Green Lantern: The Play’s the Thing, Chapter 2: Bringing Down the House

by Libbylawrence

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The next day, Hal Jordan met Tom Kalmaku as the clever young man explained his newest engine design at Ferris Air. The darkly handsome Mr. Smith beamed with pleasure, while Carl Ferris glowered from beneath his heavy white brows. “I hope to draw upon the principle that light can be used as a power source for the jet engine,” said Tom. “It’s a variant of Bruce Gordon’s old solar jet, but it requires no heat — just light.”

Ferris snorted. “I’ll try anything to get my company back on solid ground. I will fly this woman expert you asked about over immediately.”

Smith gently formed a cradle with his interlocked fingers and said, “Carl, I’ve taken the liberty to summon her already. Tom, this means a large payment for you and more to come if all goes as planned.”

Hal smiled and congratulated his pal as Smith added, “We’ll want you to test the jet, of course, Jordan. You are our best and brightest, after all.” Hal agreed readily as they exited the office.

Tom showed him a folder containing a photo and articles about a Japanese scientist named Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi. “It’s great Dr. Hoshi agreed to help me with the light-absorption part of the engine,” said Tom. “She’s brilliant.”

Hal nodded. “Looks like she has the credentials to do the job. Funny, though, she looks familiar to me from someplace. I guess I’ve seen her face but can’t place the name.”

“We’re both getting older,” said Tom. “Of course, you can always help yourself remember.”

Hal snapped his fingers. “Great idea, buddy. I’ll just do that little thing as part of my mystery at the theater!”

***

As Green Lantern, he stood before his now-visible power battery in his apartment and spoke words both noble and meaningful.

“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!” he said as the room filled with a green radiance.

“Now that my power ring is charged for another twenty-four hours, I can count on more than my sheer willpower to do the job,” he said. “Now to draw forth from the depths of my memory just where I last saw Baldwin Gray.”

He concentrated as the wonderful ring glowed and bathed his handsome features in an emerald light. From within his past memories, the ring brought forth a vivid but forgotten image.

“Of course! I knew Baldwin Gray was a fake name,” said Hal with a smile. “I also believe I can solve the riddle of the robbers as well, now that I recall exactly who he really is.”

***

That night, as the cast prepared for the play, Green Lantern entered the backstage area and confronted the players.

“Green Lantern! I hope you can protect us tonight,” said Eric Wilson, the theater’s owner. “The loss of yesterday’s box office take may ruin our plans to keep the theater going.”

The hero shook his head. “You don’t have to worry about that anymore. But you will have to give the understudies work tonight, since I’m taking Ms. Dean and Mr. Delvine into custody. They were your costumed robbers.”

Daphne Dean gasped in shock. “That’s not true! I was on stage when the place was robbed.”

Green Lantern frowned. “Nope. You exited in time to attack me after slipping on that yellow and white costume. Your buddy Delvine, here, kept me occupied until you arrived to double-team me.”

“Now, see here,” said Reginald Delvine. “Super-hero or not, I won’t let you slander me!”

“My ring confirms that your voices matched those of the robbers,” said Green Lantern. “You two are going down for the crime. Hope the prison system has a good drama program!” He moved forward and enveloped them in a green sphere before flying off with the angry pair.

Wilson sputtered and paced in worry. “What can I do? What can I do? The audience wants Daphne Dean and Delvine, not unknowns.”

Baldwin Gray cleared his throat and said, “I know the role of Hamlet well. Let me take over until poor Delvine can get cleared. After all, I do have some impressive stage credentials. The understudy can do my old part.”

Wilson sighed. “I suppose you are right.”

As Baldwin waited for the curtain to rise, he relished the opportunity of his career. “Hamlet — the true actor lives for the chance to be the Prince of Denmark!” he said softly to himself. “Now, with a nice nest egg secured from my robbery last night and my rival Delvine out of the way and heading to jail for my crime, my future looks bright. As for Daphne, she will regret rejecting my romantic gestures as her famed beauty rots in jail.”

Suddenly, Green Lantern materialized out of thin air and said, “You know, even when you were the would-be TV super-villain come to life called Dazzler, your ego caused you problems. That little soliloquy is as good as a confession. Of course, who needs my ring recording when I had figured out your plan all along? I recalled your face from your brief time as the Dazzler. Your new name can’t hide a criminal past, Ken Baldwin!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Spectacular Robberies of TV’s Master Villain,” Green Lantern v2 #49 (December, 1966).]

Baldwin cursed, then nodded readily. “Green Lantern. Ah, I see. You had Daphne and Delvine stage that little drama of arrest in order to lull me off-guard and to make my defeat even more painful by giving me the false hope that I had succeeded. You sadist!” He then began to glow, transforming the sable costume of Hamlet into the white and gold costume of the robber from the night before.

“New clothes don’t make the super-crook,” said Green Lantern. “I’ll stop you easily. Your mental powers, flight, and newly enhanced strength can’t slow me down, pal.”

Dazzler floated skyward and said, “Ah, but I am an army of one! Remember — I can create duplicates of myself. That’s the new trick I used to frame Daphne and Delvine. My powers returned after I spent years in prison. I can now refine them and make duplicates of others besides myself. I created a fake Daphne and Delvine and ordered them to rob the place while the real pair lacked alibis.”

Instantly, two more white and gold figures appeared. They removed their helmets to display the duplicated features of Daphne and Delvine.

“I assumed as much once I remembered who you are and what you can do. Sorry, chum, but I’m bringing down the curtain now,” said Green Lantern as he created a heavy curtain of green that crashed down on all three costumed Dazzlers. “Oh, I know, I know. My ring can’t affect you directly. That’s why you could break free of my cage the other night, and that’s why you’ve just ignored my little falling curtain, but I don’t have to touch you directly to stop you. I could do what any actor hopes to do: bring down the house!”

With a gesture, the hero created a green power saw that sliced through a series of ropes above. The weights, sandbags, and wires crashed down around the three Dazzlers, slowing their movements.

Green Lantern swooped low and said, “Now, about those gleaming new dentures of yours, Kenny!” He punched the Dazzler three times and left him staggering.

“You’ve got super-strength!” sputtered Dazzler as Green Lantern belted him again and again. The other duplicates faded as he lost concentration, and Green Lantern ducked his foe’s left hook.

“Yep. Used the ring to enhance my own physical strength. That way it’s pure muscle — albeit artificially enhanced muscle — that stops you. Your immunity to the green only extends to objects created by it, not to effects of its use.” He wrestled Dazzler down and delivered a final stunning punch.

“I hear the play has started with Delvine and Daphne in their roles as we planned all along,” said Green Lantern. “Too bad I couldn’t tip off poor Wilson. His lack of acting experience could have blown my little ruse. I wanted the cocky Dazzler to be as off his game as possible.”

He glanced at the beaten Dazzler and shrugged. “A star one minute, a convict the next. That’s show business!”

The End

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