ACW #634 – Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #634 (Green Lantern)
“Total War”
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Tony Tollin
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Assistant Editor – Dan Raspler
Editor – Denny O’Neil
Everything Else – James Owsley & M.D. Bright

We’re starting this week with last week’s “secret word”…

Yes, folks… this is our penult–err, second-to-last Green Lantern chapter!  Hard to believe we’ve come all this way!  Even harder to believe that, after next week, we won’t be talking about Hal anymore!  We’ve got some weird times ahead, friends!

We open with a… wordy as all get out monologue from our main-man Malvolio!  He threatens our Mr. Jordan that he will be the last thing he ever sets his eyes upon.  While he continues to pontificate, Hal uses his ring to scan the station for signs of life.  He does not find any.  He blames himself for their needless deaths… which, I dunno, since Action Comics Weekly started up has kinda been Hal’s “thing”.  As Malvolio begins to talk about his dear old dad, Hal gets up and looks as though he’s fixin’ to walk away.  Mal takes this as a grand gesture of disrespect, and informs him if he ever “shows him his back” again, he’ll kill him.

Hal lets loose with an energy blast, which actually manages to catch Mal by surprise.  Only one problem with Hal’s offensive assault… this entire rig’s made out of yellow, and while that doesn’t seem to inhibit Malvolio’s power… Hal isn’t quite as lucky!

But then, via the power of… I dunno, editorial intervention?  The fact that we’re rapidly running out of pages?  Hal just starts blasting the ever-lovin’ bejeezus out of Malvolio… and manages to take him off his feet!

Hal approaches the now-seated Malvolio, and proceeds to rain down punches upon his dome.  After a number of good “WHAAM!’s”, Hal stops himself from going any further.  He says nobody has to die… after all, (as far as Hal knows) they both took the Green Lantern Oath.  They’re almost like family!  If only Hal knew what Malvolio did to his actual family…

Hal regains his composure, and goes to walk away.  Hmm… looks like he’s forgotten all about Mal’s warning regarding “showing his back”, doesn’t it?

Malvolio draws a gun… and fires it right into Hal’s Power Ring, rendering it to little more than green bits!

Who’s ready for a Chris-hot-take?!  Nobody, huh?  Well, then I apologize for this here paragraph.  This is silly and minor, but stuck out to me nonetheless.  If you notice the way I wrote out the credits bit… Albert DeGuzman and Tony Tollin get “top billing”.  Sure, we can look at that as a little funny-ha-ha gag (and that very well might be the case), but part of me wonders if this was Priest’s way (if Priest, in fact, had any sway over the credits layout) of maybe protesting the way Green Lantern would be moving forward in a pretty drastically different direction than the one he mapped out?  Maybe Denny and Dan were just as irked?  I dunno… this is nothing more than a silly hot-take… probably loaded to the brim with projection!  It’s kinda what I do.

For the chapter itself?  Man alive, I loved it!  A knock-down, drag-out fight… with Malvolio really giving Hal the business!  I tell ya, this fella could’ve been a hyooge part of Green Lantern’s rogue’s gallery… I mean, I feel like you could build an entire event around him!  He’s twisted, pompous, powerful… really, the total package when it comes to an A-Tier baddie!

I joked during the synopsis that Hal only gained the upper-hand via the powers of “editorial intervention”… but, we’re going to learn that Malvolio was never really without control.  He’s insane, yes, but also… knows how to get what he wants.  Every move is calculated… we might even end this arc with him getting the proverbial “last laugh”.  Sure, it won’t actually go anywhere… but, well… we’ll talk all about that next week.

We’ll actually be talking about a whole lot next week… Priest’s plans for the character (in and out of Green Lantern), the way in which one of Hal’s most character-defining moments could have been traced back to this very arc.  It’s going to be equal parts fun, enlightening, and frustrating!  Doncha dare miss it!

Tomorrow: The Phantom Stranger is still fighting with a cat.

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