This week, this blog is devoted to covering Green Lantern stories in which Kyle Rayner is roped into cleaning up Hal Jordan’s messes. This happened to Kyle quite a bit when Kyle first became a Green Lantern, which only added to the ongoing problem he had of trying to crawl out from under Hal Jordan’s shadow. Mind you, Kyle almost never had to clean up after the other Earth Green Lanterns, Guy Gardner and John Stewart (though he did kinda have to clean up after Alan Scott on occasion -- more on that later this week). Nope, it was always Hal’s actions that gave Kyle major headaches. Kyle was always up for the challenge, though, and thankfully the days of cleaning up after Hal seem to be over, now that Hal and the rest of the Green Lanterns are back (so they can clean up their own messes).
First up is a curious little four-issue mini-series called Green Lantern versus Aliens (written by Ron Marz and drawn by Rick Leonardi; collected into a trade publication in 2001). The title might seem a bit redundant considering battling aliens is a big part of what Green Lanterns do. However, the Aliens in question (with a capital "A") are the legendary movie monsters originally, masterfully brought to the big screen by Ridley Scott in Alien. The Aliens went on to star in a successful film series and were eventually licensed by Dark Horse Comics.
DC and Dark Horse Comics have teamed up quite a few times to produce comics pitting Aliens against various DC characters, like Superman and Batman. Green Lantern versus Aliens, however, is one of the more successful titles, no doubt because, as stated earlier, it's natural for a Green Lantern to battle aliens, anyway.
The story opens with a series of panels showing the classic murky, icky tunnels of Alien habitation, including an empty egg, a dead Alien "face-hugger," and an abandoned Green Lantern power ring. Strung up in the wall just above the power ring is a Green Lantern, Barin Char of sector 1522. Char appears unconscious, but then he screams, and a baby Alien bursts out his chest:
Yup, Char's dead. Ow-wee.
The scene shifts to Earth, where two bank robbers wearing rubber alien masks are getting trounced by Green Arrow and Black Canary. One of the bad guys is about to get the drop on Green Arrow ...
... when a big, green helping hand appears:
Three guesses who the hand belongs to:
After turning the bad guys over to the cops, our three Hard-Traveling Heroes are about to go in search of a chili dinner when a hologram of one of the Guardians of the Universe pops up. The Guardian tells Hal to meet up with five other Lanterns on the planet Tirama, in sector 1522, to address a problem there. (What, there's a problem in sector 1522? Naaaaah ...)
Hal arrives on Tirama, along with Kilowog, Katma Tui, Tomar-Re, Salaak, and the Green Man; “... not exactly a team of rookies.”
Kilowog tells everyone that Barin Char is dead, Char's ring hasn’t been passed on to a successor, and the planet Tirama appears to have an “infestation” of nasty critters: “Don’t know much about ‘em, ‘cause apparently anybody who comes into contact with ‘em don’t survive to tell about it.”
The six Lanterns find and enter the Alien tunnels, and proceed to express amazement and disgust over the H.R.Giger-inspired decor. They split up to search for Barin Char. Hal, of course, is the first to find Char’s body and ring -- and the first to encounter the opposition:
Needless to say, all hell breaks loose, with Aliens and Lanterns trying to pound/chomp/blast each other into molasses. When Hal gets caught by one Alien, Tomar-Re rushes to his aid ...
... and is rewarded with an Alien blood-acid shower:
“Awright,” yells Kilowog, “we wipe ‘em out!”
“NO!” Hal shouts. He whips up a huge green bubble that shields all of the Lanterns from the attacking Aliens. The Aliens can't hurt the Lanterns anymore -- but the Lanterns can't get to the Aliens, either.
At first, the other Lanterns think Hal is nuts, but then Hal explains his actions: “They’re deadly. They’re not intelligent in any fashion we measure it. They’re instinctual. There’s an Earthly species, the shark. Perfect killing machines. They are what they are, but they’re not evil. These things don’t strike me as being any different.” (Of course, Hal knows all about sharks, considering one of his most common opponents on Earth is the super-evolved Shark.)
“... what kind of heroes are you going to be?”
“Hal’s right,” says Kilowog. “We all know it.”
Hal, still being all noble, then proposes that they scoop up all the Aliens and their eggs and leave them someplace “uninhabited,” where “they’ll live their lives ... and not endanger anyone else’s.”
(Er ... If you really knew anything about Aliens, Hal, you would know that your idea is not such a good one. And did anyone think to ask how Mogo feels about all this?)
Ten years later, after Hal has become possessed by Parallax and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, a huge spacecraft is in trouble in space and has to make a crash landing. Surprise, surprise, the ship crashes on Mogo.
The scene shifts to Kyle Rayner’s apartment -- Kyle, the last of the Green Lanterns. Kyle is wrapping up the box art for a video game that appears to be inspired by Mars Attacks! (“I dunno who’s actually gonna buy a game this goofy ...”) When Kyle goes to get a cup of coffee, he encounters a Tomar in his kitchen:
Tomar-Dar steers Kyle toward the living room, which is full of former Green Lanterns: Salaak, Brik, Ash, and M’Dahna. (Yes, that's right -- M'Dahna. No word on whether or not she Vogues or is "like a virgin.")
(About Tomar-Dar: At this point in Green Lantern history, Tomar-Re is dead, and Tomar-Tu is missing/presumed dead. Tomar-Dar explains that he was next in line to become a Green Lantern, but the Corps was destroyed by Hal/Parallax before his chance. Hey, nice way for the creative team to sneak a Tomar into the story.)
Apparently, Salaak has learned of the ship crashing on Mogo. He feels that it’s the responsibility of the Green Lantern Corps to rescue the ship’s crew from the Aliens, even though the Corps is no more. And, of course, Salaak wants to enlist Kyle’s help since Kyle is the only active Lantern. Kyle agrees to help Salaak and the others, and he transports the whole group to Mogo.
At first, Salaak and Kyle really don’t see eye-to-eye:
Then they encounter a survivor of the ship crash:
The girl is surprised to see Kyle -- or any Green Lantern, for that matter. She tells the Lanterns that her name is Crowe and she’s first officer of the ship Signet Dawn. All thirty-eight members of her crew have been carried off by the Aliens, and she intends to rescue as many of them as she can. Kyle and the others agree to team up with her.
Crowe then leads everyone to a big, icky pit in the middle of the ship. However, the Aliens get the drop on them, quite literally:
In the melee that follows, Ash, Brik, M’Dahna, and Tomar all get carried off by the Aliens, and Kyle ends up losing his ring -- it falls off his finger right into the big, icky pit. After all, ya just can’t have a big Green Lantern battle royale unless the hero loses his ring, right?
Kyle tries to summon his ring, without success -- something appears to be stopping it from returning to him. Crowe and Salaak are determined to forge ahead regardless of the circumstances, but Kyle is reluctant to do so without a weapon. Crowe then hands Kyle a blaster and tries to give him a lesson in firing arms:
The lesson over, Crowe, Kyle, and Salaak climb into the pit. Salaak tells Kyle that being without a ring in situation like this “... is when one truly conquers fear.” During their downward climb, Salaak and Kyle discuss the merits of what they’re doing, and come to a grudgingly mutual respect for one another:
The trio arrives at the bottom of the pit and discover some of Crowe’s shipmates strung up in the walls, already dead due to having hosted baby Aliens. Then another crowd of Aliens attacks them. Salaak is carried off, but Kyle and Crowe manage to escape the attack.
Kyle and Crowe hurry through the tunnels in search of Salaak. They reach the opening of a huge chamber full of Aliens, where still more people are strung up in the walls, including all of the missing former Lanterns. They also spot Kyle’s ring, which is stuck to the ground via Alien slime and out of their reach unless they want to risk another Alien attack.
Crowe offers to create a diversion so Kyle can retrieve his ring. Kyle reluctantly agrees, though they both recognize that Crowe is unlikely to survive the attack.
With guns blasting, Crowe launches herself at the Aliens while Kyle dives for his ring. The Aliens fall for the diversion and make their way toward Crowe. To absolutely no surprise of longtime Aliens fans, Crowe turns out to be an android:
Kyle is about to grab his ring when an Alien face-hugger manages to grab him:
Kyle finally has his ring back, but the big momma Alien isn’t too happy with how he's treating her babies:
With his ring, Kyle succeeds in driving off the Aliens long enough to make his way back to Crowe. Crowe, still barely functioning, tells Kyle that he has to do what's necessary to remove the Alien threat.
Crowe ceases to function, and Kyle is the last man standing. He finally makes a tough decision about what to do with the Aliens:
Kyle wipes out the Aliens and then blacks out. When he comes to, he finds himself outside of the ship, where the survivors of the Alien encounter, including Tomar, M’Dahna, and a quarter of Crowe’s crew, have set up camp. (Of course, long-time Green Lantern readers know that Salaak, Brik, and Ash all survived as well -- perhaps Mogo had a hand in rescuing them.) Kyle regrets that he wasn’t able to save everyone, and regrets having to kill the Aliens. M’Dahna hastens to reassure him that he did the right thing:
Next up: Kyle cleans up one of Hal's messes in yet another comic book universe!