Monday 24 December 2012


'Tis the season to be jolly...  Of course, when it comes to jovial Green Lanterns, John Stewart isn't the first recruit that pops into our head.  Long-time readers of this blog will be familiar with my particular fondness for Gerard Jones' series Green Lantern: Mosaic.  Lying at the root of this series was the desire to confront poignant issues of the day in a no holds barred free-for-all of ideas and commentary.  All done via the exploration of a patchwork nation of alien species forced together by a mad Guardian.

Traditional concepts were turned on their head so often that the reader's brain began spinning in sympathy.  And yet through all of the chaos Jones managed to elevate the reluctant protector of the Mosaic world to a role that was as much of educator and spiritual guide as it was a policeman.  He held up a code of morality which, ultimately, the reader found they were being measured against too.

So when it came to the celebration of Christmas in Mosaic #9 it should come as no surprise that our traditional Christmas story has been given a uniquely John Stewart revamp.

Like most things on the Mosaic answers don't come easy and certainly aren't straightforward.  This isn't a cheeseball story where the Justice League put on Santa hats and save an orphanage.  But the meaning is there and it is powerful.  It reminds us how important loved ones are and why, no matter what we practice in our own spiritual life, we need to take time to experience joy in the company of one another.
A lesson for our times...

"Merry Ch'pmas"


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Construct of the Week #19

Construct: Abstract Octopus
Generated by: Abin Sur

Weird, is it? I can do weird...

Appeared in: Tales of the
Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, 1986


Thursday 13 December 2012


Fourteen months in and I finally feel like I’ve turned a corner with Red Lanterns.  Out of the four titles in the shared lantern universe this one seems to be benefiting most from the Rise of the Third Army crossover.  For a start it is the only book that shows any character development of the Thirdite creatures themselves.  I guess Peter Milligan has an advantage over other writers in that he spent the best part of a year struggling to give personality to a mindless Red Lantern Corps.  Who would have predicted in the early stages of the run that Atrocitus would eventually utter the immortal words seen in this issue, “I sense that you are the most intelligent and trustworthy of my Corps, Ratchet.”?  Now that he has actually achieved sentience for the RLs he seems to be finding it a straightforward matter to chart a development for the Guardian’s own mute army.

I never expected to be in a position where Red Lanterns is not sitting at the bottom of my GL stack but I have no qualms in admitting that this book is considerably better than Green Lantern: New Guardians #14 released the previous week.  I’d even take my compliment a step further.  RL #14 has the feel of a Gerard Jones era GL book.  The characterisation is strong, the narrative is reflective without being laboured and, in terms of the storytelling, nothing can be taken for granted.  Sure, dialogue is a tad clumsy here and there but it comes across more as charming than stilted.  This is a vast improvement on earlier issues in my mind.

The story opens on the rage corps swamped in Thirdites and giving as good as they get in hand to hand combat.  Even to hold their own in this scenario is a great deal more than the Green Lantern Corps have achieved up until now.  Of course, they are helped by the fact that Atrocitus has apparently developed the powers of Atom Smasher.  Either he has turned into a giant on the first splash page or his corps have been attacked by a battalion of Third Army smurfs.

I mentioned in previous reviews that Miguel Sepulveda’s art sets a great tone for what is essentially a horror comic posing as an anti-hero book.  I’ve also mentioned how he appears to have thrown out the style notes that would have been drafted for the crossover.  Well, now he has also thrown out the long-established rule book on form and perspective too.  Rankorr continues to show his conflicted human side by having doubts about killing a creature that had only just been transformed.  In the dialogue this is attributed to the victim’s eyes not having been changed with the rest of her, which fits in nicely with everything we have been shown previously.  But Sepulveda unnecessarily telegraphs her tragedy by drawing her with a distinguishable hairstyle that is not at all in keeping with our understanding of the Third Army’s transformation.

On the whole, however, the art is to be commended.  It is brutal and bloody when needed and the dramatic stylised panels are much clearer than they have any right to be given the amount of viscous flying around the place!
Atrocitus carries one of the corpses back to his home world for study and applies a combination of science and magic learnt over the course of many centuries to divine that his enemies were spawned by the Guardians in order to conquer the universe.  He realises his corps is vastly underpowered for a successful confrontation with the Oans and so he sets each of them a mission of revenge which will draw strength for their red power battery.  The book shows a rare glimpse of humour when Bleez  wisecracks about being typecast as she is instructed to seek out crimes of passion.  Milligan has found his voice and is able to utilise light and shade in a much more effective way than was the case five and ten issues ago.  He is no longer bogged down in the overtly philosophical burdens of his agents of vengeance.
As all of this was happening the lantern’s magic was having unexpected side effects on the subject of their recent autopsy.   In a further example of Milligan’s improved sense of balance a terrifying panel of a rat being sucked into the corpse’s remnants is juxtaposed with Dex-Starr, the rage kitty, giving a goofy shrug at its disappearance.   What then follows is the creation of a monstrous beast that is part rat and part skeletal spider.  It took a combination of Atrcocitus’ blood magic and Rankorr’s ring construct to eventually defeat the abhorrence.  I enjoyed Milligan’s exploration of the skill that Rankorr possesses which is common amongst Green Lanterns but unique to him within the Red Lantern Corps.  This definitely opens the doors for some intriguing storylines in the future.

In order to exorcize the inner doubts that hold him back from fulfilling his lantern duties Rankorr is ordered to Earth to have revenge on those who first enraged him.  He quickly realises that the planet of his birth can never be his home again.  Meanwhile Atrocitus is facing his own demons on the barren wasteland of his destroyed native planet, Ryutt.  His plan is to take control over the robotic Manhunters who slaughtered his species and turn them against their former masters.  He presumes the Guardian’s minions will not be able to forcibly induct an inorganic foe into their army.  Things take a turn for the worse when his memories of that fateful day seemingly become reality.  Ryuttians are brought to life before his eyes before being horribly slaughtered by the Manhunters all over again.  It remains to be seen how and why this tragic event is taking place.

The pacing of the issue was excellent.  An incredible amount of action is crammed into these twenty pages without feeling rushed or under-explored.  The crossover event and the story of the Red Lanterns themselves are both progressed with losing out to the other.  If the book can maintain the same level of quality next month with the added sprinkle of an invincible regiment of Manhunters I will be a very happy lantern fan.

Thursday 6 December 2012


An undeniable hierarchy exists among the superheroes of DC Comics.  Its a ranking that is touted by fans and, more often than not, upheld within the pages of the comic books themselves. 

And head and shoulders above all others, above the Legion, above the Titans, above the irreproachable Justice League even, stands the Trinity.  They are the royal family of the DC Universe.  Superman, Batman, and Wonder Women; the heavy hitters of a publishing giant.  The grouping of the Trinity is so significant that it has been the central subject of a least two limited series in the last 10 years.
Well, this is the New 52 and it's time to rewrite the history books...
The power of the Emerald Crusader has finally been given due recognition and Green Lantern has been promoted to the big time (well, according to Stormwatch #15 anyway).
As earth's oldest protectors Stormwatch have a long history of defending our planet against the dangers of metahumans, and in the Age of the Superhero they have identified the three greatest threats to their mission as Superman, Batman and Green Lantern.  That's right.. not Wonder Woman.  Green Lantern.
Therefore, ladies, gentlemen and visiting aliens of the galaxy, it gives me great pleasure to present to you your new Trinity: 

I've been waiting 53 years for this promotion...

Wednesday 5 December 2012



This is going to be another short catch-up review but the fact that I’m writing it at all is a little bit begrudgingly.  Whereas in my last review Green Lantern Corps #14 demanded commentary, I am of the opinion that GL:NG #14 is, by comparison, distinctly average.  This is disappointing for me to admit.  Until the zero issue this title was in my top 5 books month in, month out.  When I first discovered the current arc would focus on Kyle Rayner’s quest to master the emotional spectrum I was very excited.  I was looking forward to a change of pace growing out of a Kyle-centric story.  But if we were to take the analogy of an artist embracing his talents to create a masterpiece, this effort is painting by numbers at best.

The tale of a Green Lantern wielding all the powers of the other lantern corps should be immense.  I liken the concept to a quality martial arts film where the student develops under the tutelage of the legendary sensei.  Alas, this is not what we are given here.  It seems the skills Kyle gains are being ticked off a list in a perfunctory fashion.  Considering it is feat that has never been attempted by a Green Lantern before, his ability to take control of these energies comes a little too easily for my taste.


I’m not saying the book doesn’t have any merits.  It’s just that they are outweighed on the scale of excellence by irksome details that frustrate any attempt to become absorbed in the storytelling.  Nei Ruffino’s colours are great but the pencils are weak in the main.  I mentioned in my reflection on GL:NG #13 that the art has the appearance of a Saturday morning cartoon.  Well, the cartoon in question definitely isn’t Young Justice.  Its more like an episode of The Funky Phantom with its endlessly repeating backgrounds and not scary monsters.  Even the panels were Arkillo and Kyle confront their greatest fears while being tortured by constructs of Sinestro and Ganthet lack the dynamic, terrifying effect I’m sure that artists Andrei Bressan and Amilcar Pinna were going for.

It is interesting that this is the first chapter of the 'Rise of the Third Army' event that does not include any reference to the Thirdite creatures themselves.  Instead Tony Bedard explores the recently revealed alliance between the Zamarons and the Guardians of the Universe.  But again its not particularly gripping.  The Guardians are presented as stereotypical bogeymen.  They are missing the crazed zeal of the Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi versions depicted in the other GL titles.

As a side note I've always had questions over the reinvention of Zamarons.  They have been given a purple skin tone that is much closer to the traditional Maltusan blue than their original Caucasian look… makes sense.  I love that their redesigned attire continues to pay tribute to the Amazonian battledress worn by the all-female race in earlier appearances.  What I don’t get is why they have evolved to no longer have need of a nose?  They’ve not got an air-breathing, sh*t-smelling nostril between them!

Anyway.  Back to the book.

Kyle obtains the power of the Indigo Tribe - check.  (And he asks did Indigo-1 if she knew Hal Jordan.  Seriously… I’m starting to wonder if he was even around for Blackest Night because he's finding it real hard to keep track of who knows who these days).  Kyle gets the power of the Yellow Lanterns – check.  (He also attracts another side-kick in Arkillo, who isn’t needed in other GL books in the way that Indigo Leader or her Red Lantern counterpart from last month are).  Kyle flies off to find Larfleeze and master the ancient and selfish power of Agent Orange in five minutes flat – check.  (Bonus prize to be confirmed).