Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Mane Event - War Of The Green Lanterns

Across the three GL titles (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Emerald Warriors) DC have launched the crossover War of the Green Lanterns. Advertised as an event that will be pitting friend against friend, it has the makings of an arc that could have significant impact on the titles. Regardless of where this is taken, the build up has been worked hard on as events ever since Blackest Night have been taken into account.

The revealing of the different Corps of the emotional spectrum has paved the way for some interesting alliances and temporary (yet frail) truces, all of which are playing out further in these titles. You also have some large hints of inadvertent hypocrisy considering the initial indignation towards Hal Jordan’s perceived recklessness and his bonds to all of the other corps when meanwhile in the background a partnership, - forged and endorsed by former Guardian, Ganthet - between Guy Gardner and Atrocitous seems to bear very helpful fruit.

With that all said, the story has been written across GL and GLC in such a way that it can easily picked up with some explanatory character narrative. This isn’t seen as much in Emerald Warriors as the title itself is only eight issues old, but judging by the interactions it will bring the title more to the front through the character and storyline.

What will be interesting is how closely the ties will run and if this means that following all three titles is an essential. Given that we have three different writers all working together, this could be a style clash or a great triumph, but considering that it is Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi and Tony Bedard, my feelings are that it will be the latter.

Part One
Although there has already been a prelude to the War, Geoff John’s issue opens well. Using a dual perspective narrative the reader is very quickly brought up to speed with the most current and pertinent events, namely Krona – the renegade Guardian. It plays very well to the strengths of the characters and the feelings they have instilled in others about them. Mostly. I did find myself questioning Sinestro’s motivation at one point. This left me considering the convenience of a rather significant (although almost not noticed) change of stance and his actions when he frees Hal from the Black Book.

Johns manages two separate storylines very well. On one side there is Hal’s predicament and its evolution, but on the other we see the Guardians' entrapment. Both are significant to the whole plot and neither lack any attention or feel that they have been under-written or treated with preference.

Most importantly is the re-introduction of Parallax back into the Central Power Battery as this infects all the Green Lantern rings and gives Krona an incredibly strong position.

Something I have really liked in this issue is the artwork by Doug Mahnke. This is mainly for two reasons. I like the fine detail that he places in every frame, from the capturing of thoughts across faces to the attention in the individual Lanterns, but also because it doesn’t take things too seriously. On the second and third pages (a double page spread), we see a team of Lanterns including a frog and a beaver! Instant giggle, I loved that alone.

Part Two
Tony Bedard helms the first of the Green Lantern Corps issues within the arc. Having had control of the title for just over a year now he is well placed to continue in the same vein. Once again this issue starts with narrative dialogue but only from Kyle Rayner on this occasion. I found this strange though. There was a lot of reflection inwards, almost to the extent of showing a lack of self belief, but that is quickly recovered.

The initial monologue does fade through the issue and the feel of it all being about Rayner does get lost with the story quickly turning to the trio of Ganthet, Rayner and Stewart culminating in the removal of their rings and leaving two of them powerless and hunted. A strong premise with a lot of potential, but I am waiting to see where it goes as a wedge has also started to form which could have some far greater ramifications. The story flows along a very specific path but whilst enjoying it I wasn’t massively grabbed as much as I had been whilst reading part one.

Kirkham’s artwork has me mixed, considering he has the task of drawing John and his highly intricate and mechanical constructs the attention to detail is great, however, I find a lot of the frames very dark and loosely drawn. The detail has been saved for the big pieces or the impact points. I am not saying the artwork is bad, in fact quite the opposite, but I don’t think it’s the best purely as it’s not my preferred style.

Part Three
Unlike the other two titles, Emerald Warriors isn’t as well established. These warriors were touted as the Green Lantern Corps equivalent of a Black Ops team by working off the radar both figuratively and literally. With this in mind it is a good thing that for the past few issues a lot of time has been spent in the build up and Krona’s influence has been seen, even in the background, for a while now. I think that this has been necessary though, as I can’t see how this title could have been easily and smoothly integrated so Tomasi has had a lot of vested interest in it!

The story picks up with Guy, Killowog and Arisia heading back to Oa and throws them right into the thick of it. Having this issue released a week after the first two sees events from them start to overflow into it rather than the story muscling in and making space for itself. Faced with a barrage of Lanterns, Arisia falling under the influence of Parallax and ‘Wog getting captured, the story revolves around Guy ending up alone for a time. Illustrating the predicament further, Guy has nowhere safe to go and only one person that he can contact, Hal Jordan. Once again (and in synch with part two) we see a massive personality clash and also the realisation that the rings are not the way forward. So what do you do then? Faced with being on a desolate frozen planet with no rings, no back up and no real plan? I’m sure we will find out.

Strangely I think that the artwork by Fernando Pasarin is almost a halfway point between Kirkham and Mahnke. The punctuating point is more the colouring by Cam Smith as it has almost a decoupage feel to it with the characters popping into the foreground. Effective and interesting, but also maybe a little gimmicky.

So, the upshot of it all? We have the four human Lanterns free but without their powers against the entire Green Lantern Corps. It’s not quite the civil war that the teasers alluded towards but it does have a lot of potential. Given Guy and Hal’s situation it’ll be interesting to see what they do next and for me I like the ambiguity that is now residing in the storylines. What is going to happen to Killowog? Has Ganthet really gone? How do four normal humans be able to overcome a powered mind controlled army? All of this is to come and I’m looking forward to seeing it along with all the change it is bound to cause.

Ler Orak te matt Puddy. Luca. Klok Ner!

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