Sunday, September 17, 2006

Green Lantern Hal Jordan “Redeemed,” Guy Gardner’s vacations while 52 picks up

FanBoyWonder finally made it to the comics store so here’s some of our pics and pans. (P.S. We know about the FUBAR alignment on our blog…we’re working on it but we ask your indulgence for the moment—FBW)

Green Lantern # 13

The Upshot: "Revenge of the Green Lanterns" continues! Confronted with the Cyborg-Superman and the cold, murderous Manhunters, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner must convince their fellow Lanterns of Hal's good intentions. But what chilling secrets do the Manhunters contain? And why do the Guardians of the Universe wish to protect that secret?

Considering this three-issue story arc began nearly six-months ago, it took us a bit just to get back up to speed. Despite writer Geoff Johns’ decent job of recapping events in the first few pages, the growing delay between issues has really siphoned away a lot of urgency and momentum since the advent of One Year Later for Green Lantern.

This was by no means a bad issue and in fact we were pleased by a number of the developments but we also pan Johns for taking the easy way out with regard to the “redemption” of Hal Jordan.

As it turns out, many of the fellow Green Lanterns that Hal Jordan maimed and/or murdered during his Parallax-influenced madness aren’t dead after all but have been held captive by the Cyborg-Superman impostor and the Manhunters. Also being held captive was the also previously believed to be dead Green Lantern Arisia, Hal’s one-time lover.

Of course Hal and Guy Gardner free (most of) the captive Green Lanterns, defeat the Cyborg-Superman and blowup the Manhunter planet—All in a days work.

But, even as we are glad to see Arisia alive again (it was a waste to “kill” her off) and even as we like the retro-tweaks that Johns included about her and Hal’s history together, we really disagree with how Hal Jordan has been let off the hook so neatly and conveniently.

When he first brought back Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Rebirth, we lauded Johns at the time for doing it in such a clever way in that he not only literally brought Jordan back from the dead without retro-conning or contradicting previous continuity, he crafted a good story that acknowledge Jordan’s past—warts and all.

Jordan allowed his fear and his will to be subverted by the Parallax entity—making him in equal measure a participant and a victim in the evils perpetuated by Parallax. Now, not only is it NOT Jordan’s fault, but many of the evil things that Parallax did have now been undone.

We grew up with Hal Jordan as GL but never really liked him. Frankly, we would rather see GL John Stewart as the star of this book--goodness knows he is a more compelling character--but if this is in fact Jordan’s book, we think it would have not only more interesting but more editorially honest to keep his past the way it was—warts and all.

Attempting to atone for unforgivable crimes (whether his fault or not) would have made Jordan a better hero and a much more interesting character. Geoff picked the wrong time to hit the "easy" button.

52 Week 19

The Upshot from DC: "What if I told you I could — using Booster's DNA— bioengineer a superhero identity for you?"

It turns out Skeets, the late Booster Gold’s little robot sidekick from the 25th Century has been screwing around with the space time continuum. After he recruit Booster’s 21st Century ancestor, Daniel Carter, a loser just like Booster back in his own time, the break into Time Master Rip Hunter’s lab where Skeets discovers “he knows”…although we don’t yet know who “he” is yet.

Carter is sent on a one way trip to 1 million A.D. when Skeets decides that it’s Carter who knows too much but given the writers have the better part of an issue introducing him, it’s a sure bet we’ll be seeing more of him… the new Booster Gold or otherwise.

Green Lantern Corps #4

The Upshot from DC: Guy Gardner finally gets his shore leave, only to face a relentless foe. Meanwhile, a battle-hardened Lantern is torn between love and duty while another must undertake the most heartbreaking mission of all.

We were glad to see writer Dave Gibbons finally take up the pencil and draw again. We enjoyed his pulling double duty as we did his attempt at making things a bit lighter—vis a via Guy’s vacation but we just can’t get past the gaping plot inconsistency—that a Green Lantern would give up his Power Ring and deposit it in the hotel safe.

We can see where Gibbons wanted Guy to fight the mega-assassin without the ring, relying on his wits and guts, but COME ON DAVE!!!!! We can suspend our disbelief to accept an emerald ring that allows its wearer nearly limitless power, we can accept that an alien world would look just like Maui…right down the hotel and the beach but anybody who has ever traveled more than once knows that you NEVER, we mean NEVER entrust anything valuable in the hotel safe.

But Dave, we’re willing to overlook this little boner if you keep drawing at least a couple more issues.

Nightwing #124

The Upshot from DC: Nightwing's out to clear his name once and for all, but he'll need help from an unexpected source to escape the wrath of a fire-throwing hit man and two vicious heads of the underworld!

The best thing that could be said about this issue is that it officially ends Bruce Jones’ disastrous, God-awful, I want my money back run as this book’s writer. Next issue, Marv Wolfman takes over for at least a four and perhaps even a 12-issue run.

For all of you fellow Nightwing fans out there, join me and if we marshal our collective Will Power, perhaps we can Retro-Con this book’s previous 8 issues right out of existence.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Bruce!

Power of Shazam #1

The Upshot from DC: The world is in magical turmoil as Captain Marvel tries to keep everything under control in the aftermath of the events of DAY OF VENGEANCE. And with the rest of the Marvel Family powerless, it's all up to him — unless some drastic changes occur fast. Luckily, everything changes by this issue's end!

We missed the chance to comment on this last week but we wanted to note that we did like it. The series is off to a good start. It was a little confusing, given the events of what we read with Freddy Freedman/Captain Marvel Jr. in Brave New World and maybe the story in issue one would have been better suited as a preview in BNW but it’s no big thing.

We did like Judd Winick’s take on Billy Batson. He seems to get what many past Captain Marvel writers have missed, Billy is a kid and he is less knowledgeable in some of the ways of the world but he’s not stupid. We liked his self-confidence without arrogance but we are not sure how to reconcile this with the Captain Marvel we’ve been reading in 52. We guess that will be addressed at some point.

Also a quick word about Howard Porter’s art. Word has it that he’s been producing it not by hand but with Photoshop. However he is doing it, he is perfectly setting the visual mood. It gives us a hint of Vertigo but its roots are firmly in the DC Universe.

So far so good Judd. Keep this up and We’ll take back some of the mean things we’ve been saying about you…and maybe we’ll even mean it.


Anonymous Capitol Ideas said...

I'm feeling the same way about "52." It really does feel like it's hitting its stride now. Looking forward to Ralph Dibny becoming the new Dr. Fate. But I'll say I'm getting a little tired of Black Adam's "Incredible Hulk" routine.
Still, the relationship with Montoya and The Question is flowering nicely.

2:11 PM, September 19, 2006  

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