ACW #615 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #615 (Green Lantern)
Writer – Peter David
Pencils/Co-Plotter – Richard Howell
Inks – Arne Starr
Letters – Todd Klein
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Denny O’Neil

Let’s address the elephant in the room… yes, Wild Dog is our cover-boy this week, and yes, we’ll be starting a brand-new Wild Dog story arc this week!  Happy Days are here again.  Though, to stop us from getting too excited, yes, we’re still getting Black Canary chapters.

This time out, we… well, don’t build on much of anything that came before (outside of Arisia being a model).  Hal’s pseudo-lobotomy doesn’t come up… which makes me wonder if this was a mandate from on high to “bury” that little spur, or just happenstance.  Could go either way, I suppose.

Let’s get to it!

We open with… great googly-moogly, is that supposed to be Arisia?!  Looks like something out of a dollar-store ElfQuest knockoff!  Yes folks, this is the start of the Richard Howell era.  Welcome to the book, sir.  Anyhoo, she zaps a Life Model Decoy with the “Hurican”, Hi-Tech Industries’ latest and greatest in personal self-defense!  Ya see, we’re at a Tech Expo, and this is one of Arisia’s first legit modelling gigs!

While she shills, Hal wanders around the Expo Center… and walks past a brand-new Hand-Activated Electronic Safe.  I wonder if that’ll come into play later!

Back at Hi-Tech’s Booth, a Huckster… hucksters, until being approached by a Lady in Red.  She’s referred to as “Veronica”, and is evidently a rival inventor… or tech-merchant.  After exchanging pleasantries she takes her leave, bumping right into our Hal on her way out.  He is immediately taken with her beauty… because, he’s Hal.  Worth noting, however, we do not get a look at her face.

The Hi-Tech Huckster decides to attempt to “one up” Veronica by demonstrating his “Collapser”… an invention that isn’t quite ready for prime-time.  Before he can, however, a gaudily-dressed muscle man bursts on the scene!  Hal rushes into a Phone Booth to change “Lantern Up”.  Nyuk nyuk.

Before he can intervene, another baddie shows up.  They surround Arisia, and thankfully name one another.  The baldie is called Siphon, and the belly-shirt wearing goof is called Castle.  They’re members of the “Freak Show”… and, for better or worse, we’ll be getting to know them much better over the next few weeks.

Hal manages to snag Siphon in a construct cage.  Castle rushes over to the next booth and grabs the spokesmodel for that Hand-Activated Super Safe.  She immediately snap-mares him right on into the safe, and slams the door shut behind him!

Now, here’s the trick.  We call this dude “Castle” because his powers are not unlike “Castling” in Chess.  And so, he “castles” with Hal… who now finds himself locked in the safe.  And the kicker is, the inside of the safe is painted… yellow!

So, yeah… a far less, uh, “cerebral” Green Lantern story arc starts today.  We meet some members of the Freak Show… we sorta meet Veronica… and Arisia is looking like dollar-store Dewshine.

See what I mean?  Let’s get the art out of the way.  It’s not that it’s bad or anything… it’s just not terribly pleasant, and quite jarring when compared with the work that’s come before (Gil Kane/Tod Smith).  Howell’s going to be with us for a little while, so hopefully his style starts to grow on me.  It never has in prior reads, but, you know what they always say, “Sixth Time’s the Charm!”.

Let’s look at the Freaks… starting with our man, Castle.  This fella strikes me as a “very Peter David” sort of villain… which isn’t a bad thing.  So, what’s his power, and why is he called Castle?  Well, click the pic below and it’ll take you to some information on all’a that.

So, yeah… this is the direction Green Lantern will be headed in for the next several weeks.  I’ll be honest, for me this is the low-point of “Hal Jordan’s Action Comics”… and was the absolute toughest slog to push through when putting together the Cosmic Treadmill series of ACW episodes.  We’ll take it as it comes, and try to remain positive.

Tomorrow: The Return of Blackhawk!

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