Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wedding Bell Blues...and Greens

With the exception of Lois and Clark, when has a superhero's wedding ever gone well? Okay, Donna Troy's wedding to Terry went well, even if their marriage went down the toilet...but generally, happiness of this sort eludes our heroes.

Tonight's spotlight issue is not my first issue of Green Lantern-Green Arrow, but since my first four issues (this is the fourth of those) of this title are non-consecutive and part of longer stories, this was the first one that started to make some sense to me. I also chose to focus on this one, because it was my first introduction to a character we would see much more of years later.

So, here we are, Green Lantern-Green Arrow #122, from November of 1979 and it's Hal Jordan's wedding day. His bride-to-be, we learn, is Kari Limbo, a gypsy woman/mystic. They are greeted outside the church when they arrive together (it IS bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, wait and see...)by assorted Justice League friends who are there for the occasion.

This is one more time when clearly these guys are thinking of their costumes/uniforms as formal attire. Seriously, and the priest had no problem with this? Dinah (Black Canary) is the only one of them showing any discretion, though describing that shade of pink she's wearing as "discreet" might be a bit of a stretch.

The problem the preacher refers to here is NOT the costumes, but a broken bell rope, meaning there'll be no ringing to celebrate the joyous occasion. Green Arrow saves the day with one of his bolo arrows, but then Kari goes into some kind of trance thing, and kneels to draw in the sand the image of a Phantom Zone projector. Superman takes this omen to heart and dashes off to the Fortress of Solitude to ensure that all's well, promising he'll try to return before the ceremony.

Of course, all is NOT well and a strange glowing green tendril snakes out of the PZ and grabs Superman, dragging him into the Zone. Meanwhile, back at the church, the ceremony begins, but Kari falls into another trance and begins describing the Phantom Zone and mentioning Superman by name. Hal dashes off to the Fortress, leaving everyone behind and fortunately missing hearing Kari murmur "my beloved Guy", though Dinah and Ollie both take unhappy note of this.

Hal goes into the Phantom Zone and comes face to face with Green Lantern Guy Gardner, who had apparently been thought dead by everyone. Somehow, the power battery that exploded and supposedly caused his death in some previous issue actually threw him into the Phantom Zone, where General Zod and the other villians sentenced there have taken control of Guy and his power ring and managed to make it stronger than the others. They've also beaten the snot out of Superman, who has no extraordinary powers in the Phantom Zone.

Guy explains, "We can see into the other world. I've watched you..."

Superman, it turns out, was not unconscious and comes to Hal's rescue, distracting Gardner long enough for Hal to escape from his attack...but Hal realizes that Zod is now strangling Supes and he leaves Guy to rescue Superman, dragging him to safety outside the Phantom Zone, and leaving confrontation with Guy Gardner for another day.

Of course, with the news of Guy being alive comes the realization that Hal and Kari cannot marry and they tearfully agree. Hal vows to rescue Guy and says he'll see how Kari feels in a month or two. What a thoughtful guy, that Hal.

This is a fun issue, partly because of the guest stars amongst the wedding guests, and since I already had some familiarity with the Phantom Zone at this early point, I was able to follow the story all right, though I certainly had no idea of any of the previous Guy Gardner storyline...and would have to piece that together from future issues. Still, who doesn't love an ill-fated wedding?


As an extra bonus, in the back of the issue, near the letter column was featured one of those great Fred Hembeck cartoons, which ran as part of the "Daily Planet" news feature at the back of most DC issues at the time. I include it here for your amusement...

...and encourage you to check out Fred's website Hembeck's Comic Strips for more!

(If you're noticing an improvement in my accompanying photos, you're not imagining things. Being at Mom and Dad's for a Thanksgiving visit brings the additional pleasure of a nice scanner to play with--I'm gonna have to get me one of these things after Christmas!)

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