Green Lantern: New Guardians #36

November 21, 2014

Release Date: November 19, 2014
Cover Date: January 2015

Story: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Marc Deering
Cover: Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy

Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris arrive on New Genesis with Highfather, and are immediately taken to a device which will extract the Life Equation. The procedure is a success, and Kyle is left without his white ring. As we all expected, however, Highfather’s got an insidious plan for it: since Kyle’s Earth was one of the few to defeat Darkseid, Highfather is going to recreate that particular universe perfectly to his liking, in order to permanently destroy the Apokolips threat. Kyle and Carol disagree, but Highfather easily fends them off and banishes them to the surface via boom tube. Highfather tests his new Life Equation-enhanced scepter on the city of Muz, and the results are perfect, granting him a new army. Meanwhile, in the antimatter universe, the Guardians realize that the Life Equation is now in Highfather’s hands, and everyone’s in deep shit.

Thrill to the exciting battles within, as Highfather attacks the White Lantern with a flashlight! I’m sorry, that cover just made me laugh. Anyway, the backstabbing from Highfather is revealed here, and I’m sure that surprised absolutely no one. What I’m more interested in is how Kyle and Carol will proceed from here; Kyle’s got no ring, and Carol’s is depleted. I’m guessing Carol that will find some other way to access the pocket universe that stores here battery, and Kyle will finally get himself a Green Lantern ring once more. I liked Carol’s determination that they’re going to take care of business, even powerless. That’s some solid character work, proving that they don’t need rings to be interesting.

Digoenes Neves’ art was great throughout the issue, but what really made it pop to me was the color work by Wil Quintana. He often used a more flat palette, which in turn made the linework stand out more. This allows the reader to focus more on expressions and detail, and given that the fight sequence here was very brief, character interactions were much more important.

“Godhead” is a little more than halfway through. The slog continues next week with Red Lanterns #36 (oddly promoted with the KISS logo font on the last page), and while this issue did help renew my interest a bit in the story, I still think it’s a bit too clichéd. We’ve seen “Corps Wars” too many damned times.

Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #36

November 14, 2014

Release Date: November 12, 2014
Cover Date: January 2015

Story: Van Jensen
Art: Bernard Chang
Cover: Bernard Chang

Shadowfall attacks Zamaron, and the Star Sapphires fare about as well as the other Lanterns have in repelling the New Gods. Meanwhile, on Qward, the Guardians are not happy about Hal Jordan staying behind, but reiterate that Kyle Rayner must be rescued. Sinestro claims that only he can lead the Lanterns to victory, but John Stewarts slaps down this foolish line of thinking, and plans to rescure some Star Sapphires himself thanks to some new armaments forged by the Weaponer. On Zamaron, the battle is joined, and the Lanterns hold their own for a time until they’re ensnared by an energy net. With her dying breath, a Star Sapphire explains that Fatality really did love John, else the ring would not have chosen her. In fact, her final wish was that John would receive a violet ring of his own, and he is inducted into the Star Sapphires. The Lanterns use the unbreakable power of love to escape (yeah, you read that right), and Shadowfall explains to her troops that their flight was necessary: Highfather wants all of the Lanterns gathered together.

Sinestro still doubts Kyle, despite the latter being one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse now. Can’t help but wonder if Sinestro’s a stand-in for the many Green Lantern fans who have been bitching and complaining about the character for two decades now. Regardless, his wanting to rush in for his own glory would certainly get him killed; Sinestro’s no lightweight, but the New Gods are like a tsunami at this point. (This is in stark contrast to his previous reservations, however.) I’ve got a feeling he’ll backstab the other Corps when the final battle with the New Gods comes to pass, and his arrogance will (as usual) be his undoing. Maybe we’ll finally get rid of Parallax? It wouldn’t take much for a New God to rip out the space bug and crush it.

Bernand Chang’s art here looked especially sharp. His bold lines really make a battle sequence stand out, but also of note was the talk between Soranik Natu and John about his refusal to fully accept the Fatality situation. Even the shots of the various Lanterns hanging around Qward and just talking stood out. Chang gives a distinct personality to characters with his artwork, yet he doesn’t overdo it with too many details. Sometimes, a more minimal approach works, and here it pays off well.

John’s plan to rally the troops is sound, and I actually like that the New Gods are doing much the same thing, though their methods are clearly at odds. The downside is that this event will end much the same way as every other Lantern event: another massive “Corps war” featuring all of the colors. Yawn. That’s bringing “Godhead” down, when it really had the opportunity to be something different.

Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #36

November 7, 2014

Release Date: November 5, 2014
Cover Date: January 2015

Story: Robert Venditti
Art: Scott McDaniel and Francis Portela
Cover: Billy Tan

Orion and Highfather argue over how to deal with the Lanterns. Orion wants to wipe them out, but Highfather explains that he wants them alive to use as soldiers once he’s used the Life Equation on them. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps arrive on New Korugar. The Guardians reveal that Kyle Rayner is still alive, and that’s he’s been captured by the New Gods to be used as a weapon. Hal theorizes that perhaps the one color ring that the New Gods are ignoring might be useful, but the Guardians shoot down that plan immediately. As Hal tries to formulate a new plan, he gets in a slapfight with Sinestro, who grudgingly admits that Hal’s greatest strength is his unpredictability. Hal and Sinestro hide both of their Corps on Qward, while Hal tracks down Black Hand to enlist his aid.

I’m sick of Black Hand, but I will admit that Hal’s quick deduction that the New Gods might actually fear black power rings was clever. Of course, it’s just an excuse to bring him into another Lantern crossover, as the villain has been seemingly required to show up in them since 2009. Did he sign a contract with the DC Comics editors or something? Anyway, there’s more mediocrity here: the fisticuffs between Hal and Sinestro were nothing new, nor was the Guardians acting like dicks. The revelation of Kyle’s survival should’ve come as a bigger shock to everyone else; only Saint Walker really reacted the way we’d expect. As such, these tentpoles of the issue were a letdown.

It’s not all bad news, I guess. Hiding the Corps in Qward was a wise move, but I expect it to backfire: I’m sure the New Gods have access to the antimatter universe, and the Corps just don’t realize it yet. The art was a bit more simplistic than we’re used to from past issues, but that’s not a bad thing. The semi-minimalistic approach still carries across great expression, especially during the Hal/Sinestro fight and Soranik Natu’s verbal jabs at Lyssa Drak. The New Gods scenes looked good, too, as they focused on characters rather than battles.

“Godhead” is beginning to drag a bit, for me at least, and we’re not even at the halfway point yet. What do you think?

Sinestro #6

October 31, 2014

Release Date: October 29, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham and Martin Coccolo
Inks: Dale Eaglesham and Scott Hanna
Cover: Guillem March
Variant Cover: Bart Sears

Sinestro ruminates over how to deal with Bekka, who trashed his Corps and stole Arkillo’s ring. Lyssa Drak offers signs and portents, but her leader’s got a better idea: he’s got an inside “man,” since he had Despotellis secretly stow away on Arkillo’s ring before it was taken. This leads the Yellow Lanterns to the planet Nok, where the Indigo Tribe and John Stewart’s Green Lantern crew are desperately fighting off Bekka’s forces. Sinestro may hate the other Corps, but he knows that their powers can’t fall into these new enemies’ hands. He sends down his Corps to assist in the battle, and some of the Tribesmen are Green Lanterns are able to escape. There’s massive casualties on all sides, horrifying Indigo-1, John, and Bekka…but not Sinestro. He intentionally sent down Yellow Lanterns he didn’t trust, and when the battle’s done…he kills them all by ordering their rings to self-destruct.

Right away, we’re saddled with one of the worst things about modern Green Lantern comics: another goddamned prophecy. I thought we were done that with bullshit when Geoff Johns left, but it seems we’re stuck with it once again. Worse, there’s more Black Hand, a character who I’ve become thoroughly sick of. Ugh! I really don’t want to see Black Lanterns again, and this stupid prophecy clearly hints at their return.

Fortunately, the rest of the issue fares much better; in fact, the prophecy pages really have nothing to do with the rest of the issue at all, and easily could have been skipped. (I smell editorial requests as the reason for their inclusion.) Anyway, Sinestro’s reasons for saving the other ring wielders makes sense both to serve the story and his own twisted ends. His intelligence shines through here, as well; Sinestro may be arrogant and extremely powerful, but even he knows that he’s no match for a New God. As for him “trimming the fat,” so to speak, that helps boil the Sinestro Corps down to our core characters, making the book easier to follow and giving the tales within more focus.

As always, Dale Eaglesham’s art was stunning, and Martin Coccolo handling the battle scenes on Nok made for a nice change of pace that wasn’t too jarring, making the story flow from one act to the next nice and smoothly. (There was a small error in that Munk is seen flying away with another Tribesmen, but he lost his ring a while ago.) Expressions in particular really looked great, conveying Sinestro’s calmly evil nature, Arkillo’s brutality, Bekka’s anguish, Indigo-1’s fear…good stuff.

The first act of “Godhead” is over, and as we move into the second phase of the story, I expect the battles to intensify. No more prophecies, though, please.

Red Lanterns #35

October 24, 2014

Release Date: October 22, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Charles Soule
Art: Jim Calafiore
Cover: Scott Hepburn

Guy Gardner tries to enjoy a nice day at the beach with Tora Olafsdotter (Ice) in Dubai, but he can’t help but go after the wannabe supervillain next door. Shahkavat, brutal dictator of Qurac, is just cruisin’ for a bruisin’, and Guy’s all too happy to dish out some pain. Their battle is interrupted by the arrival Malhedron and the Wheel, one of Highfather’s hit squads from New Genesis. They quickly take down Shahkavat, and Malhedron beats the snot out of Guy. Right as his opponent is about to deliver a killing blow, Guy is saved by the timely arrival of Simon Baz, who brings him up to speed. Guy refuses to run, saying it’s their job to defend Earth to the death if necessary, but the two Lanterns get a lucky reprieve when their enemies are recalled to New Genesis. However, Guy’s had enough: he plans to follow them for some payback.

“Godhead” continues with Guy being drawn into the fight, and I liked the way it was handled. Since he somewhat ditched the Red Lantern Corps, he’s been unaware of what’s been going on with the New Gods. As such, he rushed into things and got his ass handed to him. However, Red Lanterns #35 slightly changed up the usual formula of “Lanterns gets their ass kicked, picks up the pieces” by interrupting the battle. And Guy being Guy, he’s not done, even in the face of certain death. His speech on protecting Earth at all costs, even if they just end up slowing the bad guys down a bit, was right on point, but not over-the-top or arrogant. Good stuff.

Solid art by Jim Calafiore made the issue a smooth read, and his designs for Malhedron and the Wheel were very cool-looking, instantly evoking a classic Fourth World look. That splash image of the primary New Gods also looked great, and Calafiore’s clean art style even added polish to Simon’s uniform! Well done.

It remains to be seen what awaits Guy and Simon on New Genesis (another beatdown within an inch of their lives, I’d assume), but hopefully it’ll play out beyond just fight after fight.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #35

October 17, 2014

Release Date: October 15, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Brad Walker
Inks: Andrew Hennessy and Robin Riggs
Cover: Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy

The Guardians reveal the truth to Kyle Rayner: he brought back the Life Equation from beyond the Source Wall, and he has the power to alter reality any way he sees fit. Kyle and Carol Ferris react to this news with anger; that’s why the Guardians kept Kyle far away from everyone, letting the universe think he was dead. They’ve also been spying on the other Corps, and know of the threat of the New Gods. Kyle no longer trusts the Guardians, as they’ve been acting too much like the evil Guardians of old. When he tells ‘em to fuck off, they forcibly try to strip the Life Equation from him. Kyle fights back, and his reality-altering powers go out of control, even briefly changing Carol into Alex DeWitt…until Highfather arrives and offers to help. Kyle accepts, but the Guardians aren’t happy. They try to stop Highfather, but he exiles them via Boom Tube. Highfather then helps get Kyle’s powers under control, and candidly explains his mission. The task is unfinished, however, and Highfather offers to help Kyle further on New Genesis. Despite their misgivings, Kyle and Carol know Highfather is correct. and the pair follow the leader of the New Gods to his homeworld.

I was honestly surprised by this issue: it was much better than I expected! Granted, I wasn’t expecting a shitshow, but still, the story here was very good indeed. We get some solid answers on the Life Equation and just how and why Kyle was able to cross the Source Wall safely. I love the concept that the universe is based on essentially a mathematical concept, and that Kyle was able to come back simply by changing said equation. The Guardians beginning to act more like their asshole predecessors is rather gloomy, sure, but it makes sense; before they were locked away in the Chamber of Shadows, they did serve beside their malevolent brethren. As such, it was a nice bit of comeuppance to see the Guardians get their asses kicked by Kyle and Highfather. I wonder where the Boom Tube sent them?

I suppose I should mention Kyle and Carol’s romance sealed with a kiss, if you can hear me over all of the fanboy screaming. Seriously, it’s not that bad, people; lighten up. I built up naturally to this point, and it made sense within the context of the story. Sheesh!

Moving on, Kyle with the powers of a true god was impressive and a bit surprising. I honestly didn’t think that the DC Comics powers-that-be would go that far with his abilities. At this point, Kyle is the most powerful being the universe, if not the multiverse! It reminds me of the original Parallax, which I don’t think was a coincidence. It’s also by design that Kyle doesn’t want that kind of power, nor does he want it to corrupt him and cause another Oblivion incident. I liked how Highfather didn’t come in and try to beat Kyle’s ass like his underlings did with the other Corps; in fact, Highfather specifically states that he can’t do that. What we’ve seen of the New Gods’ mission thus far is noble — stopping Darkseid and all that — even if some of their methods are highly suspect. If “Godhead” ends up with the Corps and New Gods uniting instead of battle after battle, that could make for a much more interesting read.

As usual, kudos must be given to Brad Walker’s excellent artwork. Those stunning galactic vistas juxtaposed with the craziness unleashed by Kyle’s powers just looked awesome. And a cameo appearance by Alex, no less! Wasn’t expecting that. Walker also made Highfather look like a trustworthy father figure (no pun intended), in sharp contrast to most of the other New Gods. Great use of special effects and his expressive character art really drove the story home.

There was only one thing in this issue that bugged the shit outta me: the DC creative head honchos just can’t keep the emotional spectrum/reservoir/whatever concept straight. When it was first introduced, it was fueled by all living things. Cheesy, but it worked for the most part. In the “New 52,” it was the other way around; the reservoir actually provided emotions to all living things, and it was responsible for the survival of the entire universe. Now, it’s apparently become both: it’s fueled by beings’ emotions, but also keeps the universe intact. Ugh, this makes no goddamned sense!

Other than that, Green Lantern: New Guardians #35 was a great issue. I just hope we don’t end up going down the clichéd road of Highfather lying about the whole, and it’s one big trap, blah blah blah.

Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #35

October 10, 2014

Release Date: October 8, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Van Jensen
Art: Bernard Chang
Cover: Bernard Chang
Monsters Variant Cover: Mikel Janin

John Stewart and other Green Lanterns arrive at the ruins of Aydin, and are attacked by the mutated populace. Uggha and his fellow warriors are also there, killing off their “failed experiment.” John doesn’t like that at all, and worse, the New Gods demand the Green Lanterns’ rings! They try to fight back, but the Corps gets their asses beat by the New Gods. John only manages to slow them down by collapsing buildings on top of them, and the Green Lanterns are ultimately saved by the timely intervention of Indigo-1. Meanwhile, Metron has located the White Lantern, and Highfather himself plans to deal with him.

Not a bad issue at all. More slick art from Bernard Chang, and particular attention should be paid to the stark environment of Aydin. What a mess, and the horrible events that happened there make for an ugly battlefield. As usual, Chang’s battle scenes looked great, and he draws one hell of an intimidating Uggha. The quick interludes featuring the Corps on Mogo and Highfather’s plans on New Genesis help tie the book even further into the ongoing Godhead event, but the primary focus of this issue was fighting.

I dig that the slugfest featured some outside-the-box thinking from John, which is where he’s best. Of course, it was only a temporary reprieve, but I like that the New Gods’ teleportation technology was both an advantage and a weakness: they found the Lanterns rather quickly, but their foes were teleported away themselves before they could deliver the killing blow.

Having said all that, the New Gods continually thrashing the Lanterns is already starting to feel a bit stale. Considering that Godhead is a seventeen-part story (ugh), not including the expected epilogue/aftermath/whatever, I’m still concerned it’s going to wear out its welcome by the time we reach the halfway point.


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