Action Comics Weekly #624 (Green Lantern)
Writer – James Owsley
Pencils – M.D. Bright
Inks – Jose Marzan
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Tony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil
Welcome back, dear reader. Wouldja lookit that cover? It’s true… we will be starting an all-new Black Canary arc this very week. Who’s ready to have a whole lotta meaningless names and inconsequential story threads dropped into their waiting laps?
Speaking of inconsequential, today we’re looking at a Green Lantern story that was swept under the rug with some quickness.
We open with Hal and Priest flying through Space Sector somethin’ or other. Ya see, in this previously-unexplored area, Hal hasn’t quite been able to make full use of his Power Ring. Priest is running him through some “training sessions” so he can re-learn how to use it. He’s still a bit unsure as to why Priest destroyed his original Power Battery in order to summon him… but, we’ll get to that soon enough.
Hal also learns that this Sector’s Green Lantern had been stripped of his Powers and Ring after the Central Power Battery on Oa went kaput… which makes him wonder just how long he himself has been away from his own Battery. He thinks that it must’ve been at least 24 hours by this point… so, it would stand to reason that he’d have needed a recharge by now. Priest tells him he doesn’t need a Power Battery… which for whatever reason, sends Hal into a “You’re not my real Dad” sort of tizzy. Priest then hands him a brand-new Power Battery… but, here’s the thing… it’s missing the “Power Essence”. Hal’s going to have to track that down himself.
And so, we rejoin Hal several hours later in Space Sector-82… where he was told the “Essence Core” will be. There’s a sort of satellite just floating out there… which Hal investigates. He manages to find a glowing green orb plugged into it, and figures that it might just be the “Core” he needs. Just then, however, a yellow (of course it’s yellow) spacecraft approaches!
From the craft emerge a pair of burly, nondescript aliens. Naturally, they attack without warning. Hal dispatches them without much trouble… however, it’s at this point that his Power Ring’s charge appears to expire. Suddenly, his life-support fades… he grabs at his throat, and rushes over to the Power Essence to recharge.
He arrives just in the nick of time to extract the Core, and insert it into his battery. He gets through about three-quarters of The Oath before everything fades to black?!
We jump ahead a brief time, and Hal reunites with Priest. Our man is furious that he’d been put in such a position. Priest tries to instill in him that the Ring and the Battery aren’t necessary… that the power is inside Hal. G.L. calls B.S., however… Priest proves his point by revealing that the Battery Hal’s carrying isn’t real. He then produces Hal’s original Battery… and reassembles it, before walking away.
Now this is an interesting concept… and after all we’ve learned about Hal in the interim, a forward-thinking concept as well. That said, I really don’t like what Priest (well, both Priests) is going for here.
The idea that Hal’s Ring and Battery are simply “crutches”, and that some sort of power resides inside him… I mean, it’s intriguing… but, it takes away some of what makes Green Lantern special. At least it does for me. To suggest that Hal Jordan is just intrinsically “powerful” makes him feel no different than the multitude of other heroes in DC’s pantheon. Granted, he’d have to live to be a thousand before he would be able to realize how powerful he is, but all the same… I just don’t like it. Don’t like it here… and didn’t like it when Hal became sort of the living embodiment of the Emerald Energy during the cusp of The New-52!/Rebirth era.
That all having been said… taking my own misgivings off the table, playing the ball where it lay, and judging this story in that context… it’s quite well done. Priest sought to test Hal’s mettle in initially destroying the Power Battery. At that point, Hal would have to make a decision… whether to follow the yellow light into the great unknown, or resign to the fact that his days as Green Lantern were over.
When Hal chose to follow, Priest knew he’d be the right person for the job of stopping the war. It was a bit of an extreme test, but it got the job done. Be warned, though… from here on in, we’re going to be getting some fairly dry stories of interplanetary diplomacy. We’ll, as always, do our best!
Tomorrow: Aryan Acres?!