Green Lantern (vol.2) #100 (January, 1978)
“Rider of the Air Waves”
“Beware the Blazing Inferno!”
Writers – Denny O’Neil & Elliot S! Maggin
Pencils – Alex Saviuk & Mike Grell
Inks – Vince Colletta
Letters – Ben Oda
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.60
Today we’re going to take a look at… almost certainly the most valuable book in my collection, because it features the first appearance of… Hal Jordan!
Whattayamean… not that Hal Jordan?!
Our first story opens with Hal Jordan acclimating to his new lot in life as an over-the-road trucker. He tells his little alien starfish pal Itty that he borrowed the dosh from his fiancee, Carol Ferris… and he actually uses her full name. Seems a little informal, don’t it? Anyhoo, he hears over the Citizen’s Band (that’s the CB Radio to the rest of us) that there’s a trucker in need of assistance. Their “twenty” is at a “haircut palace”. The editor fills us in that a “twenty” is a location, and Hal tells us that a “haircut palace” is a low-bridge. I think reading this will grant us all Commercial Driver’s Licences… or at least learners permits! Hal hits the Oath, and heads off to see what’s up.
A woman (using the handle “Goldilocks”) is having her truck robbed by fur thieves. Ya see, she’s hauling… well, fur. Hal makes short work of the goofs, even siccing a construct-bear at them.
After tying the baddies up… with an oddly yellow power beam, Hal checks in on Goldilocks (Real Name: Bertha Vann… which is kind of unfortunate). She’s a brassy young lady, and she’s shocked that her distress call was heard by anybody considering the amount of static over the Citizen’s Band. Hal says he’d heard the unusual static as well… and decides he’ll investigate further.
Hal follows the sound of the static, until it starts to decode into individual beeps and boops… it’s the very familiar three-short, three-long, three-short Morse Code for S.O.S. After further “beam scannin'” a two-dimensional figure appears. After fully materializing, this figure punches Hal in the mush!
Hal answers in kind, and socks the gaudy punk but good. He then proceeds to lock him in a construct cage. The youngster is apologetic and claims to just be disoriented. He introduces himself as Hal J–. Hmm. After realizing leading with his civvie name is a stupid thing to do, the lad introduces himself as Air-Wave… but since his father was the original, he suggests he be referred to as “Air-Wave II”. C’mon kid, outside of Who’s Who? ain’t nobody callin’ you that!
His father, the original Air-Wave, is dead (I didn’t even know he was sick!). The boy unmasks and explains his power-set… ya see, thanks to his helmet, he can travel along “air waves”, like radio, television, radar… stuff like that. At this point, Hal decides to take the boy under his wing and train him on how to be a superhero. Thankfully, he doesn’t make him change his name to “Teen Lantern”.
Meanwhile, the fearsome supervillain Master-Tek uses his “broadcast director” mitt to attempt to destroy an underground chamber that houses the convergence point for a quarter of the United States’ telephone lines. In that chamber, Lieutenant Burke Jansen gets kayoed by some falling debris.
Green Lantern and Air-Wave return to “Hal Jordan’s” truck, so they can radio the police. The youngster is positively shocked to hear the name “Hal Jordan”.
After attempting to make contact with the Highway Patrol, Hal deduces there is most certainly something blocking the transmission. He and Air-Wave head off to investigate… after some “threes and eights” from gal-pal, Bertha. That’s “love and kisses” to you and I.
It isn’t long before our green heroes happen across… Master-Tek! Air-Wave accuses him of wanting to conquer the Earth… to which, the mustachioed goof laughs. He’s just in it for the money, ya see. Ten Million large!
Hal rushes in to take a shot… but misses. Master-Tek responds with a blast from his “broadcast director” which causes Hal to begin vibrating uncontrollably. Nearby, Air-Wave attempts to tune in a radio station on his helmet… and when he finally does (KWK, St. Louis), he begins ridin’ the waves!
He materializes right behind Master-Tek and “flattens” him with a punch… and by “flattens” I mean “mildly annoys”. Master-Tek turns around and decks the boy… which opens up an opportunity for Hal to just beat the hell out of him. Thanks for comin’, Master-Tek. Hope y’all didn’t get too attached… cause he’s done… forever.
After Hal drops the baddie off with the authorities, he returns to his truck where he left Air-Wave and Itty. Air-Wave reveals that he knows that Green Lantern and Hal Jordan are one in the same… to which, Hal doesn’t seem all that bothered! He then, Air-Wave that is, reveals that… he too is Hal Jordan! B-bu-but, how can that be?!
Ya see, Hal (Green Lantern) has an Uncle Larry who… for whatever reason… named his son Hal too! Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal, since I’m guessing Uncle Larry was the original Air-Wave lived and operated on Earth-2. Well, this new Hal (Air-Wave) is Hal’s (Green Lantern) younger cousin… Earths removed?! I dunno. We wrap up learning that Hal’s (Green Lantern) offer still stands, and he will train Hal (Air-Wave) in how to be a superhero. Ay yai yai. For future installments, we will be referring to Air-Wave as “Harold”!
We’re not done yet though! This is a DC Giant… back before that meant “a whole bunch of non-connected reprints you can only buy at Walmart”. Our second story features Green Arrow… and we open with a performance of Roy Harper’s band, “Great Frog”!
Turns out, not everybody’s a fan of the “Frog”… because somebody planted some explosives at the venue (South End High School)!
We shift scenes to the offices of Queen Promotions, where Ollie gets a call from Mayor Major (yikes) about a “big job” he has for him. During the call, word of the explosion comes across the news… interrupting As the World Turns, even! Ollie is worried when he realizes that Speedy’s band was playing South End High!
Ollie and Dinah suit up, and head out. Canary performs some crowd control to ensure the panicking folks don’t injure one another in a stampede. Ollie manages to make his way on stage to check on his young ward. Roy, it’s worth noting, suffered a broken leg in the blast. The rest of “Great Frog”? Well, looks like we’ll never know…
After investigating inside the school, Oliver and Roy discover the explosives… which fortunately (and almost unbelievably), still have the serial numbers intact! It isn’t long before they learn that this load was bought from a gang called the Blazing Infernos… with a credit card… under the name of business big-wigs Marcus, Barkis, and Fish.
Nearby, Mayor Major chats up Black Canary. When the Commissioner gets wind of this, he accuses Canary of being behind the blast! Major rightfully calls him an ass, and suggests he thank the heroes rather than accuse. Ollie motions to Dinah that they’d best split before getting too cozy with the bureaucrats, and off they go!
The Mayor and Commish hop into a car and have a chat about their local vigilantes. Mayor Major explains that Oliver Queen had once passed on an opportunity to succeed him as Mayor… and also, that he has reason to believe that Ollie and Green Arrow are one in the same.
He explains… something about Oliver Queen losing his fortune. I mean, dude could’ve just said “Green Arrow and Oliver Queen both grew very distinct Van Dyke beards at the exact same time” and been done with it. Anyhoo, now Major claims to have a plan to ensure Ollie will agree to succeed him as Mayor of Star City. What that plan is… I haven’t the foggiest!
We rejoin Ollie, Dinah, and one-legged Roy as they infiltrate the Blazing Infernos’ bomb-building den. They manage to beat up most of them, however a couple get away due to some errant twangin’ from Roy. He’s not used to “lettin’ fly” with one leg.
The trio heads to the offices of Mungus, Fungus, and Fish… or whoever they are… and find themselves swarmed by a gaggle of men in black suits. Seems their only purpose was to make this story one page longer… because they go down quick.
Inside the building, Ollie takes it to the fat-cats… and after a few trick arrow shots… Dingus, Dungus, and Fish are ultimately arrested. Good thing, too… you see how that one guy is wielding a telephone like a deadly weapon?!
Somehow… this whole shebang does convince Ollie to run for Mayor. Not sure how we got here… but, got here we did! Mayor Major agrees to back him in his campaign.
We close out with an epilogue… where Dinah expresses concern that getting into politics might corrupt Oliver. Nahhh, he won’t be corrupted… he’ll just become overly precious… and often kiiiiiiiiiinda annoying.
Not exactly what one might expect from a “hundredth issue celebration”, right? That being said, I enjoyed both of these stories quite a bit! Let’s start with the monumental meeting between Hal Jordan and Hal Jordan!
Air-Wave… is kind of a dork, but I still kinda dig him. I thought this was a great way to introduce him as a new and untrained wannabe superhero. His helmet grants him a pretty spectacular power… but, he hasn’t the foggiest idea how to best use it. Here, he just happened to be enough of a distraction to throw Master-Tek off his game. Young Harold’s punch was ineffective… and he still wound up getting socked himself.
His deducing that Green Lantern and Hal Jordan are one in the same… I mean, with the information he was given, it probably isn’t the most outlandish idea that he’d put two-and-two together. I mean, they’re using Hal’s truck as a “command center”… all the while, Hal himself is nowhere to be seen. It doesn’t take a genius.
What surprised me was Hal’s reaction to this revelation. He doesn’t seem all that bothered that this costumed kid he’s never met before has figured out his alter-ego. I guess he just assumed there was an innate goodness in Air-Wave… and their meeting wouldn’t end with an attempt at blackmail?
The ultimate reveal that Hal and Harold are actually cousins… is kinda wonky. I mean, Air-Wave (the first) is an Earth-2 character, right? So, it might stand to reason that Harold would be an Earth-2 character as well… right? Was there an Air-Wave (I) on Earth-1? I guess there was an Uncle Larry Jordan on Earth-1… but, Air-Wave… I dunno.
I’m going to assume the only reason this all went down the way it did was so Julius Schwartz could confuse me 40 years later. Good job, Julie! Ya got me, Sir!
Our second story was another good one… and also a little bit confusing. Before digging in, though… “Great Frog”? C’mon, that’s just awesome. We need Great Frog t-shirts. I’m putting them on the list of “must haves” with the Prez turtlenecks.
Also… I gotta mention, I’ve read that this Green Arrow story was originally slated for 1st Issue Special #14!!! For completionist’s sake, I’ll add this piece to our 1st Chrissue Special page!
I really dug the action here… as well as Ollie’s sorta-reluctance to associate with the politicos. He’s all about “the task” and doesn’t have time to glad-hand. I really like that.
As for the revelation that Major Major has figured out Ollie’s dual-identity… I mean, I’d be surprised if he was the only one. We’ve got (at one time) Star City’s resident millionaire… and resident super-hero both having the same young red-headed tag-along… and… c’mon, they both grew the same exact weird-beard at the same time. People are gonna notice that, right?!
Where I’m confused though is why this one event would steer Ollie into the political life. I mean, he’s taken on “fat cats” before… that was kinda his “thing” around this time. Why is this one any different? I dunno, maybe I’m missing some of the context.
Overall… this was a lot of fun. Fun stories, great art… really well put together package. Not what I’d expect for a “hundredth”, but damn good nonetheless. Doesn’t look like either of these stories have been collected, nor been made available digitally at this point. I’d say it’s worth a hunt… but, don’t break the bank for it!