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Blackest Night #7 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

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Green Lantern Corps #45 [Review]

Red Dawn

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, Mayor
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Published by: DC Comics

For the most part, this issue is Red Lantern Guy Gardner fighting against his friends, trying to kill them. As a Red Lantern he’s enraged at the Green Lanterns. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) for Guy, the very planet he stands on is a member of the GL Corps, and where the other Green Lanterns fail to stop Guy, Mogo is–at Kyle’s persistence that Guy not be simply killed–is moved to provide a solution for his miniscule-by-comparison comrade.

The story here is fairly simple, but it’s effective. A couple issues back, Guy was possessed by a red ring when his rage flared at what he thought was the death of his best friend. Though Kyle was brought back, Guy remained a Red Lantern and did some nasty stuff to wipe out a bunch of the Black Lanterns threatening Oa. With the immediate threat of the Black Lanterns taken care of by Mogo, the remaining threat became Guy himself, who was in possession of both a red and a green ring. Tomasi uses this issue to give us some serious Guy time, as we see the battle for his heart play out. The writing and art blend particularly with a double-page spread that shows us moments from throughout a lotta years of Guy’s history.

As usual, I’m not a fan of Gleason‘s visual style, but with that spread particularly, scenes are recognizable and that is definitely a good thing. The final page of the issue has a fairly iconic sort of image that works fairly well despite my not liking the style.

This issue feels fairly epic despite its localized setting and there really not being any Black Lanterns. We have the “redemption” of Guy, and a solidification of some important elements to the character. Though this could just as easily have been a send-off, it is more a celebration of the character, firmly establishing him (if there remained any doubt) as one of THE Green Lanterns. Mogo’s solution to deal with the red ring seems to be Tomasi providing a bit of retconning of Guy’s character…but in a way that keeps the past intact while fully freeing the character to move on without being tethered to the past.

Overall, a nice character-driven issue, and well worth getting–particularly for fans of Guy Gardner.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 5/10
Overall: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #44 [Review]

Red Badge of Rage part 2

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne & Gleason
Colorists: Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, & Mayor (Variant by Greg Horn)
Editor: Adam Schlagman

We left off in the previous issue with the arrival of Mogo at Oa. Mogo, of course, being the Green Lantern that “don’t socialize,” due to…well, being a planet. Gravitational pull and all that. Of course, the Black Lanterns devouring will, intent upon destruction of the central Green Power Battery, seems to be enough of an emergency to bring Mogo. While the GLs deal with the arrival of their largest representative, they also have a rage-fueled Red Lantern Guy Gardner to contend with…and the fact that Guy is currently filling the role of the Red Lantern he and Kyle initially sought to unleash upon the Black Lanterns. Though one problem gets at least a temporary solution…the GLs are left with the other problem, which is ready to do them great bodily harm.

The story here is interesting enough, if not entirely entertaining. I certainly appreciate Tomasi’s keeping focused on the events of Oa–while other Blackest Night books focus on Earth and other individual characters, much of the battle at Oa unfolds in this series. If the Sinestro Corps War applied significant change to Guy and Kyle, Blackest Night will certainly leave a mark on them, and the potential–at the very least–is exciting.

Unfortunately–as I seem to be commenting on with every single issue I review of this book–the art is not to my liking. It’s not bad in and of itself, but it is very stylistic, and I just don’t care for the look. A double-page spread of Guy flying at the reader, for example, seems so much like a caricature that I have to remind myself that it is supposed to be Guy Gardner.

Important as the issue’s events are, this is hardly the best chapter tying in to Blackest Night. Obviously if you’re following the event as a whole, this’ll be worth picking up; ditto if you’re following the series itself. As a new entry point, though, I definitely cannot recommend this issue.

Story: 7/10
Art: 4/10
Overall: 5.5/10

Plastic Ring quest #4

And now the ‘ring quest’ is complete.  For many others who have also completed this set…it’s a goal poor Larfleeze–“Agent Orange”–will likely never get to do.

As I’ve said before, I think this is just about the coolest promotion for comics I’ve seen.

Of all the rings, of COURSE the coolest wound up being the Green Lantern ring. Because when you come right down to it–whether that first year or so following Kyle’s book, or that brief period after reading the Amalgam “Iron Lantern” issue when I was all the more interested in GL, to more recent years–it’s the “original” of the Corps.

Another thing that I wonder about is what other similar promotions could be done?  Including the year it came out (1991), next year (2010) will be 20 years OF The Infinity Gauntlet; 2011 obviously being the 20th “anniversary.”  How cool would it be to have something like this ring promotion for a re-issue of the original mini-series (6 gems, 6 issues…nice, no?).

Or sticking with DC: what about a Legion of Super-Heroes ring?  As with all these Lantern Corps rings…just change the color of plastic used and the little symbol on the top piece.  Such a ring could be tied to a special Legion issue or annual or issue of Adventure Comics or the like.

And what about a Flash ring?  Given Barry’s back, and I believe the Flash-costume-in-a-ring-for-easy-access was his thing…so why not use the red plastic again and put the lightning bolt on the top piece? And tie this, say, to the new Flash #1 by Johns.

Green Lantern #38 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns [Review]

Rage of the Red Lanterns Prologue: Blood Feud
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Shane Davis
Inks: Sandra Hopoe
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Letters: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Davis, Hope, Ruffino

This one-shot opens with the “birth”–an origin of sorts–of the first of the Red Lanterns, in a sequence taking place between the first two issues of Final Crisis. We then cut to Hal Jordan reeling from the deicide, spending time with family…when he receives word that Sinestro’s execution orders have been handed down. Feeling unable to share thoughts on this with a new friend, Hal seeks out his old friend–Carol–who was actually part of his life when he first met Sinestro (as particularly revealed in the recently-concluded Secret Origin arc in the main GL title). While this is going on, we see Green Lantern Ash finding the upper husk of the Anti-Monitor, relaying the info to the scarred Guardian, and pursuing the trail. The Red Lanterns rise, recruited by Atrocitus, to feed their hatred and rage. As several Green Lanterns ‘escort’ Sinestro to his homeworld for execution, the group is ambushed…just before the Red Lanterns debut, ambushing the ambushers and ambushees alike. Finally, yet another player arrives in the thick of things, revealing to Hal a key ingredient to the survival of the Blackest Night.

Other than an editorial note indicating this issue’s timing in the Final Crisis series, and the references to events within that series that involved Hal (but nothing of his detention by the Alpha Lanterns?), this issue would have been perfectly titled had it been titled Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns or Rise of the Red Lanterns or some such–aside from whatever interaction crops up regarding Final Crisis and ties to the Blackest Night, this seems to deal a whole lot more with Green Lantern than Final Crisis itself.

The art is quite good here…I rather enjoyed it, and it has a certain tone that made it perfectly believable as something fitting into the current Green Lantern series. Aside from some questionable-looking blood placement, I have no particular complaint visually.

The writing being by Geoff Johns is certainly why this feels so much like a special issue of Green Lantern, as he is the writer of that book, and writes this with plenty of purpose and eye toward the ongoing title and how it plays in the greater DC Universe. This story picks up on certain seeds sown throughout the last couple years, and moves key points along as if it were anything but a one-shot tied to an event. We get some good moments between various characters, and I found it especially interesting the exploration of Hal’s feelings regarding the impending execution of his old friend and mentor.

While I fail at present to see what bearing this issue will actually have on Final Crisis, it very much is important to what’s been unfolding in Green Lantern and setting things along the course to the Blackest Night. As such, I don’t recommend this as a tie-in to Final Crisis…I recommend it to anyone keeping up with the GL books and reading with an eye toward next summer’s event.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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