I decided to move these posts over from "What Comics Have You Read Today?" and make a discussion out of it.

GREEN LANTERN: I started re-reading Archive volume one today (August 23), which comprises Showcase #22-24 and Green Lantern #1-5.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES, v2 (#6-13): I have already mentioned elsewhere that Tracy finds that Hal Jordan's parents did not give him an alliterative name as they did their other two boys to be completely unbelievable. Political correctness aside, "Pieface" is a stupid nickname. (I rank it right up there with "King Faraday" and "Tom, Dick & Harriet.) Personally, I find the term "little Eskimo grease monkey" (which Broome uses at least once each issue) to be even more offensive. The covers of each of these issues stands out in my memory, but the splash pages are quite distinctive and memorable as well. I have learned to skip all of the footnotes (as well as the oath) in order to avoid repetition.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v3 (#14-21): Up until this point, all stories had been by John Broome and Gil Kane, but in this volume, Gardner Fox writes one story (of two in each issue) in #16, 17 and #21. Also, in #18, Mike Sekowsky pencils six pages (over Gil Kane layouts). The Gardner Fox story in #16, "Earth's First Green Lantern," is remarkable in that it answers the question, given that a Green Lantern can fly through space via his or her power ring alone, why was Abin Sur travelling in a spaceship in Showcase #22? Fox provides a convoluted explanation regarding energy creatures called Larifars and the theft of "I-factors" from victim races.

What makes this story remarkable is that Alan Moore provided a completely different explanation in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1986). As I recalled these two contradictory stories, I preferred the one by Alan Moore... until I re-read them both in the course of this project. Whereas both stories use the explanation that Abin Sur is using a spaceship because he's worried about his ring losing its charge, in the Fox story, he does so as a ruse so (for convoluted reasons, as I mentioned) Larifars do not see him recharge his ring' "Earth's First Green Lantern" knows his ring will remain charged until the time limit is up. Alan Moore's story, as entertaining as it is otherwise, does not account for this fact, so I must change my favorite to the earlier Gardner Fox story.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v4 (#22-29): Within these eight issues, John Broome wrote five stories, Gardner Fox wrote ten. The comics themselves were published without credits, but that information is provided in the table of contents. It's fun to guess which stories were written by witch writer. [HINT: The distinctive way Fox uses nouns as verbs is a dead giveaway, as is his use of the term "star-sun." He also tends to throw in more theoretical physics.) Also this volume includes: the third appearance of Hector Hammond (#22), the first appearance of the Tattooed Man (#23), the first two appearances of the Shark (#24 & #28), [arguably] the first appearance of Mogo (#24), the return of Sonar (#25), the return of Star Sapphire (#26), the first appearance of Black Hand (#29), a cameo appearance by the Justice League of America, and more. The first solo Green Lantern story I ever read ("The House that Fought Green Lantern" reprinted in a 100-Pager in 1974) originally appeared in #28. Tracy finds it even more implausible that Hal wasn't given an alliterative name after the introduction of Judge Jeremiah Jordan. No "weenie-ization" of Hal Jordan yet. 

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#187:

This is a fill-in issue, but one in terms of the creative team, not the story; the story progresses on all fronts. Normally I would attribute that to the persistent vision of a strong editor, but the editor is new as well. That's not to say Andy Helfer is not a strong editor; quite the contrary. He was able to maintain the narrative flow with no discernible difference in tone. #187's writer is Paul Kupperberg (who helped out last issue) and the artist in Bill Willingham. 

The story opens at Rich Davis's funeral. Mr. Smith shows up late and not very welcome; Bruce Gordon resigns from Ferris; Carol rejects Hal's advances. carol and Hal live together in Carol's duplex beach house, she above and he below. She sends him downstairs, leaving him to speculate, "Was it something I did? I mean, what more does she want from me? I gave up being Green Lantern... because she wanted it! What more can I do?" Uh, oh. Trouble in paradise.

Carol is surprised to find Predator waiting for he. He confronted her once before (#182) and kissed her. Now it's clear he wants more. An argument draws Hal upstairs, but Predator beats him up easily. He kisses her again, passionately, and takes his leave. 

Green Lantern, for some reason, changes the word "blackest" to "darkest" in the oath while charging his ring. No point is made of it, and I know it changes back to "blackest" later. Could this be a simple error? While flying on patrol, he cleverly deduces that he can order the ring to help him find trouble. It leads him to Earth orbit where he discovers the space shuttle Champion experiencing some minor trouble. He tries to help but ends up doing more harm than good. (The cover is a bit deceptive; he doesn't do that much damage.) 

He flies to Oa and asks for training; specifically, he wants the Guardians to reveal the identity of his predecessor to him, but they refuse. They agree he needs training, though, so they appoint Katma Tui to be his teacher.

NEXT: The new creative team.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Carol rejects Hal's advances. carol and Hal live together in Carol's duplex beach house, she above and he below. She sends him downstairs, leaving him to speculate, "Was it something I did? I mean, what more does she want from me? I gave up being Green Lantern... because she wanted it! What more can I do?" Uh, oh. Trouble in paradise.

He gave up being Green Lantern because she wanted it??? This is the so-called greatest Green Lantern???

He flies to Oa and asks for training; specifically, he wants the Guardians to reveal the identity of his predecessor to him, but they refuse. They agree he needs training, though, so they appoint Katma Tui to be his teacher.

At the risk of being called sexist, “lucky him!”

#188:

"Continuing--a rich heritage begun many years ago by Julie Schwartz, John Broome, Gil Kane, and Gardner Fox--touched forever by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams--and handed a surprising new twist tonight by--" the new creative team of Steve Englehart and Joe Staton. Englehart is a writer who comes in, makes his mark, departs for several years, then returns and does it all over again. He was making his return to Marvel around this same time as well with Vision & Scarlet Witch and West Coast Avengers. #188 marks penciler Joe Staton's return to Green Lantern, but my association with his work goes all the way back to E-Man #1. I first became a true fan of his when he replaced Howard Chaykin on American Flagg!, which I thought was a gutsy move. His brief tenure was unpopular with the readers (too cartoony!), but I thought it was a bold break from Chaykin's trademark style.I'll have more to say about Staton's style when we get to #192.

Englehart uses television as a motif to switch from scene-to-scene just as Len wein used a newspaper a couple of issues back. First, Tawny Young reveals Green Lantern's secret identity for all the world to see. To better blend in, Katma uses her ring to change her crimson skin to match John's color because why wouldn't she? Carol lays off John (to disassociate Ferris from Green Lantern), Katma kisses Hal (to stir up friction between Hal and Carol), and Englehart reintroduces the term "Pieface." Sonar of Modora is the villain,

INTERLUDE: DC RetroActive - Green Lantern - The 1980s:

This issue tells an alternate version of #188, in which Green Lantern's identity is made public and he fights Sonar (and, in this version, the Shark as well). It's by Len Wein and Joe Staton. I like to think of it as Wein's version of Englehart's story. The reprint is issue #172. I understand why they chose that one, but I would have picked #188 for comparison's sake.

#189:

Sonar, Blindside and Throttle break jail and the two Green Lanterns pursue them. They are defeated in the first skirmish and go on with their lessons, which are as philosophical as they are hands-on. Meanwhile, Carol and Hal try to uncover Predator's secret identity on their own. Back at Ferris, Mr. Smith, the new executive administrator, fires Clay Kendall for being a "non-able-bodied man" despite his having been injured on the job. then he reports to Predator face-to-face.

I can't be certain, but I mentioned before that it was fairly obvious Len Wein intended Mr. Smith and Predatore to be one-and-the-same. I think Steve Englehart deviated from that plan just to shake things up a bit and add an element of uncertainty into the proceedings. Englehart also reintroduces Guy Gardner in this issue. Hal and Carol go to visit him, but he is still in a vegetative state at this time.

The two Green Lanterns have a rematch with the trio of escapees. Kat is incapacitated leaving John to subdue the villains on his own. Then he reveals that he is beginning t have romantic feelings for her.

#190:

Green Arrow, Black Canary and Tawny Young call on the two Green Lanterns at home. Ms. Young discovered a videotape of a news broadcast of one of her own interviews from four years ago which she didn't remember making. She had interviewed Green Lantern, Green Arrow, black Canary and Carol Ferris at Carol's house. She contacted GA & BC and showed the tape to them, but they didn't remember it, either. The interview concerned a recent appearance of "the black Green Lantern," so all three of them sought out John Stewart but her didn't remember every having been in Coast City at that time, either.

Just then, a strange sound paralyzes all of them except Katma Tui, the Predatator breaks into the room and steals the tape. Whatever disabled the others didn't work on Katma, presumably because of her Korugarian physiology. When Predator endangered the lives of the others, Katma was forced to save them rather than give chase.When the others awaken, all of their recent memories have been wiped.

Tom Kalmaku has been missing for two days.

Guy Gardner begins to revive from his coma.

Carl Ferris meets with Mr. Smith.

Hal and Carol continue to stalk the Predator. He appears and Hal follows, via jetpack, to the Predator's hideout, an abandoned theater. Inside, he is about to play the tape when Hal confronts him. In lieu of a power ring, Hal is carrying a gun. He shoots three times. The first shot misses, the Predator deflects the second, but the third hits him on the helmet. Stunned, he beats a strategic retreat. with the jetpack out of fuel, Hal cannot follow.

CLIFFHANGER: Hal detects the scent of Carol's perfume. She's been there!

#191:

"Revealed This Issue! The Secret of the Predator!" says the cover blurb. Well, not really. That'll be next issue. this one does end on a nice, juicy cliffhanger, though.

The story picks up immediately where #190 left off. Still in Predator's theater/HQ, Hal pops the tape into the player and watches. He doesn't remember it. He tries to call both Green Arrow and Black Canary, but gets their answering machines. (VHS tapes? Answering machines? What is this, the '80s?) He then tries to contact John, but the two Green Lanterns are in space (on their way to Sector 2813, in fact). Hal takes the tape over to Carol's house and plays it for her. She doesn't remember it, either, but she does check her appointment book from four years ago and "Dinner with Hal, Ollie and Dinah" is noted. 

the phone rings. It is Green Arrow returning Hal's call. Just then, the Predator breaks in and kidnaps Carol. Hal pridefully refuses Green Arrow's offer to help and sets out for Predator's theater HQ. They fight over Carol, and Hal breaks the Predator's arm. Predator strikes a chord on the theater's pipe organ, he declares his love for Carol, Carol declares her love for him, they rush together and (wait for it)...

CLIFFHANGER: ...merge into STAR SAPPHIRE! 

#192:

While the two Green Lanterns join the Green Lantern of Sector 2813 to investigate John's memory loss from another angle on the planet Zamaron, Star Sapphire flies Hal Jordan to the desert when she recaps her history. Suffice it to say, how she came to be "Predator" is a convoluted character reveal in a company whose history is rife with convoluted character reveals. Along with his tenure on American Flagg!, this is where I first began to truly appreciate the talent of Joe Staton. Throughout the story, he emulates the styles of multiple artists, including Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Alex Saviuk, Dave Gibbons and even his own earlier style among others. When I first read it, I was impressed that he could emulate both Gil Kane and Neal Adams with equal facility; now I think I'm more impressed by the subtly of his imitation of Gil Kane inked by Sid Greene in comparison to Gil Kane inking himself. 

#193:

Star Sapphire is telported to Zamaron where the three Green Lanterns are defeated and their minds wiped. But Katma Tui used her ring to record and restore there memories at a predetermined point if something like that should happen. Because the Zamanorns technically hadn't committed a crime, the GLs go their separate ways. 

Back on Earth, Hal Jordan mopes around Carol's duplex and eats cold pork and beans out of the can. Tom Kalmaku calls, but Hal hangs up on him. 

In the asteroid belt between Mars anf Earth, the two Green Lanterns are accosted by Replikon, a foe of the previous Green Lantern of Sector 2814. (That's Replikon on the cover.) Originally, it wanted to destroy Earth to create a home for its unhatched offspring, but GL (Hal Jordan) defeated it and sent it back to the asteroid field which was once its home. GL (John Stewart) decides to use his ring to create a new home for Replikon, which he does with Katma Tui's help. She uses this situation as a "teachable moment" and there is some hint that she manipulated the situation as Hal Jordan did to keep her in the Corps when they first met. One their way back to Earth, John stewart thinks, "Y'know--I finally feel like I'm really Green Lantern!"

In counterpoint, Guy Gardner checks himself out of the hospital citeing "a long overdue appointment--with a ring!"

GREEN LANTERN: SECTOR 2814 v3:

This is the cover I chose to represent the third volume of the tpb, comprising issues #194-200. Joe Staton once took over one of Howard Chaykin's titles; now here's Chaykin repaying the favor by providing the cover to one of Staton's. I must admit, I did like this cover. A couple of months after it was released, I got my hair cut just like Guy Gardner's, not because I admired the character or wanted to emulate him, but I did like the haircut. I wore it that way for some time, but it became too much of a pain to maintain so I eventually let the sides grow out. I got my hair cut like that again about five years ago for my niece's wedding, but now I've got a "COVID" thing going. But, once again, I digress.

#194:

We begin this section with #`194 which, as you can see, is a "Crisis" crossover issue. It also begins a "countdown" to issue #199, with this issue's stories titled "5" (and including a quotation related to the number) and counting down to "Ignition!" I'm not going to spend much time recapping the Crisis here, concentrating instead on ongoing sub-plots. 

First, Lyla (now "Harbinger") comes to collect John Stewart. (I'm going to have to refer to the various GLs by their secret identities or it's soon going to become increasingly confusing.) She notes that he is not wearing a mask, but was when the Monitor "monitored" him, so he obligingly dons one. (Actually, the behind-the-scenes reason was for visual continuity to match the way George Perez drew him in Crisis on Infinite Earths.)  

Tom Kalmaku re-enters the story and recaps his history from the time he left Ferris to open a chain of service stations. The fuel crisis brought that venture to an end, and he was no longer satisfied being a "grease monkey." (He is also not referred to as "Pieface, either in dialogue or narration.) He designed a new engine which is to be used in the space shuttle program, and he is set to make a fortune. He is also now back with his wife and kids (they had been separated). He has forgiven Hal for seeking advice from his super-hero friends when considering giving up being Green Lantern, chalking his attitude up to dissatisfaction with his own life at the time. When he called Hal with the news and was hung up on a few issues back, Tom attributed that to a bad connection. 

The biggest change is to Hal Jordan himself. When he learns of Tom's extreme good fortune, Hall offers him sincere congratulations. Hal and Katma Tui reconcile their differences this issue. At one point early on in the issue, he dejectedly walks past a bar called "Tony's" and thinks, "That's not for me." (A clear comparison is being made here between Hal Jordan and Tony Stark, who recently gave up being Iron Man and sunk into alcoholism. Coincidentally, a black man took over that role as well.) Significantly, after he lost Carol and his life came tumbling down, he spent a little more than an issue moping, but in this issue he clearly "mans up" and turns his life around.

NOTE to Commander Benson: I know you were predisposed not to like this run of issues, having long since lost interest at the time, but I think this issue bears re-evaluation on your part. From my perspective, the run #172-200 represent a renaissance in Green Lantern, and this issue in particular seems specifically designed to counter his "wienie-ization."

Hal Jordan comes to terms with there being a "crisis" going on and not being a part of it, then decides to visit Abin Sur's grave site. There he finds Guy Garner desecrating it in search of a power ring and battery. they fight and a Guardian appears, revealing that it was their doing which caused Gardner to awaken from his coma so that he could become a Green Lantern. Hal Jordan objects, but the Guardian grants Gardner a ring, battery and uniform. Guy Gardner is a Green Lantern at last, anf there's nothing Hal can do about it.

Jeff, since you've already had the Guy Gardner haircut from 196, maybe try the Monitor haircut from the cover of 194?

I haven't read this run of issues in a while, though I recently re-read the Wein/Gibbons run that preceded it. But I'm glad to hear that they're holding up!

"Jeff, since you've already had the Guy Gardner haircut from 196, maybe try the Monitor haircut from the cover of 194?"

I'll run it by Tracy.

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