Today’s wallpaper is courtesy of Wallbase
The standard by which all other Green Lanterns are measured. The first human to be chosen by the Green Lantern Corps…Hal Jordan, Green Lantern of Sector 2814.
Download this wallpaper here
New York Times best-selling writer Geoff Johns opens up about his final issue of Green Lantern. Beginning with 2004′s Green Lantern: Rebirth, Johns has been the custodian of the adventures of Hal Jordan for nearly a decade and recently introduced novice GL, Simon Baz, to a new generation of readers.
Johns, along with artist Ethan Van Sciver, had been instrumental in reintroducing the Silver Age version of the classic superhero to the DC Universe, to much success and critical acclaim, as well as contributing much to the modern-day mythos, such as the various color spectrums and the respective members of their corps.
The special deluxe size issue, Green Lantern #20, will bring Johns’ tenure to a close, featuring an epic 66-page story, which will include 55 pages of art by current artist, Doug Mahnke, and special guest appearances from superstar artists Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Cully Hamner, Aaron Kuder, and Jerry Ordway, among others. Rumor is, the final four pages will also hold a few surprises, in classic Johns fashion.
Here’s what Johns had to say about his final issue:
“I’m extremely grateful for being able to conclude our run on Green Lantern with this monster of an issue. I’m moving on, feeling very proud of what my creative collaborators and I have done over the years with the Green Lantern universe. Thanks to all the readers out there who’ve been with us for this adventure. I can’t wait until #20 is in your hands — the last several pages in particular.”
The issue will also include a special retrospective by Johns, himself, as he takes the readers on a journey through his run from the last nine years. Take a look at the special sneak preview below and be sure to pick up this important issue when it hits the stands and digital platforms on May 22nd!
So, who’s picking up Injustice: Gods Among Us today? Or maybe you picked it up at midnight? Either way, you don’t want to wait to grab this gem. To say that Injustice has been an anticipated video game is an understatement. Even uber-geeks Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are excited. With the advent of the Dark Knight trilogy, the Spider-Man reboot, Phase One of the Marvel Universe movies, and an upcoming Superman movie, even the people who picked on superhero fans in high school are in love with superheroes now. We are in the Golden Age of superheroes, and there really couldn’t be a better time to release what is essentially a superhero Mortal Kombat.
If you’re a geek, or if you run in geek circles, you’ve surely over heard (or over-had, as is the case with some of us) what we call “the great debate”: Superman VS Batman (etc). In our house, we’re excited for the chance to prove who’s butt belongs to whom (referring to in-game characters, as well as to our gaming selves). We’re also excited to super-suit up in what we believe will be one heck of a storyline…but what we’re really excited for is the mini Firefly reunion taking place! If you haven’t looked yet, run over to IMDB and take a look at the voice acting credits. You’ll notice that they got Steven Amell to continue in his role of Green Arrow (Or should we just say “Arrow”?), for which fans of the current series couldn’t be happier; however, if you scroll way down to the bottom you’ll see everyone’s favorite pilot, Alan Tudyk with the credit of ‘voice’. So, whose voice is he? After some research (or maybe you’ve heard), you find yourself asking, “Two Green Arrows?” Yes, there are two Green Arrow voice actors in Injustice: Gods Among Us. From what we can tell, Steven Amell voices him when you have him suited up in TV’s Arrow costume while Alan Tudyk reprises Young Justice’s bearded Robin Hood.
Why IMDB relegated Alan Tudyk to ‘voice’ rather than mentioning that he’s voicing one of DC’s most popular characters is beyond us, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s not until you click the “Show Entire Cast” button that you see another heavy hitter mentioned. The man we call Jayne is soon to be the man we call Hal Jordan. …again (You guys know he voiced Green Lantern in Justice League Unlimited, right?).
The cast of Firefly has partaken of the DC video game cup before (Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres as Superman and Wonder Woman in DC Universe Online), but that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited to see (or hear) some of our favorite space cowboys (space pirates?) together again.
I’m just gonna wipe the tears from my eyes right now, if you don’t mind. I never would have thought that a show like Green Lantern: The Animated Series could end on such a bittersweet yet hopeful note. While the door is closed on the series (for now, at least), the creators were smart enough to give us a satisfying ending while leaving just enough of an opening for future stories to be told. The biggest surprise about the series is that, despite being called Green Lantern, the show was never really about its title character.
“Dark Matter” opens with the Guardians giving a remorseful rallying speech as they’re pretty much sending the corp to face Aya and the Manhunters, which could mean certain death should Aya succeed at recreating the universe in her image. Hal, feeling guilty that everything is his fault, consults the Oan archive and looks at a star chart of the systems destroyed by Aya. After a brief conversation with Tomar-Re, Hal discovers that the planets and systems absorbed by Aya were all uninhabited. Factoring in the knowledge that Aya was born from a sliver of the green entity within the Green Lantern battery, Hal puts it all together that Aya’s ability to feel empathy and sympathy prevented her from actually killing organic beings.
As the battle between the Green Lantern Corp and the Manhunters rages on, Hal arrives and basically confronts Aya head-on. Instead of listening to him, she allows him to be the last organic being alive so he can witness the end of the universe as he knows it. Not deterred in the slightest, Hal calls for Razer to be sent into the Anti-Monitor’s body by Kilowog and Guy Gardner. It’s their last ditch effort since Razer’s red constructs are the only thing that can truly penetrate green energy, which effectively forces Razer to be Aya’s assassin. Hal continues to appeal to Aya, showing her the recording of Scar’s admission that she is truly alive. Though Aya doesn’t believe him, the evidence speaks for itself and just as Razer is about to strike, Aya fires on him defensively, mortally wounding him. It’s enough to jar her out of her madness and she uses all the energy she absorbed to stop the universe from ending and heal Razer – with both finally admitting their love for each other in the process. Unfortunately, the Manhunters, all uploaded with pieces of Aya’s madness, are still firing on the Green Lanterns and the only way to stop them is to eliminate the Aya program, which includes Aya herself. Though Razer tries to stop her, it’s too late and one-by-one the Manhunters cease as Aya “dies” in Razer’s arms…again. But hope is not lost for Razer since he believes that a being as clever as Aya could never truly be dead. He decides to leave Oa in search of her with a Blue Lantern ring following him close behind.
As endings go, this one was a doozy and it gives you pretty much everything you’d want as a closer to both a season and a series. There’s a huge battle, the stakes are high, there’s emotional resonance, and it’s the completion of a character arc…but not for anyone with a green lantern ring. Though the show would have you believe, based on the title, that Hal is the main character, what we learn by the end of the series is that the true story of the show belongs to Razer. When we first met him at the beginning of the show, Razer was an angry, hate-filled Red Lantern more than willing to follow the orders of Atrocitus in order to get revenge for the destruction of his home world and the death of his wife. But by the end of the series, Razer has come to terms with his anger and, despite the loss of another love – multiple times – he doesn’t give in to his anger and rage. Instead, he retains hope that Aya is still alive and commits himself to searching for her, no matter how long it takes. That’s a real and true character arc.
In comparison, Hal never really goes through a character arc. From the beginning of the series we knew who Hal was and what he stood for. Yes, there were episodes where Hal “learned a lesson” or discovered the underhanded dealings of people he once trusted, but you can’t say that Hal actually changes in any way. He’s still reckless, still takes matters into his own hands, and other than a rekindled romance with Carol Ferris, his relationships with others remains the same. If you think about it, Hal is really more of a catalyst for the series. Had he not stolen the Interceptor, Razer never would have been captured and Aya would have remained an emotionless A.I. Through one act of defiance, Hal set in motion a pretty epic story. It just wasn’t his. He may be a little wiser for the events that have transpired, but nothing about Hal has fundamentally changed in the same way as Razer. The only thing you can say that’s truly changed about Hal is his perception of the Guardians, which I have to believe would have been the central story had the show gotten a second season. We’ve already met Sinestro, so it’s not hard to believe that the Sinestro Corp War would have made for a fantastic storyline. You may now proceed to cry over what might have been.
Final Thoughts: I’m glad I stuck with Green Lantern. It proved to be worth the time spent and I got to see the best parts of the Green Lantern mythos brought to animated life! If it never comes back, at least I know it ended on a hopeful note.
Nitpicker’s Corner: If the Manhunters are robots, why do they need ships?
DC Nation Short: Claymation superhero repeat
It’s sad to know that there’s only one episode left to go in Green Lantern. Considering the somewhat shaky start the series got, it certainly came into its own and the depth of storytelling the show has accomplished in only one season is commendable. That they managed to work in as much of the Green Lantern mythos as they did, make Hal a relatable and likeable character, and introduce new characters like Razer and Aya that we the audience have grown attached to shows the amount of dedication and love the creators have for the show. Like I’ve said before, I’m going to miss this show when it ends next week.
But enough sadness (there’ll be enough of that next time), we’ve got the penultimate episode to deal with! After using the Interceptor to ultra-warp Aya-Monitor away and prevent further galactic destruction, the boys are a tad stranded. There’s some more fighting between Kilowog and Razer that rehashes how they might have to completely destroy his girlfriend and blah, blah, blah. You know where this is going. Hal, however, keeps receiving a strange signal on his ring and when Appa appears, he believes the Guardians have been trying to get a hold of them. They haven’t. This is the first time Appa’s tried “calling” any Green Lanterns since learning that the Manhunters are focusing all of their attention on the abandoned planet of Ranx. Why are they so interested in the planet? Not even the Guardians know, but all Green Lanterns needed to get there yesterday.
When Hal and company arrive – only slightly late to the party – they find that Guy Gardner is leading the GL assault on the Manhunters. Guy’s apparently been promoted to Honor Guard as well, the fastest promotion ever. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with Hal who sees Guy’s strategy as fundamentally flawed considering the emotionally charged GL Corp will never be able to get the upper hand on robots programmed to detect and destroy emotions. Plus, the signal Hal’s been getting has strengthened since arriving near Ranx, leading him to believe that there’s someone on the planet calling for help. But how to get past the Manhunters? Luckily, Razer knows a technique learned from Saint Walker that could help them by purging themselves of emotions. It’s a risky move, and it almost works, until Razer hears Aya’s voice coming from one of the Manhunters. Unable to control his feelings, the guys hightail it to the surface of Ranx and are aided by the planet itself while being chased by Manhunters. Narrowly avoiding getting killed, they find that all is not as it appears when the distress signal Hal received came from none other than the disembodied head of the Anti-Monitor!
Machines are just so damn hard to get rid of, am I right? Apparently the life force of the Anti-Monitor jumped into his head after Aya ripped it off and the former god-like machine settled on Ranx in hopes of returning itself to its former glory. So why are the Manhunters so eager to take over Ranx? The Anti-Monitor, I guess while it was bumming around the galaxy during its college years, found a way to travel through time as a means of visiting the point of creation. Putting two and two together, the guys realize that Aya wants this technology so she can remake the universe, which is why the Anti-Monitor sent for help. As a sentient being, the GL Corp is required, by their own oath, to help it.
I feel like this episode should have been a two-parter. It feels like a set-up episode for a bigger pay-off that would’ve happened in part two. Hell, make this the first part of the three-part finale. Getting to Ranx and the assault on the planet took way more time in the episode considering the really good stuff, like the moral implications of protecting the Anti-Monitor and the almost certain conflicts Hal would’ve had with Appa and the Guardians over his decision, get resolved rather quickly in order to end the episode with Aya getting her time travel McGuffin and Razer coming to the conclusion that they need to stop her because she’s beyond saving. I understand why they did it, but it strikes me that there was a bit too much padding going on when the third act could have benefitted from more time to breathe. Not that I wasn’t entertained. I friggin’ LOVE Guy Gardner in this series!
Predictions for the Finale: Who has two thumbs and thinks Razer’s going to sacrifice himself to save the universe or save Aya? This girl! You just know it’s going to happen. Those two are going out with a bang! Probably in every literal sense.
DC Nation Short: Plastic Man is trapped inside a television set!
My apologies, but as I was otherwise occupied with Emerald City Comicon (posts to follow on that) and find myself recovering from the dreaded con-cold that most people tend to catch, there just isn’t enough time to fully delve into my regular cartoon reviews. The truth of the matter with this week’s batch of animation is that in light of season and series finales coming up, the storytelling is much more invested in wrapping things up in order to make the most impact when things come to a close. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it makes doing this recap a whole lot easier.
After another failed attempt to track and retrieve the power cell they lost, the turtles decide to go back to their old friend Leatherhead on the off-chance that he might lead them to where the Kraang would take the power cell. With only a symbol to go on, Donnie figures out that the Kraang have been hiding in plain sight the whole time. For those of us turtles fans from way back, we’ve always known the significance of TCRI, but thankfully the turtles haven’t gone meta yet so watching Donnie try to figure it out (despite the distraction of his brothers) is pretty entertaining. Knowing they have precious little time to stop the Kraang from opening the portal to Dimension X, the turtles fight their way to the top of the TCRI building, but find they might be in over their heads this time around.
While I’ve been a bit nitpicky about the lack of Shredder in the first season, I think I’m starting to see why the decision was made. Shredder has always been the ultimate villain for the turtles, so automatically brining him in as the Big Bad could potentially waste him as a bona fide threat in later seasons. Remember how ridiculous and campy Shredder became as the seasons wore on in the ’87 cartoon? Try watching those later episodes. I guarantee you don’t make it ten minutes. By keeping Shredder and the Foot on the back burner, with the occasional episode here and there bringing them back into the fold, the series has laid the groundwork for the next season by creating a slew of recurring villains while keeping its focus on the origin of the turtles and the immediate threat posed by the Kraang’s intended invasion. The longer we wait, the sweeter it’s going to be when Shredder is at the forefront of the story.
The fight to stop/save Aya continues and unfortunately, for our heroes, it becomes more complicated. Not satisfied with Appa banning him from further looking into the Science Director’s involvement in Aya’s creation, Hal and the boys decide to do a little breaking and entering. They discover that the Science Director had a secret lab with notes and coordinates to a particular planet written in the Guardians’ ancient language. Heading to the planet, they find another laboratory and, shockingly, the very much alive Science Director who managed to escape being killed by the Anti-Monitor by teleporting herself to her planetary hideaway. It’s an ability the Guardians forbade themselves to use, but one that the Science Director, or Scar, retained. After informing Scar of what happened with Aya, she reveals the truth about the Interceptor’s A.I.
Seems as though Scar infused her experimental machine with a sliver of the creature that inhabits the Green Lantern power battery, thus giving actual life to Aya, which is great for Razer because now all those confusing emotions can have some resolution. The consequences of Aya’s emotional birth culminated in her curiosity and use of free will, which forced Scar to wipe her memory and shut down her emotions, making me wonder why she bothered to make Aya the Interceptor’s navigational A.I. in the first place. Wouldn’t that just be tempting fate? Anyway, they determine that the only way to weaken Aya enough to stop her is to use the yellow crystals that naturally sap Green Lanterns of their power. Scar’s motivations, however, may not be on the up-and-up.
And now it’s time to deal with the issue of Blue Beetle and his sudden, yet inevitable, betrayal. Arriving in Blüdhaven after their rescue from last week’s episode, the team make getting BB back their priority one. The plan? Capture, subdue, and magically remove the Reach’s control over the scarab. It’s a fairly decent plan, one that’s been in the making since “Beneath.” Apparently Jaime is well aware of what’s going on, but has no actual control over his body. The scarab, under the control of the Reach’s Ambassador, is making all the moves while the Ambassador literally makes Jaime say whatever he wants. En route to his family, BB is attacked by Batgirl and Impulse, but they’re merely the distraction so Rocket and Zatanna can contain him in a shield reinforced with magic. They take BB to Bialya’s underground Egyptian cavern of magic where Zatanna performs the ritual that originally stopped the scarab when it first landed on Earth thousands of years ago. Green Beetle shows up to stop them, but Young Justice is prepared for him this time, knocking two scarabs off the Reach’s influence. Oh, and M’gann picks up Lagoon Boy, they break up and that’s the end of that.
Actually, M’gann’s B-story is well done and maturely handled on the part of the writers. She openly admits to him being her rebound guy after breaking up with Connor and realizes that staying together was selfish on her part since they’ll never move beyond where they are. Of course, he doesn’t take it well, but it wouldn’t be Young Justice without some teen/young adult angst. The best part of the episode is the tribute we get to the history of Blue Beetle as the team reveals the origins of the scarab and how it was passed from its previous owners – Dan Garrett and Ted Kord – to Jaime. Further proof that Young Justice at least understands the importance of legacy when it comes to DC characters. The downside is that all of attention paid towards Blue Beetle has left some characters ill-defined or untouched since about the mid-season. Of course, I’m talking about Nightwing. You’ve got two more episodes, Young Justice, so Dick had better get a decent fight sequence or we will have words!
So, there you have it. My recap/mini-reviews of the weekend’s cartoons. At least the ones I watch. See you next week for some more in-depth coverage.
A couple of weeks back, I talked about Geoff Johns leaving Green Lantern after nine great years on the title.
Looks like he’s taking the current creative teams in the GL family with him.
DCComics.com told fans about just who would be working on the individual books in a recent story:
I would have rather had most of the current folks stick around, or even perhaps change titles. But it apparently seemed like a good time for the entire bunch to move on to other projects.
I’m sad about that.
Of course, new people can infuse new blood and enthusiasm into a comic, so that’s the positive way to look at it.
But it’s been much more likely the case over time that when a successful team moves on, the people who come in aren’t quite as good as the people who upgraded the books. In my experience, the new folks go down a peg. When they don’t do as well, they leave soon after, and another creative team comes on, and they don’t measure up as well either.
Before long, the company is wondering if it’s time to cancel those comics.
And poor Green Lantern hasn’t had a lot of success compared to Batman or Superman, even in movies or TV.
The Green Lantern motion picture doesn’t appear to have a sequel coming anytime in the future. (I happened to like that movie, by the way.) Also, we recently found out that Cartoon Network was not going to renew Green Lantern: The Animated Series, a show I passionately love!
Old GL hasn’t been given the spotlight much in his history. He had stories in the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure by Filmation back in the day, and was even in the “Justice League of America” segments that appeared. But he wasn’t in the original Super Friends, appearing only occasionally as the series progressed.
He has appeared in the direct-to-DVD animated films from DC/Warner Bros. with some success, but there’s no indication of a GL cartoon coming from them anytime soon, either. I guess Nathan Fillon will have to keep on keeping on Castle for ABC.
I’d hate to see all this quality fizzle out on us. We need other DC heroes appearing in movies and television. With computer graphics as advanced as they are now, Hal Jordan is a perfect choice.
I’ll give the new creators their fair shot, just as I have the entire “New 52.” I just hope they build on what Johns has created, and take us places even he couldn’t imagine, and do that well!
While Green Lantern: The Animated Series owes a lot of its premise to Geoff Johns and the revamped GL Universe, the show exceeds its comic book origins by using the various lantern corps and the emotional spectrum of power as a means of emphasizing its overarching plot or instigating character growth. And where it would be easy enough to use the base emotion of each corp as generically as possible, Green Lantern TAS has, over the entire season, managed to give each corp nuance, respecting that the base emotion is just that, a base emotion from which to build.
The Red Lanterns were the central antagonists of the season’s first half, but their rage stemmed from very real places. Razer’s rage was the result of the death of his wife and the destruction of his home planet by war. Atrocitus and many of the other Red Lanterns were enraged by the Guardians and the Manhunters that destroyed their home worlds, resulting in the deaths of many at the hands of emotionless machines and their creators. The Star Sapphires were, at first, antagonists using love to seduce and capture men while recruiting the women they love to gain power. It’s a skewed view of love, but one that is eventually set right and proclaimed to be the emotion that will save the universe. Though pain can result from love, it takes strength to conquer that pain and continue to love. The Blue Lantern Corp, the newest of the corps to be established, is the only one that was a result of the war with the Red Lanterns when Saint Walker discovered that hope lights the way even in the darkest of places. Hope bolsters us and strengthens our resolve, but it is not easily learned or conquered.
Which leads us to the Orange Lanterns – sorry – Orange Lantern. After getting chewed out by Appa for the fiasco that has become the Aya-Monitor, Hal and Kilowog are at a loss for how to deal with the situation, though Hal is certain that he could talk some sense into Aya if they only had a way to counter her power. Razer suggests the legendary Orange Lanterns, a group said to be so powerful that they even gave the Red Lanterns a run for their money until they mysteriously disappeared. Luckily, Razer knows where their homebase was rumored to be and it’s off to Okaara we go! There, while waiting for the new A.I. to upload (hello again, Lame-O!), the boys search for the Orange Lanterns. Splitting up to cover more ground – like ya do – Razer and Kilowog spend some time bonding, which is a thinly veiled attempt on Kilowog’s part to check on how Razer’s doing since his not-girlfriend went robo-crazy (here’s a hint: not well). Hal, on the other hand, ventures further into the planet’s cavernous depths and finds the orange lantern power battery and its sole keeper, Larfleeze. Though Hal’s intentions to borrow the power battery are good, he quickly becomes entranced by the power of the orange battery and claims it for his own. The power of the battery is so strong, he’s willing to kill anyone he believes might get between him and his “shiny.”
The episode is fairly straight forward in terms of the story. Hal is corrupted by the light of avarice coming from the orange lantern, Kilowog, Razer, and even Larfleeze try to stop him, but only through strength of will, and the help of his friends, does Hal overcome the influence of the orange lantern. But the entire purpose of the episode is to push our heroes to one conclusion: Aya can be saved because even when Hal became a monster he found his way back because his friends were there to help him. It’s explicitly stated, but necessary because Aya’s actions have left the guys with very few options as to how they can stop her. To the episode’s credit, they lay out all of their options and none of them end well for Aya. It isn’t until Hal has gone through the experience of becoming a monster, albeit very briefly, that he believes there’s a way to truly save Aya. It’s an excellent use of the Orange Lanterns and the intoxicatingly destructive power of greed.
But it’s not all super serious stuff. The episode makes great use of its titular character, Larfleeze, as a humorous buffoon despite his unhealthy attachment to his “shiny.” Other than a few deadpan lines from Razer, Larfleeze is the main source of humor and his interactions with our heroes is hysterical. I especially love his bit at the end. The timing, the animation, the acting (well done Dee Bradley Baker!)…absolutely perfect.
From the Wishing Well: I know there isn’t enough time in the season, but wouldn’t it have been awesome if they could’ve gotten the Indigo Tribe into the show?
DC Nation Short: Animal Man! Still doesn’t get old that he’s voiced by Weird Al
Okay, any episode that’s title is a Pat Benatar song automatically wins brownie points with me!
After last week’s foray into some much-needed comedy, we return to the story proper with Aya-Monitor beginning her mission to eliminate all emotions from the universe by attacking the planet representing the emotion that hurt her the most, Zamaron, home world of the Star Sapphires and the wielders of the violet energy of love. Upon arriving at the planet, Aya has determined that love is a corrosive emotion and that the Star Sapphires deserve to be punished for lauding it as a powerful force for peace. Insulted, Queen Aga’po attacks, but is quickly injured by Aya. Gi’ata attempts to intervene, trying to make a case for love as a positive force, but finds it hard to explain to the cold, logic-based machine Aya has become. She confesses that she only learned about the true meaning of love from its true champion who is half a galaxy away and can only be summoned through the power of love. Aya, now being all-powerful for some reason, manages to bypass that craziness and summons love’s champion, who turns out to be Carol Ferris!
Elsewhere, the boys are finding it difficult to locate Aya since she was their navigational computer. The only plan they have is to return to Oa and scan for her, but Oa is two months away…unless they use ultra-warp. The funny thing about ultra-warp is it’s a very precise sort of thing, one that might require a navigational computer to use correctly so that they don’t, say, end up in the center of a star or something. Man, if only they had a navigational computer.
Back on Zamaron, Carol, who is understandably upset about missing the buffet but not weirded out being on an alien world again, is confronted by Aya and forced to explain why love is so important. Obviously trying to explain an emotion that is slightly abstract is a bit difficult and Carol hits a small snag when she reveals that she still loves Hal Jordan even if he makes her angry most of the time. This prompts Aya to ask if love is stronger than hate, which Carol emphatically answers, “Yes!” Interested in testing this theory, Aya proposes a demonstration, demanding that love and hate fight to prove their superiority. Donning the violet ring again, Carol joins the ranks of the Star Sapphires as the champion of love while Aya brings forth the champion of hate, Atrocitus! What I enjoy most about how the writers have approached Carol is the very realistic reactions she has to everything since finding out Hal’s secret. Her arguments for love include song titles and quotes from The Bible of all things – hell, if she’d started singing she would’ve pulled off a whole Moulin Rouge – and she’s really freaked out when she sees Atrocitus for the first time. Which, yeah, she has every right to be. She’s also not prepared to fight Atrocitus since the last time she had the violet ring on she was a little insane in the membrane and the former leader of the Red Lanterns is pretty good at using his hate and rage to attack.
So, it’s no surprise that Carol uses her ring to summon Hal to her for help. Even though she was kinda holding her own, it was mostly on instinct, not because she suddenly found her confidence and figured out how to defeat Atrocitus on her own. While that would’ve been nice, it’s a bit much to believe given Carol isn’t an experienced ring wielder. But once Hal shows up and he and Atrocitus go at it for a while, Carol joins in and the reunited lovers team up to give Atrocitus a good ol’ fashioned smack-down! But, as is the case, love is a many-faceted thing, an emotion that will lead someone to make the ultimate sacrifice, which Gi’ata does for Hal before Atrocitus can finish him off. Her sacrifice pushes Hal and Carol to finish the fight – Hal taking a page from Kilowog’s book with a nice hammer construct and Carol literally dropping a mountain on the Red Lantern. Game over. Love wins.
Or does it? Yeah, Aya isn’t exactly convinced that Gi’ata’s sacrifice was worth it, reinforcing her belief that love only leads to pain, suffering, and death. She then resolves to destroy Zamaron, but the timely appearance of the Interceptor (using ultra-warp again after their first go at it nearly got them killed) and Razer stop her. As has been the case with Razer and Aya, just when you think some progress will be made, there just isn’t enough time. Instead of going through with the inefficient plan of destroying planets one by one, Aya resolves to find a way to destroy the universe and remake it in her own image.
A machine with a God-complex. Lovely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they entitled an episode, “Deus Ex Machina.” Just sayin’.
DC Nation Short: Repeat of Vibe part 2.
Nitpicker’s Corner: How does Aya have the ability to bring Atrocitus his ring?
It’s been nine wonderful years for me and other fans of Green Lantern, but now comes word that DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, is leaving Green Lantern behind. It’s the latest shift in writers since “The New 52″ began a year and a half ago.
“I’m really proud of all the stuff we’ve built with Green Lantern — from Larfleeze to the different corps,” Johns told The Associated Press about his decision. “The universe has expanded and will live well past my run. It was more than just telling another story, but really giving back to the character by expanding and adding to their mythology.”
Folks may remember that Green Lantern had gone through a tough time, with sales falling significantly. Johns’ return (and HIS bringing back Hal Jordan as the main ring wielder) ushered in an era that saw all kinds of expansions and developments regarding power rings of all colors as well as the Guardians.
So, with all this success, why leave GL now?
“I was getting to an end point and a story line that made sense for me,” Johns said. “I felt like it was time to close my run and focus all my energies on the Justice League corner of the DC Universe. It was a very, very hard decision. I absolutely love these characters but I felt like I had a story line that really made sense and felt emotionally satisfying and felt very big and very epic.”
For now, Johns will continue on Justice League, Justice League of America and Aquaman.
However, Johns will go out on Green Lantern with a bang. Issue #20 will be 64 pages long, and will be drawn by Doug Mahnke. Check out the cover above!
“It really, for me, ties everything else and ends the Green Lantern saga,” Johns said. “This story — the way the story evolves — I think people will get a sense of finality from it.”
As I think back over the last decade or so, a lot of powerful stories jump to mind, such as the “Sinestro Corps War.” But the one that will always stand out to me was the Blackest Night event, which included Black Hand committing suicide so he could be part of the Black Lantern Corps. I remember my jaw hitting the ground when I saw that. And it was only the beginning of that astounding experience.
But Johns will likely be remembered for expanding the GL “universe” from Kyle Rayner being the one and only Green Lantern to literally a whole rainbow of ring corps, each with their own oath to recharge their rings.
I’m hoping maybe Peter Tomasi will take over the writing of Green Lantern. He’s been doing a great job elsewhere in the Lantern family of comics, so I’m thinking he’s the perfect one to pick up the main title in this group.
And I’ll keep supporting Mr. Johns’ excellent stories wherever else they appear, including the upcoming Justice League of America (although I’ll pass on the multiple covers)!
So, here’s the thing. Sometimes you get a little overbooked and all the things you said you were gonna do don’t necessarily go according to plan. Factor in matters concerning your family and friends, work-related issues (at my real-life job), special projects, and some pretty awesome birthday celebrations and cartoons sort of fall by the wayside in terms of priority. While normally you’d see three separate reviews for the cartoons I regularly watch, I thought it necessary to do a bit of a roundup this time since I’ve at least been able to watch them but probably won’t be able to give them the proper reviews I normally write. Hopefully you nice people will forgive this egregious error and take solace in the fact that next week’s reviews will be better.
With that in mind…
Yet another convergence of the two main subplots occur as Karai and the Foot observe the turtles fighting The Kraang while tracking their movements. Leo, knowing that Karai is watching, takes it upon himself to show off a bit and “save” his brothers all for her benefit. It’s kinda cute seeing love-struck Leo doing what he does best for a girl who he clearly doesn’t understand is bad news. Raph, on the other hand, knows exactly what Karai is and he doesn’t like that his brother is keeping his interactions with Karai a secret from their family. Everything comes to a head when the turtles and April discover that a school project concerning the human genome is actually a front for The Kraang to find and capture April. Their genome project, however, is also a means of collecting DNA from all manner of creature to utilize in their mutagen experiments and when the turtles, Karai, and The Kraang face off, it’s anyone’s guess as to who is helping whom with the creation of…Justin?
Were you expecting some emotional payoff from last week? Yeah, me neither. After Aya blasted the Interceptor off into space, the ship is low on power along with the rings of our three heroes. The gravitational pull causes the ship to crash on a nearby planet with a methane-heavy atmosphere. The only settlement nearby seems to have an aversion to Green Lanterns and as our heroes run for their lives, their rings lose power. With the power of the rings gone, so goes the universal translator, leaving our boys unable to understand each other. The rest of the episode sees Hal, Kilowog, and Razer trying to run out the clock until the Interceptor is recharged. This involves stealing a vehicle from a merchant of ill repute within the settlement, fighting off a giant monster in gladiatorial combat, and just trying to understand each other by any means necessary. It’s a very welcome comedic episode after the last two weeks.
DC Nation Short: Vibe…again. Yep, these shows are clearly on their way out.
We finally catch up with the mostly core members of The Justice League as they stand trial for the crimes they committed while under the control of The Light. Intergalactic politics being what they are, we learn that The Reach have a bit of a reputation, one that doesn’t sit right with Mongul (voiced by Keith David, a.k.a. Goliath!) who takes it upon himself – with a little convincing from Vandal Savage? – to attack Earth with his planet-sized spaceship, War World. Still playing politics, The Reach utilize their inside scarabs as the remaining members of The Justice League and Young Justice infiltrate War World to shut it down and prevent the destruction of Earth. On the plus side, Mal and Karen (Bumblebee) finally work out their problems…oh, and Blue Beetle totally attacks everybody!
DC Nation Short: Amethyst fights the skeleton of Prince Topaz – he’s a little depressed.
Um…I don’t really know how I feel about this episode. I know I experienced a plethora of reactions to various scenes ranging from “Hell yeah!” to “OH. MY. GOD!” but the monster at the end of this episode just leaves me a bit baffled.
We pick up right where we left off with the Interceptor flying like hell to get away from The Anti-Monitor and the Manhunters. When Razer makes his way on to the bridge, Hal asks where Aya is to which Razer replies that she’s “gone.” And since Razer doesn’t know how to use quotation marks or use his voice to inflect emotions well enough, Hal and Kilowog don’t quite understand what he means. When he spells it out for them that Aya is dead, Hal immediately assumes she downloaded herself into the ship again, but Razer tells him they were too far for her to do so. Then everyone starts yelling and they all finally realize that they’re still fleeing from the bad guys and maybe they should concentrate on that for a second.
With Aya ”gone” they don’t quite have the power to outrun the Manhunters and Hal asks Scar if there’s anything she can do to help. If Krona created the Anti-Monitor by using a great amount of power, surely there’s a way that another Guardian could control their former creations. Scar orders them to stop the ship so she and Hal can face the Manhunters. Revealing that she’s mastered the old powers of the Guardians, Scar manages to take out some Manhunters before the Anti-Monitor blasts her out of existence. The machine captures Hal and forces him to watch as he devours the Interceptor, but the day is saved by the Red Lantern home base after Zox ordered his people to come collect him. Unfortunately, their victory is fleeting as The Anti-Monitor destroys Shard and begins to devour it, forcing the Red Lanterns from their ship. Following suit, the Interceptor follows the Red Lanterns, but discover something has attached itself to the hull. The bay doors open and…it’s Aya! Sure, she’s inhabiting a monstrous looking Frankenstein-like Manhunter body, but it’s Aya nonetheless. And though everyone’s happy to see her, Razer – of course – is conflicted.
After Aya downloads back into her usual form (she has spare pieces since this has happened a few times), she asks Razer to re-admit that he loves her, which, yet again, he won’t do. Instead, he decides to tell her that she’s merely a machine and that he doesn’t love her. You. Are. Killing. Me. Razer! Ugh! The unfortunate aftermath is that Aya can’t handle her emotional response to Razer’s rejection. It’s distracting her in a way that she’s unaccustomed, which prevents her from focusing on the battle at hand between the remaining Red Lantern fleet and the Interceptor versus The Anti-Monitor and the Manhunters. When Hal proves to be useless in providing adequate answers to her questions on how to deal with her emotions, Aya goes straight to Razer and asks him how he can focus after what’s happened between them. He tells her that he’s capable of shutting down his emotions to focus on the task at hand, which gives Aya a brilliantly stupid, but probably necessary idea. Shutting down her emotions, she goes to the Interceptor’s power core and absorbs all of the green energy and heads straight for the Anti-Monitor. Though she succeeds in destroying the machine, it’s not so much a victory as a changing of the guard. Aya, now as emotionless as the other machines, takes control of the gigantic robot – and the Manhunters - declaring herself their mother and that she will decide what to do with her children, rejecting the emotional beings out to destroy her and her kind. Thus, she becomes the Aya-Monitor!
Okay, on the one hand, this whole Aya-wasn’t-dead-all-along bit is a huge emotional cheat on the part of the show. While it’s true that no one in comic books (or cartoons, apparently) stays dead and I understand that Aya’s an artificial intelligence, it feels like her “sacrifice” was nothing more than another means of dragging out the Razer/Aya star-crossed romance. On the other hand, her return prompts the reject-her-to-protect-myself response from Razer and pushes Aya to an honest emotional breaking point. If you think about what she was trying to accomplish with the damaged Manhunter in “Blue Hope,” her rejection of emotions as a coping mechanism is far more tragic than her “death” last week. Aya believed she’d evolved beyond her programming by becoming a sentient being, but no one ever explained to her that with emotions like love and compassion come sorrow and pain, neither of which she was prepared to deal with. Rejecting her emotions is truly the end of the person we know as Aya.
DC Nation Short: Lightning and Thunder get ready for school, but Lightning’s feeling a bit under the weather.
Dammit, there’s something in my eyes! No, I’m not crying! Shut up!
Great! Thanks Green Lantern for making me feel emotions while watching a cartoon. I go to you for action and adventure and what do you give me? Politics, humor, drama, and…oh, God, here come the waterworks again! Okay, Sam, breathe. Just breathe. It’s not real, it’s just a cartoon…where Razer and Aya finally admit their love for each other and then the Anti-Monitor…he…he…Oh, God!
Okay, so, if you’re wondering where all this is coming from, this week’s episode of Green Lantern, “Loss,” gives us a pretty substantial one. But how did they get there, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It all starts on the planet Ysmault, the seat of power for the Red Lantern Corps under the leadership of Prime Magistrate Zilius Zox (Tom Kenny) who took over after Atrocitus was defeated by Hal during the mid-season finale. Scar, the Guardian Science Director, is also there to sign the treaty between the Red and Green Lanterns since it seems that Appa Ali Apsa was “busy.” The matter most pressing is that nothing happen that could endanger the peace treaty. I repeat, NOTHING CAN GO WRONG!
Cue the inevitable everything-goes-wrong series of events. The Interceptor is on its way to Ysmault as a sign of good faith, but Razer makes a request that they stop at his home planet that was torn apart by war, killed his first love, Ilana, and made him into a Red Lantern. While exploring the wreckage of his home world, Razer finds that Aya has followed him. Instead of asking her to go away, Razer takes her by the hand and shows her that, though his planet is in ruins, new life has begun to emerge. This resurgence, this growth, also applies to Razer as he admits to Aya that he’s no longer the same man who accepted the Red Lantern ring out of rage and anger. But before anything else can happen, they get a call from Hal. Guess what? Remember how the Anti-Monitor was sending out antimatter pulses? Well it just so happens it reactivated a stray Manhunter leftover from the previous war that created the Red Lanterns. And wouldn’t ya know it, the thing is on its way to Ysmault and Scar needs Hal and the crew to make sure that Zox and the other Red Lanterns don’t find out lest they perceive it as an act of hostility by The Guardians…again.
It’s at this point that the episode slides nicely into the farcical as Hal, Kilowog, Aya, and Razer attempt to take down the Manhunter without attracting too much attention to themselves. This, of course, doesn’t work, but kudos to them for trying. It’s especially hilarious when Zox catches them trying to move the Manhunter and is quickly bound and gagged to keep him quiet. Our heroes, everyone! But before Hal can be chewed out and blamed for starting a second war, Aya discovers that the Anti-Monitor is hanging out in Forbidden Space, consuming the maelstrom and wreckage left behind. With the Anti-Monitor so close, Hal uses this as an opportunity to show Zox that the Manhunters and the Anti-Monitor are the enemy of all sentient beings, not the beginning of a second Guardian attack on the Red Lanterns. Scar even gives us some nifty background on the creation of the Anti-Monitor. This educational exercise, however, is interrupted when the Anti-Monitor discovers the Interceptor and attacks.
The rest is just flat-out action and suspense. I will never get tired of watching the Manhunters being destroyed. They’re like the Nazis from Indiana Jones, always good for killin’! Which leads us to the underlying theme of the episode. If you’ll recall, Aya was nearly erased by Scar in the episode “Reboot” because of her anomalous growth from A.I. to sentient being. Her presence and continued existence is a reminder to the Guardians of their failure with the Manhunters and Krona’s creation of the Anti-Monitor. The difference is Aya embraced emotions by overcoming her programming while the Manhunters took their programming to its logical extreme. The problem with the Guardians, and Scar in particular, is that they don’t differentiate. A malfunctioning machine is just that and must be destroyed before it causes anymore harm. One could see it as the Guardians just trying to avoid their past mistakes, but they haven’t really earned any good will from anyone in the universe at this point. The emotional climax of the episode shows how wrong Scar’s been when Aya sacrifices herself to save Razer, giving us just enough time to hear Razer admit his love for her while Aya confesses to understanding the meaning of “regret” before she dies. It is a beautiful and sad moment in a cartoon that continues to get better and better.
Like I said, it’s just something in my eyes.
DC Nation Short: The final part of Shanghai Batman! You can see the whole thing here.
As a fan of the Green Lantern Corp and its many members, all I have to say about this episode is it’s about damn time! More than half way through the first season and we finally get the lantern most of us have been waiting for since the show was announced: Thaal Sinestro (voiced by Ron F’ing Perlman!) While the presence of Sinestro and the actor voicing him automatically qualify “Prisoner of Sinestro” as the best episode ever, it succeeds even more by being a genuinely awesome and thrilling half hour of television.
While prepping the Interceptor for the inevitable battle with the Anti-Monitor, Hal and company receive a “distress” call from Sinestro. In case you’re wondering why the quotations, I consider Sinestro to be the Chuck Norris of the Green Lantern Corp in that any distress calls are probably coming from whoever Sinestro is up against. In this case, he’s fleeing a Spider Guild frigate after commandeering one of their prisoners and it’d be nice if he could hitch a ride on the Interceptor on his way out. Hal is more than happy to oblige even if Kilowog continues to grumble about Sinestro’s general lack of rule-abiding ways, hot-headed actions, and other obvious parallels to Hal. In what has to be one of the best animated chase sequences on this show, Hal pilots the Interceptor through the labyrinthine interior of the Spider Guild ship in what can only be an homage to Star Wars. Meeting up with Sinestro, the crew make their escape but are baffled by the Spider Guild captain’s decision to self-destruct the frigate.
On board the ship, Sinestro stores his prisoner, Neuroxas, in the science lab and wastes no time insulting the lackadaisical way in which the Interceptor’s crew conducts itself. A bit harsh, yes, but Hal respects his former mentor so he lets it slide. Kilowog not so much. But all is not well when, while researching the strange brain-like fish thing that is Neuroxas, the crew is attacked by Sinestro wielding one of the guns purloined from the Spider Guild ship! Quickly neutralizing him, Hal and Kilowog remove Sinestro’s ring and imprison him in the science lab next to his prisoner. In the aftermath of the short battle, the ship’s systems have been damaged and Sinestro has no memory of what he did. Deciding to keep Sinestro behind bars, the crew try to repair the ship, but find that everyone is beginning to act…out of character.
“Prisoner of Sinestro” elevates itself above other episodes in the series with its very distinct tone and mood. After the typical space adventure of the first act, the rest of the episode literally grinds to a halt when the ship shuts down, leaving our heroes trapped in a confined space with an alien being who can mentally jump from body to body. The episode then becomes an homage to suspense thrillers, specifically The Thing, as Hal and the crew try to determine who is and isn’t under Neuroxas’s control. Their test is actually rather ingenious, fitting the characters and their world instead of the other way around. But the truly sublime success of the episode is the presence of Sinestro as he disrupts the generally lighter atmosphere of the series with paranoia and suspicion. Only half of which is instigated by his prisoner.
Sinestro is easily one of the best anti-hero/villains of the DC Universe. His fall from grace within the Green Lantern Corps is the stuff of legend as much as his heroic deeds. Before Hal, Sinestro was the greatest and most respected amongst the corps, so I appreciate the creators’ decision to introduce him as a morally ambiguous hero instead of bringing him in as the villain-of-the-week. The methodology that leads to Sinestro’s defection from the corps has always been fascinating since he is – all joking aside – a parallel for Hal. Kilowog’s list of similarities between the two may be obvious, but the creator’s cleverly put the most important bit of foreshadowing at the top of the episode. While being incessantly quizzed on the Green Lantern code by Kilowog, Hal openly complains about the code’s purpose. Practically a throwaway exchange, it comes to resonate at the end when Sinestro blatantly twists the code to suit his decision to let Neuroxas die. Hal may play fast and loose with the rules, but he still respects the right of all sentient beings – even the bad ones – to live. Sinestro, however right in his actions, shows Hal that the codes and rules have a purpose and lays the groundwork for their eventual falling out.
Nitpicker’s Corner: Wouldn’t the yellow energy from the Spider Guild gun break through any Green Lantern construct? Yellow’s still a problem for them, right?
One of the biggest gambles taken with the Green Lantern cartoon had to be the creators’ decision to keep Hal away from the greater DC Universe and focus solely on his exploits in space. While that may not seem like a huge deal to those of us who have a working knowledge of the Green Lantern mythos (past and present), introducing the character to an audience that might only know Hal Jordan in passing or through the lackluster movie was risky. Taking that risk one step further, the creators made the overarching storyline of the season’s first half about the discovery of the Red Lantern Corps and the introduction of the emotional spectrum based on Geoff Johns’ successful run on the Green Lantern comic. Thankfully, the gamble paid off because, other than the Red Lanterns and the Star Sapphires, we also got to see the beginnings of the Blue Lantern Corps with the rise of Saint Walker, which leads us to this week’s episode.
Arriving on the planet Odym, Hal, Kilowog, and Aya seek the counsel of former Guardian Ganthet on the problem of the Manhunters that have been popping up all over Guardian space. And wouldn’t you know it, they’ve just happened to arrive on the day the blue lantern battery goes live! Unfortunately, the ceremonial charging of the battery is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it supercharges Kilowog, Hal, and Aya since hope enhances and fuels will-power, and presents a means of defeating the Manhunters. On the other hand, the damaged Manhunter on their ship suddenly goes online again (supercharged as well) and the resulting wavelength of hope-powered energy attracts three other Manhunters who head directly to Odym to collect the super battery.
The best surprise, however, comes in finding Razer (finally!) amongst the newly formed Blue Lantern Corps consisting of Saint Walker and new recruit Brother Warth. Though Razer remains a Red Lantern, he is trying to learn from the mild-tempered Walker and Warth how to quiet his rage so he can move past his anger and find peace. But hope isn’t exactly an emotion the hot-headed lantern can easily wrap his head around. Considering Razer is part of a corp that feeds on, supposedly, one of the strongest emotions, hope might be the one emotion furthest from his heart at all times. Being around Aya again doesn’t help. If you’ll recall, Razer became a Red Lantern after the love of his life was killed and his conflicting emotions about Aya, coupled with his doubt over whether he can or should love again, do not make for an easy reunion.
Though the episode is entitled “Blue Hope,” the Blue Lanterns factor very little in terms of the overall story except to present a method of defeating the Manhunters that’s quickly crushed when it turns out the Manhunters also feed off the same power source, making them extra hard to stop. Instead, the lion’s share of the story belongs to Razer and Aya’s unspoken, yet obvious feelings for one another. The central conflict is that Aya is an artificial intelligence, a machine, and though Razer may feel for her, he’s also very quick to judge (against Saint Walker’s teachings) that machines are incapable of feeling real emotions since they have no soul. When confronted with the Manhunters, Razer’s words may ring true since the Manhunters were programmed with the express purpose of eliminating all evil, which stems from emotions.
Aya, however, accomplished something the Manhunters could not. She observed and adapted, evolving beyond her original programming from the beginning of the series. Her evolved state pushes her to try to convert the damaged Manhunter by positing that it too is capable of evolving. She’s even willing to teach it how. Aya’s actions are as much rooted in her desire to prove Razer wrong as they are in her hope of showing the Manhunter that sentience and emotions are not entirely evil. Unlike Aya, the Manhunter doesn’t see the logic in her argument, drawing a clear line between sentient beings and machines by way of the ability or inability to feel emotions. This is ultimately confirmed when one of the invading Manhunters observes strong emotions in both Razer and Aya towards each other at a pivotal moment. It’s also when we learn that if you mess with Aya, Razer will straight up murder you! Even hope can’t negate the rage of a man who feels he’s lost the woman he loves again. But at least his rage was righteous!
To the episode’s credit, though hope is continually derided by most of the characters, unless it’s useful to them, the Blue Lanterns – Ganthet especially – make a point of stating that hope cannot so easily be put on hold. Hope is ever-present, even in the darkest of places. And as long as it shines even a little bit, there will a place for those who seek it as well as a source of power for those who can wield it.
Nitpicker’s Corner: Where did Tomar-Re go? When did Aya reform her android body? Where’s Sayd?
Unlike the increasing groups of lantern corps from the first half of the season, the Manhunters are the type of villains that can neither be reasoned with nor taken down immediately with a strong construct. As the opening of the episode shows, even the combined efforts of Hal Jordan and Tomar-Re (yay, Tomar-Re!) are barely able to stop three Manhunters, let alone the backups that join them. With this knowledge, Hal’s gut tells him that the reactivation of the Manhunters isn’t a coincidence or a series of isolated incidences. He thinks there’s a puppet-master involved and, with the blessings of The Guardians, he gets permission to assemble a small team to patrol Guardian Space.
Unfortunately, getting the band back together isn’t as easy as Hal thinks. Relieving Kilowog of his duties as recruit trainer, Hal and Kilowog board the Interceptor and find that Aya is no longer installed, replaced by Lanos (or Lame-O as Hal deems him). They discover that Aya is scheduled for dissection and reprogramming and go on a mission to rescue her from the science division. Successful in their endeavor, they’re informed by Tomar-Re of a pulse stemming from Biot that may be responsible for reactivating the Manhunters. Once they arrive, chaos ensues.
When we think of a reboot we either get visions of that old computer animated show Reboot (which was awesome!) or we think of the multitude of tech instruments we have and the process of rebooting in order to correct a mistake. As an episode, “Reboot” shows that The Guardians have a terrible record when it comes to the latter. The Manhunters are a classic example of a bad decision continuing to come back and bite you in the ass. Though we get just an inkling of The Guardians desire to sweep these incidents under the rug, the relentlessness of Hal’s hunches won’t allow for these enemies to remain forgotten. Plus, he tends to get the approval of other well respected Lanterns. The Manhunters aside, the interest taken in Aya as a program capable of growing and adapting shows that there’s still a concern on the part of The Guardians that history could repeat itself.
“Reboot” does a fine job of setting up the very obvious threat of the Manhunters, but it’s really the Anti-Monitor that the Green Lanterns have to beware. His assembly plant of Manhunters on Biot is a sight to behold as the puppet-master prepares to send his minions to all corners of the galaxy as a means of “consuming” all life. It’s a cliffhanger ending, so it feels like very little is accomplished, but the last five minutes really show the work the GL’s have cut out for them. If the henchmen are hard enough to destroy, imagine how difficult the Big Boss is gonna be to take down! Reboot applies as much to the direction the back half of the season is taking as it does the reactivated Manhunters.
Green Lantern #13… no Hal Jordan, no Sinestro, no John, no Guy and no Kyle. So who do we have instead? Simon Baz, the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps. Simon Baz is in a lot of trouble. So much trouble in fact, I doubt even Simon himself knows just how much trouble he’s in at the moment.
I will admit that when I first heard that there would be yet another Green Lantern from Earth, I was a little annoyed. My initial thoughts were that we would be introduced to this new Green Lantern for one of two reasons. First it would be to replace a Lantern who would ultimately die at some point during the story arc. Or two, for him to be a source of conflict and would ultimately sacrifice himself for the Corps. So now we have Mr. Baz wielding a power ring, supposedly to replace Sinestro who for all intents and purposes is dead…or so everyone thinks.
But it appears that Simon is around for a unique purpose and I have a feeling that most Green Lantern fans aren’t going to like it. We know that his role as a GL will come into conflict with the Justice League, who by the way…SPOILER ALERT…make an appearance at the end of the issue. As I read through the issue, I became more and more tolerant of Simon as he was made interesting enough to me to warrant giving him the benefit of the doubt. So okay, he can stay for now. But five Earth-bound Lanterns is more than enough…hint, hint to you Geoff Johns.
The Guardians are setting their plans in motion to destroy the Green Lanterns and replace them with their “Third Army,” led by the First Lantern which will most likely involve Simon at some point. His introduction in Green Lantern #0 was enough to get this story moving along at a gratifying pace. He’s being hunted by the police, the government, his family, and we soon find out by the Justice League.
Geoff Johns is weaving another intricate storyline that is bound to shake up the status quo in the New 52. But the beginnings of it reminds me of Blackest Night a bit and I am hoping that even though it promises to be epic, it’s not on too large a scale.
What I found enjoyable about this issue was in the beginning we see Amanda Waller briefing the President of the United States, who resembles Barack Obama quite a bit, about what she knows of the current Green Lanterns on Earth. To me this gives the story a real world point of reference that most comics seem to lack these days. The resemblance to Obama I thought was an especially nice touch rather than making him some random guy who happens to be President. It is quite clear that the government fears what a Green Lantern is capable of… and that there are four currently operating on the planet. Now that Simon Baz, as suspected terrorist has a power ring, the situation becomes even more unstable.
Simon doesn’t know what to make of his situation or even how and why the ring chose him. Add to that, the ring isn’t functioning properly and now you know why Simon is in a lot of trouble. He is going up against my beloved Justice League and you already know where my allegiance lies with that. I am however sympathetic with his situation and the fact he is going to be forced to take sides in a conflict he has no business being involved with.
Geoff Johns again leaves us with some lingering questions, like where are Hal Jordan and Sinestro? They aren’t quite dead but they aren’t quite alive either. How are John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner going to fit into all this? And finally, how is the Justice League going to react?
I have to say that in spite of my initial objections and preconceived notion that I was going to dislike this issue, I now stand corrected. I enjoyed the hell out of this issue. It definitely moved the overall arc along thanks to Geoff Johns and coupled with the art of Doug Mahnke. There are some really great pages in this issue that not only show off Mahnke’s superb talent, they even make Baz’s costume a little less corny looking. The image of Baz after the ring constructs his mask is so completely amazing. Top it ALL off with the amazing cover by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Rod Reis and you could almost call this issue perfect.
Green Lantern #13 was a great read and extraordinarily fun, another element that has been missing from this series for a few months. But this issue has me excited about what’s to come in this story arc and a hope that Simon Baz sticks around a little while longer.
Previously on Green Lantern: Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Aya, and Razer (with a little help from Saint Walker, Mogo, and the Star Sapphires) stopped Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns from invading Oa and killing The Guardians. After personally defeating Atrocitus, Hal brokered a tentative alliance with the remaining Red Lanterns to make amends for past sins committed by The Guardians in Frontier Space. With the crisis averted, Hal returns home to Coast City and his lady love Carol Ferris.
“The New Guy” picks up with Hal’s return to Earth, though it’s not quite the homecoming he imagined. Missing for months, he learns that Carol hired a new pilot to replace him, so he’s out of a job. Not only that, she’s hesitant about rekindling their relationship now that she knows about his duel identities. To top it all off, Hal discovers, in the midst of a conveniently timed crisis, that The Guardians found a new, and well liked, Green Lantern for Earth in his absence, Guy Gardner (voiced wonderfully by Diedrich Bader). It’s a showcase of territorial machismo that leads Hal and Guy to rescue a missing scientist who unfortunately discovered the reactivated Manhunters buried on Earth.
As the beginning of the series’ second story arc, “The New Guy” definitely lays a fairly solid foundation. Hal is a hero but only in regards to his victory in another galaxy. On Earth, he’s been absent as a superhero and presumed missing or dead by those he loves. Though we get a hint of our antagonist for the rest of the season, The Anti-Monitor, and a great action sequence with the newly activated Manhunters, it’s a credit to the series that the episode is primarily concerned with the aftermath and consequences of Hal’s decision to hijack a ship to Frontier Space in the first episode. Yes, it was the right thing to do, but it’s a punch to the gut for Hal to learn that everything can’t go back to normal anymore.
Not helping matters is Guy Gardner, the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814. In many ways Guy and Hal are similar. Clearly they’re both Alpha males (if the sports constructs didn’t make that clear enough), but both are possessed of a confident arrogance that still makes them likeable. Again, Diedrich Bader does a superb job voicing Guy. He’s a narcissist, for sure, but competent enough at his job that everyone likes him, even Appa Ali Apsa. It was a good choice for the creators not to go with hot-headed Guy Gardner, though there’s still time for that to happen. What separates the two Lanterns are how they deal with the job of being a superhero. Hal continues to wear a mask, disguising his identity in hopes of maintaining a life outside of being a Green Lantern. Guy, on the other hand, fully embraces the job. He doesn’t bother with a mask, everyone knows his name, and he freely gives his cell number to pretty journalists (“That’s Vanessa with an ‘I’”). In a lot of ways, Guy understands the job better than Hal. How can you maintain a normal life when your life is very much not normal? Might as well embrace the now instead of worrying about the future. It’s a great contrast and their competitive dynamic gives the whole episode a lot of energy and humor.
All in all, this is a good start to the second half of the season and with Hal now promoted to Honor Guard of The Green Lantern Corp, with patrolling duties over all sectors of space, hopefully we’ll be seeing more of the greater universe of Lanterns.
Favorite Moment: The fist bump conversation. That’s some major bro-bonding right there! Alien cultures are so weird.
Nitpicker’s Corner: If The Guardians were going to promote Hal, why didn’t they do so before he went back to Earth? Were they just waiting for him to save the day again as an excuse? Man, The Guardians are dicks sometimes, amirite?
Season Predictions and Hopeful Wishes: