Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Green Lantern DC Specials

There was a time in the 1970s when DC was not publishing Green Lantern comics, with Hal Jordan and his alter ego only appearing in the back of Flash issues and with the Justice League of America.

Still, there was an attempt to get him back into his own series, and two issues of the reprint title, DC Special, were used to see if there was interest in the Green Lantern (both of them containing reprints, but with new covers by Mike Grell!).

Let's take a look back at those issues, and see which tales helped Green Lantern get his title back!

DC Special 17

DC Special #17 (Summer, 1975) has three great tales of Green Lantern.  First up is "The World Of The Living Phantoms" from Green Lantern #6 (May-June, 1961), a full length story by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, wherein Hal (the Green Lantern of Sector 2814) is first contacted by Tomar-Re (the Green Lantern of Xudar, in what he claimed to be Sector 9, later referred to as Sector 2813).  Hal helps Tomar-Re against invading space monsters, as well as facing off against the Phantoms of Aku (another race of aliens who are thought projections of their own race, looking to finish off their bodies in suspended animation).  Tomar-Re appreciates the help, and tells Hal of the existence of the Guardians of the Universe, as well as of other Green Lanterns.

Next up is one of the stories from Green Lantern #2 (September-October, 1960) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, which features "The Secret Of The Golden Thunderbolts", introducing readers to the Weaponers of Qward (an anti-matter universe where all residents are evil, except for Telle-Teg and some of his friends, who escapes that world via a secret energy bridge which allows individuals to pass between worlds).  A Weaponer from Qward comes to attack as Hal returns to Telle-Teg as Green Lantern, with a battle ensuing between the two, with Telle-Teg falling as a fatal victim of the Weaponer's attack.  Still, Hal tracks down one of the dimensional bridges, goes through to find Telle-Teg's friends, and bring them to the Earth dimension, taking them to another world that can now colonized.  The peaceful ex-Qwardians warn Hal of the Weaponers' plans to take all the universe's power batteries.

Last, but not least for this issue is the second story from Green Lantern #26 (January, 1964) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, where Hal Jordan finds the "World Within The Power Ring".  Here, Green Lantern is confronted by a mystical projection of Abin Sur, who attacks.  Hal defeats him, but uses his power ring to find out where the projection came from....which was inside the power ring.  Abin Sur had captured the mystical villain Myrwhydden within his power ring years ago, but slowly the villain's powers were returning and he wanted out.  Green Lantern had the ring shrink him down to Myrwhydden's world, but without the ring; so he tricks Myrwhydden into casting a spell to temporarily make magic unusable.  But, since the ring is all around him, Hal seems to have magical powers (really just using the ring) and uses that power to bind Myrwhydden's speech, as his magical powers come from his speaking his desires, then leaves Myrwhydden to his prison within the power ring.  

This issue of DC Special also has a feature on some of the planets Green Lantern has visited. 

The next two issues of DC Special also each have a Green Lantern tale within them (like #19), as well as a Superman tale and more.

DC Special 20

DC Special #20 (February-March, 1976) also features three Green Lantern tales, starting with Green Lantern #8 (September-October, 1961) where Hal faces "The Challenge From 5700 AD!" by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  Chairman Dasor of the high council is put in charge of finding a new Solar Director for the Star City of 5700 AD, and using his timescope, picks the 20th Century Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.  In bringing Hal to his time, (while he was fighting a monster as well), his memory is wiped, but he is given a new identity as Pol Manning, and a new love, Dasor's secretary, Iona Vane.  Hal (as Pol) learns of the menace to the city, Zegors (evolved Gila monsters) who are now attacking human settlements.  Green Lantern faces them, but one of the Zegors train its energy beam on Iona.  Hal finds that the beam shrinks its target, and follows the Zegor back to its home, where he finds the people (including Iona) that the Zegors had attacked, restores them to normal size, and destroys the machine which allows the Zegors to shrink people, allowing the humans of the time to defeat the Zegors.  Hal is then returned to his own time, with his original memories (but none of his time in the future) where he defeats the monster he was facing, but can't explain why he lost 23 of the 24 hour charge of his ring.

Next up is the "Riddle Of The Frozen Ghost Town", the second story from Green Lantern #2 (September-October, 1960) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  This issue introduces Hal's airplane mechanic at Ferris Aircraft, Tom Kalmaku.  Hal learns that his mechanic has quit Ferris Aircraft, and goes to try to convince him to stay.  As he approaches Tom, Hal finds two men attacking the young man, and steps in (as Hal).  After fending them off, Tom tells the story of how his father, Kal, and another man, Jimmy Dawes, found a gold mine in Alaska, and the two men made a map to it and split it in half, each taking one; Dawes never returned from trying to get funding for the mine, so Tom inherited his dad's half, and went looking for Dawes.  Tom still had his dad's half, but these goons must have taken it. 

Hal leaves Tom, becomes Green Lantern, who comes to Tom, uses his power ring to recreate Tom's half from Tom's memories, and the two head to Alaska to start looking for the mine.  Seeing an aircraft land near a mine, they recognize two of the men as the thugs who attacked Tom and check it out.  Green Lantern fights the three men, but his ring runs out of power (as 24 hours have passed).  The villains freeze Green Lantern in ice, but he uses residual ring power to get free.  Green Lantern still has to fight them, and uses fisticuffs instead.  With the thugs defeated, Tom's people are able to take control of the mine, and Tom returns to Coast City with Green Lantern.  Tom then reveals to Hal back when they are home that he recognizes the way Hal and Green Lantern fought as being the same, but Hal doesn't erase Tom's knowledge of his identity, instead keeping the mechanic as his confidant.

The last story reprinted in this issue is from Green Lantern #30 (July, 1964) where John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene reveal that "Once A Green Lantern -- Always A Green Lantern".  This story introduces Katma Tui, who had taken over being the Green Lantern of Korugar (replacing the traitor, Sinestro).  The Guardians summon Hal to go to Korugar after he charges his ring, and while on the way there tell Hal that Katma Tui plans on retiring from being a Green Lantern.  When he lands on the planet, Hal finds out Katma is female, and that she is resigning to be with her boyfriend, Imi Kann.  Hal tries to convince her to remain a Green Lantern (her record is exemplary), but she feels her decision-making would be compromised. 

Then, the trio is attacked by a giant amoeba, and Katma goes to free Hal first, and has to be directed to save Imi.  After defeating the creature, Hal tells Katma that proved she is devoted to the Corps, and she remains a Green Lantern.  On the way back home, the Guardians find out from Hal that he had created the amoeba as a test for Katma, to see where her loyalties lie.

This issue also has a feature on the three Jordan brothers (Hal and his two brothers, Jack and Jim, as well as Jim's wife, Sue), the other Green Lanterns of Earth (Golden Age Alan Scott, substitute #1 Guy Gardner and #2 John Stewart), as well as other oaths of Green Lanterns.

The Green Lantern issues (as well as the Flash back-up tales) were so popular, that they led to Green Lantern getting his own series, picking up where the numbering left off, and continuing up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where the title changed to the Green Lantern Corps.


1 comment:

  1. Boy does this bring back good memories--loved that Mike Grell art in the 70s too.