Welcome back to my look at The New 52 and today we are going to be taking a look at my favorite branch of superheroes, The Green Lanterns. Todays post will include review of Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, and Red Lanterns. Now as anyone who knows me will tell you, Batman is my favorite superhero but I feel that The Green Lantern concept is the best one out there. Having a ring that turns your very thoughts into solid objects and you get to use it as a space cop? That’s frikkin awesome! I also like the fact that, unlike other superheroes, they aren’t bound to a single planet. They’re patrol different solar systems throughout the Galaxy and this makes way for a lot of great stories concerning the creatures they can fight and what challenges they will face. So as you can imagine, I had a few expectations in these stories. So were they as good, better, or worse then what we’ve seen so far? Let’s find out. This is The Illusive One’s Review of The New 52 Part 3: The Green Lantern Comics.
Like Batman, our first story seems to be a continuation of the stories that were released before the re-launch. In it, Green Lantern Hal Jordan has been stripped of his ring and forced into civilian life which he is having a hard time adjusting to. For some reason, the ring went to Sinestro who is now once again a Green Lantern, (for more info on these events read the crossover storylines In Blackest Night and War of the Green Lanterns). Upon realizing that his home world has been enslaved by his former corps, Sinestro vows to liberate his world from his former soldiers and recruits Jordan to aid him in this task.
So how has if fared thus far? Well, there is a lot to like about these books. For starters the general art style is good and the action is incredibly well depicted and the artists take full advantage of the battles between the Lanterns. While there are relatively few major characters in this series, the few that they have they really get right. In this story Hal isn’t a perfect person and can barely stand the loss of his ring, possibly out of more selfish reasons than anything else. We also get to see, (although briefly), how he adjusts to civilian life and you discover why he wants it back so badly.
The way they characterize Sinestro is really good as well as it gives a great deal of depth to the character. They explore him in three major ways, which ultimately add to the quality of the story. The first is how he reacts to the fact that he is fighting his old corps and it shows just how unforgiving he is of his enemies. The second is in the way he and Hal work together and talk to one another. It shows that Sinestro doesn’t necessarily regret anything that he’s done and may not be doing this for redemption but to fix his mistakes. The last is how he and the population react to the fact that he has returned to his home world as it leaves his true motives a bit ambiguous. And that’s what ultimately works about this character. You just don’t know what motivates him. You really don’t know if he’s looking for redemption, just to fix his mistakes, to truly become a Green Lantern again, or if he has some other plan for the future and I am curious as to how they will develop him in the future.
The final thing to note is the plan of The Guardians. I won’t spoil it for you but it should suffice to say that in this story and the other Green Lantern stories they are quickly establishing themselves as the true villains that everyone should be fighting against rather than for.
The only downside to this whole thing is that anyone unfamiliar with anything Green Lantern will have a hard time getting into this. But that aside, everything else is great. The characterization is great, the story is great and the action is great. It’s an all-around great story and one I highly recommend, so long as you’re willing to do a little research into these characters and stories.
Green Lantern Corps
Of all the superhero comic lines out there, The Green Lanterns probably have the most justification for having three separate story lines. Why? Well, because there are four different Lanterns from Earth. Now most people know about Hal Jordan and John Stewart, (if only from The Justice League Animated Series), but there is another that most non-comic book readers probably know nothing about. This Lantern is Guy Gardner and to be perfectly honest I know next to nothing about him other then he was a former football player and was appointed as Hal’s backup Lantern before John Stewart came into the picture. If you want to know more about him I set up a link for you.
Anyway, I only brought it up because our second story features John Steward and Guy Gardner as our respective protagonists. It follows them as they investigate a race of creatures that are stripping entire planets of resources vital to said planets life, causing total genocide of the planet’s entire population. This, in-turn, leads them to the culprits: a race of creatures who have a natural resistance to the Lantern Rings and have a vendetta against the entire corps. And like our last story, this one is fantastic.
Like the last book, the art style is great with action that is really well put together. The fact that these enemies have a natural resistance to the Rings just raises the stakes and makes the fights all the more intense. You feel the desperation the characters go through as they battle and watch every action with anticipation because you never know who is going to win the next fight. It also helps that it has two great protagonists in Stewart and Gardner as they really come off as human in this story. Unlike Jordan and Rayner, they don’t have secret identities so it makes interactions outside of the Corps difficult. Gardner, for example, can’t even get a job coaching a kid’s football team because of his other occupation and it just shows the kind of stuff they go through.
Finally we have our villains. The mystery involving them is one that keeps you interested and their motivation is actually quite shocking and interesting and almost makes you sympathize with them. On another note, if our last story failed to establish that The Guardians are villains this one confirms it and it really makes me interested in what the protagonists do in the future.
The only downside to it is that like our last story it may be a little hard to get into it if you aren’t familiar with the characters or setting. But like our last story, this one is fantastic. It had great characters, great villains with great motivations, a great story, and great action. It all around a great read and I highly recommend you take a look.
Green Lantern: New Guardians
And now for our last story with an actual Green Lantern as our protagonist, Green Lantern: New Guardians. Now this story is probably the worst of the three Green Lantern stories but it’s still pretty damn good. The story’s protagonist is Green Lantern Kyle Rayner who, for some reason, has a single ring from each of each of the Lantern Corps, (Rage, Avarice, Fear, Hope, Compassion and Love), come to him and claim that he is the owner of said rings. This immediately draws the attention of every Lantern Corps in the universe and members go after Rayner to retrieve the rings and get revenge as several of Corps members were killed as a result of losing their rings. This in turn, leads the Guardians to betray Rayner out of mistrust and misunderstanding and this, in turn, leads Rayner and all the Lanterns who attacked him on a journey to find the source of this strange occurrence.
So, before I get into the flaws of this series, what actually works about it? Well, like the other two, it has a good art direction and decent action to help move the story along. As far as concepts and plots go, this one had a really good one. The idea of a member of each of The Lantern Corps uniting against a common threat is a great one and I’m honestly surprised that they hadn’t tried this route before. It also has a good mystery that revolves around just why it is Rayner got all of these rings at once and as the story progresses I found myself more and more intrigued by what was going on and how it was related.
I also really enjoyed the way the characters interacted with one another. While bickering team mates has become an annoying cliché in fiction in general, (and one that I’m getting sick of and hope to God they keep that they keep it to a minimum in The Avengers film), here it really worked mainly because most of these Corps hate each other’s guts. It really makes sense that they would threaten and insult one another here as there is apparent animosity between them.
That said, unlike the other two, there were things that bugged me about this line. The main problem with it is that it isn’t as good as the others. The storyline, as of right now isn’t as good as the other two. Kyle Rayner isn’t as good of a protagonist and the action isn’t as good as the other two. But even when you take that out of the equation, there are still some things that don’t see right to me. For example, in the middle of the series, The Guardians attack Rayner because the rings’ “attraction” to him. It was something that just seemed illogical and I just don’t get why they would attack first and ask questions later. I don’t know. Maybe that’s a bit of a nitpick but it still bothers me.
The only problem I have with it is that the story has progressed too slowly. I mean, I’m on the fifth issue and The Lanterns have only just started working together as a team. That just seemed a bit of a stretch to me.
All around, despite being the worst of The Green Lantern stories it was still really good. The concepts and storyline is still really good with great interaction and good action and I’m really curious to see where this story is going. So give it a read. I highly recommend it.
Had Green Lantern: New Guardians been the last on this list we could have gotten out of this with all perfect Reads. BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! D.C. thought it would be a good idea to make a comic line out of the Red Lanterns! As you can probably already tell, I don’t care for this line of comics. Why is this exactly? Well, let’s start with the story or, to be more specific, the lack of one. The whole story is just the Red Lanterns being emo about their past wrongs and giving exposition on the characters. Other than that, there really isn’t much else to say on it. But what else is wrong with this story? Well a lot.
For starters, is it just me or does it seem like a really stupid idea to give the Red Lanterns their own comic line? To me, it seemed like it was better to have these people as supporting characters for Green Lantern stories, either as unstable allies or enemies. Having them as protagonists just doesn’t seem right to me. Not to mention, their powers really seem stupid to me. I mean, I’m five issues in and their powers don’t seem to amount to much more then puking lava or something on their victims. I’m sorry. That’s just gross and lame.
Then we have the content of the books themselves. I think ninety percent of the books contains the characters giving exposition on their past stories and nothing at all really happens in terms of story, action, or character development. Oh, some of them gain their sanity again but that really doesn’t count.
There are one or two good things I’ve found in this story. For one thing, the art style is pretty good and some of the back stories are interesting. But sadly this isn’t enough to save the line. It’s ultimately a very boring line that suffered from poor execution and belongs back in the unholy pit it spawned from.
And that’s it for part three of my look at The New 52. As I’ve stated, the first three are all really good and I recommend that you take a look at them. The first two are fantastic and while New Guardians may have its faults and is wired moments, it’s still pretty good. Red Lanterns, on the other hand is a boring turd of a book that I wish I never had the displeasure of reading. And that’s all I have to say on the matter. Next time well be looking at The Justice League comics and, boy let me tell you there are quite a few of them. In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me as I have to gather the Green Lantern Corps to destroy the abomination that is Red Lanterns.
In Brightest Day
In Blackest Night
No Evil Shall Escape Our Sight
Let Those Who Worship Evil’s Might
Beware Our Power
GREEN LANTERN’S LIGHT!!
IT’S TO STRONG!!!
D.C. IS CONTINUING IT!!!
WE HAVE FAILED!!!!