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ACW #626 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #626 (Green Lantern)
Writer – James Owsley
Pencils – M.D. Bright
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil

Welcome, friends… to a pretty monumental week in Action Comics Weekly-ing.  What truer sign that this project is trudging ever forward toward its conclusion than bidding farewell to one of our original six features?

That’s right, this week marks the final time we’ll ever be discussing Deadman.  Also: Shazam!, though that was just a short-Showcase Presents dealie from the get-go.  Here’s hoping the “new blood” we’re going to be injecting into the line-up livens the place up a bit!  I know it’s been a bit stagnant of late…

We open with Hal heading home.  His work as a peace-summit-facilitator is done, and as far as he knows, was a success.  As he passes into his home Sector, he notices a weird vessel blasting out of a black hole and toward the Earth’s Moon.  Upon getting a closer look, our man realizes that this vessel is made of… *looks left* *looks right* wood?!

Hal pops on inside, and discovers that this ship is actually a shrine of sorts… and it’s filled with a thick amniotic-type fluid.  He discovers a passenger, but cannot get a good look at them.  He overhears that the shrine is called “Bethel”, and it is in dire need of repair.

Well, this bugger’s made of *looks left* *looks right*… wood, and so, Hal knows exactly where to set it down so it might get on with repairing itself.  Before we know it, we’re in Big Trees, California.  Our hero pats himself on the back for being one heckuva guy, and leaves “Bethel” to its business.

Once Green Lantern’s out of the picture, however, Bethel’s passenger emerges from the wooden womb… and it looks as though he’s… Hal Jordan?!  The being hears something… eight miles away, and so it heads in that direction.

This brings us to a diner where it looks like a lot of loggers hang out.  On the television is a Randy Violence flick.  Uh, “Randy Violence” is the name of the movie’s star… think Sylvester Stallone.  The film is called Much Blood Part II… which is a little on the nose, but whattayagonnado?  The Bethal-Being enters and is awestruck by the televised mayhem.

The Bethel-Being doesn’t quite understand the difference between the movie and real-life on this planet, and so, when he is caught off-guard by a logging rig driver, he spins around and blasts him to atoms with his heat-vision!

Then… he blows up the diner!

We wrap up with the Bethel-Being physically dragging an entire  flatbed loaded down with lumber back with him.  In the scariest bit yet… our “next” caption warns that: Captain Atom is on his way…

This is one of them “good news/bad news” situations.  While I’m glad that the Priest and the intergalactic war storyline is behind us… this arc will prove to be just as “ehh”… and will drag on even longer!

This is probably the best chapter of the arc… because, as our “next” blurb kindly tells us, next week Captain Atom shows up.  Now, I like Captain Atom… especially this early-ish post-Crisis take, but in this arc?  He’s pretty annoying.  He and Hal will argue and try and “one up” one another for (what feels like) the next seventeen chapters.

Let’s talk about this chapter though… the Wooden “Bethel” vessel in particular.  During my second read through of this run, I immediately took the wooden makeup of the shrine to be a sort of reference to… Malvolio!  For folks who don’t know, Malvolio will be a “big bad” we’re going to meet after this arc.  He is a Green Lantern… well, sorta… I don’t wanna tip my hand too much yet.  His Lantern costume, however, doesn’t look much like the Corps… it looks more like Alan Scott’s Golden Age costume.

If you know your Lantern lore, you know that Alan Scott never had a weakness to yellow… but a weakness to *looks left* *looks right*… wood.  In reading subsequent interviews with Christopher Priest, I’ve come to realize that this was probably nothing more than a coincidence… or, it was something that was changed at the eleventh hour and conveniently forgotten about.  Whatever the case, during my second read-through, I was pretty psyched to “connect-the-dots”… even though, there were no actual dots to connect.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all!  As we get to know Malvolio, you can be the judge!

The “Randy Violence” thing is pretty fun… and we’ll see more of the Bethel-Being-as-Rambo in the coming weeks.  He might actually be the best part of this arc!

Overall, while I’m not really looking forward to Captain Atom showing up… this story, in as far as action is concerned, really doesn’t linger.  The banter between the heroes will be dull-bordering-on-annoying… but, everything else should be okay!

Tomorrow: We say goodbye to Shazam!

Your Moment of Vartox:

From Action Comics #498 (1979)
Cary Bates (w) / Curt Swan (a)

Vartox takes both a gig and a “civilian identity” when he becomes the Galaxy Building’s newest… and most hostile Security Guard, Vernon O’Valeron!  Here, he demonstrates (on poor Steve Lombard), that “swirlies” on Valeron were administered in the trash compactor rather than in the commode.

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