Monday, June 17, 2024

Summer Green #6 - Make Room!

The eighty-first issue of Green Lantern and Green Arrow picks up right after the last. In this one Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano have fashioned a cautionary fable of another world in which there just too many people.

Old Timer, the Guardian who traveled with our heroes and who was brought before his fellow immortals for judgment faces his sentence, to be made mortal and to live out his now numbered days on Maltus, the planet from which the Guardians sprang.

But Maltus has changed. Fearful of a faltering of children, a woman named Mother Juna instigated a program of cloning which has resulted in a planet overrun with people of all sorts. To stem this tide of humanity the heroes along Black Canary seek her out and put an end to her programs. The Old Timer chooses to remain on Maltus and help his people rediscover their way.

This is wild one, full of some creative derring-do. We see Green Lantern limited by his classic weakness of yellow and his diminished ring (thanks to the Guardians) struggle to fend off cloned super-warriors. Green Arrow and Black Canary have to use their skills and wits to survive not only the warriors but also the crowds which teem about the planet and rise all too quickly in rage and panic.

At the time this was written it was generally assumed that the world's population would soon overwhelm its resources. But revolutionary changes in farming have forestalled that fear. Recently I heard that these advances are once again reaching their limits and we are faced with a world which might produce more people than it can fend for. So this fable is once again, as it was before timely.

The name of the planet "Maltus" is choice as the "Malthusian Theory" posits that the world will end up just as described in this tale of a far distant planet.  I was struck too by the absolute lack of foresight demonstrated by the Guardians who have failed to look after their home world. It is suggested their immortality makes them negligent since they have forgotten urgency. An interesting notion and it is  reinforced by Old Timer who says that he does not fear death, but has now a sense of purpose he formerly lacked.

Nice stuff.

More to come.

This is a verdant vintage Dojo post. 

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