What about the RED Skins, Mister Green Lantern?!
I am rearin' to go. And what better way to celebrate my return than to talk about a preachingly condescending comic series!
No...not THAT. COMIC. SERIES.
Although, believe me, I am DEFINITELY gonna talk about it and why I feel JMS completely screwed the pooch in writing for Supes. No. I'm continuing my examination of the O'Neil/Adams run of "Green Lantern" during the 1970's. Now the last time we saw a story that was personal. There were SOME preachy moments, but for the most part, as I said, I liked it. I liked the art. I liked the way it presented the victims of the drugs within. I liked how honest it felt.
And I REALLY wanted to like these next two stories. But unfortunately I can't.
Let me start things off by talking about my fairy godmother. My "evil stepmother", Barbara. My dad divorced my mom and remarried more than ten years ago. I was a little BRAT to Barbara at first. But she has become a figure of great wisdom, a guiding influence, somebody who's so down-to-earth, kind and understanding that she, to me, is a cross between Mother Teresa and Linda Hamilton from "Terminator 2".
Barbara is Native American. She has not had a good childhood. She even ran away from home. And she's known real suffering and sadness in her life, which she's freely shared with me. Despite this...or perhaps BECAUSE of it...she's one of the most compassionate and loving people I know. And she's deeply, deeply spiritual. She's able to talk about religious subjects in ways I can understand and which still continue to blow my mind. She's the one who helped rekindle a love for C.S Lewis. She helped me decide I wanted to be Catholic. I really wanted these two stories to do a good and fair portrayal of Native Americans.
...this is what we got.
...we now interrupt this stupid comic to show a clip from "Blazing Saddles".
You will thank me for this.
I know that this was immature, childish and silly. But compare that to this.
Now I ask you, which would YOU rather look at?
And before I get anybody jumping down my throat about this, YES, I know that the settlers of America were not very charitable towards the Native Americans. Guess what? The Native Americans weren't so charitable towards THEM either. Do I really have to bring up King Phillip's War? Or talk about Sioux raiding parties? And if you try to use the whole "This was self-defense" or "They were just trying to get them off their land", it isn't like Native Americans were using the land like the environmentalists we picture them to be today.
Do you want to know what a common practice of plains Indians was? HERDING BUFFALO OFF OF CLIFFS TO THEIR DEATHS SO THEY COULD PICK THE CHOICEST CUTS OF MEAT. If you don't believe me, research "Buffalo Jumps". Go on. Wikipedia it. This actually happened. This is WORSE than just shooting the occasional buffalo from trains. MUCH worse.
So none of that "Oh those poor Native Americans" talk. I am NOT going to have ANYBODY play the "Race Guilt" card. It is BULLCRAP. We're moving on.
Green Lantern and Green Arrow find that Ollie's dearly beloved girlfriend, Black Canary, aka Dinah, was injured and is now under the care of someone named Joshua. Evidently he is "on a mission to bring truth to these troubled times". When Ollie asks Dinah to come with him...things take a bit of a tragic turn.
Daaaamn. That's cold. But of course, we can't include a cult leader with a fishy set of goals in a comic book without him being absolutely insane, now can we? Oh no. This guy is freakin' Charlie Manson. He already had a similarity in appearance. Now take a look at this next part.
Yeah. That's right, folks. Manson was said to have manipulated his "children", pretty much hypnotized them into "killing all those pigs" when he did the Helter Skelter murders.
He's Manson! Just LOOK at him! And now look at this:
He's Manson! He's freakin' Manson! Oh, and it gets better. Look at this next part.
A race war. This guy wants to start up a race war. Is there anybody out there who STILL doesn't think this guy is so obviously Charlie Manson?
Anyhow, Green Lantern and Green Arrow manage to confront him. Dinah is still under his sway, but she really does love Ollie. When Joshua gives her a gun and tells her to shoot him, she just can't. She drops the gun and when Joshua dives for it, Green Lantern shoots at him to stop him.
And then this happens.
...oh come ONNNN. That is so ridiculously contrived. The only reason that happened was because he was so cartoonishly racist and villainous that they felt somebody like him was better off dead than, y'know, getting a trial. Which he should have gotten. I mean, LOOK at the angle! It doesn't look at ALL like he's got it aimed at his chest! Why couldn't they just show him shooting himself in a "You'll never take me alive" manner or something? Like that's any less appropriate than somebody screaming for the death of all non-whites in a comic book? Really?!
Oh! OH, but wait! Wait, folks! Here's the kicker! Here's the kicker!
ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDIN' ME?!? SHE WAS FREAKING HYPNO-YOU'RE TELLING YOUR GIRLFRIEND...THAT IS THE MOST OFFENSIVE THING I HAVE EVER READ IN THIS ENTIRE PIECE OF-
He is essentially telling her "You were asking for it". Go piss up a flagpole, Oliver Queen, you freakin' Robin Hood wannabe! Why don't you beat her like you'll end up beating Speedy while you're at it? You'll probably say something like "Why did you make me hit you"?!
Oh, but this was only part one. Remember how this story was supposed to address the Native Americans? Yeah, that kid from before was the only one we've seen even though the characters are ON an Indian Reservation. Hopefully the next story will-
Oh. OH. OH. OH. Oh God. You're serious. This is horrible. You're crucifying Green Lantern on a totem pole and...oh GOD, why is he wearing that headdress? These comics DEFINITELY aren't subtle.
We begin THIS story by having Green Lantern and Green Arrow keeping that whiny Native American kid from being killed for trespassing. Here's where we get the REAL reason why our "red-skin" is so angry with White people.
Okay, fine. This is a legitimate reason for anger and annoyance. The kid's obviously frustrated with the system, especially since there doesn't seem to be any record left after they took pains to make sure there was PROOF of the deal. This kid has a good reason for being angry. But my LORD, they hammer this hatred of whites in our face in SUCH a pretentious way! Why couldn't they have him talk more about this issue in the FIRST part of this two-parter? He would have come off a LOT less emo.
And I know that you might think that this is an insult to emos. Too bad. Final Fantasy, every single mainstream movie ever made, Neon Genesis Evangelion and every single big event comic I've ever read that confronted this issue had THIS to say: complaining about how your life sucks and how the world is crap is NOT going to make your life better and it is DISHONEST to say this is absolute truth. And if you do honestly think that's the way it is...you're wrong. It is NEVER..as bad...as you think it is. You can ALWAYS do something. Even if it doesn't look like it.
And this story is going to prove that. Let us continue.
You see this? Ollie is just somebody who wants to rumble. HAL, on the other hand, is thinking intelliently. He thinks that maybe he can FIND Ulysses Star's-
...okay, ULYSSES STAR?!
NOBODY would name...that's just...
...so being really good at fighting and stuff...shows your spirit is NOBLE.
...no. No, it doesn't What matters is what you fight for and HOW you go about it, not JUST fighting for. Y'know what the worst part is? This story is going to totally contradict this very point that this former guardian makes at the very end. TOTALLY contradict the point on how "through fighting one can see humanity's noble spirit". Much like it totally contradicts the last issue's very last panel in THIS panel.
So much for "You were askin' for it"! Why did this happen? I think that the writers got flooded with so many angry letters that the creators HAD to have Ollie say that to defuse the fury people were feeling towards Green Arrow. Anyhow, Green Lantern FINDS Ulysses Star's ancestor, but unfortunately, the building he and the documents needed for proof was in went up in flames. But Hal isn't giving up. Oh no. He's off to WASHINGTON. He says that "I've always believed that if a law isn't just, I had to do whatever was possible to change it". Hal is all about change from inside the system.
And what is Ollie about? Well...
...oh yeah. He went there. Green Arrow dresses up as the ghost of a famous tribal leader to inspire the members of this tribe to stand up to the white man and get their land back.
...you know...if it had been that Native American KID that was in the costume...if Ollie had suggested the idea to him...THAT would have been okay. I don't MIND stories that show native tribes and cultures getting some degree of help from outsiders as long as said natives can bring about the change MOSTLY on their own. But this is like "Last Samurai" levels. This is "Mighty Whitey". This is not QUITE as bad as "Avatar", believe me, but...this is still pretty damn patronizing!
I DO have some good news though. The tribe decides to fight off the loggers and it is at that moment that Green Lantern comes back. See he actually did his job and FOUND somebody willing to help in Washington. Take a look!
Yep. Ollie is just looking for a fight. And they DO fight. And they knock each other out. But the good news is that that Native American kid decides to go with the Senator to make people listen to his people's plight. And in addition, the Senator arrests O'Rourke and Pudd, those eeeeevil heads of the loggers, for arson. Yes, they started that fire that destroyed the records of the tribe's deal with Washington and which almost killed Ulysses Star's ancestor. So really, Ollie's inspiring "dress up as Ulysses" thing didn't do NEARLY as much good as Hal's "Hey, I'm actually going to the cops and the government" thing. There's a lesson to be learned here. As slow as these people might be to react...well, the wheels of God may grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.
And now for our "moral".
Ohhhh, so THAT'S the message of this story! All we are saaaaayiiiiing...is give peace a chaaaaaaaaance!
This story is a MESS! The darn thing's morals are all over the place, it contradicts itself over and over, the thing's demeaning to people on ALL sides of the fence, and you know what the worst part is? This STILL isn't as preachy as it gets with this series! Oh no! OH no.
In OTHER fine installments we've got a little story on how Spiro Aginew was using Nixon like a puppet. Yes, THAT Nixon. Take a look.
This is a photo of the two together. Spiro was vice president. Look closely.
Now look at this.
Nixon. As. A little girl.
...this is SO creepy and SO disturbing on SO many levels.
And in case you thought "Now hold on, I know they LOOK similar, but really, isn't this a BIT of a stretch", look at how this tale ends.
Whole. West. Wing.
Oh, and let us not forget...there's a tract against die-hard feminists in this run too!
And a preachy commentary on the "travesty" that is the justice system!
And overpopulation! Which is, of course, the fault of a woman. Cuz, y'know, all women in this story are easily swayed to evil.
And then there was the one about corporate towns.
Actually, this one was pretty good. The place made Stepford, Connecticut look PLEASANT by comparison.
Oh, hey! Its John Stewart! Y'know, that Green Lantern from the animated series? The bald Green Lantern? Yeah, this is what he used to look like.And y'know, THIS story's actually pretty damn good!
And y'know, the O'Neil/Adams run DID end up leading to THIS cute little joke.
...heh-heh-heh-heh. That's a good one. Y'know...maybe I was wrong about this run, maybe this won't actually be so bad-
AAAAAAAAAAA!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOO! YOU DIDN'T! YOU FREAKIN' DIDN'T! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!