ACW #616 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #616 (Green Lantern)
“Safe at home”
Writer – Peter David
Pencils – Richard Howell
Inks – Arne Starr
Letters – Helen Vesik
Colors – Tony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil

Last week we entered the next (and final) phase of the Peter David era of Action Comics Weekly.  It’s not a high-point… let’s just get through it, Priest (the creator and the character) are waiting for us out the other side!

If you recall, last week Hal got himself “castled” into a yellow-lined electric safe.  This time out, we don’t exactly pick up where we left off, but with a brief peek into Arisia’s head.  Ya see, she imagines Hal dead… and looks to be literally suicidal during his funeral procession.  Worth noting, Guy Gardner appears to find the whole thing a complete hoot!  When we snap back to reality, well, Hal’s still locked in a yellow-lined safe… and the breathable air is rapidly running out.  In a shocking bit of continuity, Hal laments the loss of his fearlessness!

Now, in the cop-out of all cop-outs, Hal uses his ring… like physically uses it, to… get this… scrape off the yellow paint inside the safe.  This way he can actually will himself free… which he intends to do, but first only after constructing a drill to punch in an air-hole.

Next, he constructs… well, a dollar store Hulk.  Remember, at this point Peter David was about a year into his epic run on Incredible Hulk… so, I’m sure this got some nyuks at the office.  The Construct-Hulk smashes the safe, which finally frees our man.

Arisia rushes over to check on him, but Hal is so annoyed that she let the baddies get away that he dismisses her curtly.  Being the rational teen-ager that she is, Arisia proclaims that her beau must now hate her.  Hal takes off in pursuit of the Freak Show.

We shift scenes to the bathroom of Veronica Hawkes, the stunning lady in red from last week, as she is being attended to by… uh, attendants.  She refers to herself as a “benevolent dictator”, which is always the sign of a sympathetic character.

Bathtime is interrupted by the arrival of Ms. Hawkes’ little sister, Lillian.  She’s depicted as so demure and innocent that I immediately distrust her… and you should too.

We rejoin Hal as he crashes Lt. Rensaleer’s family barbecue… and it’s a good thing too, as the Lieutenant proves himself so inept at grilling that he nearly burns his house down.  Hal describes the two Freak Show baddies to him, hopeful that he could run them through the police computer system.  And by “describe”, I mean, makes constructs of them.

We wrap up with the Freak Show… and we learn that the spokesmodel that tossed Castle into the safe last issue is actually one of their number!  She’s referred to as, and I’m not making this up, “Runaround Sue”.  Dion must be spinning in his grave… well, if Dion’s dead, that is.  The geeks attend a meeting with a woman… wearing an “H” branded ring on her finger… indicating she’s a Hawkes.  Uh-oh.

Well, the Freak Show rolls on… and, it’s still kinda lame.

Let’s start with the big sorta-reveal at the end.  The Freak Show (which now includes Runaround Sue), report in to someone wearing a Hawkes-Ring.  We’ve got two key suspects at this time, the “benevolent dictator” Veronica, and the demure, innocent brunette Lillian.  Anybody wanna hazard a guess?

We’ll just leave that there.  Don’t wanna spoil the whole thing… though, if you’ve consumed fiction at any point in your life, you probably already know where this is headed.

The relationship between Hal and Arisia takes a bit of a hit here… which, I mean, it’s not a moment too soon, is it?  I don’t quite feel the hot-or-cold reaction from Arisia… I mean, Hal snapped at her in a time of stress.  Sure it’s uncool, but… to just decide that he now must hate her?  It just doesn’t feel like we’ve built to that point yet… and it comes across as manufactured.

Some things I wasn’t expecting were the bits of continuity from the previous arc… both the Rensaleer appearance and the mention of Hal’s sorta/kinda-but-totally-not lobotomy.  I’d just read through this run last Fall, and I already forgot some of the finer points.

Overall, this was certainly something I read.  The Freak Show ain’t the coolest… and the Hal/Arisia schism feels completely inorganic.

Tomorrow: Blackhawk formally meets his client… who is very much not a “tomato”!

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