Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It Ain't Easy Being On The Green Team



What will happen when the most powerful weapon in the universe goes up against the strongest one there is?!  I'm not too sure myself but I do know it won't pretty and I know we are in for one heck of a show!  As the frog said, "It ain't easy being green".  Find out how it all goes down when the Green Goliath meets the Green Gladiator in the Super-Team Family crossover to end all crossovers... Green Lantern vs. The Hulk!!!

...Now that is a comic I want to read.

Unfortunately this little beauty has never seen the printed page and probably never will because the striking cover above is the brainchild of the very talented artist and comic fan, Ross Pearsall.   Ross publishes a blog called Super-Team Family ...The Lost Issues where he takes that well-known collision of Photoshop and geek culture to a whole new level.  To put it bluntly, the man has "mad skills".


Originally inspired by superhero team-ups in DC Comics' The Brave And The Bold and in Marvel Two-In-One, Ross's unbridled imagination brings together some of the greatest and most unlikely pairings in comic books and beyond, the likes of which you have never seen before.  Literally.  For, as the name suggests, these are The Lost Issues.  The team-ups that could have been, or should have been, or in some cases definitely SHOULDN'T have been.  Ross creates covers for stories that the fans want to see but for reasons, legal or otherwise, have never happened in the real world of comics publishing.


You're damn right I want to see Hal Jordan go up against The Hulk!  And I've never wanted anything more than I want to know what happened when Guy 'my way or the highway' Gardner met Cliff 'I make this rocket look good' Secord.  The cosmic battle between the Kree's Captain Mar-vell and the Green Lantern Corps is a story that could make a whole event in itself.

I've picked out some of my favourite Green Lantern covers from the Super-Team Family collection for this feature but you really owe it to yourself to take a look at the blog in it's entirety.  Ross has been creating these mash-up covers since 2011 and has been publishing a new image every single day for the last two years!  There are literally thousands of covers to peruse and there is something to catch the eye of fans of all types.  Comic books, sci-fi and fantasy, cartoons, even TV and box-office films all get the magic Lost Issues treatment.


While the Super-Team Family covers are often hilarious (anyone up for Ch'p and Squirrel Girl?) and undoubtedly cool beyond measure (you know you want to see Silver Surfer vs. Darth Vader!), they are also something of an education in the history of comic book art.  Wherever possible Ross has listed the names of the artists he has taken images from or worked in the style of.  The blog's labelling function groups posts both by character and also, less obviously, by artist.  So if your thing is Frank Miller and you always wanted to know what Robin looks like on a Daredevil cover your dreams are only a click away.  Personally, I can thoroughly recommend an examination of the many wonderful homages to Neal Adams if you have 20 minutes or so to spare! 


You can check out the whole collection at the  Super-Team Family ...The Lost Issues blog, or follow Ross Pearsall on Twitter, @RossPearsall.  If you are interested in hearing Ross talk about how the blog came about or where he gets his inspiration from to keep coming up with fresh superhero team-ups day after day you can listen to his live interview on the Blog Talk Radio programme, Clobberin' Time.



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Curious Combination


Mark Twain famously said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations."

Impossible or not, I think I am on fairly safe ground to conjecture that the majority of ideas are routinely revisited in the world of comics.  Whether it is the retelling of an origin story, the resurrection of a formerly dead character, or the passing of said character's legacy on to the next generation, we all love to see elements from our favourite stories invoked in new material.  As I understand it both DC Comics and Marvel intend to take this approach to the extreme in 2015, overtly referencing a whole of host previously published storyarcs as the basis of each of their latest company-wide events.

At the other end of the scale to this are the little tricks and eye-catching gimmicks that innocently resurface every so often as comic book writers attempt to tap into the timeless essence of their chosen muse.  I stumbled across one such oddity not long ago while I was researching the earliest appearances of the Justice League of America.

Have a look at the delightful panel below from Justice League of America #3, vol.1 (1961) showing Hal Jordan think quickly to save the city from certain disaster.  He creates giant humanoid constructs with his power ring to prevent damaged sky-scrapers from falling and crushing the population below.

  
We can all agree this is a fantastic bit of ring-slinging from Hal which must have been very exciting for fans to read back in the early sixties.

Jump forward then exactly 50 years into the future and take a gander at this next wonderful double page spread which graced the pages of Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 (2011).


Note the collapsing building and falling crane destined to annihilate the terrified city dwellers below.  Note our green-clad hero swooping down from the sky to mount a daring rescue, and most importantly, note the big, green giants stretching their huge arms around the plummeting debris to halt its catastrophic descent.

It's the same concept in both panels!  Yes, the 2011 version has been considerably fleshed out and updated to entertain a more demanding 21st century audience (3 years on and I am still struck by the beauty and energy of the artwork) but when you boil right down to it, it is the same idea appearing in both comic books. 

I have no clue if the New Guardians creative team of Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham gave any thought to their historic Justice League predecessors, Gardner Fox and Mike Secowsky.  I sincerely doubt it.  But I like to think the idea first popped into heads of those silver-age creators back in 1961 and floated around in the ether for a good many years until it passed through Mark Twain's mental kaleidoscope to be turned and transformed into a new and very curious combination.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Happy Rebirthday! (The First Day of the Rest of my Life)


27 October 2004.  Although I didn’t realise it at the time, this date heralded the biggest world changing event in my life outside of my wedding day and the births of my children.  For it was on this day that DC Comics released Green Lantern: Rebirth #1, the first issue in a six issue story recounting Hal Jordan’s return to the role of Green Lantern. My life and the long-suffering patience of my family can be divided into two parts – ‘Before Rebirth’ and ‘After Rebirth’.  Before Rebirth I was a young twenty something with a wide range of hobbies and interests, one of which happened to be reading comics.  In fact, I enjoying reading standard text novels far more and I got a lot of my superhero fix from reading novelizations of comic book stories such as Death of Superman.  If anyone asked, my favourite heroes where Batman and Punisher “because those guys were dark and they didn’t need superpowers to get the job done”.  Then Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver came along and nonchalantly tossed a phenomenon right there in my lap.  From that moment forwards I have been an obsessive.  Obsessed with comic books in general, and more importantly, obsessed with all things Green Lantern.  Check out some of the other posts on this blog if you don’t believe me!



The funny thing is, Hal Jordan isn’t even my favourite Green Lantern.   He isn’t even my favourite Green Lantern from Earth (that honour goes to John Stewart), or indeed my second favourite (Kyle Rayner).  But the book itself unleashed something within me that cannot be quelled or sedated.  I’m not going to try and tell you the story contained with the pages of Green Lantern: Rebirth.  I know my fellow GL blogger Myron Rumsey of The Blog of Oa intends to publish a celebratory post today as well.  Myron is a die-hard Hal fan and I admire his writing and his blog very much and expect he has provided an exceptional recap of the book that I can piggyback on.  So stop, go read his post and make sure you come back here when you are finished.  Ok then… welcome back.



What I do want to tell you about is why Rebirth lit the touch paper within me that quickly became an everlasting green flame.  First I have to tackle the art.  When it comes to getting under the skin of Green Lantern, Ethan Van Sciver is untouchable.  There are actually a few artists out there who I probably like more, Ivan Reis being one of them.  But Reis nor anybody else could have done justice to this book like Van Sciver did.  I can imagine Geoff Johns’ receiving his artist’s pages through the mail and thinking “Wow, I kind of thought I knew what I was trying to say here but Ethan just nailed it better than I had even imagined possible”.  Let me home in on one specific concept to demonstrate what I mean.   With Hal back in the green there are now four Green Lanterns from Earth.  In another creative team’s hands they could all be said to wield the same power – ring energy is ring energy, right?  No.  As Johns tells us, each Lantern’s power is influenced and enhanced by his own personality.  It is all very well to write this in a script but Van Sciver went to town on the concept and brought it to life in a way that I think has not been replicated since.  John Stewart is an architect, a designer, he builds his constructs in minute detail.  Guy Gardner is a wild force and his constructs burn and flare just as he does.  Without even reading the narrative textboxes we already know from the art alone how each GL thinks.  What fuels them.  How they look at the world.  To capture that emotion in such a unique way is, I think, one reason why Rebirth should be considered some of the best art that comic books have to offer.



And if that weren’t enough there is always this…



…and this…



…and this…



…and this.



So that’s the art.  But, let’s face it, Green Lantern: Rebirth would not exist at all if it were not for the brilliant and unusual mind of Geoff Johns.  My obsession is entirely borne out this writer’s own obsession.  He opened me up to a history that I had never really considered before.  I started reading Green Lantern on and off through the Kyle Rayner era.  Kyle was my guy, he was young and essentially cool but with a touch of the Peter Parkers about him.  I was well aware that he was the latest in a long legacy but I didn’t really give it much thought.  With Johns arrival on the book I could think of nothing else.  I know it has been said elsewhere but it should not be underestimated the risk that Geoff Johns took when he brought Hal back.  He could have gone down the traditional comic book route of retconning all that came before out of existence.  He didn’t.  Johns took every bit of mythology from every era of GL.  Golden-Age, Silver-Age, Bronze-Age, Modern-Age.  He took them all and threw them all into the mixing pot.  He gave it a stir, blended the ingredients together a little, and poured out the glorious creation that is Green Lantern: Rebirth.  And not only did he manage to hold on to the essence of the last 60 odd years of the character’s portrayal in comics and bring back the most famous iteration of said character in a move that many thought was impossible; hindsight shows that he also sewed the seeds for the next ten years of his unrivalled story-telling.  Wonderful stories like The Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night have their origins right here in Rebirth.



I’ve written other blogs about how much I like to scrutinise both the real and imagined history of Green Lantern.  It appeals to the geek in me.  Is there a hardcore comic book fan that doesn’t spend hours deliberating over continuity and who begat who, killed who and brought who and who back to life?  It was Johns that opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that Green Lantern mythos contained for just this activity.  Sure I’d read quite a bit of Kyle’s run and had come across Hal and the rest here and there, mostly via Justice League but I hadn’t sat down and blown my mind with a billion years of continuity.  And I hadn’t respected how much ground Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps had covered, even in the last twenty or thirty years, until Geoff Johns tied it all up in to one neat little package for me.



So that’s the history bit.  Green Lantern: Rebirth has it in spades and I love it.  But that’s not the main attraction.  The real reason I hold Rebirth as one of the finest comic books ever written is the feeling it gives me every time I read it.  The characters contained within these pages are the very definition of ‘superhero’.  In the face of the untold adversity they stand tall.  In the shadow of evil they burn brightly.  In the space of these six issues the Green Lanterns come together to combat two of the greatest enemies they have ever had to contend with, namely Parallax and Sinestro.  They show valour akin to knights of old.  Strength worthy of ancient Greek titans.  Ferocity reminiscent of Viking warriors.  And an unswayable determination matched only by mighty modern champion himself, Superman.  In short, the heroes of GL:Rebirth  are truly the stuff of legend.  And let me assure you, as if there was any doubt, the bad guys get well and truly beaten!



There are a dozens of scenes I could point to illustrate my meaning more clearly.  Hal Jordan battling for his soul against Parallax and Spectre at the same time as both entities fought to possess him will always stick out in my mind.  Green Arrow donning a power ring and mustering all of his will to construct a single arrow of green energy and drive it into the chest of Sinestro is another.  And if my respect for Green Arrow was raised measurably through this act, my respect for Green Lanterns and the effort it takes to use the ring every day was raised a thousand fold.  Guy Gardner purging his Vuldarian DNA.  John Stewart standing up for his beliefs against a disapproving Justice League and taking down the aforementioned Superman with a pinpoint accurate beam of energy.  The list goes on and on.



As well as establishing the individual traits that make each character remarkable, all of these vignettes share a common subtext which can be boiled down to two words, ‘The Corps’.  This was a concept that had been essentially missing from all the Green Lantern titles I had read in recent years.  I’d read team books like Justice League, or the more nurturing Teen Titans.  I’d followed team-ups and crossovers were allies band together against a mutual foe.  But I had never read a book that stirred within me a sense of unity like I experienced reading Rebirth.  This was something I wanted to be a part of and to read more of.  Geoff Johns understood that Green Lanterns aren’t just a legacy of characters sharing the same name.  For all of their differences they are bound as closely as any blood-tie.  And together they will face down anybody.  His Lanterns don’t reel off their oath in secret, charging their rings in some hidden broom cupboard.  They roar it proudly in the field of battle, standing side by side with their fellow Corpsmen and revelling in the association.  “Beware our power…”



Frankly, I’ll never look back.  Hundreds of unwritten issues awaited me.  Hours of trawling back-issue bins.  Literally thousands of pounds of hardcovers, trade papers backs, variant covers, T-Shirts, prints, cups, caps, figures, belt buckles and DVDs featured in my newly discovered life. …And one crazy little blog that I am pretty damn proud of!   On 27 October 2004 a bright green light was switched on and it has been shining over my universe ever since.



Oh, and that guy Batman I professed to love so much, the dark shadow of superhero comics?  Well…



Beware their power, Green Lantern's light!





Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Hero's Life

The life of a superhero has never been an easy one.  Forget travelling to a parallel universe to foil the nefarious plans of would-be planetary invaders.  That sort of thing is all in a day's work.  

No.  The real struggle our comic book champions face on a daily basis is how to protect their secret identities from discovery.  What do you tell your boss when you have been off fighting the good fight while you are supposed to be putting in a nine to five, Monday to Friday?

Luckily enough Green Lantern always 
has a readymade cover story up his sleeve...

Green Lantern #3 (vol. 2), 1960

Hal Jordan - King of Excuses!



Tuesday, 7 October 2014

GATHERING THE CORPS

This week was a first in the life of this humble Green Lantern blogger.  It was my absolute pleasure to be invited to appear as a guest reviewer on the venerable Lanterncast, the first and longest running GL podcast around.

And this one runs longer than most...  For episode #200 the guys assemble a motley crew of listeners, as well as bringing the show's original hosts out of retirement to produce an amazing 4 hours of content all focused around our favourite Emerald Gladiator.


You can download the whole episode here absolutely free, you lucky little geek, you!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank The Lanterncast presenters, Chad and Mark, for having me on the show. You guys rock!

And here's a little behind the scenes confession for all you Flodo's Page regulars; if you think I seem a little quiet at times it's only because I kept forgetting that I wasn't just listening to an episode of the podcast, and was actually recording live on the show!




Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Green Lantern and the Little Green Man



Welcome back to another round of the legendary Super-Blog Team-Up.  By now I'm sure you all know the drill but just in case we have any newbies jumping on, here's the low down.  Every three months the marvellous Super-Bloggers come together to geek out over a shared theme, each blogger exploring the chosen subject in their own .,,  inimitable style. This time around we are diving into the world of 'team-ups'.  How did it take us so long to think of that one?!

So here's what I've got for you.  Green Lantern #87, volume 3.  On the face of it this is the most boring comic that was ever written.  99.9% of the real action takes place between the panels.  Yawn!  I'm going to race through the plot at Flash speed to give you some idea of what I mean.  Try to stay awake...



Page one opens with not one but two panels showing a steaming coffee mug and very little else. Jade is taking pictures of it. Some dude called Access appears out of nowhere looking for Green Lantern. Jade tells him GL is not around. She conjures up a baseball bat construct but doesn't hit anybody with it.  Access isn't scared but disappears anyway.  The scene shifts to the JLA watchtower on the moon. The JLA have just finished a meeting.  Everybody goes home except Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.  Manhunter teaches GL how to use the surveillance monitor.  Scintillating stuff I think you'll agree.  And by this time we are already 8 pages into a 22 page comic!

Suddenly (not so suddenly) an alarm goes off and Kyle and J'onn fly out into space to investigate a gigantic vessel utilising a dastardly laser to cover southern California in plants.  GL creates an unnecessarily seductive construct of a lady pirate who launches an old fashioned cannonball at the space ship.  Not surprisingly it has no effect whatsoever.  He spends two pages cutting his way into the ship and discovers the only crew member is dead. J'onn sneaks up on him.  Oh, the tension!  The Martian telepathically links to the ship and concludes that the rest of the crew has bonded with the ship's computer.  He convinces the ship (off panel, mind you) to fly to the dead planet formerly known as Mogo and terraform there instead of southern Cali.  Kyle and J'onn have a moment. Fly away. The end.



So why, I hear you ask, have I bothered to waste your time recounting this sorry tale, especially in the illustrious company of the Super-Blog Team-Up?!  The thing is, as well as being the most boring comic on the planet, it is an absolute classic!  And before I get completely drowned in a sea of 'WTFs' let me put things in context a little.  GL #87 was written in 1997.  Kyle Rayner had only been wearing the ring since issue #50 so at the time he was still very much the new guy on the block.  I'm going to go through the story again but this time I'm going to put on my green tinted glasses and share with you what happens inside the mind of a comic book fan and Green Lantern obsessive reading the same book in 2014.  To forewarn you, I may say "BOOM!" a lot.

Opening page; Jade is camping out in Kyle Rayner's apartment.  BOOM! - Kyle is still going out with Donna Troy but here he is hanging out with the girl we GL fans know is his future one true love. Reinforced by no less than Geoff Johns 20 odd years later in the run-up to Blackest Night.



Access appears.  BOOM! - Access? Access?  He's only the gatekeeper between the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe.  The missing link in the biggest intercompany crossover of all time, DC vs Marvel (or Marvel vs DC as some would have it).



Access tells Jade her power isn't like Green Lantern's, much to the superheroine's protest.  BOOM! - Jade. Daughter of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.  Turns out Alan and Jade's power comes from the Starheart, the collected essence of all the magic in the universe.  Some of the biggest stories in the DCU tie in to this little throwaway nugget.

Kyle sits in on Justice League meeting. BOOM! - Following a brief stint in the Teen Titans GL had been inducted into the JLA a few months previously when the self-titled team comic went back to basics and called on the heavyweights of the DCU to represent.  But this was the first time that Green Lantern readers got a chance to see their hero take his place on the A team.   Did I say BOOM! already?



Wally West invites Kyle for dinner.  BOOM! - The Brave and The Bold, people.  It's a thing! Go look it up.

Kyle stays behind to learn the ropes from J'onn J'onzz.  Maybe not a BOOM! moment in itself but massive nevertheless.  Martian Manhunter IS the Justice League of America.  He's the glue that holds it together, showing up in nearly every iteration of the team since it was created in 1960.  Learning from J'onn means our ring-slinger is learning from the very best, bar none!  Ron Marz and guest penciler Tom Grindberg come together to create an exchange between the two heroes that has 1990s buddy-cop nostalgia written all over it.



The villain's spaceship is revealed. BOOM! - Any double page spread that draws a vehicle so big that it blocks out the earth and the moon in one go deserves a BOOM!

In a sense it is the team-up up with J'onn that makes this such an action-lacking adventure. He is so powerful that dangers are effectivley evaded before they ever present themselves.  Kyle is, by comparison, unsure of himself and generally immature.  When I read his nervous inner monologue I remember how much I loved following the character's growth over the years.  This was the first faltering footsteps of an exceptional journey.  Did I mention the dude is a godlike White Lantern these days?



Even the shamefully stereotyped pirate construct had some value. Every ornately detailed construct Kyle produced in these adventures came with the subtext "No more boxing gloves".  The limitless potential of the Green Lantern's power ring was being explored to the maximum.  You give the most powerful weapon in the universe to an artist and you're going to get some mighty pretty pictures for your efforts.



Just before Green Lantern flies off to try and board the ship J'onn says something that might have little significance to your average reader but has barrels of meaning to Green Lantern fans.  "The last time I trusted a Green Lantern an entire world died.". BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! - A Cosmic Odyssey.  The story that took my favourite Green Lantern, John Stewart, and twisted him inside out.  He kicked Martian Manhunter to the kerb and in his arrogance managed to blow up the planetoid Xanshi, wiping out its millions of inhabitants in the process.  With that weight on his shoulders he spent everyday since making up for his mistake and molding his guilt with humility until it became his greatest strength.  Nice reference! BOOM!



No matter how much of a geek I am I have to admit that the clumsy story jump from J'onn explaining the clear and present danger in one panel to Kyle congratulating him for a job well done in the next is pretty much unforgivable.



Except that I'm a Green Lantern geek and the next page pulls out to reveal... Mogo. (You know what's coming next) B-O-O-M!! The sentient Green Lantern planet was taken off the board when Hal Jordan destroyed the Corps in Emerald Twighlight. This was the first time in Kyle's run that we get an inkling that the big guy might return someday, a prophecy later fulfilled by Kyle himself when he wakens Mogo from his slumber in a future issue.  All is forgiven.



As Green Lantern and the not so little green man fly off into the cosmos looking suitably heroic I suppose you are wondering what the takeaways are here.  Well for me it is this:

Takeaway 1: Given that J'onn J'onzz has the power to enter people's minds and stir up emotions and memories that have been long buried, it is only fitting that a team-up book containing the Martian Manhunter should do the same.  Green Lantern #87 tugged on my heartstrings and resurrected memories of a great many story arcs that I thoroughly enjoyed.  With the extensive history of the Green Lantern Corps and my long association with it, it is not always easy to remember all the twists and turns that took us to where we are today. If an occasional offering from the longbox forgoes traditional action sequences in favour of dropping a marker for future generations to reflect on, then who am I to argue?



Takeaway 2: The Martian Manhunter needs a catchphrase.  What's the point of being able to solve any problem virtually as it happens if your fellow heroes don't even know you did it because you are the strong, silent type?  All the best heroes have them. Some even have whole verses of poetry to make it clear to all and sundry they are taking names and kicking ass.  "Beware our power" ringing bells for anyone?  But the way I see it J'onzz needs something short and to the point. Something that says he has arrived.  Something that says "BOOM!!!"






******************************************* 



NOW YOU'VE READ MY LITTLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUPER-BLOG TEAM-UP, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT THESE OTHER SPECTACULAR FEATURES FROM SOME OF THE GREATEST MINDS IN GEEKDOM (Posts go live throughout 24 September and beyond):

Super-Hero Satellite: Superman and The Masters Of the Universe 

LongBox GraveYard: Thing / Thing

Superior Spider-talk: Spider-Man and the Coming of Razorback!?

The Daily Rios: New Teen Titans/DNAgents 

The Middle Spaces:  Super Hegemonic Team-up! Spider-Man, Daredevil & 'The Death of Jean DeWolfe

Chasing Amazing: Spider-man/Spider-man 2099 Across the Spider-Verse: A Once in a Timeline Team-Up 

Vic Sage/Retroist: Doctor Doom/Doctor Strange 

Fantastiverse: Superman/Spider-man 

Mystery V-Log: The Avengers #1 

In My Not So Humble Opinion: Conan /Solomon Kane 

The Unspoken Decade: Punisher/Archie!! 

Flodo's Page: Green Lantern and the Little Green Man 

Between The Pages:  World’s Finest Couple: Lois Lane and Bruce Wayne

Bronze Age Babies: When Friends Like These ARE Your Enemies 





Saturday, 6 September 2014

Construct of the Week #31




Construct: Flashback


Generated by: Niti
 (with Superboy Kon and Superboy Jon)

Appeared in: Superboy #34 (vol.5), 2014



Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Nod From the Distinguished Competition


Back in 2012 you couldn't swing a Red Lantern cat in Comic Book Land without running into The Avengers.  Marvel's highly anticipated team movie was released in April 2012 and a few months before, in January, creators Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti gave a tip of the hat to all the media hype in their DC Comics published title Justice League International #9.

When Guy Gardner needs to turn on the fire power in a battle against the mighty O.M.A.C. he takes a leaf out of Tony Stark's book and suits up in his very own Iron Man armour.



The look reminds me of that very special comic book from the nineties when the Marvels and their Distinguished Competition came together to create a limited series set in the the topsy-turvy mash-up world of the Amalgam Universe.  In reality Amalgam had as many misses as hits with the likes of Bruce Wayne, Agent of Shield and Lobo the Duck drawing compliments and criticism from all sides, but for my money the coolest hero to come out of the whole project was Iron Lantern who, for obvious reasons, looks not too dissimilar to this latest construct from the ring-wielding JLI'r.

As if that weren't reference enough, when the iron suit isn't quite up to the task of taking down O.M.A.C., Guy ups the ante with a giant glowing green hammer that has more than a hint of Asgardian in its design!









Saturday, 9 August 2014

Check me out... with Green Lantern!




DC Comics have released a selection of "selfie" variants this month to adorn the covers of some of their mainstream titles.  

And, I have to say, I am enjoying the heck out of them
 a lot more than any self-respecting mid thirty-something family man should probably choose to admit...



Green Lantern Corps #34 by Mike McKone



Green Lantern #34 by Craig Rousseau



Earth 2 #26 by Kevin Maguire





Tuesday, 29 July 2014

IT’S BEEN EMOTIONAL



When is a Lantern not a Lantern?

When she’s the inspiration behind a global social resistance movement, of course.


This article is a bit of a first for Flodo’s Page.  It will be the only time in over two years of blogging that I will have featured a DC Comics character that has never appeared in any Green Lantern title.  Ever. 

Let me go back to the beginning.  The Movement slipped under my radar when it was released.  It was marketed along with Green Team, a book that I was disappointed to discover had nothing to do with either Green Lantern or Green Arrow.  With that my interest in either title was tossed to the wayside.  It was only with the growing critical acclaim on Twitter (particularly from one Mr. @Fotocub) and with the intoxicating enthusiasm of the Raging Bullets podcast that I started to wonder if I had missed out on something.  Curiosity led me to flip through an issue about half way through the run.  My attention was immediately taken by a masked character who seemed to glow a certain shade of green at one moment and an oddly familiar yellow the next.  Was this some kind of White Lantern?



I had just been introduced to the remarkable Virtue.

Virtue is the leader of The Movement, known to the public as Channel M.  At the group’s core is a small band of metapowered young people who come together to protect and be a voice for the disenfranchised.  In creating the character Gail Simone has managed to develop the most original spin on the Emotional Spectrum since Geoff Johns wrote Blackest Night.  And I realise that is no small claim on my part.






The girl’s superpower is described as “riding emotions”.  Twelve issues is shamefully short for a title as high in calibre as The Movement and not nearly enough to give Virtue’s origins and abilities the attention they deserve.  As a result there is much that is still unclear.  What we do know is that her gift is handed down through the woman in her family from one generation to the next.  She can detect emotions in others and harness them.  Her body is transformed into an essence powered by the people she reads.   In her spirit form Virtue can fly and we’ve witnessed her trail waves of emotion like a bloodhound on the scent.  She has changed her size, growing huge on fuel of red fury.

She can also take control of the feelings she encounters.  She was able to siphon the fear of being buried alive from her friend Vengence Moth and transfer it into a would be attacker, leaving the villain paralysed by terror.


The girl, known as Holly to her friends, does not have to rely soley on her special abilities either.  She is very apt at administering a swift running shoe to the jaw too when the occassion demands it, and leads her team from the front in a conflict.  Mind you, you can't solve every problem with a superpowered light show or a round of fisticuffs.  Virtue shows true leadership quality in her understanding of what can be achieved through dialogue.  Her favourite venue for peace negotiations is the milk and doughnut store!



I get the impression that Simone is very fond of her creation.  The character is representative of a number of minority or maligned sections of society but she is not written as a token gesture to any of them.   She stands up proudly for those who will not or cannot stand up for themselves.  In issue #12 Simone takes time out from having to wrap up a story that could have happily gone on for many more months to share some of Virtue’s history with us.  The character’s motivations are integral to the whole premise of this book and it is only fitting that we get to learn some of what shaped her into becoming a heroine for the folks who live on the wrong side of the tracks.  In her own young life she overcame traumas that no child should have to face and betrayals that no child could understand.  Much of this was a dubious consequence of her “gift”.

But against all this, it is also her gift that allowed her to move on.  It empowered her to help those around her.  Emotions are laid bare to Virtue and because of this she can see the smallest spark of love or hope in anybody, even in the worst that humanity has to offer.  While the likes of Superman profess to believe there is good in everyone, Virtue can actually see it.  With this ability as a constant presence in her life how could she not make a stand for the people who are looked down on by society for who they are or the circumstances they have come from?  This, dare I say, is the true virtue of the character, not the fact that she can shoot beams of concentrated energy from her fingertips.


The image at the top of this post of Virtue unleashing Green willpower on a hapless Sinestro is a little deceptive.  In her private moments she dreams of The Movement being accepted by the superhero community and standing shoulder to shoulder in battle alongside the Justice League.  They would quite literally come out of the shadows and into the light.  Her team protect "The Tweens", an area of the city that has been abandoned by the police and it's monied population.  The series ends on a high note when a detective she befriended observes that they will never change enough to fit in with the "justice people".  "Oh, I know...” Virtue replies, "but sooner or later, Captain, THEY are going to have to change to fit in with US."

And I for one hope they do.  It would be a travesty if we do not get to see more from The Movement in the DC Universe.  I want to read another volume of the self-named title and I also want to see the characters popping up in other books.  I am already writing Virtue’s first meeting with Earth’s Green Lanterns in my head.  Each would take to her a little differently and none of them would walk away from the meeting looking at the world exactly as they had before.  In the unlikely event that somebody from DC happens to read this blog I cannot make myself any clearer - Virtue’s debut appearance in a Green Lantern comic has got to happen.  The sooner the better too.


The Movement Vol. 1 is available on Comixology and at your local comic book store.