside of anything scientifically plausible.  He finds a ship in distress, and goes to help them out.

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The aliens on the ship are far from grateful, more interested in attacking Hawkman than thanking him.  One has to assume that Hawkman is so upset about his missing wife that he falls for a preposterous trick, as a shape shifter takes the form of Hawkwoman, and Hawkman stops fighting, allowing himself to be captured.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte finally bring the subplot about the mysterious ghosts and such to the forefront in this story.  The tale itself is largely irrelevant, dealing with a dying man who threatens to destroy the world if his heart stops beating.  While Captain Marvel deals with the missiles, Freddy ponders the strange appearances that have been happening, going all the way back to an appearance by Sherlock Holmes in a story of his from the 1940s.

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Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, shows up to save the life of the cranky old man, but that is just a prelude to the big revelation.  Kid Eternity, making his second appearance in a DC comic after a small role in the Shazam comic in the mid 70s, is the one who has been calling forth the various historical and fictional characters.  Captain Marvel Jr identifies him as his brother, Kit Freeman.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

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