ACW #628 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #628 (Green Lantern)
Writer/Co-Plotter – James Owsley
Pencils/Co-Plotter – M.D. Bright
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil

It’s a new week… yes, it is.

Not sure if the above photo really captures it, but… boy howdy is my copy of Action Comics Weekly #628 beaten completely to hell!  Don’t take that as an indictment that I’ve read it so many times it’s falling apart, however… it’s just a rough-looking ish.

Sadly, as we make our way through it this week, it’ll likely become more and more apparent why this isn’t an oft-read issue.

We open our story outside an office building that suddenly and inexplicably sank fifteen feet into the ground.  It certainly ain’t looking like the most secure’a structure at the moment.  At that very moment, both Green Lantern and Captain Atom are hot on the trail of their missing Rambo-alien.  Hal ain’t keen on Nate hanging about, after all, this entire thing is all his fault.  They razz each other about their “approaches”, with Nate referring to Hal’s as being “Mother Theresa”, and Hal firing back by referring to Nate’s as being “Matt Dillon”.  Is… is Matt Dillon known for blowing things up with his Nuke Powers?  I must’ve missed that scene in The Outsiders.  Whatever the case, they head to the Los Angeles Branch of Military Intelligence… and, naturally Captain Atom makes a comment that “military intelligence is an oxymoron”.  Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Inside, the Military Intelligencers are readying to kill the alien menace.  We also learn that Captain Atom is working with them… and has the same goal.  So, was the whole “military intelligence” line some self-depreciation from ol’ Nate… or is he just being “that guy”, who can’t let the opportunity for an old joke to pass him by?  Hal’s playing a weird sort of super-peacenik here… so, I kinda feel bad reminding you that he recently endangered countless alien lives when he blew the roof off of a crowded arena… all in the name of “peace”.

After a pretty lame argument, the two heroes head off in pursuit of Randy Violence, each hopeful that they find him first… so, they can choose the way in which he’s “dealt with”.  Both heroes feel pangs of guilt that they internalize with a monologue apiece.  Hal feels bad for bringing the alien here in the first place, while Nate accepts the fact that he “goofed” back in Big Trees.  They each search for several hours… with no luck.  Oh, also… that sinking building from the open?  It’s still sinking… and we learn the whole thing started with… a boom.

As the heroes reconnoiter, Hal decides this would be the optimal time to recharge his ring.  Just then, the sinking building starts to collapse.  Seeing the danger, Hal rushes off toward the building… without finishing his ring recharge.  I mean, the oath takes, what… less than ten seconds to say?  He couldn’t get through that first?  You probably see where this is all headed.  Worth noting, Captain Atom sees no reason to intervene here.  More of that “military intelligence” on display!

Before we know it, Hal’s in the thick of it… holding the building together via the force of his will.  Captain Atom decides not to be a total jerk, and heads in to rescue some stragglers.  After depositing them into a chopper, he learns that the alien menace is like… right there!

Hal keeps the building steady, and overhears a reporter interviewing a survivor.  Dude introduces himself as the Chief of Maintenance, which is a pretty cool title… anyhoo, he was in his basement office when he saw… (wait for it)… Randy Violent!  Hey, I thought it was “Randy Violence”?  Oh well.

We end off with Nate swooping in to sorta thumb his nose at Lantern.  He’s all “sorry you have your hands full… but I’m gonna go kill me an alien”.  What a jerk.

Yeesh… but this one is annoying.

I know I’ve read most (if not all) of the post-Crisis Captain Atom…  series, though admittedly it’s been a great number of years.  But, I don’t recall Nate being this much of a jackass there?  I mean, this is just horrid characterization.  Hell, Green Lantern himself ain’t even coming across as genuine here.

We’ve got this difference in methodologies between both heroes… which is all well and good, but… the way they’re interacting with one another just puts my brow into a permanent furrow.  This feels like a square peg-into-round hole approach to telling a story.  It’s like we need a difference in opinion, but it’s being played to the Nth degree… where we’ve erased all sign of “character” to focus strictly in on “ideology”.  It might be a story worth telling… but, I feel like this is the wrong way to go about it.

It’s like they got really close here to making things feel organic (at least on Hal’s end).  Hal cops to feeling a measure of responsibility for bringing the Bethel Traveler to Earth in the first place, and as such, would prefer very much for him/her/it not to be atomized… or driven to atomize the entire planet.  I get that.  It’s just, like I said in the synopsis, Hal wasn’t worried about saving any lives when he nearly caved in that arena where the Interplanetary Peace Summit was being held a few weeks back!

Then, we’ve got Captain Atom.  Not sure if he was supposed to be the stereotypical “Reagan Man” here (just not taken to the comical extreme of a Guy Gardner).  Like I said last week, I don’t know (nor want to know) where Priest falls politically… but, it’s becoming easier and easier to guess.  I feel like, and this is pure projection here, he was very pleased to be able to drop that “military intelligence” chestnut into the story.

Whatever the case, I feel like Captain Atom’s depiction here was completely wrongheaded.  I don’t see him abandoning a fellow hero to go off and murder an alien, regardless of whose orders he’s supposed to be following at the time.  He even mentally monologues as much… and yet, keeps following along.  This just doesn’t feel right to me… and, if I haven’t made it crystal clear, I don’t much care for it.

Overall… we’re just spinning our wheels until the arrival of our main man… Malvolio to save us from the mundanity.  This had some great art though!

Tomorrow: Someone’s in the Pris-on with Di-nuh

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