Friday, January 15, 2010

Green Lantern #75

Green Lantern #75 (On Sale: January 15, 1970) has a cover by Gil Kane, the last of these we will see for a while.

This issue features "The Golden Obelisk of Qward" by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella and this is the last pure Green Lantern story we will have for a few years as big changes, and I think we all know what those are, are coming next issue.

After a sales meeting Hal Jordan was supposed to have a date with Olivia Reynolds (last seen in Flash #191) but when she doesn't show Hal switches to Green Lantern and finds her in the hospital with some mysterious illness. Hal tries to cure her using his ring, but it is unable to get through to her but does pick up some strange molecular distortion leading towards her. Against his better judgment Hal takes Olivia's doctor with him as he searches back along the line of distortion as it leads to a dimensional aperture that leads to the anti-matter universe of Qward.

The doctor is tow, Green Lantern traverses the barrier to Qward where they are met by a patrol of the Weaponers of Qward. Hal makes quick work of them, but a second patrol gets the better of him. Only the quick action of a member of the resistance movement saves Hal and the doc. Hal surmises that the Weaponers are zeroing in on them each time he uses his ring, so they hoof it instead and eventually find some wandering troubadours who they overcome and from whom they steal their clothes and instruments as disguises.

Quick bursts of ring power keep them on the right track, which ends up being the city of Qwardeen, where everyone seems to be heading for the great town square where the Chief Weaponer, Kimon has promised to open the fabled obelisk of Rengan the Abominable and reveal the secret he left for a worthy follower to find. Many have tried to open the obelisk over the years, but all have failed, but Kimon has a captive who will assist in opening the monument: Olivia Reynolds!

Hal then realizes that Olivia's illness must have been the pre-teleportation effect as the Qwardians zeroed in on Olivia. Using the force of Olivia's mind Kimon crushes the obelisk, only to find it empty. A recording by Rengan explains that the real treasure were the advances in scientific discovery which stemmed from the efforts to open the obelisk. Hal, doc and Olivia return to our positive-matter universe and Olivia recovers. Hal also sees that she remembers nothing of what happened as she must never know of her own great mental powers.

As Hal recharges his ring he realizes that the power of Olivia's mind is so great it could be used to destroy him. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Green Lantern Vol. 4 TPB.

The letter page has letters from two of my favorite writers back when they were just fans: Mark Verheiden and Alan Brennert.

This issue, for all intents and purposes, marks the end of one of the most honored careers in comics as, except for a most likely inventory Doctor Mid-Nite story in 1972 and an obvious inventory Flash story in 1976, this is the last DC comic written by John Broome, a guy whose career at DC started in 1946 writing the Golden Age Flash, Sargon the Sorcerer and Green Lantern.

I am kind of overwhelmed here in trying to put John's career into a few paragraphs. John Broome started as a science-fiction writer represented by Julius Schwartz, but he soon found his way to comics. He started at Fawcett where he wrote everything from Lance O'Casey to Captain Marvel, but it was at DC that John Broome bloomed.

Besides the afore-mentioned strips, John wrote Hawkman, The Justice Society of America, Ghost Patrol, the Vigilante, Foley of the Fighting Fifth, Jimmy Wakely, Big Town, Captain Comet, Superboy, Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog, The Phantom Stranger, The Flash (from Showcase #4 onward), Detective Chimp, Hopalong Cassidy, Adventures of Charlie Chan, Green Lantern (from his origin in Showcase #22 on), Kid Flash, Star Hawkins, the Atomic Knights, Batman, The Elongated Man, and dozens of science-fiction stories for Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures. He wrote more than 800 stories for DC in all. and he did it while traveling the world.

John left DC about the same time they were kicking all the old-school writers out, but John actually left on his own accord, having tired of the business. He eventually moved to Tokyo where he taught English. He returned to the states in 1998 to attend the San Diego Comic-Con, and you can find a portion of a panel from that con honoring John on Mark Evanier's site. It was one I sorely missed. John Broome died less than a year later, in March 1999,

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

1 comment:

John Minehan said...

What a solid book to leave the industry on. Broome was the master of off-handed characterization and his Hal Jordan/Green Lantern was always what some one who was totally honest and totally with out fear would be: a capable man, but a bit of a romantic tilting at windmills, like trying to re-make Horace Tolliver or in GL# 69, going on the quest back to the alien "student rebels" world.

Does anyone know where the song that Hal Jordan sings ("Rivers of silver lakes of gold/Mow the story can be told . . . .) comes from?