Green Lantern vol. 2 (#188) – Steve Englehart, Alan Moore

3 out of 5

You’re likely reading this because of Alan Moore’s short ‘Tales of the Green Lantern Corps’ story.  Good.  It’s fantastic, and while, yes, it’s just sort of the kind of incidental, Future Shocks-type sci-fi he used to write, it’s another example of Alan applying that to DC characters and blowing up concepts and spinning new worlds and massive ideas with a breezy casualness, and within a few pages.  It’s only incidental in that it reads so easily and lightly, but it’s masterfully compressed and composed to be able to come across that way. ‘Mogo Doesn’t Socialize’ is similar in structure to the linked story above from the Tales of the GL Corps Annual #3: we’re introduced to Mogo, which is a GL unlike any GL we’ve known up to that point, and it ends with a joke.  But even in the pages leading up to that punchline and reveal, Moore drops in little ideas he’d reuse elsewhere – sentient diseases; living math – and comes up with hilarious names and expressions.  Is the story worth reading the issue?  …Mm, no, probably not, as I’ll get to in a moment.  Moore’s bit is pretty perfect, and should be read, but it’s been collected in a couple of collections since, and that’s the way to go.

Because the preceding part, part of the ongoing GL series by Steve Englehart, is awful.  Every criticism that can be leveled at comics as being irrelevant fantasy, and poorly scripted soap operas, applies here.  Englehart comes across as sexist – the dames is so silly, and flighty, and cause problems with their wiles! – and the villain the newly debuting GL John Stewart grapples with here is not only of an incredible B-variety (manipulating sound waves could be cool, but not when you wear a Superman knockoff suit and name yourself Sondar-the-something-or-other), but also delivers all of his boastful monologuing without an iota of awareness.  Englehart coasts on this cheese, and barely necessary dialogue, with Joe Staton matching the laziness on loose, undetailed pencils.  Not a good show.

It’d be one star for Steve, five for Alan, so we’ll go down the middle and give the issue a three.  Since Moore only took up about 5 pages, though, we’re weighting heavily in his favor… although that suggests how much fun his story is.