Posts tagged ‘Green Lantern’

alternate Action 642 – Green Lantern/Superman – Legend of the Green Flame

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I made an error earlier, I said this was intended for Action 635.  In fact, it was for 642.  I had assumed it was the earlier of the two crossover issues, simply based on the line-up that appears in the story – none of the post-635 series are included.  But the ending makes it clear that it was for the latter issue.

Neil Gaiman’s script was rejected by John Byrne.  At the time, it was a hard and fast rule that no one knew Superman’s identity, and Gaiman insisted on the characters meeting as Clark and Hal.  Neither would budge, and the script got set aside.  The story was finally published in 2001.

This special also has a large art team, divided chapter by chapter.  Eddie Campbell, Mark Buckingham, John Totleben, Jim Aparo, Kevin Nowlan, Jaosn Little, Michael Allred, Eric Shanower, Terry Austin and Arthur Adams.

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The story begins with a prologue in Berlin, shortly after the end of World War II.  Blackhawks Janos Prohaska and Weng Chan go rooting through rubble, searching for a lost weapon.  They come across the remains of the Justice Society of America, although they do not realize who these people are.  We see Sandman, and the remains of Hawkman’s wings, but it’s Alan Scott’s lantern that grabs Weng’s interest, and he takes it with him.

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Jumping to the present day, Hal is feeling lost and alone, and turns to Clark for a shoulder to cry on.  Lois Lane wrangles the two into attending a gallery opening that night.

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Catwoman makes a cameo, running into Hal.  But the catkin emerald she was interested in is not there, so Selina leaves.  Exploring the gallery, Hal comes across the lantern, on display.  He is fascinated.  It’s a Green Lantern lantern, but not one he recognizes.  He uses his ring to scan it.

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Bad idea.

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Deadman comes across the confused heroes, and tells them they are dead.  They aren’t.  Not quite.  But they have been pulled into the magical, somewhat sentient flame that powers Alan Scott’s lantern, and are between being alive and dead.

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The Flame’s burst of energy draws the attention of the Phantom Stranger.

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He convinces Hal that he does have the willpower to tame the wild magic of the flame, and get it back into its battery, dormant.

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The final page makes it clear that this was intended for issue 642.  The story printed there uses a similar marquee in its background.

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Action 642 – Action Comics Weekly ends

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Action Comics Weekly comes to an end with issue 642, a full-length crossover story.  Superman, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Deadman are all involved, as well as Guy Gardner.

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Elliot S Maggin scripts this tale, which opens with a flashback to the death of Abin Sur, and his selection of Hal Jordan as successor.  In this version, we learn that Clark Kent was brought as a possible Lantern, but declined.

The art changes from chapter to chapter.  The various creative teams are: Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Art Thibert, Jim Aparo and John Nyberg, Curt Swan and Ty Templeton, Jim Mooney with Ian Akin and Keith Garvey, and Carmine Infantino and Kevin Nowlan.

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Green Lantern is investigating an unusual military installation.  The man in charge wants no spying eyes, and shoots Hal right in the chest.  Hal lays dying, and his ring summons potential successors.  It might summon a doctor as well, but apparently has given up on Hal.

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Most of those chosen are not characters we know, have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Clark Kent is brought again, as is Nightwing.

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Guy Gardner is selected as well, completely nonsensically.  He has removed his ring temporarily, and the story treats this as if it means he is no longer a Green Lantern the second he takes off the ring, despite the mental connection between the ring and its wearer.

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Deadman comes to see what all the fuss is about. This is all taking place in a millisecond.  Deadman is able to converse somewhat with Hal, which makes sense.  Superman can also communicate with Deadman, because he can sense this all happening at great speed.  That really doesn’t explain why he can see Deadman at this event, but not in normal situations.

You can tell from the way I am picking at it that I did not enjoy this story.  There was no likelihood that Hal was going to die, so the story was just pointless.  That might have been ok if it were a lot of fun on the road, but it’s not.  And so these weird errors, just sloppy writing by someone who can, and has done, better, annoy me.

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After a lot of “what if this guy became Green Lantern?” Hal revives, and everyone is returned to what they were doing before.

About the only touch I like is the theatre marquee being changed in the final panel, reading Action – closed for renovations.

Action Comics returns in a few months, with an second annual to launch its return to a regular format.

And there is still just enough room on this blog that I can do an entry on the Neil Gaiman Action Comics Weekly story that never was.

Action 635 – Superman, Green Lantern, Black Canary and Blackhawk fight a dictator with too much power, and Green Lantern ends

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Action 635 features a big crossover story, as well as the final chapter of the Green Lantern series, and another two pages of Superman.  Neil Gaiman had written a story for this issue, but a disagreement with John Byrne lead to it being set aside, and this one, by Mark Verheiden, with art by Eduardo Barreto and John Nyberg.

The story by Gaiman was printed, many years later, as a Green Lantern/Superman Special.  But it is very much an Action Comics Weekly story, with a number of cameos.  I’m sooo close to the end of my media library, and also of Action Comics Weekly.  And I debated writing about the Gaiman story here, or at its publication date.

So I am letting the media library decide.  If I reach the end of Action Comics Weekly and have space, I will make my final entry on this blog about Gaiman’s version.

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The story they printed is servicable, but nothing special.  Weng Chan is flying Blackhawk Express, the delivery company the Blackhawks became.  On the flight is Clay, Hal’s old friend from his days at Ferris Aircraft, along with an experimental engine.  A south Asian dictator has shot down the plane, and taken them prisoner.

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Hal is having dinner with Dinah Lance, and discussing their lives and problems, when he hears from Clay’s wife.

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Here’s the dictator.  Nasty looking man.

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Hal decides to set out as Green Lantern to rescue him, and Dinah comes along as Black Canary.

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Using the engine, the dictator takes control of a giant purple energy monster.  News of this reaches Superman, who comes flying to investigate.  He and Green Lantern battle the monster and keep it busy.

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Black Canary rescues Weng, and they get to the computer controls.

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It’s Weng who figures out the solution.  Unplug the machine.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal end Green Lantern’s run as they have produced it all along, with great art and dangling plot threads.

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Malvolio has a long fight with Green Lantern, but the end reveals that nothing we have seen is real, so perhaps nothing Malvolio said is true.  Who is this mysterious man?

No one knows.  We never see him again.  The Green Lantern series that launches shortly leaves all this in the astral dust.

 

Action 634 – Green Lantern vs Malvolio, the real Cassandra Craft, Black Canary, Nightwing & Speedy, and Blackhawk end

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Very good Green Lantern cover on Action 634.

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Malvolio continues his domination of Green Lantern in this chapter.

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The two fight through this chapter, and though Green Lantern has the upper hand as it ends, his victory is not certain.  Only this and the Superman story continue into the next issue.

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Kupperberg and Carillo, bring the Phantom Stranger four-parter to a close with this issue.  Tannarak and Tala watch with glee as the Phantom Stranger battles with the cat creature, which drains his power.

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Dr. Thirteen gets to be the hero, killing the cat creature and freeing the Stranger.  Tala vanishes, as the Stranger defeats Tannarak.  Cassandra Craft returns from wherever.

While the Phantom Stranger does return later in Action Comics Weekly, Tala, Tannarak and Dr. Thirteen next are seen in the Books of Magic miniseries. Cassandra Craft has to wait many years, appearing next in Grant Morrison’s Zatanna miniseries, part of Seven Soldiers.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos bring to an end the story of a mother’s vengeance for a daughter dead from HIV, going after those who may have been responsible for her husband’s infection.

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It’s a lot of really intense fighting, and the art is superb on it.

Far better than the first Black Canary storyline, this one still did not manage to be the series that the reader’s wanted.  While Dinah would continue as a supporting character in Green Arrow, she would get a miniseries of her own in a couple of years.

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Wilkerson and Mandrake put Nightwing and Speedy through a lot of legal hassles as their team-up ends.  At least Nightwing gets an equal share of it.  Justice prevails, somewhat.  The implicated British lord goes free, but is brought down by other troubles.

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The best page of this entire storyline is the last, as Roy and Dick hang out with Lian and Starfire.  Nightwing continues in New Teen Titans, while Speedy returns in his own storyline, under his own name, in a couple of issues.

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Pasko and Burchett bring the Blackhawk story to a quick and violent end.  The one undrugged Backhawk gets control of the plane, and Janos gets control of himself as they land, and seek the fake Darabont, who escaped with the LSD and the formula.

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They get her, and the formula, and the Nazi base, which they leave in ruins.

The one big hit from Action Comics Weekly, Blackhawk moves into is own book right away.

 

 

Action 633 – Green Lantern runs from Malvolio, Black Canary finds the torture chamber, Nightwing and Speedy come back to the US, Cassandra’s secret revealed, and the Blackhawks trip out

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Blackhawk gets a nice retro cover on Action 633.

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Lord Malvolio comes hunting for Green Lantern in this story by Owsley, Bright and Tanghal.  Malvolio’s power level is staggeringly higher than Lantern’s, and Hal flees.

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He finds a golden spaceship, people by creatures who know Priest, and are visibly of the same races from that storyline.  Malvolio destroys the ship and everyone on it, except Green Lantern.

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Black Canary is on the trail of the actress, as are the cops, as Wright, DuBurke and Marcos take the story to its darkest chapter.

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Black Canary finds the torture chamber that the Deb had been held, and killed, in.

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Nightwing and Speedy return to the US in this chapter of Wilkerson and Mandrake’s tale.  Thye get picked up right away by the CBI guy who had fired Speedy right at the start.

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They trust him, which is dumb, as he simply is setting them up.

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The Phantom Stranger struggles against the cat-creature in the third chapter of Kupperberg and Carillo’s story.  Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen hover at the edges of the story,although Cassandra gets threatened by Tannarak.

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But by that point, the Stranger has caught an error Cassandra made, and realized that this is not really his former flame, but Tala.

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The Nazi impostor dons a parachute and jumps ship as the Blackhawks deal with LSD in this chapter of Pasko and Buchett’s story.

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It’s the best installment of the story, as the acid trips make for entertaining art.

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And the danger of it all taking place aboard an aircraft makes it perfect.

 

Action 632 – Green Lantern meets Lord Malvolio, the Phantom Stranger chases Tannarak, Black Canary in live theatre, Nightwing finally shows up, and a suspicious change of mood

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Nightwing joins Speedy not only on the cover, but even in their story in Action 632.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal start this Green Lantern story as he pursues the alien, but he gets pulled off course, and this plot thread is left behind as we meet a new villain.

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Lord Malvolio has a Green Lantern ring, in a period when very few did.  He seems unaware of the Guardians of the Universe, and, indeed, his costume shares similarities with that of Alan Scott, whose Green Lantern was also independent of the Guardians.

He demands that Hal serve him.  Hal, of course says no.  Malvolio gets mad.

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Tannarak threatens the Phantom Stranger, and then leads him on a merry chase in this chapter, by Kupperberg and Carillo.

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Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen are right behind them, as Tannarak heads to the big cats section of the zoo, drawing the beasts to him.

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Oh no!  It’s super-cat!

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos reveal that the killer actress has the heroin hooker as her prisoner in this Black Canary chapter, and that her motive has to do with her dead daughter.

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She is clearly losing it, and attacks Black Canary from the stage in the middle of a performance.

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Lots of double agents, bombing, and general misery in Northern Ireland in this Nightwing and Speedy story, by Wilkerson, Giarrano and Mandrake.

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Nightwing finally shows up, which is nice.  But he still manages to stay enough in the background that this is solidly a Speedy story.

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The Blackhawks are about to take a flight into madness in this chapter, by Pasko and Burchett.

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The Nazis kill Constance Darabont, replacing her with their own operative.

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When Janos comes to meet her that night, he finds a far more friendly woman than the one the team had dealt with the previous day.  As they fly off in the morning, she makes the team coffee.  Only Fredrikson is suspicious, and with good reason.  She has spiked it with LSD.

Action 631 – Captain Atom concedes, Black Canary figures something out, the Phantom Stranger’s friends and enemies, Speedy goes to the parade, and Lady Blackhawk gets taken

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The Phantom Stranger begins a four-part story in Action 631, and gets a cover appearance to celebrate that.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal end the team-up with Captain Atom and Green Lantern, although I wouldn’t say they resolve it, or bring it to a conclusion.

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After blasting each other, and being trounced by the alien, who escapes, Captain Atom decides that this is really more of an outer space issue than a military one, and basically gives up and leaves.  Green Lantern sets out to find the creature.

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Wright, Duburke and Marcos have a third murder in this chapter of Black Canary’s story.

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This time the actress disguises herself as a man, in order to get picked up by a gay guy, her next victim.  The man recognizes her, and knows why he is being killed, although the reader does not get informed.

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The Phantom Stranger begins a four-part story, by Paul Kupperberg and Fred Carillo, that brings back supporting characters and villains from the Phantom Stranger’s old series in the 70s.  Cassandra Craft, a blind psychic and the one-time romantic interest of the Stranger, had not been seen since appearing in Superman in the late 70s.  She gets attacked by Tala, the Phantom Stranger’s first foe, who had last appeared in the late 70s in a Phantom Stranger/Deadman team-up in the final issue of DC Super-Stars.

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Cassandra comes to see the Stranger, who is spending the evening chatting with Dr. Thirteen.  I believe his last appearance was around 1980, in his own series in the pages of Ghosts.

Cassandra tells the Stranger about Tala’s return, but then Tannarak arrives with a blast.  Another of the Stranger’s old foes, he had appeared the most recently, in the Phantom Stranger’s back-up series in Swamp Thing in the early 80s.

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Cherie Wilkerson and Tom Mandrake are joined by Vince Giaranno on pencils as Speedy solos in this supposed Nightwing and Speedy team-up.  Terrorists are on the train, but Speedy gets the little girl to safety.

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But there still is a child victim, during the Orange Day Parade, as the older sister spots a bomb, and dies getting it away from the crowd.

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Lady Blackhawk gets kidnapped as Pasko and Burchett open this story.  But Janos has no idea, being off picking up Constance Darabont.

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Darabont is cool and professional.  Janos seems to have gotten over the aviatrix, for all his mourning earlier in the story.

 

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