Friday, May 17, 2024

Green Lantern #3 (August 1990)

Fan service for the Hal Jordan lovers in the '90s.

Comic book fans often complain about the amount of fan service in modern comic books but I'm pretty sure fan service was worse in previous eras. Mostly it's a problem with writers. I read a lot of comic books but I only truly love a small percentage of those comic books. And it has to do with the writers. Was that obvious? Anyway, a great writer understands the character they're writing on a level where the story feels organic. But some writers only understand a previously created character on such a shallow level that their stories generally amount to nothing more than ten to twenty pages of what they think the audience wants. Sometimes a character is introduced by a writer as a means of expressing something critical about the world and the people in it, perhaps introducing a flawed paranoid character who mistakes his delusional perception of the world as the way the world really is and his obsessive need to act out God's punishment for every sin he "sees." But then readers might rally behind the flawed character, not merely because they don't understand the commentary but maybe because they themselves feel helpless and forgotten, projecting the character's misguided power onto themselves and how they might show the world their own power, if not someday, at least in a momentary daydream while reading their comic book. Other writers notice this love of the character and decided, "I'm going to portray this character as serious instead of tongue-in-cheek, or satirical because look at all the raving fanboys who love the character's ethically and morally dubious actions!" Then the fans go even more wild for it and eat it up for years. The writers double down on this character's most obvious traits until the character becomes a huge parody of itself, having grown so out of proportion that nobody can ever take it seriously again. At least until a Real Writer comes along and decides to delve deeply into what makes this character tick.

I was sort of thinking about various characters while writing that, some that actually didn't get the "over-the-top" treatment because they didn't really remain in continuity (Rorschach* (*I know, I know! Eventually DC did go there! But it was so forgettable that I've forgotten it all)) to characters like Guy Gardner and Lobo. I suspect characters like Wolverine and The Punisher probably got a bit of this treatment but I wasn't really reading much Marvel in the '80s and early '90s (I didn't read much Marvel until all my favorite writers began writing for them!). Guy Gardner especially became a bipolar monster/hero depending on how the current writer felt about him, or what the current editor felt audiences wanted out of him. Guy Gardner had fans who loved his bad-ass fuck authority way of thinking which stood out from the more stolid, unthinking, and mundanely stubborn "fuck authority" of Hal Jordan. But a lot of people hated Guy, including many writers. And you can always tell when a writer hates Guy Gardner because they portray him as a clown who gets turned on by violence and sexism. I've only read two issues so far so I can't quite judge how Gerard Jones views Guy yet. So far he seems to be a bratty little brother with low self-esteem who feels a desperate need to show up his more mature sibling.

I guess that had more to do with how writers and editors feel about what they present to an audience than fan service. But editors often did want to present what they thought fans wanted. They did, after all, want to sell as many comic books as possible. So this cover is part of that feeling. It only took three issues for Jones and the editors to say to potential readers, "You want Hal Jordan back and taking control? You want a solid Green Lantern comic book? Have you also had enough of this blowhard ruining the Green Lantern reputation? Don't you fucking hate Guy Gardner fans who think he's somehow better than Hal Jordan when we, the editors and writers and super smart readers, know that he's not?!" And then you get the cover all the Hal Jordan fans have been waiting for. Guy Gardner getting the shit beaten out of him yet again. Just like every hero had to beat Lobo in the late '80s/early '90s to show that they could beat the most dangerous character in the DC Universe, they also all needed to put Guy Gardner in his place to show that they're honorable and just and not simply wearing costumes and beating the shit out of villains for a quick erotic buzz. Wait, that was a plot point in Watchmen, right?

Oh no. I just wrote an amazing slash fiction story behind this cover due to this detail:

I won't bore you with the story but the working title is "Guy Gardner's Glory Hole Cock Up."

The story begins with Hal back on the road. Except now he's dropped the metaphor of being on the road for the Taoist belief of just being. The road is no longer a metaphor for the journey of life. It's no longer an analogy of seeking. It's simply a road and Hal's just being. He's no longer seeking something which is what you do when your lost which means he's finally been found. He's at one with everything, even the mosquitoes. Although pointing out "even the mosquitoes" seems like maybe he's still got some judgment in his heart and he hasn't achieved the sort of harmony he believes he has. But for Hal, it's a huge step! He's not being driven by his past or rushing toward some ideal future. He's just Hal walking down a road listening to the river and thinking, "Man, even the mosquitoes aren't annoying me right now." Oh no! I just realized something after that description: Hal's on opiates!

Hal's brief moment being a Buddhist's ideal bagel doesn't last long. Before you know it, Guy Gardner shows up to call him a weenie because, even in 1990, Gerard Jones knew DC wouldn't publish what we all know Guy really called Hal. This issue is called "Sound and Fury" which is a Faulkner reference on top of a Shakespeare reference and possibly a Biblical reference because aren't all references, ultimately, just tarted up scripture? I suppose "sound and fury" is also as apt a description you'll get of Guy Gardner. Especially when you tack on the next part Will's sentence, "signifying nothing." It's like Shakespeare met Guy Gardner at a party and Macbeth's soliloquy birthed itself fully formed in his mind. Oh, also the whole "tale told by an idiot" part. Pure Guy!

Hal's been hitchhiking unsuccessfully which is what has given Hal the moment to become one with his surroundings. So maybe the universe was teaching Hal about getting what we need. This seems especially pertinent because Guy thinks Hal has been unsuccessful so far. And if Guy thinks one thing, everybody knows that one thing is the wrong thing. Anyway, Guy shows Hal how to get a car to stop for you.

Pretty sure the men in this car have just been killed which really makes Jones' choice to never mention them again a little odd.

Instead of taking Guy by his ear and hauling him off to the police station for reckless manslaughter (is that the term for this? Or was it premeditated murder since Guy knows what his ring is capable of?), Hal takes Guy to a diner to continue their sibling rivalry.

Or their lovers' spat.

Hal and Guy are two men arguing in public in the South. And since neither one of them has drawn a firearm at this point, or maybe because they're obviously referring to their firearms as "you-know-whats," the crowd around them assume they're lovers. Also, I mean, the "you-know-what" could actually mean a "you-know-what," if you know what I mean.

Hal accepts Guy's challenge. They take off their rings, give them to the waitress, and then go out in the parking lot to fuck.

I grew up in the '70s. Let's get it on means sex.

Even if Guy hadn't said, "Let's get it on," I'd have mentioned they were going to fuck. Every time two men get overly aggressive and want to punch each other in the face, all I can think about is how much more pleasant fucking each other would be. Why would you rather get hit in the face then have a nice orgasm? I bet if I were in a crowd cheering on two guys fighting, I'd get them to stop. While everybody was yelling, "Fight! Fight! Fight!", I'd be yelling, "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" That would probably make them both too uncomfortable to continue with the violence. Sure, they might go after me. But would they dare when I was already so excited about all the fucking about to happen?

You have to admit. These dudes have the facial expressions of guys about to see some sexual penetration.

Pretty sure Jeff is washing his mouth out after sucking off the other guy excited for the fight. Like Guy on the cover, he's got semen all over his mouth.

I just don't understand why guys have to be so aggressive. Problems can be solved in an infinite number of ways without resorting to physical violence. Not to mention most problems are never solved through physical violence. Once you commit violence against another person, you haven't "won" in any sense of the term. You've just created a person who has been beaten, humiliated, and angry. You know they're going to want to get revenge. So now that you've "won," you get to spend the rest of your life acting defensive, constantly looking over your shoulder, and building up a huge standing army with taxes that could go to the public good! You might have just realized I stopped talking about individuals somewhere in that last sentence. War doesn't solve problems. It just kicks the can full of problems down the future road.

Don't bring up self-defense to argue my point! Because that's already been my point! When you've committed violence to defend yourself, it's usually because some other dumb, fearful, overly aggressive piece of shit has decided to resort to violence! And if they didn't resort to violence but you did and you claimed self-defense, guess who the dumb, fearful, overly aggressive piece of shit is in that situation?! Hmm, you probably can't do logical math if you're a dumb, fearful, overly aggressive piece of shit. So maybe just stop trying to understand the words I'm typing and just look at the pictures of Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan punching each other silly in a diner parking lot.

Why is Guy Gardner's war cry about a cow's asshole?

When Hal and Guy handed their Green Lantern rings to the waitress, she was all, "Who would try to steal them?" But Guy Gardner is dressed as Guy Gardner, the Green Lantern. Everybody in the diner should recognize him, right? Is it possible nobody would try to get one of those rings off the waitress? I'm not saying they'd be successful being that the rings basically have minds of their own. But the whole scene seems to be playing out as if nobody recognizes Guy Gardner!

To make the fight seem a bit more fair than Hal Jordan fans would probably like, Guy Gardner pops Hal in the face in that previous panel. But he has to kick him first and everybody knows that's dirty fighting! If you didn't know it was dirty fighting because you read this when you were a refined Victorian woman who wouldn't dare think about any sort of physical violence at all, Jeff and Wash, the gay guys, make sure to express it to the reader.

Another clue that they're gay is that they're skeedaddling because the jerk small town sheriff has just arrived on scene.

Hal and Guy wind up in prison. It must be illegal to fist fight in this city. Maybe that's why everybody got so excited to see the fight.

Once more, Hal Jordan finds himself in jail. He was looking to change his life after so many years as a Green Lantern and it looks like he's just repeating all of the same mistakes (mostly the mistake where he winds up in jail). He didn't drink drive a good friend to paralysis this time so maybe he has become a better man. This time he was just thrashing an idiot in a park when an overzealous cop decided to arrest him and the guy whose face he was shoving in the dirt and making say, "I like to suck big dicks. Mmm! Mmm! I can't get enough of 'em."

While in jail, Hal Jordan tries to act as therapist to Guy Gardner. But just when they seem to be opening up to each other, Hal realizes he doesn't have his ring and they both freak the fuck out. Apparently the ring means more to Hal than he's been letting on. Hopefully Guy noticed so he can stop thinking Hal thinks he's too good for the ring which is somehow a commentary on Guy being a huge loser because he needs it. Hal makes his phone call to the diner and the waitress is all, "Oh, those rings I said I wouldn't lose? I lost them." I guess that gay duo took them to use to do crimes. Gay crimes.

Meanwhile on Oa, the insane, lonely Guardian attempts a mind union with John Stewart. Mind Unions must be things every other alien in the universe can do. I guess humans can't do it because humans can love. Mind Unions and love must conflict on some basic biological level. That's pretty much the entire theme of the original Star Trek. John fights against the Mind Union so the Guardian, realizing he might have trouble merging with the only other person on the planet, decides to take huge chunks from other planets all over the universe and bring them to Oa. I guess this is how Mosaic starts?

Gay Wash and Gay Jeff have taken the rings. And while they learn to use them, they realize they can't stand everybody in town. So they decide to make every single one of them shit their pants.

Unless you can shit your pants out of pure joy, my pants would remain clean if I saw this. Well, as clean as they were when the huge raccoon appeared, anyway.

What's going on with the art team of Broderick and Patterson? This raccoon is the third character in the series to be shown post-dick sucking.

The cops let Hal and Guy out of jail to stop Wash and Jeff on their little crime spree. I guess the sheriff finally put clue one together with clue two and realized he had the famous Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, in his jail cell. Or he was just so embarrassed by all the shit in his pants that he just wanted them out of smelling range.

Guy Gardner stands by doing nothing dressed up in his flamboyant outfit while Hal Jordan out willpowers Jeff and Wash. He gets both of their rings back and only then does Guy Gardner think, "Maybe I shouldn't be such a dick to this guy."

Oh, well I guess Guy Gardner is a regular human being now? Does respecting Hal Jordan equate to being a respectable hero again? Has this fixed him?

Green Lantern #3 Rating: B. Guy's respect came a little bit too easily for my tastes which is why this issue doesn't get an A. Plus I'm still not really a huge fan for this Robert Crumb-esque underground comic book style. But I guess Guy has tortured Hal long enough, so I'm just glad this whole "Guy Gardner is being a huge asshole for absolutely no reason" plot is over. I wouldn't mind if they butted heads and it took something like this for Guy to get Hal's respect. But the jail scene where Guy was actually opening up to Hal was too short for their repaired relationship to be truly meaningful. Hal had every right to be pissed off at Guy (although I think threatening to break his arm (and outright stating that he'd love to do it) may have gone too far) because Gerard Jones had Guy acting like a pissy toddler. It was reminiscent of the way Dan Vado would decide to characterize him in Justice League a year or two later. You can't just make Guy Gardner a sexist dog turd who doesn't care about hurting innocent people just to make himself feel powerful. I mean he seriously hurt or killed two guys in a truck at the start of this issue and nobody fucking cared! I'm not sure he should have ever been let out of jail!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Green Lantern #2 (July 1990)

Guy Gardner battling the 1990 version of Times Square's street Elmo.

An entire generation of people have grown up knowing only a Times Square post-Disney's purchase of the New Amsterdam theater and Guiliani's forced make-over of an area of town that wasn't just sex shops and porno theaters. It was also middle class bars, lunch counters, video arcades, and small businesses like luggage stores, photo developing labs, and places to jerk off in the dark. The last porn shop, Peep-o-rama, closed in 2002. Where do young people go now to masturbate in the filth of previous public masturbators?! Do they only jerk off at home while watching Pornhub on their phones?! How are they going to become inured to the haunting suspicion that they've sat in some stranger's cum and have been walking around all day with a disgusting slimy patch on the back of their Burberry trench coat?! Is that something young people no longer have to worry about?! Did Pee Wee Herman ruin jerking off in a public porn theater for everybody?!

I wonder if Pee Wee got caught because the secret word of the day was "rod" and he kept screaming while jerking off during the movie?

Anyway, enough about jerking off in dark places, let's read this comic book and find out what the demon Guy Gardner is battling on the cover is a metaphor for! Is it sexually transmitted diseases? Is it virulent homophobia? Is it low level testosterone-related erectile dysfunction?! It's probably just boring old jerking off in a dark public place. Or drugs. Every negative thing was a metaphor for drugs in the '80s. And, yes, 1990 is still part of the '80s. The '90s don't really start until Nirvana begins getting airplay on mainstream hard rock radio stations' weird AM off-shoots that let them test out music that they were afraid might get them called gay slurs by metal heads. Being called gay slurs by metal heads was peak '80s!

I just noticed Broderick added the video game arcade amid all the filth and sleaze of Times Square. I suppose the fact that Times Square wasn't just sex shops and porno theaters that made adults so angry about it. Imagine knowing your teenager kept going to Times Square with a bunch of quarters to play Dragon's Lair and realizing those quarters could also open up a world of naked women pressing their fannies up against bullet proof windows?

The sea is just the biggest hole of them all!

I'm glad Hal is sticking to his all roads lead to a gigantic hole analogy! At one time in my life, I probably would have admired a person who stuck to their guns no matter how stupid their guns were or how disgusting the sticky stuff causing them to stick was. But I've seen the hole at the end of that MAGA road now and it just makes me sad. Hal, you're making me sad right now. Please begin a new analogy where the road is the sea and the hole is an overly frosted cupcake.

Hal continues to travel America looking for work like a car load of Okies named Joad except without all the baggage of the older generations who have to die on the road as a metaphor for generational change. I guess Gerard Jones didn't want people mistaking Hal Jordan for a hippie bum the way people mistook me for a hippie bum when I was traveling the roads of America in my VW Bus. So Jones made sure that Hal was always looking to get some hard work in while traveling. In my eyes, this is another point against Hal Jordan's character! Relax, man!

Oh, maybe he is relaxing. When you approach sailors on a dock looking like the driest landlubber in the history of the world and asking for "work," it means you just want to suck some cock, right?

This issue is called "Pursuit of Happiness!" so, yeah, Hal just wants to fuck. And look at the expressions on those guys! They can't believe Hal's being so up front about it! Also those floats look like titties. Is that why my mind turned this whole interaction sexual? Or is it that I turn every interaction in a comic book into something sexual? Probably the former!

You're not going to make me view this situation any better by adding "and some...other things" to the end of your resume, Hal.

The two fishermen hire Hal to come along with them for some reason. Because they make so much money in their little boat and it's such hard work that they need some inexperienced sex maniac's help? It doesn't make sense. They've definitely just hired Hal to be their onboard rent boy.

While Hal Jordan looks to do hard work constantly to show his upstanding American character, Guy Gardner just wants to drink beer, fuck women, and beat the shit out of anybody he can justify beating the shit out of. He's what America turns into when it isn't consumed by hard work. He's what the Puritans feared! Fucking idleness makes you a vulgar monster! And Guy Gardner is the vulgarest. He's supposed to be protecting America as a member of the Justice League of America but he's really only into satisfying his own prurient needs. So he gets drunk while creating light construct fuck buddies and hating on Hal Jordan for being so upstanding and hard working and righteous. But he gets bored of fake green women and heads to Times Square to see some real titties. But even then, he's just all talk because he goes to a porno store to buy a pornographic film! After that, he decides to get a tattoo of a bald eagle waving a flag in one claw and gutting a Communist with the other while it chugs on beer flowing out of big old titties.

No, my mistake. Guy wants his tattoo to slightly more homoerotic than the one I described.

The tattoo artist turns out to be an old Green Lantern villain, The Tattooed Man. He also loved to sit around drinking beers and creating fake women to fuck. But he's changed his ways and he's trying to make himself into a better person by projecting the tattoo of his mother into his life rather than the tattoo of the fuckable vixen on his other arm. But Guy Gardner doesn't like the idea of a villain who has changed his ways. Has The Tattooed Man done any work toward redemption for his past life? Guy and I have no idea. That's a personal journey that really only applies to Gerard Jones and his family. I mean The Tattooed Man and his family. Guy simply sees The Tattooed Man's past as a justification to beat the shit out of him. Guy is like the drunk jerk at the bar who bumps into everybody so that he can feel justified in beating the shit out of anybody who calls him out on being a jerk.

It's almost like Gerard Jones is commenting on something entirely different here!

I wonder how many times somebody close to Gerard Jones discovered his predilection for children and he explained to them that all that was in his past and they should let him move on and then it didn't remain in his past at all? It would sound something like The Tattooed Man here, no? "Don't judge me by my past actions! Judge me by my redemptive future actions while I, hopefully, better hide my despicable actions from here on out!" Maybe I'm being unkind and not generous? Gerard did the time our justice system decided he should do. Maybe I should let a man forget his past! But then I'm not paid to do his public relations for him. It's not like I've decided to harass him personally! I just go on my website that nobody reads, write my thoughts, and go my own way. Hopefully he doesn't have an asshole friend like Cullen Bunn had who constantly sent him links to my Aquaman reviews!

Gerard Jones might be sort of prophetic because I, being Guy Gardner in this situation, probably was about to say something untoward about his mother!

I don't know if I could come up with something disgusting about The Tattooed Man's mother that doesn't sound any grosser than "Don't soil my mother!"

Guy irritates The Tattooed Man so much that The Tattooed Man forgets that he just wants to be left alone and pursues Guy Gardner across the New York City skies, flown by a gigantic bird tattoo. The way Guy acts, I have to wonder if the Guardians don't have some means to revoke a person's membership in the Corps. They probably did at one time but they've all abdicated their responsibilities to the universe and don't seem to give a shit if a bunch of rogue intergalactic cops harass regular people.

Back on Hal's road, he continues not being able to convince me that he's doing regular physical labor that isn't at all sex stuff.

I know the art seems to suggest he's actually working as a crabber but the words tell an entirely different story. Why should I believe pictures over words?! What am I? Some kind of cretin that doesn't understand the juxtaposition of one scene told with narration over a different scene shown with pictures?!

One of Hal's crewmates (out of two) is a Deadhead working odd jobs on the road as he follows The Grateful Dead around. He's as into analogies about living on the road as Hal Jordan is. But this guy suspects all roads lead to cages. That's more apt than all roads lead to holes! But I guess in five years, this guy's going to find himself in a cage or a hole because what's he supposed to do when Jerry Garcia dies?

I'm sorry to say I never made it inside a Grateful Dead show. Once, at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, I went to the parking lot outside the concert to score LSD. That's about as close as I ever got. It's also the only time I ever purchased drugs from a stranger! It was a bit awkward being that I just saw what looked like a drug transaction going down and I walked right up and said, "You've got acid?" And the guy seemed really hesitant to admit to what he was doing but I just steamrolled right over any fears or anxieties he had dealing with this strange young man by basically shoving my money at him excitedly.

Later that day, Hal has dinner with his new Deadhead buddy, Clay, after Clay sees him buying chicken and yells in his face, "Meat is murder!" Crabbing is also murder but Clay doesn't mind for some reason. Maybe because the crabs don't die until later, well out of his sight. Or maybe Clay releases the crabs at the end of the day? Also, Clay helps Hal eat his chicken because Clay's take is that meat is murder is okay as long as you take responsibility for your own moral failings. See, I guess if you know something you're doing is wrong, it's not as wrong as if you didn't know it? No wait. Surely the opposite of that is true! Anyway, Hal doesn't have a lot of time to debate Clay on his weird moral superiority because Guy Gardner has just lured The Tattooed Man into the nearby bay.

Guy Gardner really is a dick, isn't he?

Hal thinks Guy Gardner is a dick too.

John Stewart arrives on Oa looking to be forgiven for his part in allowing an entire planet of aliens to die. Most of the Guardians somehow scored with a bunch of hot, tall alien women so they left Oa some time ago. But one old Guardian decided to stay. The body John found last issue was the body of an alien named Priest. He had come to keep the Guardian company but the Guardian wound up killing him when he wanted to leave. Apparently the Guardian has space madness and now he's decided to imprison John as well.

The Guardian wants to perform something called a "mind union" with John Stewart. I guess that's what people from Malthus do for a good time. Bunch of lonely, needy geniuses. Why didn't this guy get a Zamaron bride? If it's because he's gay, you'd think there would have been more than just him. Maybe he just has a really unpleasant personality. I mean really, really unpleasant. All Guardians have a normal level unpleasant personality.

Hal's secret is exposed because Clay, unlike every other person in the entire DC Universe, recognized Hal Jordan in his Green Lantern mask. Once the townsfolk realize he's a super hero, they don't want any part of him and the trouble he'll bring. Which is exactly right because the chicken shop just got blasted by a cannonball due to Hal Jordan. Sure, it wasn't Hal's fault, exactly. But he was there and Guy Gardner wanted to fuck with him so, well, that's reason enough for me for people wanting him out of town. But then I've never needed much convincing that super heroes cause more trouble than they're worth. Remember, I grew up reading Wolfman's The New Titans. I never understood in that book why Councilwoman Alderman was painted as a bad guy! She was the only person in that comic book thinking clearly!

Green Lantern #2: Rating: B+. The Tattooed Man never pulled a dragon/demon tattoo off of his arm so I'm going to continue to believe the monster on the cover was a metaphor for some other trouble in Times Square. Probably drugs! I bet after Guy drank some porn and watched some beer, he smoked some crack. That's why he was acting so crazy! Maybe the Justice League needs to work him a bit harder. Guy Gardner with idle hands is just a huge fucking asshole.

Hal's beginning to suspect that going on the road to find himself might not be what he's meant to be doing since he's now found two places he fit in and loved but wound up being mistrusted and kicked out. Of course, both times it's because Guy Gardner won't leave him the fuck alone. Hal realizes Guy's at fault and he's looking to bust Guy's ass if he interferes again. But I also think Hal's going to give up on finding himself too early because of Guy's incessant need to annoy the fuck out of him. It looks like Hal's off to California next month to pick fruit. Just like my ancestors!

Monday, May 6, 2024

Green Lantern #1 (June 1990)

"DC's Greatest Cosmic Heroes!" That makes it canon that Guy Gardner is one of the best.

Do you think DC would mind if my reviews of this series were just complete scans of every page? It's not like they're ever going to reprint this series because they don't want to give any royalties to Gerard Jones, convicted of "distributing and possessing images of child sexual abuse." Don't mistake those very real quotes for hearsay air quotes because I lifted that bit from Wikipedia and he really did do the deed which is why DC refuses to make money for him. I needed to make that clear about the quotes because this is the Internet and many, many, many people (perhaps all of the people?) on the Internet think deconstructing text is just finding the worst thing they can assume about something they've read and then insist that that reading is the accurate one. I'm glad DC won't reprint any of Gerard Jones' work for the company even if some of that work is some of my favorite stuff from the early '90s (like Mosaic). Although reading his scripts now with the knowledge that he was a monstrous sex pest (some people might argue with the level of sex pest because he was not actually convicted of molesting any children. But possessing and distributing images of child sexual abuse creates a market for people to molest children. So huge monster. Big time monster. Granddaddy monster on the level of Grendel. I mean Beowulf. Let's face it: Beowulf has always been the real monster)) sometimes makes me feel really icky. Like how is he going to deal with Hal fucking a thirteen year old alien? Or was that what drew Gerard Jones to Hal Jordan?! Hopefully that doesn't happen in this series. Fuck if I can remember this series at all. Hell, before I found the series in a short box, I would have sworn I never read this run back in the day.

The issue begins with Hal Jordan philosophizing about life, fifteen years after the end of Emerald Dawn #6.

According to Hal Jordan, all roads lead to holes. No, no. THE hole. One massive hole. The same hole at the end of every road.

I would agree with Hal Jordan that every life ends in the grave if that were his point. I get that part of his speculation about life. But if you're going to use the analogy of traveling roads, ending every journey down every road in a hole doesn't really work unless you're a fucking madman. I once drove a VW bus all over America and only one road out of all of them led to a massive hole. That was in Arizona and the massive hole was Barringer Crater. I was not allowed to dive into it head first.

Maybe Hal Jordan is talking about his time on the road with Green Arrow and Green Arrow represents the massive hole? You know what? I'm totally turned around on Hal's analogy now.

Hal's final thought on the subject, as he scares the shit out of campers at the bottom of El Capitan (Hal's probably the reason base jumping was made illegal in Yosemite), is that once you reach the hole, you have nowhere to go. "Nowhere . . . and everywhere!" Um, what? What the fuck are you talking about, Hal Jordan?! You can't have it both ways! Because here, I also get how you suddenly have everywhere to go once you reach the end of the road you thought was taking you somewhere. You're free to do whatever you want. But that doesn't equate to nowhere to go!

Why am I trying to figure out Hal Jordan's philosophical speculation on the nature of life and time? I've already determined he's kind of an idiot.

After realizing his life has become a huge hole, Hal Jordan, for some mysterious reason that's not really that mysterious when you think about how the word "asshole" has the word "hole" in it, decides to visit Batman at Justice League headquarters. Somebody in the Justice League jizzes in his costume when he hears the news.

This art reminds me of Robert Crumb. Which is probably why I was picturing Beetle jizzing in his pants.

Yes, I realize I often picture Beetle jizzing in his costume. But I'm fairly certain this time was due to the art style.

Fire basically tells Hal Jordan that she wants to sit on his face while his ring creates a vibrating butt plug. But Hal still doesn't join. He just stopped by to remind Guy Gardner that he's representing an organization and maybe he should act like the ambassador of that organization instead of a rogue cop (which is actually all cops). Guy can't help treating Hal like shit and calling him a beta cuck (but in '90s language (not that '90s language! This was Comic Code Authority Approved!). Hal realizes this road has led to a massive hole as well and leaves frustrated. He tells Batman he's going to live as a regular, non-Green-Lantern man for awhile, to find himself. No more Guardian business upending his life of traveling down roads that lead to holes. "Get busy walking down roads that lead to holes or get busy dying," some Stephen King character once said. I think.

For a second, because I'm not smart, I couldn't figure out what Hal was doing with the ring right around his crotch. But during that second, I realized Batman is wearing his utility belt. How fucking old is this comic book?!

That was a rhetorical question, Internet. Most of my questions are rhetorical. I actually don't need some Actually Nerd dropping comments on my blog. I know nobody drops comments on my blog so I probably didn't need to say that. But, being the Internet, I really, really wanted to say it. I don't want to interact with any of you!

Meanwhile, John Stewart sits in a dark room watching 24 hour news coverage of terrible events across the globe. He thinks he is a Green Lantern and can help everybody but for some reason he is not a Green Lantern? Is this due to Crisis on Infinite Earths? Did he lose his ring due to some other tragic event, like destroying an entire planet. Has that happened yet? Not only did I not remember that I read this series back in the '90s, I also do not remember anything else about the history of any of the Green Lanterns.

Hal Jordan finally realizes the fault in his analogy so he decides to work on it some more while traveling down more roads.

I completely agree with Hal about life on the road. The best time of my life was leaving my home town with no plans in mind but to travel America's roads in my Volkswagen bus. Just absolute freedom from everything. Maybe this is what he meant by the nowhere to go and everywhere to go! The nowhere was just having nowhere you needed to go. No plans driving you forward. But that leaves you the choice of everywhere. Sure, sure. The choice is an illusion. But that illusion is fucking awesome. One of the best. Right up there with free will. Probably because it's sort of the analog, real version of the digital idea of free will.

Hal gets tossed off of a train he'd jumped (not tossed off in (at least not on panel)) and the guy is all, "If you've no place to go, there's a mission...", before Hal cuts him off. Quite the clever word play, Gerard "Sex Pest" Jones. The world trying to remind Hal to get back to work saving the universe.

Hal's new road takes him to an old place from another time, back when he was travelling with Ollie. To a place called Hope Springs, formerly Desolation. There's a woman there he never got to fuck but he still wants to. That's not just me making a facetious and inappropriate comment about the story. Hal's boner practically shows through the Comics Code Authority's rules against it. You can believe me or not. Or I can just scan the five horniest panels in Green Lantern history.

They're also quite rapey. But then they were written by Gerard Jones.

Back to John Stewart, it turns out he has accidentally killed an entire planet. He wants to make restitution as a Green Lantern but nobody will speak with him via his ring. So he flies off to Oa to have a meeting with the Guardians. I'm sure they don't give a shit that he killed people in the line of duty. Sometimes justice demands human sacrifice! That's the Guardians way of thinking, not mine. Justice often demands sacrifice. But demanding people die for justice is idiotic and evil, at worst, or often misguided at best. I don't give much of a shit about Jesus but I absolutely agree with him on his outlook on the death penalty in regards to throwing the first stone only if you are without sin. See, he says that because everybody has sin. He's saying nobody should be willing to kill somebody else because it serves their sense of justice. He's saying we've all needed the chance for redemption and the only way we can achieve that is by other people not killing us before we get the chance. It's basically the same thing Gandalf says to Frodo about Gollum, if you're not into religion but you're really into high fantasy and Peter Jackson movies.

Hal continues to try to fuck Rose by constantly not wearing a shirt. He also tries to get on her kid's good side.

Oh God Gerard Jones wrote this and it's making me read the scene in the sickest way possible! Get out of my head, Satan's lies!

Rose goes out to take Toby's place before something inappropriate happens. Not because I think Hal is some sick pervert! But Hal can't help who is writing him! But before Rose can fuck Hal, Toby starts yelling something about Satan's lies again and she has to rush into the house making a sort of sopping, squishy noise in her pants region.

The next day, Guy Gardner shows up to provoke Hal into using his ring. Rose and Toby see the entire mess and Rose kicks him out. Toby is all, "But mom! Is Hal coming back?" And Rose is all, "God I want to fuck him!" But for some reason, she doesn't and Hal doesn't and Toby learns to stop listening to Satan.

Hal climbs out of Rose's hole and hits a new road to see what hole he'll wind up in next time. Guy goes back to New York to be a dick to the Justice League. And John Stewart winds up on Oa where he finds some dead alien in a cave is all that's left of the last Guardian. The others went off to hide from the universe for awhile. Was the dead alien the last Guardian? It didn't look like a Guardian. But I don't know what the fuck was happening in the Green Lantern mythos during the '80s, so maybe?

Green Lantern #1 Rating: B+. I can buy into this. Hal back on the road except without Green Arrow. But he's not learning about America and the problems he can't solve as a Green Lantern this time. This time, he's just trying to learn about himself. So far, he's learned that he's super horny but he only knows one woman, apparently, and she doesn't want any superhero hijinks around her son. Maybe she'll lure Hal back once little Toby is out of the house and learning that Satan's lies are actually just reality and it's the Christian lies that ruin your life and make no sense. I hope next issue, Hal Jordan learns that a man of his age can surprisingly be really into butt stuff.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #6 (May 1990)

Never realized before now that Guy Gardner just wears an old pair of Kilowog's boots.

I don't know what the fucking Green Lantern Corps are doing on this cover. I guess it's one of their shit tactical maneuvers. This one is called Vitruvian-1490. I don't know how it works. Poorly, probably, after seeing how effective Red-27 was last issue.

Last issue ended with Hal's "act before thinking" method of approaching problems saved the Guardians from Legion. But then his "act before thinking" method of approaching problems doomed Oa to be overrun by a massive silver space ooze. In this issue, his "act before thinking" method of approaching problems will probably save everybody from the massive silver space ooze and he'll be celebrated by the rest of the Corps for introducing a whole new tactic to their military repertoire. The Guardians were always too logical to believe that acting before thinking was ever a smart play and the rest of the Corps are aliens and only humans could ever pull off the act before thinking move. Haven't you ever seen Star Trek? That was Kirk's whole deal and the reason Spock loved him. In a rational and thoughtful way, of course.

Somehow, Green Lantern rings are less effective against massive silver space oozes than the color yellow. How come that flaw is never mentioned?

You may have looked at my cover scan and thought, "Couldn't you have taken the time to straighten out the comic book before scanning it?" Well let me tell you something. This has to be the wonkiest fucking comic book I own. Look at how skewed the panel on the first page has been printed:

As you can see, the line between inside front cover and first page is straight. The gap between that line and the panel is twice as large at the top of the panel.

This is the bottom of the panel from the same scan that shows the dividing line between cover and first page is actually straight.

Okay, that's enough about my Mystery Spot architectural-style comic book. I just don't want to be blamed for all the wonky panel scans from here on out!

In a moment that probably isn't an allusion to rape, Tomar-re mentions how the massive silver space ooze has penetrated Oa itself. That's why they're having such a difficult time with it. Because it's draining the power of the Guardians (which they get from Oa, I guess? Is that canon?). I don't remember how this issue ends but I'm guessing obliterating the entire planet? Once you have this much ooze for this long, a planet never really rights itself. That's a parody line from my favorite Robert Frost poem! That's a sentence to point out that I've read at least one Robert Frost poem! I've also read that one where conservatives love to pull the line "Fences make good neighbors," showing their complete ignorance in one fell swoop and letting me know their opinions can be completely disregarded. Because actually, stupid conservative, something there is that doesn't love a wall. Probably a liberal.

Oa is literally fucked.

The Guardians decide to retreat and leave Oa to, you know, whatever the fuck is happening to it. At least it's not Mogo. That would be traumatic. But Hal Jordan refuses to retreat. The Guardians act shocked because they just don't understand the human drive to sink more cost into a losing proposition. Luckily, Hal Jordan is the king of actually defeating the sunk cost fallacy. The Guardians point out that the rings may be the most powerful weapon in the universe but they only use a fraction of the actual power of the Green Lantern Battery on Oa. That gives Hal Jordan an idea!

Does every one of Gerard Jones' plot points involve penetration?

Hal Jordan becomes more powerful than any creature has ever been before in the history of DC Comics in the month of May 1990. He creates a vortex that propels the massive silver space ooze into orbit around Oa. Everybody else has fled the planet so they're just hanging around watching the rookie save the day. The Guardians, having never experienced a moment in their entire long lives where somebody acted without thinking because why would anybody ever do that, go down to the surface to speak with Hal Jordan alone. They send the rest of the Corps to take the massive silver space ooze back to its home prison. I mean home planet.

The Guardians, not comfortable with idiots, send Hal Jordan to patrol Sector 2814. That was Abin Sur's sector which contains Earth which is why Jordan was found in that Sector. But I don't think Earth being in Sector 2814 was part of the Guardians' decision to send Hal there. Apparently Sector 2814 is far away from Oa. I don't know how that works because Oa is in Sector 0 and I thought all Sectors somehow touched Oa at a point and spread out from there. But also, I don't know anything about the Green Lantern Corps so I probably just made that up when I was twelve and have believed it for the last 40 years.

Back on Earth, Hal Jordan turns himself in for drunk driving and spends some time in prison. After that, he is rehired by Carol Ferris to test flight simulators and eventually become a test pilot again. But this time while sober and not feeling sorry for himself. Although in some ways, he hasn't learned anything. Because he nearly dies in the exact stubborn way his father died so many years ago. But he lands the plane instead of dying in a crash. Although the plane blows up seconds after he lands it. Somehow he survives without the ring (which he jettisoned so he could prove to himself and his dead father that he's a better pilot than his father (I mean, I can't think of any other reason why he wanted to re-enact his father's crash). Maybe the ring shielded him from a distance. Whatever the case, I guess he's the best pilot at Ferris Air now? Or was that moment just to show Carol crying so we know she actually luffs him?

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #6 Rating: B-. I don't like how the ending had to mirror the beginning. I suppose Gerard Jones thought it was a cool artsy trick. Maybe I'm missing something but it doesn't feel like it was needed to show Hal has grown and matured. It just makes him look as stubborn and stupid as ever. I guess it shows that he's conquered his fear and has a right to wield the Green Lantern ring? But he already showed that when he flew into the battery on Oa, no? Whatever. I guess it's a nice mirror bookend to the series. But I still would have liked it if he'd ejected to show he'd grown. Maybe it's supposed to be ambiguous! Some readers might think, "Oh, he ejected just before the plane hit the ground! He has matured and he did the right thing instead of the careless thing!" But others might think, "Oh! He rode the plane all the way to the ground even though he saw his father die exactly like this! He's totally the man without fear who isn't Daredevil! Awesome!" And some readers (me) thought, "Carol wants to schedule some cockpit simulator time if you know what I mean because I used the word cock."

Monday, April 22, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #5 (April 1990)

Not a single Green Lantern thought, "I can use the ring to pick up the battery and drop it on the massive yellow space pussycat's dumb head!"

It's amazing how easily the smallest yellow thing can defeat a Green Lantern. Don't they train to battle yellow things? Shouldn't that be their most intense training? Why was Kilowog teaching Hal Jordan to grab knives or run across poles or fly around planets? According to this cover, most of his lessons should have been about not trying to beat the shit out of a yellow foe directly. How many Green Lanterns has Legion defeated here? It's not like he has yellow lasers so every single one of these idiots went toe-to-toe with him. Maybe a majority of Green Lanterns are color blind? I guess they couldn't bring the building down around his ears because, according to last issue's depiction of Oa, every building was bright yellow. Or as bright as the color separation process on newsprint in 1990 allowed (which wasn't very bright at all). If I were a Green Lantern in this situation, I would have simply grabbed Brik with my power ring and thrown her into Legion's face, exploding his head. Then I would have not fucked the 13 year old Arisia. But then, I don't think like Hal Jordan, I guess.

"Hey guys! Let's fly as close to this yellow monstrosity as possible!"

The Green Lanterns execute tactical offensive strategy "Red-27." I think it's named that because they're angry and seemingly want to die young in a blaze of glory like a young rock star. I mean, if you can count choking on your own vomit in a Paris bathtub as a "blaze of glory." Surprisingly, I don't know what surprisingly means because this sentence was supposed to finish "one of the Green Lanterns dies immediately." As I pointed out, I would have gone with tactical offensive strategy "Drop-a-Huge-Rock-on-Sinestro-2000." If you can't guess why that move is called that, how are you even reading this?

This drama is supposed to make the reader believe Legion is the toughest opponent the Green Lanterns have ever faced. But I think Tweety Bird landing on Oa would have garnered the same reaction.

Tomar-re basically is Tweety Bird. "I taught I taw a massive yellow space puttytat. I did! I did taw a massive yellow space puttytat!" Also, is that Sinestro in that panel? Was he not a terrible narcissistic jerk yet? I mean, he's probably all of those things. But was he not a villain yet?

The Green Lanterns encase Legion in a sphere of "Oamite," the bedrock of the planet Oa. It's nearly unbreakable when placed under pressure! So, of course, Legion breaks out of it in the space of three panels.

I don't want to be accused of "yucking somebody's yum" but maybe find a synonym for the phrase "final solution."

On second thought, I absolutely want to yuck somebody's yum: the people who use the phrase "yuck somebody's yum." It's stupid. The dumbest thing I've ever heard. Especially when people use it against somebody who isn't actually doing that. Like if I shit all over the work of Cullen Bunn in a blog post on my little blog space on the Internet, I'm not yucking the yum of everybody who loves Cullen Bunn and happens to stumble across my blog. I would be yucking somebody's yum if they professed love of Cullen Bunn's mediocre DC stories and I commented on their declaration saying, "Cullen Bunn's Aquaman stories were little more than recycled John Carpenter of Mars scripts he probably hadn't sold and they were terrible." People are allowed to have their own opinions without being accused of yucking yums. The yum yucking takes place when you intrude on somebody else's celebration of a thing. More to the point, a person who comments on my blog to tell me I'm a jerk for hating on Cullen Bunn's Lobo and I shouldn't yuck the yum of people who love it is actually yucking my yum of enjoying hating on it! So get the fuck out of here, jerko!

That entire aside about people using "yucking somebody's yum" incorrectly wasn't really an aside but a response to me using the term incorrectly in the caption. I'm not as distracted as you might have thought!

Squagga didn't actually know what he was supposed to do because he's dead one panel later.

The Green Lanterns protect the Guardians by leading Legion directly to where they're hiding underground. It's a weird plan that doesn't make any sense unless you realize that the Green Lanterns actually hate the Guardians.

The Guardians are currently "meditating" meaning they're stashed away in little Matrix cylinders. Before Legion can turn the cylinders into jars of Guardian jam, cables snake out of the Guardian's meditation chamber to immobilize them. The Guardians begin waking up, calmly saying things like, "What is this creature?" and "Who is this new Green Lantern?" and "We have seven heartbeats until we're all dead." Hal Jordan is all, "I'll take care of this!" One of the Guardians is all, "You will think about this situation first to find the optimal solution even though we said that thing about only having seven heartbeats left to live. Better dead than being a dumb jerk who acts without reason!" And the dumb jerk is all, "What? Tell me later! I'm going to final solution this guy for you!"

Hal Jordan hauls Legion to the surface where he gets the brilliant idea to toss him in mud. Now he's brown and not yellow! And I won't be a whiny little shit and point out that any large force that strikes Legion at this point will simply crush the mud out to the sides and eventually the green light will touch yellow before the force can be adequately transferred to Legion. Although maybe the Oamite mud hardens far faster than Earth mud, leaving a small layer of dried mud between the green light and the yellow armor. Who am I to make up the comic book rules?!

Modern readers are probably completely baffled by Green Lantern's light construct here.

Look, I'm 52 years old and I was kind of baffled by this for a moment. Mostly because I thought the panel with the shoe didn't have a lot of connection to the panel with the bat. But then I took a moment to look at the art which, frankly, I'm pretty shit at doing while reading comic books, and realized it's a rudimentary kid's tee ball device, probably from the '50s. According to Amazon, these kinds of tee ball set-ups are still being manufactured! It's total shit. How are you supposed to practice batting when you have to get out of position to step on the stupid device and then get your foot back in position to take a swing at the ball?! Do I just not know how baseball works? Couldn't they make this into an app?

I'm not the only one who doesn't understand how baseball works.

Most people think the Green Lantern ring's only flaw is that it cannot affect anything yellow. But it has an even bigger flaw that I totally forgot about.

Oh god. It's a Internet debate nerd who doesn't actually understand the synergy between rationality and emotion.

It's weird that all the other color rings are based on emotions but the Green Lantern ring is based on willpower, rationality, and order, none of which are emotions. Although that's just a problem with the retconning of the whole Lantern system in later years. Nobody cared about the Green Lantern ring being anti-emotion when none of the other emotionally powered rings existed. Whatever the case, Hal's ring is being an annoying jerk. Interestingly enough, I've blocked people on Twitter for far less than what the ring says in that panel. I just don't have time for Internet debaters that have no other joy in their lives than winning arguments against strangers. And by "winning arguments," I mean "spouting dumb shit, constantly changing the goal posts on their original point of contention, and acting like a huge victim when they were the one to begin drudging up the shitty mud."

Legion, finally on their backfoot and about to be killed by Hal, finally decides violence isn't the answer. Diplomacy is what is needed now that they've lost the upper hand! Killing others is fine but when you're about to be killed? Accuse the other person of not being reasonable! Legion is all, "Would you kill us just because we killed a bunch of your buddies in our need for revenge against the Guardians who committed genocide against us first?" Their entire species wound up dying once they were imprisoned on their planet because migration was built into their DNA. They cleverly leave out the part about how their "migration" also included genociding the races of any planets they migrated to.

I love this page. Legion is all, "You're right. Bad attempt at saving my life." But Hal, not wanting to be a complete tool for little blue people he doesn't even know, shows mercy.

Once Hal frees Legion from its massive yellow space pussycat armor, it becomes a massive silver space ooze. The ooze grows and grows and grows, encasing and, presumably killing, numerous Green Lanterns. Is the lesson that showing mercy is bad and soldiers should always follow terrible orders because their leaders know best? I'm not sure I approve of those things. Maybe I'm just being cynical! Although it is hard not to think, "Hal should have just killed Legion." I mean that's hard for other people. I would never want a hero to kill a villain, especially with a villain with such a tragic back story! I'm sure Hal will find a way to give the last members of Legion's race a nice place to live.

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #5 Rating: A. I don't approve of a lot of the ways the Green Lanterns and the Guardians do things. The whole system has been around for millennia and they don't have a proper method of defeating a yellow-encased enemy attacking the planet? And the Guardians, with the massive amount of power they wield, can think of no other means to protect the universe against a race that commits genocide (perhaps through no fault of their own other than their own intrinsic nature which they can't change) other than committing genocide against that race? Didn't somebody in a previous issue point out that genocide was frowned upon by the Green Lantern Corps? Not that I expect the Guardians to be anything more than hypocrites after all the stories I've read about them. But I did like how Hal acted without thinking because immediate action was called for (which is the whole point of Hal, really). The whole "Legion becomes a massive silver space ooze consuming the entirety of Oa" conclusion to this issue just seemed tacked on because DC wanted this to be a six issue miniseries. Obviously one more issue is needed to allow Hal and the Guardians to interact but did they need one more huge conflict? Legion could have been shoved in a cell at the end of this and Issue Six could have been a wildly informative 22-page talking heads issue! My favorite kind of comic book!

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #4 (March 1990)

The Green Lantern Corps allows hazing.

At the end of the last issue, Hal Jordan stuck a remote control bomb up the massive yellow space kitten's butt and he and the kitten died as one. Although based on this cover, Hal didn't die. And based on the cover of Issue #5, neither did the massive yellow space kitten. So while it was a dramatic ending to the issue, it didn't have any lasting consequences. Except maybe getting rid of the evidence that an alien visited Earth while also giving everyone in a sixty mile radius slow growing cancer. But that's the way Hal Jordan does things! Tall on action, short on thinking through the lasting consequences of his actions.

This series was drawn by M.D. Brigth who passed away between the time I wrote the review for Issue #3 and this review. Keith Giffen also died while I was writing my reviews of Justice League America and Justice League Europe. My reviews might have some kind of Ringu-like curse associated with them. Crossing my fingers that when I begin the reviews for the regular Green Lantern series from the 90s that the curse continues doing its work. I'm not at all happy that the curse brought down Keith Giffen and M.D. Bright, if that's your terrible interpretation of the previous factual statements about a paranormal phenomenon I've noticed. But I guess we'll just have to see what emotion I wind up feeling if the curse strikes down child sex pest Gerard Jones.

Oh, I should also acknowledge that Keith Giffen did the plotting of this series and Gerard Jones did the scripting. Romeo Tanghal, who is currently 76, did the inking. Maybe I shouldn't even have mentioned Romeo's name. I'm so sorry for bringing you into this, Romeo!

People who use their brains more regularly than Hal Jordan would then ask, "Did the massive yellow space pussycat also survive?"

Oh wait. He does ask that question.

I guess I was wrong about Hal arrogantly jumping to the conclusion that only he could have survived.

Nope. I was right the first time. Never mind.

I don't want to hear any of you Hal Jordan stans defending his arrogance by pointing out Hal's ignorance of this whole ring technology thing. We go by the evidence presented to us in the comic book on this blog and, as you can see, the theory I've come up with based on the evidence of reading Hal Jordan comic books played out precisely as I thought it would. I didn't know what Hal's reaction would be after reading the first page where he's surprised he's alive. Yes, that's big points to Hal being heroic. He was planning on sacrificing his own life to save people from the massive yellow space pussycat. But my theory has nothing to do with whether or not Hal's heroic! My theory, plainly stated, is that Hal acts before he thinks and also that he never thinks. Based on the evidence I've gathered over four decades of reading comic books, I could probably promote this theory to a law by now!

Somehow, the massive yellow space pussycat winds up on the moon. It's all, "I've come to the moon where we can fight without any property damage or death to innocent humans! No Green Lantern could resist fighting me here!" So it's not that smart either. It and Green Lantern just fought to the death in a place without property or any innocent humans. Why did it leave? What happened when it was blown up in the nuclear blast? Why would it suddenly go to the moon and think Green Lantern would follow it, especially if its reason for thinking Hal would follow it was because of the new battlefield which was exactly like the previous battlefield? I know the actual reason is that Giffen and Jones needed to give Hal a free moment so he could head to Oa, enabling the massive yellow space pussycat to follow him there. Maybe the main problem is that I shouldn't be trying to understand the reasons behind a massive yellow space pussycat's actions. Why do normal cats knock shit off tables? If an alien were reading a comic book whose plot relied on a cat knocking something off of a table, the alien might be all, "Why the fuck would it even do that? What's the point? It had no motivation to do that and yet the plot relied on the cat doing that? So stupid!" But a human reading that story would be all, "Oh, yes! Of course the cat would do that!" So maybe any massive yellow space pussycats reading this would see the massive yellow space pussycat flee to the moon and think, "Oh ho! Good one! Exactly what I would have done in this situation!"

I guess "Legion" means the same thing in massive yellow space pussycat as it means in English.

Hal flies past the moon because he told the ring he wants to meet other Green Lanterns. So now he's off to Oa! I'm going to assume the ring uses some kind of wormhole technology or else Hal is going to arrive as a mummy. Hal flies through one meteor storm and winds up on Oa so I'm going to assume the ring uses natural wormholes to navigate the universe. Why else would it take Hal through a meteor storm if it could just open a wormhole on its own? Also, don't yell at me for using the term "meteor storm" incorrectly. I'm using Hal's own words and I've already established that he's a dolt.

Upon landing on Oa, Hal meets his first Green Lantern that isn't about to die (I mean "immediately" about to die).

Even if Tomar-re identifies every Green Lantern via their ring's signature, you'd think he'd at least remember that Abin Sur was bald. And red.

Here I go making assumptions about how aliens act based on human behavior! Maybe Tomar-re only sees things in a vague blur. And he's colorblind. And also, being blind, his other senses weren't heightened as a species so he couldn't smell or hear a difference between Abin Sur and Hal. I'm probably being ableist thinking Tomar-re should have realized Hal wasn't Abin Sur immediately! I'm so ashamed.

Are those slug creatures in the first panel the native race of Oa? Are they sentient? Do they taste delicious?

It turns out this isn't Oa which is more evidence for the reader theory that I don't pay attention and make a lot of shit up and jump to more conclusions than the characters I complain about when they assume something stupid. Good thing I can make myself feel better with the theory that the people who read my blog are smarter than to come up with a shit theory about me.

Hal has landed on a planet in Tomar-re's sector. The ring was simply asked to take Hal to meet another Green Lantern and not to meet all the other Green Lanterns. Luckily Hal doesn't begin his conversation with Tomar-re by saying, "You look like a punk rock chicken-elf." But then, with all my criticisms of Hal, he's definitely a better person than I am. Because, yes, I would have led with "You look like a punk rock chicken-elf."

Tomar-re immediately recruits Hal to help him deal with some ambulatory carnivorous grass elsewhere on the planet. Hal does what Hal does best by reacting using Jordan's Law: always act without thinking or asking questions or knowing anything at all about the situation what-so-ever.

"Wait! They're the sentient race of this planet!"

Luckily for Hal, he didn't just commit mass murder against an alien race. Tomar-re was yelling "Wait!" because every time you kill one of these voracious meat eating plants, two spring up in its place. That's a better mistake for Hal's first time working with another Green Lantern even if it's less dramatic. Imagine if Hal had actually committed genocide on his first official Green Lantern job?! Then he'd either have to convince Tomar-re to carry that deep, dark secret around with him or murder Tomar-re as well. Obviously the first option would be better and fraught with more drama for the reader. Every time you'd see a panel with Tomar-re and Hal interacting, you'd be thinking about their dark connection.

I'll admit that, having grown up in California myself, I actually thought Hal's solution was going to be to make a huge bong and smoke the poor aliens to death.

Tomar-re learning early about Jordan's Law.

Tomar-re receives a signal from his ring about an emergency on Oa involving Legion. He opens a warp to travel there so that answers one question. But it just causes another one: Hal didn't warp to Tomar-re's Sector so how far or fast can a Green Lantern travel without needing to warp?

Hmm. Yellow buildings. Shows how much the Guardians trust their soldiers.

Salaak greets the new arrivals with news that Legion has now killed four Green Lanterns and he's off rampaging some more. I thought Legion followed Hal but I guess he smelled a trap and decided to go murder a Green Lantern in a different sector.

To learn about Legion, the Green Lanterns consult The Book of Oa. It tells them an old tale of a race of expansionist and aggressive creatures whom the Green Lanterns sealed on their planet by erecting a shield around it. But that's all the book has to say and Hal is all, "But those aliens didn't look anything like Legion!" And Tomar-re just responds that the Book tells them what they need to know. But none of them even consider what the Book just told them. I mean, obviously, the hive creatures of the planet Tchk-Tchk realized they could easily leave their planet in a yellow suit spaceship. And apparently their engineers loved humanoid cats which seems weird being that they're an ant-like species. Also, the Book didn't show scale in the story so I'm assuming the massive yellow space pussycat is chock full of little alien ant guys.

Tomar-re sets Hal up with an apartment because Hal's going to be trained on Oa for a few weeks. Nobody gives another thought to Legion or the Book's message to them. They just go back about their daily lives. Hal meets Kilowog who calls him a poozer several times before, after a week, Legion attacks Oa. I guess Legion finally found a Green Lantern weak enough to spill the beans about where Oa was located. Or it just took Legion that long to follow Hal's path through space. It's not like a race of alien ants could possibly develop the same kind of warp technology as the Green Lantern rings!

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #4 Rating: B+. I'm starting to believe that the way I view Hal Jordan all these years has been due to the way he was portrayed by Gerard Jones (and Priest for one issue!) in this series. But that's not my fault. I was too young to read about Hal in the '70s. Most of my Hal Jordan knowledge was from the Superfriends cartoon! And I didn't get into reading comic books until Crisis on Infinite Earths so most of my knowledge of DC's characters come from the post-Crisis versions of them. It's a good thing I like this version of Hal Jordan. I think his flaws are always played well. How can you really fault Hal when he's doing the heroic thing even if he's fucking up a bunch of other shit because he hasn't thought his actions through or taken time to learn about the situation he's wading into fists first? There's something noble about that. Also, he's shown he's willing to die to save other people, especially if he thinks he's at fault for the harm caused. Or maybe he was just willing to die at the end of the last issue because he was feeling suicidal after being responsible for the death of his best friend? No, no. Hal's more heroic than suicidal. Or do those two things simply go hand in hand?

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #3 (February 1990)

Beaten by yet another sign?

Two issues later and Hal Jordan has no idea how to use the most powerful weapon in the universe. What the fuck is wrong with the Guardians? Are they fucking masochists? It's the most powerful weapon in the universe and it can't download a user's manual into the brain of whoever it takes on as its new host? And, yes, the ring bearer is a host. This ring is a fucking parasite. It uses up the host and then flies off to find a new one. Doesn't even help them understand its power. Just protects them as best it can which isn't total because, well, there are always more assholes full of bravado!

This issue begins with Hal Jordan being choked by the adorable massive yellow space kitten while thinking, "What happened to my power?" I think he means the power given to him by the ring and not the power over his own life destroyed by alcohol and self-pity. It's a really dumb question to ask because one of the few things Abin Sur told him was that he had to occasionally charge the ring via a transdimensional lantern. Abin Sur's entire death speech was "You were chosen because you are fearless, just slightly closer to me than Guy Gardner, and you have to charge the ring by shoving your fist up a lantern that's stored in a pocket dimension on some poor planet of aliens who don't realize that once the lanterns and their juice are taken away, their entire society will collapse." No wait. Abin Sur told Hal far less than that. Some of that was my editorial on the encounter. Oops!

This issue is called "The Ring" because the adorable massive yellow space kitten wants Hal to get in the ring and fight him.

Oh no. I want to fuck the massive yellow space kitten.

The massive yellow space kitten nearly pops Hal's head off with its thumb before the ring completely powers down and Hal winds up in his street clothes. This fools the massive yellow space kitten into thinking Hal isn't the Green Lantern at all because massive yellow space kittens have no object permanence. Hal basically disappears in the grip of the massive yellow, and adorable, space kitten. It loses interest in its prey, the way massive yellow space kittens are wont to do, tosses him into a wall, and flies away to find Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan steps over the dying cops and walks away from his jail cell. I'm assuming that's legal, right? He didn't intend to break out of prison. It was just a lucky break, like winning the lottery. So technically he's free to do what he wants and what Hal wants to do is not help out the dying cops at all. Good on you, Hal!

I'm not saying Hal just apathetically stepped over this dying cop. Trigonometry and geometry are saying it.

Hal decides he should head back to the hospital so he, once again, hitchhikes. He doesn't have the ring to protect him from being arrested again and he doesn't panic when the driver approaches a police roadblock. Hal doesn't seem worried in the least that the police might be looking for him. I guess he believes he did his time. He did the right thing, turned himself in, and then the cop failed to keep him locked up. Is that his problem? If I were twelve, I'd probably view the world that way. But the confidence it takes to be a grown ass adult and think, "I don't have to hang around still being arrested once the jail is destroyed. I'm a free man! No worries at all anymore!" That's why Hal Jordan is fearless.

Hal discovers that the hospital has been completely destroyed. Andy and everybody within it are dead. Killed by some massive yellow space kitten which Hal couldn't stop. Looks like somebody just learned a little something about power and responsibility! Although Hal didn't have the power to stop the space cat so harbored no responsibility to stop it. Maybe this is more a lesson about with great power comes the need to fucking listen to the guy giving you that great power, especially the bit about charging your stupid power ring.

Ferris Aircraft has also been destroyed. The massive yellow space kitten seems to have destroyed every place where Hal used the ring. Well, at least that fucking yellow sign was finally destroyed. Hal realizes the only way to stop the massive yellow space kitten is to turn himself in to it. Is that going to be Hal's go-to move? Turning himself in to authority/massive yellow space kittens?

Hal finally remembers Abin Sur's words about charging the battery. He heads back to the crashed ship and finds the lantern into which he immediately sticks his fist. After it charges, the ring finally begins talking to him. Maybe Hal needed to fist the lantern so it could calibrate with his Earth language. Hal learns the ring must be charged every 24 hours and that the massive yellow space kitten is named Legion and that it has killed four Green Lanterns so far. Probably by accident. You know how reckless kittens can be playing with their prey. Also because Legion wants a Green Lantern alive so that it can take them to Oa.

The ring plays Hal a video (or 8mm?) of Abin Sur's death at the hands of Legion. The movie contains several clues that the green cannot affect yellow, like when Abin refuses to use the ring against Legion and when Abin finally does, the light just bounces off of Legion and when Legion says, "Have you forgotten what color I am? Yellow! I'm yellow! Ha ha! You can't hurt me due to my color which is yellow!" I'm sure Hal picks up on at least one of those clues because when Legion attacks him in the middle of the movie, Hal thinks, "I wish I had a nuclear bomb right now!" And guess what? He does have one! The ship's engine runs on nuclear fission! The ring leads him right to it and Hal, assessing the situation, decides it's okay to set off a nuke to kill Legion. He is in the middle of the desert, after all. He also figures he's going to die but he doesn't care because he's lost everything he cares about already, like his power and his dignity and his control over alcohol consumption.

To a kid growing up in the '70s, this was their third biggest fear. Right after quicksand and killer bees.

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #3 Rating: B+. Hal's paralyzed friend Andy's death got me thinking a bit about the death of minor characters to add drama to the main character's life. Gail Simone created a whole movement around this trope called "Women in Refrigerators." While that was actually more about the hero's love interests being killed or maimed to increase the drama and angst of the hero, it's mostly the same idea with what happened to Andy here, and, of course the original "woman in a fridge," Spidey's Uncle Ben. Minor characters die to teach the main character a lesson. It happens but my theory is that it happens more often for a way less radical reason than teaching the hero something, or creating some kind of intense drama for the hero. My theory is that the writer suddenly realizes, "I don't want to have to keep writing this awful nobody of a character! Let me just bring a hospital down on their heads and be done with them!" Gail Simone was looking at the problem from an artist and socially conscious person's view; I'm looking at it from a lazy writer's point of view! Who wants to read more about paralyzed Andy?! So boring! Either give him a ring and make him exciting or get him the fuck on the bus outta this comic book! I also don't want to ever again hear from Hal's brother, Hal's brother's girlfriend, Biff, or even Carol Ferris! Get thee to Oa already, Hal, so I can be introduced to some actually interesting characters!

Man, I'm really disappointing myself with this conclusion! I've never been more anti-Kurt Vonnegut in my life! I should appreciate the minor characters. If I were my own child, I would kick me out of my house.