The Malvolio Page!

Compiled for the first time (ever?), the complete Malvolio story!

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

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.


Action Comics Weekly #633 (Green Lantern)
Writer/Plots - James Owsley
Pencils/Plots - M.D. Bright
Inks - Romeo Tanghal
Letters - Albert DeGuzman
Colors - Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor - Dan Raspler
Editor - Denny O'Neil

We open with Lord Malvolio insisting upon Hal Jordan that he will never leave the wherever-the-hell he currently is.  Hal's more shocked that this big galoot didn't think twice before killing that poor blue-skinned scientist.  And so, Hal attempts to trap Mal in an energy bubble so they might exchange words before fists... this, unfortunately for him, proves wildly ineffective!

Malvolio even goes as far as suggesting that Hal's power levels are so piddly, that he's actually disappointed in him.  Ya see, Hal's got a Power Ring... he really ought to be so much better than this.  Hal's all "Oh yeah?" and delivers a wallop of a blast... which, uh, Malvolio basically just strolls right through.

Proving to Hal that his power is akin to bringing the proverbial knife to a gunfight, his Lordship leaps into the air, and blasts Hal with such force that it literally sends him completely through the planet and out the other end!

Lucky for Hal, his Power Ring managed to protect him from... well, whatever might happen to a person who passes through the core of a planet... and so, he decides to blow this pop-stand, and look for somewhere he might be able to catch his breath.  What he finds is a satellite/space station, made entirely of... gold?!

Inside, he ponders that the people inside might've crafted this place to be safe from Lord Malvolio... ya know, since gold and yellow are so similar.  Then, he finds something rather curious... in the middle of the station sits a giant Green Lantern Battery.  What's more, all of the inhabitants of the station appear to be... worshiping it!  Upon sight, the aliens all call to Hal... believing him to be "one of the chosen".  I guess Superman's not the only guy in Action Comics Weekly to get a little weird worship!

Before getting his bearings, Hal is nyoinked into an adjacent room by, of all things, another human!  He introduces himself as Wallace, a Squire to Lord Malvolio.  We learn here that Mal was never a chosen Green Lantern... ya know, where the ring seeks you out and all that jazz?  It was Lord Malvolio's father who actually wielded the ring.  That is, until Mal killed him in his sleep, and stole the ring (and it's power) for himself.  He would then travel to the far corners of the universe (finally winding up in Priest's Sector, no less!), in search of... competition... sport... adventure... friendship?  Hmm...

Hal assures Wallace that they're both safe from Malvolio aboard the station... at least Malvolio's Ring-Slinging, anyway.  Wallace scoffs at the notion, and assures our man that the Golden Space Station isn't a refuge from Malvolio... it's a shrine to him.  Ya see, color ain't no thang to the Big M.  And then, right on cue, Malvolio's giant mitt bursts through a window and grabs Hal by the mush.

We wrap up with Lord Malvolio seemingly destroying the Space Station Shrine... and, likely everyone on board!


Oh, this is just so good!  This is what I've been looking forward to talking about for over a half year... and, as disappointed as it makes me that it never went anywhere, it's still one heckuva read.

I don't want to go too deep into what Malvolio was intended to be, or where his story was likely supposed to go... yet.  We'll discuss that at length in a couple of weeks.  I did way too much research on that topic during our "Hal Jordan's Action Comics" series of episodes on the Cosmic Treadmill.  Dug up old USENET and random forum posts written by Christopher Priest, there's a lot of great (and maddeningly disappointing, because none of it ever panned out) information that I'll share here when we wrap up this arc.  There's also that Green Lantern: Sleepers series of novels that we'll be talking about.

While on that subject, here's a snap of the inside front fold from Sleepers, Vol. 2:

And then, Malvolio arrives.
Here though, we learn that... Big Mal is able to shake off just about anything Hal can throw at him.  Not only that, it doesn't look like he has the same aversion to yellow that the rest of the Corps did!  Also... damn, dude's powerful, ain't he?  Literally punching Hal through an entire planet?  This is how you make a bad guy look strong!

It's also revealed that Malvolio was never a "chosen" member of the Green Lantern Corps.  Indeed, it was his father who served as a Green Lantern... Malvolio just wound up killing him and swiping the ring for himself.  I didn't know Power Rings worked that way... but, I also thought they all had that Yellow Impurity as well, so what do I know?  It'll all make sense soon... sorta.

Overall... this is some great stuff.  Some seeds (that would sadly never sprout) get planted here... but, still... I'd say this is "must reading" for fans of Green Lantern lore.


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 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 in a few paragraphs!

We'll actually be talking about a whole lot next week right below the dashes... 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!  Again... right below the dashes!


Action Comics Weekly #635 (Green Lantern)
"The End"
Writer/Plots - James Owsley
Pencils/Plots - M.D. Bright
Inks - Romeo Tanghal
Letters - Albert DeGuzman
Colors - Julianna Ferriter & Amory Williams
Assistant Editor - Dan Raspler
Editor - Denny O'Neil

We open with Hal hoofin' it away from Malvolio... if you recall, last time out, Big Mal destroyed Hal's Power Ring, leaving our hero rather defenseless against any further assault.  Hal provides us with a bit of exposition via his internal monologue... he headed into space in pursuit of that Wooden Bethel Shrine (remember that?), and ran afoul of Malvolio... a 300 year-old man whose father was a Green Lantern (who Mal himself murdered).  His mother was an Earth woman.  That about catch us up?  Anyhoo, Hal attempts to put a little space between he and the big bad, to buy himself some time to consider his options.

Hal finds himself in a sort of armory... where all of the guns appear to be made of gold.  Great!  Thinks he, if these weapons are gold... Malvolio won't be able to effect them.  I... uh... thought we already learned that Mal's Power Ring works a little bit differently than the rest of the Corps?  I didn't imagine that, did I?  Whatever the case, Hal "suits up"...

... and before long looks like the prototype for many a Liefeldian character yet to come!  Just like many of those Liefeldian characters, Hal Jordan proves to be a rather lousy shot with his giant cannon.  Missing Malvolio with every blast, he does manage to punch many holes into the side of the golden space station... almost getting sucked into the vacuum of space in the process.  If not for Malvolio saving his bacon with an emerald construct, anyway...

Hal flops down to the ground right in front of the baddie... and he's down to his final weapon, a golden bow and arrow.  Malvolio laughs... and, uh... I can't really blame him.  After some tough-guy talk, Hal draws back... and releases, right into Malvolio's heart!

Now, here's the rub.  Hal, stood over the prone body... takes Malvolio's Power Ring, and heads back toward Earth.

Back in the station... Malvolio wakes up, plucks the arrow from his chest, and gets back on his feet.  He's... pleased.

Ya see, he wanted Hal Jordan to take his Power Ring with him back to Earth... that was the whole point of this.  Suddenly, the golden space station disappears, and Malvolio stands in complete blackness.  Where he'd sadly remain... even until today.


Well, that's a wrap for the Green Lantern feature!  We've gone from the brutal murder of Katma Tui... to the arrest of John Stewart... to an appearance on Oprah... to the introduction of the Freak Show... to the break-up with Arisia... to an intergalactic peace summit with Priest... to the Bethel Traveler, and a tangle with Captain Atom... and finally, to Lord Malvolio.  It's been a weird arc, hasn't it?

It's hard to talk about the biggest takeaway from this chapter without diving headfirst into the crazy amount of possibilities, and "back doors" it presents.  What we have is Hal Jordan returning to Earth... wearing the Power Ring of a madman!  While pretty much all of this bit was swept under the rug... it did actually get a passing mention a few years later in Green Lantern (vol.3) #25 (June, 1992).

Green Lantern (vol.3) #25 (June, 1992)
So, even in the post-Emerald Dawn landscape, Malvolio's Ring was still a thing.  Haven't the foggiest idea it wasn't ever brought up again after this... but, it's there!  And so, it could be argued that... when Hal went cuckoo-bananas during Emerald Twilight, he was wearing Malvolio's Ring!  This fact was not lost on many USENETters of the day, who held to the possibility that Hal's eventual retribution would be facilitated by the return of Malvolio (and not via the introduction of a giant yellow fear bug from outer space).

In fact, James Owsley... then, Christopher Priest held firm that Malvolio was the key to undoing the whole Parallax mess!  In a USENET post, dated April 26, 1996 he would shed much light on Malvolio, including:

“Malvolio’s ring is DC’s instant way out of this Parallax business.  They’ll never use it, but it is there.”

While we're already looking the USENET post... let's dig a bit deeper:

Regarding Malvolio's vital stats:

“Born in England in the year 1612.  His father was an offworlder, a Green Lantern from Space Sector 1634.  There was no GL of Earth at that time. Malvie’s dad was a big blue-skinned guy.  He fell in love with an Earth woman (probably against the Guardians’ wishes)”

Regarding his Alan Scott-esque Uniform:

“There was a reason for that, but I honestly can’t remember.  I believe we were going to asset Scott’s uniform was actually based on Malvolio’s”

Is there any connection between Malvolio and Alan Scott?


Did Malvolio's Power Ring work on wood?

“Malvolio, like Priest, doesn’t need a ring.  See, Denny O’Neil (my GL editor at the time) and I agree the limitations of Hal’s ring were (ironically) imposed to keep him from going nuts.  That the limitations were mostly mental or post-hypnotic. Malvolio didn’t know any of the rules. He doesn’t know his ring can’t work on yellow, so Malvie’s ring *can*.  In fact, Malvie, like Priest, can connect to the GL force without a ring.”

Did it work on yellow?

“It *did* work on yellow.”

What of Malvolio's father?

“Malvolio was/is insane.  A congenital defect. He has major ego problems.  Although he worshipped his dad, at some point he realized his dad was an idiot and that he, Malvolio, alone should have the power of the ‘green flame’.  He killed his dad in his sleep--an incredibly ignoble gesture, and something that fuels Malvie’s insanity all the more.”

What's his connection to Priest (the character, not the dude)?

“Malvolio was never a Green Lantern.  His father was. Malvie killed dad and took his ring--but he was never a member of the Corps … On behalf of the Guardians of the Universe, Priest fought Lord Malvolio … Priest was booted out of the GL Corps by the Guardians because he refused to kill Malvolio.  Instead, Priest imprisoned Malvie and the little fathead pipsqueaks took Priest’s stripes.”

Explanation of "Malvolio's World"...

“Here’s where it gets loopy, and yes, it’s probably my fault:  ‘Malvolio’s World’, the mountain retreat, the alien scientist--everything we saw in that arc (we discussed this last week)--was an illusion.  Malvolio was in JAIL, imprisoned by Priest and looking for a way out. He brought Hal there and created all this B-S for one purpose only… to get Hal to put on Malvolio’s ring, which Parallax wears today.”

Well... the dude (Hal) who'd become Parallax wore it when he went nuts, but close enough.  At this point, Kyle Rayner was wearing a "reforged" version of that Power Ring.  Kyle would eventually get a short-lived super-baddie called Oblivion... who some, back in the day, thought had ties to Big Mal.

What's next for Malvolio (as of 1996)?

“I’ve tried no fewer than six times to bring Malvolio back.  DC has no interest in the character. In 1992 I pitched ‘The Freedom Fighters’, a super-heroic (sort of) team consisting of Ray, Black Condor, Phantom Lady, the Hawks, Starman and Arion the Immortal.  The team’s unlikely warped Professor X? Malvolio. DC declined it.”

A lot of interesting information there... in particular, the idea of "Malvolio's World".  As we saw during this final chapter, everything faded to black at the end... everything Hal (and by extension, we) saw was a fake... an illusion!  Everything there was in service of Malvolio ensuring that Hal took his ring back to Earth.

That's really just about all they ever wrote on Lord Malvolio... outside of the Sleepers Novel, during which (from what I understand) he made some sort of pact with Adolf Hitler, and battled Alan Scott.  I don't consider the novels to be "canon", so... it is, what it is.  The entire Sleepers trilogy is available in audio format from Graphic Audio, if anyone's interested.

And so, that does it for Hal, Mal... and the entire ACW-GL feature!

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