ACW #632 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #632 (Green Lantern)
“Beyond Phobus”
Writer/Plotter – James Owsley
Pencils/Plotter – M.D. Bright
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil

Finally… it’s time.  After thirty-one weeks… we’re about to be introduced to the Sensational Character Find of 1988: Lord Malvolio.  It felt like we’d never get here… I was even going to throw together some special “cover” images for this one, until I realized that I’m probably the only person on this here internet who would possibly care.  I figure I’ve already wasted enough time on things that only seem to amuse me… so, we’re just going to play this one straight.

We open with Hal Jordan in hot pursuit of the Bethel Traveler’s wooden shrine… so, there’s a little bit of continuity between this and the prior arc.  While Hal soliloquizes about concepts like hatred, the Traveler opens up a space warp… and flies on through.  Hal gives chase, and once he finds himself on the other side, he is positively surrounded by darkness!

After calibrating his Power Ring, Hal is able to guide himself to the most Earth-like planet in this Space Sector… and lands on a cliffside covered in weird satellite dishes.  There, he meets a blue-skinned alien, not unlike the ones he met at that intergalactic peace summit some time ago.  This alien refers to Hal as one of “The Chosen”, and seems to want to serve him.  Hal ain’t got time for that, he just wants to get home.  Looks like he’s given up the chase for the Bethel Traveler… and, ya know, that sits just fine with me!

The alien suggests Hal consult with his master for directions.  Our man hasn’t the foggiest idea what this fella’s talking about, however, can’t help but to notice that there’s a very familiar emblem carved into a nearby mountainside.

Atop that mountain, sits a palace.

… and inside that palace, sits a man.  A man wearing a Green Lantern Power Ring?!

This, my friends… looking not unlike a jacked-up Alan Scott, is Lord Malvolio.  Mal doesn’t appear to recognize Hal, but that doesn’t stop him from pontificating in his direction for a number of minutes.  Once the blibbuh-blabbah is done, and Hal can get a word in edgewise, he asks how he might get back to Earth.  Malvolio suggests that his answers lie… beyond Phobus!

That don’t mean nothin’ to our Lantern, but he decides to leave the palace all the same.  He thinks to himself (actually, says aloud) that Malvolio must’ve survived the “Great Disaster” on Oa by being designated to such a far-out Space Sector at the time.  Yeah, that’s as good a theory as any, innit?  We’ll learn more about how Malvolio still wears a ring as we continue.  Remember, there weren’t supposed to be many of this rings left in circulation around this time.

Hal heads back to the satellite station to check in with his blue-skinned friend.  He asks what a “Phobus” is… however, before he gets an answer, Lord Malvolio arrives to strike the friendly alien dead!  We close out with the revelation that Malvolio brought Hal here… and he’s going to see to it that he never leave.

Well, there he is!  The man we’ve all I’ve been waiting for this entire project!  Thing of it is… there’s so much I wanna say about the character… buuuuuut, it’s just not the time yet.  So much of what makes this character special (to me) is the vast amounts of unrealized potential in him.  Not to put the cart before the horse… but, outside of a series of Green Lantern prose novels from around the turn of the century (which I don’t “count” as canon anyway), this arc is the only time Lord Malvolio will show up!  Ever!

I mean, until Tom King discovers the character and decides he wants to engage in some Malvolio-flavored PSY101 in repetitive and dull super-deep nine-panel grids.  Is that pithy?  Yeah, probably.  Sorry about that.

What we get here though?  It’s unspectacular (relative to my build up), but it’s still some really good superhero storytelling.  We’re introduced to a familiar-but-not baddie… who is somehow able to wield a Green Lantern Power Ring… despite the drought of them in the greater DC Universe at the time.  Hal is in an alien (in every conceivable way) world, without a single clue how he’ll ever get home.  It’s good stuff!  The first time in a long while where I’m actively looking forward to our next Green Lantern chapter!

Now, to go back to my first time experiencing this story… I couldn’t tell ya when it was… probably late 90’s-early 00’s… I completely bought into the idea that Malvolio had something to do with Alan Scott.  Take into account that what brought Hal to this Sector was following a shrine made out of (looks left, looks right, looks at the camera) wooooood… the weakness of the Golden Age Green Lantern… it all made too much sense to me.  We’ll put a pin in that for the moment… and revisit over the next few weeks.

Overall… this is the start of the Green Lantern arc you’ll wanna check out from this run.

Tomorrow: Don’t feed the animals

2 thoughts on “ACW #632 – Green Lantern

  • Jeremiah

    I'd buy that he's got something to do with Alan Scott based on his look.

  • BetweenThePagesBlog

    Interesting pieces of trivia about novel Lord Malvolio shows up in. The books is the 2nd part of a trilogy – Green Lantern Sleepers Book Two. It was written by Christopher Priest (aka James Owsley). The primary character in the novel is Alan Scott. And the coolest by far – When GraphicAudio had the license to produce full cast Audiobooks based on DC Comics they made this book into a full cast audio. Most of these DC audiobooks are no longer on sale from GraphicAudio – but this triliogy still is. Here is the link – https://www.graphicaudio.net/dc-comics-green-lantern-sleepers-book-two.html


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