A few weeks ago, I wrote a post detailing my thoughts on the Green Lantern comic book relaunch of 2004, and why I didn’t like it.
I found myself grumbling about a lot of the later Green Lantern stories published after I stopped collecting, due to what I’d read on Wikipedia, message boards, and heard from other people. At the same time, however, others have told me that the later stories were actually good…and some of these recommendations came from people who disliked Rebirth as much as I did! I don’t like it when people rip on things without having had personal experience with them. Since this applied to me somewhat when it came to these later Green Lantern stories, I decided to bite the bullet and actually read some of them to get a proper perspective.
After borrowing back issues, tearing through three years of missed tales, and delving into the Blackest Night crossover currently in progress, I’ve decided to get back on the boat and start collecting Green Lantern again.
Yes, I know, it’s shocking, but sit down for a second and let me explain.
Aside from the obvious fact that the stories have indeed improved, there’s another reason while I feel it’s “safe” to collect Green Lantern comics again: I also honestly think I just needed a break. The Green Lantern relaunch made me very angry, and turned me off for quite some time. I needed that time in order to learn to enjoy the good along with the bad. This is a similar approach I’ve taken with Star Wars. After Revenge of the Sith came out, I was so disgusted with the saga that I no longer wanted anything to do with Star Wars. The prequels just ruined the whole thing for me. After a few years, though, I got back into the franchise; there’s still a lot of incredibly shitty Star Wars stuff out there, but there’s plenty of good material, too. The same applies to Green Lantern; for example, I didn’t like Rebirth, but “The Sinestro Corps War” was very good.
As for the stuff I’ve missed over the past few years? Adding those to my collection will be simple; everything’s been collected in trade paperback format, so I can nab the comics I’m missing at my leisure. (I threw ‘em all on my Amazon wishlist, anyway.) We’ll just have to see where it goes from here, since everything’s been leading up to Blackest Night. After that load is blown, so to speak, who the hell knows what’s next?
To finish off this post, I’ll give you my opinions on each of the various color Lanterns, now that I’m completely familiar with them:
- Red. The Red Lantern Corps are fueled by rage. Upon receiving a red ring, a Red Lantern is exsanguinated, and their blood is replaced with a super-hot plasma that can melt through other Lanterns’ shields. Of course, this comes at the cost of turning the user into a mindless, raging beast. Essentially, every single member of the Red Lantern Corps is a generic angry monster. That doesn’t do much for storytelling. The exception is their leader, Atrocitus; he remains in control of his mental faculties, and is a much more compelling character. His visual design, though, is awful; Atrocitus looks like any run-of-the-mill midlevel grunt from a number of science fiction first-person shooter video games.
- Orange. This one surprised me; the self-proclaimed “Agent Orange” ended up being my favorite out of all of the other color Lanterns. Orange light represents avarice, and there’s only being who wields it: an alien named Larfleeze (gesundheit!). He’s been the holder of the Orange Lantern for billions of years, and he kills anyone who gets close. Worse, his ring creates copies of those he kills, and they serve as his Orange Lantern Corps. It’s an interesting twist on the standard battery/ring/construct formula, and the character design of Larfleeze is excellent as well. Hopefully the powers-that-be won’t ruin him. (Personally, I think the real power source of the Orange Lantern is those damned seagulls from Finding Nemo.)
- Yellow. The Sinestro Corps, dedicated to spreading fear throughout the universe. Sinestro is a classic comic book villain, and his wielding of a yellow ring is a given. But now, he’s got thousands of other dirtbags to back him up, so the Green Lantern Corps actually has a proper challenge. The Sinestro Corps’ only downside is that they’re connected to that silly giant space bug, Parallax.
- Green. The titular Green Lanterns. They’re an intergalactic police force that’s been around for billions of years, their green rings focus willpower into energy constructs…c’mon, do I really need to explain this one? Hal Jordan, a Green Lantern assigned to Earth, is my favorite comic book character of all time, remember? That’s really all that needs to be said.
- Blue. Two of the Guardians of the Universe, Ganthet and Sayd, got booted off of the Green Lanterns’ base planet of Oa by the other Guardians for embracing emotion. (And each other, if you know what I mean. Yuck.) They set up shop on the planet Odym and started up the Blue Lantern Corps, which is dedicated to supporting the Green Lanterns via the power of hope. The good news is that Blue Lanterns can supercharge Green Lantern rings, drain Sinestro Corps rings, put out the flames of hatred created by the Red Lanterns, and possibly block the greed felt by Agent Orange. The bad news is that none of those powers work unless the Blue Lantern is near an active Green Lantern. It remains to be see whether the Blue Lanterns can remain interesting, or lapse into the “holy men with mystical powers” cliché. (Note: Predating the Blue Lantern Corps’ appearance by nearly a decade, A group of “space policemen” using blue lanterns appeared in Planetary #10. The character Lamplight from Stormwatch got his energy construct powers from the same blue lantern. Unfortunately, I doubt these events will have any connection to the current storyline. A shame, as they could be worked in quite easily, especially since DC Comics owns WildStorm Comics.)
- Indigo. We’ve only seen glimpses of the Indigo Tribe so far, and aside from speaking a language that even Green Lantern Corps rings cannot translate, the only other thing we know about them is that they’ve harnessed the power of compassion. I’ll have to hold off judgment until I see them fully revealed.
- Violet. The Star Sapphires. Another longtime Green Lantern enemy, these ladies are strong proponents of the power of love and minimal costumes (they must be Witchblade fans). Now they’re armed with violet rings and lanterns, and plan to spread and protect love wherever it may be found. One Star Sapphire made a good villain, but now there’s just too damned many of them; it almost seems like overkill. They’re also neutral now, so I’m wondering if there’s really a point to their existence, other than just filling the violet space in the spectrum.
- Black. Zombies! Black Lanterns are deceased characters brought back to life by a black power ring, with any powers they may have had still intact. They can also regenerate, and their sole purpose is to kill more people to add to their ranks. The appearance of the Black Lanterns is the basis of Blackest Night. (Psst…I know who’s behind the whole thing, but don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you.) Everybody loves zombies, and the Black Lanterns are pretty cool, but we all know Blackest Night is just an excuse for DC Comics to resurrect a slew of characters and bring them back into continuity. That kinda takes the air out of the concept.
- White. These don’t exist…yet. I still maintain that White Lanterns will appear by the end of Blackest Night. All colors of light mixed together make white, and it’s also the opposite of black, so it makes perfect sense.
Even after this big reversal of my opinions on current Green Lantern, don’t worry…I still hate Guy Gardner. Some things never change.
(Note: This entry was originally posted on Text and Violence.)