Thursday 28 June 2012

Construct of the Week #4

Construct: Giant Tigers
Generated by: Jong Li
Appeared in: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #3, 2001

Monday 25 June 2012


Does anybody remember the last time John Stewart actually had any good luck befall him?  It certainly wasn't in DC's New 52.  Over the previous 9 issues John has been overrun by genocidal will powered Keepers, left behind by the subsequent rescue-party, captured and tortured, forced to kill a fellow Green Lantern to protect Oa and the Corps, and then arrested, tried and sentenced to death by the Alpha-Lanterns.  It is safe to say he is not having a good re-boot.

Issue 10 opens with a manacled John cutting a desolate figure as his final judgement is passed.  This, of course, is not a popular decision with the rest of his Corps and so the Alpha Lanterns cart John off  to their Alpha Tower to ensure he is imprisoned securely.  Given that he is mere hours away from his final breath the Green Lantern of Earth is taking his situation very calmly as he negotiates a last request and meal.

The scene then switches for a single page that is sure to have repercussions in upcoming issues.  The ring belonging to Stewart's victim has been scanning sector 2541 for a suitable replacement and seems to select a university professor to wield it's light.  It attaches itself to his finger as he is conducts a lecture and begins to clothe him in the famous emerald uniform.  Suddenly, and without explanation, the initiation is interrupted and the ring flies of into space again.  I loved this little scene.  It was fun to see the professor mostly but not quite fully attired in the Green Lantern uniform.  I have no idea why the ring quit in it's recruitment mission but I am certainly going to be picking up the next issue to find out!

Back on Oa John uses his last request to apologise to the family of the man he killed.  Elsewhere the Alpha Lanterns are meeting with the Guardians and the recently promoted Guy Gardner to decide on what form his execution will take.  The Alpha's do not come across particularly well in the exchange, suggesting first that the Guardians should mete out their punishment.  When this idea is rejected they try to nominate a squad of John's lantern peers and then a hired executioner to carry out the dirty deed.  Guy quite rightly takes offence at these suggestions and the Guardians agree that it is the responsibility of the Alpha Lanterns to enforce their own death sentence.

The weird thing about all of this is that the Guardians come across as very reasonable and sympathetic individuals.  This is not in keeping with how they have been written in any of the GL books lately and my suspicions are firmly aroused... 
The next few pages have a touch of déjà vu as Guy mounts a rescue operation to set his friend free (GL Corps #6 anyone?).  John has other ideas however and won't charge up his ring because he wants his death to to symbolise some noble message for future generations, or something... blah, blah.  Anyway, the upshot of all this is that we are treated to a lovely panel of Garden delivering a right cross to Stewart's jaw and knocking him clean out.  He charges the unconscious lantern's ring against the Central Power Battery in his own special brand of "customer service".

Needless to say the Alpha's are pretty cheesed off with Guy's brass neck cheek.  The final splash page shows them depowering the would be rescuers in what appears to be an exceedingly painful process.  The art is great on this page.  The Alpha's ring beams are angular and uniform in keeping with their robotic nature.  It also reminds me of the depiction of John Stewart's own ring power early in Geoff Johns' Green Lantern run, enhanced as it was by his architectural skills.

All in all this was another solid issue of Green Lantern Corps.  It suffered a little bit in reworking ideas from previous issues and could, perhaps, be seen as bridge between two bigger stories.  But, for all that, the scripting is tight, the art is sumptuous and the characterisation is top notch across the board.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Construct of the Week #3

Construct: Angel wings
Generated by: Hal Jordan
Appeared in: Green Lantern #34 (vol. 2), 1965

Saturday 16 June 2012


Green Lantern #20 (vol. 2)

Readers of DC Comics' Blackest Night crossover event will be familiar with The Flash, Barry Allen, wielding a hope-charged power ring as a deputised member of the Blue Lantern Corps.  But it may come as a surprise to learn that this was not the first time that Barry had taken up the mantle of the fastest ring alive.

Green Lantern and The Flash have been guest starring in each other's titles since the golden age of comics in the 1940s. This tradition was carried on through the silver age with Barry first appearing alongside Hal Jordan in Green Lantern #13.

In Green Lantern #20 (published 1963) Hal is apparently killed by an 'incredible vanishing plague'.  The Flash vows to use his friend's power ring to avenge his death.  If this is where the story ended we could be looking at a very different DCU to the one we know today.

Luckily news of Green Lantern's dark demise was somewhat premature.  The Flash willed the ring to shrink him to sub-atomic size where he discovered a group of creatures 'far below the level of human measurement' had kidnapped Hal and his fellow plague victims.

As is only to be expected, the tiny terrors proved no match for the heroic pairing of the scarlet speedster and the emerald gladiator.  It wasn't long before the kidnappers were swept up by a Flash induced tornado and dropped ignominiously into a giant green satchel construct.

Although this was a great silver age ending to the team-up adventure I can't help feeling Green Lantern missed the perfect opporunity to declare this one  "Case closed..."

Friday 15 June 2012


DC Comics have been knocking it out of the park with the whole Green Lantern line recently and Green Lantern #10 is no exception.  In the previous issue we learnt that Abin Sur had helped create the Indigo power rings to brain wash the universe's most notorious criminals into feeling compassion and remorse for their crimes.  But now those rings are on the fritz, the bad guys have their true personalities back and guess what... they are pretty pissed with all things Green Lantern!  Which isn't the best of news for Hal Jordan and Sinestro.

While the two GLs make a run for it in one direction Black Hand takes to his heels in the other, trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the Indigo ring with which he'd been shanghaied after the Blackest Night saga.  Hal and Sinestro  catch up with the Indigo Tribe's 'guardian', Notromo, and convince him to reignite the Indigo power battery which will bring the tribe back under its influence.  With complete disregard for his standing in the villain community Sinestro volunteers to hold off the chasing hoards while Hal and his half pint companion get to work on the battery.  Doug Mahnke treats us to an amazing splash page of Sin delivering a flying left hook on the Indigo Tribesman Munk.  We are left in no doubt as to the former fear-monger's bad-ass credentials.

We also get a lovely little shot of Hal getting around his loss of flight with an Evel Knievel style super jump on a motorcycle and ramp construct.

Notromo is having trouble with the battery until Iroque shows up and sheds a tear for the horrific crimes she has committed in her past.  Her sorrow is the spark Notromo needs to fire up the Indigo light.  The panel showing Iroque transform into Indigo-1 is powerful.  I've always been amazed how the Green Lantern artists and colourists can draw light that feels like it is actually burning into the back of your eyeballs.
We leave the Indigos with Hal trying to convince them to release Sinestro from their spell.  I know that Hal needs help to do battle with the Guardians of the Universe but has he forgotten that Sinestro is his greatest enemy and a genocidal maniac with a million plus bodycount to his name.  On the face of the evidence are the Guardians really the bad guys in this scenario?

Anyway, all this passes into the background as we are reminded why Geoff Johns' is worth every cent of the massive bag of dollar bills he is undoubtedly handed by DC each week.  We rejoin Black Hand as he tears across the jungles of planet Nok with a recharged Indigo ring in hot pursuit.  The unwilling recruit comes to a cliff edge and throws himself off it without hesitation.  He adopts Superman's extended arm pose, his cape billowing behind him, and for just a moment I am struggling to recall if Black Hand can actually fly.  And the answer is... no.  Gravity takes over and Hand falls to his doom on the rocks below.  In a graphic couple panels that are definitely not for kids we are left in no doubt that he is dead. His blood gathers in pools around his smashed skull.  The sound effect lettered to accompany the impact is BLAAAPP but it really should be SSPPLLAAAATTT!!!

The indigo ring flies off to scan sector 2814 for his replacement leaving the rain to beat down on his lifeless corpse.  And then something happens.  A bubbling and glow of energy appear across his lips.  And suddenly, with a bloop, a ring pops out of his mouth and attaches itself to his finger.  And not just any ring... "William Hand of Earth.  Rise."  This is the New 52 and the Black Lanterns are back!

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Construct of the Week #2

Construct: Chinese Dragon
Generated by: Kyle Rayner
Appeared in:
Green Lantern #177 (vol. 3), 2004

Thursday 7 June 2012


Just as you thought this blog was becoming Green Lantern’s one trick pony I’m going to sneak up on you with a little Batman... sort of.
We all know the story - Bruce Wayne broods in his study following his first less than successful crime fighting mission.  He calls on the memory of his father to send him a sign as a black bat hurtles towards the study window… and is startled from its course by a flash of green light.  In the distance a massive glowing meteorite falls to Earth.

Welcome to Elseworlds where DC Comics tell you what could have been, should have been or never will be.  Batman: In Darkest Knight is a one-shot brought to you by the creative team of Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham, whose notable works together include Batman: Son of the Demon.  The book follows the adventures of an alternate world Bruce Wayne in his mission to fight injustice as the Green Lantern of sector 2814.

Monday 4 June 2012

Construct of the Week #1

Construct: Valkyrie war armor and Pegasus
Generated by: Percival (the Leprechaun) of Earth
Appeared in: Green Lantern: Ganthet's Tale, 1992

Friday 1 June 2012


My favourite of Earth's Green Lanterns is John Stewart. It's true the man exudes cool, calm and collect from every pore but that is not why he comes top of my list. It's also true that he's probably the most intelligent Lantern ever to wield a ring in Sector 2814, and that he appeared in the popular Justice League animated TV series.  But again neither of these are the reason for my choice.  John Stewart gets my vote because he was the Mosaic World Lantern.  The Mosaic World was the most bizarre sociological experiment ever to spring from the immortal minds of the Guardians of the Universe.

Originally created  by the mad Guardian, Appa Ali Apsa, as a solution to his loneliness, the world John Stewart protected was a patchwork of alien cities stolen from across the universe and transplanted together on Oa.  The rest of the Guardians, exercising the sort of twisted thinking that would be well suited to the current post-War of the Lanterns GL run, decided the experimental world should remain in place.

Created by Gerard Jones and Cully Hamner, this book saw John Stewart deal with all manner of topical issues including, violence, death, racism, identity and mental disturbance.  Brutally realistic scenes depicting loss of humanity in one panel can easily give way to out an out slapstick moment in the next.  While Hal Jordan is chasing after Evil Star and Goldface in the main Green Lantern book (also penned by Jones) Stewart spends the first issue of Mosaic willingly being stabbed by psychopathic shape-shifting twins, quoting Fredich Nietzsche, and having arguments in his mind with a dead Guardian.

Rumour has it that the on-going series was cancelled after 18 issues despite strong sales because it did not fit the'vision' of DC comics. And I can understand that - Mosaic is not your average mainstream superhero title.  The closest comparison I have to give for someone who hasn't read the book is to think of Jeff Lemire's Animal Man sprinkled with a little bit of Watchmen.  I know how pretentious that sounds but as a description goes it is pretty close to the mark.

But I am not here to talk politics, be it within the comic book industry or in the pages of the books themselves.  That is for another blog and another blogger.  I do not intend to look at the study of the psyche or mental breakdown even though it undoubtedly lies at the root of my passion for Mosaic.  I am here to tell you how completely screwed up the images in this book are.  Born out the scripts of Gerard Jones and given life through the pencils Cully Hamner, Luke McDonnell and their guest artists, the Mosaic World is visceral attack on the optic nerves.  A place where the conscious mind shouldn't stray.  Or put simply, "one hell of a trip".

There is little doubt as to the intentions of the creative team on Mosaic.  Page 1 of issue #1 depicts John sat on a throne apparently made of animated bone-like faces.  A lizard plays at his feet on a lunar landscape while flowers with female faces writhe around him in a maze of vines that resemble the human intestine.  Winged bubbles float in the air before him. John asks a question directly to the reader, "Do you want to see something weird?"

If the answer is "No" you should put the book down now and step away from the longbox...

However, if the answer is "Yes John, please show me something weird" then you are in for the sort of treat that was only previously available from Shamans and back-street chemists.
As I mentioned, there are 18 issues to Mosaic, each one unique in its oddity.  In an attempt to stay in control of this mind-bending journey I am going to share with you 5 moments of madness that shouldn't happen to an intergalactic police officer...