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.

Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #35

October 6, 2014

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Robert Venditti
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Rob Hunter, Matt “Batt” Banning, and Mark Irwin
Cover: Billy Tan
Variant Cover: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps try to keep things together on the rapidly deteriorating Mogo, while Highfather, Metron, and Orion reconvene at the Source Wall. Highfather’s pissed that his ring-combination scepter didn’t work, and orders Metron to get some answers. Using a green ring, Metron hacks into the Corps’ database, looking for information on the White Lantern. Hal wonders why the ring thieves are researching the dead Kyle Rayner, and he uses the ring’s communications functions to identify and locate the interlopers. He takes the Corps to the Wall to fight them, but they are no match whatsoever for the New Gods. Knowing that this new foe can easily hunt them down in the usual places, Hal decides to take the Corps to the last place anyone would search for them: New Korugar. And Sinestro is expecting them!

Why is Mogo dying without his green ring? That makes no sense at all! He obviously did just fine without before, else he would not have have been chosen for the Corps in the first place. The rest of the story doesn’t suffer from such an obvious flaw, thankfully. Hal shows off his excellent tactical prowess, proving that he’s a solid leader in the face of incredible odds. It was obvious that the Corps would get their asses kicked, but it doesn’t diminish them. They’re facing gods, after all.

Some interesting story hooks: Saint Walker believes that blue is the strongest color of the emotional spectrum (guess he forgot about white?), Hal estimates the Corps’ history at ten billion years, and Kyle is the only White Lantern across the entire Multiverse. (It makes me wonder if there’s only one Kyle, as well.) Metron’s hacking of the ring and the Corps’ databse was pretty cool, and it certainly fits with his insane technical prowess. Knowing that the Corps was coming for them but not giving a shit is also perfectly in line with the New Gods’ philosophy.

The art was good here, though nothing stood out in particular. Hal’s proportions seem a little off on the cover, but I already expressed my distaste for the Godhead covers in general.

Godhead tears its way through the rest of the Lanternverse books in the coming weeks and months. The first two installments have been decent, but I can’t help but be apprehensive. This is an event, remember.

Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead #1

October 3, 2014

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Cover Date: December 2014

Story: Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule and Cullen Bunn
Art: Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Suozuka, ChrisCross and Pete Woods
Cover: Francis Portela
Justin Jordan, Lee Weeks

As the Multiverse was born, so were a race of gods, who warred amongst themselves until their planet was dead. From the ashes rose some new gods (get it?), but even these beings were not free from conflict, as one of their own named Darkseid flew the flag of evil. After defeating him, the New Gods knew that their enemy was hunting for the Anti-Life Equation in order to subdue the either Multiverse, so they searched for its opposite, the Life Equation. It’s known to be hidden beyond the Source Wall, and after eons, Highfather and Metron learn that it was recently breached. From the trapped Relic, they learn of the Lanterns’ connection to the white light, and Highfather orders his best troops to retrieve one power ring of each type. They’re able to do this effortlessly, despite the various ringwielders best defenses. Highfather tries to use all seven rings at once via a special device in order to save a dying planet. Unfortunately, the device fails, and the New Gods realize that they can’t use seven rings to create the white light; what they need to find is the White Lantern.

Another day, another goddamned Green Lantern event. You know how sick I am of those, and to be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to this one, especially since it seems like it may be a long haul. But before we get into specifics, it must be pointed out that Godhead is very important for a single reason: it’s the highly-anticipated full debut of the “New 52″ New Gods. I know a lot of readers who are really stoked for this; I was never a big New Gods fan, but I don’t dislike them, either. Anyway, the updated designs for Highfather, Metron, Orion and crew look great, and while they’re arrogant as hell, they don’t seem like unrepentent douchebags. (Except for Orion, but that’s a big part of his character.)

Despite my misgivings, the story was actually pretty good. It’s yet another massive Corps war that’ll drag on for far too long, I’d wager, but I must give credit were credit is due: the New Gods aspect fits, albeit in a somewhat hamfisted way. A glaring oddity that stands out in this: are the New Gods really so clueless as to not know of power rings? They’ve been around for millennia across countless universes. Metron acts as if they’re a recent development and only in the prime universe.

Regardless, the ring-hunting scenes were easily the highlight of the book. Man, did Arkillo get his ass beat! Sinestro really threw him to the wolves. I also liked that the side effects of losing the rings were front and center for certain characters, like Larfleeze, Mogo, Munk, and that unnamed Red Lantern. Munk in particular could be a great substory, now that he’s back to his old murderous self and has a New Gods’ weapon. As for Mogo…well, it wasn’t too smart for him to leave his damned ring on a tree branch, now was it?

The art was handled by multiple artists, and wisely split up by scene, rather than abrupt changes from page to page. All of it looked great, especially the sequences where the various rings are being taken. These Godhead covers, however, are terrible. With those massive text blocks and random zoomed-in artwork, they look like t-shirts from a shitty metalcore band. I figure a future one will have “PULL THE TRIGGER BITCH” alongside a Star Sapphire or something.

Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead #1 is only “Act 1, Part 1″ of this Lanternverse crossover, so expect this to take up quite a bit of time. We can only hope for a satisfying resolution, but I already have some reservations (especially when it comes to Kyle Rayner, who is clearly going to be very important to the story). Nothing else to do but buckle in and see where this takes us.

Sinestro: Futures End #1

September 29, 2014

Release Date: September 24, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014

Story: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Igor Lima
Inks: Ruy José
Cover: Kevin Nowlan

Five years later (make it stop), Sinestro is an inmate in the universe’s most heavily guarded prison. The Apex League hunted him down, killed his Corps, and burned the yellow ring from his finger. However, along with fellow inmate Natromo, Sinestro plans his escape. Natromo manages to cobble together a yellow ring substitute, and the prisoners escape. After meeting with a dying Lyssa Drak, Sinestro returns to the remains of New Korugar (formerly and once again Necropolis), where he’s confronted by the Apex League. However, hiding in Lyssa’s skull was a black ring…and Sinestro resurrects his people as the new Black Lantern Corps.

Before we get into specifics, let me just say this: I was most impressed with Igor Lima’s detailed artwork. Expressions, mechanical and alien designs, environments…everything looked stellar. Of particular note was Lyssa’s slowly decaying appearance, which unfortunately was never properly explained. Neither was her creation of a black power ring, or Sinestro’s use of it while still alive. That goes against everything we know about black rings, even after the “New 52″ heavily altered Blackest Night. Finally, it’s worth noting that Sinestro’s Black Lantern Corps are not the same as Krona’s Black Lantern Corps…nor is any explanation given.

The issue did a decent job of connecting to the Sinestro series itself, with plenty of expected plot threads like Soranik Natu as a Yellow Lantern, the defeat of the Paling, and the use of Necropolis and Parallax. (How would a giant space bug power a planet by fusing to its core, anyway?) The problem is that these stories should be taking place within six months from now in real-world time, not five years away in comic book time (which I’ve already grumbled about).

Sinestro: Futures End #1 was probably the best of the Lanternverse tie-ins, but of course it falls apart for the exact same reason: the story depicted within will never actually happen in-continuity.

Red Lanterns: Futures End #1

September 26, 2014

Release Date: September 24, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014

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

Five years later (ugh), Bleez and Blue Lantern Guy Gardner are hunting down the remaining Red Lanterns and healing them. Now, only one remains: the Red King Jack, formerly known as Rankorr. As they head off to finish the job, Bleez wonders how Guy is able to use the blue light without any Green Lanterns around. Guy explains that he’s tried almost all of the other colors of the emotional spectrum, but the one that really stuck with him was hope. When they confront Rankorr, Bleez fends off his attacks while Guy gets in close and tells him something very important. It’s enough to make Rankorr ditch his captured rings, and when Bleez falls prey to the overload of rage, Guy tells her the same thing: he had a vision from the blue light that Rankorr and Bleez would finally be together, and the Red Lanterns would be done. This frees her at last, and Guy destroys all of the red rings.

Well, this issue was certainly a huge step up from the other Futures End tie-ins. Still, I wouldn’t say it was great; it suffers from the same problem of being a pointless story, and it does have a few thorns that stand out.

For example, it’s claimed again that Blue Lanterns need Green Lanterns nearby in order to use the majority of their powers, but that was retconned away long before the “New 52″ came along, and was never a weakness of the blue power rings after that. Also, Rankorr devolving into a genocidal madman seemingly came out of left field. He’s worse that Atrocitus ever was! For a final small nit to pick, Guy’s indigo ring is notably the wrong color. Oops!

It’s easy to overlook these flaws due to Jim Calafiore’s excellent artwork. Aside from his excellent character design, I loved some of the little touches here and there, like Rankorr’s red ring chain mail. (His giant floating Buckingham Palace construct was pretty cheesy, though.) Guy finally got a shave and haircut, so he’s back to his pre-redneck trucker look.

This Red Lanterns installment wasn’t a bad story, but still completely skippable, like everything else stuffed into Futures End. It wouldn’t worked far better if Guy became a Blue Lantern in the regular Red Lanterns book; even if the powers-that-be stretched it out into a yearlong story where the end of the Red Lantern Crops actually did come to pass, that would’ve been interesting. But as a pointless one-shot, the story is sadly wasted.

Green Lantern: New Guardians: Futures End #1

September 19, 2014

Release Date: September 17, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014

Story: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Marc Deering
Cover: Diogenes Neves and Marc Deering

Five years from now (sensing a pattern?), Kyle Rayner is an all-powerful god who uses the power of the Life Equation to immediately pacify troubled worlds across the universe. Once in a great while, there’s a member of the population who will not submit; they’re quickly forced to change, but in the case of a woman named Saysoran, she manages to escape offworld. Former Guardian Yekop is the control system for the ship she stowed away on, and he allows her to locate Kyle himself. She dons Godkiller weapons and faces the mighty White Lantern. Kyle reveals that he still feels he’s done everything right, even killing the Guardians and Carol Ferris when they tried to stop him. Saysoran won’t have any of that, and demands that life be able to choose its own path. Kyle explains that this was her test; as he didn’t have an outside perspective, he needed someone to either continue his work or undo it when he’s gone. It’s their choice. As Kyle becomes one with the Source, he leaves behind a White Lantern power ring for Saysoran.

Ugh. This issue was even worse than the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps tie-ins. It made little to no sense. Saysoran automatically knows what the Godkiller arms are, and how to use them, and who Carol was, and that Kyle killed her? (Remember, she was angry about that before Kyle explained his history.)

Not only that, Kyle as Space Jesus (an obvious reference to the godawful Green Lantern [Vol. 5] #20 and its epilogue) is just dumb. Aside from the fact that the Futures End timeline will never happen, there’s no way in hell the powers-that-be would ever let Kyle stay all-powerful for that long. He’s got a sad history of being kicked down and depowered since 2004. And even if Kyle did become a god…why are there still problems on Earth? Futures End makes even less sense now; Kyle could’ve swooped in and fixed the entire planet in a literal flash.

Kyle passing on his legacy to Saysoran didn’t bother me, however. That’s a classic piece of Green Lantern lore; passing on one’s ring is a critical part of the mythos, and when it comes to the last power ring going to a seemingly random choice…Kyle is the expert in that department. (Or rather, he was, before all of the countless retcons.)

Still, that’s not enough to save this turd of an issue, nor was the fine art by Diogenes Neves. What a waste of the creators’ talents! It’s a good thing that none of this bullshit will ever come to pass. There’s two Lanternverse Futures End tie-ins left; I’m sure they’ll suck, too.


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