Green Lantern (vol.3) #36 (February, 1993)
“The Ghost of Christmas Light”
Writer – Gerard Jones with Joe Filice
Penciller – Gene Ha
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Letterer – Albert DeGuzman
Colorist – Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Eddie Berganza
Editor – Kevin Dooley
When I picked this issue for today’s discussion I really had no idea that it picks up with Hal’s day immediately following the Superman (vol.2) #76 we talked about yesterday. Let’s check in with Hal and see how he spends Christmas Eve…
It’s Christmas Eve and we open with Hal and his on-again off-again, Carol Ferris passing the Northern Lights as they begin their descent. This was a time in which Hal tried running his own air-cab company. Carol is tagging along on Hal’s family Christmas, because he didn’t want her to be alone. In the Northern Lights we see the familiar visage of our old friend Dr. Light… the male one… who did some really lousy stuff to Sue Dibney.
They land and are immediately met by Hal’s brother’s family. The kids are excited to have Uncle Hal take them up for barrel rolls, and Jim Jordan mocks Hal’s gray temples… remember those? Jim’s wife, the nosey Sue catches up with Carol, and mistakenly refers to her as Hal’s girlfriend. Carol is quick to correct her, as she’s decided they’re gonna keep it casual for the time being.
What follows is a fairly uncomfortable car ride through town… well, at least for “Aunt” Carol, who is getting the third-degree from Sue. Sue’s “thing” during the Silver Age was that she was, well… a pain in the ass. It’s nice seeing this carried on into the Chromium Age.
They arrive at the third Jordan brother Jack’s house. Inside Uncles Jeremiah and Titus Jordan are debating the merits of crime-fighters. I really like this… I think many of us know which relatives are going to try and bend our ear for some political clap trap during a family get together… this scene was well done. I really like that everyone outside of the immediate debate are vacating the area so they don’t wind up involved. Of particular note, they are discussing the recent death of Superman. Hal is interested to hear how people outside of his normal “social circle” have taken the news, and seems perplexed that it has somehow become a political issue. C’mon Hal… everything ultimately becomes a political issue.
Uncle Titus (or maybe Jeremiah) calls over to Hal and tells him to be careful… that Green Lantern character is back, and is hanging about in Hal’s hometown. C’mon Unc’… a Green Lantern… with graying temples… in the same city as your nephew… with graying temples… Anyhoo, Sue and Carol are still talking, discussing Sue’s belief that her husband Jim is (or was) Green Lantern. Carol is about to spill the beans about Hal… but luckily he stops her. I mean, really Carol… what’s your problem? Just giving out a man’s secret identity like that. Not cool.
After a contentious squabble, Hal is pulled away. Ya see, it’s his turn to play Santa Claus! He does some fancy verbal footwork, and convinces his brother to don the beard and bells while he takes care of the camcordering. All throughout the issue we’ve seen Dr. Light’s ugly mug showing up in various light sources… here, perhaps the funniest of all, his face appears superimposed over the angel atop the Christmas Tree!
We check in with Dr. Light, wherever the hell he is… we learn that he had died in an issue of Suicide Squad… and has been transformed into, whatever the hell he currently is… kind of a being of light itself… but still with a physical form. He was attracted to the Jordan house due to Hal’s green light.
Back with the fam, Hal and Carol argue again… Carol is stressed out by all the pressure on her to… I dunno, grow up… having people dependent on her, people wanting her to make babies, it’s all just too much for the former Star Sapphire. Hal kind of humors her until he hears his brother, Santa Claus enter the living room. He leaves Carol on the porch to start filming.
Inside, the kids are going wild for Santa… and it looks like, for a brief moment, Carol might just be enjoying herself. Hal is doing his best Ansel Adams-with-a-camcorder, when suddenly… the Christmas tree attacks! Well, the string of lights on the Christmas tree, that is…
Suddenly, and as if by magic… Green Lantern is on the scene. Curiously, Hal has gone missing… c’mon Jeremiah (or Titus) notice things! One of Hal’s nephews goes to pull the plug… but gets friggin’ shot by a laser for his troubles. This causes Sue to go into a blind rage as she starts beating up the Christmas lights… it’s really quite a scene. With the distraction in place, Hal is able to fire off a shot to sever the power cord.
Crisis averted? Nah, not yet… Dr. Light is now in the real world. He blasts Hal with a yellow blast of energy… then just takes Lantern to pummel-town. He is able to split into a number of Dr. Lights… and each one has two fists with which he can punch Hal up real good.
Hal tries to reason with the baddie… asks why he’s here. Light tells him he’s there for his green light… and so, Hal’s all “okay”… and lets him look into the power battery… which either explodes or sucks the poor fool in… the art isn’t clear.
With the coast clear, Hal helps Jim outside with the rest of the family. Jim, brain surgeon that he is, ponders if perhaps he is unconsciously Green Lantern… oi.
After making sure everybody is okay, we rejoin Hal and Carol as they talk in private… the issue draws to an end with Carol… get this… proposing marriage. Ruh roh.
I’ve often seen this era of Green Lantern written off as “skippable” or of no consequence… and while there is certainly an argument for that, that shouldn’t be the blanket statement for the latter Gerard Jones era. This issue right here was some pretty good stuff.
The Dr. Light stuff I could take or leave, but I really enjoyed visiting with the Jordan clan. Weird seeing Silver Age concepts like Hal’s nosey sister-in-law thinking her husband is Green Lantern popping up… that stuff was silly way back when, but somehow it fits in and doesn’t seem too terribly out of place here in the moody 90’s.
Speaking of moody… the art was kind of ehhh. This Gene Ha isn’t quite the Top 10 Gene Ha yet, but his work is perfectly serviceable here. Not spectacular… and certainly not helped by the muddy coloring, but didn’t really hurt the overall package.
Quite the change of heart for ol Carol here, no? I guess nobody is immune to being overcome by the Christmas spirit. During this time, she is still recovering from having the Star Sapphire persona “permanently” removed from her psyche… just another step by DC in endowing a measure of progression unto their characters. We also see Hal getting some “old” jokes here too. Silly Jordans, don’t you know he’s not old… just possessed by a giant yellow fear bug!
Overall, a decent enough issue with enough Christmas in it to be enjoyable. A nice slice of life piece… with enough superheroics to keep the action fans pleased. Won’t rock your socks but it’s worth checking out.