Green Lantern (vol.2) #181 (1984)

Green Lantern (vol.2) #181 (October, 1984)
“Take this Job–and Shove it!”
“One Night in a Bar on Lawrel-Hardee XI”
Writers – Len Wein & Paul Kupperberg
Pencils – Dave Gibbons & Don Newton
Inks – Mark Farmer
Letters – John Costanza & John Clark
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Edits – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.75

When I decided to “change format” to covering shorter-subjects back in February of 2019 so I could focus on Grad School, I left a few “projects” incomplete.  I did so out of either necessity, burn-out, or… in the case of today’s feature, the fact that I didn’t actually own a particular issue.

Now, looking at today’s cover… I’d have bet my lucky dime that I’d not only owned the issue… but, had actually already covered it here on the site!  Perhaps I’m stuck in some sort of odd Mandela Effect… and on the Infinite Earths site… on one of the actual Infinite Earths, I did cover it.  But, on our actual Earth-Prime, it turns out… I have not!

The “project” I wanted to explore was something I was calling “To Catch The Predator… obviously inspired by the old Dateline segment hosted by Chris Hansen (before he went wonky), where we’d examine all of the appearances of the weird pre-Crisis saga of… well, The Predator.  This is a character/concept that has confounded many… myself included!  I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off o’so long ago.

If you need to catch up, which considering I dropped the ball on this series about a year and a half ago you just might (I know I did!), you can check out the first two parts of this “epic” by clicking the covers below!

If/When we get a few more chapters under our belt, I’ll set aside a dedicated TCAtP page in the sidebar.

Before we hop right into it, a warning.  Some of what you’re about to see is explicit…ly weird.  Reader discretion is advised.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one… our issue opens with Hal Jordan on his way to Oa to give the Guardians a piece of his mind… and quit the Green Lantern Corps!  Yeah, that’s more or less just “Tuesday” for our man, Hal… but that’s exactly what he’s headin’ off to do.  He thinks about how his off-world exploits have kept him from keeping Carol Ferris, the love of his life, safe.  The panel layout here makes it look like Carol’s got a Ben Franklin/Void Indigo haircut.

Hal continues his space trek, all the while waxing philosophical about whether or not he’s making the right choice in quitting the ring-sling.  His inner monologue is interrupted, however, when he is pummeled by an errant meteor storm.  Well, maybe it’s not that errant…

Back on Earth, Carol is interviewing John Stewart to see if he’d be interested and able to repair the recently destroyed Ferris Aircraft.  She tells him he comes highly recommended, and learns that flattery will get her everywhere.  John signs on for the rebuild.

Over in Washington, D.C., all-around pain-in-the-butt Congressman Bloch is wondering what might be in his future… the Monitor (yeah, that Monitor) hasn’t gotten back to him, and he worries that the Demolition Team will turn him in for contracting them to fubar Ferris.  He enters his office, and much to his surprise… he’s about to have a run-in with: The Predator!

Oh yeah, he’s probably unaware that the Predator is going to kill him too.  A bloody Bloch shambles out of his office… and collapses at the feet of, of all people, Diana Prince and Steve Trevor.  He whispers something about Hal Jordan being Green Lantern before perishing.  Wonder Woman insists to Steve that Bloch’s last words didn’t mean anything.  Fair enough…

Speaking of Hal Jordan, we rejoin him in space… where we learn the cause of that meteor storm: Hal’s fellow Green Lanterns!  They know of his plans to quit the Corps, and are here to attempt to talk some sense into him.  Katma Tui takes this especially hard, and even wallops Hal with a construct-fist when it doesn’t look like they’re going to be able to change his mind.

All Hal can do is ask them to a) understand, and b) forgive him.  He leaves the Corpsmen on an asteroid, and continues his lonely (final?) flight to Oa.

Back in Los Angeles, we pop in on Clay Kendall’s hospital room where he’s recovering from a broken back.  April is there, trying to convince him that it won’t be long before he’s back on his feet… we get the feeling, however, that Clay ain’t buyin’ none of this.

Hal arrives on Oa… and is shocked to see that the Corpsmen he abandoned have beaten him here.  Tomar Re begs Hal to take this one last moment before stepping in front of the Guardians to truly consider his actions.  Hal tells ’em to bug off and barges into the Guardians’ Council Room.

Of course the li’l blue guys know exactly why Hal is here… they claim that, due to recent outbursts, they’ve been monitoring him pretty closely.  Our man delivers the “You said ‘jump’… I said ‘how high’.” spiel, and basically tell’em to go suck an egg.  The Guardians give him a moment to reconsider… so, dude’s getting a whole lot of chances to let cooler heads prevail… but, Hal’s adamant that he’s doneski.

Next we know, Hal Jordan is rendered ringless and, by extension, powerless.  The rest of his Corps pals rush in… and say what might be their final goodbyes to the former “best of them”.  Funny, Hal calls Arisia “little sister” here, which only makes their statutory romance all the more gross.  Looks like this is an issue with two Predators in it!

Back at Ferris, Carol’s father is holding a meeting to introduce John Stewart to the team.  He also… uh, celebrates… the murder of Congressman Bloch, which… I gotta say, probably isn’t the best look.  Anyhoo, the meeting is interrupted by the arrival of… a man called Smith!  Could this be our Predator?  Might it be a red herring?  Well, the story is over thirty-years old, so we already know the answer to that.

We wrap up later that evening at Carol’s beach-house.  Hal arrives and lets her know that he’s kicked the ring-habit and he’ll never leave her again.  The story closes with Hal wondering if he’s done the right thing.  If only he was given more opportunities to reconsider… right?

Our Tales of the Green Lantern Corps back up opens on the planet Lawrel-Hardee XI… which, I dunno, sounds like I place I’d definitely wanna hang out!  Probably pick up some hard-boiled eggs and nuts there.  Anyhoo, we’re inside a bar that looks/feels a lot like the Star Wars cantina… where some Space Pirates are relaxing while playing some high-stakes somethin’rnother.

A little fella enters the bar, and bee-lines it over to the Pirates.  Looks like this critter’s here to enforce some law, but he is shoved away by the baddies.  It’s here that it’s revealed that this ain’t no ordinary Jawa… this is Green Lantern, Ch’p!

He’s here because he witnessed the Pirates attacking and destroying a Luxury Liner in space… killing many an innocent in the name of plunduh.  Ch’p would’a taken them out right then and there… however, the Pirate Cruiser just so happened to be: Yellow!

And so, he followed them to Lawrel-Hardee XI… where he’s fully prepared to beat the hell out of the lot of ’em, and well… that’s exactly what he does.

A very important issue of Green Lantern… not that Hal quitting the Corps is especially novel (though, it was more so back in ye old ’84), but still… a lot of pieces were put into place here.  There’s a fair amount of “soapiness” here… which, as a life-long X-Men fan, I can’t help but to enjoy.

Let’s get the Predator out of the way.  The character only appears on a single page, and they kill Congressman Bloch.  Later on in the issue ol’ Slender Smith saunters into Ferris.  Now, I don’t wanna completely spoil the reveal (even though we actually covered that issue here on the blog back in the long ago), but I gotta assume the Smith appearance was intentional to allow us to make an assumption or two about the mystery baddie.

Back in 1984, that might’ve been a bit underwhelming a reveal… new bad guy and similarly-sized new civilian arrive on the scene around the same time… and are revealed as being two sides of the same coin.  Feels a bit “comicbook-lazy”, dunnit?  Well, if you already know the actual reveal, you’ll know that it’s more than a bit “comicbook-insane”.

I dig John Stewart entering the “main cast” here, and I feel like having him come in as the lead architect on the Ferris-rebuild project is a very creative way to do so.  John’s a great character… and I really like him taking the job even without the guarantee of a salary.

Let’s get to Hal.  He’s wracked with guilt over not being there for Carol and Ferris Aircraft during the Destruction Team’s rampage.  Now, Hal has some trouble in the calibration department… with him, it’s always “all or nothing”.  Rather than attempting to reason with the Guardians… maybe pleading a case for taking a break, or whatever… he heads to Oa and pulls out the tired old “When you said ‘jump’…” baloney.

We’ve all had jobs before right?  A boss telling you what to do is kind of part of that whole scene, innit?  I always hate it when Hal complains that he has to answer to his bosses.  Just feels petulant and immature… which, I suppose might be the point?  Anyhoo, he gets what he wants… only to realize that he might’ve made a terrible mistake.

Our back-up feature… which, I wasn’t actually planning on covering today.  Considering we’re doing Action-Plus features these days, I just figured I’d save this for a one-off.  Well, when I saw that this one had a reference to Laurel and Hardy, I decided to make an exception.  Which brings me to my main criticism: If you’re going to so blatantly reference Laurel and Hardy with the title… gimme a li’l something Stan and Ollie-related in the story!

The story was… ehh, not much to get excited about.  Ch’p tracks some pirates to a bar, and beats them up.  Yay?  I will say, however, that Don Newton’s take on Ch’p was awesome!  Probably the best I’d ever seen the character drawn!  With a character like Ch’p, it’s easy to take it to a cartoony extreme.  Conversely, it’s probably just as easy to just draw an actual squirrel wearing a green ring.  Newton, however, blends the mundane and fantastical elements of the character superbly.  I really can’t say enough how amazing Ch’p looked here!  It’s too bad the story was kind of a dud.

Overall, this one was well worth a look… Predator-completionism or not!  Very important chapter in pre-Crisis Green Lantern lore, with wonderful art in both features.  This issue has been collected in the first of the Sector 2814 trades and is available digitally.

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0 thoughts on “Green Lantern (vol.2) #181 (1984)

  • Grant Kitchen

    I admit I'm not familiar with this storyline (I should read Len Wein's run sometime) but I noticed you skipped issue 180. Was that intentional? I remember hearing the title of this story a long time ago. It's ironic because this same year they came out with the Super Powers toyline (all of which I'm proud to say I recently became the owner) and it was Hal not John they made the figure for. But i guess Hal was still more recognizable. Kind of underwhelming reading this story in hindsight considering how cliche this sort of thing has become.

    • I'd definitely recommend checking out this run… it was pretty good, but feels like it might've been truncated due to the CRISIS and the eventual post-200 new direction.

      I only skipped 180 (which is a really good/important issue to boot) because it didn't feature THE PREDATOR. It's definitely a goodie though, maybe I'll get to it down the line!

      I'm not surprised they used Hal for the toyline. I feel like SUPER POWERS is one of those weird blindspots I have in my DC fandom… I totally missed out on it, and have none of the nostalgia many folks of my vintage seem to over it.

      It's really too bad that we have all the hindsight we do… this should have been more momentous an occasion with Hal quitting… but, as you said, it's just a cliche anymore!

  • Grant Kitchen

    I also just realized 181 was also the final issue # for the 90s GL series. In that issue Kyle leaves his earth life behind and goes back into space. Here it kind of the opposite. It's a bit of a stretch but there's some kinda sorta symmetry there.

    • That's true! I hadn't considered that!

      Man, that third volume of GL sure went out with a whimper!

    • Grant Kitchen

      I missed the Super Powers craze myself. I do remember getting the Superman figure because my cousin had one and I wanted it too but I was 4 at the time. I just remember finding out about the SP toys when I was 13 and since then I coveted them, mostly because by that time the only superhero toys being made were Batman and I lamented that figures were no longer being made of other DC heroes. On hindsight I'm sure Marvel was putting out figures in the mid 90s but I was strictly a DC fan at that point. I first saw the Cyborg action figure when I was 14 at a comic book store in South Carolina for $145 for just the figure itself, loose with none of his accessories. I always wanted one ever since, being obsessed with the Titans and all. Considering what I recently paid for one (loose, but complete with all accessories!), that $145 would have been a steal lol.

      On that note, have you read any of the minicomics that came with those figures? I'm guessing no since I doubt they would turn up in the cheap bins but they are a lot of fun. I bought the SP figures loose so they didn't come with them but I have scanned copies. Full disclosure, I'm not advocating piracy but in this case I bought the toys so in my mind it's justified in this case.

      As for the end of the third GL series I remember being stoked about Ron Marz returning to the book only to find out it was being cancelled to bring back Hal Jordan which I blame Didio for. Kinda ironic isn't it that he hated legacy characters because they age up and replace the established characters even though that's exactly what his 5G plan would have Done?
      Hmm it seems I've once again gotten carried away with my reply.

    • The Super Powers craze (at the time and after) is definitely one of the things I feel left out of when chatting with fellow comics enthusiasts. It seems like they were such a touchstone for so many fans, live and retroactively, but… just I totally missed out. Super Powers and MEGOs… two unfortunate "blind spots" for me!

      I haven't read any of those mini comics, but have seen 'em under-glass at one of the local used-record stores. I wanna say they were $4-5 each. They had those as well as the HE-MAN minicomics there… but the latter have been reprinted a time or two, so I wasn't sure if they were the originals or not (not that the record shop would'a cared either way).

      There is *definitely* some irony in Didio's push to bring back the Silver/Bronze Agers upon his arrival… and wanting to stick them all back in the corner upon his (far too late) departure! I haven't kept up with any industry "newz", as I often find it hard to stomach. I'm hopeful this 5G thing, or whatever's left of it, is short-lived… and maybe doesn't take over the entire line!

  • Grant Kitchen

    If you have the money I'd pick up some of those minicomics. Not extremely sophisticated but still a lot of fun. Fun fact: only the first two waves of figures came with minicomics the third wave did not. Cyborg was from the third wave so he did not come with one but when the figures were released in Brazil he and two other series 3 figures (Captain Marvel [still refuse to call him Shazam] and Plastic Man did come with minicomics (in Portuguese obviously). The Cyborg minicomic features him and the other Titans against Brainiac.

    • That's very interesting! I'll definitely keep an eye out when the world returns to normal!


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