Batman is an asshole. A total and complete asshole. More on that later. This was actually the first Green Lantern issue I ever read so it holds a special place in my heart. I decided today to dig it out and see if it still holds up after all these years.
The story here is that Kyle Rayner, the GL at the time, has decided to go on a bit of a road trip and seek out advice from other heroes on how to be a better hero. He's still pretty new to the whole GL thing at this point and feels like he could use the guidance. So he comes to Gotham seeking out the advice of Batman. Batman proceeds to make Kyle feel like an ass and goes off about how he doesn't have time to hold Kyle's hand, figure it out for yourself, etc etc. Damn Bruce, way to be a dick. You train people all the time, you've had three Robins for fuck's sake. Maybe you don't have time to train Kyle, maybe you don't even feel equipped to train him in these powers, but why not send him somewhere he could be trained? Surely you know other heroes who could help him. You don't think maybe the guy standing in front of you, wielding nearly god like power, asking for help in wielding it responsibly merits you at least sending him in the direction of getting training? Sometimes Batman is a complete asshole.
After that disappointing encounter Kyle stumbles upon Alan Scott, the golden age Green Lantern who also operates out of Gotham. Alan has recently been de-aged to be physically in his 20's and now calls himself Sentinel. He offers to give Kyle some advise in exchange for helping him catch a criminal called Harlequin, not to be confused with the Joker's girlfriend Harley Quinn.
So once Harlequin is apprehended we find out that she is actually Alan's wife Molly, sorta. After Alan was de-aged it put a real strain on his marriage for obvious reasons, so his wife sold her soul to a demon to get de-aged as well. Her soulless body now took on the persona of Harlequin. Alan has recently rescued Molly's soul and is going to shove it back into her body. This will apparently destroy the 'person' of Harlequin but Alan does it anyway, even while Harlequin cries and begs for her life. Damn. This issue actually raises interesting ethical and philosophical questions. Without a soul was Harlequin 'real'? Was this a form of murder? I'm sorta of the mindset that any sentient being would have a soul so I'm not very found of the idea of 'soulless beings'. Either way it is clear Kyle is as uneasy with this as I am, to which Alan responds "Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes."
Well Kyle it looks like Gotham proved pretty useless when it comes to guidance on being a hero, first you get no advise, then, shall we say questionable advise. Maybe you'll have better luck in your next stop. Oh and at the very end of this issue we get an epilogue where some alien kills a member of the Darkstars. Don't know what that's all about, guess we'll find out some other time.
And as to the earlier question, does this issue still hold up to me? Yes, this is probably one of the better stories from Kyle's run as GL. The art is solid, the interactions are well written, even is Bats comes off as a bit too much of a douche, and it actually left me asking a couple of deep questions. All and all definitely worth reading.