Are you a Rot Lop Fan?

October 18, 2011

The most unique Green Lantern out there ain’t Mogo: it’s Rot Lop Fan, hailing from the Obsidian Deeps.

First appearing in 1987′s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3, Rot Lop Fan is inducted into the Green Lantern Corps by Katma Tui, who had been sent into deep space to find a suitable candidate. Since Rot Lop Fan’s species evolved in pitch darkness, they have no concept of light or any terminology related to it. Thus, words like “green” and “lantern” have no analogue in Rot Lop Fan’s language.

However, since his people communicate via sound, Katma Tui tells Rot to try focusing on that once she slips a power ring on his finger. Rot is then easily able to create a bell, and using its tones, he can create constructs just like any other Lantern. Rot Lop Fan would then go on to serve and patrol his sector…as part of the F-Sharp Bell Corps.

In loudest din or hush profound,
My ears catch evil’s slightest sound.
Let those who toll out evil’s knell,
Beware my power: The F-Sharp Bell!

The concept of an alien species who cannot see, and more importantly has never been able to see, makes Rot Lop Fan different than any other Lantern out there. And that’s saying something, since we’ve had Lanterns that are sentient planets, viruses, and even equations! (Alan Moore thought Rot Lop Fan up, so of course he’s going to be an instant legend.)

Rot Lop Fan has had very few appearances, and most of them have just cameos in crowd shots. Still, he’s remained a huge favorite with fans, and with good reason. He even got an action figure as part of the Green Lantern movie line! (In the film itself, I think Rot Lop Fan appears in one of the shots featuring hundreds of Corps members, but I could be wrong.)

What’s your opinion on this strange Lantern…er, Bell? Sound off (ha!) in the comments. Long live the F-Sharp Bell Corps!

Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #2

October 14, 2011

Release Date: October 12, 2011
Cover Date: December 2011

Story: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy
Cover: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Variant Cover: David Finch and Richard Friend

Sinestro confronts Hal Jordan, who angrily tries to take his power ring. The Korugarian easily defeats the powerless human, but then gives Hal his own ring, albeit a constructed version that answers to Sinestro. When a local bridge collapses, Hal tries to help, only to be stopped by Sinestro. Instead, the disgraced Green Lantern completely repairs the bridge and saves everyone with almost no effort. Hal is shocked, and Sinestro demeans him again for not trying to make his world a better place. The pair are then attacked by the Sinestro Corpsman Gorgor, but Sinestro kills him easily. He then demands that Hal help him liberate Korugar from the Sinestro Corps.

How far the mighty have fallen: Hal is nothing but a worthless pussy without his ring, and even when he gets a new one, he’s not much better. This nonsense is an affront to Hal’s character, and really needs to stop.

Hal’s portrayal also doesn’t fit with his other appearances lately. If you read Justice League (Vol. 2) #1, for example, Hal was capable of near-Kyle Rayner-level feats with his ring…and that was five years before this issue. Yet now, he can barely save a single person off of the collapsing bridge. Hal was also a lot cockier in the past, and you’d think that age and experience would mellow him out, not make him a whiny asshole.

Other than the problems with Hal, the issue was pretty good. Sinestro acts like he’s in perfect control, but behind his arrogance it’s clear that he’s just as confused as everyone else as to why the green ring is back on his finger. He’s also got pretty good reason to be pissed off about his own Corps, but we’ll see just how far he’ll go to stop them. I don’t see Sinestro dismantling his Corps any time soon.

Interesting point about Hal not trying to unite his world; granted, Sinestro went about that the wrong way with Korugar, but imagine what a good Green Lantern could do if he really put his mind to it? Hal’s been a figurehead before, and since his past since have been washed away, it makes him a good spokesman. The fact that there are three other human Green Lanterns wouldn’t hurt, either.

The issue did seem to go by a bit quickly, but that’s not a bad thing in this case; the pacing was fast, but handled well. The only fight was a brief one, but the main plot of Hal’s new ring and the collapsing bridge was a great read. Sinestro’s got Hal on a tight leash, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do once they get to Korugar.

Batjeepster’s low-profile Indigo Tribe power ring

October 12, 2011

You’ve all seen Batjeepster’s Green Lantern movie-style power ring, but this time the fan favorite ring forger has sent me something even more appropriate.

It’s about time that a blog named after the Indigo Tribe spotlighted the eponymous ring, eh? Before we dig in, let me offer the usual disclaimer/excuses: I’m by no means a skilled photographer, and the photos in the post were taken with a point-and-shoot digital camera on my kitchen table. In addition, correctly reproducing shades of indigo on a computer screen can be a colossal pain in the ass, but I’ve tried to do the best I can.

Onward and upward! While Batjeepster did design this new ring style, it’s not hand carved this time around. Instead, he created the model using Solidworks, and the physical ring was produced by Shapeways. The rings are manufactured using a 3D printer and Shapeways’ standard polymer. The end result is a very lightweight yet solid ring with a slightly rough texture.

Batjeepster has not yet subjected these rings to rigorous physical tests, so he’s not certain if they’ll hold up to abuse as well as the previous models he constructed with impact-resistant resin. It does seem super-light, so I’m not going to put it through its paces, either; with my luck, I’d crack the ring in half by bumping into a door frame. The ring still works well as a display piece, though.

As you can see, the face design is reminiscent of the rings from Green Lantern: First Flight, with the three notches on either side. These help to focus attention on the face and its emblem. You’ll also notice that the emblem itself is recessed into the face, rather than embossed like most other rings. This unique look really helps the ring stand out, as does the slight modification to the emblem itself (the “arrows” are bumped right up against the outer circle, and there’s a second hollow circle in the center).

So why is this ring considered “low-profile”? Take a look at the top-down view:

The face is the same thickness as the band, so there’s not a big chunky piece on the front. This may not be comic-accurate, but it’s much more comfortable to wear. Since it’s so light, it barely feels like you’re wearing the ring at all.

If this plastic ring is too flimsy for you, Batjeepster and Shapeways have a solution:

Yep, that’s stainless steel. Aside from being much heavier and stronger than its plastic counterpart, the steel ring also offers more detail and texture. Batjeepster also goes an extra step with the steel ring, as he adds extra detail by hand. He sands the ring to add the “damaged” look, the color is painted on with nail polish, and finally the ring is sprayed with a durable matte finish to protect it.

I definitely dig the weathered look here. It seems as this ring has seen a lot of use. One could imagine its wielder has been through many trials and tribulations, indeed!

This ring represents the Indigo Tribe, of course, but Batjeepster does offer rings for all of the other Corps. Aside from plastic and stainless steel, other material options include translucent resin and silver. Unless you’re hung up on comic book accuracy (which changes from issue to issue based on the artist, anyway), the low-profile power ring is a solid addition to any fan’s collection.

Tor lorek san, bor nakka mur,
Natromo faan tornek wot ur.
Ter Lantern ker lo Abin Sur,
Taan lek lek nok — Formorrow Sur!

Batjeepster has been working on custom power rings since early 2010. He started by modifying a Green Lantern: Mosaic promotional ring, then worked his way up to resin casting, metal/resin hybrids, and even silver designs. Be sure to check out his fan page on Facebook; you can see all of the various rings he’s created, plus tons of of fan and celebrity photos. If you want to get in touch with him and acquire a ring for yourself, that’s the best way to do it!

Alternatively, you can find Batjeepster’s work on eBay. Bids tend to get pretty high for his work, but you might just find some rare pieces there.

Thanks again to Batjeepster for the rings!

Shallow Hal

October 10, 2011

The powers-that-be at DC Comics have tried to make modern Hal Jordan out to be a legendary but ultimately human hero; unfortunately, they’ve given us nothing but evidence to the contrary.

Before you angrily comment that I’m just bashing Hal here, slow down a second. Need I remind you that I grew up reading Hal’s adventures, and he remains my favorite Green Lantern? My problems with Green Lantern: Rebirth and the following stories weren’t only due to their denigration of Kyle Rayner. I also had a serious problem with the way all of Hal’s problems and quirks were written off as a result of Parallax’s influence. The Infinite Crisis series wrote off even more of them by explaining that as a result of Superboy Prime punching the walls of reality, many of Hal’s low points (and Kyle’s high points) never happened in the first place! (Of course, who knows where that stands now, since Dan DiDio has stated that post-Flashpoint, none of the Crisis events occurred. Make of that mess what you will.)

Hal in decades past was a much more richly developed character. To be fair, we’ll skip everything up until about 1970, as the number of Silver Age characters who were written well ranges from few to none. Hal had a power ring at his disposal, and he regularly faced down cosmic threats…but he also had his home life to deal with, as well as friends and loved ones he had to interact with both in and out of uniform. The relationships depicted here were well crafted, especially when the disparity between what he could get away with as Green Lantern compared to plain ol’ Hal was explored.

I know I bring up Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #76 a lot, but it’s with good reason. That story kicked off a long series of great tales that equally featured Hal’s superhero and human sides, showing that even one of the greatest Green Lanterns in history was far from perfect. (I was really pissed that Hal’s feelings of doubt and confusion during the “Hard Traveling Heroes” era were blamed on Parallax during Rebirth.)

Even Hal as Parallax (the original, superior version, not the stupid space bug) was interesting to read. He genuinely saw himself as an antihero who was doing the right thing, not some mustache-twirling villain. He agonized over his decisions, feeling regret and anger even when he was trying to fix the universe’s problems.

Post-Rebirth, everything just felt bleached. Hal started out back as an Air Force pilot, and he did have some interesting interactions with other officers and pilots (namely Cowgirl), but that was quickly abandoned in favor of event after event, all based on the emotional spectrum. (Which continues to this day.) Hal’s humanity was left by the wayside in favor of him having no lasting problems whatsoever. Worse yet, Hal hasn’t even been the star of his own damned book since 2007; after “The Sinestro Corps War” the other color Lanterns took center stage, with Hal remaining in the background. Except for a few fleeting moments here and there, Hal was just a supporting character, and that’s bullshit.

This is all rather bleak, but things might be turning around a bit. Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #1 shows Hal down in the dumps, facing unemployment and all sorts of other problems on Earth without his ring; in other words, he’s having to deal with real-world issues like the rest of us normal folks. If we can keep up that portrayal, even after Hal inevitably gets his ring back, then we’ll be golden.

It just begs the question of why reversing those decades of human storytelling were even necessary in the first place. Flawless heroes are boring as shit; bringing them down to Earth makes them much more compelling to read. (That’s why the Kyle era was so great.) Hal Jordan’s always worked well as a fearless but human character; it’s high time that creators bring that back for good.

Red Lanterns #2

October 6, 2011

Release Date: October 6, 2011
Cover Date: December 2011

Story: Peter Milligan
Pencils: Ed Benes
Inks: Rob Hunter
Cover: Ed Benes and Rob Hunter

Atrocitus ruminates over his new mission of vengeance, and thinks of the war engulfing the planet Ghan IX. The alien Yuevers tried to stop the tribal conflicts there, only to become embroiled in the battles themselves. When a pair of Yuever soldiers accidentally kill innocent Ghanite children, Atrocitus hears the lone survivor’s cries of rage and rushes to the planet. He kills those responsible, but one of the soldiers says that his death may result in more pain and rage for his family. When Atrocitus returns to Ysmault, he decides that he’ll need to return some intelligence to one of his Red Lanterns to help him in his mission. Who will Atrocitus choose? (Hint: it’s Bleez.)

While there were a few cool moments in this issue, it largely fell far short of its predecessor. The hackneyed monologues by Atrocitus aside, the overall plot just wasn’t very interesting.

There were two bits that I did find intriguing. Even though Rixx was confronted by Atrocitus only briefly, this may just be foreshadowing as to her possible future as a Red Lantern. If so, that would be most interesting; she’d be a child filled with rage, sure, but could her young intellect properly understand justice instead of mindless revenge?

Also, the obvious point that killing the soldier would only drive his family towards grief and possible vengeance themselves was handled well. Of course, Atrocitus murdered the poor bastard anyway, but it would be some great storytelling if this came back to bite him in the ass.

So if this issue is hinting that Rixx may become a Red Lantern…what about the two Earthmen from the last issue? That subplot isn’t even referenced. I know it’s only been a single issue, but it seemed worthwhile last time; it doesn’t even get a nod here, and that’s rather strange.

I’m not a fan of the cover art. I understand that Ed Benes was going for a propaganda poster look, but it just doesn’t quite work for me. The presentation just looks boring, with a partially obscured figure and a boilerplate “RAGE” tag behind it. The lack of color in the drawing doesn’t help, either. (Note: I know Rixx never wore a red ring in this issue, but we’ll let that go. Rarely do comic book covers accurately depict the events therein!)

In addition, there were more laughable exotic dancer poses from Bleez and another female Red Lantern. (If she’s got a name, I don’t know it; someone fill me in?) I know it seems that I harp on Benes’ art a lot, but I do enjoy most of it; in particular, that double-page splash of the massive battle on Ghan IX looks awesome! The alien designs spanning from simple melee weapons to warships were well done, too.

It’s not a good sign that Red Lanterns is already faltering. We’ll have to see if things pick up in the next issue.


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