Green Lantern (vol.2) #119 (August, 1979)
“The Gravity Connection!”
Story – Denny O’Neil
Pencils – Alex Saviuk
Inks – Dave Hunt
Letters – Ben Oda
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editing – Jack C. Harris
Cover Price: $0.40
Today we’re going to check out a Green Lantern/Green Arrow (though per the indicia, it’s just Green Lantern) issue… but not from the famous, socially relevant, and perhaps a bit preachy run… this adventure takes place after that title was cancelled and brought back in the late 1970’s.
This issue also allows me to check a year I’d neglected off my list… it’s also my birth year, so I was pretty surprised to see I’d not covered anything from it yet.
And hey… another Orange cover!
We open with Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance pounding the pavement in search of the fabled Raging Red Bull Chili Spice. Apparently, ol’ Scorchy Hernandez gave Ollie the hot tip that it’s only available in this one Star City neighborhood. Unfortunately they are just a scant few moments too late… ya see, old Mrs. Vorpal bought the last six bottles. The friendly grocer tells the couple that Vorpal’s next stop was going to be the drug store… perhaps they can do the old Seinfeld-procuring-a-marble-rye thing.
We shift scenes to our co-star, Green Lantern Hal Jordan. He’s currently hanging around with Guy Gardner’s old squeeze, the “gypsy woman” Kari. She seems to live above a storefront… perhaps her own psychic palm-readery shop. The address is 666… so, look out! Inside, Hal and Kari kiss a bit… good thing Guy is currently in a coma. While we’re on the subject… kind of a scuzzy move there, Hal. Anyhoo… as they kiss, Hal’s eyes become fixed on a gaudy thousand-year old… pitcher? Well, whatever it is… he reaches out and touches it… like we all would around precious millennia-old tchotchkes. Unsurprisingly… it breaks… however, that’s not the story… there is a strange pink hunk of metal floating inside it. Now Kari’s feeling grabby… so, she grabs it. Her “vision powers” cause her to see a fleet of ships, that look more like folding chairs and beach umbrellas, being pulled toward the planet Saturn. I guess if she touches something, it tells her a thing or two about the objects owner… maybe? Well, either way Saturn’s in Hal’s Sector… and so, he’s off.
Back in Star City, Ollie has popped his head into the Pharmacy in search of “the spice”. Of note, he’s now in his Green Arrow togs… and it’s a damn good thing… as the shop is currently being robbed! Arrow fires a shot at the would-be robber, and sort of starts mentoring the baddie-in-training. The druggist decides that one good turn deserves another, and gives Ollie Mrs. Vorpal’s address… wouldn’tcha know it, he just missed her! Oh, and curiously she just bought a pound of rat poison… wonder what she might be up to…
We join Hal 793 million miles from Earth. He meets up with a crew of space explorers who share their woeful tale… their “Krofel”, which is a word that not even the Green Lantern ring can translate, has seized control and they are caught in the immense gravity of Saturn. Hal and Company set to reclaiming the controls… however, our man gets clunked by a stone. Ain’t that always the way?
We briefly rejoin Ollie and Dinah at home. The evidently never made it to the Vorpal home… and instead Oliver decided to check out some “drug references” from Speedy’s problem a little while back. Somehow, he recalls there being a mixture of a chemical and… chili. O-kay. Dinah tells her man that Hal’s gal Kari would be joining them for dinner tonight.
Back near Saturn, we rejoin our man Hal. He wasn’t completely kayoed, and starts blasting away at the rock chunks which make up Saturn’s rings… thanks for the science lesson, pal! He then takes the opportunity to head in to the controls to speak with the “Krofel”… which apparently means “engineers”… maybe? Anyhoo, we learn that the Krofel cannot utilize the engines to escape the pull due to there being a missing piece. Wonder what piece that might be…
Back on Earth, Ollie and the ladies sit down to dinner… and this is where it gets weird. Kari shows her hosts the floating metal hunk she and Hal had found earlier… which somehow causes Ollie to snap his fingers as though to say “Eureka!”. He grabs the glob and proclaims that they have a life to save!
And so… we shift scenes to a construction site, where Mr. Vorpal just finished his late-lunch… it was chili lovingly prepared by his doting wife. That is to say… poison. He stands up, gets dizzy… and almost falls to his death from the scaffolding. Thankfully Ollie-on-the-spot is there to grab him and float down to the ground with the space junk. On solid ground, Ollie proclaims that ol’ Andy is stoned due to a psychedelic mixture of Raging Red Bull Spice and “disulfate mercurochloride”… a helpful editorial note claims that the chemical formula has been modified to “protect everybody”… I cannot figure out what it’s a stand-in for, however, I did Google “chili and rat poison”, and kind of wish I hadn’t.
While Ollie pats himself on the back for his seemingly supernatural powers of deduction, Hal swoops into the scene to swipe the space junk.
He returns to the crew in crisis, and easily snaps the junk into place… and wouldn’tcha know it, everything’s a-okay!
Hal returns to Kari’s home, and apologizes for “losing” the chunk of space junk. Aw Hal, Kari’s got no need for that… she’s only got need for you, cowboy.
Well yeah… this could’ve been better.
At it’s core… if that statement can even be made about such an issue, there was a decent little adventure here. Lots of leaps of logic in order to draw our conclusions… but, whattaya gonna do? I’m a bit torn… I enjoyed Ollie’s “half” much more than Hal’s, even though not a whole lot happened… and again, big leaps of logic were required to make the story both happen and work.
Hal in space is a subject I’m pretty tepid on even in the best of times. I always prefer my superheroes to be Earth-bound… but I’m up for an occasional space-romp. This one, however, I found wildly boring. Not bad… nor good, just really dull. None of the alien characters were memorable… and the threat didn’t feel urgent despite the story’s claims to the contrary.
Ollie’s more grounded tale was okay. I enjoy his banter with (the brunette!) Dinah… and I’m a sucker for any story having to do with Green Arrow’s chili. I’m not sure how Ollie drew the conclusion that ol’ Mrs. Whatsherface was going to try and off her husband… as well as the when and where of it… but, again… whattaya gonna do, right? Also… if not for the odd floaty space junk, would Ollie have just let Mr. Vorpal plummet to his death? I read through this a couple of times… I kept feeling as though I was skipping pages. I do love that Dinah is portrayed throughout the entire affair as both doting and questioning why she puts up with this goof.
The inclusion of poor comatose Guy Gardner’s old flame… along with Hal horning in on her, is a pretty new concept to me. I do not have much experience reading stories that feature her. I do dig how she is portrayed as being friendly with Ollie and Dinah as well. Gives the book a feeling of family… thought that was cool. Perhaps coolest of all… or weirdest… is when Kari went to gaze at her autographed photo of Guy. I love the idea of Guy Gardner signing a 5×7 photo of himself… that’s definitely something I’d like to have seen happen!
Overall… this is probably a book you don’t need to break your back trying to track down. The art is nice, though it’s most assuredly not Neal Adams. The story feels “phoned in”, and while I’m probably not the biggest fan of the socially relevant GL/GA issues, those at least felt as though O’Neil cared about them.