Thursday, July 17, 2008

BrainTrust vs. "brain trusts" (Green Lantern-Green Arrow #101)

It’s time to take a break from picking on the Justice League, and instead pick on my two favorite green-clad boneheads, Hal and Ollie, and their adventure in Green Lantern-Green Arrow #101: “The Big BrainTrust Boom” (1978).

The tale begins in a dark alley in Star City, where Green Arrow and Black Canary are beating up a gang of thugs and exchanging banter. Of course, the two succeed in defeating the bad guys. However, when the cops show up, Green Arrow takes off and leaves Dinah behind to finish things up. It seems he has to catch a plane for a business meeting in Coast City.

(Attention, Black Canary -- DO NOT let Ollie go to Coast City! You KNOW he’s only going to hook up with Hal Jordan -- and then the two of them are gonna go do something boneheaded and get into all sorts of trouble that they WOULDN’T get into with you around. Don’t let Ollie ditch you like that! DON’T!)

(*Sigh.* Oh, well. I tried.)

Actually, Ollie really does need to attend the business meeting. He hasn’t been spending a lot of time drumming up clients for his public relations business: “I’ve got to convince a new firm that I should handle their advertising or it’ll be slum city for me -- again!”

(Actually, advertising and public relations are two different things, Ollie -- but, never mind.)

Oh, and it appears that, yes indeed, Ollie is anticipating meeting up with Hal: “--and where HE is, TROUBLE is!”

Boy, you aren’t kidding, Ollie. (See, Black Canary? I warned you!)

Meanwhile, in Coast City, Hal is at a local pub, having a beer and feeling slightly ticked. He was supposed to meet his brother Jim for dinner, but Jim bailed at the last minute. Not only that, there’s a drunk guy at the bar who keeps complaining to Hal about his kid.

Oh, no! Hector Hammond -- that immobile-but-very-dangerous-and-brilliant telepath with an oversized brain pan -- is out of prison! Hal has been out in space for a while (literally and figuratively), so this is news to him. After ducking out of the restaurant, he switches to his Green Lantern garb and flies to the prison, to get in a (losing) argument with the warden.

(Hey, Ollie -- Didn’t you notice that the bearded guy’s hair looks an awful lot like Hal’s? No? Oh, well. I guess Ollie isn’t exactly known for his detective skills, is he?)

Ollie enters the office for his meeting, only to find out that someone else beat him to the punch.

Well, Ollie never did take rejection well. He confronts the manager, a guy named Baggins. The two nearly get into a fist fight until some security guards pick up Ollie, AND --

So, what does Ollie do next? Why, call Hal, of course! Boneheads reunited! Ohhh, Black Canary, where ARE you?!

Both Ollie and Hal decide that Hal’s problem is much more interesting. So, Ollie takes off to go learn more about Hammond’s cult, while Hal goes to investigate BrainTrust, Inc. And investigate it he does -- by breaking into their offices. (And THAT, boys and girls, is why super-heroes are often called vigilantes.)

Just as Hal finds out that BrainTrust is contributing an awful lot of dough to Hammond’s cult (“Spark of Divinity”), he gets attacked by ... a guy in old-lady drag?

Now, it REALLY becomes apparent that Black Canary isn’t around to keep the boys in check, when Hal says things like this:

Shame on you, Hal. If Dinah heard that, she’d kick your ass.

More bad guys, dressed as guards, run into the office. No problem for Green Lantern, right? WRONG.

While Hal fights to breathe, the bad guys start pummeling him. Just when it looks like Hal is going to lose the fight, he manages to gain enough control over his ring to dissolve the noose. Finally able to breathe again, but not trusting his ring to work properly, Hal decides to abandon the fight. He manages to escape the bad guys and run out of the building.

As Hal vacates the premises, though, the leader of the bad guys shows up. It’s Baggins, the guy who threw Ollie out of his office earlier: "Good thing I was nearby, or he would've torn your men apart! Double the guard!"

Hmmmmm ...

Meanwhile, Ollie is attending a cult meeting.

Disgusted, Ollie leaves and heads back to his hotel room. There he finds Green Lantern passed out on the floor(!) -- apparently hurt worse than he thought from his battle with the BrainTrust guys. Not to worry, though -- Hal recovers quickly enough.

(And, Holy Hannah, Hal and Jim must get their clothes from the same tailor -- who apparently only uses one style of fabric. Anyway ...)

Jim, Susan, little Howard, Ollie, and “Unka Hal” all sit down to dinner and talk about Jim’s new employer -- BrainTrust, Inc. Apparently, BrainTrust is a real mover and shaker that’s hiring all sorts of experts in various fields from all over the world. Susan also happens to know that BrainTrust runs the “Spark of Divinity” mission.

Oh, Ollie, you are SUCH a troublemaker.

SO, now Hal is mad because Ollie almost gave away his secret identity AND Hal was beat up by a guy in drag for information that Sue already had. However, our boys eventually laugh things off and (after taking care of “a few things”) decide to go back to the cult headquarters to find “something to explain Hammond’s link with BrainTrust.” Especially since Hal is convinced that (gasp!) Hammond is the reason why his ring turned against him. (Oh, you think?)

Sure enough, Hal and Ollie stumble across Hector Hammond, who's meeting with ... Baggins! And, whaddaya know, Hal was right about Hammond and his ring.

“-- just as I’ve manipulated the world leaders who’ve come to BrainTrust for advice! Even the finest minds cannot resist me!”

Mwaaaa, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa!

To make matters worse, Hal recognizes Baggins. Turns out he’s actually a guy named Bill Baggett, who fought Hal before.

Hal and Ollie are captured and made immobile by Hammond’s power. Ollie, of course, can’t shut up, and starts pissing off Baggett/Baggins by calling him “Bilbo of BrainTrust.”

Ollie then turns his attention to Hammond and gets him to monologue about his evil scheme: “I wanted to see how far people could be led! The answer is -- far indeed! As you will see, when I establish control over every world power! The task will require at least twenty-five years -- but what is time to an immortal?”

Yeah, especially when he has his own pet Green Lantern and pet Green Arrow to watch his schemes unfold!

However ...

Hal pulls his favorite macho trick of removing his power ring before fighting with the bad guy.

And, of course, Hal just HAD slip in a green boxing glove for good measure.

Hardee-hardee-har-har-har. Oh, you guys are SUCH cards. When Black Canary hears about this, she’ll definitely be glad she wasn’t around.

Oh, and I guess Ollie is now broke again. So much for drumming up some public relations business!

Written by Frank McGinty; drawn by Alex Saviuk


SallyP said...

Heehee! Oh those two get up to SUCH shenanigans together. Dinah is just glad to be at home soaking in a bubblebath and reading trashy romances.

This was back in the good old days when anybody apparently could use a Green Lantern ring. I think I prefer it the way that it is nowadays.

Oh, and the look that Hal is giving Sue is just hilarious. Poor Jim FINALLY convinced her that he isn't Green Lantern.

Sea_of_Green said...

I've always wondered just HOW Susan reacted when she first learned that it was HAL who was Green Lantern -- the comics have never shown just when Jim and his family found out about Hal (someone probably told them after Hal died).