Green Lantern (vol.2) #115 (April, 1979)
“The Vengeance 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
I ever tell ya the one about The Crumbler? Well, yeah… we chatted him up yesterday. Today we’re going to go a bit deeper… maybe see if we can figure out just what makes him tick.
We pick up right where we left off… Hal’s 24-hour charge has ended, leaving him mask-less (yet somehow still in his Green Lantern uniform… thanks, Comics Code). He, Ollie, and Dinah head back over to where that tree kabonged him last issue to find his power battery. He excuses himself to recite the oath… because, this is (apparently) a very private thing for him. Who knew?
Reenergized, Hal set out to track the Crumbler! Well, he wants to… but Ollie suggests he settle his tea kettle and hobble on back to the hospital until he gets over his concussion. Surprisingly enough, Hal takes this advice!
And so, Ollie and Dinah hop into their rented hooptie and barrel down the only road outta town that hasn’t been shut down due to snow. As luck would have it, it’s not long before the roll up on ol’ Tuttle… because, ya see… his car broke down. That just doesn’t seem to happen enough in comics… I love it! We’ve got this diabolical villain pulled off on the side of the road with the hood up.
Ollie, being the cautious fella we know him to be, decides to… well, put the pedal to the metal and roar toward him! This unfortunately alerts the baddie… who quick-changes into his gaudy gear…
… which includes his “crumbly glove”! He touches down on the bridge they’re standing on, and sends the Arrow-Bus crashing into the icy drink below.
Under water Ollie’s instantly kayoed, which leaves their lives in the capable hands of Black Canary (whose wig manages to stay on the whole time!). She wisely grabs a phosphorous arrow from Ollie’s quiver, and uses it to melt their way out from certain death.
Back at the hospital, Hal tries in vain to get his release. The Doc just ain’t feeling it. Moments later, Ollie and Dinah are wheeled in… at which point, the doctors realize they’ve exceeded their superhero quota… and tell Hal to split. Weird.
We rejoin the Crumbler as he arrives in Star City. He’s there to see a Dr. DeLimmel… a psychologist. Now, here’s where things get a bit wishy-washy. Turns out our man has some pretty hardcore daddy issues. Ya see, he grew up wanting to pursue science… however, his pop pressured him into chasing money. I didn’t realize these were mutually exclusive concepts… in fact, I thought the opposite was true?
Anyhoo… this led to the young Tuttle conducting his experiments in secret… and the creation of his crumbly-glove.
Just as he’s about to continue his tale of woe, DeLimmel cuts him off. His sessions only go twenty-minutes. Yikes! Not much “head-shrinking” can be done in twenty-minutes. Ol’ doc must love getting his co-pays. As you might imagine, Tuttle ain’t happy to have the brakes pumped on his story… so, he crumbles a couch… and threatens to crumble the clinician!
He starts ranting about how the Doc’s no different from his father… and goes on about how he’s going to fix everybody’s wagons! He proceeds to crumble things at every step. Luckily, Hal Jordan has finally arrived to save the day… or at least learn just what he’s up against. A Star City Officer informs our man that the Crumbler’s holed up in an office building… and has already “put the whammy on” three of the six support pillars inside. Hundreds of office-worker lives are at risk.
Hal’s all, “no big”… and sends an emerald beam toward the baddie in the building. However… it kinda peters out before it reaches its destination. Hal blames this on his concussion, and realizes he’s going to have to figure out another way.
And so, he wills up a bullhorn… and attempts to negotiate. The Crumbler claims that all he wants is an apology from his father… and everything will be copacetic. Meanwhile, Ollie gets some bad news about his Pretty Bird… and even goes so far as to begin praying for her to come around.
Hal visits with Tuttle, Sr. and, not gonna lie, it’s a pretty icy chat. This fella is a real jackass… refusing to apologize to his “snotty” son, and not even giving a rip that hundreds of office workers are about to buy the farm.
Hal returns to Star City just as the building begins to sway a bit. This causes one of the workers to… fall out a high window. Yeah, I know. If you’re in an upper level of a swaying building, what the hell are you doing by the window? Luckily, Hal catches her on a construct-mattress. He then asks an officer to take him into the basement of the building, because… he’s got a plan!
From here… it’s academic. Hal grabs the baddie from below… then punches him in the face. That there’s the sweet sound of anti-climax.
Hal leaves Tuttle in police custody… and suggests they treat him with kid-gloves, because in some ways he’s as much a victim in this as anybody. Yeah, tell that to the office lady who just took a header out the window. Hal then heads back to the hospital and hears some good news about Black Canary. In the back of his head, however, he questions if his concussion might result in him being unable to perform his Green Lanternly duties. Well, maybe it’s you Hal… then again, maybe it’s something else entirely!
Well, whoever said humanizing villains was a post-Crisis concept? Well, maybe nobody actually said that… but it’s what I’ve always thought. Here we have the Crumbler… and he’s got issues with his father. Yeah, it’s cliche… but, let’s face it… most times comic writers play armchair psychologist… it’s going to be cliche. And it’s almost always going to be centered on the villain’s parents.
While cliche, it does show that there was some actual thought put into this Crumbler character. It’s almost as though there were plans for him to become a mainstay in the Lantern rogues gallery. That’s what makes it so weird… because in the past two days, we’ve discussed half of the Crumbler’s appearances… ever! He only pops up two more times before hitchhiking his way into limbo.
I could almost see him making a face-turn, and maybe joining Hal… perhaps taking on his (cartoonishly evil) father. Hell, Tuttle, Sr. might make a more interesting bad guy than the Crumbler himself!
Speaking of polarizing personalities… let’s talk Ollie. Remember yesterday where I commented on his unbending constitution? Where he’d even turn on his hard-travelin’ homeboy Hal if they had different views on something? Well, here he actually shows a willingness to bend. With his Pretty Bird in danger, he even turns to prayer! That’s the kinda thing I was talking about yesterday. Ollie may be an ass… but there’s an undeniable charm to him as well. He’s rough and unflinchingly rigid… but when Dinah’s in danger, he’s putty.
Then there’s Hal. When I came into the Lantern books as a fan, Hal was Parallax. Everything I knew about Hal was that he was “boring”… and while I (now) disagree with that concept as a whole… I gotta say, he is the most uninteresting part of this issue. He’s basically just the wall that the story bounces off of. Things happen around him… and at him, but he just doesn’t feel like an integral part of the story.
The climax… was lacking. I mean, it was a socko ending. Hal punched the Crumbler… the end. He could’ve done that right off the bat… but it’s like he knew “We’ve got six more pages to fill!” or something.
Overall… despite the weak ending, this was a fun read. The Crumbler is a super weird villain, with some amazingly dangerous powers… which open up a load of possibilities, most of which will (sadly) never be explored. Worth a read… but I wouldn’t recommend breaking the bank.