Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 Review

    

   


Written by: Tim Sheridan
Art by: Cian Tormey
Colors by: Matt Herms
Letters by: Lucas Gattoni
Cover art by: David Talaski (cover A)
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: November 28, 2023


Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 takes a trip back in history to retell and retcon how Alan Scott received his Green Lantern powers.
Is Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 Good?

I almost don't feel qualified to review Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 from Tim Sheridan. Why? Because I've read All-American Comics #16 (the facsimile is sitting right next to me as of this writing) and innumerable copies of the JSA and many other places where Alan Scott has appeared, as infrequently as he has of late. I almost don't feel qualified because I have a reasonable understanding of the character and his origin as a superhero.

But it's very clear from Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 that Tim Sheridan does not.

   



When last we left Alan Scott, the timeline unfolded in two directions. First, we learn how Alan struggled with his identity as a gay man and his romance with a fellow engineer aboard a military research vessel looking for the mysterious Crimson Flame. Second, Alan grappled with being sexually coerced into joining the JSA by then FBI Director Hoover while Alan investigated a murdered bank robber who looked suspiciously like his dead lover from four years prior. Somewhere in the middle of that convoluted plot, Alan learned a superhero had the public fooled into thinking there was another Green Lantern around.

Now, we pause everything for a lengthy flashback as Alan Scott tells Derby about his life after Johnny's death and how he first gained the Green Lantern powers. Alan Scott volunteered to undergo gay conversion therapy at Arkham Asylum, where he made friends with a transwoman named Billie. It was Billie who gifted Alan Scott the Green Lantern as a gift for being a good friend. When Billie's time at Arkham ended after a radical brain procedure (presumably a lobotomy), Alan decided to escape after his own experiences with electro-shock therapy.

      



Alan broke out several other Arkham inmates in the "conversion" ward and began his life as a train engineer, where several later aspects of the official origin dovetail into Sheridan's alternate version.

What's great about Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2? Cian Tormey's art is fantastic. The lines, details, and character depictions look great, and Matt Herms's colors are exquisite. Regardless of the story, the art in this issue is the best of the three Golden Age titles on the shelf.

What's not so great about Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2? Before we get to the elephant in the room, let's cover the basics. Sheridan's pacing is strong, the dialog delivery is solid, and one or two hints are dropped to further the mystery surrounding the second Green Lantern. The hints are barely more than slight, but they help to give the mystery a little gas.

Where the issue stumbles is in the plot and the substantial, unnecessary retcon of Alan Scott's origin.

Beyond the minor hints dropped in the present, the entire issue is a flashback to Alan Scott's voluntary time at Arkham Asylum for gay conversion therapy. The plot in the present is put completely on hold for the express purpose of reworking Alan's history, so you don't see the second Green Lantern, Alan Scott spends no time investigating the bank robbery or the mysterious dead body from the first issue. You get nothing of substance in the present.

Second, the origin retcon would probably not be an issue if it clarified his origin, made it more believable, or somehow made Green Lantern's origin more clever than the original. Instead, Sheridan adds elements to Alan's origin that match much too closely to the current day socio-political talking points (e.g. correcting people on their pronoun usage) for the sake of making Alan Scott a tragically oppressed character.

This isn't an Alan Scott comic book that's designed to elevate the character or bring new readers on board. It's a fanfic that verges on modern-day propaganda and one of the most egregious examples of it in recent memory from the Big 2.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 isn't a superhero comic. It's an egregious piece of fanfic designed to retcon Alan Scott into a tragically oppressed man dealing with homophobic social ills in WWII-era America. The main plot gets no attention in an issue-long flashback that pulls Green Lantern's origin far enough away from the source material to be almost unrecognizable.


4.0/10

16 comments:

  1. Sheridan's victim porn propaganda fanfic continues.
    I'm loling that Arkham wasn't evil enough, they needed a converstion therapy ward. Oh my stars. 😂
    It's like the time I read a Tumblr post saying Gotham would be pride parade friendly. These people are so out of touch.

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    Replies
    1. This should be an Elseworlds series: "DC Elseworlds: Persecution of Green Lantern as Gay Man." Would rate this a 7 as an Elseworlds story, but 3 (to be generous) as DC Comics canon story. But this is not an Elseworlds story, althought there is no reason this could not have been an Elseworlds publication, as done to address other persecution of people (e.g., "Red Son.") I believe Tim Sheridan has a good comics-based narrative on USA abuses against gay and transexual individuals in 1930s-40s, and certainly no honest person could state that such persecution is over even today in 2023. Such persecution against gays is unquestionably cruel, sick, and really "obscene." But that is not why people went to buy the latest issue of "Green Lantern Alan Scott." Be upfront about topic and Elseworlds to be fair to customers, e.g., "DC Elseworlds: Persecution of Green Lantern as Gay Man."

      Some specifics. In Tim Sheridan's Issue #1, in May 1941, Hoover is threating Green Lantern to join JSA. But in DC canon GL Alan Scott appeared with JSA in March 1941 (really December 1940), and GL Alan Scott had nationwide, anti-Nazi mission with JSA in April 1941, in All-Star Comics #3 and #4, respectively. (All BEFORE Tim Sheridan's version of GL's talk with Hoover.)

      In Tim Sheridan's Issues #1&2, his retcon misunderstands the impact of GL Alan Scott and his role in the military. GL Alan Scott joined military in 1942 (Green Lantern #4), and was not blue discharged "blue ticketed" out in 1939/40, per this GL issue #2 by Tim Sheridan. Tim also has not done his history research (again). The real focus of the USA military blue discharge against gays in the USA military was the result of a policy in 1944 (not 1939/40) under Regulation 615-360, section 8. Those USA military gays persecuted with blue discharge definitely were not allowed to rejoin military, in fact they were even prevented from gaining veteran's benefits. So this major retcon of GL Alan Scott no longer has him joining the Army in 1942, fighting the Nazis, etc., which were all part of the FOUNDATION of the Green Lantern character and especially the JSA's history. (And rewrites USA history while its at it.) (The policy was reportedly discontinued in 1947.)

      Alan Scott was a railway engineer BEFORE (not AFTER) the military, which Tim tries to reverse to throw some semplance of consistency in the retcon. But it is absolutely a retcon of GL Alan Scott's GL character. As everyone knows, Alan Scott went on to be a radio engineer, after his railroad days. His radio engineering skills were a KEY part of Alan Scott's ability to fight the Nazis during WWII. (On radio engineer, think "computer engineer" as relevant comparison).

      Tim Sheridan rightly wants to point out the horrific abuses to gay and transexual human beings in USA during this timeframe, and I agree with doing that 1000%. When he wants to create an Elseworlds GL story for that, I am good with that. But just randomly rewriting GL Alan Scott's origin for canon is absolutely not necesssary to do that. And it is counterproductive in other ways. Let us also be clear, as obscene as USA medical acts against gays were, they were not literally marching them to the gas chambers like Nazi Germany. So GL and JSA's fight against Nazis is also a really essential part of the DC Comics hero history.

      I think the new story is moving, sad, important, necessary to be read. Also **NOT** a "Green Lantern" story. We need to hear about this and other (continuing) abuses by USA. Writers need a freedom like DC Elseworlds to tell those stories. We should not have to chose between Bill Finger/ Martin Nodell's Green Lantern origin or Tim Sheridan's Green Lantern origin. Tim should have a platform to tell his story as part of DC Elseworlds.

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  2. Gay and trans people have always existed. Telling a story like this in a historical context is important because, even as these things were happening, very few people were in a position to talk about it openly. Love the way Sheridan is incorporating and reframing all these elements of the original Alan Scott comics that have largely gone unexplored over the last 80 years. Getting "Old Billings" as a proper character is a thing I've wanted since I read Secret Origins as a kid. The way it's all weaving together is really fantastic and maybe the best, most nuanced writing Alan has ever gotten. (No knocks on some of my favorite JSA runs, but those were team books with other priorities.)

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    Replies
    1. "Gay and trans people have always existed. " That's a very pat line that doesn't actually respond to any of the criticisms. In fact, nothing you said does. Calling a trendy retcon "exploring" doesn't justify it or make it good, or elevate any story involving it.

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    2. I agree it is important and does need to be told. I don't believe that requires the massive retcons that Tim Sheridan and DC Comics has chosen here. There are lots of DC Elseworld stories with totally different versions of the characters.

      Delete
    3. Gay people existed.
      Trans is a cult ideology that tells gay effeminate men and masculine lesbians that they should chemically sterilize and mutilate their bodies to be "their true selves". (Or are you talking about the history of eunuchs. Young boys castrated against their will and given to older men for sexual perversions. So pRoGrEsSiVe".)
      Your argument is the same npc bleating buzzwords I have heard over the past years. People can see through your strawman.

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    4. I don't believe Elseworlds exists anymore. Black Label has replaced it no?

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  3. Gigantic "old man yells at cloud" energy in this review. Gay people make you uncomfortable, we get it.

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    Replies
    1. I like how you can't even criticize anything the review actually said.

      Delete
    2. Tell us you didn't read the review without telling us you didn't read the review.

      The great irony is your instant kneejerk reaction and gettng so; shall we say "triggered" that someone critical of a story with a gay guy.
      The iron law of woke projection never misses. 🤡

      Delete
  4. So the goal is to disparage by calling the author an "old man" and such an ageist remark about a character that is 111 years old (with 82 years in print) is somehow credible. I would suggest challenging any of the points. The story needs to be told. But it could have been told as an ElseWorlds story with a lot of integrity, without blind retcon to the character, and ignoring impact on other characters.

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  5. you're so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. Really thanks for starting this.

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  6. "This isn't an Alan Scott comic book that's designed to elevate the character or bring new readers on board."
    Maybe this just isn't for you? Not everything has to be for every person. In the circles i run in, this book is actually getting a lot of buzz and has sold out at several stores i frequent. I myself have never picked up a book about this character until now.

    ReplyDelete
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  9. Your insightful review of Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #2 captures the essence of the comic and heightens my excitement to read it – fantastic job!

    ReplyDelete