Tuesday 27 November 2012

Construct of the Week #18

Construct: A Racing Car (built from the engine out)
Generated by: Simon Baz
Appeared in: Green Lantern #14 (vol.5), 2012


Due to a recent bout of illness I have fallen behind on my Green Lantern reviews so I hope you’ll excuse the brevity of my commentary on GLC #14 while I work to get caught up.  I had considered skipping a couple of titles altogether but decided against it.  This issue includes several incidents that deserve to be noted.

By my count this is the sixth instalment of the ‘Rise of the Third Army’ crossover event.  The difference between ‘Rise’ and previous events such as Blackest night is in the crafting of the narrative itself.  The emotionless and mute Thirdites contribute very little to the actual storytelling.  They don’t have discernible personalities of any kind.  The story has instead been told through the impact of people whose paths they cross.  We are encouraged to focus on the victims of their mission.  We are made to share in the concerns and fears experienced by these people without becoming overly distracted with by the larger cosmic picture.

In the opening scene a team of Green Lanterns under Guy Gardner’s command are overpowered and assimilated into the Third Army.  For the first time in many years Guy feels overwhelmed by an enemy and retreats from the battle at high speed.   Fernando Pasarin’s panel layouts work well to make this whole confrontation feel very claustrophobic.   It begins with the Guardian’s pawns fighting to free themselves from a contracting ring construct before quickly turning the tables on their adversaries and attacking the GLs from every possible angle.  We are brought disturbingly close to dismemberings and other brutal savageries.

The next big moment is when Salaak and Kilowog discover that it was the Guardians’ deceptions that led to John Stewart’s arrest in the previous arc.  And perhaps even more ominously, they have secretly halted the GL recruitment process.  Hundreds of rings have been contained beneath the surface of the planet Oa to prevent them from seeking out new lanterns.  This scene is only two pages long but it is pure gold for Corps fans.  Two of the most popular non-earth based lanterns work together to uncover the truth behind their despotic masters’ treachery.  At long last the cat is out of the bag.

Elsewhere Fatality’s Sapphire powers tether her to a rock that is reported to be the final remains of Mogo.  The sentient planet was destroyed by John Stewart in the War of the Lanterns story-arc while it was under the influence of mind control.  More surprising is the fact that John Stewart himself is also tethered to the rock by his green beam.  He has been told by his conniving leaders that Mogo is trying to reform itself and that this debris holds the key to the planet’s resurrection.  I’ve no idea what is going on here but I am very keen to find out.  I am also very much looking forward to the moment Fatality realises her own mentors, the Zamarans, have allied themselves with their fellow immortals in a quest to enslave the whole universe.
The book ends with the Guardians claiming that Guy’s disobedience resulted in the slaughter of both civilians and lanterns in his care.  They demand his resignation from the Corps.  He hands over his ring and is instantly expelled back to earth.  The normally fast talking tough guy cuts a dejected looking figure surrounded by the mundane accoutrements of everyday life.  The wonders of deep space seem very, very far away. 

Back in business

It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted
anything on Flodo's Page.
I've been laid up at home sick as a dog.

For a while there I thought Despotellis himself had come to do me in.
So I called in the reinforcements...
I'm happy to say Leezle Pon sorted that nasty Yellow Lantern out in no time and now I'm back at full charge.
Normally blog service will be resumed shortly.

Saturday 17 November 2012


In common with many of my fellow comic book fans I can find myself worrying about every aspect of my treasured hobby.  Generally, of course, the object of my concern is something as trivial as the existence or not of Power Girl’s ‘boob window’ or the headache that is the Robin timeline in the compressed New 52 continuity.  But just occasionally I manage to raise my nose from the weekly pull pile just long enough to notice that the global economy continues to go through uncertain times.  It makes me wonder if I am justified in spending so much of my hard earned cash on comics, some of which will be read once and relegated to a long box for all eternity.  The question I have to ask myself is, “Am I really getting value for money?”  It’s not news that publishers have already tried every trick in the book to keep our favourite monthly titles competitively priced.  For DC that means keeping the page count for a $2.99 comic to 20 pages. Even those who are lucky enough to enjoy a discounted delivery or digital service can’t help but feel ripped off when they sail through their latest purchase in 5 minutes flat.
So let me assure you at the outset that this is not the case with Green Lantern #14.  The issue has plenty of bang for your buck.  Action and plot are squeezed into every panel of these 20 pages, and even with both a full page and double page splash I came away feeling that I’d absorbed more content in this one issue than some other titles provide across a whole arc.
Multiple storylines from the previous few months are picked up and progressed with equal prominence.  The book opens on Oa where the Guardians plot the demise of the Green Lantern Corps and then the entire Universe.  As well as acting as a recap it serves to underline the singular ruthlessness with which the Guardians have set about their devious mission.  One panel reminds us of the Third Army’s violent recruitment tactics.  Unlike the previous four issues of the ‘Rise of the Third Army’ crossover, this is the one of the few glimpses you get of the Thirdites in action.  There has been a nice build of tension in the event so far.  With each week that passed we were further submerged in the inevitability of the Army’s pestilent victory.  That said, I’m glad of the break.  The army are a very quiet lot (having no mouths of course) so there’s no interplay with their prey to break proceedings up a little.
The tone of GL #14 is a very different beast.  The Guardians still have the First Lantern held prisoner but they don’t seem to be able to do much except contain him.  He is able to talk freely to them of the revenge he will take on their souls when he escapes.  Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke conspire to keep the mystery of the First Lantern’s identity intact with shaded features and tantalising dialogue that could as easily with peppered with red herrings as genuine clues.  The GL fans I have been speaking with on twitter have been scratching their heads and throwing up all kinds of whacky suggestions.  My own ‘theory of the week’ has moved on from a time-displaced future Kyle Rayner to Sodom Yat in a scenario where the end of the universe came round in a circle and joined up with the beginning of the universe again.  The Last Lantern becomes the First Lantern. Well… it is only a theory!

As our introduction to Baz continues I find increasingly that I am drawn to the character.  He displays a noble spirit putting the safety of others before his own. Also, in his confrontation with the Justice League he shows a humility that is admirable.  Baz is quick to admit that he is woefully outclassed in the firepower stakes by Superman and the other Leaguers.  This leads to a humorous tribute to Hal Jordan.  When Baz comments, “Maybe I could to take Batman”, the Dark Knight retorts, “He’s a Green Lantern all right!” …Ba-doom-boom-tish!
The art is superb in this book and it is as much due to the inks and colours as Mahnke’s pencils.  The Justice League look undeniably heroic; every inch the super-powered heavy hitters we want them to be.  But it is with the Green Lantern himself that the art truly excels.  Even at rest green energy radiates from him.  When Batman tries to remove his ring it crackles and explodes.  Terrifying constructs of Sinestro, the rings former owner, scream forth from it causing Batman to leap back.  Simon Baz is as surprised as anyone at this defence mechanism which he concludes will prevent him getting a fair hearing from the League.  He conjures up a car from the inside out.  I’m a sucker for intricate detail in my comic book machinery and the panel of the naked engine is worthy of Jack Kirby himself.

He finally manages to shake off the heroes my creating multiple car constructs to cover this getaway.  The geek in me questions why Flash didn’t use his speed to zoom round them all, or Cyborg didn’t satellite track the occupied vehicle, or even Superman utilise his X-Ray vision but it’s easy to set aside.  The sight of Supes holding aloft a green sports car like a kid shaking his money box is just too good to pass up on.

Baz meets his sister who gives him an address which he hopes might lead him to the bomb-maker while our attention is turned back to the Chamber of Shadows last seen in Green Lantern Annual #1.  The Maltusans contemplate their fate at the hands of the Guardians unaware that they share their prison with Black Hand who is trapped in the adjoining chamber with the body of their murdered brother.  The payoff has been worth waiting for.  GL fans knew that Black Hand locked in a room with a corpse could not pass without incident.  Not one to disappoint he turns the dead man into his own billion year old zombie oracle.  A close up image of Hand’s Black Lantern ring is laden with meaning.  It owner’s involvement with this title is far from over.

And there is also something else.  Within the black ring, somehow, Hal Jordan and Thal Sinestro have been transported into another world, a land of the dead.  Ominously, they are not alone.  A hooded figure suggests that even here in limbo Sinestro cannot escape his many enemies.  The creative team of Johns, Mahnke and co. hit a home run in scene after scene in Green Lantern #14 but never more so than in these final few pages.  I’ve read the book at least four times now and my heart races each time I come across the character gesturing towards a dark apocalyptic cityscape behind him.  The anticipation for the next issue teased as “The Dead Zone” is almost too much to bear.


Wednesday 14 November 2012

Construct of the Week #17

Did somebody call for a plumber?

Construct: Volcanic Plug
Generated by: Katma Tui
Appeared in: Green Lantern #124 (vol.2), 1980


Saturday 10 November 2012


When Sergio Leone described the personalities of his three protagonists in Il buono, il brutto e il cattivo he could not have known how apt it would become in summing the single figure of Atrocitus in DC Comic’s Red Lanterns.  Atrocitus and his Corps dispense a lethal, rage fuelled justice across the Green Lantern universe on behalf of the victimised and abused. Herein, of course, lies both the good and the bad.  And the resulting devastation, much like their leader himself, sure as heck ain’t pretty.  
In honour of this undeniable comparison I have elected to keep my overview of the story brief and instead review RL #13 by looking at elements of the book in relation to Leone’s famous movie title.
The issue is part of the GL crossover event ‘Rise of the Third Army’ and the plot is simple enough.  On some distant planet two sisters are enslaved by marauding misogynists for the purposes of serving their every physical need.  The older sister is slain trying to protect her sibling. The younger sister escapes into the care of a local lady only for her husband to betray both of them to the hoard in hope of earning financial reward.  The women are sliced down by Cord, the barbarian king, moments before Red Lanterns arrive and take bloody retribution on all and sundry. The Guardian’s Third Army join the scene to forcibly recruit the Red Lanterns (and anybody else in the immediate vicinity) into their Army.  Atrocitus notices that their eyes have not changed during their horrific transformation and deduces this to be their Achilles heel.  He plunges his thumbs into the eye sockets of their newest inductee, who until moments ago had been the Red Lantern Skorch.  In the final heart wrenching panel the surviving sister is also subsumed into the Third Army’s ranks.

 The Good:
** After a year of trudging through the angst of the Atrocitus seeking affirmation of his goals we have finally jumped into some good old fashioned story telling.  In addition we get something that you don’t come across very often in an on-going comic book series - namely a beginning, a middle and an ending.
** The narrative placed the young sister, Taya, as the central character for most of the issue and it was with relief that I discovered Peter Milligan hadn’t the adopted obvious formulaic approach of having her wind up becoming another Red Lantern.
** As the fourth chapter in the ‘Rise of the Third Army’, Red Lanterns #13 works very well.  We have witnessed the parasitic spread of the Army take place gradually over theprevious three episodes.  Now we’re invited to explore their disturbing mission in greater detail.  The tension has been built up sufficiently and now it is ready to pop.
The Bad:
** The dialogue in this book continues to irk me a little.  For the most part the characters talk as if they have just walked off the set of an English period drama.  Even the neanderthalic villains of the piece annunciate with all the clarity of a trained butler.
** The Thirdites (I made that word up.  Feel free to use it!) weakness is in their eyes.  The seemingly invincible, ring-energy-proof servants of the Guardians can be taken down in one with a swift chopstick to the eyeball.  They have gone from ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘ scary to pretty lame.  It’s reminiscent of the Keepers in the first arc of the current Green Lantern Corps book who were impervious to the all-powerful GL rings but not to basic weaponry like lead bullets.
** There are too many narrative voices taking centre stage.  Three different characters, Taya, Atrocitus and Red Lantern Rankorr each take a turn as storyteller in the text boxes littering this issue.  It’s a bit distracting for a book that only runs to 20 pages.
The Ugly:
** Miguel Sepulveda appears not to have received the editorial memo explaining what the Thirdites looked like (see what I did there?).  Or rather he received and chose to ignore it in favour of his own brand of over the top grotesque that suits the tone of Red Lanterns so well.  The creatures are positively skeletal here in comparison to their depictions in the other GL titles brought out earlier this month.  Hip bones and rib cages are on full shocking display. 
** Carrying on in the same vein the transformation of a regular person is handled very differently in this book.  Whereas victims elsewhere are touched by a Third Army recruit and shown to have their mouths seal over in the first stage of their mutation, in this case a web fluid extends from their captor’s fingers and wraps itself around their mouth and face.  I actually like the effect quite a lot but it is inconsistent with the rest of the titles included in the ‘Rise’ event.
** Atrocitus rips King Cord’s head clean off his torso in a bloody display fitting for the commander of a rage powered lantern corps.  For gore fans like me it is a juicy delight of a panel.

So there you have it. Red Lanterns #13 shares a few great touches and woeful errors in common with the most famous of spaghetti westerns. However, while the book is certainly worth a read, it is never going to be a timeless classic.

Monday 5 November 2012



Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #21, 2008

This panel really tickled me.  I love Obsidian's line.  It must be the only time the poor kid ever got to live up to his role as a Green Lantern legacy character.

In the spirit of openess I have to confess that I've pulled the image from a forum message board.  My own books are MIA.  I'm more than happy if somebody wants to chip in and correct me on the issue reference.

Sunday 4 November 2012


I was recently honored to have Flodo’s Page nominated for a Reader Appreciation Award by fellow blogger and legend among geeks Paul Bowler of the Sci-Fi Jubilee blog.

The Reader Appreciation Award is like a chain letter of goodness passed between bloggers who recommend their own favorite blogs to their readers. I think it’s a great way to give a pat on the back to some lovely peeps out there and to let them know their contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed.  

It’s all about spreading the word and bringing us together as an interweb community. So in the case of this award every nominee is a winner. Thanks Paul!

There are a few rules attached which can vary slightly from blog to blog. So here’s my version of proceedings for any nominee who wants to be our very own Torchbearer, Kyle Rayner, and carry on the tradition of the Reader Appreciation Award. (And there is definitely no obligation here – your blog has been included because I think it’s pretty darn cool!):

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their site.
2. Pick 10-15 blogs that inspire you and link forwards to their sites.
3. Answer 10 questions posed by the person who nominated you.
4. Ask 10 questions for your own nominees to answer.
5. Include the Reader Appreciation Award logo on your blog post.
6. Get in touch with as many of your nominees as possible to let them
 know how great they are!!

So here we go… in a twist from the standard award process all of my nominees are comic book based so expect some very geeky questions to follow…

The blogs that most entertain and inspire me are, in no particular order:

Some of these guys and gals post more frequently than others but all are well worth a few minutes of your time, so check them out.

Now the questions…

Paul asked his nominees:

1: What is the scariest film you have ever seen?

   The only film I have ever hidden behind the sofa for was Superman 3 when all the computer bits leeched onto that evil old lady and transformed her into some sort of cyborg thing.

2: Have you ever judged a book by its cover and been wrong?

   Yes. Terry Pratchett is my favorite author by a long country mile but the first time I saw the genius etchings of the late Josh Kirby I wasn’t at all sure that this was for me… and I was WRONG!

3: Say you had a Star Trek transporter, where on Earth would you beam to right now?

   The top of Everest. I’d love to say I’ve been there but I’m not about to put in the sort of effort required to get myself up the tallest mountain in the world.

4: How would you pass the time on a long train journey?

   Comic book podcasts… Raging Bullets, Podcast of Oa, Lanterncast, We Talk Comics, Incompetent Comic Cabal, The Mean Geek, The Comic Cast and IGN Assemble to name but a few. And there are loads more out there that I also love, so go find them all!

5: If you could be a superhero for a day, who would you be?

   Like, well, maybeee… Green Lantern, of course!!

6: Are you bothered about seeing a film in 3D?

   Basically no. Green Lantern was ruined for me by viewing it in 3D (and I actually quite like that movie). The only 3D film I’ve ever really enjoyed is Dredd3D which is A-MAZ-ING! Go watch it…

7: Doctor Who has a TARDIS, which time & place would you like to visit?

   The ancient Aztecs. I’d really love to see how they managed to build all that stuff up a mountain at the dawn of man’s technological development.

8: Lots of Zombies are outside the house. Do you wait for help or try to escape?

   Would entirely depend on the rations I had available. If the cupboard was bare I’d be making for the local Kwik-E-Mart tout suite.

9: Which Star Wars Trilogy is best: Prequel or Original?

   Original. No contest.

10: If you had a chat show, who would you like to interview?

   Geoff Johns… and we wouldn’t be cutting to commercials until I found out if he really has a 20 million year plan or if he’s making Green Lantern up as he goes along (which is fine by me either way).


OK, so now for my questions. If you don’t read comics this is going to be pretty boring for you (also, how did you end up on Flodo’s Page?!):

1. DC, Marvel or Other? Which comics publisher is your favorite?

2. Who is you favorite writer or artist currently working?

3. Who is your favorite writer or artist from the past?

4. What superhero do you think makes the best team player?

5. Whose superhero costume do you hate the most, and why?

6. If you could bring one title back from comic book limbo what would it be?

7. What’s the best comic book cover you’ve ever seen?

8. Comic book action figures – way cool, or a step to far?

9. What was the best comic book single issue that you read in the last 2 months?

10. Finally, the age old question: if you were writing, who would win a fight between Superman and Hulk? What’s your logic?

So there it is. Have fun answering your questions. The blogs nominated here are some of my favorite but if they’re not the one for you, keeping looking because there are tons of geek-related blog sites out here… yours is just a click away.

And thanks once again to Paul Bowler of Sci-Fi Jubilee.


Friday 2 November 2012

Construct of the Week #16

Construct: Flyswatter
Generated by: Hal Jordan
Quit bugging me, Black Hand...
Appeared in: Green Lantern #147 (vol.2), 1981