Monday, April 14, 2008

Spotlight: Green Lantern #81

Issue: Green Lantern vol. 1 #81

Title: Death be my Destiny!

Credits: Neal Adams (pencils) Denny O'Neil (scripts) Dick Giordano (inks)

Cover Date: December, 1970

Synopsis: Continuing from our last issue, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary accompany their Guardian friend back to Oa for trial. Despite their best efforts, he is soon found guilty of imperiling a world to save one person. He is stripped of his immortality and sentenced to spend the rest of his days on Maltus, the Guardian's planet of origin.

The quartet arrive on the planet expecting to find it sparsely populated but instead find it covered in a seething sea of sentients.

Consulting the planetary archives (and interviewing its keeper) they discover that several decades ago, a strange comet passed over the planet. The dust from the comet seemed harmless at first, until the Maltusians ceased being able to have children. As the population aged, a revolutionary scientist named Mother Juno colleced gene samples from the populace. Using these, she was able to artifically create new people for the planet.

Un fortunately for the Maltusians, she refused to stop, even after the crisis was over and they were able to have children again. The planet has grown more and more crowded, until water became strictly rationed and fresh food was barely a memory.

Determined to help the Maltusians, the four head to Mother Juno's lab. After a long fight against her specially bred guards, she is defeated not by the superheroes, but by her own people, who have followed our heroes to the lab.

Our Guardian friend decides he can do much good for the Maltusians, and refuses GL's offer to go back to Earth with them. He is content to spend the rest of his (now limited) life easing the suffering of his ancestral world.

Thoughts: Well, this was certainly an improvement over the last issue! At least this time, the book had a clear plot and you could tell exactly what the authors were trying to tell you. The overpopulation theme seems a bit more...big picture than what they were going with before. I mean, individual racists are one thing, but an entire planet suffering from too many people is another. My favorite bit was probably Ollie using a Sap Arrow (the kind you knock someone out with not the kind that comes from a tree) to defeat one of Mother Juno's over-sized guards.

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