Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ten Green Lantern stories fans would like to forget

All Green Lantern fans have at least one story they absolutely loathe. However, fans rarely agree with one another. Some hate everything to do with Parallax, while others think Parallax is one of the best things to ever happen to Green Lantern. Some readers also dismiss the entire Silver Age as silly, while others find it naively charming. And, for many Green Lantern fans, don’t even MENTION Hal Jordan as the Spectre, or the death of Katma Tui, or the Millenium-related stories. The list of potential "Worst Ever Green-Lantern Stories" goes on and on.

However, there are a few Green Lantern stories that most fans agree they'd certainly like to forget. Here they are, not necessarily in any particular order:

1. Hal Jordan on Oprah. In need of a public relations overhaul, Hal (as Green Lantern) agrees to appear on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show after being nudged into doing so by Arisia. When Hal shows up on the show, Oprah and her audience start laughing at the notion that Hal is completely fearless. They claim that no man -- not even Hal -- can be without fear unless there's something seriously wrong with him. By the end of his appearance on the show, Hal actually begins to believe Oprah's audience and doubt himself. (Action Comics Weekly #608-609, 1988)

2. Arisia: “I’m just a kid!” One of the most controversial plotlines in Green Lantern history involves the alien Arisia. She starts off in the comics as a 13-year-old girl who causes herself to artificially mature due to her infatuation with Hal Jordan -- and Hal ends up reciprocating her affections. Though the storyline has been retconned to make it appear that Arisia is, in fact, older than Hal due to her home planet’s orbit, the controversy has yet to fade away. By far the most uncomfortable reminder of Arisia’s history involves Hal showing a group of Green Lantern rookies Arisia’s story in the book of Oa. Hal accidentally and PUBLICLY stumbles across the fact that, after breaking up with him, Arisia went a bit off the deep end due to their inappropriate relationship -- and due to getting konked in the head. (Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #1, 1992)

3. Coast City’s just been blown up, but Carol needs help with a family crisis. This is a story that even DC seems to be trying to forget ever happened. Immediately after Superman’s resurrection and the destruction of Coast City, Hal finds out that Carol Ferris is still alive. He’s completely overjoyed -- until Carol informs him that Tom Kalmaku and Green Arrow are missing, due to a weird personal problem involving Carol’s parents. Hal (who is still very beat up from his earlier encounter with Mongul) manages to find Ollie and Tom, and then Green Lantern and Green Arrow team up to take care of Carol’s little mess. The best thing about the story is that, for the very first time, Hal manages to intimidate the hell out of Ollie. In the very next issue, Hal begins his rampage toward Oa and toward becoming Parallax. (Green Lantern #47, 1993)

4. Hal Jordan and Kari Limbo at the alter. Upon the apparent demise of Guy Gardner, Hal goes to inform Guy’s fortune-teller girlfriend, Kari Limbo, of the tragedy. Not only do Hal and Kari strike up a relationship, Hal actually, eventually proposes marriage to Kari. When the two show up at the alter, though, the wedding is interrupted by Superman and by a problem involving the Phantom Zone. It turns out that, instead of being dead, Guy is trapped in the Phantom Zone. Hal helps to free him, and then Kari immediately calls off the wedding, claiming she always loved Guy more than Hal, anyway. (Green Lantern-Green Arrow #122, 1979)

5. Hal’s lobotomy. Worried after his encounter with Oprah Winfrey (see #1 on this list), Hal consults his ring regarding his fearlessness. Hal is informed that he’s fearless because the ring messed with his brain to MAKE him fearless when he first became Green Lantern. Horrified that his ring essentially lobotomized him, Hal orders it to switch his brain back to the way it was before. The ring does so -- and Hal turns out to be afraid of heights. (Action Comics Weekly #614, 1988)

6. Hippies and Shakespeare. After dousing himself (intentionally) with swimming pool water at a party, Green Lantern proceeds to do even more strange -- and downright goofy -- things, causing the Guardians to take his ring away from him. Green Lantern then becomes a distraught, unshaven bum who is taken in by a group of sympathetic hippies. He eventually learns he was duped (the pool water was contaminated) and manipulated by a gang of thugs led by Hector Hammond. Hal tracks the thugs to a theater where, still ringless, he manages to subdue them -- all the while reciting lines from Shakespeare. The Guardians then praise Hal for overcoming his problems and give him his ring back. (Green Lantern #64, 1968)

7. Ch’P becomes roadkill. Ch’P, an alien Green Lantern who resembles a squirrel or raccoon (depending on who's drawing him) actually has his life ended by being run over by a truck. (Green Lantern: Mosaic #2, 1992)

8. Itty kicks the bucket. Hal Jordan, for a time, has an alien companion called Itty. Itty (which initially appears semi-sentient and mute) resembles a small starfish (no relation to Starro) that travels around on Hal’s shoulder. Itty stops moving one day, and Hal determines the little creature must be dead. Itty is then given a funeral and buried in a rather large grave, complete with tombstone. Not long after Itty’s funeral, a huge, nasty, blobby monster appears. It destroys buildings and kills people by sucking the calcium out of them. Eventually, Hal figures out that the monster is actually Itty. Itty, it seems, has matured to a new form and needs the calcium to mature even further. After Itty tries to eat Green Arrow, Hal gives Itty all the calcium it wants, after which Itty reaches full maturity and leaves Earth. (Green Lantern-Green Arrow #104-106, 1978)

9. My, those Ungarans are a paranoid bunch. Out in space, Hal spots a big yellow comet headed toward Ungara, homeworld of his predecessor, Abin Sur. Hal wants to move the planet out of the comet’s way, and decides to warn the Ungarans before doing so. However, Hal has never visited Ungara before, and the Ungarans have no idea that Abin Sur is dead. When Hal tries to warn the Ungarans of the comet (which they can’t see because their moon is blocking the way), they immediately accuse Hal of MURDERING Abin Sur and stealing his ring and costume. The Ungarans attack Hal and beat him to a pulp -- and instantly regret doing so when the comet flies into view. Despite being beat up, Hal manages to save the extremely apologetic Ungarans by using their moon to smack the comet away from the planet -- all without somehow disastrously affecting the planet’s gravity. Hal then heads back to Earth to brag about his achievement to Green Arrow, Black Canary and Airwave, all of whom are preparing to take commercial flights home IN COSTUME -- despite the fact that Hal can fly them all home easily, and Airwave is perfectly capable of flying on his own. (Green Lantern-Green Arrow #107, 1978)

10. Superman was Abin Sur’s first pick. When Hal is dealt a potentially fatal blow, he attempts to do what his predecessor, Abin Sur, did and hand his power ring to his successor in person. To Hal’s surprise, not only does he find out that Superman was Abin Sur’s first pick (Abin Sur decides he wants an Earth man instead, and Superman recommends Hal), his ring summons a WHOLE BUNCH of potential Green Lantern candidates -- all proving that there was actually nothing terribly special about Hal being picked as a Green Lantern. Included amongst the ring’s picks are Dick Grayson and (for some reason) Guy Gardner (who already IS a Green Lantern). Luckily for Hal, he manages to stay alive and keep his ring. (Action Comics Weekly #642, 1989)


TF said...

The tiny alien body panel made me snorf my coffee

SallyP said...

I've actually found most of these to be hilarous, particularly the oe where Kari Limbo dumps Hal at the altar. I do admit that the whole underage thing with Arisia is a bit on the squicky side, but the one that I've always HATED, was number 10, where it appears that everyone and his dog was worthy of being a potential Green Lantern. Talk about sucking the specialness out of the process!

I prefer to just ignore that whole idea, and put it down to some brain-damaged hallucinations on Hal's part, brought about, no doubt by yet ANOTHER blow to the head.

FoldedSoup said...

Wait a minute... Egg Salad?!? Lemonade?!?

It's a TRAP!

TF said...

thus proving that Admiral Ackbar was secretly.. a Green lantern???

MetFanMac said...

Poor Ch'p :(

Who wrote that storyline anyway?

Sea_of_Green said...

Ch'P's death occured in the otherwise excellent series Green Lantern: Mosaic, written by Gerard Jones. Despite being critically acclaimed and having a loyal following, the series was cancelled after only 18 issues. I've always felt that the tasteless way that Ch'P died is one of the reasons why the book was ultimately doomed. A LOT of people just couldn't get past the Ch'P story.

Servo said...

Sea -

Thanks for doing this post!

I have been reading your archives, so I know this is a little late of a response and all.

I remain a huge Green Lantern fan, and so many of these storylines ring so true as awful for the Green Lantern mythos.

I especially loathed GL stories when he was in Action Comics Weekly (#1,2,5,& 10). I always thought it was just something I had a fix on...that I wasn't hep to the "comics must dark and serious" trend that was emerging at the time. Thanks for showing me I wasn't alone in hating it.

To me, the "Coast City blown up/Hal goes Crazy/Parallax" phase wasn't the start of DC destroying Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

It was the mercy kill after the Action Comics phase where they neutered him. Ugh!

Eyz said...

Awww...poor Ch'p... :(

And Dick Grayson!Green know what?... I could really imagine this :D