DCAU #209: So This Lady Walks Into an Espresso Bar...

IN THIS ONE... Green Lantern vs. Amazing Grace and Glorious Godfrey. In the back-up, Mister Miracle escapes the Slab.

Written by Steve Vance; art by John Delaney and Ron Boyd.

REVIEW: This Green Lantern story has the same basic problem the previous Wonder Woman tale did. At a mere 15 pages, we have time to introduce the starring hero, give him a little personality and set him in his life, then there's a fight with some villains, and it's over. It leaves one wanting more, especially one the villains' side of things. Was their plan really to create riotous behavior in coffee shop patrons until a Lantern showed up so they could steal his ring? And did we need both villains, seeing as they are quite similar? It eats up page count that could have been used to make the plot more complex. As with the Wonder Woman story, it's about stealing the hero's powers and not succeeding. I still admit, they do a lot with 15 pages, just not enough to make the story more important. Why do the even shorter back-ups work better? Because they're so lean and precise. The 15-pagers seem oddly padded as we go through origin stories and exposition. These do make great introductions for the characters of the era though, and would work well as a springboard for new readers wanting to then delve into their mainstream books.

In "So This Lady...", Kyle channels what I imagine is Steve Vance's capacity for outrageous puns, and comes across as a fun, wisecracking hero in the mold of Spider-Man. His constructs aren't quite as elaborate as those from his actual series, but are always related to the situation or to his work at home - which at present is drawing cartoon characters for a family restaurant. It makes sense and gives the issue some good visuals, in addition to the verbal jokes.
Mister Miracle's "Escape from the Slab!" is the real star here. Scott is forced to escape with a criminal in tow while his men keep guns trained on hostages, rendering Big Barda and Oberon powerless to act. There's always the sense, with Mister Miracle "escape" stories, that he's cheating far more than any magician, using technology to overcome any trap. But the real trick here is to lead the criminal right back where he started, all the while making it possible for Barda to defeat the thugs on her end. The criminal gets humiliated along the way too, and it's fun. Clever art makes sure we've lost track of where we are as well, making for a good surprise at the end.

At this point, the Green Lantern ring belonged to Kyle Rayner, who was never the main GL on the animated shows. His flashback/origin does feature first appearances for Hal Jordan and John Stewart, however. Plus, Alan Scott, Guy Gardner and other prominent Corpsmen. It's also a first for Glorious Godfrey and Amazing Grace, drawn just a bit more obviously like siblings in this issue than in the mainstream DCU; only Godfrey shows up on the shows, but out of costume and decidedly blonder. Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Oberon have a connection to the supervillain prison known as the Slab through Shilo Norman, Scott Free's successor in the role of Mister Miracle, who was its first warden. And the back-up makes sense because the Slab first appeared in Kyle's Green Lantern series (#51 in fact). On video screens, we see some of the Slab's denizens, cameos that act as first and sometimes only appearances to such villains as the Hellgrammite, Shrapnel and Houngan. And both stories feature characters from Jack Kirby's Fourth World, of course.

REREADABILITY: Medium/High - The GL story isn't bad, but pretty standard. The Mister Miracle back-up is fun and clever, however.


CalvinPitt said...

When you say Kyle's never appeared in the animated shows, do you mean up to the point you're at in this review, or ever? Because I'm positive he shows up in an episode of Superman as a cartoonist at the Daily Planet, and he and Supes fight Sinestro. And I know there's a Justice League episode where Katma Tui makes a reference to him as someone John Stewart sent to her for training (she's not complimentary, though she's busting Stewart's butt at the moment, too).

I don't know how far ahead you are in reading this series, but in general, it seems like the goal of having two stories in each issue is hampering the effectiveness of the main story, at least. Does it ever move past that, or is it something a reader would just have to live with?

Siskoid said...

I simply forgot all about Kyle, in part because there's a scratch on my DVD that has always prevented me from seeing Superman's GL episode, and I guess I lost Kyle in the sea of heroes that is JLU. Tweaked the text to fix it.

To answer your other question, there ARE full-length stories coming up, they just aren't the norm until the last few issues of the series which get their two characters a book with a team-up.


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