Green Lantern (vol.2) #195 (December, 1985)
Writer – Steve Englehart
Penciller – Joe Staton
Inker – Bruce Patterson
Letterer – L. Lois Buhalis
Colorist – Tony Tollin
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75
With post #300 now in the rear-view, let’s look toward the future. Today we’re going to discuss an issue of Green Lantern that ties in with the very event this humble blog is named after, Crisis on Infinite Earths! I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to take a look at an official Crisis-tie in… but here we be.
I really just picked this one because of its awesome cover… just so great! Ya know, in silhouette… you can just barely make out the *spoilers* bowl haircut. Ahem, let’s get down to it!
We open with one of the Guardians of the Universe spiriting away Guy Gardner… with Hal Jordan along for the ride. The Guardian has designs for Guy… but none for Hal, so he is unceremoniously dumped on the other side of Oa before the pair arrive in civilization. During the trip there is mention of a sort of barrier surrounding Oa.
Guy gets his bearings, and realizes that his mind is now clear… where before it was anything but. The Guardian takes this opportunity to retell Guy’s twisted and tragic origin story… starting with some events from Showcase #22. Green Lantern of Sector 2814, Abin Sur lay dying in his crashed spacecraft. He orders his ring to seek out a new wielder of the emerald light… and it is able to locate two potential candidates… wait, two? One, as we know is Hal Jordan… the other, a High School gym teacher on the East Coast named Guy Gardner! Sur, being short on time, and seeing both candidates as equal, dispatches the ring to whoever is closest. Being as though the crash occurred on the West Coast… Hal gets the power, responsibility, and title of Green Lantern.
Guy becomes Hal’s backup… and during one of Hal’s trips to “keep and eye” on him, Guy gets hit by a bus while rescuing a child. As a result he is laid up for the better part of a year. With Guy “off the table”, John Stewart is named backup.
At some point after Guy recovers, Hal has to go off-planet for some ring repairs. Guy is left with a ring and power battery. The first time he attempts to do the whole “In brightest day…” thang, the battery explodes in his face… leaving him comatose.
Back in the present, the Guardian informs Guy that with John Stewart currently fighting the Anti-Monitor… remember, this is in the midst of Crisis on Infinite Earths… they want to now enroll him into the Corps… for a very specific purpose…
We shift scenes to meet up with Katma Tui, who is doing her damnedest to keep the Earth in one piece. The Crisis is causing the entire planet to quake… and split. Katma uses her emerald energy to more or less cauterize the Earth’s wounds. That is, of course, until her ring runs out of juice… likely a result of the Oan barrier.
We shift again, though briefly, to the front lines of battle… John Stewart (who is wearing his mask!) has joined forces with Jonah Hex and Cyborg of the New Teen Titans in the war against the Anti-Monitor. His ring also peters out…
Back on (the other side of) Oa, Hal Jordan is getting his druthers while traversing the desert landscape. He finds that though he is without a ring, he is still able to sorta will himself to fly. This is soon revealed to be the result of the desert’s irradiated sands… so full of Green Lantern energy are they, that Hal is able to not only use them… but communicate with them as well!
He remembers that there is a system of tunnels below the surface, and is able to coerce the sands to draw provide him with a path.
Hal is guided to the tunnel entrance and drops down into the network. Down below, he is confronted by some sort of mud monster… who keeps growing arms and fisty-hands every time Hal lands a punch. He keeps punching until the beast has an embarrassment of arms, and he is able to wriggle away.
We return to Guy as he is introduced to a crew of Guardians. This is during a time in which the Guardians had a bit of a philosophical dispute. Some were okay to sit on their hands while the events of the Crisis wiped out the Universe… however, these fellas are more interested in being proactive… taking the fight directly to the Anti-Monitor’s home world. This is Guy Gardner’s purpose… he is to assemble a “new Corps” and take down the Anti-Monitor. They give him a ring and a battery that the Guardians powered using their own energy.
Back underground, Hal runs afoul of a pair of Green Lantern Corps Honor Guards, K’ryssma and Apros. They don’t take too kindly to having a quitter like Hal around, and so they fight… until a Guardian intervenes.
The Guardian takes Hal to another group of little blue guys, and they tell him the story of Krona. This is the group of Guardians that would rather stand down then fight. Hal doesn’t really like the sound of that, and asks for the permission to at least try and fight. The Guardians are all “uh-uh” and zip him away.
We wrap up the issue with Guy Gardner in his familiar Green Lantern gear… he’s ready to go!
Another great issue from a fantastic era of Green Lantern.
I was happy to see this included Guy Gardner’s backstory as it always seemed somewhat nebulous to me. I knew all the beats, but never really got the order of the events until now. Poor dude’s been through the ringer, right? It’s nice seeing him come out the other end. I always felt bad for him losing out on the ring due to a simple accident of proximity.
Then, when he finally does get a ring… or at least an official understudy role in the Corps a power battery blows up in his face leaving him comatose. Is it any wonder Guy can be such a jerk?
Speaking of jerks… maaaan, the Guardians of the Universe make Guy look like Mr. Congeniality by comparison. These dudes are the dirt worst… just using people, and space critters, as pawns to serve their ends. I’ve always disliked them, though I had always thought it was due to not liking their miniature Schwartzian faces, but now I know there’s more to it… they’re just not all that nice.
The intermittent Crisis bits are a welcome addition to this issue. I remember my first time reading Crisis on Infinite Earths some twenty or so years back… the exclusion of Hal Jordan from the proceedings always struck me as odd. I thought that such a cornerstone character should never have been omitted from such a widespread universe-shaping event. In reading this, I finally have some context… I can appreciate Hal’s omission as being a result of the GL stories from this era.
We will soon learn that Guy’s mission is… questionable in nobility as well as merit. I didn’t recall that there had been a schism among the Guardians… I thought everything was hunky dory with the li’l guys. I can appreciate their having a philosophical split in how to (or whether to) react to the impending Crisis. Gardner’s gang wants to do the proactive thang, and as such… they picked the right “Guy” for the job… ehhh? ehhh?
Overall… yeah, it’s Englehart Green Lantern. If you view yourself as a fan of GL, you really owe it to yourself to add his run to your comics library. So much great stuff around this time. Add to it, Joe Staton’s art… art, you may notice that actually portrays flashback scenes in the style of their original artist(s)… and you’ve got some great comics! As luck would have it, DC Digital has this issue available if you’re interested. Color me shocked! It has also been collected in Volume 3 of the recent Green Lantern: Sector 2814 series of trade paperbacks. Worth a read to say the least!