This is the same introduction I posted when I posted my comic book review for Green Lantern v3 01-08 and Green Lantern v3 09-12. I left the introduction because I think it’s important to show where I’m at with the reading so far, which means understanding why I’m reading these and what kind of background (or lack thereof) that I have with the Green Lantern storyline.
I’ve recently started reading some comic books from the 1990s, and I started with the reboot of Green Lantern which started in June 1990. These comics actually came out while I was an avid comic book fan, but my tastes back then tended more towards the Marvel Universe and the X-Men series. Just over two years ago, a very good friend of mine introduced me to the Green Lantern universe. She was so adamantly passionate about Green Lantern that I started reading some of the later Green Lanterns and we watched the Green Lantern animated series on Thanksgiving of 2013.
There’s a lot going on in my life right now, but I found some of the comic books from the reboot of the Green Lantern series in 1990. I’ve been spending some time reading those and it’s been a really good experience.
As I begin my reading journey of these classic comic books, I have to say that I only have a very rudimentary knowledge of the Green Lantern and DC Comics Universe in general. I know that the Green Lanterns have rings they receive from little blue guys and that their rings can be used to do anything their imaginations can think of, so long as their rings are charged from their lantern every 24 hours. Their rings are powered by Will power, which means that they have to have the will to do what is required to solve their issues.
In my previous readings, I learned that Oa is the home planet of the Guardians who are the little blue guys that give people their rings. They apparently left on some journey to meet with their female counterparts and the one left in this universe/galaxy/whatever went stark raving mad and pulled a bunch of places from all over the universe to his planet so he wouldn’t be lonely. But they’re back now and working to repair the damage to the Green Lantern battery and they have a whole bunch of random cities from all over the galaxy that are held on Oa.
Issue 13 is dated June 1991 and is a double-sized spectacular, including all three of the Green Lanterns: Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner. This issue starts with Guy Gardner in a state of depression. His internal thought bubble on the second page says, “Can’t seem to get excited about anything all of a sudden. And it bugs me.” I continue to be impressed with the level of social consciousness these older comic books demonstrated. While no one back in the 1990s would have said that Guy Gardner is depressed, he is clearly dealing with depression, as one of the symptoms is not getting any enjoyment out of normal things. He decides that he needs a fight in order to make himself feel better so he picks Kila in order to get a good fight out of someone he respects who he knows will be a fairly even match and who he can’t hurt. He then feels better, especially when he decides to leave Gnort out to dry. This all really just continues to make it harder for me to like Guy Gardner at all, but I understand what kind of character arch the writer(s) are likely going for with this.
Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is teaching fighting techniques to the new Green Lantern recruits he’s found so far. And a lot of this storyline is characters boosting Hal’s ego while he attempts to dissuade them from doing exactly that. Hal also has to deal with the different methods other cultures (in this case, alien races) deal with conflict. He starts running into questions concerning the Guardians and their motives and whether it’s best to follow orders or do what is perceived to be right. There are also questions about the “greater good” and what saving the galaxy really means. But one of the things that bothers me about Hal’s character arch and these comic books in general is that every.single.female character, regardless of planetary origin, has to be or have a romantic interest of some sort. Out of the three recruits Hal is training in this issue, the female one, Brik, is the one that appears to be the most impacted by Hal’s faked death during training and the two “male” recruits are the ones who talk about the good of the Corps and duty. Again, I could go on a rant for days about sexism in comic books, but I still don’t have the energy for it.
The story then moves to John Stewart as he attempts to build a cohesive group out of a scattering of different cities and cultures from all across the galaxy who all just want to go home. The Guardians are using John as an experiment in every way. He is the first to attempt to charge his ring off the central battery and it goes less well than it should have. John keeps trying to push the Guardians to work harder on getting all the various people and cities back to their original worlds, but the Guardians are dragging their feet and John just sort of rolls with it.
Guy and Hal show up on Oa and Guy starts talking about the attractiveness of Brik and it makes me annoyed at the sexism in comic books all over again.
Just because I understand why the characters are written the way they are doesn’t actually make me like them better, just to be clear.
Overall, I’m happy to be reading these comic books and I would probably rate issue 13 as a two on my rating scale. None of the Green Lantern characters are endearing themselves to me in any way.