Picked up the latest issue of GREEN LANTERN on my weekly excursion to my local 7-11 on Thursday, the day when new comic books came out. It would have been an automatic buy regardless, but that’s really a pretty cool cover. The fragmenting of Green Lantern amidst Sonar’s sonic waves is a visual effect I wouldn’t have known was accomplished back when it saw print, and the dark green-brown sky background made everything pop. A pretty great effort from Mike Grell, whose work I associate with these characters (in particular Green Arrow and Black Canary.)
The interior artwork isn’t quite so polished, though newcomer Alex Saviuk’s style is open and clear. In part this is due to the inkwork of Vince Colletta–Vinnie was never a favorite of mine, regardless of what series he was working on. There was something about his hasty approach to most assignments that was off-putting to my eye. This was a continuation of a story started in the previous issue, one featuring not only GL and GA but also Black Canary and the new Air-Wave, who I liked for some reason. So this was practically a team book for all that it was meant to be a solo (or duo) title.
The impetus of this storyline was to get rid of Green Lantern’s little alien friend, Itty, a holdover from the Green Lantern backup series in FLASH. Now, you would think that killing the little bugger and burying him would be enough, but not so. Not only are natural disasters happening on the West Coast where Itty’s small body was laid to rest, but while soaring overhead, Green Lantern is horrified to discover that his pal’s grave has been exhumed, his body stolen. It’s a sad and shocking turn of events, albeit one that the readers already knew about from last month.
Meanwhile, Green Arrow and Black Canary are staking out the Coast City Miss Industry pageant, because Bito Wladon, the Modoran national better known as Sonar, has threatened to kidnap the winner. And indeed, a bunch of Sonar’s thugs show up, just enough for a brief fight scene with GA and BC. At the same time, the Lantern has taken a soil sample to Ray Palmer, hoping to get some insight into what is causing problems in and around Coast City. He learns from Ray that every trace of Calcium has been absorbed from the soil, causing it to crumble. And the same thing would happen to any human being that crossed paths with the creature behind this. GL still hasn’t put two-and-two together yet, though.
Green Arrow and Black Canary have escorted the winner of the pageant to a nearby airport, where she’ll be flown elsewhere for her own safety. But once the plane is in the air, it’s attacked by Sonar, who orders it to divert to his picturesque homeland of Modora. His efforts as a villain have always been in the cause of enhancing his homeland’s reputation, and he’s pissed that the pageant wasn’t held there. But before things can go south, Green Lantern shows up to take on his old foe.
Sonar is equipped with a bevy of sound-based weapons and attacks, but they’re no match for the power ring, and so after a protracted battle sequence, Green Lantern has overcome his enemy and proceeds to ferry him to the authorities. Unfortunately, the klutz is paying so little attention to what’s going on that he’s completely unaware that the massive thunderclaps caused by the battle have knocked out one of the engines on the nearby plane, forcing it to attempt to make an emergency landing in the snow-covered hills. Great job there, GL.
The plane does manage to land safely in a convenient valley thanks to the skills of its Vietnam veteran pilot. And there’s another bit of somewhat-good news: the thunderclaps have also jarred Air-Wave loose from the radio waves he was trapped amidst last issue. Unfortunately, the plane’s radio is out, and that means there aren’t any airwaves for Air-Wave to glide upon in the vicinity–and he plummets into the snow. So now, Green Arrow, Black Canary, the Beauty Contest Winner, the pilot and the nearby Air-Wave are all stranded in a remote, snowy valley with no shelter from the cold and no way to contact help. Oh, and to make matters worse, there’s a cream from the pageant winner, and the heroes turn to see that the mysterious blue blob that had been causing calamity by consuming calcium is on board the plane with them, having concealed itself in the luggage compartment. And if it gets at them, it’ll drain them dry of calcium as well, killing them all. To Be Continued! This whole chapter feels like a bit of a shaggy dog story, with a bunch of running in place. It’s obvious what the blue blob is, right? (It was to me in 1978.)