Green Lantern (vol.3) #109 (1999)

Green Lantern (vol.3) #109 (February, 1999)
“Ghost of Christmas Past”
Writer – Ron Marz
Pencils – Paul Pelletier
Inks – Terry Austin
Color – Rob Schwager
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Editor – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $1.99

Well, we’ve made it… today is the last day of our Christmas on Infinite Earths… in July special event week thing.  For anybody who’s interested, you can check out all the Holiday issues covered this week by clicking here.

I was thinking about doing a “12 Days of…” this month, but then what would I do come December?  Tomorrow we get back to business as usual.

We open with Jade and Obsidian in their civvies finishing up their Christmas shopping.  They’re bickering back and forth about Jennie’s relationship with Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner.  We learn that Kyle’s currently off-planet trying to reform the Green Lantern Corps.  Thankfully, we get to remain on Earth with Jade performing all Lanternly duties until his return.  Jennie picks out Kyle’s Christmas gift… a watch.

As they continue through the mall, Jade hears a voice that triggers a flashback to her childhood in the orphanage.  We see young Jennie sitting up in bed, clutching her blankets while a bottle wielding clod of a man stands nearby in shadow.  

Back in the present, Jennie follows the sound of the familiar voice to find that she may just know the mall Santa… and he’s a bad man.  Seeing a young girl climbing up into his lap is all Jennie can stand… she Lanterns up and nyoinks the girl off of Santa… then grabs Santa and flies through the wall of the mall with him!

We shift to a bit later in an abandoned floor of a high-rise building.  Jade has this mall Santa tied to a Lantern-construct chair… and with a wicked backhand, wakes the creep up.

She begins interrogating him, however, he can’t seem to remember who she is.  She definitely (and justifiably) plays the “bad cop” here, really making Santa feel like he’s in some real deep trouble.  He still maintains that he has no idea why he’s here.

Jade decides to jog his memory… and we follow into her flashback.  It is several years back at the Fielding Home for Girls.  Jennie is living there… and Santa, was Carl the orphanage janitor.  Legend had it, at Fieldings that if you weren’t a “good girl”, Stan-Stan the Janitor Man would come and get you.  The girls were helpless to stop the assaults, as they feared if word got out they’d never be adopted… and so, the assaults continued.

One Christmas, Stan-as-Santa tried to pull Jennie onto his lap.  She struggled, and ultimately pulled off his Santa beard.  This caused the headmistress, Miss Greaves to proclaim that Christmas was ruined for that year.

That night, since Jennie was a “bad girl”… Carl came a’calling.  He approached her bed, and tried to pin her down.  It was at this moment that Jennie’s starheart birthmark emitted it’s powers.  She blasted Stan across the room, and he ran off… leaving the orphanage forever.

Back in the present, Stan asks Jade what she plans to do with him.  After giving him the scare of his life, Jennie ultimately decides to let him leave… but cautions that she’ll never let him go!  He will never again know what it’s like to live in peace.

We shift back home where Obsidian and he and Jennie’s dad, Alan Scott are having a conversation.  They are stirred by a clatter upstairs and when they go to investigate they find Jade crashed out on the couch, with a slight smile on her face.  Perhaps getting her first true restful sleep in quite some time.

Perhaps this was a little heavy on the PSA elements, but overall, quite a good issue.  This was a fun time in Green Lantern (I almost wrote “the Lantern books” there), and I appreciate adding this layer onto Jade’s character.  I always picture her as rather reserved, so to see her actually shaken offers a new (and memorable) look at the character.  I was glad that Jade was made to actually feel like a “main character” rather than just keeping the ring warm while Kyle’s away.

A little heavy-handed, and perhaps a touch too convenient… but inoffensive and quite a nice “very special episode”.  Marz’s dialogue is great, and really evokes the tamped down frustration Jennie’s harboring toward her childhood attacker.  I can’t for certain say that this is the first mention of Jade almost being assaulted as a child, so this may be a new wrinkle.  I usually dismiss the “so-and-so was sexually assaulted” reveal as a cheap way of added a sympathetic element (or depth) to a character, though here, I can appreciate that the attack was what triggered her super powers to kick in.  She was able to defend herself as a child… and as a fully-powered adult, is finally able to defend all of this creep’s future victims.

Paul Pelletier’s art is always a treat.  He draws a wonderful Jade, in and out of costume.  This is also from that time before all comics went to the slick paper, so the coloring here looks great.  I’m so used to books of the late 90’s having awful muddy coloring, I’m glad this one dodged that bullet.

That’ll do us for Christmas on Infinite Earths… in July.  Thanks for hangin’ in, if’n ya did.  This will probably be the last holiday-themed book I cover until I’m actually typing this by the light of the Christmas tree.

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