I picked up this new issue of GREEN LANTERN (CO-STARRING GREEN ARROW) on my regular trip to 7-11 on Thursday, new comics day. As it turned out, this was a fill-in issue of sorts, its contents likely initially commissioned for some other purpose and then burned off here. But that didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, with its dedicated focus to title character Green Lantern (though Green Arrow, Black Canary and Air Wave were all present for the framing sequence) I maybe even liked it better than most. The presence of Green Arrow and company had a tendency to pull the books adventures towards being more earthbound, in a manner that wasn’t always very convincing in terms of being a challenge for Green Lantern. I was more interested in him as the space cop, tackling intergalactic problems and encountering strange new civilizations like a one-man STAR TREK series. So this issue was right up my alley in that regard.
The short lead story was written by Bob Rozakis and illustrated by regular artist Alex Saviuk. Rozakis was somebody whose stories I generally enjoyed, in BATMAN FAMILY and TEEN TITANS and elsewhere. And this particular tale, once you got past the opening framing sequence (which is there solely to give the aforementioned trio of other heroes something to do) he had a really good hook: Green Lantern winds up having to deal with a crisis threatening the homeworld of his predecessor as Green Lantern, Abin Sur. But the locals don’t realise that Abin Sur is dead–they haven’t heard from him in many years, sure, but they had no way of knowing that he perished and passed his duties on to Hal Jordan. So they just naturally assume that Jordan killed Abin Sur and stole the power ring for himself.
This whole story is related by Hal to Air Wave, Green Arrow and Black Canary as something that Hal went through yesterday, a means of justifying the framing sequence. There’s a massive yellow comet heading towards Abin Sur’s homeworld of Ungara–and since it’s yellow, Green Lantern’s power ring can’t affect it directly to adjust its trajectory. What’s more, the Ungarans not only don’t believe his story–their deep space scanners were created by Abin Sur’s ring, and so cannot detect the yellow comet–but they are convinced that this visitor to their world is the renegade Green Lantern, Sinestro (which is a nice touch.) As Hal attempts to convince them of the danger, they proceed to beat him to a pulp.
Eventually, though, the comet draws close enough where it can be seen by the naked eye, and the Ungarans realize their error. And Hal still has enough will-power to summon up a ridiculously large hand and trampoline and use them to bounce Ungara’s moon into the comet, thus eliminating it. (What ecological damage may have been done by shifting Ungara’s moon is never addressed.) And in the wrap-up, Hal tells the Ungarans about how their hero died, and created a memorial statue to his predecessor.
And, back in the present, Green Lantern wraps up his story, to thereafter inquire where all of his friends are going. It turns out that they’ve all got new series to be a part of: Green Arrow and Black Canary are being featured in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS, and Air Wave is going to become a back-up strip in ACTION COMICS. Not that this is going to prevent any of them from showing up in the issues ahead, particularly Green Arrow (who shared the logo with GL, after all.)
DC at this time was preparing for an upcoming expansion, what had been termed for marketing purposes the DC Explosion. All of their titles were going to increase their cover price to 50 cents (from 35 cents–as large a price jump as had ever taken place.) But as part of the expansion, the books would contain more pages–typically 25, rather than the 17 they had been sporting up to this point. They were going to manage this by introducing back-up series in all of the books–this is why Air Wave suddenly had a home in ACTION COMICS, for example. Now, the DC Explosion is best remembered for what happened immediately afterwards and why it failed–but we’re going to table that part of the conversation for the moment. In preparation for the expansion, editor Jack C. Harris had inaugurated a new back-up series, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, which would focus on a different otherworldly Green Lantern in each story. As a preview–and in order to fill out the rest of this issue given its shortened lead tale–the first installment of the series was presented.
The story focused on Katma Tui, one of the more established alien Lanterns from past stories. It picked up on her involvement in a storyline a couple of issues earlier, where she and GL/GA battled the Mocker. In this tale, Katma has brought the Mocker to OA for sentencing, but he’s able to tap into the central power battery with his powers, making her power ring useless. However, the mental link through which the Mocker is able to project despair and chaos goes both ways, and Katma is able to overwhelm her foe with memories of her deeds of heroism and sacrifice, and by refusing to give in to his nihilism.
And this issue finished off with a new Publishorial from DC Publisher Jenette Kahn. This one doesn’t touch on the impending DC Explosion, but rather focuses on an array of other projects that DC had coming out that summer–including a few that didn’t quite make it, such as the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Treasury that’s promised (the story for it was later recycled into three issues of the monthly series.) There isn’t even a hint of the doom awaiting on the horizon at this point for DC–everything is positivity and optimism and great things to come. If they only knew.