Into the back issue box #35

I really would love to do these each weekend.  Those confounded kids, monopolizing my time!  Who do they think they are, consarnit?  (Plus, you know, college and pro football is on.  I have priorities, people!)

This time around - BKV and Cary Nord!  Comic book gold, right?  Well, read on!

As always, check out what I'm doing with these posts here.  With the time in between these posts, you may have forgotten!

Green Lantern and Adam Strange #1 ("We Rann All Night")* by Brian K. Vaughan, Cary Nord, and Mark Lipka.  Published by DC, October 2000.


You have to love DC.  Here's a nominal crossover that, to be sure, advertises itself at the bottom of the cover as being part of "Green Lantern: Circle of Fire," but is listed as a #1 issue and doesn't explain that it's part of a crossover until the final page, when the covers and a brief description of each of the six issues is offered.  So if you just happen to pick this up and think it's a brand new #1 issue and therefore you're safe, you first get angry that it's not, and then DC says, "Hey, you?  Puzzled?  Well, that's because this is all part of an poorly-advertised crossover and you really ought to buy five other issues!  Ha, ha, sucker!"  And people wonder why the Big Two aren't drawing in new readers ...

Beyond that, how is the issue in intriguing newcomers?  Well, it's not ... completely awful.  We begin on the moon, in a big tower (it's the JLA Watchtower, but we never learn that in the issue).  Adam Strange (whose name we learn on the first page, which is helpful, even though his name is on the cover) is talking to a woman named Green Lightning.  She is bald and wearing a silver suit with a green lightning flash on the front.  She also has wings on the costume that cover her ears.  She looks, frankly, goofy.  But onward we forge!  Adam Strange says that his planet needs him but there's nothing he can do.  We learn that by "planet" he means Rann, which is 25 trillion miles away.  GodDAMN, that's far!  Green Lightning points out that the Justice League has spaceships, but Adam says they can't "endure" the trip to Rann, and the only way he can get there is with the Zeta-Ray, a teleportation beam.  The next beam is scheduled to hit New Zealand in two minutes, and the JLA transport tubes can only get him as far as Mexico.  (Why does Mexico have a transport tube and not New Zealand?  What the hell is wrong with New Zealand?  I once jumped off a platform in New Zealand with a big rubber band around my ankles.  Speaking of which, if you haven't been bungee jumping, man, it's awesome.  Seriously.  Scary as all shit, but awesome.  Find some bridge somewhere and take a leap.  You won't be sorry.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, New Zealand.  What a cool country.  On the east coast is the town of Napier, the architecture of which is almost completely art deco.  How cool.  So why no transport tube for NZ?  I think it's because the JLA is helping illegal immigrants sneak into this country using the transport tubes.  Man, that would be a cool comic - the JLA vs. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County's hard-ass cop!  Make it happen, Dan DiDio!)  Anyway, Green Lightning doesn't see this as a problem, because she's, you know, really really fast.  So she gets Adam to the Zeta-Ray in time, and the two heroes are off to Rann!  Yay!


Adam isn't happy when he arrives.  The city is ravaged by war, and he blames himself for abandoning them when they needed him.  He says that someone called "Oblivion" has crippled them, but Green Lightning looks around and notices that the Rannians are destroying the city themselves in a vicious civil war.  Adam says they just signed a treaty, but Green Lightning tells him that "Kyle" (whoever he is) mentioned that when Oblivion first appeared in his comic book, he caused the residents of a "nearby" planet (25 trillion miles is nearby in cosmic terms, I guess) to go insane.  Adam dismisses that because he saw Oblivion, but she points out that he's not really a resident.  He blusters that he is, but as we'll see, that's not exactly true.  He suddenly remembers his wife and daughter.  Oops!


Green Lightning takes him to Alanna's apartment, and he puts a new translator in because she's speaking Rannian.  She chastizes him for not knowing their native language.  Of course, she chastizes him by taking his gun, pointing at him, and saying, "You never have fit in here, alien!"  But she has a point.  Adam has lived there for years, at least long enough for his kid to grow up a bit, and he's never learned the damned language?  Testify, Alanna!  Of course, because she's a dutiful wife, she's only standing up to him because she's addled in the pate.  If she hadn't been messed with by Oblivion, she would have just said, "Oh, Adam - I don't care that you never learned our language!  You're just so dreamy with that little fin on your helmet!"  Adam tries to talk her down, getting the fact that their daughter is on Thanagar for some festival, before Alanna fires at him.  Luckily, Green Lightning zips him away, and when he tells her to use her ring to subdue her, she says she can't do it.  He decides to retreat to a wild spot on the planet where the Rannians fear to go.  Adam pushed all the monsters on the planet to this area, and the Rannians are scared of it.  Then he asks her what happened with her ring.  She explains that her mother is the Flash and her father was a Green Lantern before he died, and he passed the ring to her.  The "Rayner" side of the family wants her to be a GL, while the "West" side wants her to be a speedster.  According to her, a mental block means she can only use one power per day because she has trouble living up to both legacies.  Man, what a wuss!  But it explains some things, although we still don't know much about her.  From one thing she says later, we can guess that she's from the future, but we never find out what she's doing in our time.  Oh well.


Adam whines a bit that Alanna was right and he doesn't belong on Rann, because the people still think of him as primitive.  He's the "big lug who does the dirty work" that the Rannians are too smart to bother with.  As he's whining, someone might wonder, "Will Adam get a chance to prove he's a big hero?  Will Green Lightning get a chance to prove that she can use both her powers at the same time?"  Well, Vaughan must have read his Chekhov, because just as Adam's whining reaches a self-pitying peak, a giant cat-thing with what look like dragon paws and wings appears.  Oh dear.  Adam, shut up and fight!  Oh, wait, Alanna stole your gun!  Crap!  How can he fight the giant flying cat-dragon?  By throwing his jet pack into its mouth and counting on Green Lightning to save him!  This works out spectacularly well, and Green Lightning offers him some validation by telling him what a brave thing he just did.  They try to puzzle out why only Rannians are affected, and Adam has a brainstorm: Rannians can see just outside the visible spectrum, which might have something to do with it (he also mentions that Rannians have no body hair, which I guess means the head is not part of your body, because Alanna has a sexy head of black hair, and I just think it would be way cooler if Rannians had no hair at all - would Adam still find Alanna foxy, or would he, like Ross when he ditched Christine Taylor to go back to Rachel just because she shaved her head even though she was crazy in the sack and wasn't crazy elsewhere, like Rachel, ditch Alanna for someone with hair back on Earth even though Alanna wears a low-cut shirt and has a nice rack?).  He asks Green Lightning to increase her rate of perceptions to see things she normally wouldn't, and she spots emissions that are causing the madness.  They track them to a cave, where they discover ... a big green lantern.  Man, I hate when that happens.


Adam is confused because "Kyle" is the only person with a ring, and the lantern is a "ring construct."  Green Lightning explains that in Adam's time, he's the only Green Lantern, but in her time, there are new ones.  She wonders if Oblivion is a traitor in their ranks.  Adam theorizes that if Green Lightning runs at "near-light speeds," she could "bend [her] ring's waves to counteract" the lantern's crazy-making effects.  I'm not even touching the science!  She points out that it would require her to use both her powers at the same time!!!!  I'm shocked that that little plot point came back into prominence!  So Green Lightning tries it, and lo and behold! it works!  Everyone stops being crazy and Alanna is ready for some sweet, sweet Earth-man lovin'.  However, Kyle calls Green Lightning on her ring, tells them that he thinks they've found Oblivion, and he's on what's left of the planet Oa.  Apparently this is significant, because Green Lightning sees this as proof that he's a Green Lantern.  She and Adam fly off, with Alanna's blessing, to continue the adventure.  The story is "concluded in the second bookend of Green Lantern: Circle of Fire.  I know I can't wait!


Well, there's quite a bit going on in this issue, and it's not bad in terms of entertainment - Vaughan keeps the simplistic story moving, and Nord does a good job with Adam and the action, although both Green Lightning and Alanna are a bit slinky, which works for his women in, say, Conan, where the women tend to be slinky, but it seems a little out of context in this comic.  Green Lightning is always standing in poses where her breasts are sticking out or her hips are thrust weirdly sideways.  Where the story breaks down, of course, is the fact that it's a mainstream DC book, plus it's part of a (admittedly unadvertised) crossover, so we're expected to know quite a lot.  Vaughan gives us plenty of hints about Kyle and his role in this, but we have no idea where Green Lightning comes from, why Adam Strange is even in this issue (yes, he needs to get to Rann, but why is he even involved in the whole "Hunt for Oblivion" thing?), or what the entire plot has to do with Oblivion.  Why does he drive the Rannians insane?  It's the whole "He comes from a comic in which he drove some aliens nuts," but that seems a bit random.  I assume the idea of Green Lightning having two legacies to live up to is brought up again and Adam will prove that he's a "real hero," but that doesn't seem enough to base an entire comic on.  As a part of a crossover, it might work, but it doesn't really stand on its own as a single issue.


I don't remember this whole story at all.  I seem to recall seeing some of the issues on the shelves, but as I have rarely ever read Green Lantern, this thing passed me by.  I'm sure someone out there can tell us all if this entire story arc was worth the trouble, and what the heck Green Lightning and Adam Strange are doing in the entire grand scheme.  It's kind of fun, years after the fact, to look at who works on these book.  This is before Vaughan became a big name, Pete Woods drew the issue with Power Girl and the Emerald Knight (Kara has that great yellow and white costume that she had for a few years, before everyone whined for the hole over her breasts to come back), and Jay Faerber wrote the G. L. Manhunter and Firestorm issue.  Cool.  So what's the deal, Kyle Rayner lovers?  Was this story any good?

*Man, that's a bad pun.

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