Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Batman The Golden Age Omnibus vol. 10

Detective Comics #211
September 1954

The Jungle Cat-Queen!
Script: Edmond Hamilton Pencils: Dick Sprang Inks: Charles Paris

A plane lands in Gotham, and the pilot is immediately threatened by a black panther, used by Catwoman to rob the plane of a diamond shipment. Batman and Robin are called in and of course the walking encyclopedia, Batman, recognizes the dirt that fell out of the treads of Catwoman's plane, and he and Robin head out to overtake her in the Batplane. Her hideout is on a tropical island. Sadly, it's all for nothing since Catwoman's plane has a "claw retractor", meaning giant cat claws on extending arms that rake the skin of the Batplane and force it down due to the damage. There is a diamond mine on the island, but the miners prove to be working for Catwoman, despite claiming to be afraid of her. She orders Batman and Robin to be given "jungle clothing" and left nothing but that and their masks, and given a 10 minute head start before she brings her cats and hunts them down.

After eluding the pursuit, Batman discovers a temple in the jungle and works out that the big cats are circus cats, so he is able to get them into their cages. One of her men sets a giant (big enough to pick Robin up in one hand) gorilla, and though Batman gets him back in his cage, he's captured and Robin is down for the count. The men give Batman back his costume, tie him up and toss him in the river, headed for the waterfall. Robin recovers and after driving off the lion, stampedes the animals towards the diamond mine. Meanwhile Batman finds that he still has his emergency knife and silken cord, and he's able to avoid falling to his death from the waterfall. He and Robin capture all the men and Batman reveals that the "mine" is where these men are given diamonds stolen by Catwoman, after which they cut them up and pretend to have mined them. Catwoman escapes, and Robin wonders if she "accidentally" left the knife and rope for Batman to find. "Sentiment is her weakness" says Batman. "And that's why we'll catch her the next time."

That "next time" will be a while. I've read that this was the last appearance of Catwoman until 1966, twelve years later. I've enjoyed the flirtation between Batman and Catwoman in the past, though the last few times she's appeared, it seems one-sided on her part. That being said, I can believe that she engineered events in a way that Batman could escape with his life. She seems sad when it appears that he hasn't as he goes over the waterfall. She's not out to kill anyone, she's just in it for the money. And somewhere along the line she's become a pilot as well. Batman gets to show off his knowledge several times, and Robin gets a few moments to shine as well. All in all, not a bad final appearance for Catwoman, for now.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Green Lantern #65
December 1968

Dry Up - and Die!
Script - Gardner Fox Pencils - Mike Sekowsky Inks - Joe Giella

One of the things I enjoy about Gardner Fox's writing on All-Star Comics was that occasionally he would add a list of facts at the beginning of each chapter where a character would go on his adventure. In a time travel story he might list some salient facts about the year the character visits. In a visit to Central and South America, he would list facts about any given country. And so on. It feels like we get a very brief glimpse of that habit as this story opens with a short discussion of the geographic and magnetic north poles as Dr. Neal Emerson (aka Dr. Polaris!) studies the poles. He falls through a fissure that opens in the ice and lands next to some sort of sphere that is in the process of dehydrating the entire Earth. The sphere has somehow given Emerson major telepathy (that's convenient!) so he mentally summons Green Lantern to deal with the problem.

The telepathic call wreaks havoc not only with Hal's attempt to write his name, but also to fly and to operate his ring. We get a few pages of GL taking on some pretty mundane crooks and having an extremely difficult time with them simply because he can't get the ring to work as he directs. He does ultimately catch them, but then he nearly forgets to change out of his GL uniform when he goes to see Eve, and has to rely on the power ring to change his clothes in record speed. Meanwhile Emerson, who has failed to draw GL to him, gets yet more new powers from the sphere that the plot needs him to have, and he creates a duplicate Dr. Polaris and sends him to get GL. The duplicate attempts to kill Hal rather than bring him, and with the ring not working right, and with Polaris putting a magnetic shield over it, he nearly succeeds.

But Hal recovers and despite getting very frustrated when nothing works right as he attempts to charge his ring, figures out that the magnetic shield has finally vanished, so he charges up, says the oath, and goes into space to stop Dr. Polaris, which he does. The real Emerson finally just calls to him and asks him to come to the North Pole, where Hal can save his life and put an end to the threat. And all's well that ends well, as Eve has no idea that Hal is Green Lantern, because Dr. Polaris communicated with him via telepathy when he attacked Hal with Eve nearby, so she heard nothing.

So... better than last month, both in terms of writing and Sekowsky's art. I like the idea of some mysterious sphere attempting to dehydrate all the Earth's water, but we really needed some explanation about what it is and who put it there. And as for the fact that it keeps giving Emerson powers that he needs to keep the plot moving, that feels like a cheat every time it happens. The plot needed a few more revisions, in all honesty. At least Hal is more himself this issue, even if the preservation of his secret identity also feels like a cheat. It was telepathy all along, really! Not terrible, but not one of Gardner Fox's better efforts.

Green Lantern #66
January 1969

5708 A.D. - A Nice Year to Visit - But I Wouldn't Want to Live Then!
Script - John Broome Pencils - Mike Sekowsky Inks - Joe Giella

John Broome takes the readers back to the 58th century future of Pol Manning, Chairman Dasor and Ione Vane for what I think is our fifth visit there. This time Hal is going there on purpose to visit his friends from the future. No one is around, and Hal consults the "super-calculator" to get a report on events, and hearing nothing of importance, goes to find Dasor and Ione at Dasor's home. They claim that work is now obsolete, and that their leader Gudron takes care of everyone. When Hal starts to investigate their mental state with his ring, they call in Gudron to deal with Green Lantern. Gudron is able to physically hold and stop Hal's ring constructs. I was afraid that this being a John Broome script, we'd see Hal resorting to punching Gudron to defeat him, but thankfully we don't... his ring constructs do the trick, and Gudron dissolves into metal, soaking into the ground. Dasor and Ione wake up from their trance, and so does everyone else in the city.

The Solar Council meets. The situation is reviewed, and all appears well. Hal tries to return home but something stops him from time traveling, and when he goes back to tell what has happened, everyone is in a trance again, and a new enemy, Vortan, attacks him. Vortan's weapons are a match for the power ring, down to creating a "magnet" that attracts the power ring creations to itself. But Vortan cannot kill Hal, whose ring protects him from mortal harm. Vortan is forced to consult the super calculator (I didn't trust that thing when the story introduced it!) who says to fry him with stellar radiation. Ione breaks her trance and tries to stop the "public execution", and Hal has recovered enough to destroy the lens used to attack him with the radiation, and this time we do get a fist fight. I guess it was unavoidable. Hal beats Vortan who also dissolves, but this time Hal realizes who the true enemy is... that darn super computer.

Machines are the next step on the evolutionary ladder and must rule man... this thing is another megalomaniacal computer. Hal enters the machine to destroy the power core and ends the threat, and enjoys a good conversation with his friends. Ione can't bring herself to confess how she feels about Hal, though it's obvious to the reader if not to Hal himself. He does figure it out once he's returned to the 20th century and wonders if she could be the one for him.

I enjoy the 58th century setting and cast of characters, and I thought that even with the well-worn sci-fi theme of a machine dominating man, this was a pretty good issue. Hal actually uses his ring for most of the issue and only switches to his fists when the ring is ineffective. And unlike the 20th century reasons for blocking some use for the ring, I can believe that 3000+ years worth of technological development could result in weapons that could counter even a Oan power ring. This issue was a breath of fresh air after the last two. This book's roller coaster of up and down quality continues.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Green Lantern #67
March 1969

Green Lantern Does His Ring-Thing!
Script - Gardner Fox Pencils - Dick Dillin Inks - Joe Giella

Well, the good covers are done. I can't say I think much of this one with the distorted face on one guy, and the weird body proportions on Green Lantern. I also can't say I think much of the very sixties title of the story either. And of all the characters that Hal has encountered in this series, was anyone asking for the return of Bill Baggett? We haven't seen him since GL #18 in what was admittedly an interesting story about Hal having to mentally control the ring from a distance. At least we should get some good art from Dick Dillin. And to be fair, Baggett's plan is not a bad one. He just gets close enough to Green Lantern to make the ring do some things for him, such as improve his clothes and multiply his money. He takes a room at the hotel where Hal is staying, not that Baggett knows who GL actually is, nor does he want to know, which is a refresing change of pace. He just wants to be close enough to work the ring remotely and use it for a series of robberies, after which the ring will bring him the money invisibly.

And the plan works, Baggett sets up a robbery and keeps GL busy while he carries out his robberies, then he avoids the mistake many crooks make by not getting too greedy. Having grabbed his loot, he's leaving town before GL "gets wise to him." But Hal has realized someone else is using their willpower on the ring. He's able to track Baggett down because he ends up with some of the power ring counterfeited money. A genuine power ring fight ensues, with the twist of both men using the same power ring to fight each other. Hal wins by causing some of the ring-created money to explode and knock Baggett out, after which he carries him to jail and plans to make sure he's locked up and kept far away from the power ring.

Okay, not too bad, all things considered. Better than I expected it to be. Seeing a lot of power ring use should be the baseline expectation for a Green Lantern story, but it hasn't been the case in a lot of these stories lately. This story has tons of power ring action. Dick Dillin does a pretty good job with the art, and is certainly miles ahead of Mike Sekowsky. Given Baggett's willpower, one wonders if he'd have been chosen to be a Green Lantern if he had a better moral character. Even Hal compliments his willpower. And for the first time in a long time we get two stories in an issue, which used to be the norm in the early days of this series.

The First Green Lantern!
Script - Gardner Fox Art - Sid Greene

"Tales of the Power Ring" is the headline as we see from the first panel that we're dealing with starfish-like aliens, the Rulanns, a warlike race who invade the lands of their neighbors, the Jirenn. Keep your eye on the man wearing what looks a lot like a Green Lantern uniform. One of the Rulann, Korad, finds his way into the land of the Jirenn and learns that unlike the Rulann, who regenerate their limbs, the Jirenn can be killed. Korad is delighted to finally find someone he can kill, and calls his fellows in to join in the killing. It is Rori Dag, wearing the green and black, who leads the counterattack. He's about to be killed when Korad freezes as part of his life cycle, and a Guardian appears to give Rori a ring and power battery. The Guardians are distressed about the evil and injustice in the universe and have determined to act, and Rori is their first Green Lantern. With his new weapon his is able to get Korad out of their lands and seal off the entrance so he and the others can't return. Rori Dag is praised by the Guardian and given the first Green Lantern insignia, and the promise that his clothing will become the template for the uniform for all Green Lanterns.

There have been other "first Lanterns" over the years, but I like this simple story of the Guardians choosing to act and picking someone who quickly figures out how to use the ring to defend his home. Seems like I've read about Rori Dag somewhere before, so I'm sure we'll see him again. The one thing this story lacks which we could have used is some sort of time frame for how long ago it occurred. In all the stories we've read so far, I'm not sure we've ever been told how old the Green Lantern Corps is.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Green Lantern #68
April 1969

I Wonder Where the Yellow Went!

Script - Denny O'Neil Pencils - Gil Kane Inks - Joe Giella

Denny O'Neil is back, but so is Gil Kane. He's changed his layout style in his absence from the title. I wonder what prompted that? His style evolved over the years that he drew the book, but this feels like a deliberate further change on his part. The story opens with some alien outlaws entering sector 2814 and the Guardians ordering Hal to intercept and capture them. We get some proper whimsical use of the power ring here as Hal cuts one of the spacecraft open with a sawblade and then pulls the two halves apart with some giant green hands, dumping the crew into a giant green bowl. Two of them escape, thanks to one of the crooks hitting a nearby asteroid with his weapon and releasing a cloud of sulphur. It's yellow of course, and hinders the power ring. Hal catches one of them, but the other escapes to Earth, and he is unable to locate him. It's a good action filled opening sequence, with the advantage going back and forth over the course of four pages.

When the story moves to Earth, we get a brief plotline where Hal sees his girlfriend Eve and is jealous because she's with some other guy (he knows nothing of the circumstances) before a man approaches GL at the fair and offers to solve the ring's problem with yellow. He suggests a filter that "cancels the yellow portion of the light-spectrum, ... in effect, changing the color of yellow objects." The filter appears to work, though I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hal takes the filter to the Guardians, who note that both they and other GLs have tried to solve the yellow weakness but failed to do so. But they give Hal permission to continue testing the filter.

Results are not long in appearing, as GL takes on some crooks breaking into a hospital and finds that his power beam and willpower are not working as they should. An alien watching him says that one more recharging of the ring and he'll be destroyed. It's the alien criminals of course, and they attack and apparently kill GL, leaving only his ring and uniform behind. The aliens take over the nearby Doremus mansion, but Hal (never shown directly, though there's no doubt who he is) in the "borrowed" uniform of a mailman, fights his way into the house and arms Eve with an alien sword and a plan. Calibax, leader of the aliens, explains that years ago they captured an "Oan technician" (who we have never once seen in all these issues) who they made to tell how the power rings operate. They learned that if yellow light rays are cut off, a vital power element vanishes, and not even the Guardians know this. Hal's plan involves bluffing Calibax into thinking his ring still functions until he can get close enough to use his fists to "nocha-klop" (to borrow the sound effect!) him into unconsciousness. The story ends with Hal knowing that the Guardians will soon be sending him a new ring. I think that will be his fourth after Evil Star destroyed the first and second, and then this alien destroyed the third. So any writer that claims Hal is still wearing Abin Sur's ring is way off base. He hasn't worn that one in a long time. I know he gets yet another new one along with the rest of the Corps in GL/GA #90. Perhaps I should be keeping track of which ring replacement he's on.

Not a bad story for the most part, though there are a number of plot holes. It seems like Hal ought to have been more suspicious of the "coincidence" of a scientist approaching him claiming to have a remedy for the ring's weakness to yellow at the very same time he's hunting a fugitive. Particularly since he never caught that second ship of criminals (and seems to have forgotten all about them, which is the story's biggest plot hole). I'm also not sure I buy that the Guardians have never learned of this weakness in the ring. And who are these Oan technicians that we've never seen? Up until now, it's always been the Guardians that built the rings. But there's some good power ring action, and the return of Gil Kane is certainly welcome. Denny O'Neil needed to revise his scripts a bit more to iron out the problems, and it makes me wonder how he got the job as regular writer just a few issues down the road? His stories look good on the surface, but once you start thinking about certain aspects, don't quite hold up.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote: Sat Oct 14, 2023 8:30 amThe one thing this story lacks which we could have used is some sort of time frame for how long ago it occurred. In all the stories we've read so far, I'm not sure we've ever been told how old the Green Lantern Corps is.
I can't recall a time frame either, so I looked it up, and apparently at some point the Corps is established to be around 3 billion years old. I can't find a citation for where that came from however, which makes me think it may be conjecture from what is known of the downfall of the Manhunters.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Sparky Prime wrote: Sat Oct 14, 2023 9:05 pm
andersonh1 wrote: Sat Oct 14, 2023 8:30 amThe one thing this story lacks which we could have used is some sort of time frame for how long ago it occurred. In all the stories we've read so far, I'm not sure we've ever been told how old the Green Lantern Corps is.
I can't recall a time frame either, so I looked it up, and apparently at some point the Corps is established to be around 3 billion years old. I can't find a citation for where that came from however, which makes me think it may be conjecture from what is known of the downfall of the Manhunters.
I'm sure it will come up at some point, but nowhere in the world-building issues from the 1960s about the Corps (not even called that yet as of the latest issue I reviewed) has it been said how long they've been around. I don't think the writers even envision it as a very large organization yet, though it's grown since those early issues where a big meeting of all the Green Lanterns was about a dozen GLs.

Batman #86
September 1954

The Voyage of the First Batmarine!
Writer: Edmond Hamilton Pencils: Dick Sprang Inks: Charles Paris

A barge carrying cans of nitro explosive capsizes, sending them down into the river, and only Batman and Robin have the nerve to go down after them. They stay down long enough that they can't come back up rapidly, but have to make a gradual return to the surface to avoid the bends. A local salvage company donates a surplus "navy pocket sub" and paints the bat emblem on it, giving Batman and Robin a new "Batmarine". So now it's just a matter of time before Batman and Robin can return to the surface. The trouble is, "Slant" Stacy and his gang are out to steal all the platinum they can, and with Batman trapped in the bay, Stacy sees this as a perfect opportunity. And so the story becomes about Batman and Robin, trapped in the sub, making various attempts to stop Stacy and his gang and succeeding twice before Stacy comes up with a plan that can't fail to kill Batman.

He commits a robbery on top of a skyscraper, and Batman appears to leave the sub and go up to the roof to stop him, which he does, before collapsing and apparently dead of the bends. Slant Stacy thinks he's dead, but in examining the body, the police find out that it was actually a robot. Stacy and his gang are captured, and Batman and Robin are able to emerge onto dry land after waiting the requisite number of days.

So how was Batman able to construct such a lifelike robot, and how did he have the correct components aboard that tiny sub? That aside, I thought this was a fun story that not only gave us a new vehicle for Batman, but which highlighted how even under difficult circumstances, he's able to outthink the crooks time and time again. And of course, Dick Sprang's art is the highlight. His design for "Slant" with his slanted face makes a pretty generic gangster into something a bit more memorable.

The Joker's Winning Team!
Writer: Bill Woolfolk Pencils: Sheldon Moldoff Inks: Stan Kaye

The Joker's latest inspiration for crime is sports teams, and how they trade one player for another to improve the overall team. How in the world he sits in the stands among the "common folk" as he calls them, watching the baseball game, without someone calling the police to arrest him, is hard to explain. He even catches a fly ball to the stands and no one cares! As he's leaving, bemoaning his boring afternoon, he hears the coach talking about trading a heavy hitter, and is hit with inspiration. He trades two of his gang members to another gang for a specialist.

There are some fun details to be found here. In some efficient storytelling, the Joker summarizes in a sentence how he and his gang gained entry to an antiques bazaar rather than spend several panels showing the reader. The Joker hates Batman's puns and talks about how long they've known each other, which in a bizarre way makes the Joker one of Batman's oldest acquaintances, if you want to use that term. They certainly know each other well by now. The "getaway artist" Joker hired for this robbery does his job and they escape. He hires a new specialist for his next crime, robbing a millionaire who lives on an island. After this crime and a silk robbery, Batman figures out the pattern: "a team of crime specialists" and disguises himself to infiltrate the Joker's gang as "Boom Boom" Harry, a British explosives expert. The Joker plans to blow Madison Bridge to trap some armored cars carrying gold bullion and take it.

Batman manages to foil his plan, and we find out that the other specialist for this job was a "pinch hitter" for the Joker... a man disguised as the Joker so the real deal could escape in a boat. But Batman uses his rope to quickly get down to the level of the river and catch the Joker, who demands to be taken to jail rather than listen to one of Batman's lectures.

This was actually not a bad plan for the Joker, and certainly seemed to work quite well. We got a fair amount of characterization for him in this story too, which I found fairly interesting. He's bored by entertainment like baseball, and since he's a "genius" he thinks of everyone around him as "common folk" who he might deign to learn something from, once in a while. He's known Batman for a long time now and is as irritated by some of Batman's character traits as Batman is of him. All of this added a little something extra to what could have just been another Joker runaround, though as I said, the fact that the scheme actually makes sense and works pretty well also helps elevate the story. I thought for sure the Joker would see through Batman's disguise, but no, Batman's plan works perfectly. Not a bad Joker story, all things considered.
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote: Sun Jul 30, 2023 10:45 am Looks like we're finally getting what is essentially the first Bronze Age Green Lantern omnibus, though it looks like they've rebranded it.

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/marvelm ... 39093.html

Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard Travelin' Heroes Omnibus
Image

On sale Mar 19, 2024 | 1152 Pages $125.00 US

The Emerald Archer and the greatest space lawman who ever lived team-up to take on problems in society
right under their own feet on planet earth.

Should a hero be concerned with the galaxy when they can’t help their own planet? It’s a pointed question that Green Arrow
asks to Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) point blank in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard Travelin' Heroes Omnibus. Dennis O’Neil
and Neal Adams tackle subjects in this superhero story that had never been seen in mainstream comics prior.
Travel across the United States with Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan as their superhero alter egos to understand the subtleties
of issues that our country was facing in the 1970s.
The contents of this book: Green Lantern (1960) #76-87, 89-123, Worlds Finest Comics (1941) #201; material from The Brave And The Bold (1955 #100, DC Special Series (1977) #1, DC Super Stars (1976) #17, The Flash (1959) #218-224, 226-228, 230-231, 233-234, 237-238 & 240-246, Green Lantern 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular (2020) #1 and Worlds Finest Comics (1941) #210 & 255.

So they're collecting the entirety of the Bronze Age Green Lantern/Green Arrow, not just the O'Neil/Adams issues, along with the GL backups when the series was in the Flash because the main GL book had been cancelled, and some stories featuring the characters from other series.
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Finishing up Batman #86

Batman - Indian Chief!
Writer: Ed Herron Pencils: Sheldon Moldoff Inks: Stan Kaye

I wasn't sure what to expect from this story. How in the world would they contrive to make Batman an indian chief? It's actually a setup that I enjoyed buying into as Bruce and Dick step in to take the place of Great Eagle and his son Little Raven, who are themselves imitators of Batman and Robin. So we have the real Batman and Robin impersonating a pair of Indians who impersonate Batman and Robin. Or, as the Indian Batman is known, Chief Man-Of-The-Bats. Like the Flash story that was written as though the old West was still in existence in 1940, the old West is still in effect here with Indians on horses with spears and bows as though it was 1870, even though we have modern armored cars and oil derricks that the Indian raiders are attacking.

So Batman and Robin disguise themselves as Chief Man of the Bats and Little Raven and take on the Indian raiders. They successfully thwart a payroll theft attempt, but are trapped in a tower and in danger of being caught and their secret identities exposed. But then Great Eagle shows up with his men and rounds up the Indian outlaws. It's success all around, the crooks are stopped and both Batman and Robin duos have preserved each other's secret identities.

So maybe the Indian raiders are role playing in traditional clothing with traditional weapons, but it seems like they'd be outclassed easily by modern tech. I'm not sure what to think of the mix of history and modernity here. That aside, I enjoyed this story of good natured cooperation between two sets of Batmen and Robins, and how each helped the other out. Yeah, Batman looks a little silly with a feathered headdress over his cowl, but I honestly thought this story was a lot more fun than I expected it to be.
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Green Lantern #69
June 1969

If Earth Fails the Test - It Means War!
Script - John Broome Pencils - Gil Kane Inks - Wally Wood

A quick "in media res" opening shows Green Lantern being shot with an energy weapon by a blond woman who summoned him to the spot on the streets of the city, right beside the bus stop at Pitkin Avenue. Gil Kane has changed his drawing style, as I noted, and the layouts look nothing like what he drew for so long. I like that he was apparently trying to change things up and add something new to the book's visuals. The story cuts back a few hours as GL returns to Earth after being out in space to help Tomar-Re with a problem in his space sector. Hal is thinking about how both of his jobs are all about death and catastrophes. He checks in with the Evergreen City police before heading home, to find that they have installed a new "city wide burglar alarm system". Talk about the surveillance state... there's a chance to test it as an alarm goes off, and it does exactly what the police claim: alert them to a break-in, show an image of the place where the crime is ongoing, and trap the criminals. But these crooks bend the bars of the gate that lowered to trap them, and GL heads straight to the location, only to find the blond woman we saw in the opening of the story. She's with her fellow crooks and has a weapon that can counter the power ring, at least temporarily. But Hal knocks it from her hand and attempts to net the young thieves, only for some of them to vanish into thin air. He only captures three of them and takes them to the police. They won't talk, and GL's ring cannot read their minds.

Here the story takes a left turn away from the main plot as Carol Ferris returns briefly for the first time since a cameo in issue 53, I believe, and the first time she's spoken to Hal as GL since issue 49. She's in Evergreen City and wants to talk to GL. She's postponed the wedding twice, but tomorrow's the big day. She's still in love with Green Lantern, but Hal just can't tell her the truth, and just wishes her well. Carol leaves again, having shown up just long enough to remind the reader about her relationship with Hal and to help push him onward again, as we'll see before the story ends.

The story reveals here that Kyra, the blond woman that gave GL so much trouble, is an alien. Kyra is a revolutionary, determined to bring change to her planet of Hegor, and she and her "gang" were testing methods of fighting on Earth, far from their government. They are responsible for the security devices used by the Evergreen City police, so the police were unwittingly helping with their training. Kyra needs to get Green Lantern out of the way, so she contacts him through his ring, which leads back to the story's opening scene with Hal shot and disabled. He wakes up a prisoner inside a red ray, with the energy causing him intense pain if he tries to use his ring. Hal creates a pain killer pill with the ring so he can stand it long enough to use the ring to destroy the controls holding him in place. That's a new one. He's still on Earth and heads out into the city to find Kyra (and among the signs on the street can be seen "Kane"... Gil Kane signing his work?) ­before heading to check with the police and their detection equipment. He finds the gang and confronts and captures them, only for Kyra to tell him the truth about who and what they are. They return to their planet, but Hal follows them, convinced that he's fallen in love with Kyra. But in reality she's an unattractive gray skinned alien, who is about to be married. Tough luck Hal, but at least the student revolt was bloodless and successful, and Hal gets an agreement that they won't come to Earth again. The story ends with another shift in the status quo as Hal decides that he's had enough of the insurance business, and he's moving on.

Not bad, I can buy the idea of aliens using a much more technologically primitive planet as a training ground. That's a decent idea. I think the story made a misstep by showing us what Kyra actually looked like long before Hal learned the truth instead of saving the reveal for the end of the story. Yes, the cover hints at it, but doesn't completely give the game away. I always prefer to see Green Lantern dealing with alien threats rather than bank robbers or jewel thieves, and that's ultimately what we get here in a nice mix of the fantastic with the mundane. Carol Ferris dropping in for a page and a half is an odd storytelling choice. It's nice to see her again and to see that Hal's feelings for her have never really changed, and I guess the way to look at it is as a reveal that we're not done with that storyline yet, however much Hal has seemingly been doing well with Eve.
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Green Lantern #70
July 1969

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Earth!
Script - John Broome Pencils - Gil Kane Inks - Vince Colletta

My first thought on the first page is that the Guardian is not looking as kindly as they used to. I know once we get to Denny O'Neil as the regular writer on the book that the wise and thoughtful Guardians of the Universe will be a thing of the past, but is this perhaps the first visual step in that direction, even though nothing he actually says is untoward or critical? Just a thought. Hal is sent off into space right before he starts a new job to confront a Gravity Eater, a one-eyed, tentacled, winged space creature that breaks up planets and is immune to the power ring. Hal kills the thing using a combination of a comet and the creature's own waste. It seems very strange to see Hal taking a life, but the Guardians support his decision, given how many inhabited worlds would have been endangered.

Good opening, but it goes downhill from there as the threat for the story is a toy. I kid you not, a "Hilar-Toy" built by aliens to make people laugh, but it malfunctions and causes people to fight. The culprit is, all together now, "radiation" which causes hostility in everyone who gets too close. The toy is too well constructed to be destroyed, and it can think for itself (not a good combination), so it steals a spaceship and escapes the planet. In trying to figure out where to go, he sees Hal headed back toward Earth and follows him. He can read Hal's thoughts and so almost instantly learns his life circumstances and secret identity.

So the toy lands on Earth and walks around, mastering the English language. But he's still malfunctioning so he ignores authority and gets into trouble. Meanwhile it what clearly is meant to be a thematically linked plotline, Hal Jordan's new job is... toy salesman. This is just a bad idea, in my opinion. I like these superheroes to be slightly exotic in various ways, including their career. I didn't bring it up when Hal took the insurance job, but it was true then and it's even more true with the toy salesman job. Hal being a test pilot is interesting. Hal being a toy salesman is not. Your mileage may vary. At any rate, he catches the toy's misguided attempts to be funny on television and goes to confront him as Green Lantern. His ring energy is repelled and GL is knocked out, like everyone else who tries to apprehend the toy. The toy leaves and is recruited by some gangsters who love how he took out GL and think he'll be useful. Hal charges up his ring and goes after "Hilar" as the toy called himself, and takes him on in the middle of a train robbery. He is again knocked out by Hilar, but goes after the getaway car and uses a giant green hand to pick up the car and shake everyone out. Such a basic ring construct, but so refreshing given how rare these things seem to be at this point in the series.

Hal decides to forego the use of the ring to take out the crooks, and we get a page of fisticuffs. Hal finally summons up enough willpower to defeat Hilar's defenses and learns what he is. He takes him back to his home planet, repairs him, and returns to Earth, with Hal musing that the adventure with Hilar is like a sign that he's taken the right job. Sigh. I guess there's nothing wrong per se with the story, or the misunderstandings that caused most of the conflict, but "Green Lantern fights an alien toy" is not exactly the most scintillating subject matter. I don't care for the new toy salesman career at all. The first few pages of the story were really good, it just all went downhill after that. In the up and down roller coaster of quality, this is another issue on the lower end of the scale, although not down there with "Death to Green Lantern" which remains the worst issue of the series by far. It's not a bad issue, it's just a conflict that is so low stakes that it doesn't really hold my interest.
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