Sunday, September 9, 2018

Retro Review: DC Comics Presents #6 - Superman & Green Lantern (1979) Review and **SPOILERS**



SuperLantern

Writer: Paul Levitz 
Artists: Curt Swan and Francisco Chiaramonte 
Letterer: Ben Oda 
Colorist: Jerry Serpe 
Cover: Ross Andru, Dick Giordano, Tatjana Wood 
Editor: Julius Schwartz 
Cover Price: 40 cents 
Cover Date: February 1979 
Publisher: DC Comics

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

The problem with having characters team up with Superman is sort of the same issue with him being on the Justice League: when Superman is around, you don’t really need any other superheroes. Still, it’s a gas to see him paired up with characters wielding an equally—if not more formidable power set. And that’s just what happens in DC Comics Presents #6, when Superman and Green Lantern team up to deal with some crazy-ass b––


Explain It!

This story opens with a bang! A ceremony thrown by the Metropolis Press Club to bestow an award to Clark Kent and Lois Lane for being swell reporters. Why do they have to share the same award? Is the Metropolis Press Club short on cash or something? You’d think Lois wouldn’t abide by this. While receiving the award, Clark trips on his own foot, knocking Lois down and ruining this nice moment. A fact that Lois will not let him live down. 
"You spoiled this just like you spoiled my grandmother's funeral!"
Clark’s clumsy footwork winds up being fortuitous, for no sooner than the dais is cleared, than Green Lantern comes plummeting as fast as a rocket, smashing into the stage and probably ripping the expensive theater curtain in the process. 
Heh. I've had nights like that, dude.
While people gawk at GL’s prone form, Clark muses about how goddamned clever he is.
"That my elbow brushed up against Lois' boob had nothing to do with it."
Hal comes to long enough to recognize Clark, and tosses him the Power Ring! So, of course, Clark tries on those fashionable skivvies worn by the Green Lantern Corps. Wouldn’t you? 
Revenge of the Nerds
Clark takes off with the ring, but then Superman shows up to simply take it from him. Waitaminnit…actually, what happened here is that Clark used the ring to create a construct of his alter ego and presented to hand the ring over. Power Ring constructs are normally green in hue, and not full-color, but I guess that doesn’t apply here for some reason. 
"What's that Superman? You're impressed by my biceps? Well, I have been working out."
Once out of sight, Superman changes clothes for real and asks the ring to take him to whatever clobbered Hal Jordan badly enough that he would be rude and ruin his award ceremony! I mean, really! 
Dear DC Comics: Please make this action figure with five points of articulation.
The beatdown occurred in Star City, where Star Sapphire (aka Carol Ferris) hovers in her…hovering thing, otherwise motionless and saying nothing. Which, honestly, is not like her at all. 
"I am waiting for someone to comment on my new hairdo!"
Superman comes zooming in as what appears to be a green streak, but then breaks the sonic barrier and trashes Star Sapphire’s floating throne just because.
"I hope your insurance is paid up!"
He attempts to take the magic sapphire from her tiara, but Star Sapphire beats Superman back and mentally chains him to the support structure of a skyscraper. He can’t bust free, lest he weaken the building and causes it to fall! And sure, he could probably save every resident of the building before total collapse. But all that sweeping to be done later! 
"...those chains will severely chafe your nipples if you strain too much!"
Being a clever cookie, Superman uses the Power Ring to project some giant wire cutters, that snip his fake chain off without any problem. Is this really necessary? Couldn’t you just blast the chain with the ring and be done with it? 
"The range of bolt cutters available in this Power Ring is impressive."
Seeing that he has the ring, Star Sapphire mentally takes it from Superman’s finger—because he didn’t will it to remain! What a load of crap! I know this is pre-Crisis Green Lantern canon, but it’s just silly. And then why does Star Sapphire get it? Is her willpower greater than Superman’s? Not bloody likely! 
Beware of pickpockets and loose women.
And with that, Star Sapphire teleports away to collect her beloved Hal Jordan, the guy she just beat the snot out of. Superman uses his telescopic vision to confirm that Jordan has vanished from the hospital and Lois is probably confused, but he can’t worry about that now, he’s got a date at 6:30: to anchor the evening news! 
"Oh well. Can't win 'em all."
Meanwhile, Star Sapphire has Hal aboard her spaceship, and they’re headed back to Zamaron where she can make him her toilet slave or whatever. While traveling, she reminisces on their relationship, which has been twisted at best. I always liked this small spin on the traditional superhero/damsel relationship, in that the damsel was herself a superhero, forming a weird love triangle. Too bad this seems lost in Green Lantern books today. 
A lot of guys would love a domineering Sugar Mama like this.
Star Sapphire’s nostalgia is cut short by Superman, who has found their ship and confronts the Zamaronian Queen. How did he find them? Well, he actually goes into a lengthy explanation, involving files on JLA’s watchtower satellite and cross-referencing potential flight paths at super-speed. This is what we call continuity, folks: knowing that Superman had never met Star Sapphire, the creators fabricated a way he could find out about her and planet Zamaron. It wasn’t just a done deal, that Superman would find them because of his assumed omnipotence. He had to do actual grunt work in the way back when. 
"Oh boy! I get to chart a graph!"
Star Sapphire hops out of her ship to battle Superman, but it’s a bad idea on her part. 
"I'm not fiddling with a piece of magic jewelry anymore. Welcome to my house."
Superman reaches for the sapphire again, but—once again—he hesitates, and she stops him! Star Sapphire blasts Superman hard enough to knock him out. She’s actually helped by another, unseen figure who sets up the next issue, but I’m not trying to confuse anybody here. 
"I'll grab the sapphire during the next commercial!"
Even unconscious, Superman tries to will some pliers from the ring to take the sapphire, but Star Sapphire is able to break them apart easily. Hal Jordan, however, being nearby, can will the ring back onto his hand, and he ain’t gonna forget to will it to stay there, neither! 
"You're dealing with a ring boss now, baby."
Hal and Star Sapphire face off! It’s kind of underwhelming. 
"I am not losing the deposit with the caterers!"
Then Hal pulls a switcheroo and revives Superman by waterboarding him! Don’t worry, folks, in this continuity he didn’t need to breathe. 
"Mnnh...five more minutes, Momma...I'll walk to school..."
Superman comes to just as Green Lantern is on the ropes, and in one move he uses his heat vision and super-breath to wrest the sapphire from Carol Ferris’ head. 
William Tell, eat your heart out.
She changes from Star Sapphire to Carol, and then falls into Superman’s arms, boobs straining way too much against that collared shirt. 
"Though he won't mind if I cop a little feel."
Superman hands Carol off to Hal, and all is well! Except for one lingering question, which has to do with next issue’s story.
"I mean, she's just a girl!"

Here’s a pretty bland story, particularly one starring two of DC Comics’ biggest characters. I loved seeing the inclusion of Star Sapphire and her bizarre relationship to Green Lantern, but it really didn’t amount to much since Green Lantern was knocked out for more than half the issue. Superman getting the Power Ring is a great concept, but he just makes a couple of pairs of pliers with it. I suppose Superman can already do a lot of the things the Power Ring would simulate, but still. He couldn’t create a boxing glove construct for fun? This is a plainly-told, easy-to-understand story that you’ll forget the day after reading it. But then the next time you read the issue, it will be as if it’s for the first time!
"Unless you won't convert to Catholicism. That would kill my mother."

Bits and Pieces:

A really paint-by-the-numbers story featuring two of DC's lynchpin characters. Don't miss the page of research Superman does to find Zamaron! Actually, it is pretty cool, but this issue is still dull.

6/10
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