Wednesday 27 February 2013

A History Lesson; or, Comics in Unusual Places

A scholarly fellow with whom I am acquainted contacted me out of the blue today to ask, "How long has there been a Green Lantern in Earth's sector?"  Keen to impress with my knowledge (which doesn't happen very often with this particular gentleman), I was just about to share all I know about a billion year old Corps and the first publication dates of both the Golden-Age and Silver-Age Green Lantern titles when he came back with, "1643?"

Now I was thoroughly confused and demanded further explanation.  It transpired my friend was locked in the study of a historic sermon addressed to the British House of Commons when he came across the following passage:

"the darknesse of the blackest nights was past over without feare, and in so great security, as the light of the fairest dayes."
A coincidence perhaps but you've got to wonder if Robert Baylie (1599 - 1662), minister for Glasgow, was a little bit clairvoyant, or had even been the recipient of a visitation by a strange green figure from the stars...

Monday 25 February 2013


Welcome to the first B'zzd review, a short format blog post named after the tiny wasp-like sector partner of Mogo who showed size was irrelevant when he defeated the formidable Sinestro Corps usurper, Mongul. Basically the trials of real life (and a little laziness) have made it impossible to keep up with my own self-imposed review schedule. So in future I am going to mix up my standard spoiler articles with these punchy little B'zzd reviews. So without further ado...


- For the first time since Kyle's quest to master the emotional spectrum began I feel he has actually been challenged with his struggle to obtain the violet energy of love. His refusal to battle to the death with former father figure, Ganthet, shows what a great writer Tony Bedard can be when he is at his best. This is what I had hoped to get from this story arc all along.

- Kyle's back story seems to be suffering from a fair amount of New 52 confusion of late. It is not clear (to me anyway) how much of his life as the GL torchbearer has been retconned. Certainly the party he hosts for Ganthet doesn't fit with any version of events that I am familiar with but it does have the bonus Easter egg of the first reference in the post-Flashpoint universe to historic fan favourites like G'Nort and Arisia.


- Aaron Kuder's art is a welcome improvement on recent fill-in artists but he does not seem to have got to grips Kyle's look at all. In the party scene mentioned above where Kyle appears without his mask I was confused to see two John Stewarts standing inches from one another!

- The only other problem that I had with GL:NG #16 was the couple of panels where they attempted to tie in Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1.  I thought it was a mistake in that book to include the current New Guardian line-up with the story that Keith Giffen wanted to tell and I think it’s a mistake to drag up the memory again here as Star Sapphire and her merry ring-slingers returnfrom their sci-fi misadventure.

Beware its power:

- Without a doubt the most amazing moment of this whole book is when Kyle becomes a White Lantern.  The culmination of 16 months of build-up from when the coloured rings first sought out the Green Lantern in the very first issue, through his transformation into an out of control Mega-Lantern in GL:NG #2 and the gathering of his power in the last few issues.  Ganthet drills him with an energy blast from behind, a kill shot.  The power of the seven emotions come together in that moment and breathes life back into his broken body.  New colourist Wil Quintana deserves a medal for his work throughout these pages but in the full page splash of Rayner embracing the spectrum and transcending all of its facets he truly excels himself.  I haven’t felt like this good about Kyle since Green Lantern #145 (vol. 3) when Kyle defeated Nero in the ‘Battle of Fire and Light’ and became Ion.  The Third Army and their twisted masters, the Guardians of the Universe, had better stand well back because White Lantern is coming to Oa and he isn’t going to be pulling his punches.


Wednesday 20 February 2013

Changing Of The Guardians - A New Era For Green Lantern

  Last week DC Comics announced via the Associated Press that Geoff Johns will be ending his legendary run on Green Lantern with issue #20 (vol. 5).  l received the news via Twitter. I am lucky to be counted among the Green Lantern Twitter community and my thanks goes out to all the Fanterns who are kind enough to include me in their discussions.

Geoff has done much work in expanding the GL mythos and I would be frustrated if he was replaced by someone who did not cherish the source material as he does.  My favourite fanboy catchphrase is “In Johns we trust.”  As well as the obvious disappointment of losing one of the greats, my immediate thoughts after reading the news were occupied with the future.  If I were in control at DC I would switch Peter J. Tomasi up to the main Green Lantern title and get Tony Bedard back to what he does best writing Green Lantern Corps. Green Lantern: New Guardians would make a great title for a new creator to find their feet in the massive and presumably daunting world of the GL universe.  I tweeted my fanciful wish list to mixed reaction.

Imagine my surprise then the following day when further news hit my feed that it wasn't just Geoff that was moving on.  It was all change at GL with writers calling it a day on all four lantern books.  While other fans cried 'foul' to DC I couldn't believe my luck. I was convinced my premonition would come to pass.  In my interpretation of Johns' blog post on DC’s own website he is bequeathing the upkeep of the legacy to Tomasi.  Of course, you could take it as a final thank-you to Tomasi before he too moves on to pastures new but I chose not to.

Johns won't be completely detached from the green as he shifts his focus over to Justice League.  In light of the news of his departure it seems like Simon Baz might be a bit of a parting gift from Johns to himself.  Only the Chief Creative Officer of DC could get away with creating a brand new lantern to pack in his box of tricks for his new project.  Solicits reveal Baz will be feature in the government sanctioned super team, Justice League of America.

I am hoping for a bold ending from Geoff Johns for a run that rescued the franchise from relative obscurity in 2004 and put the character front and centre in the DC Comics line up.  Perhaps more so than ever before.  I mentioned in a previous post that I think he should decimate the coloured Corps of the emotional spectrum and strip Green Lantern back to basics.  This would give whoever takes over a fresh crack at the whip without being encumbered with the heavy burden of living up to Johns' legend. With the levels of power wielded by the First Lantern in the current crossover arc a complete do-over is entirely possible.

I don't know where this tactic would leave New Guardians. Perhaps the book will be ended which I hope is not the case.  As an alternative direction Kyle and whoever joins him could be literal Guardians of the white light of life.

Personally I am just about done with Red Lanterns in its current format despite my anticipation of the Inversions return. Maybe some new blood (no apologies for the double meaning) could be just what this title needs.

The impact of Johns’ departure cannot be underestimated.  At the same time he leaves behind a comic book franchise that is in high demand from the fans.  A few readers may drop off and follow him to his other books but then again, if DC play their cards right, this could be the jumping on point for new readers who missed out on the fresh beginnings experienced in most other titles with the publication of the New 52.

Only this morning fellow lantern aficionado @CorwinC sent me a link to the news released via MTV Geek revealing the names of all of the writers and artists who will be taking the reins of the GL universe.  As ever, my predictions were 100% wrong.  All four titles (possibly five if the debate around Larfleeze breaking out of Threshold holds water) have brand new creative teams.  A clean sweep.  Not that I am disappointed.  Robert Venditti has had nothing but good press for his work on X-O Manowar at Valiant Comics.  And Billy Tan’s first art release speaks for itself.  They will be working together on the main Green Lantern title.  Similarly the other names in the mix are being lauded as team-ups with great potential.  I'm excited to be in on the ground floor of a new era in the lantern mythology.  Venditti has already set himself a massive challenge in his first interview since the news broke, “If we execute the story the way we hope to, it’ll tie together every Lantern of every Corps who has ever appeared in any comic book.  Ever.  We’re going all in.”  I only hope he realises he is talking about a billion years of history here!
Green Lantern by Billy Tan
From the way things have been shaping up in recent books it looks like the Guardians of the Universe are on the way out too.  What this means for the Corps remains to be seen.  It is worth recalling the last time the Guardians disappeared from our pages in the mid-80s leaving the Corps to fend for themselves.  Hal Jordan, John Stewart and co. formed the Green Lantern Corps of Earth while Flodo Span and his companions became the Green Lantern Corps of the Klyminade.  Will power endured, the Corps survived and the Guardians returned because in comics nothing is forever.  The same is true of the printed page and the publishing office.  In recent times Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman and others have returned to the characters that made them famous and there is no reason why we couldn’t be saying the same thing about Geoff Johns in the not too distant future.  And it sounds like we have a lot to look forward to with our new Green Lantern creators in the meantime.   


Saturday 16 February 2013


 Wednesday 23rd January 2013 was unofficially branded Green Lantern Day. Due to last minute changes in their publishing schedule DC Comics released Green Lantern #16, Green Lantern Corps #16 and Green Lantern: New Guardians #16 all on the same day. The excitement amongst Lantern fans was high and, given the recent disappointment of all three titles, I am pleased to report our excitement was suitably matched by great improvements in quality and storytelling.
For the first time since ‘Rise of the Third Army’ began 13 issues previously we finally got two books where the story lead naturally from one title to the next in a way that fans would traditionally expect of a crossover.  While GL:NG continues to tell its own story with Kyle Rayner (and more of that soon here at Flodo’s Page), Green Lantern and GLC form a two part story in which our heroes begin to turn the tide on the Guardians’ mindless forces.  I suspect the event was produced with the specific goal of making each book able to stand on its own so that readers weren’t put off by feeling obliged to pick all four participating titles.  For me, however, this diminished the appeal.  I was getting the all of books because they shared the ‘Rise…’ banner and the fact that they lacked cohesion was ultimately a factor that detracted from my overall satisfaction.
Thankfully I can put all of that bad feeling behind me now.  Green Lantern #16 marks Simon Baz’s first real introduction to the Corps.  Veteran Lantern B’dg has arrived on the scene looking for Hal Jordan and is surprised to find Baz wearing a power ring that had been shared by Hal and Sinestro.  He is even more surprised to discover it depowered and on the finger of Earth’s newest recruit.  And so begins Green Lantern ring slinging 101 – class is in session.
One of the main focuses in the issue is building Baz’s reputation and proving he is worthy to be a member of the Corps.  Rather than go with FBI agent Fed to prove his innocence of the terrorist charges that have been levelled at him, he puts his GL mission first and follows B’dg in the search for Jordan.  In the meantime Fed places a call to Amanda Waller.  Cue introduction to JLA, the newest offering from DC Comics coming out in February.

Before he can do anything Baz needs a ring charge. Luckily squirrels from across the universe all speak the same language and the furry B’dg is able to get directions from the local wildlife to where Hal and Sinestro dropped their lantern in Green Lantern Annual #1, right before the Guardians helped Black Hand banish them to the Dead Zone.  I don’t know about anyone else but I get goosebumps every time the oath appears in a GL book and now is no exception.  Baz, of course, doesn’t know the oath so in a novel twist the lantern itself takes over the master class and says the sacred words for him, “Beware YOUR power, Green Lantern’s light!”

As with most geeks, I’m a bit of a stickler for accuracy in my comics so correct me in the comments for this post if you think I’ve got the next bit wrong.  We see B’dg returning the lantern to the pocket dimension it was removed from.  Now we know from the first arc of the current Green Lantern Corps run that GLs no longer use a pocket dimension for storing power battery (Hal kept his in his locker at Ferris Air).  So does this mean that B’dg has just sent Baz’s lantern back to Sinestro’s ‘Batcave’ hideout?
In any case, he unravels the message that we saw stored in the ring in GL#12 which basically gives us a recap of what happened to Hal and Sinestro in the annual.  He pockets the Book of Black and then makes the mistake of telling Simon he cannot keep the ring, that it must be returned to Hal Jordan.  As you would expect of any wielder of willpower Baz takes this as a challenge and sets off on his own mission which will test the ring’s powers to the limit.  Along the way he effortlessly conjures up a phone construct and calls his sister to meet him at the hospital.

Simon Baz’s plan is to do the impossible.  To use the ring to wake his brother-in-law from a coma.  B’dg tells him the ring can’t be used to raise the dead or cure any ill.  We’re not living in the silver age any more where the Green Lantern Power ring changed at the whim of a writer from one week to the next and all things were possible.  Nevertheless Simon summons up all of his determination to force the green energy it into his best friend’s motionless body.  The writing and the art complement each other brilliantly here.  Geoff Johns doesn’t rush the pace, giving time for Doug Mahnke to depict a true effort of will.  Sparks crackle of both men and tears stream down the Lantern’s grimaced face.  Just when all seems fruitless Nazir rises from his hospital bed, much to the astonishment of B’dg and the watching doctors.
Through the overused narrative device of a television newsflash the GL’s learn of Guy Gardner’s imprisonment and take to the skies out nearest window moments before police come crashing into the room.  Their fate awaits them in Green Lantern Corps #16.
In the meantime Johns brings us back to the Dead Zone for the big reveal of the hooded character who has been leading Hal and Sinestro through the zone.  And the mysterious figure is… (drumroll… trumpets…) Tomar-Re!  In the original silver age origin Tomar-Re was the first Green Lantern Hal Jordan came into contact with after the death of Abin Sur.  He met his death at the hands of long-time GL villain Goldface during the time of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’.  In all my wildest speculation it never once crossed my mind that Tomar-Re would be the man behind the hood and let me tell you now, my little fanboy heart leaped in my chest and I couldn’t possibly be happier.
The deceased hero warns that the First Lantern must be stopped before reality unravels and “changes lantern history as we know it.”  The cynic in me says, “Oh, Green Lantern’s very own Flashpoint.  How convenient”.
Putting all that aside I continued in my Green Lantern Day celebrations by immediately turning to Green Lantern Corps #16where the Guardians of the universe continue to show little of the emotionless balance they profess to hold so dear. Instead they submit to downright pettiness as they turn the Third Army’s attention towards Guy Gardner. The news that the recently resigned GL has been jailed on Earth is again received via the device of a corny TV newsflash, only this time it is transmitted a billion miles telepathically via the eyes of a Thirdite on the rampage in Atlanta Georgia.

If there was ever any doubt that Guy is as hard as the proverbial nails this issue quells it.  He knocks out his huge cell mate with a single below without so much as raising his head from its melancholic stupor.  Playing successfully off the rebooted origin featured in Green Lantern Corps #0 Guy’s brother and sister visit him in prison only to wind up standing shoulder to shoulder with him as the Third Army assimilate everyone around them.  The Gardner family are made of sterner stuff than your average Joe.

The action briefly hops several sectors away to where John Stewart and Fatality have encountered a giant spaceship threatening a defenceless world.  The ship’s weapon is powered by fragments of the GL fan favourite Mogo, a former sentient planet destroyed by Stewart himself.  One thing I love about Green Lantern is the scale of the world they operate in.  With 7,000 Corps members policing an entire universe rescuing a planet single-handedly is basically a pre-requisite for the job. And teamed with a Star Sapphire?  Let’s just say those terrorists really didn’t stand a chance.  Peter J. Tomasi has been teasing Mogo’s revival for several issues now we are hanging on a knife edge of ‘is he or isn’t he?”.  The answer must surely be just around the corner.

Back on Earth the heroics continue as Baz and B’dg join the fray.  Again, in GLC #16 the new Lantern’s portrayal is the epitome of of a comic book stalwart.  He is brave and ferocious.  He is self-assured but his priority is protecting the people around him from becoming victim to the Third Army.  He shares many of these traits with Guy Gardner and I loved when the veteran showed his admiration saying, “Kids got a little outlaw in his eyes”.  A very Guy kind of compliment.

I did wonder how the Green Lantern rings have suddenly become so effective on the Thirdites?  The green energy can blast great chunks out of the creatures now whereas previously in this event they are shown to be impervious to its attack.  However, I am entirely prepared to let it pass.  The battle scene was tremendous.  Tomasi has a knack for writing Green Lantern Corps like the very best war movies.  The heroes hold their own against impossible odds and finally secure victory by containing their enemy in a construct and detonating two dozen army missiles on them. Fernando Pasarin matches the tempo with his art.  Every panel is packed with action.  Exploding weapons and exploding guts.  Bodies flying in all directions.  I have heard criticism of some comic art as visually static.  Completely contrary to that description, GLC #16 is powered along by characters in constant motion.

The story ends on the moon with Guy learning Hal’s and Sinestro’s garbled message. Before that we confirm a response to the question that has persistently followed Simon Baz since DC released the first images of him last summer. Unusually for a Green Lantern he carries a gun. He has been caught out by the ring running out of charge once already and he is not about to get left without a weapon again.

Without a shadow of a doubt I can say that these were two great issues. The Green Lantern team is firing on all cylinders again. Our Emerald Crusaders show their willpower in abundance, courageously overcome fear and shed their unflinching light over evil. The conclusion of ‘Rise of the Third Army’ in Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 promises to be a hell of a showdown between the Guardians and their Corps.


Saturday 9 February 2013

Construct of the Week #21

Generated by: Stel
Construct: Rocket Body
I'll be honest... I haven't really thought this through.
Appeared in:
Green Lantern Corps #25 (vol.2), 2008