Who's Air Wave II?

Who's This? Hal Jordan, but not that Hal Jordan, another Hal Jordan who is the son of the Golden Age Air Wave, who we already covered.
The facts: Harold Jordan is a late comer to the Golden Age hero legacy, created to be a link between Larry Jordan (the obscure '40s hero Air Wave) and Hal Jordan (the Silver Age Green Lantern), introduced as Hal's cousin, because it's impossible for characters to have the same last name and not be related. It's a comics rule known as the Roy Thomas Imperative (even though he was created by Denny O'Neil in 1978's Green Lantern #100). He guest-starred on and off in GL that year, and starting in Action Comics #488 (October 1978), this new Air Wave, able to turn himself into a electromagnetic energy (no telephone wire roller-skates for him!) starred in a back-up strip intermittently, until issue 535 (September 1982), followed the next year by a guest spot in DC Comics Presents. The funny thing is, in all that time, he never wore the costume from his Who's Who entry. That premiered HERE, and then was glimpsed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it seems strange to go to all that trouble when he wouldn't appear again until 1989's Firestorm #88, as Maser, with another complete redesign!
How you could have heard of him: After his stint as Maser with the Captains of Industry, Harold Jordan went back to being Air Wave and joins the JSA reverses. He is killed violently in Infinite Crisis, and returns as a zombie in Blackest Night.
Example story: Action Comics #534-535 (August-September 1982) by Bob Rozakis, Alex Saviuk, and Sam de la Rosa
Picking up the last two chapters of his Action back-up, and right away, I have to say that despite starring in the book one and off for four years, his intro blurb is STILL all about his obscure dad. Like, WHAT?! Anyway, we catch up to Hal-but-not-that-Hal, in class, daydreaming about being invited to join the Justice League (though he's thinking of getting into the Teen Titans first).
I say class, but it's actually a club meeting. So what school club is Air Wave a member OF? Wireless radio club? Theater sports? School paper? Nope. The UFO Club. They have that. Well, in the DCU, why not? Half the JLA is made up of aliens or guys working FOR aliens.  And yet, the teacher, Mr. O'Riner, doesn't believe in UFOs. The state of our educational systems, amirite?
Can Hal-ish bring O'Riner evidence of the existence of aliens by the next meeting? He's better equipped than most! His girlfriend Karen stares at the sky with binoculars while he tries to make out with her, and you'd think that wouldn't work, but...
Pseudo-Hal heads home for his camera - these kids are UNPREPARED! - but it's just an excuse to go somewhere and rip his shirt off (thank God Karen wasn't as frisky as he was - UN.PRE.PARED!) and turn into Air Wave. (In a late series twist, Karen knows all about his secret identity but is playing her cards close to the vest.) Already salivating at the thought of making headline news and the talk show rounds, Air Wave enters the spaceship even as he notices a radio transmission from Earth to the craft.
Oh crap, the alien's got a Fifth Column here already! But that's totally not how telepathy works, kid. He's telepathically detected and tries to blank his mind, but can't... stop... thinking..! His only chance is to jump in the alien's helmet and follow the transmission back to its source!
And look who it is: Mr. O'Riner! What were the chances? To find out where the super-bomb is hidden, Hal #2 uses his helmet to send a fake message to O'Riner.
Now to follow him to the weapon. Except, the evil teacher brought his telepathic helmet and calls up to say there's nothing wrong with it. In turn, that makes the mother ship realize they've been rumbled, and O'Riner is commanded to blow the thing in 10 zizzigs. That's just enough zizzigs for Air Wave to do something.
Yes! He's jammed the transporter beam and... uh, no, O'Riner teleports away anyway. Well, that's why you're not a Justice Leaguer, kid. Next best thing is to take the bomb into outer space, and Air Wave flies at the speed of radio waves. Should be easy! Except if it blows in his hands, he may never see Dallas again.
Or smooch Karen. Right. As usual, the young hero is more disappointed that he won't get credit for saving the world. Man, the early '80s were really obsessed with celebrity culture. Thankfully, humanity's outgrown that. Cough. But it doesn't immediately blow, so Air Wave makes a detour to the JLA Satellite and...
WHAT?! Wait a friggin' zizzig! I guess the back-up strip is being cancelled, Bob, so you have one page to give us closure, sorry about that. Well, the Justice League DOES know Air Wave saved the world, and far from being a dud, the bomb would have done its job if he hadn't turned into into a radio wave when he took off with it. "Since an explosion is a conversion of matter and energy and that had already taken place, there was no explosion." Okay Batman, let's say that's logical. Air Wave FOOLED the bomb into thinking it had already blown up.
You know what? That still seems like a daydream to me.

Maybe they ran out of radio-related shtick for Air Wave to use at this point, or he just wasn't that popular. For a back-up character, he still managed to get a pretty big supporting cast (little cousins also appear in the epilogue) and didn't spend all his time in costume. But I see why he was tagged to join the Captains of Industry by John Ostrander later. Totally obsessed with becoming a big star, and as he grew up, moved from status to money as a motivation. The big question remains: Why the redesign in Who's Who? Did someone have big plans for him that somehow failed to materialize in the post-Crisis landscape? Anyone know?

Who's Next? Meow!

3 comments:

RB said...

And recently he has appeared in g.l. annual

Mike W. said...

I could never figure out how Larry Jordan (who was from Earth-2, since he was a hero in the 40s and joined the All-Star Squadron) could be related to Earth-1's Hal Jordan. I guess the easiest explanation is that the editors weren't paying much attention.

RB said...

Or there is an earth-2 air wave

 

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