Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

Green Lantern in Action

by Simon Brown

Part 3

Wow, it's been a while. I'll disassociate myself from this re-run of E.R. and put all my efforts into finishing this series!

Last time, we'd left Peter David's run, Owsley and Bright had taken over, there had been a Secret Origins issue, a Special, and now a regular supporting cast. One of these cast members was Hal's young best friend Chip, and his alien mentor, Priest. Hal was off in space to add a hand in an interplanetary war...which now brings us to....

Action 625 starts with a peace conference between two alien races, and sitting disguised in the middle of arguing conference members is Green Lantern. He sits charging his ring while the two main decision makers argue about the terms of a peace contract. Unable to resolve things peacefully, GL involves himself, blowing the roof off the building, and demanding that the aliens co-exist peacefully. The final scene shows the two alien leaders deciding to join forces after all, but only to create an ultimate weapon to destroy Green Lantern.

Action 626 - 631 is a complete story arc guest-starring Captain Atom. Returning home after the alien peace conference, GL bumps into a spaceship made entirely of wood. On entering the ship he finds an ethereal alien. The poor translation from the ring tells GL that the ship is actually a shrine, and it is damaged. He drops the ship off on earth in a forest so that the alien can use as much wood as he needs. GL ten heads off to work, not seeing that the alien leaves the ship, taking on GL's form. The alien finds his way to a diner where he sees a horror movie on the in-store TV. Thinking that this is the way that lifeforms on this planet communicate he 'greets' the people in the diner by slaughtering them. To him the act is neither good, nor bad, just the 'custom' of the planet.

This action brings the attentions of Captain Atom. When he finds the alien it has taken on the form of the horror star (Randy Violent) in the movie he saw. The alien signals to GL for help, and when GL arrives he calms Atom and finds out from the alien that he's repaired the shrine and is about to leave. Captain Atom thinks that GL is trying to distract the alien though, and while they are talking he destroys the shrine. Losing track of the alien GL and Atom are called to a building which is mysteriously collapsing. GL's lantern is left on top of another high-rise building as they respond to the emergency. GL holds the structure together with his ring while Atom rescues hostages. When finished Atom leaves GL holding the building while the emergency services clear the last people from the building.

Atom tracks down the alien who is making a new shrine under the collapsing building. Attacking the alien the rest of the structure comes apart, as the exhausted Green Lantern collapses. Upon recovering, he engages Captain Atom, trying to make him understand that the alien must be left alone. During the battle the alien decides that Earth culture is fascinating, and that he wants to stay. Atom takes out GL (who's ring is rapidly running out of charge), and heads back to deal with the alien, who knocks Atom out and disappears. Atom finds GL stranded out in the desert with no charge in his ring. They return Action Comics #634to the city to find that the lantern has gone missing. He finds in a pawnbrokers which is being robbed for diamonds. He picks a fight, tossing his dead ring into the lantern. When it regains it's charge he finishes off the thieves, and heads out to find Atom. The alien has headed back into space, and realizing that GL has better knowledge of galactic threats, Captain Atom leaves him to it.

In Action 632 Green Lantern is chasing the alien when it opens a space warp. Following the alien through the warp GL is dropped in a completely alien sector. Visiting a planet for a bearing he meets one of the alien races from the recent peace conference. However he is treated almost as a deity, and pointed in the direction of a massive earth-styled castle, which is inhabited by Lord Malvolio of the Green Flame. Malvolio is insane, destroying his own worshippers and gunning for Green Lantern. He shows GL the force of his power by blasting him straight through the planet from one side to the other. GL finds a space station made purely of gold, and containing thousands of alien beings. GL assumes that the station is made of gold to protect them from Malvolio, but he's told that it's actually a shrine. Malvolio attacks, and destroys the station and everyone on board to get at Green Lantern. GL fights Malvolio in the ruins of the station, beating him into submission. Walking away Malvolio destroys GL's ring with a blaster, then hunting him through the wrecked structure. In Action 635 he is chased and left unable to run, but finds a tension rod which doubles as a makeshift bow and arrow. He fires a golden arrow into Malvolio's heart, and takes his ring to replace the destroyed one. After GL leaves, Malvolio is seen to rise, the station dissolving as an illusion, and Malvolio vowing to meet Hal Jordan again. A promise that is as yet unfulfilled.

Also in Action 635 is an extra-length story with the previous Action stars, Superman, Black Canary, Blackhawk, and of course, Green Lantern. A brilliant story by Mark Verheiden, Eduardo Baretto and John Nyberg, it sees old GL co-star Clay Kendall on a Blackhawk transport flight going down in a South American jungle. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is visiting Dinah Lance, talking about Hal's current personal problems. Hal decides to go and see old friend No more ring!Clay Kendall for someone to talk to, where they find out from his wife about his disappearance. GL and Black Canary head to South America where they find a huge energy creature which defeats them. Before passing out GL sends his ring to find help. The ring finds Superman who travels down to find his missing compatriots. He is attacked by the same energy creature that took out GL. The creature is being controlled by the local dictator, who is defeated by Blackhawk member Weng Chan, or Chop-Chop. Clay is returned home by GL, and everything ends happily, which almost brings the end of GL's Action run.....almost....

Although Action 635 was the last regular appearance of Green Lantern, there were still seven more issues, during which GL was still considered an Action character in the build up to the new series for the 30th anniversary. To this end comes Green Lantern Special #2, which nicely wraps up the leftover plot thread of the alien peace conference and the vow of the leaders to destroy Green Lantern.

The two races have developed a robot called Seeker. It scours the spaceways asking the question 'Are you Green Lantern?'. Answering no results in destruction, and the Seeker moves onto the next space traveler. Meanwhile Hal and his friend Chip are called by a guardian to Oa. The Guardian and his Zamoran mate give Hal an ultimatum : He must kill his mentor Priest, or they will kill Chip. Hal heads into space to find Priest, and comes across the Seeker. He quickly defeats it, and heads off on his journey, not noticing that the Seeker is repairing itself. Hal talks with priest who says that perhaps Hal is right, he should be killed as he is a menace to the galaxy. The Seeker attacks them again, and Hal destroys it...all except for it's core which is yellow. As Hal heads for space we see that on one of the alien planets a second Seeker is being developed, and one alien leader has used it to kill the other. It's about to be sent into space after GL when he appears on the planet, and Seeker-2 is swiftly destroyed by Seeker-1, as is the remaining alien leader. Priest then appears and tells Hal that if Seeker is hunting Green Lantern, the only way to stop is to make sure Green Lantern doesn't exist. Hal removes the ring, and the Seeker shuts down. Priest then drops it into a black-hole. and they head to Oa to deal with the Guardian and Chip.

Arriving on Oa Hal informs the guardian that of Priest and Chip, Chip is more expendable, and that for the good of the Universe they should kill Chip rather than Priest. The Guardian and his mate vanish as Priest explains that it was all a test of his devising. He leaves to discuss it with the one remaining Guardian on Oa, while Chip and Hal discuss choices and consequences.

From here GL was seen in the 'year one' mini-series, Emerald Dawn. Again this was produced by Bright and Owsley, who were to become the new creative team of the new GL series. However more and more Owsley found himself at odds with the editor, and resigned after issue one of Emerald Dawn. Now a new team of Gerard Jones and Pat Broderick would take over the new ongoing series, however there would be one more appearance in Action Comics before hand, and it was to be by hot new writer Neil Gaiman. A multi-chapter story, newcomer Mark Buckingham was pegged for one chapter, and this was to be Action Weekly's grand sendoff. The story was about the friendship between Superman and Green Lantern, and went a long way to mending their relationship problems from earlier in the series (and especially Green Lantern Special #1). However an editorial decision that no-one in this fledgling universe would know Superman's secret ID meant that the story didn't really work. Gaiman was paid off, and they looked to a veteran to provide something more 'appropriate'.

Action Comics #642 (artowrk Andru and Shannower)

Action #642 starts with a great Ross Andru cover, inked by Eric Shannower. Inside a tale by Elliot S! Maggin which looks at the people chosen by Abin Sur's ring to follow his lead as that sector's Green Lantern. The first chapter with it's beautiful Gil Kane artwork has Abin Sur's ring collect the most worthy successor, which is Kal El. However as he is not a native of earth, someone else must be picked. The ring shows a group of people for Kal to pick, and he chooses fearless pilot, Hal Jordan. Abin Sur makes Kal El forget what he has experienced, and the rest is history....

Chapter 2 drawn by Steve Ditko and Art Thibert has Hal finding stolen nuclear material in a secret bunker in Utah. He cleans up the people who are using it, but is shot by a military officer who is in charge of the illegal operation. As he lies dying his ring searches the earth for help.

The rest of the issue has different artists on almost every page, and in some cases on the same page. The teams are Aparo and Nyberg, Swan and Templeton, Mooney and Aiken & Garvey, and finally the spectacular team of Infantino and Nowlan.

Chapter 3 shows people being collected by the green beam, including a factory foreman, an arch-bishop in South Africa, Guy Gardner, Nightwing, and in someone else's body, Deadman. Deadman and a dying ring-projection of Hal talk about what's happening, and Deadman suggests that in choosing a replacement, Hal will be without the pain he's been dealing with of late. A collected Clark Kent is also able to take part in the conversation, and he says that rather than choosing a replacement, GL should be choosing life. The memory of Abin Sur comes from the ring, and asks Hal which of the 'lesser willed' people should take his place. Swayed by the fact that he is the best choice still for Green Lantern, Hall rallies and regains his strength from the lantern. The people who were collected for this are returned, with a small part of green energy which helps them finish the jobs they were on. Hal finds the crooked military officer, and gets a warrant to put him away. Deadman finishes off by telling Clark Kent that he's welcome to life.

Green Lantern Legend of the Green Flame

Well, that's the end of Green Lantern In Action Comics....or is it ? After Neil Gaiman had finished his Action script he moved onto Sandman and all the things entailed in that. And with the amazing success of that, DC were moved to re-explore that old script. Now that the DC Universe is less.....tentative...the OK was given to produce this story as a special. And special it is. Cover by Frank Miller, interiors by Eric Shannower & Art Adams, Matt Wagner, Mike Allred & Terry Austin, Eddie Campbell, John Totleben, Jason Little, Jim Aparo, Kevin Nowlan, and yes, original pick Mark Buckingham. This is only a couple of months old, so maybe you can pick it up, and see how things could have been!

Simon Brown lives in Australia.

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