Power ring collecting, part 4 (movie edition)

June 30, 2011

(Don’t forget to check out parts one, two, and three of this series!)

In celebration of the Green Lantern film now playing in theaters all over the place, we’re going to examine five movie-style rings. That’s a lot of jewelry, so buckle up!

First up is the ring included with the Mattel’s Toys R Us exclusive “early bird” Hal Jordan action figure. Only 2,814 of these figures were produced, and as such they commanded nearly a $30 price tag. Yes, I bought one just to get the ring. Stop snickering. (In case anyone was wondering, my figure is #1098.) The ring is about a size 12, which makes sense as it and the figure are marketed towards the adult collector. The band is steel with a plastic face, both with a nice finish, and you can even see the “radiant” effect beneath the outer ring of the face.

For fans unwilling to shell out the hefty amounts of cash necessary to acquire the limited edition figure and ring, I’ve got a solution for you. Toys R Us is also selling power ring keychains at a third of the price, which contain the exact same ring. (And yes, the chain is removable.) Either way you choose to get it, I highly recommend this ring. It really looks great, and the metal band gives it some nice heft.

Next, here’s the ring included with Mattel’s basic Green Lantern movie action figures. It’s much simpler in appearance than the previous one, and all plastic. The split band is also very thick, making the ring about a size 4. Before you complain, try to remember that this was clearly made for kids. If you want to wear it yourself, I suggest using a rotary tool and patience. Anyway, for a cheap ring included with an action figure, it’s decent. They’re certainly a step up from the rings included with the original DC Direct figures!

This ring is part of Mattel’s mask and ring costume set. (Mask photo not included, because it certainly does not fit on my massive head.) Since it’s another kids’ offering, the ring is a size 5, also with a split band. But, of course, this ring lights up!

Pressing the center of the face will cause the ring to glow and fade for a few seconds. Not bad; expect to see a lot of kids wearing the mask and ring this fall for Halloween. If you’re an adult, though, forget about wearing it; the light hardware is contained within the band, so trying to resize it with a rotary tool will destroy it.

One light-up ring is never enough, so here’s another one, this time made by NECA. Unlike the last ring, this one will fit on many adult fingers, as it’s a size 10. This ring has a bit of an odd color scheme; gray and green are the correct colors, but the shades are far too light.

I guess we can’t grumble about it it too much, though, as it’s the most inexpensive ring on the list. The tiny panel-mount LED inside is rather bright, too; you can see it as a little square right through the transparent face.

Time for another NECA ring, and you may wonder why this one looks absolutely ridiculous. Did the ring fall into a black hole? Is it the terrible offspring of a regular ring and Plastic Man? No, my friends. This ring has a built-in projector, which displays the Green Lantern symbol on surfaces “up to fifty feet” away. (NECA’s words, not mine.)

The ring actually does project a good distance, but is best used in a darkened room; even then, the farther away from the wall you are, the dimmer the symbol will appear. I tried taking some pictures, but the room was so dark that my camera just didn’t pick things up that well, even when shooting in “night mode.” Oh well.

The projection is also a bit off-kilter, but perhaps that’s specific to the ring I picked up. Mine’s offset by about forty-five degrees; if you get one with a more properly-aligned projection, let me know.

The ring’s a bit small at size 9, mainly due to the extra thick band; the button to activate the projector is on the very back. I suppose you could use this to trigger the ring while your hand is closed into a fist, but the button’s tiny.

What about the kids who’d love to play with this, but it’s too big for their fingers? NECA wisely included a soft plastic resizer with this ring, which brings it down to about a size 6.

Sure, the projection feature doesn’t work well in a properly-lit area, but it’s still pretty cool. If nothing else, the ring definitely has a very unique and weird look.

You might be wondering why the DC Direct Green Lantern movie power ring prop replica is not here among its brethren. It was originally solicited for release on June 1, then pushed back to June 15. Unfortunately, Diamond Comic Distributors forgot to ship them to my local comic book shop. Myself and a few others who ordered them were not pleased, but there was nothing we could do. The owner put in new orders for us, but they have not yet arrived, so I’ll do a separate post on that ring when it finally does show up. Sorry!

Whew! Five movie rings seems like an overload, but there’s even more out there, like the replicas given out to celebrities. There’s others coming in the future, too; a slightly different variation is included with DC Direct’s power battery prop replica, and I’m sure the Noble Collection will produce a nice expensive ring. Whether you want a toy version, an official replica, or a custom ring, you’ve got a wide variety of choices when adding a movie-style Green Lantern power ring to your collection.

War out of order

June 29, 2011

You may have noticed that Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #11 comes out today, but Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #67 does not. This is a big problem, as the latter issue is the end of the “War of the Green Lanterns” story. Emerald Warriors #11 deals with the aftermath…but we don’t know what happened yet!

As such, I will not be reviewing (or even reading) Emerald Warriors #11 until after Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #67’s release, scheduled for July 13.

DC Comics really dropped the ball on this one. I know creative teams have been working overtime for the onslaught of new titles, but at the very least, Emerald Warriors #11 should’ve been held back even though it was complete.

The Lantern Launcher

June 27, 2011

There’s been all manner of toys released for the Green Lantern film, from action figures to power rings to playsets to…well, this.

This is Mattel’s Green Lantern power battery. It’s a little on the squat side, and while it’s out of scale for adults, it’s the perfect size for kids. (Probably because they’re the target market.) The lantern has some decent detailing, it lights up when you press the button in the center…and that’s not all.

In case you were wondering why there appears to be a trigger on the handle, pressing a hidden switch results in a shocking transformation. This is not just a mere power battery; it’s a goddamned hand cannon. Behold: the Lantern Launcher!

Green Lanterns have occasionally used their power batteries as weapons in the comics, but not like this. For ammunition, the Lantern Launcher has five plastic discs emblazoned with the Green Lantern symbol. (This reminds me of the little disc-shooting guns that were so popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Anyone else have one of those?)

I’m actually surprised at the amount of force with which the discs fire out of this thing. I assumed that the Lantern Launcher would have little to no power or range in order avoid any fun whatsoever due to our super-litigious society. Instead, the little bastards zip out at high speed, which I discovered by using my roommate as a target. I love science.

If you don’t feel like shelling out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for the DC Direct or Noble Collection power battery props, then the Lantern Launcher belongs on your shelf. Yes, the action features are utterly preposterous, but that only adds to its charm.

Even if you hate the idea of the Lantern Launcher, look on the bright side: at least it didn’t end up in a shitty first-person shooter tie-in.

Great. I just gave Warner Brothers a terrible idea.

The Yellow Lantern on the cheap

June 22, 2011

I’m on the hunt for Sinestro’s ring. No, I don’t mean the Sinestro Corps version; I mean the original one he received when he was first exiled to Qward.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the appearance of said ring, let me enlighten you. DC Direct released one with a Sinestro mini bust as part of their power ring replica line in 1998. You can clearly see the simplicity of the ring in the following photo:

It’s just a plain yellow metal band, with a circular face and yellow jewel in the center. No symbol, no ornate carvings…nothin’!

Since I really don’t want to shell out a ton of cash just to get that particular ring (I’m not interested in the statue), I’ve been trying to find a generic replacement. I’ve been trolling flea markets, art shows, Goodwill stores, et cetera in search of a inexpensive ring that matches Sinestro’s original one as closely as possible. No luck yet, but I guess part of the thrill is the hunt.

There’s got to be something out there. Basic metal rings with a plain jewel on ’em are a dime a dozen. I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time until I find one with the proper look, so I can add it to my collection.

Of course, this post also serves as a call to arms, as it were. If you run across anything like this ring in your travels (preferably in a mens’ size 10), drop a comment and let me know!

The History of Green Lantern, Explained

June 20, 2011

ComicsAlliance knocks it out of the park again with another hilarious Green Lantern comic strip. If you loved Blackest Night in 60 Seconds, then you’re going to love The History of Green Lantern, Explained.

Click the image to view the full strip. Curt Franklin and Chris Haley provided this little gem, so go forth and roar with laughter!

Green Lantern: the movie review

June 17, 2011

It is time at last for my review of the Green Lantern film. The movie officially opens today, but I actually saw Green Lantern at a special preview screening (in 3D!) on June 15th. I had originally planned to post my review on the Monday after opening weekend, but I figured you folks couldn’t wait! I might as well get on with it. Spoiler warning from here on out…

I’m likely going to get shouted down as a pariah, pelted with rocks, and drummed out of the Green Lantern Corps for this, but I’m not going to lie to you. Green Lantern can be summed up in a single word: disappointing.

That’s not to say that Green Lantern is unforgivably terrible; I’ve certainly seen worse films (the Star Wars prequels and Transformers movies come to mind). It’s also not due to Green Lantern fans hyping the film beyond all possible expectation (though I’m sure plenty of them did). Finally, I’m not saying you should outright avoid Green Lantern; I did enjoy it, for the most part. It’s just a simple case of style over substance, and the film’s cons sadly outweigh its pros.

Before we get into the downsides of the film, let’s talk about the parts of Green Lantern that were really good.

First and foremost, I’m sure everyone wants to know about how well Ryan Reynolds and the rest of the cast pulled off their respective characters. All of the acting in the film was pretty good, even when the script veered into cheese territory. Reynolds in particular was both a good and bad choice for Hal Jordan. He pulled off the character without a problem, injecting plenty of humor as well as humility into the role. Hal was a relatable character, even though he gets to fly military jets and we don’t. However, it was very difficult to see past Reynolds as a comedic actor, because that’s what a majority of his roles have been. Instead of Hal Jordan the Green Lantern, it was much more like Ryan Reynolds the Green Lantern. Reynolds himself is not to blame for this; it’s hardly his fault that he’s typecast. Reynolds made a great Hal, but perhaps an actor outside of the comedy realm would’ve been an even better choice.

Blake Lively did a much better job as Carol Ferris than many fans were initially willing to give her credit for. Her few lines in the trailers didn’t inspire much confidence, but as usual, it’s all about the context. We all know how stunningly gorgeous she is, but Lively was quite convincing as Carol. Aside from being the obvious love interest, she managed to paint a convincing picture as a hardass businesswoman as well. Even when she served as the damsel in distress, it didn’t come off as pandering or sexist.

In the “foregone conclusion” category, Mark Strong was excellent as Sinestro. In fact, his performance was the strongest in the film (no pun intended). Strong excels at playing intelligent bad guys, and even though Sinestro’s not a villain here, his arrogant streak shines through thanks to Strong’s performance. His expressions and body language somewhat hinted towards Sinestro’s eventual downfall, though the intercredits sequence featuring him surprised non-comics fans, as there just wasn’t enough character development in that direction. Regardless, I would’ve liked to have seen Sinestro appear even more in the film.

Everyone else played their parts well, though there wasn’t enough focus on most of the other characters to really let them stand out. Even Hector Hammond didn’t get as big a role as the trailers suggested, though Peter Sarsgaard was great, chewing right through the scenery as the mad telepath.

Beyond the acting, Green Lantern had some other cool stuff that stood out in my mind. The scene where Carol recognizes Hal through his mask and poorly altered voice was great. The domino mask disguise may have worked during the Silver Age, but it’s beyond implausible onscreen. I was glad to see the filmmakers poke fun at this, as well as Hal’s big helicopter rescue at the party. The Hot Wheels track was ridiculous, but when Tom Kamalku called Hal out on it later, it made the scene a lot more believable.

The training sequence with Kilowog and Sinestro was just what we’d hoped for: Hal getting his ass beat by his superiors, but showing a glimmer of the powerful Green Lantern he’d become. Unfortunately, it’s the only scene that spotlights Kilowog, and nearly the entire thing was shown in the trailers!

The creation of a yellow ring by the Guardians was a neat surprise. The fact that they’d even consider such a desperate measure gave them a bit more character than the stuffy old farts they were initially presented as. Their movie appearance still reminds me of the Talosians, but at least they’re not the assholes those aliens were.

How were the special effects? We all know that Warner Brothers really pushed the effects teams hard for Green Lantern, and it shows. A few shots on Oa didn’t look so hot, due to Reynolds’ being head plastered on a computer-generated body surrounded by digital backgrounds and aliens, but everything else was just fine. The design of the various alien Green Lanterns looked fantastic in motion, and everyone’s uniform had a neat pulsing aura around them when they were in flight.

Most importantly, the constructs looked very cool. Aside from the expected green glow, they had a metallic quality which made them look more realistic and tangible. Aside from the usual firearms and melee weapons, a few more unique constructs found their way into the film. For example, Hal used a pool of water to catch a falling Dr. Waller, the aforementioned race car and track to stop a crashing helicopter, and a pair of F-35 jets to pull himself away from the sun.

I mentioned that the preview I attended was screened in 3D, so let me offer a few words on that. I actually consider this to be a separate criticism from the film, as Green Lantern was originally shot in 2D and intended by the director to be presented that way. Films converted to 3D after the fact will always suffer; computer-generated imagery can be rendered again with a second software camera to create a three-dimensional effect, but nothing can be done to add depth to previously filmed actors or physical objects. To paraphrase Montgomery Scott, “Ya cannae change the laws of physics!”

In other words, don’t bother shelling out the extra few bucks to see Green Lantern in 3D; some of the effects look great, but everything else looks flat. When live actors are mixed with the 3D effects, it looks awful. There’s one scene in particular where Hal is flying alongside Tomar-Re, and it looks like someone slapped a cardboard Ryan Reynolds face on a video game character. This is not a knock against Green Lantern itself; it’s solely a marketing trap, and you’d do well not to fall for it.

And now, the moment you’ve been dreading…the parts of Green Lantern that reeked of stupidity. These are what really dragged Green Lantern down, and in many cases, there was simply no excuse for them.

First and foremost…the script just didn’t work too well. No less than four people worked on it, and it shows. The actors did the best they could with what they were given, but quite a few lines and dialogue just came off as hokey. I’m not even talking about bits clearly meant to be humorous; even the more serious pieces didn’t always sound right.

Editing is also where Green Lantern runs into problems. There were a lot of slapdash cuts and other edits in the film; too many scenes seemed to jump around without a clear sense of direction, and cutting from one camera angle to another didn’t always go smoothly. In particular, the pivotal scene where Hal is remembering his father’s death while falling to Earth himself in a dead jet was far too rough.

Moving on to specific plot points that fell short, we’re told that Abin Sur imprisoned Parallax on the dead world of Ryut. Well, “imprisoned” is hardly the correct word here; he basically just dumped Parallax underground and hoped no one would find him. All it took was the accidental discovery of the villain by some innocent alien spacemen to set him free! If Parallax was that big of a threat, you’d think Abin Sur would’ve taken much more reliable steps to keep the bastard locked up.

When Hal arrives on Oa, he’s medically scanned…and then tortured. What the hell was that all about?! This scene made absolutely no sense at all. It ends with Hal awakening in his Green Lantern Corps uniform for the first time, but that still doesn’t explain why he was tortured. The ring just creates that shit out of energy anyway.

Let’s talk about Hal making his first public appearance as Green Lantern on Earth. I find it very interesting that a helicopter crashed into a party of hundreds of people…and not a single person got hurt. Come on! Hal later claims that he saved all their lives, but he really didn’t. He only saved Carol. Everyone else got out of the way before Hal did anything, and they did so in a quick and orderly fashion. Yeah, like that ever happens.

How about Hal magically finding Hector Hammond at a secret government facility? We see Hal hanging out by his car, then cut to Hammond being a cackling villain at his lab…and then Green Lantern comes busting through the walls. How did he know what Hammond was up to? How did he even know where the facility was? It’s like a critical chunk of the plot was edited out, and that’s never a good thing.

In fact, the entire Hammond subplot seemed rather pointless. Sure, he gained power from a fragment of Parallax’s energy, but it wasn’t required to advance the story. Even if you say that Hammond was necessary to draw Parallax to Earth, that still could’ve been written off. Parallax was consuming plenty of worlds on its way to Oa; Earth simply could’ve been in its path. It’s disappointing, because Peter Sarsgaard did do a fantastic job as Hammond, as I said. It would’ve been better to give his role a little more meat; make him the primary villain for this film, and save Parallax for a sequel. (And what the hell was that stupid spinning thing in the back of Hammond’s lab?)

Then there’s the final battle against Parallax. The monster’s on Earth, gobbling up humans (while politely leaving buildings perfectly intact), but it leaves this massive source of nourishment behind in order to chase Hal into space. I guess you could write it off as obsessive revenge, but it still seems a bit shortsighted. That’s not the real problem with this scene, though. Apparently, the writers believe that Earth, the asteroid belt, and the sun are all in very close proximity to one another. Hal and Parallax duke it out between these three environments with little to no sense of distance.

Parallax is ultimately defeated by being dumped into the sun. Why would fear energy be affected by gravity? It looks like Parallax built its “body” out of debris or something, so that being pulled in makes sense. But given how extraordinarily powerful Parallax was (it consumed civilizations, fer crissake), would it really have that much trouble maintaining orbit? Not only that, using a godlike being as the main threat in the first film of what may become a franchise is not a good idea. In the sequels, any threat will be lessened by default.

The trailers showed scenes of the Green Lantern Corps on Oa, ostensibly preparing for battle…but that’s not what happened. Sinestro talked them all up, but there were no big Corps fights whatsoever in the film. (It even looked like they used the exact same footage of Sinestro raising his arms before the Corps both in the middle of the film and at the end, but I can’t be certain.) The closest they came was when Sinestro took a small group to hunt down Parallax, and that battle ended very quickly as the villain murdered everyone except Sinestro. I understand that the first film in a superhero franchise has to be the origin story, and that the focus was rightfully placed on Hal, but a little more Corps action would’ve been nice.

James Newton Howard composed the score for Green Lantern…and it was awful. This is absolutely unacceptable, as Howard has produced excellent scores before; just look at his work with Hans Zimmer on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The only real themes were the title sequence and the credits, and even then, much of the music devolved into generic rock orchestra tropes heard everywhere today. The score lacked heart and soul, and it’s a damned shame.

Now, as with any film adaptation, there were significant deviations from the source material. It’s important to note that these are neither positive nor negative; this is a film, not the comics, and the audience should not have to be familiar with the source material in order to enjoy the movie. Sweeping changes really don’t bother me, and they shouldn’t bug you too much either, as the film really needs to stand on its own.

Of course, you readers are comic book fans, so let’s examine a few of the more notable changes. (Other than the visual design, of course.)

  • Parallax is Krona. This surprised me, as I was under the impression that Krona would be possessed by the giant space bug seen in the comics. Instead, he wields the power of fear himself and becomes Parallax. This origin story is actually much like that of the original Parallax, before it was retconned into a sentient fear entity. Not only that, Krona is never even mentioned by name!
  • The rings charge very quickly, and no oath is required. Yes, we see Hal recite the oath when the battery first “activates” itself, but when he charges it later on, it only takes a split-second touch. This makes the rings very much like Kyle Rayner’s original ring, but even his took a few seconds to charge. Also like Kyle’s ring, there’s no twenty-four-hour power limit; it functions more like a gas tank.
  • There is no weakness to yellow. This was a classic weakness in the older comics. In the modern tales, the rings aren’t weak against yellow unless the wielder feels fear. In the film, no weakness whatsoever is mentioned.
  • The Central Power Battery is at Oa’s core. It’s only seen briefly, but this is a change I definitely approve of. Why put your primary power source on the surface, where it’s a giant glowing target for orbital bombardment?

Green Lantern certainly had its high points, but there were so many glaring problems that it was disappointing overall, even for those of us who had tempered our expectations. It feels like a missed opportunity more than anything else. I did enjoy the film in spite of its flaws, however, and I see nothing wrong with checking it out for yourself and drawing your own conclusions. Just don’t get caught up in the hype! Even if you decide not to see Green Lantern in the theater, at the very least rent it in a few months.

The more obsessive hardcore fanboys will likely convince themselves that it’s a perfect film anyway, because on a subconscious level they need to in order to somehow justify their fandom. It doesn’t make sense, but let’s be honest with ourselves: we’ve all done it at one time or another. (I’m sure I’ll end up buying Green Lantern on Blu-ray anyway for my collection, and I bet the “making of” special features will be very interesting to watch.)

We can only hope that Green Lantern does well enough at the box office to give us an improved sequel. Perhaps the negative reviews will push the powers-that-be to try harder next time?

If you want some eye candy and mindless escapism, Green Lantern fits the bill, I suppose. Kids are sure to love it, too. But if you want to see a much better Green Lantern film, go with First Flight or Emerald Knights.

Now that my thoughts on the actual film content are said and done, I’m going to talk about the preview screening experience. To my surprise, not too many people showed up. (Since I live in the northeastern United States, I’m sure Game Seven of the NHL finals had something to do with it.)

Sorry about the blur. Cellphone camera + streaming sunlight = mess.

Our theater is pretty big, so we’re not talking about a tiny building in the middle of nowhere. Regardless, there weren’t even many comic book fans in attendance. I saw one, maybe two folks sporting Green Lantern shirts. Most of the crowd was made up of families, so at least some kids will get into it. The movie was shown on one of the theater’s larger screens, but the room was only about half to three-quarters full. I was surprised that the promoters shelled out for a 3D screening, too. The local radio station that sponsored the event was giving out prizes, including a 50″ plasma HDTV, but we didn’t win anything. Curses! I did catch a thrown Green Lantern t-shirt, but I gave it to the kid sitting next to me.

People actually obeyed the theater’s “no cellphone use” rule, which was a relief. However, that didn’t stop random audience members from yapping to one another, and one of these idiots was sitting right behind me, of course. After a few outbursts, I turned around and told him to quiet down…which he did, to his credit. I only wish I could’ve muzzled the rest of the talkers. Look, I know not all theaters can be as hardcore as the Alamo Drafthouse, but I still think the big chains should crack down on rude moviegoers. Seriously, if you want to run your mouth, get the fuck out and let the rest of us enjoy the flick in peace!

Hal Jordan deals with distractions in his own special way.

One last thing before I leave. I had mentioned earlier this month that I was going to avoid opening night because I can’t stand crowded movie theaters. So why did I bite the bullet and attend a preview screening, wherein there would potentially be even more people than usual?

It actually had nothing to do with my Green Lantern fandom…and everything to do with my father. He bought me a Green Lantern comic book way back in 1985, as he read them when he was a kid. (To this day, I still can’t recall which specific issue it was.) As such, my father is responsible for getting me into Green Lantern, and I knew from the moment the film was announced that I’d want to bring him along for the ride. I joked that I was going to force him to go, whether he wanted to or not; fortunately I didn’t have to press the issue, as the old man could probably take me in a fight.

It was even part of his Father’s Day gift; we were planning going to go on Saturday afternoon, but once I got my filthy hands on a pair of preview passes, my first thought was to call him up and see if he wanted to go earlier.

Bear in mind, my father is not a comic book fan. He read comics as a kid, but everyone did back then. In other words, my father represents the mass market audience (though perhaps not the age demographic) that Green Lantern is truly trying to reach, since the relatively tiny number of comic book readers out there isn’t nearly enough to make the film a success.

Want to know what he thought of it? Here’s a direct quote:

“If I was eight years old, I would have liked it. But as an adult, the dialogue really hurt. I give it a three out of ten.”

Yeah, my father wasn’t too happy with Green Lantern. At least he didn’t blame me! I’ll be sure to take him to a better film for Father’s Day next year.

And that’s that. Hopefully you found my Green Lantern film review somewhat informative, entertaining, or a mix of the two. Green Lantern movie month doesn’t end here, though, as I’ve still got a few more movie-themed posts in the pipeline.

In the meantime, I know you’ve got comments. Fire away, but keep it civil!

Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Abin Sur

June 16, 2011

Release Date: June 15, 2011
Cover Date: July 2011

Story: Michael Green
Pencils: Patrick Gleason and Tony Shasteen
Inks: Mick Gray and Tony Shasteen

Twenty years before the events of the Green Lantern film, Abin Sur saves a foolish smuggle from his own incompetence in the Sol system. A piece of the smuggler’s ship crashes on the system’s third planet, attracting the attention of Private Amanda Waller, who is guarding her patrol’s camp during a training exercise. Abin Sur is also sent to Earth to retrieve the debris, under orders to avoid detection. Waller finds the crash site in the middle of a military equipment graveyard. Some of the machinery comes to life and attacks her, but she improvises and destroys the alien menace with old explosives, rendering herself unconscious and impressing the hidden Abin Sur. With the threat contained, Abin Sur returns to Oa, and Waller is given a new job opportunity during her debriefing.

Just in time for the film, we find out exactly what Hal Jordan’s predecessor was up to before his untimely demise. It’s interesting to note that at first, Abin Sur shared the same opinion of Earth as that of the rest of the Corps: it was a backwater world populated by savages.

The “villain” in this issue, the Allspark Mechivore, was certainly cheesy…but it works better than some random evil asshole that a Green Lantern has to put down. (Even the smuggler in the issue’s prologue wasn’t a bad guy, just morally questionable.) The Mechivore was nothing more than a virus, and while it’s small potatoes to any superhero, it posed a serious threat to a rookie soldier. Using that to develop the characters of both Waller and Abin Sur is much more effective than having them meet in some kind of awkward team-up.

The writing in this issue was solid, but the art tended to fluctuate a bit too often for my taste. Yes, this is due to both pencillers having noticeably different art styles, but it still seemed unnecessarily inconsistent. For example, the detail work in the military equipment graveyard looked great, but Abin Sur’s appearance was hit or miss from panel to panel. What was wrong with his face?

Minor quirks aside, this issue was probably the best of the prequels so far, just edging out the spotlight on Tomar-Re. There’s two more prequels to go…but they’re arriving late. Very late. Bad move on DC Comics’ part, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I’ll post reviews as they come in over the next few weeks.


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