Green Lantern (vol.3) #87 (June, 1997)
“Last of Their Kind”
Writer – Ron Marz
Guest Pencils – Tom Grindberg
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Colors – Adelle Giddings
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Associate Editor – Eddie Berganza
Editor – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $1.75
This weekend’s episode of the Cosmic Treadmill (that’s Episode #110, for time-travelers) is going to be a bit… inter-multi-versal. Er, that is to say (without giving it away), that it’s going to be an intercompany affair.
Figured now’s as good a time as any to take a look at an issue featuring, if I’m not mistaken, the only non-co-branded appearance of the character co-owned by Marvel Comics and DC Comics… that’s right, today we’re (very, very briefly) going to be discussing… ACCESS.
Heck, we’ll even include the indicia for this one!
We open in Kyle Rayner’s apartment… suddenly a portal opens, and out walks… our man, Access! Man, I still want that Radu’s mug! Anyhoo, instead of finding Kyle, our man Axel finds Kyle’s house-guest, Jade… and she’s not exactly pleased to have this weirdo ‘porting in. She’s carrying a camera… which, at quick glance I thought were suspenders… was about to ask “Who dressed her?”.
Access (sorta) explains who he is… and asks where Green Lantern’s at. He also informs Jennie that her powers are pretty different from Kyle’s… despite their similarity in color. Since Jade ain’t spillin’ the beans on GL’s whereabouts, Access ports out… though, not before thinking to himself that he might check in with “that guy on the surfboard”. Cute scene!
So… just where in the heck is Kyle? Well, he’s hanging with the JLA! They are just wrapping up a meeting on whether or not they should posthumously consider Tomorrow Woman an official member of their ranks. She gets a thumbs-up, by the way. As the members get ready to leave, Kyle takes in the sight of all of these amazing heroes… and has trouble believing that he’s now rubbing elbows with them.
Before heading out, Wally asks Kyle if he wants to grab a bite. Kyle, unfortunately has a prior obligation. Ya see, he’s going to be trained on monitor duty… by the member of the League who intimidates him the most… J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter!
Kyle’s attempt at “breaking the ice” goes about as well as you might expect.
Thankfully, he’s saved by the BREEPs… there’s something going down! J’onn informs him that the on-board communication system has been jammed… so, they will not be able to call the other Leaguers back. Suddenly, a craft more than three-times as large as Manhattan Island cruises out of a portal… and it’s headed straight for Earth!
Kyle and J’onn check the monitors to see what’s happening. What they find is rather curious… the craft is blasting Earth with a terra-forming ray! When Kyle learns that the ray is aimed at So-Cal (where his mother lives), he and J’onn leap into action.
As they approach the craft… they are zapped by some rays, indicating that… whoever these invaders are, they’re likely not up to talking things out peaceably. Kyle whips up a construct of a pirate ship (tch… artists…) to distract the lasers, so they can make their way inside.
In a great bit of continuity, J’onn reflects on the last time he’d trusted a Green Lantern… and how that ended with the planet Xanshi being wiped out during Cosmic Odyssey. Kyle promises that this will not end with the Earth being taken out.
Once inside, Kyle searches the corridors for any signs of life. What he finally finds, is… a very dead alien! What’s more, this feller’s been dead for a good long while, indicating that this tremendous craft is on auto-pilot.
Kyle suggests they just blow the whole thing up before it can do any real damage to the Earth. J’onn ain’t feelin’ that. He promises Kyle that the Earth will be fine… if his plan works. With that, J’onn attempts to telepathically connect to the craft’s “organic component”. What he learns is, this ship’s mission was to find a new planet to transform into a suitable home for an extinct race… and they apparently chose Earth!
This gives Kyle an idea… and so, they redirect the craft… to an actual uninhabited planet.
That planet? Well, it’s our new pal, Mogo!
Ah man, what a fun issue! Kyle makes a great “POV” character… and comes across as extremely relatable in how he’s attempting to “fit in” with these legendary heroes… while at the same time, kinda keeping them all on a pedestal. It comes across as very human, and is incredibly well done.
I also dig how, in comparison to Kyle, Wally is no longer the “new pup” in the “legacy heroes” roundup. He’s portrayed as pretty comfortable around the big guns… though, he had previously teamed with several of them during the earlier incarnations of the JLI. It’s still pretty cool seeing him as a “veteran” when compared to Kyle.
Kyle sees Martian Manhunter as most intimidating member of the League… and it’s easy to see why. Taking his appearance off the table, he does come across as somewhat cold. His wisdom and levelheadedness is such that, he isn’t going to be all that “chatty” unless he really has something to say. To pair him with a young (and extremely nervous) Kyle makes for a pretty awesome little story.
I always say, you can judge the strength of a writer’s ability to “write human” by putting a constriction on who they can use. It’s the old “lock two characters in a room/elevator/wherever, and see what happens” deal. Gotta say, this was handled expertly. Not only did Marz bring to the fore the similarities between Kyle and J’onn (both being the “last of their kind”… Kyle the “last” Green Lantern, and J’onn the last Martian)… but, they also ended their adventure with a deepened respect for one another.
Kyle’s idea for repurposing Mogo was pretty great… if he wasn’t on monitor duty, who knows what might have happened! Plus, this was before Mogo was pulled out nearly every month, so there was a novelty to seeing the once-Lantern Planet. In fact, if you weren’t aware of the legend of Mogo… this issue’s reveal would’ve probably been just as much of a shock as the original Moore/Gibbons tale!
Then… we’ve also got Access! Really neat to have this scene here, despite its brevity. You know me, I’m a big fan of “everything matters”… and anytime I see a nod to something that isn’t usually considered as part of continuity, I get kinda giddy. This scene is no different. Not only do we get Access… but a reference to the Silver Surfer! Love stuff like this!
Overall… had a blast with this one. Excellent characterization, as we’ve come to expect from Ron Marz… the art, despite being done by a “fill-in penciller” was quite good as well! Well worth checking out, shouldn’t break the bank. Surprisingly, this issue is available digitally. Gotta wonder if there were any special concessions made for the co-owned Access to appear… if, in fact they didn’t excise that scene completely!