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.

No comments:

Post a Comment