Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Mane Event - Green Lantern Movie Prequels: Abin Sur, Kilowog & Tomar-Re

This week in conjunction with the release of the long awaited movie, Green Lantern, I have three tie-in comics to review. These are the individual one-shots for Tomar-Re, Abin Sur and Kilowog.

Each of these have been written and drawn by different teams, which gives them individuality and also their own unique touches. Each brings out the essence of each of these substantial figures which parallels their ability to overcome fear and show great will.

Outside of the well-known four human Lanterns, these have to be some of the most well known Corps members, with only (and remember that these are set early in the GL saga) characters such as Sinestro (out in July and written by Geoff Johns) being more recognisable from within the ranks.

Tomar-Re is written by Marc Guggenheim (of The Flash when Bart died and the GL movie) and he doesn’t go lightly either in this issue. Tomar is a scientist at heart after all and this analytical mentality is clearly conveyed in his approach and the story. Putting him in positions where his heart and head are in conflict over the situation. It also gives more insight into his race and how they react physically, which I didn’t know, so really opens him out. For a Corps lead by emotionless guardians, he certainly wears his emotions on his sleeve.

This is all conveyed further by Cliff Richards’s artwork. On the whole it feels quite heavy and dark but this also fits the story as emotionally speaking it is the same. It’s not the most detailed work but it makes a statement and keeps things focused on the main characters and story.

The combination of the two work well to portray Tomar well.

Secondly we have Abin Sur. Interestingly enough it is written by Michael Green, who co-wrote the GL movie with Greg Berlanti and Guggenheim, but aside from that he has mainly been in TV. There have been some DC storylines, but predominately for Batman. The story focuses heavily on the first experience of Abin Sur with an unremarkable planet known as Earth. Although the story is quite straight forward, its implication is much more. It gives the reader, if prior to watching the film, much more of a grounding for when they see this alien and when he meets Hal.

Drawn by a combination of Patrick Gleason and Tony Shasteen the artwork is clean and well defined, a style I like, with plenty of background and technical detail. It follows more in the design of the film which is also not too far from the original comics. On occasion it does look a little forced, but on the whole it looks good. One thing I loved was the fire though, the explosions really jump out when they occur and they look great!

Finally we have my favourite – Kilowog. If ever there was a member of the Corp that wore his pride of who and what he belonged to then here he is. Peter Tomasi has written this incredibly well; not only do you get to feel this - and I do mean feel - but you also get to see how even with his unfeasibly hard exterior, Kilowog takes every metaphorical bump hard and personally. His focus and passion is the Corps and making sure it continues, which is demonstrated by the fact the story revolves more around his recruits. This is still typical of Kilowog and his comic book storylines (outside of Emerald Warriors) which means that the continuity is kept for fans but new readers will get to know it well.

Carlos Ferreira was not a surprising choice for the artist either but on this occasion I’m not completely fond of all of his characterisations. Kilowog for one has changed over the years and on this occasion his muscular neck-less depiction, although apt, isn’t my favourite. Free reign has been given with the recruits and taken well seeing as we are given some new races to muse the backgrounds of as well. It’s not as detailed as Gleason’s work either but this story is more about inner strength and will as opposed to outward image. Tomasi’s story has been supported by the art, but it is certainly the driver behind it as well, or at least it is out in front.

That said, I still loved this issue as it still epitomises who Kilowog is for me and for anyone who sees the film and wants to know more about who the characters are, then this is a good one to choose.

For once, and without sounding too sceptical, I was pleasantly surprised as previous movie tie-in comics have disappointed me but on this occasion they’ve been worth it. I am tempted to go so far as wanting to buy the Hal Jordan and Sinestro versions as well. Firstly, this will complete the set, but secondly they are written by Geoff Johns, so hold a certain weight already. As a fan I’m happy as all three give me more about well established characters in the GL universe, but for a film goer getting into comics or a new reader then these also work well, especially with the upcoming DC reboot.

Matt Puddy got a ring from a dying alien... but it just left an ugly tide mark he had to scrub to get off. Cheap metal sucks.

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