Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Green Lantern (vol.3) #3 (1990)


Green Lantern (vol.3) #3 (August, 1990)
"Sound and Fury"
Writer - Gerard Jones
Penciller - Pat Broderick
Inker - Bruce Patterson
Letterer - Albert DeGuzman
Colorist - Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor - Kevin Dooley
Editor - Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $1.00

You just know it's gonna be a great issue when the cover shows Guy Gardner getting socked in the mush.

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We open with Hal Jordan waxing philosophical about life on the road.  He is currently on some sort of quest of self-discovery... to see just how much of "Hal" is him, and how much is the ring.  He is attempting to hitchhike five miles outside of a town called Kudzu, when his inner monologue is interrupted by a befuddled Guy Gardner.  He can't wrap his mind around how Hal would not use his ring to fly to his destination... he really doesn't get it.  They share some of their "playful" back and forth before Guy shows Hal how to catch a ride... he hikes up his pant-leg, and lets a passing pick-up truck slam into him!  Well, that's one way...


Later in a diner in the heart of Kudzu, Hal and Guy continue their conversation.  Hal accuses Guy of not being able to accept that he is trying to make his way without using the ring.  Guy appears to take this rather personally... and the discussion escalates pretty quickly.  He tells Hal he could take him down without using the ring... which is apparently music to Hal's ears.

 

The duo leave their rings under the... ahem, watchful eye of a waitress, who later just refers to them as a "couple crackers"... and take it outside.  This being a small... kinda backwater town, this is the best entertainment they'd seen in a long while, and so a crowd gathers to watch the event.  Hal lands the first punch, bloodying Guy's mouth... Gardner kicks Jordan in the gut and follows up with a right hand to the jaw.  As the fight rages, a pair of Kudzu-ians decide they'd seen enough fightin' today and head back into the diner... more on them in a bit.


The fisticuffs turns to grappling with Hal getting the better of Guy.  He drops him on his belly and cinches in a hammerlock... threatening to break Guy's arm if he ever tries to butt in on Hal's pseudo-vision quest again.  Just then, they are introduced to the Kudzu Sheriff... who offers them a... ahem, place to spend the night.


And so, Hal and Guy are hauled off to the slammer... where they share a cell.  Hmm, maybe Kudzu only has the one... but, you'd almost figure that you'd try and separate the pair of dudes you just arrested for fighting.  Anyhoo... here is where Hal and Guy really get to the meat of their issue... this scene is a personal favorite.  Guy is taking Hal's "walk across America" as a personal slight against him.  He sees Hal being his own man, as an indictment on his own inability to do the same.  He asks what he is without powers... and instantly answers himself with "just another jerk".  Hal looks at Guy... and tells him he's been at this far longer than he has... he lifts his right fist to punctuate his thought with a look at his... uh-oh... they never got their rings back!


The fellas both spring to their feet and try to get the Sheriff to let them out.  They kind of beat around the bush as to why they need their rings... though, c'mon Guy is wearing his Green Lantern togs... Sadly though, it's all for naught... the Sheriff calls the diner to check on the jewelry, and we learn that the pair of rings have gone missing!


We shift scenes to Oa where the mad-Guardian, the Old-Timer has John Stewart held in something of a stasis.  This was during the time when the Guardians and the Zamorans all left Oa to procreate... or something... leaving the Old-Timer (Appa Ali Apsa) all by his lonesome... where he's become quite mad.  This is the start of the upcoming Mosaic storyline... and it's pretty great.  Apsa decides to take cities from different planets and make a patchwork civilization on Oa to assuage his loneliness.  He starts with a city on the planet Maltus.


Back in Kudzu we learn the whereabouts of the Lanterns' rings... it was those two fight-watchin' boobs from earlier.  They're using their newfound super powers to construct such things as a chainsaw, a six-pack of beer, and a giant raccoon.  Pretty inspired, no?  Anyhoo... they head into town and decide to rob a liquor store.  The Sheriff arrives on the scene, but dem boys first crush his cruiser then literally swat him away... with a fly swatter...


The Sheriff runs like a fool into the Police Station, where Hal and Guy overhear his plight.  Hal sighs and tells the cop that he can put a stop to the emerald rampage if they are set free... and so, they are.  They run into Billy and Jeff (dem boys) straight away... and are immediately locked into will-power combat.  By focusing really hard, Hal is able to interfere with their ring constructs long enough to sock these geeks but good.


We wrap up later on with Hal and Guy walking on the highway outside of town.  Guy still doesn't quite understand Hal's "mission" but appears to be more accepting of it... or at least accepting that Hal feels it's something he needs to do.  Guy begrudgingly admits that Hal is the greatest of all the Green Lanterns as Hal continues on his path to wherever the road takes him.


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Amazing issue... if you're a Lantern-fan that thought this franchise was boring until Geoff Johns came along, this is a run that I'd encourage you to check out.

Hal Jordan was not "my" Green Lantern... well, not really anyway.  I knew him, of course... but I kind of grew up with Kyle.  I'd always heard (or read) that Hal was kind of stodgy and dull... which dissuaded me from seeking out many issues prior to #46 which tied in with the Reign of the Supermen... and kinda did the whole vaporizing Coast City thing.  Probably about... yeesh, 15 years ago, I came across a run of early Volume 3 issues... and so, I checked them out.  It was with this issue that I started to get Hal... what's more, I started to get Guy as well.  Before this, he was just the douche with the bad haircut on the Justice League.

Speaking of the bad haircut... that's really my only complaint/observation about the art... Guy really is in full-on mushroom-cap mode here... it looks horrifying (though, of course... it's supposed to)!  Otherwise, the art here is fantastic.  The grizzled five-o'clock (more like eight-o'clock) shadow on Hal, to the yokels... to the Apsa and John scene on Oa... everything looks amazing.  Broderick is such an amazing artist, it's always a treat to come across a book he's worked on.

Back to the story... Guy actually voicing his feelings of... I dunno, jealousy?  Inadequacy?  Whatever it was... was so great to see, especially as he tends to keep that side hidden.  It makes sense for him to try and make Hal's "journey" all about him.  He overcompensates for his insecurities with his pompous and off-putting ego.  So, of course Hal is walking across the country as a personal slight against Guy's value as a human being, right?  It's this kind of depth and character exploration that makes these issues such a blast to revisit.  Such amazing stuff here.

I gotta say, I laughed a bit seeing Hal salivating at the thought of getting Gardner in a fair fight.  You can tell he'd been chomping at the bit for an opportunity to whoop Guy's behind for years by this point.  I also can kind of appreciate Hal's tired "I'm getting to old for this" face.  If I'm remembering right, this story takes place some 15 years after Emerald Dawn... likely putting Hal somewhere in his forties.  He's seen some stuff, and we can see that he has become fairly road-worn.

I was listening to a podcast with a fella named Thomas Deja... he compared this point in Green Lantern with a New York City Police Officer winding down toward retirement.  Hal's been at it for years, and it's about time for him to consider "what comes next".  Just as the aging police officer must as he approaches that magical "year twenty".  I really like this theory, and I think he's pretty much on the money with his idea.

Now, to be fair... if I set my biases toward this issue/era aside... I can say that this is not a perfect issue by any means.  I'm talking about "dem boys" ability to wield the rings... first, I didn't know that it was just as simple as slipping on the ring, and suddenly you're as powerful as Green Lantern... I thought the ring had to choose its bearer... and second, how did they get so good so quickly?  I mean, you'd figure they'd just be spooing out green globs, however, here they are chopping down trees and constructing wildlife... pretty weird... but, as I'm wont to say, I'll allow it.

Definitely recommended... fans of Green Lantern new and old should acquaint themselves with the Gerard Jones run with Hal and the gang.  Available digitally for your convenience.

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