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Hand that man some Gatorade! – Green Lantern #65

April 11, 2010

This one is a case where the story inside just doesn’t live up to the well-conceived cover hype.  To boil it down …

Doctor Neal Emerson, the human and nice guy alter-ego of the evil Doctor Polaris is rummaging around the Arctic researching the magnetism of the North Pole when he stumbles upon a blue glowing globe.  This orb increases his mental powers, sucks the water out of him and simultaneously warns him that it will eventually suck all the water out of the Earth, rendering it an arid wasteland.  I guess we should all thank it for the heads up.  Nice guy Neal decides to use his new telepathic abilities to warn Green Lantern so that he can stop it.

Comedy hijinks then ensue.  Green Lantern keeps getting mentally and physically dragged in the direction of the good doctor, which interferes in a confrontation GL has with a few thugs.  He gets roughed up but eventually overcomes them.  (And at one point he stretches his arm Elongated Man-style.  It’s not noted in the story that this is something weird, so I guess this is part of his normal powers, which I find bizarre.  I don’t have a lot of familiarity with Silver Age GL stories, so maybe this is par for the course, but his ring having the ability to morph his own body seems a little much for me.  But I digress.)

Soon nice guy Neal’s sinister mental alter-ego comes to the fore and gets into the obligatory fight with our hero.  The Doc’s reasons for fighting GL are a little odd – he wants to let the orb work its magic because he’s not a physical being and once all the water is gone and everyone is dead, he’ll rule the world.  I don’t think he’s thought that plan all the way through, but hey, he seems enthusiastic about it, so more power to him. 

Anyway, Doctor Polaris puts a magnetic force field around Lantern’s ring which prevents Hal from using it (?), and then we’re treated to watching GL try to figure out how he can get his ring working again.  Yawn.  Guess what.  He does.  So he finally beats Doctor Polaris and triumphs over evil.  He helps out the dehydrated Doctor Emerson and casually destroys the blue orb.  Issue over.  There’s also a side-story about Hal worrying about his girlfriend Eve discovering his secret identity, but that was lame too, so the less said about it the better.

I suppose that my main problem here is the unknown nature of this blue thing in the Arctic.  So it’s going to dehydrate the Earth?  WHY?  And why does it arbitrarily increase Emerson’s mental powers?  And thanks to GL obliterating it as soon as he comes into contact with it, the world will never know the answers.  I guess the JLA didn’t have any good research facilities back in those days.  Maybe they needed a HUD grant or something.

So that nicely fashioned cover is just speculation about what might happen if the orb runs wild.  At no point in the plot is Hal left parched on a dry world covered in yellow sand.  It’s a shame, but I guess it would be hard to fulfill that post-apocalyptic promise. 

Mike Sekowsky, mostly known in the super-hero genre for his association with the early JLA books, handled both the cover and the interior art on this issue.  I’m not usually that big of a fan of his art, but this cover in particular I enjoy very much.  It might be due to the color design.  I like it when the colors of the title and the “puffery” match up with items in the scene – in this case the purple “GREEN LANTERN” with the car and the orange “DRY UP AND DIE!” with the sun.  It makes the whole tableau more pleasing for the eyes, or at least it does for me. 

In closing – I like GL.  I was happy to pick up this issue, mostly because it was in really nice shape and I got it at a good price.  So I’ll overlook my problems with the story.  This time.

You’ve been warned, Hal.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2010 5:59 pm

    I remember, as a child just starting to read, being quite haunted by the cover and the plight of the scientist stuck with that globe. But in hindsight, there’s no logic to the plot, and it was probably thought up to go with the pre-conceived cover–another reason Marvel was overwhelmingly superior ( in my mind, and many others’) in that period. Having said that, check out GL #63–I always asscociated these two covers.

    • April 12, 2010 8:39 pm

      You bring up a reason why I sometimes feel like I’m collecting covers and not the comics themselves – the stories inside seem so often to serve the cover and not vice versa. I guess since it’s the cover that sold the book that’s no surprise.

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