Jethro Dumont (aka the Green Lama) adopted a number of conflicting identities when he returned to the U.S. from a 10-year sabbatical in Tibet. He was a Buddhist, an Asura demigod, a tulka, a billionaire, a womanizer, a fop, a vigilante, a superhero, and a monster.
Dumont also acquired many aliases and alternative names over the years too — Dr. Charles Pali, Hugh Gilmore, the Buddhist Bastard, the Battlin’ Buddhist, the Destroyer, the Verdant Vigilante, Green Sleeves, and (most rudely) the Green fucking Lama.
Out of necessity (and with the help of a little theatrical greasepaint), Dumont had taken on more than 86 different identities during his 16-year career as a crimefighter. But what’s in a name? To paraphrase Juliet Capulet: “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
“Let’s call me what I really am,” says Dumont in an end-of-novel pique. “An angry god.”
In this, the latest novel from Adam Lance Garcia, Dumont is still struggling to find the balance in his life (check out our reviews of Garcia’s previous books here and here). The Green Lama was a Buddhist. But to be completely honest, he wasn’t a very good one.
If Dumont were a true lama (green or otherwise), he would never raise his hand against another. And he would never be so preoccupied with morality of “good versus evil.” If he wanted to fight crime as a Buddhist, he would teach and help others find enlightenment. He wouldn’t spend his life in the shadows, using violence and torture against those whom he deemed criminal.
Over the years, he had broken nearly every tenet of his faith to help rid the world of darkness. And yet he still considered himself a Bodhisattva. “Through my actions,” he says defiantly, “I can act as a shepherd, helping others reach enlightenment while delaying my own. I stray so that others may find the path.”
Still feeling the afterburn from his recent tangle with Cthulhu, the big daddy of all cosmic monsters, the Green Lama and his associates find themselves being targeted by a serial killer named Omega (“I’m just a career man doing my job,” he says flippantly). To complicate matters further, New York City is being overrun by a plague of mindless cannibals. The twin crisis of Omega and the zombie horde (along with a big squirt of lingering Lovecraft juice) help the Battlin’ Buddhist manifest into a grumpy demigod.
Once he has the Power Cosmic at his fingertips, Dumont starts to lose his grip on humanity. How could he not? “There are no words in the English language to describe what it feels like to wield the power of the gods,” he says. “With a flick of my wrist I could destroy a city. It is nothing to stare down the barrel of a gun when you have the fire of 10,000 suns burning through your veins.”
In a word: Yikes! The world didn’t need another unstable superhero with godlike powers — especially one with ongoing identity issues like the Green Lama. Something had to be done. And it had to be done quickly. Otherwise, we were all in danger of experiencing samsara, the circle of life.
Jethro Dumont’s god-like supernova is ultimately dimmed. But his fall from heaven leaves a lot of questions. The Green Lama had saved the world countless times in the past, but the war on evil still continued. Who would don his green robes and continue his legacy? “Whatever happens now,” says one member of gang green, “I’m sure it’ll be interesting.” We agree. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of the Viridescent Vigilante (or whatever name he chooses to call himself).
[The Green Lama: Crimson Circle / By Adam Lance Garcia / First Printing: October 2015 / ISBN: 9781936814954]