Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #1 (1989)

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #1 (December, 1989)
“The Sign”
Writer – Jim Owsley
Penciller – M.D. Bright
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Lettering – Albert De Guzman
Coloring – Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Kevin Dooley
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $1.00

Still in a Green Lantern kinda mood… I figured it would be fun to spend the weekend doing a bit of a comparison on the first issue of Emerald Dawn and the first part of Green Lantern: Secret Origin from the fourth ongoing volume (issue #29).

Going to set the table with a look at Emerald Dawn #1.  Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at chapter one of Secret Origin, and play the ol’ compare and contrast game.  It’s been several years since I’ve read either… so, hopefully this will wind up being as fun as I think it will be!

EDIT: 06.12.2016 – For the look at Secret Origin, Part One and the comparison of the two, click here.

We open with Lt. Martin Jordan conducting a test-flight exhibition, we can see his young sons Hal and Jack looking on.  After flying a few routines, Marty notices that there’s something wrong with the jet… the tower instructs him to take it over the desert and bail.  Sweat on his brow, Marty gives the thumbs down… they don’t pay him to crash aircraft… he’s gonna land this thing (or die trying)… 

Flash forward a bunch of years, and we join an adult Ferris Aircraft employee Hal Jordan is drowning his sorrows surrounded by his brother, sister in law, friend Andy and a real jerk named Biff.  They’re busting his chops because he’s lost his flight clearance and took a significant cut in pay.  In fact… he was fired, and his mom had to beg his boss to rehire him… as something like an air-traffic controller for the yard.

He’s also lost his best gal, Carol who appears to now be dating Biff.  He gets up and wraps his arm around her before taking a crack at Hal, questioning whether or not he’s man enough to wear a Ferris Aircraft cap.  Like I said, real jerk.

The Jordan clan end their “festivities” and head out for the night.  Tipsy Hal’s behind the wheel of the jeep, and as they pull out he blocks out his friend and family member’s drunken conversation and begins recounting the events of the day.  With every failure, Hal’s foot presses harder on the gas… until they’re careening straight into a sign for a motor lodge.

Hal gets his bearings and pulls an extremely hard left.  He rolls the jeep… right into an oncoming sedan.

Next thing we know, Hal wakes up in a hospital bed.  His nurse is none too happy having to deal with a drunk driver, having lost her son to one.  She has no sympathy for Hal, and makes sure he knows it.  After she leaves, we find that Carol had been standing there.  Hal tries to blame the wreck on the sign rather than anything he’d imbibed.  Disgusted, Carol walks out.

That morning, Carol is shocked to find that Hal has shown up for work… rather than still being in the hospital… or in jail.  Hal’s playing passive-aggressive in regard to his lot in life, and Carol ain’t having none of it.  All the while Hal is inside a flight simulator… even with his wings clipped, Hal wants to fly “something”.

Carol leaves, appearing more annoyed than anything… and Hal returns to his “flight”.  Suddenly the simulator breaks out of its housing and crashes through the wall… as Carol and Carl Ferris look on from afar.

The simulation pod soars through the sky, and lands in a desert crater hundreds of miles west (I didn’t know there was any west from Coast City?).  What he finds is a crashed spacecraft… as he approaches, a green hologram of a face presents itself… looking like a Professor X Astral projection.

Hal is swooped into the crashed craft and finds himself standing before our dying red-skinned friend, Abin Sur.  Hal is informed that Abin’s ring has chosen him to be his successor.  The ring pops onto Hal’s finger, and before ya know it…

Hal begins to panic, not knowing what to make of his current situation… and winds up flying straight out of the craft.  Not realizing that he can fly, Hal plummets back down to Earth… crashing into the ground.  Moments later, he crawls out of the resulting crater, unharmed.

Hal flies to a nearby payphone to call into Carol… who believes he somehow stole their flight sim.  The conversation only grows more contentious until Hal finds out that his friend Andy looks to be paralyzed for life.

This causes Hal to absolutely lose his cool.  He takes to the sky and soars directly into and through the Motor Lodge sign that he blames her the wreck… 

Now this is a great Hal Jordan.  A flawed, human character.  A dude who has screwed up… and will continue screwing up.  Not because he’s “too cool for rules”, but because he’s a human being… and sometimes we makes mistakes… sometimes big mistakes.  This is a Hal who can build character, and not always be the coolest most collected dude in the room.

This is played with during the Green Lantern story running through Action Comics Weekly, in which we learn that Hal wasn’t quite as fearless as we’d believed.  The Guardians gave him a little brain tweak to make him think he was.  This has all been brushed under the rug, obviously, but still a very interesting thought (that I wish had been pursued further… if not with Hal, maybe with another Lantern).

I really like Carol’s portrayal here as well.  We get the impression that she still has feelings for Hal… otherwise, she probably wouldn’t be so angry/disappointed with him.  The scene at the hospital between the pair came off as so very real, and so well done.

Hal turning to the drink… while, I can see where DC brass might have a problem with it, I think it adds a retribution aspect to his character.  Not really something you would put in a feature film, mind you… but, it’s certainly not a “sin”.  He’s clearly depicted as being down on his luck, both professionally and romantically.  It does not glamorize his drunkenness, in fact, Hal is pretty much ostracized because of it!  I guess mileage may vary… it’s probably my Marvel upbringing that makes me dig flawed superheroes.

I gushed plenty over M.D. Bright’s art when I discussed Emerald Dawn II… and it’s still awesome!  He’s here with his Quantum & Woody partner-in-crime Jim Owsley, who (I feel like I’m saying this a lot) is one of my top writers.  Too bad he doesn’t stick around for this entire miniseries… but his replacement’s certainly no slouch.  Really looking forward to his take on Rebirth era Deathstroke!

Anyways… tomorrow we’ll take a look at Green Lantern (vol.4) #29, the first chapter of Green Lantern: Secret Origin.  When we wrap up, we’ll try and compare that with this… see if there’s any influence… confluence… or ignore-ance.  Til then!

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But… will I become rich?  Popular?  Will I get all the girls???
I’ll take ’em both!

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