Green Lantern #18

by

Or – “Beware My Power… Making My Exes Go Crazy.”

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Perhaps more than any other concept, Green Lantern illustrates the kind of changes that have befallen the comics industry since it’s inception back in the Golden Age. The original Green Lantern was Alan Scott, a train engineer who found a magic langern, a quintessentially Golden Age origin. As the influence of Superman waxed and waned, G.L. Scott became first INSANELY powerful, then depowered, then eventually stopped appearing in HIS OWN BOOK (replaced by Streak the Wonder Dog) as superheroes lost their lustre. One of the first concepts revived in the Silver Age, Green Lantern was reborn with a science fiction tilt, and was a mainstay of comics for years. When comics were suddenly, relevant, there was Green Lantern, crossing the country in a pickup with a liberal and a blue midget. Then, when everything went grim and gritty, our old Lantern (Hal Jordan) was tortured, reborn as a villain, and eventually died. At the time when every character was feeling the “Wolverine Factor,” Kyle Rayner was born as a new kind of G.L., a lone tough guy in a sea of lone tough guys, as someone misunderstood the uniqueness of the Corps concept. Now that nostalgia rules the roost, the Corps is back, the old Lantern is back (but not until AFTER Kyle got a huge following of his own. You gotta love the comics industry, folks…) This latest re-imagining has been plagued by delays, but it’s at least consistently interesting…

Since Hal Jordan’s return, the story has been establishing his new life in the Air Force, a new GL1.jpgsupporting cast, the rebuilt Corps, and spent a chunk of time tying up the threads from ‘One Year Later.’ In all that time, there has been little need to answer the question, “What Happened To Hal’s OLD Supporting Cast(s)?” and no real time in which to do it. That changes now. Back in the Silver Age, you see, hotshot test pilot Harold Jordan was the golden ticket to the big time for Ferris Aircraft, a young firm run by it’s way-ahead-of-the-ERA boss, Carol Ferris. Carol initially had the Lois Lane crush on Green Lantern, but eventually found a relationship with Hal. Through the years, they broke up, got back together, fought, made up, and Carol turned into TWO separate super-villains (one a MAN), but her most famous identity was that of Star Sapphire, whose purple gem gave her powers roughly equivalent of the Green Lanterns (understandably so, as the gem came from the female members of the same race whose men created the green power batteries and became the Guardians of The Universe.) So where’s Carol today?

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That is a truly stunning shot. Somebody needs to give Daniel Acuna a series, RIGHT NOW, maybe even a Freedom Fighters ongoing? In any case, Carol is making a group of annoyingly stuffy Ferris Aircraft suits waiting, as she flies herself in to a meeting. Tom Kalmaku, once Green Lanterns’ pal, now about to become a Full Partner in Ferris, awkwardly tries to deal with the business types, Carol remembers how she got here. “I never wanted to be a suit…” Amen to that, sister. “But when my father got sick, it was that, or lose Ferris altogether.” That was how she met Hal, and how she met Green Lantern. “And, then, Parallax happened. I thought Hal died. And I married somebody else.” Carol doesn’t have a whole lot of sentimentality in her, dealing with horrible events straight-forward. I kind of admire that, especially since she was one of comics’ first strong, capable female characters. It’s good, because things are about to get nasty again. A burst of purple energy slices through her windshield, and Star Sapphire grabs her by the throat! Wait, isn’t Carol the woman who used to be Star Sapphire? Apparently, she was just the host, as the force transfers to Carol, throwing her free of the plane, leaving the former host high and dry on a crashing Cessna…

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Suddenly, the methodology of Star Sapphire gets clearer… She was stalking Hal all those years because he has good genes, apparently. Sapphire isn’t the only one to think so, as Hal is currently on a casual sort of date with his wingman, Jillian, callsign ‘Cowgirl.’ She and Hal spent most of the One Year Later gap in a POW camp, and Hal blames himself for what happened to them and to their compatriot…

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Can this woman flirt, or what? As always, Daniel Acuna has drawn a woman who looks REAL, not just in the sense of realistic features, but almost a flesh and blood person. You can understand why Hal may or may not be interested in her. “You an’ I are a lot alike, Highball,” she says, using Hal’s Air Force callsign. He admits that he may be a little afraid, and she taunts him (Cowgirl knows he’s Green Lantern) about how he’s supposed to have no fear. It’s a nice, human moment for Hal, and it seems for a second that they might both be ready to think about it being less ‘casual’ and more ‘date.’ And, since the universe doesn’t want Hal Jordan to ever be even the slightest bit happy, it’s time for the ‘splosions, heralding the arrival of Star Sapphire.

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Major kudos for the Jem reference. She IS truly outrageous, though I had a huge crush on her keyboardist… Bygones. Cowgirl’s ready to crack some skulls, and you have to give her props for guts, but she’s way outclassed. All she had to do, though, was give Hal a second to slip on his magical finger bauble, which she accomplished… Green Lantern can’t help but slip in the line “There’s enough of me to go around,” proving that while Hal may have mellowed and perhaps even gotten wiser, he’ll always be the cocky young test pilot at heart. It’s nice to see his appreciation of the ladies (hopefully he can keep it from being womanizing, but at least he resisted an underage Supergirl in ‘The Brave & The Bold’), but it’s even nicer to see him launch Star Sapphire into the stratosphere on willpower alone…

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Y’know what? Daniel Acuna can just draw the ongoing adventures of Cowgirl of the Air Force, and I’ll buy it. This art is awesome, especially the moment where Hal creates a big fat cherub to squeeze Star Sapphire into submission. Heh. Suddenly, the creature inside Carol realizes that something has changed… “I feel a conflict.” It’s telepathic enough to know that Hal doesn’t want Carol anymore (or knows that he can’t have her, since she’s married and all), and wheels about, turning on Cowgirl. The crystal abandons Carol (though Hal catches her before she can fall), and quickly overpowers Cowgirl (though she makes a valiant effort to resist)…

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Uh… it certainly IS. (Linesonpaperlinesonpaperlinesonpaper…) The main story ends here, where we kinda knew it was going, but the next issue blurb promises the origin of the Star Sapphires (plural!) and hopefully we’re going to get a holistic take that will put all the various and sundry attempts at the character into a coherent whole. Remember, a Star Sapphire was present and part of the Secret Society of Super-Villains when the mindwipe that triggered some of the events of Infinite Crisis happened. Eerie, ain’t it? The second story of the book concerns Amon Sur, son of Abin Sur, and jealous creature, indeed. Angry that Daddy’s ring was given to a monkey, he conspired to steal a Green Lantern ring from first Kyle Rayner, and then Hal himself, to “carry on his father’s legacy.” Sadly for Amon, he’s neither honest, nor fearless… quite the opposite, in fact. So much so, that Sinestro has enlisted him in his mysterious Sinestro Corps, a counterpoint to the Guardians own army, centralized in the anti-matter universe on the planet Qward…

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That is creepy beyond all creepy. Lyssa is a member of the race that gave us the Legion’s own Shadow Lass, and she proceeds to tell Amon (a fitting name) of the story of Despotellis. A Green Lantern named Reemuz was absolutely dedicated to his work, often neglecting his family and friends for years at a time. Returning home after ten months of continuous duty, Reemuz is unable to contact his family, and fears the worst. He finds his entire planet dead, every single soul expired, but no real cause of injury. The only clue is a mysterious yellow lantern (and we all know this is going to end badly.) Taking the Lantern with him, he began to search for the source of what killed his people, to find the wielder of the Lantern. After confirming that THE ENTIRE WORLD is deceased, something happens that other Lanterns claimed could never occur: Reemuz grows tired, sickened as his people had been, and falls…

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“…tell me another story.” Amon is a cold-blooded little jerk, ain’t he? This little twist, by the way, is exactly why I dislike Wizard Magazine. They ran a full piece several months ago, talking about the upcoming Sinestro Corps, and showed full pictures and concepts (as well as the events of this story), completely ruining the punch of the Despotellis reveal. Yes, we’re called “Major Spoilers,” but there’s a fine line between a spoiler and a complete reveal. Sure, it’s a double standard, but I’m full of those. “I am double-extra-large, I contain multitudes. You gonna eat that?” In it’s own way, this character is as cool as Alan Moore’s ‘F-Sharp Bell,’ the story of a Lantern in a sector where there was no light, thus no concept of a “lantern,” or color. This story should have delivered that “Why didn’t *I* think of that?” kind of punch, but it was robbed from me by a bunch of fart-joke-lovin’-Maxim-wannabees, not that I’m in any way bitter.

This entire issue is beautiful, (Dave Gibbons handles the second story as well as Acuna does the first), and although the second story has slightly more punch for me, both worked. Averaging the ‘Totally Awesome’ backup with the ‘Very Interesting’ lead, we get a composite score of ‘Mightily Tubular,’ or for those not fluent in Valley Girl, a 3 star rating out of five. I’m looking forward to the reveal on Star Sapphire, more Sinestro Corps, and (lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise) much more Daniel drawing Cowgirl, whether in a t-shirt, or a gemstone bikini. Most of all, the new status quo for Green Lantern is working for me, and I’m looking forward to his ongoing adventures.

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