We’ve established that I like silliness and to just have fun reading comics, right? However. Silver Age Green Lantern takes the word goofy to a whole other level. I can get behind ridiculous villains, and I have no problem with a power ring that can do anything the user wills it to do. Well, almost.
One of the weaknesses of the ring that I can’t quite wrap my head around is that it’s ineffective against the color yellow. It’s a “necessary” impurity in the construction of the power battery, and there’s nothing to be done about it. Sure, it’s a little wacky, but everything has the equivalent of kryptonite. Something it can’t stand against. I can understand that.
But what I can’t help but laugh over is Green Lantern’s reaction to yellow every time he encounters it. It’s like he doesn’t notice the color of what he’s fighting first. You’d think if your ring – your only source of power – had a color weakness you’d be paying particular attention to the color of whatever you’re fighting. Not Hal; he doesn’t seem to check first. He tries to use the ring and only when it doesn’t work does he realize, “D’oh! It’s yellow. My ring is useless. Ahhh!”
Well, maybe not those exact words. Why isn’t he carrying around a bottle of spray paint?! Allow me to present the following exhibits:
The repetition of key points like this is a recurring theme in this era of Green Lantern. Like, to a point that lands outside of goofiness. It seems as if each issue has some variation of all of these lines:
Carol: “Gee, I sure wish Green Lantern would propose.”
Why do you crazy women in the 50s want men who you barely know to propose to you? I know I just answered my own question: the 50s. It was a different time. But ladies: Masks don’t necessarily make husband material, for crying out loud.
Hal: “Woe is me. Carol likes Green Lantern instead of me. Whatever will I do?”
Carol: “But I can’t ask Hal out to dinner because I can’t have any romantic entanglements. Except with the Green Lantern.”
Green Lantern: “In brightest day…” I don’t so much mind the oath being reinforced over and over because it’s catchy, and it was the first thing I knew of Green Lantern long before I read any comics featuring him. But again, it’s sort of bashed into your memory. I didn’t make an effort to memorize it, but it’s stuck in my head anyways.
The frequency with which some word balloons repeat made me roll my eyes once or twice. That said, I found some charming quirks to cling to. For example, I adore the slightly varying descriptions used to describe the Green Lantern: the emerald gladiator, GL (which my Star Wars brain kept turning into George Lucas), and the emerald clad hero or figure. And he does have one of the truly fantastic superhero costumes. One specific part of my new pal GL’s powers lets me gloss over the giant splashes of silly: it’s imaginative.
Hal often uses the ring’s power in creative ways. He channels it into football players to tackle an enemy, he uses it to find long buried memories, or he transforms bullets into drops of water. Not too shabby. I mean, I don’t expect less. Hal’s a smart guy. The fact that he uses his will to try something outside the box rather than just creating standard weapons keeps the comics entertaining. It directly contradicts the redundant statements and actions. The power of imagination behind the ring is what makes it most effective and fascinating… and will keep me coming back for more.