Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Lantern...starring in Action Comics Weekly #614

TITLE: Action Comics #614


COVER DATE: August 23, 1988


48 pages


This title was released back in the days when I was pretty much a full-fledged, card carrying Marvel zombie. Needless to say, I didn't have much use for an anthology title filled with a bunch of DC characters I had zero familiarity with.

I have since learned the error of my ways.

I bought this full run of Action Comics Weekly from a mail order company years ago, and while I read all of the Superman two-pagers contained within, I have yet to really read any of the other stories in any sort of a consistent fashion.

We're going in cold on this one again, with no prior knowledge of what happens. A lot has changed in my reading habits over the last 21 years, so at least I have knowledge of who everyone is in this issue. Maybe it's for the best that I never read them originally, as I'll be able to theoretically enjoy them more now.

Bring Me A Man
  • Writer: Peter David
  • Artist: Tod Smith
  • Colorist: Anthony Tollin
  • Letterer: Albert DeGuzman
  • Assistant Editor: Dan Raspler
  • Editor: Dennis O'Neil
The story opens up with a classic image of Abin Sur, lying near death in his crashed spaceship. Hal Jordan appears as a ghost-like wraith, watching the events the lead to his becoming chosen as the next Green Lantern of sector 2814.

Hal Jordan seems to be surprised to find himself in this situation, so I assume the set-up happened last issue. He questions aloud why he is seeing this, and the ring begins to explain to him the motivations that lead to his being chosen as Abin Sur's successor.

According to the ring, Abin Sur was confused and panicked, ignoring standard operating procedure by commanding the ring to bring him a man "totally without fear." Normally, this is the Guardian's job, but the ring followed the commands of a distraught Abin Sur.

In scanning the human race, it discovered a discouraging fact. It found that all humans have fears, with some being more deeply troubled than others.

The ring improvises, and decides to find a man with a "minimum" of fear, and go from there.

Looking at the image of the scanned humans, I can only imagine what would've been if the ring had chosen Geddy Lee, Lee Majors, or Lando Calrissian!

The ring finally narrows the scan down to Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. Since Hal is closer, he's the lucky guy.

Still, the ring is unsatisfied as Hal still has some minor fears. Apparently the fear of flying a "big boy" plane is first among them, as the ring finds Hal piloting what appears to be a kiddie ride at Ferris Air.

The ring's not too concerned, however, as it just reprograms Jordan's brain to make him truly without fear. Hmmm...that seems a bit on the extreme side to me.

We cut to Arisia, Hal's girlfriend at the time, excited to tell Hal her good news that she has found a job on Earth as a model. She's soon interrupted by a suicidal jumper on the ledge of the hotel in which they have been staying recently.

Inside the hotel, Hal has just finished telling his ring to revert him back to his original state before it messed with his brain patterns. The only problem is that Hal is not wearing Abin Sur's ring that performed the original procedure. His current ring says that he'll give it the old college try, but can't guarantee that he'll revert back to his original state.

Zombies? Who'd be silly enough to put zombies in a Green Lantern story?

The ring abides, just as Hal notices the jumper outside his window. Being the hero that he is, he leaps out the window to help. Unfortunately for him, he is now no longer without fear and the fact that he is now several hundred feet above the ground breaks his concentration and he falls, plummeting to the earth.

Proving that there's more to being a hero than just wearing the ring, Hal summons the strength of will to overcome his fear and manages to right himself and slowly works back up to the ledge with the jumper. Exhausted, he sits on the ledge to collect his wits, and to try and figure out just what to do next to save the kid when he can barely manage to save himself.

Hal doesn't have to worry too much, however, as the jumper has figured out Hal's secret plan all on his own. His shaky performance was all an act to show him that everyone gets scared, but the important thing is just to keep on going and to overcome. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Hal let's the jumper believe he was right. Learning his lesson, he decides to give life another try.

Hal is left alone on the ledge, resigning himself that he has to know work up the strength of will to attempt to move and get himself down from the ledge.


Before Geoff Johns re-imagined the concept of the Green Lantern side of the DCU, I had never really had that much invested into the character. I'm therefore at a bit of a loss to know whether the revelation about Hal's lobotomy from the ring was canon at the time, or if that was an aspect of this individual story that was further explained and dealt with in it's entirety in this story.

Irregardless, I don't like it. I don't like the fact that the ring altered the bearer to be without fear. Where's the willpower to overcome fear come from, if the ring just does all the work for you.

Peter David is a talented writer that I generally enjoy, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt without having read the entire story that he knew what he was doing and that there's more to the story.

I guess I'm just spoiled, as my "golden age" with the character of Green Lantern began with Green Lantern Rebirth. It's pretty much the gold standard for how to tell a long form, superhero epic. Everything else pales in comparison, so I guess it's unfair to hold an eight page story in an anthology title to the same standard.

Don't feel too bad for Peter David, however, as my "golden age" for Hulk begins and ends with his run. It honestly hasn't been the same since.

I don't look forward to the day when Geoff Johns finally calls it quits with Green Lantern...a blackest night indeed.

Up next...Phantom Stranger!

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics.

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Stay tuned for part 2 of our review, featuring a story with The Phantom Stranger!


  1. If I were Hal Jordan, I would have stayed fearless. But then again, I would have done that because I’d fear losing my fearlessness. But since he’s fearless, he’s too fearless to fear fear. So it makes sense that he would do something reckless like demand that the ring stop helping him be brave.

  2. I fear that your assessment is spot on, and I'm afraid I could not have said it better myself.

    Does that make me unworthy for a ring?