And Then I Read: HAL JORDAN & THE GL CORPS #30

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Robert Venditti, art by Patrick Zircher, colors by Jason Wright, letters by Dave Sharpe.

The Justice League have contacted GL Corps headquarters on Mogo (I wonder how that works?) to request help. All the Earth-born GLs want the assignment, but it goes to Hal Jordan. When he arrives, his contact is Superman, who tells Hal he was attacked by Parallax, and then Sinestro, who brought him to the antimatter planet Qward. As Clark Kent tells his story, Hal Jordan is assailed by a telepathic voice and the realization Superman himself has been taken over by Parallax. They fight, of course, for most of the issue. As the fight ends a different foe is revealed.

I’m not generally a fan of big hero fights, but this one is visually striking, at least. And it’s kind of fun seeing Superman and the original GL interacting.


And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERNS #30

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Sam Humphries, art by Carlo Barberi and Matt Santorelli, colors by Ulises Arreola, letters by Dave Sharpe.

Simon and Jessica have been sent a billion years back in time to the planet Malthus, home of the blue guys who became the Guardians of the Universe at a time when they were still figuring out the first power rings. They have teamed with the first seven recruits from the Green Lantern Corps and are trying to take down Volthoom, the first Lantern, whose ring combines the full spectrum of colorful powers. It’s making him rather crazy and extremely dangerous. Simon does not even have his own power ring, it was destroyed by Volthoom, whose powers seem to trump even the team set against him. How can they possibly win and get everyone where they’re supposed to be?

Well done, and I enjoyed the many art spreads in this issue. Recommended.

Rereading: DOCTOR DOLITTLE IN THE MOON by Hugh Lofting

My hardcover edition from 1928, art by Hugh Lofting.

When I first read this eighth book in the Dolittle series as a child, I didn’t like it because Lofting’s depiction of our moon was so different from what I knew to be true. I was an ardent follower of the U.S. Space Program, and read all I could find about actual and potential space travel, as well as lots of science fiction. Lofting’s book is clearly a fantasy, and doesn’t try to reflect what was known about the moon even in his own time. Reading it now as a fantasy, I found it much more enjoyable. Indeed, Lofting’s creativity and even his art seems at a high point here not seen since the second book in the series, “The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.”

Endpapers by Lofting.

The doctor, his boy assistant Tommy Stubbins, and two of Dolittle’s animal friends, Chee-Chee the monkey and Polynesia the talking parrot have flown to the moon on the back of a giant moth at the request of the moon’s inhabitants. When they get there, though, none of those inhabitants (giant insects at least, and probably more) are present to greet them. Instead, the expedition seems to be under covert surveillance. They are on the edge of the moon’s dark side, and at first are in what seems to be a desert, but as they travel they come across a huge lone tree. Soon an entire forest or jungle is found, where Chee-Chee finds food for them in the form of edible roots and fruit. While Dolittle explores and collects information, he discovers that the plant life seems to be sentient and have a language, and as usual, he can’t rest until he’s learned it. In some ways, the Moon is Earth-like: it has breathable atmosphere (different from ours, but they adapt to it), water in streams and pools, and some of the plants they find are giant versions of things on Earth, like asparagus. The gravity is different, and sound travels much more easily, so distant sounds are often heard. As Dolittle learns the plant language, he begins to learn about the flora, fauna and history. Eventually they are contacted by the only human on the Moon, Otho Bludge, who was on this part of the Earth when it was torn away to become a satellite, and has been here ever since. Long life is one of the Moon’s other features, as is giantism. Otho is a huge giant! He’s also the leader of flora and fauna society, which he has engineered to be a peaceful co-existence between all living things. In addition to insects, the fauna seems to be mostly birds.

Otho has brought the doctor to the Moon to help the inhabitants with medical problems and illnesses, and he does his best to help them. He does so well that they don’t want him to ever leave. Young Tommy Stubbins, now a nine-foot giant boy from the Moon diet, is tricked into returning to Earth on the back of the same giant moth that brought them. When he finally gets back to the Dolittle household, the many animal friends of the doctor are sad that he has not returned, but feel sure he will someday.

This book was meant to be the end of the series, hence the ambiguous ending, but he did come back in “Doctor Dolittle’s Return” about five years later. I’ll be rereading that one next. This one is great fun if you can put aside your knowledge of the real moon and accept it as a complete fantasy.


And Then I Read: THE FLASH #31

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Joshua Williamson, art by Neil Googe and Gus Vazquez, colors by Ivan Plascencia, letters by Tom Napolitano.

The conclusion of the Bloodwork story has the former Central City coroner turned blood-monster flooding the city with his toxic blood, forcing the citizens to flee, and creating havoc. Barry Allen tries to use his altered and now dangerous powers to stop him, but that only makes things worse, so another plan is needed. I liked that plan. It brings Barry to some personal realizations as well as helping the villain and the city. The art by Neil Googe was less distracting this time (because it’s so different from past issues), but when Gus Vazquez takes over, the style reverts to a more familiar one. A new direction for Barry has him reassigned to Iron Heights prison, which should be interesting, since many of his foes are held there.


And Then I Read: HAL JORDAN & THE GL CORPS #29

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Robert Venditti, art by Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona, colors by Tomeu Morey, letters by Dave Sharpe.

In the conclusion to the New Gods crossover, the action takes place at the Source Wall. I find that concept odd and interesting, sort of the wall at the outer edge of the universe, Even though that’s not really a credible idea in the real world, it works well for comics. The giant robots who are programmed to destroy the New Gods (who have turned to the GL Corps for help with that), are there trying to free their creator, Yuga Khan, the father of Highfather, and therefore grandfather of some of the other New Gods like Lightray and Orion. It does seem a bit odd that the character would have a “Genghis Khan” sort of name, but no matter. The might and power of the Corps and the Gods are no match for these robots…or are they? Clever work by the GL leaders find a weakness and exploit it. And I particularly liked what Hal Jordan did with the Omega Beams on his tail. Lots of action, but nice character development, too.

Fun stuff, recommended.