Green Lantern (vol.3) #93 (December, 1997)
"All Hallow's Eve"
Writer - Ron Marz
Pencils - Tom Grindberg & Darryl Banks
Inks - Carlos Garzon & Terry Austin
Color and Seps - Rob Schwager
Letters - Chris Eliopoulos
Associate - Dana Kurtin
Editor - Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $1.95
It's Halloween in the Village... what could possibly go wrong? In all seriousness... this is kind of a disturbing story involving sensitive subject matter.
We open with a woman in a Green Lantern costume laying in a puddle of blood among the garbage in an alley. Before her stands a man holding a blood-covered blade. I thought Kyle was the last and only Green Lantern... what could this be? Why it's Halloween of course! We pop in on Kyle and Jade as the former gets spooked by a skeleton... that is, his friend Li in a skeleton costume.
This is Kyle's first time taking in the sights at the Village Halloween Parade. He laments the fact that he grew up in an Irish-Catholic household that forbade trick or treating... which is odd, because my Irish-Catholic household thought it was a great time... anyhoo Li reports that her girlfriend... Lee (Li and Lee... that means I'm gonna have to proofread) and their friend Tracy are missing among the costumed masses. Lee is dressed as a pirate, while Tracy is dressed as... uh oh, Green Lantern.
Kyle's on the case. He gets outta sight into an alley and pops into his Green Lantern duds. As luck would have it, this is the same alley from the open. He now stands before the body of Li's friend Tracy.
As he investigates a man wearing a red devil mask jumps him from behind. He must have really caught Kyle by surprise, because he just wipes the floor with him. Before the devil-man can plunge his blade into Kyle he feels a sudden coldness... but there's nothing around. Turns out our old friend Boston Brand just happens to be floating by. Deadman sees Kyle's unconscious body as an opportunity to take care of the devilman... and so he does.
Deadman-as-Kyle socks the devilman real good, however... and this is pretty gross... slips in Tracy's blood, which allows the baddie to get away. Brand takes a closer look at Tracy's body and mourns the loss of someone so young. He also takes a closer look at the ring on his finger... and realizes that he didn't take over the body of a trick-or-treater, but the real-deal Green Lantern.
He wracks his brain and realizes that he does recognize Kyle... he's the Green Lantern he saw during Hal Jordan's funeral. He decides to test the limits of his power while wielding the ring... and is able to create a construct of an elephant from his old circus days. He realizes he's gonna dig being Green Lantern for a little while, and flies off in search of the Devilman.
He flies through the crowd, and sees the Devilman bump into Jade... who, is dressed as... er, maybe a Raggedy Ann doll? Really can't tell... whatever it is, she looks kinda goofy. He zooms in her direction passing by some folks from Watchmen... they've been here all along!
He lands before Jennie and they share a cute scene. She's talking like she knows him... because, ya know... she does. Brand however hasn't the foggiest clue. It's really funny watching him try to keep up with the conversation... and seeing Jade's raised-eyebrow reaction. Anyhoo, she points him in the direction the Devilman scurried off in, and he's back in hot pursuit.
Deadman-as-Kyle heads into the building and up the stairs. He follows the voices of the Devilman and his would-be next victim. She is pleading with him... asking why he's doing this. He replies simply... saying she deserves it. Deadman bursts into the room wielding ring constructs and a short-fuze... the man responds by holding a knife up to the throat of the pirate-clad woman.
At this point Deadman realizes he will need to employ strategy. This isn't his body after all, he's unclear as to how he may best utilize Kyle's abilities. I love the way he describes it, "I'm just drivin' a rental." He appeals to the Devilman's ranting... he can tell the man has a story he's just aching to share... and it isn't long before he opens up. We learn that his wife, Emily had recently left him... for another woman. Rather than realize they'd both be happier following their hearts, he's decided that any "women who lie with women" need to be eliminated. This is something that Deadman can't really wrap his head around... seems a bit extreme.
At this point, it appears as though letting the Devilman talk may have been a bad idea, as it's just riled him up all the more. Luckily, Jade followed "Kyle" into the building and is able to disarm the Devilman before he can carve Lee up. With the gig up, the man dives out the window to the ground below.
Deadman gives chase... almost steering the Devilman into the alley where Tracy's body lay. The baddie lunges with his blade... and Deadman picks this precise moment to evacuate Kyle's body. Dude, can ya give a guy a moment to catch his breath?
Well, ya see... Deadman had to leave Kyle's body... so that he could inhabit Tracy's. He mentions how gross it is to take over a dead body... which, I gotta admit, I hadn't thought about. I figured to Deadman, a body is a body is a body... ya know? Anyhoo, the Devilman freaks out... "Tracy" pulls off his mask, which reveals his Nicolas Cagey face. He panics and flees up a fire escape.
Deadman shakes the ladder, causing him to fall... right into his own blade... killing him. I like this, Deadman actually feels remorse. He hadn't intended for the baddie to die here... he just wanted to give him a good scare. He now evacs Tracy's body, leaving Kyle completely confused.
Our tale wraps up at an all-night diner. Kyle and Jennie and Lee and Li try to process what they'd just experienced, and mourn the loss of their friend. Kyle tells them that as long as they have each other, there will always be someone watching over them... and the camera pans out to show Deadman sitting all by his lonesome in a booth... oddly, with a cup of hot tea sat before him.
This one surprised me. I really wasn't expecting this to be about a lunatic killing lesbians. I wasn't reading Green Lantern "off the shelf" at this point, however I was during Judd Winick's run where he had a prominent cast member who happened to be gay get horribly beaten. I would have figured there would have been a call back to this story then... at least in the comics press... who if I'm remembering right covered that story quite heavily. Memory is what it is, I suppose... for all I know it was mentioned and I'd forgotten. Either way... this was a much more powerful issue than I'd been anticipating. Figured it would be a light Halloween romp... and really it was anything but.
Not sure where to start with this one insofar as discussion is concerned. There is a lunatic among the partiers at the Halloween Parade being held in the Village. His wife left him, presumably for another woman... leaving him unhinged and out for his own version of "revenge". He blames all lesbians for his current lot in life, and winds up paying the ultimate price for it. I suppose it could be argued that our villain is a bit one-dimensional, however, if we consider that we're looking at a wildly unbalanced and deranged individual here... it really works. He has tunnel-vision... so focused on his sick goal that he can't see what's going on around him. During a psychotic episode it is very easy for context to get fuzzy. He didn't see his victims and potential victims as anything other than targets. Pretty scary guy... acting in a broken-human way. One thing though... if he believed his was a mission of purity, I don't think he'd wear a devil mask, right?
Kyle... if we're being technical... was hardly a factor in the book. This was a Deadman story, guest-starring Green Lantern. Nothing at all wrong with that, in fact, I thought it was quite cool. I'm a sucker for the way Deadman talks... almost a constant flow of exposition and self-depreciation, he's very fun to read. I also did enjoy his interaction with Jade, I thought that was quite funny. The art was very good, only hampered by some production things I'll talk about in a bit. Overall, I really have no complaints over the creative aspects of this issue.
What I do have some complaints about is on the production side. I'm not sure if it's just my copy or what... but about half of the pages here are so blurry that it's difficult to read. It almost looks as though this was primed to use glossy paper, but wound up using the sorta-kinda newsprint instead. The inks "feel" like they're too heavy for the page, leaving it looking like it should have come with 3-D glasses for some of the pages. The fact that Deadman's captions are all done with a purple tone and a scraggly font makes this even harder to read.
Overall, a heavier story than I'd anticipated, but one I enjoyed nonetheless. A grim reminder that not all monsters are make-believe.