Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green Lantern Corps - No Fear or No Intelligence?


In the latest issue of Green Lantern Corps, there was a very shocking moment near the end. A lot of people, including Kirk in his Weekly Crisis Reviews and Ryan in his Power Rankings, seemed to like it a lot. Me? I was just a little bit appalled at stupidity of the situation. But before I go on, if you haven't read the issue, do not keep reading, do not hit the jump for more, do not pass go, do not collect $200, since it's a pretty big spoiler.

If you have read the issue, or if you just don't care, hit the jump for more.



Now, Green Lanterns are not known for being the brightest crayon in the box. Hal Jordan has a long history of acting brashly and stupidly, like in the recent issue of Blackest Night where he decided that the safety of his former lover Carol Ferris was more important than that of the whole Earth, among many other things. Guy Gardner has the tendency to antagonize everyone, including Batman who one-punched him that one time. John Stewart caused a whole planet to die because he was being cocky. So when I saw the death of Kyle Rayner, all I could think of was "What a dumbass!".

Here's how the scene worked: the Black Lanterns have cracked open Alpha Lantern Chaselon, and have taken out the Greent Lantern battery he has inside of him. Kyle is the closest one, so he takes the battery, which is about to explode, away from them and goes flying up.



Eventually the battery does explode, taking out (seemingly) every Black Lantern that was in Oa, and also kills Kyle, who was at the center of the explosion. Before his death, he says goodbye to Soranik and Guy, in a very heartfelt scene.



Which is all well and good, until you realize one thing: did Kyle completely forget he has a freaking magic ring that can do anything he wishes?

Why did he fly up there with the battery himself? He could have just used his ring to elevate it until a certain point, and let it explode when he was at a safe distance. It's not like the Black Lanterns were following him anyway, earlier in the issue they made a point that they were ignoring the Green Lanterns in favor of attacking the central battery, and if the explosion was big enough to take out every Black Lantern in Oa, there was no need for him to be extremely accurate into where the explosion needed to happen.



And to make matters worse, he created a dome which stopped the Black Lanterns from escaping, but he completely forgot to raise a protective shell of his own? You figure that would be one of the things at the top of the "To-Do" list when you are carrying a bomb in your arms and being attacked from all sides by unstoppable killing machines.

And this is without mentioning the fact that up until that point, the Green Lantern's power hadn't been very effective in killing the Black Lanterns, Kyle basically sacrificed himself without knowing if his gamble would work or not. Hell, for all we know, the next issue is just going to be the Black Lanterns regenerating and laughing that stupid Green Lantern's pointless suicide. And there's a bunch of Black Lantern rings hovering over the body of Kyle as the issue ends, so to make matters worse, he's probably added one more soldier to the enemy's army.



Maybe the Guardians should start looking into people with some intelligence, instead of the ability to overcome great fear. Anyway, it's not like I'm going to drop this book or anything, as I enjoyed the rest of it very much, but the stupidity of the situation stole away from the emotional impact it was supposed to have on me. Add the fact that Blackest Night is all about reviving dead superheroes from the grave, and this death didn't resonate a whole lot with me. But for all I know, I'm in the minority in this one, as most people seemed to have enjoyed it. What did you think? Feel free to let me know in the comments.


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30 comments:

XIX said...

And yeah, I guess his death wish, hidden inside all warriors, finally caught up with him. If this happened in real life, I'd consider it wrong, but not stupid, as the fog of war can blind you to the obvious. Kinda like diving over a grenade instead of just kicking it. But I believe that people who do that are so immersed in their protection of others that they completely forget to protect themselves.

I guess bravery always comes with stupidity.

Nathan Aaron said...

Does anyone REALLY think Kyle will stay dead for long. Everyone's making guesses that many of these dead Black Lanterns will return in full form by the end of Blackest Night anyway; I really doubt this is the end for Kyle. If anything, it's just a story twist to give Guy a reason to go crazy on everyone, and get a Red Lantern ring. I could be wrong, but I'm betting he'll be back...

brandon said...

I've read GL for about 30 years and I found myself saying "That's it?" at the end of this issue. It felt so uneventful to me. It almost seemed like it was a set-up and he wasnt really dead and we'll see him flying around next issue.

Perhaps it was the writing or the constant stream of GL deaths in the recent issues but I felt more emotionally involved when Bzzt or Sodam died than Kyle which is just not right at all.

If Kyle is actually dead he could have used a better send off than a three pager like this. Maybe we'll get a requiem issue down the road.

Anonymous said...

Green Lanterns , ironically , aren't the brightest bulbs in the shed. For people who are supposed to be fearless , they do seem to panic a lot or start blubbering when faced with something they haven't seen before. As for Hal? He's fearless to the point of being stupid , as written by Johns. Flying planes without his ring? Stupid. I was actually glad when he got himself captured and tortured for months by enemy soldiers. Hell , even Sinestro called him on it! When even the bad guy knows what an idiot you're being...

But on the topic of this article , you're absolutely right. It flies completely in the face of logic that Kyle would need to physically be holding the power battery. What? A giant freaking hand holding it up as high as possible wouldn't work for some reason?

azuredragon16 said...

This is reallya stupid complaint. The problem with the GL rings is that they are Deus Ex Machina devices....so the only way to put the lanterns in trouble is to either: Create even more ridiculous bad guys or other guys with rings OR make them forget about potential uses of their rings. (alternatively they could have limitations built in, but they've gotten rid of those).

I mean, even the first one doesnt work always because theres no reason why they can't deus ex machina out of everything. It's the fundamental problem with the whole superhero concept for GL....you just got to be willing to accept it.

Primewax said...

C'mon now, yes it was stupid, but in the midst of battle you do what you think is best. Kyle had just confronted the undead love of his life, and was coming to terms with his feelings for Soranik Natu. He wasn't exactly in the best state of mind you know. Not to mention friends being attacked and killed left and right, with the fate of the Corps hanging in the balance. So yes, stupid move, but not unreasonable.

Hoylus said...

I think the emotion 'stupid' powers the polka dot rings doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Azuredragon, using the ring isn't a Deus Ex Machina, if Kyle had suddenly remember his ring had bomb transporting capabilities then it would be a Deus Ex Machina, because it'd be a bullshit solution that comes out of nowhere with no prior establishment in the story.

But the whole point of the lanterns is that their rings create physical constructs from pure will, it's been established from day one and using it like that wouldn't meet any of the Deus Ex Machina criteria.

Daryll B. said...

Perfect point. How many times have we seen Lanterns shoot a bomb into the upper atmosphere with their ring?

But I think Primewax hit it on the head, the Black Lanterns emotional mind games FINALLY got to kill someone as Kyle wasn't thinking straight and acted...

About damn time...

azuredragon16 said...

Anonymous, what i'm saying is that conceivably there's NO limits to what the rings can do.

In nearly every fight, there's going to be a question of...why didn't they do this? or why didn't they do that?

It's silly to worry over one or another

Kirk Warren said...

The way I look at it is that the rings can do most anything, but they are still governed by people and people are universally accepted as being dumb. John Stewert makes a freaking sniper rifle every time to fire magic bullets that he could simply fire from his goddamn ring. He even looks through a scope instead of just firing. It's retarded, but a trope of the Green Lanterns and their rings.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

See, that's why I just don't dig Green Lantern. The power just seems...unconsidered at times, and it's scope is so large I don't get how it can be entertaining. Don't get me wrong, I hear Johns has smashed this one out of the park, consistently, but overall the entire pitch for Green Lantern just snuffs my enthusiasm before I see a page. What can't the rings do? (aAnd let the Green fanboys answer, 'cos I really don't know.)

Eric Rupe said...

I both agree and disagree with Matt. On one hand, Kyle did act like a moron but, on the other hand, characters in superhero comics rarely act in way similar to how a real person would so it's just business as usual.

Kirk - Actually, John using a sniper rifle makes sense. He wouldn't be able to accurately hit, or even just hit, long distance targets without augmenting his eyesight and if you are making a scope might as well make the gun. Especially since John is an ex-soldier and is probably more comfortable with guns than magic wishing rings.

Daryll B. said...

Ryan, In a way that's why I kind of hate DC editorial more than Marvel. It seems they more than any other company 'forget' the limitations and abilities placed on their heroes from writer to writer. DC Editorial seemingly has more screw ups on that score than other companies. ESPECIALLY during big events like Final Crisis and Blackest Night. From issue to issue, it seems power levels and charactization vary wildly across the board.

Steven said...

Kyle could use his ring to create a shield to hold in the Black Lanterns. But he couldn't create a shield to block an exploding power battery, which is basically a more powerful version of a ring and a conduit to the very energy the rings use.

Why would he be able to use green energy to block a massive amount of green energy?

So while I don't feel the death will last, Kyle wasn't acting stupidly. Some people apparently don't think logically when looking for stupid stuff in comic book plots.

Matt Ampersand said...

Wow, it's great to see so many comments! Let's see how many I can answer.

@XIX: Good point about the grenade bit, and it would have worked in that context, except that Kyle had a while to think about his actions, instead of just jumping on top of a grenade.

@Nathan Aaron: Hard to say really. I wouldn't like them to bring him back so soon, honestly, but I can see it happening.

@Brandon: I understand, in an event filled with so much death, it's easy for this one to get lost. Tomasi wrote the great Requiem issue for Manhunter, so I would for him to do more stuff like that.

@Anonymous: The funny thing is that the "giant hand" bit has been parodied in the past few years. In an issue of Green Lantern, when he met up with Batman. Bats said "what's your strategy?"and Hal replied "I'm going to make a giant hand and punch him"

@azuredragon: If I understand it correctly, the Rings do have limitations, but they are based on the person wielding them. They don't always have to be magical deus ex machina.

@Primewax: I'm not sure I can buy into the "the BL were screwing up with my mind", because Kyle was acting pretty logically up until that point. He was calmly talking to Soranik, and he came up with the plan to release Vice (which you would have to be pretty quick on your feet, and thinking logically, to come up with).

Eric Rupe said...

Steven - Green Lanterns have similar stuff before. In Sinestro Corps War, they contained a massive explosion caused by the destruction of War World and the Sinestro Corps power batter. No reason why Kyle, and the GLC, couldn't have done the same thing here.

Eric Rupe said...

Ryan - The rings create hard light constructs based on the user's imagination and have a limited ability to cross dimensional boundaries, which as far as I know, is limited to storing an individual's power battery in a tiny pocket dimension and crossover between the matter/anti-matter boundary of their respective Earths.

Primewax said...

@Matt- Good point about the Vice plan, I had forgotten that Kyle came up with that plan. And he seemed pretty calm when Soranik had her fist in Jade's mouth. Ok, I'll go with dumb then. I guess it was almost the opposite of a deus ex machina then. Lol

Daryll B. said...

Again I state Primewax and Eric, inconsistent DC editorial..lol someone should have caught this...

But then again this is where wrestling and comics are alike. They shun the "smart" fans and just want to produce 'ooohs' & 'ahhhs' from the less enlightened....

Eric Rupe said...

Daryll - No, that's just a side effect of putting more books than is necessary, by a wide margin. This goes triple for Marvel. Marvel and DC put out too many books with too few editors and, I'm guessing, not enough lead time between creation and release to allow for the correction of mistakes.

Daryll B. said...

Eric, I understand that but Sinestro Corps War was not that far back (two years at most) with the same situation you brought up. This should have been caught.

It is a cool moment but our intelligence in remembering how the rings functioned in past crisis situations sap the emotion out of it....

I was more pissed at the Alpha Lantern screwing up Kyle's idea than I was sad / shocked at Kyle's death....

And really this dissection of heroes' actions in books should be a monthly column. It is always fascinating to intelligently discuss how powers work / possible mistakes in the prose.

Matt Ampersand said...

Daryll: I was pretty angry at the Alpha Lantern actions too, but I think that's a sign of good writing. It really did feel like something it would do given the situation, but you are still screaming at the comic "NO YOU IDIOT, DON'T DO THAT!"

Monch said...

There were many ways Kyle could have the same result (containing the big explosion) without getting himself killed, but what I just don't see happening is every BL getting obliterated to cosmic dust whyle Kyle only has some minor tears on his custume.
Did he put up a shield to keep himself from being turn to nothing? Maybe. But I just can't believe he thought about saving himself via a proctective shiled, creating the dome, blasting the BL to get them near him and NOT think of a way to do all that without him being at ground zero. I mean he could just fly at mega speeds at the last second to at least get a change to live.
BL were after the lantern not him!

allaphor said...

I read it differently. Kyle grabbed the alpha battery to protect it until it exploded. Not just to cause it to explode near the BLs. And the explosion ripped through the dome he created to grab as many BLs as he could. I assumed that the blast destroyed his personal shield as well.

Concentrated light also disrupts the rings. That is what caused the BLs to get totally disintegrated as opposed to Kyle's less graphic death.

PMMJ said...

What irritates me even more about this is that Kyle was renown for his creativity with using the ring, from back when. Comnig up with a less-suicidal plan isn't exactly space rocket science here.

On the other hand, maybe he can come back and collect all those black rings near him...

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