Green Lantern (vol.2) #114 (1979)

Green Lantern (vol.2) #114 (March, 1979)
“The Crimes of the Crumbler!”
Story – Denny O’Neil
Penciller – Alex Saviuk
Inker – Dave Hunt
Letterer – Ben Oda
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Jack C. Harris
Cover Price: $0.40

It’s been a little while since we checked in with our emerald allies… let’s see how they fare against… the Crumbler?!

I feel like this is how most conversations will Ollie begin…

We open with Hal returning from space with his big rig…  remember, he was an over-the-road trucker at this point.  He’s met by his old chum Ollie Queen, who informs him right off the bat that this’ll likely be a contentious visit.  Ya see, Arrow’s ticked off that Hal would take a trucking job to haul some dangerous liquid gas into the mountains.  Hal suggests he only took the job because, as Green Lantern, he could ensure its safe delivery.  As usual, that’s not a good enough answer for Ollie.

… and this is how most conversations with Ollie end.

Hal takes off into his six-hour trek, and begins chugging up a mountainside.  Ollie’s words seem to have gotten to him, as he’s still running them through his head!  A quarter-mile ahead, a garishly dressed geek looks to test his powers of… crumbliness?  He approaches a bridge with a bulldozer parked on it… and with (just) one touch, he causes the bridge to crumble to particles.  This is where his partner-in-crime, gravity steps in… 

The bulldozer plummets, and begins careening down a steep slope… before slamming directly into Hal’s rig!

In the confusion, Hal slips into his working clothes and gets the situation under control.  We can see that the tanker he was hauling has been pierced… releasing some of that dangerous gas into the air.  A worker runs up to check on things… and of course, he’s got a big fat stogie hanging out of his mouth.  Hal politely informs him that he might wanna git’.

Hal wraps the dinged-up tanker in some emerald energy for safe-keeping… then recharges his ring to ensure he’s got a full 24-hours to try and get it patched up.  Unfortunately, just as he finishes the oath… a tree falls on him!  Well, it’s just not his day, is it?  We soon see that this wasn’t an accident… the same gaudy villain from earlier was behind kayoing the Lantern.  While on the subject, Hal sure does seem to get “kayoed” a lot, doesn’t he?  Also worth mentioning… if a tree falls on a Green Lantern, it does in fact make a sound… “KRAK”.

We shift to Star City, where news of the tanker crash has found its way to Black Canary.  She alerts Ollie, and before we know it they’re in a borrowed car and up into the mountain.  Once there, they meet one Alexander Percy Tuttle… ya know, of Tuttle Industries.  Only Tuttle I know tought Zack Morris how to drive… and I think he led the Bayside Glee Club too.  Anyhoo, this dude’s a bit of a ponce… and he orders the heroes to evacuate his land.

Green Arrow heads off to visit his pal Hal in the hospital.  He’s still in and out of consciousness, and dealing with a whopper of a concussion.  The doctor foolishly tells Ollie that his staff has had trouble trying to remove Green Lantern’s mask… to which Ollie’s all “don’t do that.”  He knows, however, that once Hal’s 24-ring charge runs out… that mask’s coming off regardless.  Also, the force field around the damaged tanker.  Uh-oh!  We can see here that Ollie’s not the only once checking on Hal… our crumbly villain is also loitering about!

Speaking of whom, once outside Ollie catches a glimpse of the baddie.  I mean, how could ya not?  Just look at this guy!  He fires a net-arrow at the bum… and is surprised to see it crumble at his very touch!

Ollie decides to approach him on foot… and they face off on the roof of the hospital.  Turns out that this was a bad idea… the Crumbler (that’s actually what he calls himself) touches the roof below, which sends Ollie falling back into the hospital.

We rejoin Hal as he gets out of his hospital bed.  He tries warning the nurse about what’s about to happen with the tanker… but she just puts him back to bed.

Who’s a naughty Lantern?  Are you a naughty Lantern?

We rejoin Ollie as he returns to the work-site (where the workers are warming themselves next to a very convenient fire).  We learn from Dinah that this Tuttle is quite the bum… he’s not the richie-rich he wants us to think he is… in fact, he’s on the verge of bankruptcy!  Whodathunkit?  A corporate-ish guy in a Green Arrow comic being made to look both evil and incompetent… never saw that coming!  Speaking of Tuttle, he attempts to kick the heroes off his land once again… but this time, things get physical.  I think we’re up to at least two charges that can be filed against Oliver at this point.

The fight… well, it doesn’t exactly “rage”, but it continues long enough for Tuttle to squirm out of his poncy clothes, revealing himself to be… dun dun dunnnnn… The Crumbler.  He reveals that he set up this project specifically to fail… ya know, insurance money and all that.  I, for one, never saw this coming.  Especially not in a Green Arrow comic!

Dinah suggests that Tuttle is a sick man in desperate need of help.  Before they can get him committed, however, Green Lantern stumbles up to finally deliver the warning that the tanker’s about to go boom.  Ollie’s all “then recharge your ring, bozo”, to which Hal’s all “can’t… concentrate…”  C’mon Jordan, I can recite the Green Lantern Oath in my sleep!

Just then, the force field begins to fade.  Fearing the liquid gas would hit the flames of that conveniently-located fire, Green Arrow jumps into action!  He, uh, throws snow on the fire… case-closed.  Amid the distraction, however, The Crumbler escapes… destined to crumble another day!  Perhaps even… tomorrow.

I feel like I say this a lot but… damn, Ollie’s annoying.  I mean, it’s so weird… he’s arguably being used as the “conscience” of the super-hero community, and I’d wager acting a bit like an author-insert… at least insofar as statements he makes… but there’s not even a modicum of restraint (or even calibration) used in how he attempts to raise his points.

If you were to hand this issue to “the uninitiated”, they’d likely take one look/listen at Ollie, and consider him a strawman liberal… a parody liberal… a conservative’s idea of what a liberal is.  There’s no subtlety with him.  He comes across like the college freshman home for Thanksgiving break.  He’s so unbending… to the point of dismissing logic, and even turning on his friends.  Whether you agree with anybody’s politics or not, nobody really likes an ideologue.  Well, maybe politicians do… but in the real world, I’d like to think otherwise.

Let’s talk logic for a moment.  Now, picture it… hauling a tanker full of dangerous liquid gas up a mountain.  Who better to perform this task than a superhero?  Ollie’s annoyed that Hal took the gig… but neglects to consider that… that load’s getting delivered whether Hal drives the rig or not.  For safety’s sake, a Green Lantern behind the wheel really is best for everyone.

Of course, that turns out to be exactly the case here… the tanker is hit by a falling bulldozer, and it’s only by the grace of Green Lantern’s ring that half the mountainside didn’t go boom.  I mean, the Crumbler was always planning on sabotaging the thing.  Had Hal turned down the gig, his plan would’ve worked… and a lot of folks probably would have died.

Now, I know it sounds like I really dislike Ollie here… but, as weird as it may sound… I really kinda dig him.  I mean, he’s annoying as hell… but there’s this strange charm about him.  I wouldn’t invite him over… and if I saw him in the supermarket, I’d probably hide a few aisles over… but, he is (somehow) charming.  If only convenient-corporate-corruption wouldn’t show up everywhere he goes!

Then… there’s the Crumbler.  Talk about charm, right?  Okay, not really.  But, I do have a weakness for these odd little villains.  Poor guy won’t be around long… but we’ll try and give him his due.

Overall… a fun little issue.  Ollie acts like a jerk, Hal gets kayoed… what more couldja want?

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