Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #37

December 12, 2014

Release Date: December 10, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

Story: Van Jensen
Art: Bernard Chang and Mirko Colak
Cover: Bernard Chang
Variant Cover: Darwyn Cooke

Highfather thanks Indigo-1 for walking the other Lanterns into his trap, and offers her Tribe a place in his army. She respectfully declines, so Highfather returns the stolen indigo power ring and sends her home. When the captive Lanterns are dumped out of prison before him, Highfather wastes no time using his scepter to convert them into soldiers. John Stewart and Sinestro try to fight back, but they’re not match for Uggha, one of Highfather’s generals. Before the New Gods’ leader can convert them, the Green and Yellow Lanterns are saved by Malhedron, who believes that Highfather has become a tyrant. He sends Sinestro to the Source Wall to find Hal Jordan, while John and Saint Walker stay behind to kick the hornets’ nest. John threatens the citizens of New Genesis and goads Uggha into another fight, eventually stealing his hammer and beating the shit out of the New God. The insurgency has begun!

Malhedron’s quasi-defection was a nice payoff that’s been building for some time now. It was also interesting that after he saved John, Sinestro, and Saint Walker, he said that’s as far as he’d go in defying Highfather. Perhaps another battle with Malhedron is brewing down the line? Or Highfather will just off him, and then regret it, which will set up his downfall.

Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #37 was decent for the most part, but it had some pretty crappy moments that brought it down a bit. John touting himself as Earth’s greatest assassin may have just been boasting to rile up the New Gods, but it still sounded very out of place. Also, his comment that he’s leaving his family in Sinestro’s hands? Where did that come from? Sinestro’s not even going to Earth! Even if by “family” John meant the Green Lantern Corps, that still doesn’t make sense; the Corps is under Hal’s leadership, anyway. Weird. At least the scene with John finally kicking Uggha’s ass was a great moment.

John’s doing a bellyflop on the cover, but the interior art fares much better. The only downside was that Mirko Colak’s art, found on the last few pages, is very different stylistically than that of Bernard Chang. Colak’s art isn’t bad, but it’s just a very noticeable jump which takes you out of the story for a bit.

Only a few issues left of “Godhead.” It remains to be seen how much plot the powers-that-be can cram in there and the epilogue to follow before Convergence — DC’s big spring crossover that mixes universes past and present — comes along and mucks with continuity even further.

Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #37

December 8, 2014

Release Date: December 3, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

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

The imprisoned Lanterns attempt to escape the New Gods’ stockade, but to no effect; even Parallax can’t break free. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Hal Jordan convinces Black Hand to join the war effort, though the latter just wants more death. They head to the Source Wall, where Hal is worried since Sinestro and the others aren’t there as they’d originally planned. Orion and his guards show up, and the battle is joined…but the New Gods are actually at a disadvantage now, as Black Hand summons dead Green Lanterns to join in the fight. When the Black Lanterns push a guard into the Source Wall, Black Hand believes the entire thing is a mass grave, unfortunately leaving Hal at Orion’s mercy.

Black Hand is really shown to be batshit insane here, which is a nice blend of his post-Rebirth rebooted personality as well as his cheesy Silver and Bronze Age self. It didn’t surprise me one bit that his Black Lanterns were incredibly effective, but at least this was balanced out quickly by Black Hand’s short attention span. The end of this issue seems to be setting up the Source Wall as a new army for him, but unless another massive retcon is in order, it won’t work. Those trapped in the Source Wall aren’t dead, rememeber? Just frozen.

The art was solid and reliable throughout the issue, and though it’s often not as detailed as past issues, the fluidity and consistency was more important. Black Hand’s crazy expressions really stood out, and I liked little touches like Relic visible in the background during the Source Wall scenes.

“Godhead” only has another month of issues before its “end.” That’s in quotes because I’m sure it won’t be a true ending — it’ll set up the next big story — and the epilogue will take a few months to process. Anyway, we can hope for a decent coda, but I’m honestly split. Things have been okay so far, but it’s the nature of big crossovers to end with a thud.

Sinestro #7

December 5, 2014

Release Date: December 3, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Ethan Van Sciver and Geraldo Borges
Cover: Guillem March

Bekka’s forces tear through some space pirates, but she realizes they were just a distraction. A construct of Sinestro appears to confirm this, and as he secretly talks with Bekka, he’s also talking with John Stewart on the surface of Qward. Skirmishes are breaking out between the Yellow and Green Lanterns, but John and Sinestro manage to rally them, as they’re going to have the Indigo Tribe secretly transport them to New Genesis to stage their assault. Before they leave, Sinestro admits to Bekka that he admires her methods, and offers her a yellow ring. When the Lanterns appear on New Genesis, they’re already surrounded by Orion’s forces. It appears that Indigo-1 has sold them out.

This issue features the trimphant return of Ethan Van Sciver to the Lanternverse, illustrating who is arguably his signature Green Lantern character: Sinestro. (Yes, even more so than Hal Jordan.) This also means a return of the supervillain’s deliberate Adolf Hitler haircut, and the unfortunate stupid floating Green Lantern symbols. Regardless, Van Sciver’s art looks fantastic from start to finish. (The last few pages were handled by Geraldo Borges; his art is also great, but it’s noticeable departure from Van Sciver’s work.)

As for the story content, Sinesto being an arrogant prick as well as trying to play his own game behind the scenes (recruiting a New God) jibes well with his character. He also made some logical sense when he called out John for not having a solid plan in place, but also ordering his Yellow Lanterns to stand down. Lanterns from both sides distrusting Soranik Natu seemed a bit forced, I must admit. I can understand it to a point, but it should be very clear that she’s still a Green Lantern who’s there to keep an eye on Sinestro. (I bet she’ll end up in a yellow uniform soon enough, though.) Finally, I wasn’t expecting the Indigo-1 betrayal, so that was a nice twist. The reasons why and their aftermath remain to be seen, of course.

So that’s that for the second act of “Godhead.” We now move into the final phase…please don’t be too much of a mess.

Red Lanterns #36

November 28, 2014

Release Date: November 26, 2014
Cover Date: January 2015

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

Guy Gardner plans to go after Malhedron and the New Gods, despite Simon Baz’ caution. They enlist the reluctant aid of Cyborg, who manages to use boom tube technology to send them on their way, though he can’t pinpoint their destination. On the New Gods’ world, Highfather demonstrates his new scepter’s power to Malhedron. In his bedchambers, Malhedron voices his fears to Dia that Highfather may become a tyrant. And that’s the point where the boom tube opens, dumping Guy and Simon into the bed! Malhedron and Dia recover quickly enough, smashing the Lanterns through the wall and knocking them out. Highfather shows up and orders that they be imprisoned and interrogated. Inside a miracle cell, Guy hasn’t given up yet.

Jim Calafiore’s art remains a perfect fit for Red Lanterns. His stark linework has always made an impression on me, and it fits Guy’s gritty tone to a tee. Not to mention that Malhedron’s Apokoliptian armor looks fantastic, and even the scenes where he’s just talking to Highfather or Dia, he’s cloaked in shadows without looking malevolent.

Guy’s talk with Simon, which also served as a handy recap of the past year and a half of stories, really helped set the stage for his state of mind. It’s better to see Guy this way instead of the reckless idiot who’s always charging into danger. Granted, Guy’s plan was doomed to failure — Lanterns get their asses kicked by New Gods, period — but at least he’s rolling with the punches and refusing to give up. He made the valid point that the New Gods didn’t kill them, and he can use that to his advantage.

The subplot concerning Highfather’s power trip is likely to be his undoing at the end of the crossover, essentially since Malhedron specifically brought up the balance in power between the New Gods and Darkseid. Highfather’s new weapon clearly upsets that balance, but guess who will fill in the gap? Lanterns, I’m sure. I still have reservations that the ending of this crossover will be silly, but we’ve got another month to go. (And then the epilogue, which I imagine will last at least a month or two.)

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?


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