BatmanGreen Lantern
Batman: Made of Wood
Medium: comic
Year: 2003
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Keywords: superhero
Format: Detective Comics #784-786
Series: << Batman >>, << Green Lantern >>
Website category: Batman
Review date: 24 December 2021
I was fascinated. I'd never known that the first Green Lantern worked in Gotham.
There have been lots of Green Lanterns over the years, but the Golden Age original (Alan Scott) is unique. He mostly fought ordinary criminals in Capitol City, then later Gotham. He certainly wasn't a space-travelling policeman in an intergalactic Green Lantern Corps, which was a Silver Age reinvention. No, Scott was just a railroad engineer who'd found a magic lantern. It talked to him. His magic ring he made himself. In time, Hal Jordan arrived and "Green Lantern" acquired its modern meaning... but Scott remained part of the DC universe. DC even changed his superhero name to "Sentinel" for a while, to avoid confusion. In 2011 (i.e. after this), the character was revamped so that his powers came from Swamp Thing's the Green.
Anyway, this is an Alan Scott story. Batman's in it too, but it's about an unsolved case from Scott's era (the 1940s) that's somehow still killing people in the present day (2003). No, the story doesn't explain this. Scott is still active and co-operating with Batman, yet also old enough to have given his autograph to Bruce Wayne's father, Thomas, when Thomas was a child.
This is quite cool. It certainly doesn't need explaining. Superheroes do things like that.
There's lots of respect, obviously. (It couldn't be further removed from Batman's sneers about Green Lantern under Frank Miller.) There are references to a mutual enemy (Solomon Grundy), among others. The story's talking about people's perception of heroes, including the heroes' views of themselves (some quite strong material for Scott) and of each other (since Batman and Green Lantern have very different viewpoints, powers and skill sets). There's detective work, which I always appreciate in Batman stories. Scott was never a detective, but he accompanies Batman anyway and helps as best he can because this case involves him personally.
There's also a generational thing going on, including the killer(s), the superheroes and even arguably Jim Gordon. This is a post-Killing Joke story and his daughter Barbara is helping Batman as Oracle.
I rather liked this one. It's reflective and affectionate, while also being a more interesting superhero team-up than most of them. (Batman has met lots of Green Lanterns over the years, but only Scott has that history. Bruce seems to dislike Hal Jordan, for what it's worth, while his one-punch hellos to Guy Gardner became a running gag.) I bought this in a combined graphic novel with The Man Who Laughs, which was definitely one of my better Batman purchases.