by Russell Burlingame
Lantern Secret Files #1
The GL Secret Files book that was released last month really didn't impress me, but there was a reason for it; it was literally a waste of pages.
The super-sized, $4.95 special contained maybe 15 pages of real story, and then a bunch of the "Secret Files" on the characters. The only problem is that all of the story revolved around the stuff that you later found in the Secret Files. The obvious result is that you read everything twice (plus a timeline at the end), and come away not really knowing much.
While the revelation that Ganthet had offered someone else the ring first added a lot to Marz's continuity (he's always being criticized for "just giving it to the first guy he saw"), it seems that you could have mentioned that in a regular GL issue, or added more substance to the story. Essentially what you get is a recap of what's happened in GL history, packaged with a bunch of profiles telling you what's happened to each GL character throughout said history, and then a timeline recapping said history, just in case you missed it the first two times. Certainly it's a good story, but it's not worth $4.95. I mean, if nothing else, you can buy an old copy of Green Lantern #55 (which is still selling for cover price of $1.95 last I knew), and read that. It's got everything up to "Zero Hour," and there's not really all that much more covered in the Secret Files.
The problem is that since then, there hasn't been anything interesting or exciting happening in Green Lantern. The only time a story has been important enough to write has been when Hal Jordan showed up and he was (for the most part) a VILLAIN! It's kind of like the early '90s, when nobody bought (dare I say it?) "Spider-Man" unless Venom was appearing. And it's not like Marz can go back before then and re-cap previous events, because Hal Jordan went mad and so essentially, the readers who want to hear about Kyle don't WANT to read Pre-Rayner Era history.
However, the book did have its highlights; Hal's secret identity was protected by Kyle, as Green Lantern apparently continued his irrational attraction to any crisis involving Carol Ferris and Tom Kalmaku. This was revealed in a story that took place while Hal was gone in space, and "Zero Hour" hadn't happened yet. That was clever, and the implication that Jade and Kyle may be getting together was a nice clue to those of us who may have missed a few issues (I was disappointed that one of their makeshift "Who's Who"s wasn't Donna Troy; I had to read recent issues to find out what happened between her and Kyle). Generally, though, it would have been even better thrown haphazardly into an issue or two of GL's monthly. I missed out on a couple of my other monthlies to pick up this 5-dollar supersize, and I wasn't entirely happy with what came out of it. But if you need a continuity guide, this is it!
All characters are DC Comics
This column is © July, 1998 by Russell Burlingame.
The scanned covers are © July, 1998 DC Comics.