Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 04/20/11

A double dose of Green Lantern reviews for everyone tonight as I take a look at the two new chapters from War of the Green Lanterns released this week, Green Lantern #65 and Green Lantern Corps #59.  Hit the jump for the full reviews!

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke & Keith Champagne

While Green Lantern has been consistently great, this was easily my favourite issue in a long, long time.  Everything about it hit all the right notes with me and, believe it or not, Hal Jordan was interesting and had a personality beyond cardboard for the first time, well, ever.  That's quite the feat making me actually care about Hal beyond his adventures all things considered.  

The issue begins with what amounts to a recap of the current events as Krona, the mystery villain that was collecting the various entities over the past year or so of Green Lantern, tries to figure out why Kilowog was unaffected when Krona used Parallax to corrupt the Central Power Battery.  Turns out the people that were unaffected by Krona's scheme weren't just overly strong of will.  Hal, Guy, John, Kilowog, Kyle and Ganthet were all touched by and/or possessed by Parallax at some point, most notably in Green Lantern: Rebirth, and that is the reason they were able to resist the corruption of their rings.  

As far as this recap of the story up until now goes, it was well done and didn't feel like a recap.  Too often, writers fall into the trap of wasting two or three pages on catching people up to speed, so this was an excellent use of page space that didn't feel like it was wasting the reader's time.  

Once the recap was complete, we were treated the only Hal Jordan moment I can ever recall being interesting or fun to read.  He and Guy Gardner were stranded without rings leading into this issue and needed a way to get back to Oa to help stop Krona.  This leads the duo to a Green Lantern safe house where a space craft is on standby for any unforeseen problems.  Hal, being the resident pilot, takes the lead here and he and Guy play off each other beautifully.  It was too much fun reading this scene as Guy is at first impressed with the ship and its various functions (voice activated beer dispenser!), but Hal quickly takes the lead in the scene putting Guy out of his comfort zone as he takes them on a manually controlled, star and planet dodging trip through hyper space as they make a beeline for Oa.  

Really enjoyed seeing Hal Jordan, who is usually written in such a generic way that literally anyone could be wearing the Green Lantern costume and the story would be unaffected, finally show the signs of a personality with the ribbing of Guy and general banter back and forth between them during this trip to Oa.  Only a few pages, but a treat to read and enjoy Hal Jordan for Hal Jordan for once.

Pick your poison.
From here, the War of the Green Lanterns has its first big Sinestro Corps War moment as once the four Earthling Green Lanterns meet up, they all find out Hal has stockpiled the various corps rings from his New Guardian cohorts, who all disappeared into the Book of the Black at the start of the storyline.  Hal's plan, seeing as none of them can use a green ring anymore, is to each pick a ring suited to them and join a new corps to fight back against Krona, who only has influence over the Green Lanterns.  

Hal joins the Sinestro Corps, which makes sense with his experience with Parallax and having joined them/used their ring momentarily back during the Sinestro Corps War.  Guy rejoins the Red Lanterns, which means a return of the blood spewing, Black Lantern wrecking ball we saw during Blackest Night.   Will be interesting to see how he survives it seeing as he nearly died last time.  Kyle joins the Blue Lanterns, which is an odd choice, seeing as they power up Green Lanterns and they are fighting an army of them.  They actually make a reference to this and show the ill effects of him being a Blue Lantern over in Green Lantern Corps this week.  John wants to go with Orange for avarice, but Hal makes him take an Indigo Tribe ring instead.  

The donning of these rings to end the issue was inspired and I loved the panel composition by Mahnke to close out the issue before that epic splash page.  It's hard not to want to read the next part of this or see where they go with it after seeing that splash page.  

My only complaint about the entire issue, however, comes from the same splash page.  In it, everyone looks fantastic in their newly costumes with the exception of John Stewart.  As a member of Indigo Tribe, a tribal band of compassionate members and in which they all wear tribal/minimalistic clothing, John is shown in complete military fatigues with a bandana and sniper rifle instead of the Indigo standard staff.  I can sort of tolerate the whole pushing of this new sniper/military defining personality Johns has a mad on for John Stewart, but come off it, US Iraq war vetern in full fatigues as a member of the compassion based corps?  Completely ignoring the design and motif of the Indigo Tribe?  It just looks out of place and tacky compared to the others.  This is a very minor complaint as far as things go, so I'll have to just stomach it for the time being.  

Verdict - Must Read.  Fantastic issue that made me actually want to read more about Hal Jordan out of costume for the first time ever and an ending that has me absolutely chomping at the bit to read more of this storyline and see where Johns and the rest of the Green Lantern team take this story from here.

Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Tyler Kirkham

In a follow-up to Green Lantern #65, this issue continues shortly after each of the Earth based Green Lanterns has donned a ring from a different coloured corps - Hal using a yellow Sinestro Corps ring, Guy using a red ring again, Kyle wielding a hope based blue ring and John now a member of the Indigo Tribe.  

I was quite eager to dive right into this issue after thoroughly enjoying GL #65 and seeing its excellent ending of everyone joining a new corps.  I wanted to see how each reacted to their new rings and where the story was going from there.  

While the issue starts a little shaky with what I believe to be a really poorly executed comparison of this fantastical cosmic ring possessed 'war' to the suffering and death found in the Iraq war, even going so far as to try and compare events to IEDs and other such things, I was not disappointed with the follow-up story and was quite impressed with how they handled the new rings and progressed the story.  

Using their new rings, we quickly see that each are having their struggles, from Guy's blood boiling rage and desire to just run off and go kill Krona to John's inability to adjust to the compassion ring, I was happy to find out that they weren't just going to magically be the best users of their new rings or masters of those emotions (well, Guy is still awesome regardless of what ring it is, ahaha). They even addressed the concerns over Kyle using a blue ring when its main function is to power up nearby Green Lanterns, which is a huge problem when they are facing a veritable army of Parallax influenced Green Lanterns.

Mogo goes where Mogo pleases!
While Guy was eager to go take the fight to Krona, the group actually makes it their priority to find Ganthet, who helped John and Kyle escape being captured in previous issues and who is now having a great deal of difficulty fighting off the possessed Green Lanterns out for his blood at Krona's command.  This leads to another jaw dropping moment as Mogo makes his appearance.  Yup, you guessed it - not even Mogo was able to resist Parallax and he puts a serious beat down on our heroes to end the issue, leaving us to wonder what happens next and an agonizing wait for the next chapter of the story.

For those wondering about the art, as that cover is less than flattering, the interiors are actually quite solid and that cover is by no means indicative of the interior artwork.  I'm not sure if the cover was rushed or a fill-in occurred or what, but hopefully it doesn't turn too many people off this issue, which was more than adequate on the art side of things.

Verdict - Must Read.  War of the Green Lanterns started a little slow, but has really kicked it up a notch with these last few chapters of the story. 

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Anonymous said...

The reviews and Kirk are back! yay!

Mike-El said...

Argh, what's up with all these Green Lantern reviews?! You guys are totally biased towards DC.

j/k - welcome back Kirk! Hope you're feeling better.

Pat said...

Love the way the white on the green lantern symbol is now yellow. Cool idea. Also love this "event" and can't wait to see the aftermath and where Johns takes this book next.

Terry said...

Holy god...please let Brightest Day die a painfully overdue death. Sooo sick of this convoluted, aimless storyline. Event fatigue times ten.

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a Brightest Day tie-in, was it?

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