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.

Green Lantern Corps: Futures End #1

September 12, 2014

Release Date: September 10, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014

Story: Van Jensen
Art: Igor Lima, Ruy José, Rodney Buchemi, and Geraldo Borges
Cover: Francis Portela

Five years from now, John Stewart is a Green Lantern on a mission…and that mission is death. He’s known and feared throughout the Corps as a merciless killer, due to many years of hardship. The remains and Oa have become a Shadow Empire base, and he brings Feska along to rescue Von Daggle and R’amey Holl. Former Green Lantern Maro joined the Empire, and John plans to kill him. However, Indigo-1 appears and tries to appeal to John’s conscience instead. She shows him his greatest regrets, but it’s not enough. He’s still angry with her over what the Indigo Tribe did during the war, and he eventually fights and stabs her to death. They teleport to the Tribe’s homeworld, where John is shocked to learn that this was the plan all along: Indigo-1 would sacrifice herself so that John could succeed her and lead the Indigo Tribe.

Another pointless Futures End tie-in, showing off a future that will never come to pass. In this case, that’s definitely a good thing, as John is thoroughly unlikeable in this issue. I can understand how his many trials and tribulations have turned him into a grim figure, but his brutality and insistence on murder (let’s call it what it is, people) just makes John into someone we would rather see lose the ring and disappear rather than the supposed hero of his own book.

The illustrations were fairly solid, thankfully. The future Green Lantern uniforms look pretty cool, with the armored pieces and whatnot. I like how the colorists have kept up the new Green Lantern Corps tradition of those stark black, white, and red panels for intense scenes. The various alien designs on Oa looked good, too, as did the strangely stitched-up Maro. It was rather dumb that the cover art spoils the last page of the story, though.

Not only is this story pointless due to the flawed Futures End concept, but it doesn’t even last within that story’s history. Further down the Futures End timeline, John is a Green Lantern again, only to be assimilated by Brother Eye. Thus, for many reasons, Green Lantern Corps: Futures End #1 was a dud just like the other tie-ins.

Green Lantern: Futures End #1

September 5, 2014

Release Date: September 5, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014

Story: Robert Venditti
Art: Martin Coccolo and Aaron Lopresti
Cover: Billy Tan

Five years from now, Hal Jordan confronts Krona and his Black Lanterns at the Source Wall. Hal had been warned about the new threat by his resurrected father, who along with some deceased Green Lanterns is fighting Krona’s influence. To take down the Black Lanterns, though, Hal has an unlikely ally in the form of Relic, who escaped from the Source Wall some time ago. The pair are able to combine emotional spectrum energies to destroy the zombies, and even when Krona tries to force Hal’s father and the dead Green Lanterns against him, Relic and Hal manage to emerge victorious…but at a terrible cost. Hal was mortally wounded by the Black Lanterns. For some unknown reason, Hal’s father and the dead Green Lanterns don’t disappear when Relic captures Black Hand’s ring, and they decide that imprisoning Hal in the Source Wall will keep him alive and in stasis until Relic can figure out a way to heal him.

Aside from the fact the the Futures End stories are utterly pointless (more on that later), this issue was loaded with continuity errors. First of all, the Black Lantern villains have their old, pre-Flashpoint designs, not their current correct ones. Evil Star looks nothing like that in the “New 52,” and Goldface stopped using that outfit even before the universe-wide reboot! Another problem is that Black Hand is said to have disappeared after the events of Blackest Night. This is also false, as he was a critical part of the crappy “Wrath of the First Lantern” story. Even if you try to assume that Black Hand rebuilt the Black Lantern Corps and unleashed a second Blackest Night sometime in the next few years, but before this issue takes place, that’s clearly not what’s being implied here.

Furthermore, I don’t believe it’s ever been explained how Black Hand’s ring or Black Lanterns can even exist anymore after Blackest Night. What’s fueling their rings since their Central Power Battery was destroyed? This is even hinted at somewhat in this issue; Relic’s surprised that the Black Lanterns are devoid of emotion, and since emotion powers the entire universe…but without any explanation, that’s a pretty serious omission. And why did Hal’s father and the other dead Green Lanterns stick around after Krona’s defeat? Their black rings were no different than any others. This is left unexplained, and makes absolutely no sense.

Sticking Hal in the Source Wall seemed to be just a way to explain why he’s not around in the regular Futures End series, which focuses more on third-string characters instead of the usual big guns. The thing is, we didn’t need that; as a Green Lantern, we could just assume that Hal’s been busy in space! Finally, the Source Wall itself is still a problem; as we’ve seen in Multiversity, the Source Wall is outside the sphere of mutiple Earths. So how did Hal and Relic get there without leaving their own universe? (Some readers have pointed out that perhaps the Source Wall is the barrier between the Earths, thus it appears in all universes…but that barrier has already been established as the Bleed, and the Multiversity map clearly shows the Source Wall elsewhere.)

At least the art here was good. The Black Lanterns look as creepy and savage as ever, and Hal’s green construct bullets with violet jackets was a really cool effect. The battle scene with Relic using spectrum energy from his various machines led to some great visuals, too, and the grayscale effect for Hal’s father really stood out.

So why did I earlier describe this story as pointless? Here’s the deal: the events of Futures End are supposed to take place five years from now in DC Universe time. That’s equivalent to roughly fifteen years of real world time. So, in order for this story to hold any real meaning…tales written for the next fifteen years have to lead to that point. You and I know damned well that they won’t; given DC Comics’ history, we’re certain to see two or three more DC Universe reboots by then! We’ve had at least three reboots in the last ten years, for crying out loud!

The entire plot of the New 52: Futures End weekly series — which is actually pretty good despite its pointless nature — is that the characters are trying to prevent an apocalyptic future. That’s all well and good, except that this dark future is even further down the timeline than the era in which Futures End takes place. It would be better if folks from the future were trying to change things now. I know that’s a science fiction cliché, but then at least the story would carry some weight. Watch the whole thing end up being a part of Multiversity, making it even more of a train wreck! Ugh.

Next week, Futures End hits Green Lantern Corps, then the other Lanternverse titles in succession. I’m not exactly looking forward to this.

Sinestro #5

September 1, 2014

Release Date: August 27, 2014
Cover Date: October 2014

Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Cover: Rags Morales

Hal Jordan and Sinestro get into a scuffle, of course, but it’s Soranik Natu who points out that Hal could’ve brought the entire Green Lantern Corps…but he didn’t. Sinestro agrees to hear Hal out in private. The two former colleagues go back and forth, each making valid points, until Hal brings up the problem of Parallax. Sinestro reveals that he purged himself of the entity, but that’s not quite true. When Hal goads Sinestro to anger, we find that Sinestro now completely controls Parallax, which he uses to soundly thrash Hal. Sinestro is going to take care of the Korugarians once more, and there’s nothing the Green Lanterns can do about it.

The cover proclaims “Under the Grip of Parallax.” It should be “In the Grip of Parallax.” I think the designer was probably thinking “Under the Influence of Parallax,” and got mixed up. Still, you’d think an obvious error like that would’ve tripped up quality control.

The giant space bug returns, and it’s now Sinestro’s pet. While this fits with Sinestro’s ultra-enhanced skill level and power since Geoff Johns’ reboot of the character ten years ago, it sets a dangerous precent within the books, not to mention some potential continuity problems. Remember when the entities were all dying during “Lights Out”? Why wasn’t Parallax affected? Remember, emotions sustain people, not the other way around, so you can’t just write it off as Sinestro keeping Parallax alive. If anything, the dying entity would’ve brought Sinestro down with it!

With Parallax at his beck and call, Sinestro is now one of the most powerful beings in the universe. I don’t care that Hal got his ass kicked by his ex-friend; if he doesn’t immediately bring in the Green Lantern Corps, the Justice League, and just about any other superteam out to protect folks, then it’s a colossal story problem. Of course, there is a very easy solution: just send Kyle Rayner in. The White Lantern was able to handle seven entities at the same time. Controlling just one would be a cinch for him. Too bad everyone still thinks he’s dead.

The load of continuity problems resulting from the Parallax stuff were dumb, sure, but the conversation between Hal and Sinestro was fantastic. That kind of storytelling is what we need! Both of them are absolutely correct in everything they say, and they refuse to acknowledge the other’s point. Dex Trevius even takes the role of the reader, pointing out that the two ringbearers are arguing their points and trying to one-up each other without ever addressing their own personal fallout, betrayal, and guilt.

Dale Eaglesham’s talent was on full display here, as his work with the two opposing Lanterns’ expressions spoke far more than pages upon pages of battles scenes. When Parallax is let loose, the art looks decent, but for some reason the giant space bug just doesn’t look as menacing as it has in the past. (It also seems to be far less powerful now, but the entities’ power levels have been all over the map just as much as their powers, effects, and origins since their introduction. Bad retconning will do that.)

Sinestro is going strong, but given this issue’s revelations, I don’t know how much longer the book can keep going. The Pale Vicars don’t even seem like a threat anymore, since Parallax could just wipe them out. And if the forces of good just ignore Super Saiyan Sinestro now…that doesn’t reflect well.

On a final note, “Danzig Lantern” made me chuckle…then I realized many readers might not get the joke, and I felt old. Ugh.

Red Lanterns #34

August 29, 2014

Release Date: August 27, 2014
Cover Date: October 2014

Story: Charles Soule
Art: Alessandro Vitti and Jim Calafiore
Cover: Stephen Segovia

As the new Red Lanterns overrun Guy Gardner and crew, he leaves Supergirl to deal with them on Earth while he heads to Ysmault, knowing Atrocitus will follow him. On Styge Prime, it’s revealed that Skallox was secretly spying on Atrocitus for Guy, and he returns to Ysmault as well. There, the battle is finally joined, resulting in the deaths of Skallox, the Judge, and many more, possibly including Dex-Starr. At the end, Guy’s tired of this crap, and offers up his ring to Atrocitus. However, Guy has much more rage in his heart, and all Red Lantern rings return to him. Overloaded with power, he uses it to recharge the Blood Lake and Central Power Battery, then gives up leadership of the Red Lantern Corps to Rankorr, Bleez and the others. They can watch Sector 2814…Guy will stay on Earth.

Red Lanterns ties off many long-running story threads with his issue, and in fine form. The highlight of the book was Guy denying that he stole Atrocitus’ ring; the latter just couldn’t keep it. Guy ditching it and then having the ring choose him instead of Atrocitus only proves that point. Guy somehow having more rage than everyone on Ysmault was cheesy, but it was a quick means to an end to rebuild the Red Lanterns’ home base. Those panels of the countless power rings flowing into Guy did look cool, though. Props to Alessandro Vitti and Jim Calafiore for that! Their art was solid throughout, as would be expect given their tenure on the book.

Red Lanterns #34 added some shock value with the “deaths” of Skallox, the Judge, and others. (In quotes because you know they’ll be back; this is comics.) Of course, how the rest of the Red Lanterns as well as the hundreds of human recruits didn’t die due to the removal of their red power rings is conveniently ignored, despite the fact that Guy himself nearly dies when he takes off his own ring. That’s a pretty big plot hole, and I doubt it’ll be addressed.

With Guy’s long battle with Atrocitus finally at its end, Red Lanterns had completely wrapped up all of its long-running storylines, and we can move on into new territory. Of course, that means a double dose of crossover event nonsense, but maybe after that we’ll get some new, solid tales.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #34

August 22, 2014

Release Date: August 20, 2014
Cover Date: October 2014

Story: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Brad Walker and Rodney Buchemi
Inks: Andrew Hennessy, Rob Hunter, and Rodney Buchemi
Cover: Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy

Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris continue to fight off the Psions, but their leader The High has a Mother Box which it uses to absorb their constructs. Meanwhile, Quaros is shockingly still alive despite his dissection, and he uses his abilities to hack into the Psions’ systems and organize a counteroffensive with his Guardian brethren. He frees them, then helps Carol free the Psions’ other experiments. The battle’s a full-scale slugfest now, but Quaros will put a stop to the Psions’ plans once and for all: he sends Kyle, Carol, and the other Guardians away in a bubble construct, then self-destructs the Psion ship. He and the other gruesome experiments are finally free of their pain, and unbeknownst to the Lanterns, the Mother Box is left floating in the void.

A solid ending to the Psion arc, though there was an annoying tease for the next Lanternverse “event” (the Mother Box will certainly tie into the upcoming “Godhead” story), which already has me rolling my eyes. Unlike the other Lantern books, Green Lantern: New Guardians has been nicely avoiding that crossover crap since “Lights Out” last year, but I guess good things never last.

But enough of that! Let’s refocus on issue #34 here. While the Kyle/Carol/Psion banter did get a little annoying at times, the dialogue between all parties was very good. Especially notable was Kyle’s talk with The High, explaining that he won’t be converted to their cause, and no matter what they’re trying to do to imitate their creators, it’s still wrong. (Fun fact: The High was previously a WildStorm Universe character, completely unrelated to the Psions.)

We thought Quaros was dead…but I guess he got better. Seriously, though, it makes sense that he was still clinging to life; Guardians are notoriously hard to kill, and it stands to reason that the Psions wouldn’t just leave a corpse there. If Quaros was hooked up to all of that machinery, it must’ve been to study him while he was still alive. His agony, however, is truly cringe-inducing, and I don’t blame him one bit for sacrificing himself along with the other poor captives to take out the Psions.

The issue’s storytelling was enhanced by Brad Walker and Rodney Buchemi’s creepy art. I don’t think I’m familiar with Buchemi’s work prior to this, but both artists’ styles fused to create a truly grim scene within the Psions’ massive spacecraft. Their masterful use of light and shadow turned the comic into a science fiction horror movie, evoking memories of classic films like Alien.

The Mother Box tease nonwithstanding, the story is over and done with. It wasn’t designed as a prelude, or an ongoing mystery, or an event, or anything like that. It was a shorter tale rarely found in modern comics, executed very well, and that’s why New Guardians continues to be the best Lantern book month after month.

Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #34

August 15, 2014

Release Date: August 13, 2014
Cover Date: October 2014

Story: Van Jensen
Art: Bernard Chang
Cover: Trevor McCarthy
Variant Cover: Mike McKone

John Stewart threatens the Fatality imposter, demanding to know where the real Yrra is. He doesn’t get much for answers, but Von Daggle helps him out. John takes off alone, while Hal Jordan has Daggle deal with the villains who helped out during the war against the Durlans. John tracks down Fatality at an old prison facility; she’s killed the other beasts incarcerated there, but she also mercilessly attacks John on sight! She blames him for the destruction of her planet and people, but also reveales that she never loved him. The Star Sapphire ring did all that, and she was brainwashed by the Zamarons. Fatality lets John live just this once, declaring that he and the Star Sapphires are now her mortal enemies. John screams out in frustration, his constructs destroying the facility.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this issue. The pacing, dialogue, and art was great, but Fatality was retconned back to her former Green Lantern-hating self. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original Fatality concept, but the way in which the retcon played out was dumb. Blaming it all on the Star Sapphires, and using the violet power ring as a brainwashing tool? I just found that to be a cheesy copout. I wouldn’t put something like that past the Zamarons, sure, but it seems to serve no real purpose in the story other than to screw over John again. And here’s something else: how is she mad at John for the destruction of Xanshi, since Cosmic Odyssey never happened in the “New 52″? We need a little more background information on whatever Xanshi’s rebooted history is. (Nice to know that Fatality’s classic costume still exists, though.)

At least there’s some good stuff in Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #34. The art was absolutely fantastic. Bernard Chang really pulled out all of the stops, with his signature monotone panels (props to colorist Marcelo Maiolo) and even a few “sketch” panels that really added to the emotional punch. Chang even made the crappy new designs for Evil Star look decent!

A solid issue in itself, but I’m personally displeased with the Fatality retcon. Your mileage may vary. Maybe we’ll find out that this is all a trick as well, as I don’t see Fatality going back to hunting Green Lanterns, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Even her plan to fight the Star Sapphires rings hollow. If the Zamarons were able to easily subdue her the first time, why would this time be any different?


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