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Green Lantern

DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

Everybody knows the story of Aladdin, right? Well, they forget the part about him being Chinese. And they don't realize that he didn't use a flying carpet. Also, the genie in the lamp was only one of two genies he could command - the other lived in a magic ring.

In 1940, railroad engineeer Alan Scott came into possession of a green metal lantern created from a piece of the alien "Starheart." The lantern "spoke" to Scott, instructing him to use the lantern's metal to fashion a ring, which allowed him to create objects and devices out of solid green light. Scott took his newfound powers and adopted the crime-fighting identity of Green Lantern, becoming a charter member of the Justice Society of America.

Green Lantern was created by freelance artist Martin Nodell, who was inspired by The Ring of the Nibelung and the sight of a New York subway employee waving a lantern to signal that the track ahead was clear. He took the idea to DC editor Sheldon Mayer, who assigned writer Bill Finger - "co"-creator of Batman - to punch things up a bit.

There are a lot of comicbook characters with bad costumes, but Alan Scott may be the only one whose costume is meant to be bad! Like the man himself said in his first appearance, "I must make myself a dreaded figure! I must have a costume that is so bizarre that once I am seen I will never be forgotten!" Mission accomplished, Alan! He wears a baggy red shirt that's probably meant to be silk, but looks more like a sweatshirt on this figure; a huge belt with a completely average buckle; green tights that are actually tied into his red boots by yellow straps; and a purple cape with green lining, held in place by a golden cord and two medallions.

This is clearly the Golden Age version of the character, because he has a picture of a lantern on his chest, not the modified GLC symbol from the '70s and '80s. The entire upper body is a new sculpt, as are his shins. He wears a very distinctive power ring, not at all like the modern Lanterns', and it's sculpted perfectly, too. He originally wore his ring on his right hand, but switched back and forth regularly, and now he's mainly a lefty.

Nodell came up with GL's alter ego by flipping through the phonebook. At one point, Finger apparently suggested changing his name to Alan Ladd, to tie him in more with Aladdin, but it was decided that would be too much. The figure's head is stretched vertically, compared to the original press photos, but that may have been a Photoshop job: the head seems just slightly too big for the body, so maybe they squashed it for promos.

The figure has all the usual DCU articulation, with no surprises. His only accessory is his lantern, a unique piece that looks very little like the power batteries the GLs use today. With this thing, you can really see the origins as a railroading device. The lantern itself is detailed excellently, but we should probably take this opportunity to point out that when the bio says he was a "railroad engineer," it doesn't mean he was the guy who drives the train (sadly): he was an engineer who just happened to be employed by the railroad; you know, he built bridges and stuff. That kind of engineer.

All the DC figures Mattel released in 2010 included a DC 75th Anniversary collector button, featuring art from old comics. Alan Scott's image is from Green Lantern #1, appropriately enough: the original GL was one of only five DC characters in the '40s to headline his own book, so the recognition here seems appropriate.

Green Lantern comes with a piece of the Series 14 Build-A-Figure, Ultra-Humanite. He gets the right leg, which may use the Gorilla Grodd foot, but is otherwise new. Highly poseable, too, with a balljointed ankle and hip, and a hinged knee.

Alan Scott is probably the most powerful superhuman on Earth, but that doesn't really mean much out here in the real world - in Green Lantern #30, readers met Alan's pet, Streak the Wonder Dog. By issue #34, Streak was on the cover alone; by #38, the book was cancelled, and while Alan went off to limbo, Streak moved to Sensation Comics without missing a beat. It may have taken Aquaman 19 years to appear on his first comic cover, but at least he never got pushed aside by his own dog.

-- 01/05/11

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