Show Me Your Colors
Hal Jordan is set up on a blind date with an artist, but she seems to have a secret! How will that secret end up leading to Green Lantern’s battle with an old Flash foe called the Rainbow Raider?
Tom Kalmaku’s Green Lantern Casebook, October, 1986:
My pal Hal Jordan was tired. He had been busy with one adventure after another as both a member of the JLA and on his own. He had even successfully piloted the new light-powered jet for Ferris Air, and had managed to get through several days without having any trouble with the bitter Carl Ferris or the elusive Mr. Smith. Still, he was in need of some relaxation, and thus I did what I thought was the right thing to do at the time: I fixed him up on a blind date.
Needless to say, it all ended badly in another Green Lantern case.
Hal Jordan frowned as he passed the window of the office of Carl Ferris. The old man glared at the test pilot with unconcealed malice. As Hal walked onward, he tried to justify Carl’s feelings of anger and hatred.
Carl thinks his daughter is dead, Hal thought. He blames me and Green Lantern equally for Carol’s disappearance, since as Hal I romanced her, and as G.L. I often attracted super-villains that plagued Ferris Air, since it was known as one of my frequent haunts. The fact that I am G.L. and Carol is now a space queen called Star Sapphire could explain just where she is and how she came to be in this situation, but I’m not prepared to reveal that secret or my own to him. I already suspect that his shadowy partner, Mr. Smith, knows I am Green Lantern and is up to something sinister on his own.
He continued walking rapidly until he was stopped by the mechanic and engine designer named Tom Kalmaku. Tom was loyal and knew all of Hal’s secrets. He also was keenly aware that his buddy was depressed about something.
“Hal, I hate to bring this up, but Tegra has a friend named Mona Dean,” Tom said in a breathless tone. “She’s an artist and is quite good. She works at the Coast City Gallery and is so busy with work that she never goes out. Well, Tegra wondered if you might considered having a date with her. She’s pretty and smart, but just doesn’t go out enough to meet a lot of folks!”
Hal grinned. “Well, I didn’t know I was quite ready to join the Lonely Hearts Club, but I appreciate the offer. In fact, I’ll give her a call. My social calendar is open, unless Evil Star decides to attack or something!”
Tom nodded appreciatively. “You’re a pal. I was worried you might not like the idea, but I promised Tegra I’d at least run it past you.”
Hal draped an arm over Tom’s shoulder and said, “No problem. Mona Dean might be the answer to my own romantic woes. I’ll give her a call, but I warn you, I don’t know a Cubist from an Impressionist.”
This lack of artistic information wasn’t the main problem that Hal Jordan encountered on his date with the artist. She was silent for long intervals and seemed all too aware of the passing of time. She was nervous and in a hurry to eat and get home. Hal wondered if he was just not Mona’s type, but he was bound to at least try to charm her or get her to enjoy their meal.
“Mona, my sister-in-law Sue dabbles in art,” Hal said. “Oh, I mean she just does it for fun, and her kid Howie gets more paint on her than she gets on the canvas. But she would like to meet a real artist like you.”
Idly brushing a lock of black hair out of her eyes, Mona Dean nodded and said, “I’d be pleased to meet her someday. The gallery shows keep me so busy with other artists that I seldom get to paint myself.”
“I’d be eager to see your work,” said Hal.
Mona nodded and said, “Perhaps someday. I am rather tired tonight. No reflection on you, of course.”
Hal sipped his coffee and thought of something to say. You know, I’m really the JLA member Green Lantern, Hal thought. I’ve seen other worlds and alien races, and have battled for the fate of the entire universe! That would be a real icebreaker, huh, Jordan?
The meal ended, and he drove Mona home. As she gave him a quick peck on the cheek and exited the car, Hal frowned as a figure peered out furtively from behind the curtains.
Huh? Tom and Tegra said Mona lived alone and didn’t know many folks socially, Hal thought. Odd that someone is in her house. Maybe she has a boyfriend, after all, but is ashamed to tell her friends about him. If so, he sure isn’t the jealous type, or he’d have stopped our date. My friend Ralph Dibny’s mystery-loving nose would be twitching now. I’m pretty curious myself. Oh, well, I’m being silly. It’s not like there’s a super-villain lurking everywhere I go! He switched on the radio and drove off.
The next day found Hal Jordan having a shower when his phone rang. He scooped up the phone and wrapped a towel around his body. “Hello?” he said.
“Hal, this is Mona,” she said in a perky tone. “Would you like to visit the gallery tonight? I could show you around, and we could be alone together.”
“Sure, I’d like that,” said Hal. “I’ll be over at nine.”
Putting the phone down, he shrugged. “OK, so when did the pod people switch Mona for a legume? She was friendly and warm just now, but distant and anxious last night. Maybe the old Jordan charm did the magic after all!”
That night, Hal approached the Coast City Gallery and admired the posters promoting the current exhibit. “Manny Hughes — A Study in Color and Form!” he read. “Never heard of him, but then again, I thought Erte was some French dish!” he said with a smile.
As he entered the lobby, Mona blocked his path. “Hal, I’m sorry, but I’m not well!” she said. “Let me cancel the tour. You should go home. I can’t see you tonight!”
Hal frowned as he glimpsed a figure in the shadows beyond the artist. “Mona, I’m sorry if you are ill, but I could drive you home,” he said.
Mona shook her head. “No! Just go! I’ll be fine. I’m sorry again!”
He nodded and walked away. She was so hyper, and she was obviously on edge, he thought. Plus, I saw someone else in the closed gallery. This is too odd for me to let go. My ring scanned her while we spoke, and it detected an energy aura of some type. It’s a type my ring identifies all too well! An old Flash rogue is behind Mona’s mood swings, and I have a good idea why. He continued his musing as he changed to his Green Lantern costume.
The hero entered the building and confronted Mona and a man in a white coat. He remembered seeing his bearded face on the posters outside. “Manny Hughes?” said Green Lantern. “Or should I say Many Hues? Nice little villain play on words. I can call you Roy, though, can’t I?”
Hughes ripped off the fake beard and slipped on a pair of goggles. “The Rainbow Raider will make you fade to black by any name!” said the artist.
The Rainbow Raider, alias Roy G. Bivolo, had battled Green Lantern before, but was primarily a Flash foe. He was armed with the prism goggles that allowed him to generate colored energy auras that produced various effects on their targets.
Green Lantern gently scooped Mona up in a huge green hand created by his power ring and placed her safely outside. “Stay out, Ms. Dean. I have to have a talk with your star artist!” he said in a commanding tone.
Flying up, he faced the Rainbow Raider with his usual confidence. “I can guess what’s going on,” said Green Lantern. “You’ve been posing as this Hughes and forcing Ms. Dean to finish your paintings and promote them and you under your new alias. I know you’re color blind and can’t complete the paintings you envision. That’s where Ms. Dean comes in. Your emotion-control rays have made her a basket case and have forced her to use her talents to complete your ideas for you. She also gives you a showcase for the works here.”
The Rainbow Raider smiled coldly. “I did create the ideas, but as you said, my problem with color forced me to employ Mona to complete them. Of course, I had to force her to do so and give me total credit. This is my big chance. I should have had this kind of fame all along! My mood rays did the trick on her, and they’ll work on you, too!”
Green Lantern created a boxing glove that loomed over the Rainbow Raider as the villain stood defiantly in the hero’s path. The hero frowned as the glove construct faded away as the Rainbow Raider’s energy beam touched the creation, altering it until it disappeared.
“I can reduce your green energy constructs to their basic color components of blue and yellow and, by magnifying the yellow, rob them of their very form,” gloated the Raider. “Your weakness is well-known to those of us who use color or light as weapons!”
Green Lantern realized that the necessary impurity in his power ring was a potent weakness against the color-manipulating Raider.
The Rainbow Raider immediately moved to attack. “Powerless and defenseless! Now to teach you the meaning of fear!” he said. A yellow ray blazed out of the prism goggles and hit Green Lantern. “Feel afraid? I’m building on your natural innate fears!” said the villain as he increased the power of the blinding yellow ray.
Green Lantern gritted his teeth and marched through the beam to connect with a hard right. “I don’t scare easily!” he said. In truth, he had resisted the emotion-manipulating beam by sheer willpower and from drawing on the impressive resources of his fearless nature.
The Rainbow Raider spat out a tooth and rose up on a floating solid rainbow platform. “I know when to leave!” he muttered. “You are as dangerous without your ring power as you are with it!”
He flew off and left Green Lantern below. The ring net he created to catch the flying figure faded away as the Raider again reduced the emerald energy to its component colors. Great Guardians! I’ve got to get around that little trick, or he’ll become a serious threat! thought Green Lantern.
That night Green Lantern swooped down over Chicago. The Windy City was the origin of Rainbow Raider’s unique energies. Green Lantern had tracked them via his power ring across the country after making a quick preparation before beginning the hunt.
Good thing Bivolo doesn’t try to hide his energy rainbow, thought Green Lantern. My ring has a lock on its peculiar energy signature. Poor guy’s likely to run into some of my eastern pals if he’s not careful, and I don’t catch him soon!
The Emerald Gladiator smiled as his ring created an energy grid in the sky over the city, and a tiny blip indicated the location of his foe. “The Rainbow Raider is hiding out at the Rainbow Motel! Now that’s poetic justice!” he said with a grin.
Dropping into the tiny motel’s parking area, Green Lantern concentrated. Energy tendrils snaked inside the motel and emerged with a struggling Rainbow Raider in their grasp. Releasing the angry Bivolo, he said, “Now, I believe you have an appointment with the art department of the California State Prison!”
Rainbow Raider slipped on his goggles and cursed as he confronted Green Lantern. “Bah! Do your worst! I can defeat your green rays like so!” he shouted.
Green Lantern had fired a ray-beam from his ring, and the eager Rainbow Raider remained calmly in place as his own energy flashed.
“Again, I reduce your paltry green ray to its component colors and — arrgh!” he groaned as something unseen struck his chest with stunning force.
Green Lantern leaned over, ripped off the prism goggles, and hauled the beaten foe to his feet.
After turning the defeated Rainbow Raider over to the Chicago police and shattering his prism goggles for added security, he flew back to Coast City and comforted Mona Dean.
“Ms. Dean, you are free of his mood rays now,” said Green Lantern. “He had you switching moods so rapidly that you must have seemed mad to your friends. He was staying in your home, and his control of you increased or decreased depending on his own whim.”
Mona Dean nodded eagerly. “When he first used the rays on me, I was helpless. But over time, perhaps, he was less interested in controlling me when he was drawing his ideas that I brought to color and life! I was myself at times, but not at others! He had to allow me some time in public to do my job and see folks, or I’d attract concern and attention.”
“This is how I was able to beat him,” explained Green Lantern. “I had to take advantage of his color blindness. This ray he so swiftly broke apart was merely a purple light generated from a fake ring a buddy of mine whipped up. My true ring was on the other hand and rendered invisible, as was its normally emerald energy. That was what I slammed into the Raider with while he broke down a simple purple light like some found in discos!”
Mona smiled. “You are wonderful! I have you to thank for my freedom. It’s a shame Roy could not share his talents. We could have worked together, sharing the credit, and all would have been perfectly legal, but his ego was too great to do that!”
Green Lantern nodded. “He was so bitter over his weakness that he failed to properly employ his strengths.”
Later, as Hal Jordan, he received a call from Mona Dean, who explained her problems. She gently said, “My emotions have been so mixed up of late that I can’t really judge if I want to see you or not. I’ll need some time to sort out my feelings.”
“Sure. I understand,” Hal replied. Putting the phone down, he sighed and said, “Oh, well. Maybe I’m done with woman trouble for a while!”
Meanwhile, the Chicago cops faced more trouble as localized hurricane-force winds swept their new prisoner, the Rainbow Raider, away from them. Roy G. Bivolo landed in fear and faced a man dressed like a pirate.
“Laddie, I be here to recruit a hardy crew for me Captain!” said the Wind Pirate. “Will you sign on for a plot in Gotham City?”
Roy eagerly agreed and headed into service of the Schemer, but that would be another tale. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Outsiders: The Fear Maker.]