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Retro (But Recent) Reviews – Green Lantern Rebirth.

9

Jun

Posted by Steve

green_lantern_rebirth2.jpgWhen I started collecting comics, I never really paid much attention to who wrote a story, who drew a comic, who inked something. In fact, I only really knew who the editor of a book was because that was usually who responded to letters in the letters pages. (Remember those? I miss ’em.) Then, as I was reading the Fantastic Four, there was a lot of hoopla being made about Walt Simonson coming to the title to write and draw. When he came onto the title I recognized two things. One, I enjoyed his writing. Two, I didn’t so much like his art. (Sacrilege I know…but it was never my favorite for the FF.) (I’ve learned to love it now, but that’s a different post.)

It was at that time I began to recognize writers and artists in comics. My taste began to develop beyond, “I buy this book because (insert character’s name here) makes an appearance. I genuinely became interested in this group of people who are individually responsible for bringing the stories and images together to give us comic books.

Having said all that, I don’t know that I’ve read anything written by Geoff Johns outside of Infinite Crisis. I enjoyed Infinite Crisis, but it was as all crossover event books are, bound to the whims of more than justthe primary writer of the series. I have also read a few of the Action Comics books by Geoff Johns and I really ended up enjoying his run with Richard Donner. The two told a story that they obviously had sat around and talked about the arc for a while. (Insert obligatory delay joke here.) However, I had been reading people rave about him online for a while, especially with the advent of The Sinestro Corps wars over in DC. Couple that with a curiosity as to how in the world Hal Jordan and the corps came back, and I had to go on eBay and pick up the Rebirth series. That’s right…I eBayed it. The individual issues. Not the trade. I’m one of those guys.

If I can sum up in one word what Geoff Johns did in Green Lantern: Rebirth, it would be “WOW!”

This was honestly a story like no other I’ve read in a while. Johns has a way of taking what has gone before (both pre- and post- crisis) and making all fit into what is now. I don’t know that Hal Jordan ever needed to come back from the grave. I don’t know that he ever needed to be a Green Lantern again. I think his fall from grace and his ultimate sacrifice were an interesting journey and end for a heroic character. I liked Kyle Rayner as The Green Lantern. I appreciated what his insecurities and fears of being the only one in the universe brought to his character. I would never have thought that Geoff Johns would be able to convince me that we needed Hal Jordan, and if he did that, I thought for sure that he would do it at the expense of Kyle Rayner. Well, I was wrong on both counts.

What Johns does in Rebirth is set up a world and a universe that needs Hal Jordan as a Green Lantern, and he takes all of the apparent flaws of Kyle Rayner and turns them into his greatest strengths. So much so, that he is a key player in what takes place.

Then there’s the old silly stuff from back when Hal Jordan was GL. The yellow imperfection. The fact that Green Lantern’s primary color (was not a primary color…heh) is green probably caused very few eyebrows to raise back in the days of the Silver Age when one read that his weakness was anything yellow. Heck, I was a child of eighties and totally bought that concept while watching Superfriends. Geoff Johns takes a fairly silly premise and turns it into something epic. Parallax IS the yellow impurity. He was a creature that fed off of fear and lived because of fear, he worked through the color yellow. The Guardians imprisoned him in the power battery on Oa and he “infected” the Corps’ rings causing the imperfection. Because the Corps knew no fear, he was able to creep in unnoticed. Then, he found Hal Jordan, and because Hal refused to know fear at all, he was able to “possess” him.

WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT OF THAT?!?! Not only did Johns explain Hal’s actions in the aftermath of the destruction of Coast City, but he gave an awesome explanations to 4 or 5 decades worth of continuity that by and large we all thought was pretty silly.

The first half of Johns’ story sets up all of the turmoil and despair it can. We are introduced to a Spectre that is losing his grip because of Hal Jordan, we are introduced to a broken and battered Kyle who is scared to use his ring. Guy Gardner almost dies as his body rejects the Warrior power he possesses. Then, when it seems things can’t get any worse, Sinestro shows up. Hal can’t help because he’s fighting a battle within himself against The Spectre and Parallax. His spirit is finally released and launched into his remarkably well-preserved body. As hal Jordan officially returns, I found myself wishing that there had been a Green Lantern movie made with a kick butt theme because my mind was screaming for it as I watched Hal Jordan return and light up the blackest night.

Later, as the Lanterns are facing down Parallax, Johns writes each Lantern individually. We see how each Lanter uses his powers differently, and it is amazing reading.

In the end, Geoff Johns pulled of a Green Lantern story and managed to bring back a long lost character in a really good way without trampling on what has come before and what is in the here and now.

Rebirth only made me more excited to get my hands on The Sinestro Corps Wars and for Johns run throughout the next year on Action Comics in which he promises big things for the Man of Steel.

Green Lantern: Rebirth is highly recommended if you’re a GL fan or a DC fan, or just a comic book fan.

My Top Ten Favorite Superheroes:
Number 7 – The Green Lantern

6

Apr

Posted by Steve

alexrossgl.jpgIN 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!

With those words,  The Green Lantern charges his power ring and rushes into battle.  With his green light, he fights back the darkness of evil. 

The Green Lantern is cool to me on so many levels.¬† First, the cosmic-ness (Is that even a word?) of the character really appeals to the scifi fan in me.¬† Then there’s the power that I absoslutely have always enjoyed.¬†¬† Finally, the staying power of, not only the character who is the Green Lantern, but the mantle of the Green Lantern itself gives the hero his iconic status.

There are two characters who have been the Green Lantern that work their way into my top ten.¬† Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner.¬†¬† Hal Jordan because of the old standard “I grew up with him.” Kyle Rayner because I always liked the internal struggle he brought to the character while at the same time bringing¬†a certain “flare” to the power.

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The Green Lanterns (as you probably know) derive their power from green rings that are bequeathed to them by little blue guys from the planet Oa that just happen to be the guardians of the universe. (I know, right?)¬† These guys find different people from different sectors of the galaxy/universe and give them the power of the Green Lantern (literally a big green lantern) to protect their sectors.¬† This aspect to the story opens up to the Green Lantern a scope of storytelling potential that breaks the bonds of earthly cops and robbers type stuff.¬†¬† This type of storytelling, as I have said, really appeals to my love of all things sci fi and Star Warsy.¬† I love the different alien cultures we get introduced to, and I really enjoy some of the different Lanterns from across space….Kilawog…looking in your direction there.

Couple with the potential scope of stories, the neat power of the Green Lantern.¬† Here’s this ring that, with a thought and a little will power, will do just about whatever the wearer can imagine.¬† The ring provides flight, a protective aura so the user can survive in space, and can project a “hard light” type structure of green energy that can be used as a weapon or as protection.¬† I always liked this power.¬† Hal Jordan had a way of using simple things a lot and then pulling out something pretty cool every now and then.¬† One of his favorite shapes was the giant green fist he would use to knock out his opponents.¬† Then Kyle Rayner was given the power of the Green Lantern….things got ramped up.¬† Kyle, a starving artist, used his artistic abilities to do all kinds of things with his ring.¬†¬† From fancy machines to cartoon characters to a giant head slurping flood waters up througha straw, I really enjoyed watching Kyle use his powers.

green-lantern-movie-announced-20071029053230353.jpgI always wanted one of those rings as a kid, and there are times in my adult days that when I wouldn’t mind having a green ring that I could use to do just about anything I could imagine.

The Green Lantern is one of the characters in the DC Universe that is readily recognizable.¬† Even people who aren’t aware of the intracacies of the character and may not even know his name, recognize the character.¬† This is due to several things including (but not limited to) The Challenge of the Superfriends which featured Hal Jordan as a regular character,¬† The Justice League cartoon, and even professional wrestling which a couple of years back featured Greg Helms who was a big fan of the Green Lantern.

While John Stewart gained some ground for the Green Lantern, I never really warmed up to the character.¬† Having grown up with Hal Jordan, and later following the exploits of Kyle Rayner, I missed the humor and (again) “flare” they brought to the team of the Justice League and the power of the Green Lantern.¬†¬† So, for the purposes of this countdown, stick Kyle or Hal in there and you have my number 7 pick in my top ten favorite superheroes list.¬†¬†

To check out some Green Lantern exploits, check out these trades: