Or – “A Naked Blonde Walks Into A Bar…”

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“She’s got a mystical extraterrestrial artifact of infinite power under one arm, under the other she has a six-foot salami.” I honestly can’t decide whether I’m disappointed in Green Lantern or not right now. Certainly, they’ve lost a bit of momentum… Not so very long ago, in the wake of Geoff John’s and Ethan Van Sciver’s excellent “Rebirth” miniseries, Hal’s book was the DC’s second best selling title. Heck, GL even had enough momentum to spawn a second title, ‘Green Lantern Corps,’ but in March of this year, Hal’s book clocked in at #33 in overall sales. This certainly isn’t a bad showing, and he’s got it better than The Flash (#51) but not quite as good as Wonder Woman (#28, with the second or third solicitation of her long-delayed issue #5) but delays have certainly hurt this book’s momentum, and the amazing disappearing Ethan Van Sciver has been missed as well. This issue is one of those that seems to bear great portents for the future, but is it enough to keep GL on top?

Yes, I know, in a book where the villain is trying to mate with the hero, “on top” was probably a poor choice of words. Bygones… Previously, on Green Lantern: Hal Jordan’s GL1.jpgformer lady-love, Carol Ferris, is attacked in midair by a woman wearing the power gem and costume of Star Sapphire. Having previously been possessed by a Star Sapphire for reasons unknown, Carol is horrified when it again takes over her body and seeks out Hal Jordan. Hal, in a classic Jordan bad-timing moment, is having a drink with potential-squeeze Jillian “Cowgirl” Pearlman, the latest ultra-hottie to be inexplicably warm for his form. Star Sapphire enters a jealous rage, first attacking them while accusing Hal of infidelity. Sapphire reveals that her goal is (and has always been) to bond with Hal and apparently mate with him. Why? We don’t know… yet. To that end, when the Sapphire realizes that Hal considers the recently-married Carol off-limits, it possesses Cowgirl herself to entice him. leaving a naked and powerless Carol behind. Since this ain’t their first time at the super-powered rodeo, fearless Hal and iron-willed Carol have time to snipe at each other while Cowgirl takes potshots at them with her new jewel.

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I’m torn by this sequence. On the one hand, I enjoy the uncomfortable banter here (though Hal is totally in the wrong, and he seems to know it), but the whole “damsel in distress” bit leaves me cold. Her jealousy, while somewhat silly, does work for me, but the subtlety-impaired “Come %^@# me!” dialogue from Star Cowgirl is also troubling. In either case, Hal know that he has to get the rock off her and deprive her of power, but Carol remembers everything she learned as Sapphire, and she suddenly tells him that there are more than one of the gems out there…

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Hints and allegations… Portents and omens… Navy beans, navy beans, MEATLOAF SANDWICH! So this storyline IS more than just a clumsy attempt to show us how Double-O-Sexay Green Lantern is. Excellent, because I was sort of getting the willies about it all, and I’m the one with an admitted crush on Grace of the Outsiders. Carol remembers what she learned from the gem, about the origins of the Sapphires, dating back to the founding of the Green Lantern Corps, millennia ago. A tribe of Oan women (the Oan males became the Guardians of the Universe) left the planet in defiance of the newly written Book of Oa’s rejection of emotions. The Guardians were only trying to reject fear and renounce Parallax, but the women were unwilling to live without love. After centuries of wandering, they found a planet called Zamaron in sector 1416, and a dead couple of lovers who either empowered or coincidentally died on top of a vein of purple crystals. They learned of the gems’ powers and eventually sought out recruits.

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Transformed, Carol immediately attacked Hal, and nearly took him down. This is, by the way, the reason why I dislike the whole “poor little naked Carol” conceit at the beginning of the issue. Carol Ferris was shown to be a strong, capable female in command of a company in the early 1960’s, waaaay ahead of her time. She did sometimes fall into caricature, being a ball-busting shrew, but most of the time she was just a strong executive who happened to get implanted with an alien power source, kind of like Hal himself, really. (Of course, she later had another identity, the very-male Predator, who was pretty much a schmuck and later impregnated Star Sapphire. You heard me. Carol as Sapphire had a baby by Carol’s evil male side, Predator. That child has had therapy sessions booked in advance since ten minutes into the birthing process.) Back in the actual plot of THIS book, Carol reveals the secret behind the SECOND Star Sapphire from Secret Society of Super-Villains.

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This Sapphire went on to be mindwiped by the JLA, then murdered for her crimes by the un-hosted Spectre in Infinite Crisis. Of course, a previous origin where she was an alien is conveniently glossed over here, and I suspect that we can ignore that. (SUPERBOY PUNCH!!!) Something else that Carol remembers: not only were there other Sapphires, each Sapphire was chosen specifically to bond with the Green Lanterns of their particular sectors, ushering in what the Zamarons apparently thought of as a utopia. Many of us (including those Green Lanterns) might disagree…

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Dela Pharon ALSO fought Hal as Green Lantern, but you can see that her alien nature has been retained. Xanador and it’s people were completely encased in the crystals, in suspended animation, forever. The Zamarons considered this a triumph, a win for ‘love’ over the endless conflict with fear that the Guardians had created. Hal is horrified, saying that love is NOT about control. Sorry to be the one to say it, Hal, but… like you’d know. Distracted by Carol and her revelations, Green Lantern is unable to dodge a solid shot from Cow Sapphire, and goes down hard, crashing through the roof of a small hotel (and freaking out the bridegroom carrying his new wife over the threshold of the honeymoon suite.) As much as I enjoyed the Sapphire costume last month, I’m a little embarrassed by it now. There’s an element of ‘fan service’ here that makes me feel like a giant perv. Starcow Sapphicgirl pins Hal, and seems to be ready to nail him right then and there…

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Carol decks her hard across the head with the chunk of burning wreckage, and responds “You’ve never met Green Arrow.” Ow. Poor Oliver gets no respect. This story is official creepy beyond measure, and the alien Star Sapphire’s lust for GL is grating on me. I feel like the writer wants me to somehow feel bad for Hal, but the motivation of the villain is so bizarro-world sexist as to border on insulting. Well, I never said that the recaps were going to be free of bias, I guess. Hal turns to Carol, all manly, and rumbles “Get out of here.” Carol, buck naked and super-powerless, looks him in the eye and says “Make me a suit.” Yeah, Carol! Hal can’t believe his ears, but she is adamant. “I didn’t control myself when I was the Star Sapphire, but I saw her fight. I LEARNED how to fight. Light me up.” Star Sapphire wants to kill her, but Carol leaps into action (seen way up top) with a terse “Don’t write checks your @$$ can’t cash, honey,” and DECKING her with authority. Sapphire goes down hard, and Carol asks “Can I hit her again?” Heh. Hal quickly tries to de-sapphire Jillian, but before he can, the ring detects a teleport signal…

…and the Zamarons arrive. Crap in a hat! The main story cliffhangs there, but once again, we get a backup featuring young Amon Sur learning about the book of Oa, and other members of the Sinestro Corps. (That… is a terrible name. Was “Scary Stuff Squad” already taken?) Lyssa Drax tells him the tale of Karu-Sil, a young girl orphaned on Graxos III, a remote jungle world. Karu’s tribe is massacred by a rival group, and she lives alone in the jungle. Nearly starved to death, she attacks and kills a pig-like creature, only to find that it was being trailed by a pack of what I can only describe as scythe-handed velociraptors with razor-sharp fangs. The creatures allow her to feed with them, and like Lord Greystoke and Mowgli before her, Karu-Sil is accepted by the pack.

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If Graxos III sounds familiar, it’s because another of Hal Jordan’s exes, the jailbait Green Lantern Arisia hails from Graxos IV. Knowing really is half the battle… Porkchop sandwiches!!! Karu grows up with the pack, and as she reaches a certain age, she finds herself face-to-face with something she’s never seen before: a male of her species. We call this the “Brooke-Shields-effect,” though she’ll probably never live through the later phases of it, including bad sitcoms, depression, and a public war with Tom Cruise. The boy smiles, and approaches, and Karu-Sil shyly walks to him. He touches her face, and smile, and she flips back her hair… to reveal her horrible, maimed mouth and filed teeth. She attacks and kills him, and her pack arrives to share in the bounty. She has once again filled their bellies, when green beams arc in and kill her family…

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Okay, I’m afraid of her… This one was a little bit more suspenseful than the previous issue, mostly because EVERYTHING about her nature wasn’t given away by Wizard interviews a year in advance, not that I’m bitter. The same can’t be said about next month’s Sinestro Corps member, but I’ll leave that alone for now. As Bruce said, I have little defense in complaining about spoilered information (though in my defense, I spoilers books that are already OUT, rather than giving away so much of the plot in advance that you think you’ve read it already when it hits the stands.)

This was a strong issue, and an interesting comparison to the last one. The first story, again, has a lot of talking and exposition, with a couple of bits of actual plot movement, but still boils down to a chick-fight over Hal. Setting aside Carol’s “Hell, YEAH!” attack for a moment, I liked the lead story a little less than last month’s. Conversely, this month’s backup Sinestro Corps tale was better than last, with stronger pacing, a better use of suspense, and an ending that wasn’t as telegraphed. I’m a little bothered by Carol’s ring-induced costume, wondering if SHE or HAL conceptualized her in the incredibly-revealing legless costume with the split collar so deep it requires special shaving, and the moment where she cracks Jillian in the mouth was oh-so-satisfying, but still felt like “Catfight! Meow!” time. Daniel Acuna, if he can pull off a monthly schedule, completely deserves a regular gig. May I suggest a Legion of Super-Heroes companion title starring Blok? I may not? Right, then… By balancing my discomfort at what feels like pandering (“New and Improved Green Lantern: With 56% more Gazongas!”) with the nice character bits and a streamlining of the gawdawful complicated Star Sapphire saga, we’re right about where last issue was… a strong 3 stars out of 5. There’s room for improvement, but it’s certainly better than “Emerald Twilight.” Of course, Ed Wood had D.T.’s that were better than Emerald Twilight, so that may not be saying as much as you think.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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14 Comments

  1. May 16, 2007 at 2:15 pm — Reply

    That one Karu-Sil panel is lovely, because even as we read that she ripped ope n he Analyst, we’re drawn to her eye, looking at the Ring, and know that it was because a GL separated her from her beloved Pack.

    You know where her name comes from? Sciver says itt’s because animals orbit her…she’s ‘The Living Carousel”.

  2. May 16, 2007 at 2:25 pm — Reply

    You know where her name comes from? Sciver says it’s because animals orbit her…she’s ‘The Living Carousel”.

    Yeah, that’s why I pronounce it “Kah-Roo Seel” in my head, because that explanation is just bit too #$&$@* precious for me. :)

  3. May 16, 2007 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    Stay Tuned for more boredom next month, when we learn of Bedovian, the Corps’ Sniper. I realise that it may SEEM cool to Sciver, but he’s basically a gigantic mollusc. He hangs in the air, at the last galactic Sector where his GL prey was seen, on the odd principle that the Hero is likely to return to the scene of the Heroism.

    Then…he waits. And Waits. For months on end, living off the mould growing insie his shell, until he can view his prey. Then he shoots it.

    You kind of get the feeling he would be better off sparring the Bugblatter Beast of Traal…

    Also, I’m completely behind the name ‘Sinestro Corps’. Not only does it show the contrast betwee Green Lanterns and their Nemeses – GLs are named for a symbol of hope, SCs for a purple little man with a twirly mustache and a penchant for Mass-Murder – but it also reinforces their ‘FEAR!’ theme, in that his is a name to be – FEARED!

  4. May 16, 2007 at 2:58 pm — Reply

    Then…he waits. And Waits. For months on end, living off the mould growing inside his shell, until he can view his prey. Then he shoots it.

    Which is what doesn’t work for me. Either he’s going to kill a lot of Lanterns, or he’s going to suck at his job. If he sucks at his job, the story’s no fun. If he’s good enough to off Green Lanterns, it begs the question of why he isn’t going after Guy, Hal, Kilowog, Salakk and the central figures of the new Corps.

    He’s an entertaining concept, we’ll see how good the execution (no pun intended) goes. As for Sinestro, he’ll forever be defined for me by Don Messick’s ‘sneering’ voice, the same one he used for about a hundred different Scooby Doo villains, which undermines his menace. :) Plus his name is Sinestro. He has cousins named Dishonesto, Larsenio, Embezzlio, and a mentally-challenged uncle named Dangeroustohimselfandothersio.

  5. May 16, 2007 at 3:04 pm — Reply

    And Despotellis is also a throwback from other Virus strains such as Opressorellis, Dictatorellis, Führerellis, Tyrantellis, Warrenellis, Authoritarianellis, and Onewhoisharshandoppressivellis.

  6. May 16, 2007 at 3:33 pm — Reply

    And Despotellis is also a throwback from other Virus strains such as Opressorellis, Dictatorellis, Führerellis, Tyrantellis, Warrenellis, Authoritarianellis, and Onewhoisharshandoppressivellis.

    And little cousins Annoyantellis and Paininnabuttellis, who haven’t quite grown into themselves yet, and just make your nose runny and your voice sound like Trey Parker. “Hello, Celine Dionne!”

  7. May 16, 2007 at 3:42 pm — Reply

    As well as Karu-Sil’s Cousin with the British Accent, ‘Mary Gew-Rahnd’. And if we’re moving beyond the SCs, Bizarro’s alternate selves ‘Weirdo’, ‘Oddo’, and ‘Unexplaniablo’.

  8. May 16, 2007 at 3:47 pm — Reply

    Mmm… And don’t forget Gramma Tillie T. Wurrel.

    ‘Weirdzo’ was the fodder for one of the most heartbreaking character studies Neil Gaiman ever did, y’know…

  9. May 16, 2007 at 4:05 pm — Reply

    Oh yes, I remember. God, that was strange…but very well-written.

  10. May 16, 2007 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    God, that was strange…but very well-written.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Neil Gaiman’s epitaph.

  11. May 16, 2007 at 4:34 pm — Reply

    Say waht you like, Mongomery Burns’ will always be better. What other Epitaph ends in ‘I’m BACK!’ follwed by an inadvertent Mooning to the audience?

    Now imagine ‘Monty Burns Corps’. Encapsulating both the colour yellow and the evil feeling. Shudder, Hal Jordan. Shudder…

  12. davek
    May 16, 2007 at 6:03 pm — Reply

    He has cousins named Dishonesto, Larsenio, Embezzlio, and a mentally-challenged uncle named Dangeroustohimselfandothersio.

    Larsenio of course went into the talk show business. And now for your pun for the day:

    “Who can stop Karu-Sil and her equally evil cousin, Mary Gew-Rahnd?? FERRIS WILL!”

    Thank you, good night. Try the veal.

  13. baal
    May 17, 2007 at 1:16 am — Reply

    After the Star Sapphire Saga is done so am I with all things Hal Jordan. He bored me pre-Kyle and continues to do so. I do however have to admit that portraying the Sapphire as less of a parasite and more as an STD is growing on me. I just wonder what SS would have done with a gay GL? Would it have become a hot guy with a womb? The world may never know…

  14. May 17, 2007 at 7:23 am — Reply

    Everything in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps right now is buildup. There better be a huge payoff, or else people are going to get mighty horked.

    As for the gay GL, there are a couple of theorists I know who believe that Kyle IS a gay Green Lantern, and that his ‘grim and gritty’ phases and constant womanizing (Alex to Donna to Jade with stops to flirt along the way) were just an attempt to overcompensate. It’s an interesting approach (and note that these same people find his friendship with Connor Hawke to be the final clue, even though Hal & Barry and Alan & Jay set a precedent for the writers to make Flash & GL close pals) and dovetails your two hypotheses interestingly.

    The problem with Green Lantern right now is timing. The delay in his book made his adventures fall behind the “now” (a problem that I could have easily predicted when they initiated 52, thereby locking down the timeline) and by the time the “Hal Jordan: Renegade” story was complete, we’d already seen him in Justice League all happy-dappy and unchanged from the Hal we remember.

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