I’ve really run out of great things to say about Scott Snyder’s work. How he builds up mythology and ties it into his characters amazes me. American Vampire : Survival of the Fittest #5 is no exception. We see how Felicia Book and Cash McCogan’s search for the vampire cure turns out and it ends on a sad note for one of the main characters. Sean Murphy puts in the work of his career with his really detailed pencils.
More buddy cop fun comes out of Green Lantern #2 courtesy of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke. The renewed focus on Sinestro and Hal Jordan has really put this book back on track.
Much like Snyder, I don’t know what else more good I can say on Rick Remender’s impressive run with Uncanny X-Force #16 continuing that trend. Archangel’s plans are coming to fruition and looks like X-Force’s numbers are not to their benefit. If you love 90′s X-Men, this will take you back.
It’s Green Lantern week, kids! All week long, we’re going to give you lots of Green Lantern content in preparation for this Friday’s premiere of the live-action flick starring Ryan Reynolds. Give us your thoughts and let us know if you have anything you want to talk about regarding the popular DC character.
There’s obviously been a great concern for Green Lantern as of late. The books are at a climax in the War of the Green Lanterns arc that is not registering well with a lot of fans. They’ve called for a back-to-basics approach, taking the legendary corps back to their space cop roots. And then there was the First Flight animated flick from a couple of years ago, which, while having some high points with Victor Garber as Sinestro and some cool visuals, wasn’t the sales or critical smash DC and Warner Brothers was hoping for. Lastly, we’ve got a live-action showing of the character coming out this weekend that fans are being cautiously optimistic about. There’s no telling what Ryan Reynolds and team will bring to the table and the early trailers Warner Bros. released late last year brought concern, especially when the company admitted that the special effects weren’t fully ready at the time.
That all said and done, we can understand the skepticism going into DC’s 11th animated movie offering in Green Lantern Emerald Knights and whether or not it would do its material justice. Give credit to Bruce Timm and team though for giving the character another shot – and not so much in the sense that they did this because DC and Warner Bros. wanted something to tie into the live-action flick. They took the focus off Hal Jordan this time and centered it on the Corps itself – how it came to be, the personalities behind it, and what makes them a force to be reckoned with. It’s because of that mentality that this anthology ranks this as one of DC’s best animated offerings.
The story overall is the Green Lantern Corps preparing themselves for a battle with Krona, who is making his way out of the Anti-Matter Universe after the Guardians had banished him there billions of years ago. This gets touched upon in brief moments for the majority of the film – the bulk of it is the Corps sharing their tales of the group to a new recruit, Arisia. We get everything leading into their big, cosmic battle with Krona – the first Lanterns being chosen, Kilowog’s rise to the Corps trainer, Laira confronting her past, why Mogo doesn’t socialize, and Abin Sur’s confrontation with Atrocitus about the Blackest Night prophecy (not the one you’re thinking of though). Some humorous, some serious – but all eventually leading to what makes this group of extraterrestial beings the most powerful around, especially when Krona makes his way out of the sun to begin his conquest. It’s an effective anthology tale that tells us why we should care about them before giving us a special effects tour de force.
This could have fallen flat on its face like the last anthology series DC did in Batman Gotham Knight. And it thankfully did the exact opposite.
The majority of the shorts is what defines this movie. You really get a sense of the spectacular when you watch these brave beings slip on their rings and put their lives on the line for the sake of the galaxies. The First Lantern short is proof of that in the beginning – the minute you see the first Corps come to realize what they could do with constructs, you get a great sense of how powerful this group can be. It’s thrilling to see their realization and it sucks you in from the get-go.
Laira’s short was the highlight for me. The most serious of the bunch and written by Eddie Berganza, it takes us into a war that results in a family squabble as a result of Laira’s choice to become a Green Lantern. We’ve seen this Shakespearian plot done many times before, but it’s refreshing to see in a galactic setting. And the DC animators are getting better with fight scenes with each DVD offering – this was probably one of the most well-choreographed animated fights I’ve seen in a while. And Kelly Hu’s Laira definitely has a gung-ho vibe that works well with the character.
And Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame gives us what wrestling fans want – Rowdy Roddy Piper as the warlord Bolphunga searching for the greatest warriors to defeat in the galaxy. It takes him to Mogo and the rest is history. Long-time GL fans will know already who Mogo is, but it doesn’t take away the satisfaction of seeing Bolphunga not realizing what he got himself into.
With all the shorts and the spectacular showdown with Krona at the end, this is the cosmic space conflict we wanted to see realized in First Flight that never happened.
Despite how visually attractive the Krona battle was, there was never much to get attached to with that conflict. Krona is mad and he wants to smash. If you can get past that as it hovers over the entire anthology, you’ll enjoy it more. And despite my praise for the shorts, I was disappointed in how much I didn’t care for Kilowog’s. Much as the story of him rising to the rank of drill sergeant was decent, Henry Rollins’ voice-over didn’t make him a convincing character. Didn’t seem rugged enough from my perspective.
Not much to scream at here. We get a good look into their next animated offering in Batman : Year One. The animation style seems like they’re going to mimic the book to the tee. You get your standard trailers for some past DC animated movies and the upcoming GL video game, but that’s it.
An impressive collection of stories that would make the Corps proud. Visually stunning with a lot of emotional resonance that could relate to a whole range of people. It’s definitely 3rd on my list of favorite DC animated DVDs behind Wonder Woman and Batman Under the Red Hood, but that doesn’t take away from what it accomplished that First Flight couldn’t. The live-action movie has a lot to live up to here.
Grade : A
If you know us here at CBF, we don’t go a moment without talking some Green Lantern. The on-going space cop saga swooped us in when Geoff Johns took over in 2004 with the Rebirth series. It upped its game with Sinestro Corps War. And its ultimate highlight came last year with Blackest Night becoming the last big DC crossover event. Everything was looking smooth and with a big-budget movie coming out in June, you couldn’t help but think the good times would continue to roll.
The next GL arc though started to slowly change that perception. Post-Blackest Night was the New Guardians arc that saw a mysterious little blue being stealing all of the different corps’ entities. It would have been a well-built mystery tale if Johns and company didn’t play the “Which Corps will star in the next issue?” game that seemed to be taking place. Delays and awkward pacing hurt its momentum even further – why would you decide to finally reveal the little blue being as Krona in one issue and then proceed to do a one-shot on Atrocitus the next?
I forgave all of this, as I’ve trusted Johns this far what with the hype he built for the next GL-centric event, War of the Green Lanterns, when I was at New York Comic Con last year. And while the first part kicked things off really well with Krona taking over the Guardians with his entities and placing Parallax back in the Green Lantern battery, there’s concern for what’s come after. The last 5 parts have all been just Hal, Guy, Kyle, and John getting chased and eventually deciding they need to wear other rings.
Where have I seen this premise before?
It’s no secret that DC found a gold mine in these other Lantern Corps and how their rings on other characters could bring about a lot of fanboy moments. They however became the Achilles heel that brought the pacing of the New Guardians arc to its knees. And like Blackest Night, the different Lantern Corps once again are united to take out a common enemy. One can’t help but think we’re treading familiar ground and judging from what I’ve read on other comic book posts, the fans are starting to see through it. There is such a thing of having too much of a good thing, of course.
Make no mistake – I want Green Lantern to stay strong. Warner Bros. definitely does too, hoping to expand its other properties into movies beyond the big two. But there’s clearly some problems to address. Some fans think taking GL back to its space cop roots will solve everything, other think we need a retcon of the whole GL continuity. I think the solution is three-fold:
1) Get back to basics – Green Lantern is Hal Jordan’s book. It lost that touch when New Guardians took over last year. War of the Green Lanterns has put some of that back, but I don’t think we’ll really know for sure if that’s permanent until the event ends. It definitely has to be done though.
2) Other Lantern Corps = cash-cow opportunities – DC has already announced that the Red Lantern Corps series is coming out around the GL movie release. Wouldn’t it make sense to highlight the others in their own books. I don’t expect all of them to succeed (especially given the competition for space on those store racks in an already small market), but the profits will come from some. Personally, I’d look forward to a Sinestro solo book done along the same lines as Paul Cornell’s fantastic take on Lex Luthor in his Action Comics run.
3) Give the CCO a break – Geoff Johns is THE premier super-hero writer today in my opinion. He’s also a CCO that, as much as he says he still wants to stay in comics, is going to have delegate soon if his contributions to the TV and movie side of the industry are successful. It’s hard to think of anybody else taking on Green Lantern too after the 6 years Johns has devoted to the character, but it can be done. Peter Tomasi has proven his strengths already in that realm with GL Corps and Emerald Warriors – why not go for the trifecta?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – is Green Lantern having a “phase” or do we see a downfall of which it would never recover from?
Was there really any other choice this week?
I know for sure Mike and I will be talking about this with spoilers soon, so I’m giving you my take in the meantime but without all the trimmings. It’s been a good while since I’ve read a superhero event that ended in a very satisfying way and you have to thank the fine work of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis for putting everything together (on time too) and making it stick well. Johns especially has become the premier superhero storyteller today that you can consistently count on (we hope that for the future too now that he’s chief creative officer in DC land). And to think the roller coaster ride continues with Brightest Day next month, which is great as well because Blackest Night truly gave us a lot to look forward to with this new series.
Enjoy the podcast!
Tim and I review and discuss Blackest Night 7 and Green Lantern 50-51. But first a we talk about a great Vertigo mini series, Joe the Barbarian 1 and 2.