Green Lantern (vol.2) #173 (February, 1984)
“Old Friends, New Foes..!”
Writers – Len Wein & Joey Cavalieri
Artist/Letterer – Dave Gibbons
Colorists – Anthony Tollin & Jeanine Casey
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.75
Well there’s a strange cover, ain’t it? I could elaborate… but, let’s not. Sometimes it’s best to let an image speak for itself.
We open with Hal Jordan returning to Earth after a year-long exile. After stopping a drunk driver from making a mess of the expressway, he pops in on Carol Ferris… who actually seems happy to see him! I mean, even during the best of times between the two, she never seemed actually happy… but here, she does!
We then shift over to a… strange satellite. A blonde woman named Lyla checks in with her boss… the Monitor. Yes, this is a pre-Crisis appearance of the man himself. If you wanna see every (to our knowledge) pre-Crisis Monitor appearance, you can pop over to the Weird Comics History site.
Back on Earth, Carol and Hal arrive at Ferris Aircraft for the latter’s first day back on the job. As they pull in, Hal notices a hoisted beam begin to give way… and rushes in to push an unwitting Mr. Davis out of the way. Davis looks none-too-pleased to have been saved by the returning Jordan.
Carol tells Hal that much has changed at Ferris over the past year… including the shift to a more virtual reality (and telekinesis)-based “technology”. He observes a few scientists huddled around a wacky chair trying to get a paper airplane to move with their minds. They can’t… but Hal can! He blames it on a breeze that swept through the lab… but, we all know better.
We shift scenes to a little bit north of Los Angeles… where we meet, The Javelin! This is his first of very-few appearances. He stands down an oncoming truck… and, ya know… tosses a javelin into it. He fights off the truckers… then calls in to base to give the go-ahead for “pick-up”.
Back at Ferris, Hal reunites with his old mechanic, Tom Kalamaku. Tom’s been working on one bad-ass solar jet, designed by our old friend Bruce Gordon. Ya know, Eclipso. All they’re waiting for is the engine… which, as luck would have it, was the bounty the Javelin just jacked.
Hal “Lanterns up” and heads out to look into the hijacking. He overhears the police describing the crime scene… and learns that the thieves used “flying bicycles” to steal the loot. It isn’t long before Hal runs right into these geeks… and makes short work of ’em.
Then… The Javelin! Hal is attacked… and then, uh… coated in a yellow liquid plastic goop… and, uh… it looks kinda gross. Our Golden Hal then begins to plummet… and we are out of time!
… Except for the back-up! I know folks really dig these “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” backups… but, I just can’t get into them. So many of them are just so boring. This one opens with a Green Lantern being shot down… and dying on a backwater planet. A backwater fella happens across, grabs the ring… and quickly understands that it has powers.
He goes on to become an actual Green Lantern… and saves a whole bunch of folks, as Green Lanterns are wont to do. Until, of course… he gets shot down, and dies on another planet… and the cycle continues.
This (first part) was a lot of fun! This era of Green Lantern is one of those that I often jumble into a mess of stories, and, if pressed, probably couldn’t tell ya what order they happened in. I know there was an exile… I know (er, think) the Omega Men showed up… but that’s about all.
Speaking of the exile… and it being over, I’m happy that this is an Earth-based adventure. Those are my favorite kind of Lantern stories.
It was fun to see Carol and Hal actually happy together. I always got the impression that Carol was just “along for the ride” and never actually happy to be in this nebulous romance. I think of Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years… even when she and Kevin were “an item”, she never looked all that happy. She was just like “ehh, I guess this is my life now”. That’s how I always view Carol.
The Javelin… is a dumb-but-fun villain. We’ve met plenty of these oddball baddies… and it’s always a pretty good time. Seeing them act in earnest… and actually being taken seriously as threats is appreciated. These days, a villain like this would only be used so a writer can nudge us in the ribs and be like “look at how silly he is… look at how silly comic books are”. Which, yeah… we get it.
The back-up… happened. Not sure why we needed to see a (wordless) Green Lantern “circle of life”. Really didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. It did feature some nice Gibbons artwork, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Overall… this was a fun read, and I bet many’a folk would really dig it. Somewhat surprisingly, this issue is available digitally.
Letters Page (featuring a whopper of a missive!):