ACW #609 – Green Lantern
Action Comics Weekly #609 (Green Lantern)
Writer – Peter David
Pencils – Tod Smith
Inks – Danny Bulanadi
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Denny O’Neil
When I started this little project, I figured the Green Lantern chapters would be complete lay-ups… after all, it is the feature I have the most familiarity with. That said, I suppose there’s a reason folks say “familiarity breeds contempt”. Not that it I’m disliking it, per say… it’s just that I feel like we may have already hit “peak” Lantern… and (Malvolio excepted) it’s all going to be downhill from here.
But, it’s not all doom-n-gloom, for I have some amazing “breaking” news in the world of Action Comics Weekly! I was perusing some bins at a local record store, when what to my wandering eyes should appear…
A copy of Action Comics Weekly… going for $2.99?! This is the first time in ages I’m seeing an ish for more than a buck… and I gotta assume that we are 100% responsible for this renewed interest (and value) in the series. The dozens (and dozens) of #ActionComicsDaily faithful have started a movement… no, a revolution, and who’s to say where it ends? For all we know… next week, that price might go up to… I dunno, $3.00. Then… who knows? $3.01, dare I even suggest… $3.02?
We’re part of something important here, folks. Call it the #ActionComicsDailyEffect if you must… but, let’s certainly not assume that the Zia Records employee just thought ACW #605 had a really cool cover, and priced it accordingly. It’s all about what we’re doing here.
We open with a fellow purchasing a sword… and it ain’t one’a them cheap ones either! By golly, this is the Antique Swords & Weapons Shop. The fella tests the blade by cutting into his palm, which prompts the Shopkeep to question his sanity. This was a bad decision, because it gets him killed with the quickness. Not being a total heel, our new sword-owner does pay for the blade.
What in the world does this have to do with the Oprah Winfrey Show? Well, not a whole lot… yet. Let’s join Hal, who when last we left, he was being laughed at by a jam-packed studio audience. Oprah asks Hal how he can be completely without fear… because, ya know, if someone doesn’t have basic self-preservation-type fears, he might just be a lunatic. Hal doesn’t appreciate the assertation, especially since it reminds him of one of his contemporaries… one Guy Gardner, a fella who would consider himself as being “without fear”, but also a fella who’s juuuuuuuust a little bit crazy!
At this point, a Psychologist named Dr. Stephanie Cole stands up to give her two-cents on the subject. Hal floats over to her so he can… I dunno, show off that he can fly? Anyhoo, she brings up a good point. If Hal is truly fearless… and doesn’t even have the basic “self-preservation” type of fears, how did he survive long enough to even get the ring? Like, with the ring, he’s nigh invulnerable… so, fearlessness isn’t really a danger… but, before he got the ring, fearlessness just becomes recklessness… and could very easily lead to an early grave.
Then, another woman stands up. This is a Mrs. Hough, and she suggests that Hal might not be crazy… in fact, he might just be dumb! Hal shrugs off the suggestion, and compares himself to a police officer. This is a bad move, because Mrs. Hough is married to a plainclothes officer… who doesn’t have the benefit of a Power Ring to save his bacon throughout the day. Turns out, Detective Joey Hough is watching this all unfold on TV from the (wait for it) Donut Shop.
Just then… that dude who bought the Samurai Sword bursts through the Donut Shop window, and starts slicing folks up left and right… including, naturally, Detective Joey Hough.
The Oprah Show is over, and Hal just happens to be flying by the carnage… and stops in to check it out. When confronted by the sword-wielding foaming-at-the-mouth maniac, Hal decides to… get this… toss his ring, and see how he can handle himself with his bare hands!
Well now, it looks like Hal really took what the Oprah crowd said to heart, dunnit? Tossing the ring away to confront a homicidal maniac… hmm… maybe the (now) Widow Hough was right, and Hal is just kinda dumb?
Don’t get me wrong though, I really enjoyed the Oprah scene here. I thought the questions asked were pretty great. How can someone be completely without fear? It just doesn’t seem possible… if we’re dealing with a rational individual.
It’s a great question… and it’s leading to a pretty big-deal reveal which could have had some very interesting ramifications for Hal, the Guardians, the Corps… the entire lore of Green Lantern. Naturally, DC would brush it under the rug, and act as though this never happened… but, we’ll get there… and we’ll discuss it in greater detail when we do.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty strong chapter… though, it’s hard to really look at it without being kinda bummed that everything it’s leading to would be walked back so quickly.
Next ish, Hal takes back his spot as “lead feature”… so, we’ll be discussing him again in just two days!
Tomorrow: Wrappin’ up #609!