A Tribute to the of

I follow Todd Klein's blog pretty faithfully and he continues to read the new material from DC, though I suspect it*s due in large part to the fact that he gets comp copies and he obviously approaches things from a professional*s viewpoint with greater insights into the craft of storytelling in a sequential art format, but I confess when I saw the cover he displays to his review of Green Lantern #13 http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=22280 all I could think of was, "What? He looks like a bad version of a pro wrestler in Nacho Libre. Is this how far my beloved Green Lantern has fallen?"

Obviously it was time to dig out a good old Silver Age GL story and I think I found a good one in "Thoroughly Modern Mayhem!" The story, written courtesy of Mike Friedrich with art by Gil Kane and Sid Greene, both cover and interiors and edited by Julie Schwartz was published in the June 1968 issue, #61. As you can see on that dramatic cover, our guest hero is none other than Earth-2's Green Lantern from the Golden Age, Alan Scott.

The action begins immediately on the splash as the two GL's close in on Captain Challenge. There is a small bit of ring-wielding, but for the heavy lifting, each Green Lantern use their dukes to put away the Earth-2 criminal. After depositing him at the local police precinct, Hal Jordan gets a distress call that takes him away while Alan Scott returns to his Earth and his civilian identity as president of the Gotham Broadcast Company. Scott is hoping for a little respite, but he no sooner sets foot in the office when pandemonium breaks loose as two of his employees are having an altercation. Right on the heels of the fracas, Alan receives word that there's trouble in town as a robbery has taken place. With that, Green Lantern is again on the job, delivering blows to chins left and right and even catching up to thieves using a panel van embellished with "Kane's Kareful Karting."

The pace remains relentless and our hero is all but exhausted after the long day and night of crime-fighting when he gets yet another distress signal via his ring that Bruce Wayne's mansion is being intruded upon. You wouldn't think Gotham City would have room for two major heroes, but this is Earth-2… At any rate, GL had purposely set up a burglar alarm as he knew Bruce would be out of town and Dick Grayson had already moved out. Shortly after arrival at Wayne Manor, Scott discovers the thief, but just as he's about to put matters to rest he learns his power ring has lost its charge. It's back to fisticuffs and while he suffers a glancing blow to the head, Alan athletically subdues his foe and heads for home.

A bone-weary hero enters his home and ponders what would have happened if he'd been killed. He feels that even Dr. Fate and the Spectre would be stretched to the breaking point without his aid. His thoughts reveal that he'd once considered ordering his mighty ring to eliminate all evil in the world, but he hadn't acted on the notion. Alan Scott turns on the radio in hopes of relaxing and being distracted from his negative frame of mind when a news bulletin begins to issue the standard litany of ills such as the death toll in Vietnam, hostilities in the Middle East and rioting in Detroit. Just then he notices that he himself has been robbed.

Something snaps in our hero. He has reached his limit and his breaking point and he vows to the heavens that he will now take decisive action. Bringing the famed power ring to full charge and uttering part of a classic but different oath ("…and I shall shed my light over dark evil—for the dark things cannot stand the light of Green Lantern!"), a crazed-looking Green Lantern all but screams "Power Ring—I order you to get rid of all evil on earth that is plaguing mankind!"

In the next incredible moment, Alan Scott sees himself fading from existence, along with the rest of the population. His power ring drops to the floor and Part I ends.

Part II takes us to Earth-1, where Hal Jordan is returning from his mission in space and he notices something odd on the desert Salt Flats in Utah. Flying in for a closer inspection, GL notes that it is wall to wall people in suspended animation and somehow he is able to determine that while they are of earth, it's not of this earth.

Following a hunch, Hal quickly makes his way to Earth-2 and discovers it is completely bereft of human life, but he can detect no threat that would have caused a mass exodus. His power ring leads him to Alan Scott's apartment, where he finds his colleague's own power ring. He retrieves it and returns to his earth, collects Alan Scott from the Salt Flats and revives his fellow GL to get to the bottom of things.

Alan Scott is nearly inconsolable as he reports that he has failed. He didn't take into account that human nature inevitably contains some evil, no matter how small, and that his rash command to his ring left it no choice but to exile the entire race elsewhere, including himself, sans the ring. Hal tells Alan that he must not give in to discouragement, ever. While he may not be able to solve all the world's ills on a macro level, he can still make a difference. With that, the Green Lanterns of two worlds merge the power of their rings to restore things on Earth-2. They then travel there to try to do some good. Alan goes in civilian attire to visit the hospital and his employee, while Hal decides to investigate the crime wave that seems to be washing over everything.

Then, Hal intercepts a broadcast that leads him to the hospital where Alan had gone. When Jordan arrives, he finds Scott knocking some men out. Without further explanation, Alan instructs Hal to follow him and soon the Green Lantern of Earth- 2 is back in costume and demanding to know the whereabouts of Johnny Halliday at Gotham Broadcasting. When he locates him it's yet another terrific kayo and then comes explanation time.

Alan recounts to Hal that he'd been visiting his injured employee, Tom Saunders, when two other station employees arrived at Saunders' room bearing weapons. They recognize Scott and admit that Johnny Halliday has been responsible for the recent crime wave, using his connections at the station and then letting them know where police will be so that they can commit their robberies elsewhere. Scott had leapt into action on the spot, which was where Hal had discovered him a few moments before, mopping up the henchmen before confronting the instigator.

Feeling better about things overall, especially now that the Gotham City crime wave seems to have been solved, this adventure comes to a close.

While I found Friedrich's story a little hard to follow at places, it was still a more than enjoyable read. Gil Kane's panel work is very strong and it's always a joy to see a crossover story involving the Golden Age counterparts, which tended to be a signature feature of DC's Silver Age. I'll give this one an 8-point rating.

Happy New Year to all! Here at the Silver Lantern, we eagerly look forward to more "silver mining" and exploration in the era we so enjoy and indeed enjoy sharing with you, our readers. Stay tuned, because there is more to come and as usual, if there are questions, comments or suggestions, fire away to professor_the@hotmail.com.

Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!

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