Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame, Part Three
“Strange Interlude 2”
Writer – Neil Gaiman
Pencils – Eric Shanower & Jim Aparo
Inks – Arthur Adams
Letters – Todd Klein
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Assistant Editor – Frank Berrios
Group Editor – Bob Schreck
Executive Editor – Mike Carlin
By now y’all know how much I love using the word penultimate, right? Well… here we go again! Today, my friends, marks the official… not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story… penultimate chapter of the overall Action Comics Daily endeavor! Only one chapter to go before we can tie a ribbon on the box, and place it back on the shelf for future generations of comics historians to discover and (hopefully) enjoy!
A bit of housekeeping before getting to the story. If my math is right (and that is always up for debate), the day after we do the compilation piece for this Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame would mark my FOURTEEN-HUNDREDTH DAILY discussion post here. This is a pretty busy week… so, I’m not sure if there’ll be something “special” that day (Saturday, 11/30/19) or not.
As always, we’ll play it by ear… and hope for the best!
Chapter Three opens with Superman waking up to the sound of pained and horrible screams. Tears well up in his eyes as he comes to realize that the place Green Lantern managed to send them to with his Power Ring was… Hell (or at the very least, some incredibly unpleasant region of the Underworld). It almost seems as though he’s not even struggling with the situation. Hal, on the other hand, is pretty much panicked… and is trying to pull his fellow hero out of his daze, while desperately holding on to his floating pal as to not fall into whatever fiery end lays below.
Suddenly a large bird flies overhead… curious as to the identities and motivations of this pair of virtuous visitors. It informs Hal that they are at the Stygean Pits… and assures Hal that he will eventually eat his soul. Hal ain’t buyin’ it… he’s sure he’s just having some sort of delusion.
Suddenly, a ship full’a souls enters the scene. Superman is still kayoed… well, catatonic might be more accurate… he can still hear the cries of the damned and whatnot.
Then, Big Bird swoops back around and goes to take a big ol’ bite out of Superman’s leg… which manages to finally wake the Big Fella up! He freaks out so much, however, that Hal loses his grip… and proceeds to plummet toward the lava pits!
Lucky (?) for Hal, he happens to get impaled on a sort of meat hook before hitting the drink. He engages his ring, and the pair’a heroes blink out once more. Once they’re gone, the Big Bad Bird dines on the ship of souls.
From here, we enter our second “Strange Interlude” wherein the Phantom Stranger arrives at the Metropolis Museum. He, unlike the mere mortals in presence, is able to see past Hal’s “mental block” construct… and so, he wanders right into that hallway.
Not too long a chapter today… but, before we get into it, let’s hop back into the behind-the-scenes stuff for just a minute. Why, in the year 2000… over a decade after this story was intended to run… was this finally green-lit?
Well, duh… probably because Sandman happened, right?
From Neil’s Introduction, “Years passed, SANDMAN was written and one day it was finished. Karen Berger [Vertigo Editor] asked me if she could publish the tryout story I had written for her in the planned MIDNIGHT DAYS collection, if I still had a copy of the script. I did, and I sent it off to her. And then I had an idea for something else we could put into MIDNIGHT DAYS.”
Now, Neil Gaiman’s Midnight Days (1999) was a collection of new-to-us Neil Gaiman stories published through Vertigo. Stories that were previously unpublished… and some new stuff. It included features starring John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Floronic Man, and the Golden-Age Sandman. Ya know, Vertigo-y type characters.
Neil continues, “I phoned Mike Carlin.”
He asked Mike if he remembered the Action Comics Weekly script he had written… and asked if “that continuity stuff was still a problem.” Naturally, being as though this is a Neil Gaiman request, post-Sandman… “that continuity stuff” was no longer quite the sticking point it was back in ye old 1989 (you’ll notice there’s no Elseworlds branding on this… so, this is “the real life”). The project was shifted over to Bob Schreck’s purview… and once Neil was finally able to track down the original script (which had been given to a pal of Neil’s) everything was good to go!
So, with that out of the way… what’d we think about Chapter III?
Ehh. It was alright. The dialogue was perhaps a tad too purple for me… but, whattayagonnado? I can’t believe I’m asking this, but… we’re in Hell right? Or, at the very least a Hell-adjacent realm… Where was Etrigan? I mean, even just a quick cameo from yet another ACW Alum in the Demon would’ve been appreciated. Not that I’m a big Etrigan fan, and in fact thought his ACW feature was all sorts of bad… but, c’mon… his showing up would’a been a no-brainer!
Not much more to say about this one. It served its purpose in shifting the pieces across the board… and, with them “in position”, we’ll be able to put this bugger to bed tomorrow!
Tomorrow: The End!