Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 2
Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 2 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 1-4012-1264-6
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2007
  • English language release date: Black and white
  • UPC: 9781401212643
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

This superb collection kicks off with the Emerald Crusader entering his fourth year and continues to his sixth. In 1963 the concept of the superhero was firmly re-established among the buying public and there was no shortage of gaudily clad competition. The better series survived by having something a little “extra”. With Green Lantern that was primarily the superb scripts of John Broome and Gardner Fox and the astounding drawing of Gil Kane, but the concept itself was also a provider of boundless opportunity.

Other heroes had extraterrestrial, other-dimensional and even trans-temporal adventures, but the valiant champion of this series is also a cop: a lawman working for the biggest police force in the entire universe. It’s reinforced over a succession of interplanetary thrillers, and it’s also notable that costumed villains are third choice in a writer’s armoury. Back then clever bad-guys and aliens always seemed more believable to the creators, and it’s the crimes spotlighted more than the criminals.

However, in this selection more villains appear. Sonar, Hector Hammond, Star Sapphire and, of course, Sinestro return, and there’s the introduction of Doctor Polaris, the Tattooed Man, future Suicide Squad star the Shark, and Black Hand. Two Flash team-ups also feature, but there’s still room for the offbeat, such as Broome engineering a startling duel when hobo Bill Baggett takes control of the Green Ring, necessitating a literal battle of wills for its power.

Meanwhile Kane’s incredibly animated art transformed how action comics were drawn. His dynamic anatomy and deft page design matures with every page here, best as inked by Murphy Anderson or Sid Greene. It’s also arguable that the black and white Showcase format better represents his talent than the same stories in colour as seen in Green Lantern Archives Volumes 3, 4, and 5. Or indeed the paperback equivalents titled Green Lantern: The Silver Age.

One stand out? ‘Star Sapphire unmasks Green Lantern!’ is a witty cracker from Fox as Hal Jordan’s girlfriend Carol Ferris is once more transformed into an alien queen determined to beat him into marital submission. By the end of this selection Fox is temporarily the sole writer, Broome bowing out with a tense thriller featuring all three Jordan brothers, Tom Kalmaku and an evil scientist attempting to blackmail the city with a threat of lethal radiation.

A form of crossover is notable. Having been defeated by the Justice League of America, nefarious villain Dr. Light decides to pick off his enemies one by one. He reaches GL, but here too he gets a damned good thrashing.

This terrific volume concludes with ‘The Elixir of Immortality!’ as criminal mastermind Keith Kenyon absorbs a gold-based serum to become a veritable superman. He might be immune to Ring Energy (which can’t affect anything yellow, as eny fule kno), but eventually our hero’s flashing fists brings him low. It’s notable that under Fox physical combat gradually overtakes ring magic. Still, these stories changed comics storytelling forever and they’re still some of the most entertaining and mesmerising reads in all superhero fiction.