Green Lantern Annual (Vol. 2) #3

January 1, 2015

Release Date: December 24, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

Story: Charles Venditti
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Mark Irwin, Marc Deering, and Livesay
Cover: Ethan Van Sciver

Hal Jordan and Black Hand are surrounded by Orion’s forces at the Source Wall, but Black Hand somehow manages to free the trapped beings in the Wall, changing them all into Black Lanterns. Sinestro soon arrives via boom tube, and the Lanterns bring the undead forces to New Genesis where they begin to wreak havoc. Unfortunately, they soon begin to come back to real life, as they were never really dead in the first place. Meanwhile, the Templar Guardians tell Kyle Rayner that Highfather is merely accessing the Life Equation through Kyle; he could never actually remove it from the White Lantern. Kyle tries to stop him mentally, but Highfather’s too strong. This also backfires as Highfather attempts to convert the Wall titans to his cause. As New Genesis is slowly destroyed, Hal finally gets through to Highfather, telling him that he’s becoming a Tyrant just like Darkseid. Highfather relinquishes his control over the Life Equation, and Kyle uses it to teleport the titans away. Sinestro refuses to help the failing New Genesis, but Saint Walker is so impressed by Kyle’s work that he regains his blue ring, supercharging the Green Lantern Corps and allowing them to save the city. The Corps returns to Mogo and gives the sentient planet back its ring, while unbeknownst to them, a massive hand begins to free itself from the Source Wall.

As I feared, “Godhead” ended with a plopping noise. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good, either. Highfather just stood down, the Lanterns did absolutely nothing until Kyle just teleported the Wall titans away with no explanation, and Mogo magically comes back to life with his ring (even though his slow rot after removing it made no sense). Black Hand freeing the trapped Source Wall titans and other folks also made no sense. They’re not dead, as was specifically explained, so he should have had no power over them.

As for the rest of the Corps, there really wasn’t any point. The Green Lantern Corps didn’t do much until after the fight was over, Guy was the sole Red Lantern whose presence also was not necessary, and the Sinestro Corps turned tail after Highfather gave up. Look, I would’ve been annoyed if Sinestro proved to be everyone’s savior, but in fact the story went in the opposite direction, and he didn’t do shit except open a boom tube. That’s it? Even I think that’s lame. Last but not least, Saint Walker getting his ring back was cool, but it was more of a foregone conclusion than a solid plot point.

Moving on to the art. Billy Tan’s work was sadly very hit or miss here. Most pieces and splash pages looked pretty good, but far too many closeup shots and dramatic scenes looked rough and unfinished. Not a good fit for an annual or a big crossover finale. What happened?

In conclusion, “Godhead” reeked of throwing all of the Corps in a big crossover just because the powers-that-be decreed it. This could’ve been just a Green Lantern-focused story and it would’ve worked much better. (True, Kyle’s a White Lantern and was crucial to the plot…but given his history as a Green Lantern, it still fits.) And then there’s the matter of the last page. Of course the story didn’t goddamned end. Ugh. I’m so sick of “events” that merely lead into the next. Tell one story, and finish it, fer crissake!

Sinestro #8

December 31, 2014

Release Date: December 24, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

Story: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Martin Coccolo
Inks: Scott Hanna
Cover: Guillem March
Variant Cover: Darwyn Cooke

Sinestro kills one of his own Sinestro Corpsmen who’d been corrupted by Highfather, then steals a New God’s Mother Box by setting Parallax loose on him. He meets up with the other Lanterns, scoffing that he’ll be the one to save the day. Sinestro pays a visit to Highfather himself, and goads him into a fight by explaining that the Guardians considered Darkseid to be a massive threat, but Highfather barely warranted a footnote. Highfather beats the shit out of Parallax and Sinestro, but Despotellis has secretly infiltrated the Mother Box control system. Sinestro escapes through his own boom tube, but Highfather’s not worried. The invasion of Earth is ready to begin.

Did I miss something? Since when did Parallax physically feed on people? The giant space bug has always fed on fear, not flesh. And if you kill something…well, it’s no longer afraid. If the golden parasite has done this elsewhere, let me know. I must’ve forgotten, because the very concept of Parallax as a fear entity is stupid.

But I digress.

Sinestro was arrogant to the extreme in this issue, as befits his character. Sure, it gets tiresome after a while, but he got his comeuppance almost immediately when Highfather kicked his ass without breaking a sweat. I doubt Sinestro merely escaped to a random location, either; I’m sure he planned something very meticulous in advance, and just waited for Despotellis to be ready. If he ends up being the hero at the end, I’ll roll my eyes. I don’t mind the villain playing against type from time to time, but Sinestro’s been the Lanternverse’s golden boy (no pun intended) for far too long.

Finally, a word or two on the art. Martin Coccolo’s illustrations were excellent…for the most part. There were just a few panels were expressions just looked a little “off,” and it was enough to jump out and interrupt the story a bit. Otherwise, he’s been a fine fit for the book.

My review of the “Godhead” finale, Green Lantern Annual (Vol. 2) #34, should be up tomorrow. Tune in then to find out what I thought. Better late than never, right?

Red Lanterns #37

December 30, 2014

Release Date: December 24, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

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

Guy Gardner and Simon Baz manage to break out of a miracle cell, but are immediately met by Malhedron. He explains that he’s now considered a traitor, and informs the Lanterns that the various power rings are being held and studied by Hyalt, the New Gods’ weaponsmith. Simon distracts Hyalt while Guy regains the rings, and they take Hyalt out of the fight by bombing his lab. Meanwhile, John Stewart, Carol Ferris, Kyle Rayner, and Saint Walker were not killed by Highfather’s scepter (what a shock!), merely teleported away. They meet up with the escaped Templar Guardians…and they’ve got a plan for all of the Lanterns.

This issue was well-paced and featured tight battle scenes, and Simon telling Guy to act almost contrary to his nature helped it from becoming too generic of a battle. (The football bombs were a nice touch, too.) What I didn’t like was actually the main point of the issue: I think that Guy and Simon got the rings back far too easily. It was obvious that they would as soon as Malhedron mentioned them, but it would’ve been nice to see things go against the grain for a bit.

The book also seemed to go by very quickly, but that’s not a slight. Jim Calafiore’s art helped with the pace, and the action was balanced well with conversation without getting boring or feeling like filler. (There were a few expected miscolored rings, too; check out the blue one.)

A decent story and solid art made Red Lanterns #37 a good read, but I just wish the plot hadn’t been so by-the-numbers. Hell, I barely had anything to write about it as a result!

Green Lantern: New Guardians #37

December 19, 2014

Release Date: December 17, 2014
Cover Date: February 2015

Story: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Diogenes Neves and Rodney Buchemi
Inks: Marc Deering, Rodney Buchemi, and Daniel Henriques
Cover: Kyle Strahm

Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris are stuck on the surface of Old Genesis, and while Kyle tries to lighten the mood, Carol’s still angry with him for the effect his reality-warping powers had on her. She tries to focus on the task at hand, when Metron shows up. He cryptically tells them that he feels the balance of power is tipped, and unearths an ancient Mother Box from the ground, warning them that it’ll only work once. Meanwhile, John Stewart and Saint Walker plan their next move as Malhedron agrees to free the other Lanterns. Kyle and Carol teleport to John’s location, but New God guards arrive shortly thereafter. Kyle realized that they need him alive, so he physically assaults them, throwing them off guard. John uses this to steal their weapons, and the Lanterns quickly overpower their adversaries. While the Guardians escape on their own, claiming that they let the New Gods capture them, Kyle and crew go after Highfather himself. Kyle shatters his scepter and retrieve the white power ring…but it’s drained. Highfather has absorbed the Life Equation into himself, and he seemingly vaporizes the group.

Carol’s reaction to Kyle’s earlier “outburst,” as it were, was addressed fairly well. Carol already has feelings for Kyle, and his memories of Alex being forcefully (if unwittingly) imprinted onto her even for a moment had to do some nasty damage. Granted, this is something that needs to be addressed further, but at least the story has decent reasons for pushing it back a bit. Y’know, the whole New Gods problem and all that. Metron’s interruption couldn’t have had better timing.

The Guardians escaping is a bit problematic. Why not take the Lanterns with them? It’s sad to see that the Templars have seemingly become just as malevolent as the old Guardians. As for their power coming from “another” source, that’s rather muddled. Ever since the 2004 reboot, their power has fluctuated between being their own and coming from the “emotional spectrum.” Make up your minds!

Green Lantern: New Guardians #37 has some decent art; though again, as with some of the other “Godhead” issues, the stylistic shift between two artists in the same book is a bit distracting. Fortunately, as before, this is confined to shifts in scene, so it’s not as noticeable as if the art changed from one page to the next during the same scene.

It’s fairly obvious that Kyle and crew aren’t dead; they were likely just teleported somewhere. Perhaps we’ll find out where in the next installment, Red Lanterns #37…but considering that all three final parts of “Godhead” are due for release at the same time, we have less than a week to wait, regardless.

(Or maybe not; see my upcoming post on Monday for details.)

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.


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