ACW #606 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #606 (Green Lantern)
“The List”
Writer – James Owsley
Art – Tod Smith
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Denny O’Neil

This time out, we welcome a new artist in Tod Smith (replacing veteran Lantern-drawer, Gil Kane).  This might make it feel like this is the start of our next story… but, I’m not sure I’d say that.

This kind of feels like the tail-end of our initial arc… maybe, a one-and-done “bridging” chapter between two arcs.  I dunno.  All I do know is, we’re only a couple of weeks away from Hal Jordan appearing on Oprah!

Hal hath returned from Golgotha… and arrives at the very place he’d been “couchin’ it”, John and Katma’s apartment.  If you recall, that place was ‘sploded a couple weeks back… which really freaks out our Lantern.  He assumes that John perished in the blast… considering the Power Ring returned to him while he was chained to that Planetoid.  Suddenly, Hal finds himself surrounded by some terrified civilians… ya see, ever since John “killed” Carol, anyone in the green-n-black ain’t to be trusted!

So, it’s one of those classic “good news/bad news” situations… John ain’t dead, he’s just locked up for murder!  Hal decides to visit John in the clink… and is basically told to “buzz off”.

Hal walks the streets wondering how he might be able to help his buddy out.  He knows if he can prove that Carol is still alive, it would clear John of the murder… but, how in the world can he do that?  Remember, Carol was “vanished” last week.  He decides to check in with some pals… starting at stately Wayne Manor!  Our man doesn’t quite receive the reception he expected/hoped for.

Alfred finally lets him in… if only to give Master Bruce the opportunity to tell Hal to hit the bricks himself.

Next, he gives Clark Kent a call at the Daily Planet.  Pay special attention to this scene… because, in it, Hal knows Superman’s secret identity… this will change before the end of the Action Comics Weekly run, and facilitate the “alternate ending” to the whole shebang!  Don’t worry, we’ll get there… probably around Thanksgiving or so.  Clark tells Hal to pound sand… though, in fairness, he does so very politely.  Hal looks down the list of his friends (including Barry Allen… who is currently dead, so why list him?), and realizes he’s down to just Ollie and Dinah!

So, next stop… Seattle, where Ollie is dealing with some crumb-bums in a back alley.  Hal gives him an unsolicited assist… which really seems to get under the Archer’s skin!  It almost gets an innocent person killed too, so there’s that!

After the dust settles, Hal and Ollie head up to a nearby rooftop to reconnect… well, that’s the plan, anyway.  Hal seems to think things between them can go back to “normal”, but Ollie is hesitant.  Ya see, he and Dinah have started a new life in Seattle… and really, the last thing they need is an injection of Hal.  Ollie tells his buddy to “Get a Life”, before leaving him all by his lonesome.  Hal is completely alone.  Least he’s still got his teen-age girlfriend!

Thought this was pretty fantastic, for the most part.

This take on Hal as… kind of a pariah in the superhero community is quite well done.  I understand most of the other heroes turning their backs on him, considering what a pain-in-the-butt sad-sack he’s been… though, I feel like it might be a bit out of character for Superman to be less than receptive to helping out.  But, for the story’s sake… I guess we’ll allow it.

It’s funny to think about all the trouble that little three-panel scene caused toward the end of the Action Comics Weekly run.  Neil Gaiman, who had been asked to write the final issue (#642), used this brief bit to inform his take on the Clark/Hal relationship.  However, by then… DC editorial decided that too many people knew that Clark was Superman, and Superman was Clark… and so, they chose to “forget” that Hal was among those with the privileged information.  The story had to be scrapped… though, it eventually made print as the Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame prestige format one-shot.  That will be the final installment of the Action Comics Daily Project… sometime toward the end of 2019.  Though, if you can’t wait… Reggie and I did discuss all that in the final part of our Hal Jordan’s Action Comics series of Cosmic Treadmill episodes.

Back to the story… the scene between Hal and Ollie was pretty heartbreaking for our ring slinger.  Although they’ve always had their differences, I can’t help but to think that Hal left Ollie (and Dinah) for last because they were his “safety”, ya know?  He was sure he’d be able to count on them to back him up… and, when Ollie told him to “Get a Life”, you could almost feel the air get sucked out of the atmosphere.

Also, I think it was pretty telling that Hal actually wrote “Barry” on his list o’ pals… even though, Barry was dead.  I mean, why write that?  Was it a reflex… or was he actually just making a list of people who could stand him… and didn’t really take into account whether or not they were living or dead?  Either way… it’s pretty sad, ain’t it?

Overall… really dug this.  Smith’s art feels a bit “Kaney” at the moment, especially when it comes to Hal’s face… though, that’ll pass in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow: What’s in Bert Convy’s Box?!

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