Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Legacy of Green Lantern

Mythos and history.

History and mythos.

Regular readers of this blog will know that one of the key factors fueling my obsession with Green Lantern is the rich backstory that can be attributed to the character.  I am fascinated by the real life history of a concept that has been developed from the gaudy Golden-Age knockabout hero of the 1940s into the multi-titled  space opera of recent issues.  I am equally captivated by the fictional continuity of a legendary Corps that stretches back over billions of years.  Whereas readers in the pioneering days of comics had to make do with one Lantern only, we modern day fans are spoiled with some 7,200 recruits to choose from in the Green Lantern Corps alone, nevermind the ring bearers who make up the other Corps of the emotional spectrum.

To my mind there was a sweet spot in DC Comics' chronology that managed to capture the best of all worlds.  Somewhere between Crisis on Infinite Earth's in the 1980s and the New 52's introduction in 2011 we were blessed with the presence of an elder statesman to shine a guiding light over the Green Lanterns we know and love.

Kilowog might have been the first port of call for other rookies who sought to learn control over their their power ring but when it came to dispensing valuable lessons on Earth there was only one place to go to... Alan Scott.  Green Lantern #140, vol. 3, by Judd Winick and Darryl Banks, illustrates this relationship perfectly when Alan steps up to teach Kyle Rayner a thing or two about slinging his ring with maximum effect.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Construct of the Week #30

Generated by: Bill Bagget (& Hal Jordan)

Appeared in: Green Lantern #67 (vol.2), 1969

Construct: Exploding Banknotes

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Wearin' o' the Green

Sláinte Fanterns!
Beidh ceol, caint agus craic againn!

It's not surprising that Green Lanterns take their St. Patrick's Day celebrations seriously.  Especially after Ganthet revealed that the Guardians of the Universe and the Leprechauns are long-lost cousins!

 Unfortunately I don't know who to credit for this mighty gathering of the Green Corps and their Green friends but it was too much fun not to share.  I picked it up on TheGreenLanternCorps.com forum thread from back in 2009.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014


In the world of bags and boards I'd be the first to admit that I am not a massive fan of variant covers.  I'm more of a story guy than an obsessive collector so when my local comic shop retailer offers me a "rare" variant cover edition at "only slightly more" that the regular price I tend to politley decline.  I understand the fascination, particularly for readers whose buying habits are influenced by admiration for a certain artist, but it's not really for me.

Last month, however, DC Comics ran a line of variant covers across a number of their titles that managed to capture both my eye and my imagination.  The theme they had opted for was 'Steampunk'.  For those who don't know, steampunk is a branch of science-fiction that reimagines the world as having evolved on the back of steam-powered machinery and innovation instead of the electronic technology we are are familiar with in our own lives.  The fashions associated with the genre draw from Victorian times, a kind of warped industrial meets formalwear affair.

Steampunk is especially relevant to Lantern fans after the much loved and sadly missed show, Green Lantern: The Animated Series produced an episode called 'Steam Lantern' that played joyfully in that toybox.  The episode was a lot of fun!  You only have to 'google' "Green Lantern Steampunk" to see how many fans have incorporated the theme into their GL comic con cosplay.

The first of our books to get the retro-futuristic treatment is Green Lantern Corps #28.  The cover by Howard Chaykin and Jesus Aburtov shows John Stewart and a character who I assume to be Guy Gardner depicted as wealthy engineers.  A stylized setting includes a giant cog-wheel construct in the background.  The power batteries are formed from orbs that convey a distinctive sci-fi quality in their design.

It is interesting that the artist chose to include Guy who now leads the Red Lanterns.  Despite it's thematic presentation I feel a nostalgia for the great adventures these two veterans shared together during Tomasi's run on Corps.  And I've got to wonder how a real life red-blooded male like Guy might take to neck ruffles and coiffured curls.  Not too well I imagine!

The following week Klaus Janson and Jose Villarrubia gave us a wonderful rendition of White Lantern Kyle Rayner and Star Sapphire Carol Ferris on the cover Green Lantern: New Guardians #28.  This is classic hero stuff with the cut off Kyle's costume being very much reminiscent of a First WWI flying jacket.  I'm reminded of the Rocketeer comics which is odd since stunt pilot Cliff Secord from those books  has much more in common with the Hal Jordans of this world than an everyman like Kyle.  I also really like the shutter signal lamp that forms the white power battery.  Signal lamps like this have been used on naval vessels since the beginning of the 20th century and are still in use today.  Very steampunk!

Moving outside the realm of Green Lantern's core universe (I've been looking for an opportunity to drop that pun for months!), the other title that warrants our attention is Earth 2 #20.  The cover, which was first previewed on Comic Book Resources, brings together Earth 2 teammates The Flash and Green Lantern with a character they haven't encountered yet in the actual story, namely Batman.  This image from Dan Panosian is exquisite for so many reasons not least of which is the Batmobile with the huge steam chimney poking out the front of it.  I love how Flash's Mercurial helmet has metal exhaust pipes in place of the traditional feathered wing tips.

More interesting than all of this for a fan of my particular geeky persuasion is the appearance of Green Lantern in the scene.  Our GL sports a ring and chest patch bearing the emblem of the Green Lantern Corps who, as the continuity currently stands, does not exist in the dimension where Earth 2 is located.  The situation could change very quickly of course but, coupled with the fact that the hero in question bears more of a resemblance to Hal than his E2 counterpart, I would be willing to bet that Panosian hasn't been keeping up with his New 52 properly.

Imagine my surprise when I finally clapped eyes on #20 when it hit the stand at my LCS.  The Green Lantern character had been flipped on his axis and had his hair recoloured blonde a lá Alan Scott.  Perhaps the cover was originally intended to dress an issue of Justice League where GL's raised right hand might have created more space for the longer title logo.  The left hand in the air fits snugly against the numerical element of Earth 2's header.

The power battery here in our final image is much closer in appearance to the lanterns we encounter every week in normal DCU continuity.  Mind you, it's perhaps not such a strange an occurrence when you consider it in context.  The lantern of Golden-Age Alan Scott was cast in the shape of a regular, old-fashioned railway lamp found during the heyday of steam powered transportation.  This was one of the few things about GL that survived into the Silver-Age under the guiding hand of legendary editor Julius Swartz.  In fact, it could be said that Green Lantern has always led the field when it comes to superhero steampunk!

Saturday, 1 March 2014


Love it or loath it, it's fair to say the 2011 Green Lantern film didn't exactly capture the imagination of the wider movie-going public.  My own hope is that it will take on a cult status to be watched and treasured by a discerning following for many years to come.

Lantern fans are well known for their love of history, whether real or fictional.  In these days of multi-million dollar budgets and stunning CGI special effects there are few outside of our little group who give much attention to the 1951 classic Green Lantern and the Menace from Planet Qward.  Not only is the film a B-movie science-fiction masterpiece but it is also famous for being Warren Beatty's very first appearance on celluloid, a full ten years before Splendour in the Grass brought him critical acclaim and box-office success.

Another peculiarity of the film is that... What? ...What's that?  Have I got my dates right?  Of course.  Green Lantern was created in 1940. Planet Qward was released 11 years later in 1951...

OK, ok.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that our poster depicts a Silver-Age GL and his masters, the Guardians of the Universe. These characters, whilst inspired by the rising popularity of 1950s sci-fi, did not make their débuts in comics until late 1959 and mid 1960 respectively.  This wonderful image is actually the creation of Photoshop aficionado Paul Cornish who produced it in the 50s/60s style as a tribute anticipating general release of the previously mentioned Green Lantern, 2011.

I think you'll agree Paul has captured all the best elements that make movie posters of that era so collectable today.

You can read Paul's original post here.  I highly recommend you check out his blog, Last of the International Fanboysfor a plethora of comic book curiosities and all things geek, and follow him on Twitter @PaulGCornish.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Green Lantern: Secret Origins - Revision or Retcon?

Without a shadow of a doubt Geoff Johns is the name most famously associated with Green Lantern since Deny O'Neil and Neal Adams had their controversial run together on the title in the 1970s.  Johns is credited with producing a series that is singularly respectful of the entire mythos that came before it.  He managed to unite Lantern fans of every era, which is no small feat considering the fall out between Hal Jordan fans and supporters of his replacement, Kyle Rayner, after the Emerald Twilight saga.

Two things are clear from the outset of Johns' long relationship with Green Lantern; 1. he knew his stuff, and 2. he had a plan.  To say Johns knew his GL history is an understatement.  He references back to the Silver-Age and the very earliest appearances of Hal Jordan.  Substantial elements of the character's recounted origins can also be attributed to the Emerald Dawn (vol. 1 and 2) mini-series' penned by Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones in 1990/91.  And while Johns is clearly a Hal fan he is shown a great deal of respect by the comic book community for preserving the back story of Kyle that played out through the 90s.  Even more significantly (despite being publicly lambasted by its original creator) he hangs much of the current mythos around a short story by Alan Moore that appeared in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 .

Which brings me in a neat little segue to this, the chosen subject of my second contribution to the Super-Blog Team-Up.  This time round, as you'll already know if you've been reading the posts of my uber talented fellow Super-Bloggers, we have elected to tackle the subject of retroactive continuity.  The longer a comic book character exists, the more likely it is that their history will be rewritten in order to tell original, compelling stories.  How many times could you read about a rocket leaving the orbit of an exploding planet with a lone baby as it's only occupant if creators just retold the same story over and over again, panel for panel?  Yet the origin of Superman is one of the most well-known of all comic book stories. While one key point remains the same, the events leading up to the super child's launch, the manner of his journey, the nature of the very rocket he travelled in have been tweaked and successfully re-imagined many, many times.

Perhaps less well known is the story of an Earthman's induction into the intergalactic peace-keeping force that is the Green Lantern Corps.  Even so, in the 55 odd years since Hal first burst onto the scene in the pages of Showcase #22 there have been various accounts of the dying alien who bestowed his ring of power on a fearless test pilot.  Geoff Johns set out to tell the tale in unparallelled detail across a seven issue arc of Green Lantern called, somewhat unsurprisingly, Green Lantern: Secret Origins.  In this feature I consider the question, 'Is Secret Origins a retcon in the truest sense of the word? Or, given Geoff Johns fabled reverence for all that has come before, is the book instead better viewed as a revision of GL stories past?'  As I began my exploration of the title I wondered to myself if Johns deserves his reputation as the man who left history intact.

It would be very easy here to get lost in a sea of high concept BS. Does Secret Origins reflect the spirit of it's predecessors?  Does the comic maintain its integrity as an original work?  Instead I thought it would be a lot more fun to geek out on some comics!  And there is nothing a comic fan loves more than over analysing ever minute detail of their favourite publications.  In fact I have a feeling the post is going to have more in common with a child's 'Spot the Difference' puzzle than some of the quality literary dissertations on our sequential art medium.

So let's have a look at the evidence.  "Exhibit ,1 Your Honour".  In the aforementioned Showcase #22 and in Green Lantern #1 (vol. 2) released the following year, Hal's first contact with his emerald hued future took place while sitting in flight simulator cockpit.  The wingless (virtually 'planeless') machine is scooped up bodily by green energy emanating from fatally injured Abin Sur's power ring.  It's not a sexy image by any means but there is something enjoyable in the sight of a future cosmic hero being held aloft in a giant metal contraption.  Johns forgoes this original script choice for the more photogenic flying man sans bathtub.

I like to think he and artist Ivan Reis make a nod to it in the panel immediately before the ring's entrance with Jordan sitting in the wreckage of an old plane that has been well and truly grounded.  I could be clutching at straws here, of course.  VERDICT - RETCON.

Hal's heroknapping leads us swiftly to the often asked question, "What the heck was Abin doing in a spaceship in the first place?"  A Green Lantern's power ring enables its wearer to survive flights across deep space unaided.  There should be no reason for the unlucky GL to have required a craft to transport him.  For many years the comics were silent on the matter.  It took Alan Moore to come up with the definitive answer in his short story, 'Tygers'.  Moore's theory was that Abin Sur received a dark prophecy from Qull, a member of a villainous group called The Five Inversions who were held captive by the Corps on the planet Ysmault.  The prophecy claimed that Abin's power ring would fail him a a critical moment.  The ship was a backup plan, much like Simon Baz's gun is in the GL universe today.  So far, so good.  Geoff Johns lifts directly from Moore's story having the failure of the tragic alien's ring foretold by Qull.  Even the ship itself is reminiscent of the one designed by Kevin O'Neil in 'Tygers'.  If we stopped the tape here we'd be able to call this one VERDICT - REVISION.

But when the Green Lantern got into that ship and left Ysmault, the two histories begin to spin in very different directions.  Much like in Showcase #22, 'Tygers' sees the ship pass through a cloud of yellow radiation that neutralises both the mechanics of the vessel and it's occupants ability to wield his power ring.  The moral is that had Abin Sur put his faith in his ring alone he might have been able to test for the radiation zone before he entered.  It's not a particularity definitive conclusion if you ask me.  Geoff Johns takes things from a maybe to a definitely.  The Lantern did not leave the prison planet by himself.  Armed with the prophecy of the Blackest Night, Abin took one of the Inversions with him hoping to extract further information.  The consequences of his foolhardy decision were disastrous.  A Green Lantern's ring is powered by the strength of the wearer's own willpower.  With Abin expecting the ring to betray him at any time, the will he normally commanded had begun to ebb away.

His construct confining the Inversion, Atrocitus, was weak.   Atrocitus was able to break free of his manacles and attack his captor, causing the starship to crash in the process.  In Johns' version of events it was still yellow that ultimately brought about Abin's downfall but this time it was the yellow fear within his own soul instead of any external physical catalyst.   VERDICT - RETCON.

One of the most important relationships explored in Secret Origins is the first contact between Hal and his arch nemesis, Thaal Sinestro.  The villain was introduced as one of Green Lantern's earliest Silver-Age foes in Green Lantern #7.  His origin story was laid out in detail during that very first appearance.  He had been considered the greatest Lantern of them all before a thirst for power swayed him from the path of justice.  Hal was tasked by his masters, the Guardians of the Universe, to defeat Sinestro and this was the circumstances under which they first met.  ...So that was one version of events, one that remained in continuity for a great many years. 

Then came Emerald Dawn.  And with it a time line that saw Jordan recruited during the Korugarian's tenure as a Lantern.  In fact, Sinestro was set the task of training the newest GL of sector 2814 in law and, more importantly, order.  Geoff Johns took the opportunity to tease at this concept in more depth.  Green Lantern volume 4 was his plaything for nigh on decade and giving him plenty of opportunity to work out what makes Sinestro tick.  Under his pen the infamous Corpsman was sent to Earth for a very different reason, to investigate Abin Sur's death.  But Sinestro being Sinestro, he felt obliged to try and educate Jordan along the way.  The thought that someone as reckless as Hal should wield a power ring at all irked him immensely.  There isn't a version of the history imaginable were the veteran does not insist on schooling the impudent rookie on life as he sees it.  Not that Hal makes for a very receptive student!  VERDICT - REVISION.

Emerald Dawn is responsible for introducing another theme that has become central to Hal Jordan's character.  It is the very reason he "can overcome great fear".  As a young boy he worshipped his father, Martin Jordan, another fearless test pilot.  Witnessing his father's death in a plane crash changed his life forever.  In a situation where many would retreat from the way of life that had cruelly taken his idol the young Hal instead pushed himself to emulate the elder Jordan and confront his deepest fear head on.

In Emerald Dawn Martin's death was all too avoidable.  His plane had taken damage and his flight crew urged him to bail out.  The pilot's bravado and self-confidence pushed him to try and land the plane in one piece but it was not to be.  The same attitude can be seen as the root of Hal's own misery in ED when he landed himself in jail on drunk driving charges.  Secret Origins opens with a similar scene of devastation but in this version Geoff Johns sees fit to put a more heroic spin on events.  Martin Jordan's fighter jet again develops faults but he is urged to keep it in the air in front of observing investors.  Realising the plane will go down in any case Jordan sacrifices his own safety to guide it away from the watching crowds thus ensuring the loss of life was his alone.

As before, it is the characteristics of these final moments that are passed on to his son, fundamentally shaping the boys future.  VERDICT - REVISION.

Told across Green Lantern #5 (vol. 2) and Justice League of America #14 (vol. 1) the story of Hector Hammond is a very interesting one.  Portrayed as super-cool to the point of slimy, Hammond has wealth, power and the attentions of one Carol Ferris, sometime paramour of both Hal Jordan and Green Lantern (GL is famous for causing romantic competition for his own alter ego back in the Silver-Age).  The secret behind his success transpires to be a radioactive meteorite he had stumbled across.  He used the space rock to evolve four scientists with futuristic intellects and forced them to invent things for him and to do his bidding against their will.  When the emerald gladiator foiled his plans he turned the meteorite on himself to boost his own mental abilities far beyond that of a normal human.

His Silver-Age personality is  painstakingly recreated in Secret Origins.  As the reader we are left with no doubt that this is the same character as appeared in the original comics.  He even has a brief liaison with Carol before she thinks better off it.  It is only the circumstances of his latest incarnation that have changed.  Hector is now a aeronautics consultant called in to examine the remnants of Abin Sur's ill-fated vessel.  As a result of his own arrogance he is exposed to the fuel source of ship which is, of course, a radioactive meteor and he immediately develops telepathic abilities.  In both retellings an unfortunate side effect of his exposure comes in the form of a grotesquely enlarged cranium.  On the back of how faithful Geoff Johns' take on Hector's character was to his Silver-Age introduction I would love to mark this one up as a revision but the actual narrative is so wildly different that I have to admit there can be only one possible outcome.  VERDICT - RETCON.

The last story element of Green Lantern: Secret Origins that I want to look at in some detail is the introduction of Black Hand.  Readers of my Black Hand pictorial blog will be aware that the Silver-Age depiction of William Hand was that of a clever crook with a love of knowledge, planning, inventions and, for some unknown reason, proverbs.  He created a device that could absorb Green Lantern's power and use it against him.  Another little referenced but very interesting point in the context of our discussion is that he was the odd one out in an otherwise honest, upstanding family.  In later years, particularly the 80s and 90s, Black Hand became a pastiche of himself.  A figure to be derided.  A villain who was destined to be defeated by the hero of the hour.  Given that William Hand became the single greatest threat to the Green Lantern Corps' existence during the Geoff Johns run it is a safe bet to call this one in advance as VERDICT - RETCON.

In SO Hand is the youngest son of a funeral home director.  He is once again at odds with the rest of his family but not because of criminal leanings.  This William Hand has a morbid fascination with death that is just plain creepy.  He is central to the prophecy that Abin Sur learnt from Qull concerning Blackest Night for he contains within him "the doorway to absolute darkness".  The device that Silver-Age Black Hand built to absorb the Green Lantern ring power has been retconned into a creation designed by Atrocitus to pull the Black energy out of William.  It only fell into the boy's possession during a scuffle between the Inversion and his GL opponents.  That Black Hand would later turn the device against the Lanterns was an unforeseen consequence.  As I've said already, VERDICT - RETCON.

All in all, the results have been wonderfully inclusive.  Secret Origins is a bridge of sorts between old and new.  It was, of course, written as a vehicle to further develop Johns' Green Lantern saga.  In this sense it is a prequel to the DC universe crossover event Blackest Night.  It is as much about the origins of Black Hand and Atrocitus as anything else, explaining how their past fits into the big picture.  But it is so much more than that.  The book is Geoff Johns' love letter to the past.  It has a timeless quality that feels like 50 years of continuity have been carefully preserved for future generations.  Most retroactive storytelling stamps all over the past with big hob nail boots.  Forget what you thought you knew because it didn't happen.  Green Lantern: Secret Origins has a unique trick of gently implanting on your memory, just for a moment,  a feeling that the history of the characters we encounter within its pages has always been this way.


So now you’ve read issue #2 of this spectacular SUPER-BLOG TEAM-UP crossover event, go check out these other amazing blogs to learn some more about the real stories behind the retcon...

Links (going live throughout Wed, 19 Feb):

#3 Longbox Graveyard: Retcon: Roy Thomas And Earth-2

#4 Between The Pages: Good Cowboys Always Shoot First

#5 Bronze Age Babies: Was The Vision Really Carrying A Torch?

#7 Superhero Satellite: RETCON: Crisis on Continuity Earths

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Happy Green Lantern Day, 2/8/14, to all you honorary ring-slingers of Earth!

I'm blessed to be able to spend today with my son and sector partner Flodo Jnr.  He has brought joy to my heart and a tear to my eye with his very own Green Lantern Day celebration fan art.

I think you'll agree we could be looking at the next Gil Kane right here...

Check out these links to see how some other fanterns are celebrating Green Lantern Day:

UPDATE: Green Lantern Day really did turn out to be the Brightest Day.  Flodo Jnr. and I had a lot of fun.

We are forever grateful for all the support and kind words this post received, especially from this guy:

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Construct of the Week #29

5 panels, 5 constructs - that's how you use Green Lantern!

Construct: Himalayan Scavenger Kit

Generated by: Kyle Rayner

Appeared in: JLA Annual #2, 1998

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Ask any DC Comics fan "What is the most powerful weapon in the universe?" and you will invariably get the response, "A Green Lantern's power ring."  This tag-line that has been associated with the rings for a good many years, along with, "limited only by the wearer's imagination".  In modern times the ring has four main functions: invulnerability, flight, communication and creating constructs.  It is these constructs that are affected by the potential of a Green Lantern's imagination. (Check out my regular 'Construct of the Week' posts for more mind-boggling GL constructs).  Occasionally the rings are seen to do other things, like when Simon Baz brought his brother in law out of a coma, but such occurrences are rare.

Back in the Silver-Age, however, things were very different.  In those days the rings abilities were literally limited only by imagination - the writer's imagination that is.  I've previously posted brief observations of Green Lantern mimicking the power sets of his Justice League colleagues, and this is something I want to look at in more detail in the future.  For now I’d like to share my enjoyment of one particular story that has all the hall-marks of a Silver-Age classic.

Green Lantern #36 (vol. 2) has a cover date of April 1965.  The issue contains virtually every element you might look for in a Gardner Fox/Gil Kane GL original.  Flipping past its gripping cover we are treated to two complete super-hero adventures.  It's the first story that has captured my imagination and illustrates the limitless gifts of the power ring perfectly (except on anything yellow of course!).  I'll recount the bones of the story itself for those of you who haven't been lucky enough to read it but I heartily recommend you track down the reprint in Showcase Presents: Green Lantern vol. 2 and a whole lot more of Hal Jordan's other Silver-Age antics while you are at it!

The tale is introduced, as was so often the case back then, with a teaser page showing Hal Jordan in seemingly inescapable peril.  The scene is set and the action fully joined within the opening three panels.  A small mechanical clown pogoes across Carol Ferris’ office and steals the plans to a multi-million dollar fighter jet right out of her hands.  It leaps out of the aircraft boss' window and springs over the head of a hapless Hal Jordan to make its getaway.  Carol and Hal speed after it in a convertible two-door roadster with the Green Lantern having to hide his secret abilities from his feisty companion.  Following an “invisible trail” from his power ring, Hal hurtles through fields, smashing fences that the morally stout Miss Ferris promises to pay for later.  They skid to a halt on the edge of a cliff as their animated quarry throws itself into the waters below.  Then, in a complete reversal of character-type, Carol happily follows Hal’s suggestion to drive back home leaving him stranded alone to “somehow contact the police”.  Keep in mind this was 20 odd years before the invention of the mobile phone.

Finally free to change into his Green Lantern costume, Hal flies off in pursuit and trails the bouncing figurine to a house occupied by a crooked toy-making mobster and his henchmen.  In a move that screams of mad professor the toy-maker has filled the room with radiation that only he and his cronies are immune to so as to kill anyone that tries to disturb them.  Hal’s failure to conjure an invisible microphone inside the room leads him deduce that the radiation has a yellow base, his power ring’s one weakness.

Hal comments that it would be easy enough to wait for the robbers to leave the building and round them up but he is in rather a hurry and comes up with a mysterious plan to storm the place instead.  He smashes through a window and swashbuckles in fine style for three pages seemingly unaffected by the deadly yellow radiation around him.

The big reveal is a joy of science-fiction gold.  Green Lantern punches his opponent so hard in the jaw that his own hand comes off.  It is immediately obvious to everybody that the ring-slinger is actually a robot!  Inspired by his recent pursuit Hal realized that a mechanical man would not have to breathe in poisoned air and used his rings extraordinary powers to transform himself.  I am very willing for a clever modern day creator to prove me wrong and script this into a future GL story but I’m fairly certain that DC New 52 Green Lantern cannot rewrite his or her biological make-up on a whim.  In those fabulous innocent days when realism was not an issue this was entertainment at its finest.  I bet every kid who bought this 12 cent comic wished they had a ring that could turn them into a robot too!

The mobsters realize they are outclassed and flee in their getaway car.  Hal is left with the minor dilemma of elctro-magnetic walls clamping his metal body in place because, you know, every toy-making gangster likes to ensure their radiation room is electro-magnetically protected.  The quick thinking Lanterrn makes short work of the trap and sets off after the villains once more.  Employing the veil of invisibility for the third time in this adventure, Hal creates a solid wall which the unsuspecting crooks plough straight in to.

He scoops them up by the scruff of their necks with his trademark giant green hands and deposits them back at their hideout were the police have conveniently cleared out all noxious radiation.  Our hero outsmarts his prisoners by letting loose another robot robber who deposits his stolen booty right at the feet of his criminal creator thus proving the toy-maker was the beneficiary of the toy’s ill-gotten gains.

The adventure concludes with our hero personally returning the stolen jet plans to their rightful owner and a fawning Miss Ferris is so pleased that she rewards Green Lantern with dinner.  In a closing exchange that is beautifully typical of Silver-Age comics the Emerald Crusader happily plays cuckold to his own out of luck alter-ego, Hal Jordan!  The final panel is a real chuckle as Gil Kane forgoes his usual heroic rendering of the Lantern in favour of a Hanna-Barbera-esque goofball shrug.

So there you have it. The composition of Silver-Age comics is unlikely to make a resurgence anytime soon, if ever, but it should not be ignored.  Writers had a chance to explore stories as they saw fit without enduring endless scorn from supposed 'fans' or the tedium of editorial continuity that often plagues their modern day successors.  And to my mind that is right and proper.  The "most powerful weapon in the universe" should be without limits and the 'Secret of the Power-Ringed Robot' strikes a balance between adventure and amusement that reminds me why I started reading superhero comics in the first place.