You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
Things are getting cosmic now, and we’ve been going through each Green Lantern in turn. We were meant to stop talking about them after Tuesday’s overview of Simon Baz but, well, who can resist additional lanterns? And today we have a great personal friend of mine on the site to help explain the life and times of Salaak – Claire Napier! Hey Claire, thanks for coming to the site!
Claire! There’s this Green Lantern with, like, four arms and stuff. Who’s this guy?
Claire Napier: This is what you want to know, is it? This is what’s important. A “Green Lantern” with “four arms.” I don’t know if you know this, Steve, but there’s only one important fact about green lanterns. And it’s this: the old one is afraid of wood. What a dope.
Yeah, it’s true. He’s scared of wooden things. Show him a stick? He’s gonna be afraid of it. Show him a chair? If it’s made of wood, he won’t sit on it. Because it’s scary. It’s made of wood.
You know, actually, the reason for this is that originally they were like “this green lantern, he’s so strong, he’ll need a weakness” and it was an achilles heel type thing, a “no man” type thing—not many wooden things were fashioned into appreciable weapons at the time, so even though he couldn’t get bayoneted or shot he could get beaned with a chunk of log and die, and that’s what kept things interesting. So in fact, really, it didn’t have to be just wood. They just didn’t have a lot of plastic things around at that time, when he was being invented. Nowadays you could stab him with a Barbie doll and he’d die. Wouldn’t that be ironic? The symbol of youthful imagination, the ultimate end of this buff butch manly adult superhero.
Because that’s pretty much what all the golden age guys were. Just “a masculine fellow, gee” as immortal and powerful as the imaginary Man of America. World’s Finest, pre-Crisis, is all about Superman and Batman getting emasculated and then it actually being fine, they knew all along and were just playing along, they’re the manliest of all and even when it seems like they falter, ooh, mommy, they SECRETLY are winning all the time. Manhood! God love it.
So what would a green lantern with four arms “say”? Why would they invent that? Probably just to make a man look manly and also embarrassed but ultimately super manly. He can play baseball and grill a steak at the same time, but—oh no! He accidentally GRILLED THE BALL! Wuh-oh! Goofster! But! oh! Turns out the ball was really an alien egg that would have eaten your brain, kiddo. You’d have died, and be dead right now. Daddy’s on top once again!
Okay, so, what’s Salaak’s whole deal? What’s his personality, and what does he do for the Lanterns?
Napier: He’s the guy who hands out the gear to everyone. You know in those movies? Those grizzled older fellows who sit behind a desk and give everybody their regulation shirts and hand out the shoes and I guess guns or whatever? Like the clerk at a bowling alley, but make it military. They probably make a comment about how you need to cut off your hippy-dippy long hair before you report to barracks, or spank you on the ass just to prove you shouldn’t ever be gay. That is the vibe I assume that the Green Lantern Corps have, on account of them being “Corps.”
This guy’s got four arms, so he can do it all twice as fast, and confuse rookie recruits twice as well. maybe even four times as well. He can tick you off even as he hands you the wrong size because you’re just a WOOORRRRM, a MAGGOT, you’ll need to BULK UP, &c. He probably has a bad eye from being “in the field,” whatever. I don’t know.
But what’s Salaak up to nowadays?
Napier: He’s opened a gelato truck. Serves two customers at once. Makes a mint. Chocolate chip mint. Heyoo! Always has a story for the kids who make a fuss in line. “Oh I caught a guy like this once, lady,” he’ll say to their mama. “Real shifty character. He got me in an armlock out in the delta quadrant of Hexxon 4, boy I thought I was gonna die.” “What did you do, sir?!” pipes up little Jimmy, snot nosed twerp wearing Flash-branded hi-tops and a grass stain on his shorts. Salaak raises up his second pair of arms from behind the reflective/protective spit-screen counter. “I grabbed him right in his goolies, son, and when he doubled over and let me go I grabbed his head and I—” “Just a vanilla cone and one of the blue twisty ice things, please!!” Says Jimmy’s mom. She pulls him away sweating, thinking about which route through the park she’s gonna have to take in future to avoid this scummy, mean little truck. Another day ruined by the goddamn violence of this tragic universe.
Are you happy, Steve? Is this what you wanted to know?
Well you know it. And God help ya. Bet you’d wish you’d just read a wikipedia page, huh? Or watched a little opera? Youtube has some nice stuff. Coulda just gone there.
Too late, Steve. Too fuckin’ late.
Oh. Oh, I see… well, um. I see. Thanks Claire… we’ll be back again next week for some more Green Lanternage….
Claire Napier is a writer and editor, and has been published by The Guardian, ComicsAlliance, and of course at WomenWriteAboutComics, for which she served as Editor in Chief for several years. You can find her on Twitter here, you can find her website here, and you can buy her comic Dash Dearborne here!