March 3, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #1 (October, 2023)

Alan Scott's past haunts him as he's pressured to join the Justice Society.

Jay Garrick: The Flash seemed kinda rote.  Wesley Dodds: The Sandman had artwork that didn’t quite work for me.  One JSA special mini-series to go, this one about Alan Scott, newly out of the closet in the present day.  Would I like this one?

Issue:  Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #1, October 2023

Writer:  Tim Sheridan

Artist:  Cian Tormey

The Plot:  J. Edgar Hoover really wants Alan Scott on the Justice Society.

Commentary:  Alan Scott’s homosexuality is something of a new thing.  The character had been married to women twice in the past, both times to reformed supervillains, and he did have two adult superhero children in the form of Jade and Obsidian.  But when the New 52 happened, the Justice Society wasn’t part of the initial line of books.  They’d eventually pop up on a new Earth-2 as younger, rookie heroes.  As such, Jade and Obsidian basically didn’t exist in the new multiverse, or at least not right away.  Since Obsidian was a gay man, one of the more prominent gay heroes DC had, the decision was made that the new, younger Alan would be a gay man to basically make up for the loss of Obsidian.  Apparently, now that the JSA is back in the main universe along with Jade and Obsidian, the decision was made that the original Alan was also gay, just deep in the closet until he finally came out to his supportive children and teammates.

As such, this mini-series takes that into account as this first issue shows that Alan, in the military, had worked with his secret boyfriend to harness a mystical Crimson Flame, only it turned out the Flame was maybe alive and attacked the naval vessel Alan and his men were working on, leading to the boyfriend’s death and putting Alan off from working with more groups.

Cut to a couple years later, and J. Edgar Hoover reveals he knows Alan’s real name, his sexual orientation, and Hoover has no compunction about blackmailing Alan into joining the Justice Society.  While Alan’s sidekick Doiby Dickles does know Alan is gay and doesn’t mind, the issue is more complicated than that since it’s as much about being on a team as it is hiding his homosexuality from the other superheroes of JSA.

This series looks to easily be the best of the bunch.  The story is more than a straightforward “there’s a bad guy that needs to be dealt with” as it is also examining what it means to be a gay man in the 1940s.  The last page alone was more than a little shocking as it is something that, yeah, probably happened but the average reader (like me!) probably didn’t think too much about it.  Wesley Dodds’s story didn’t do much of anything with any present-day developments.  Jay Garrick’s didn’t feel particularly groundbreaking.  But Alan Scott: The Green Lantern somehow managed to do a bit of both.  And to think, my general disappointment with the other two almost had me skip this one…

Grade:  B+