Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Comic Review: Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus 3

I’m realizing I’m probably going to have to go back and start re-reading some of the books I’ve already read, because making the decision to review my most recent read: the 3rd and final Omnibus in Geoff John’s completely game-changing Green Lantern run, while excluding the 1st and (arguably best) 2nd omnibuses (omnibi, omnibii, omnibus’?) was not easy.

But here we are.

Green Lantern Omnibus 3

For those who are familiar with Geoff Johns, you already know his reputation. He’s essentially the boy-scout of DC comics; the golden boy if you will. While other writers may be more popular, divisive, or notable, Johns is easily the most prolific writer in DC’s stable. He pumps out more work than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 80s on a chest day.

Now, I’ve always considered him to be a very “safe” writer, in that he’s going to compliment continuity, entertain in some way, never fully disappoint, but rarely change my life. If I were to give Johns a score as a writer, I would give him an 8 out of 10.

Green Lantern is the exception.

Now at the time of “Rebirth” Johns’ introduction to the GL series, the Ring Slinger was not an exceptionally popular character. By the end of his run in 2013 (included in this omnibus), Lantern was able to go toe to toe with the Caped Crusader himself.

Now compared to the first 2 omnibuses (which I may review later), this was probably my 2nd favorite. It had a slow start coming out of the Legendary “Blackest Night” event which was the culmination of years of careful world/plot building by Johns who had introduced such concepts as the emotional spectrum as warriors and entities beyond the green, and the history of the Guardians of the Universe. However, this “down-time” was still very active by any other writer’s standards (especially Bendis’) and we were quickly whisked into a plot involving the scattering of the emotional entities across the Universe.

With the largest prophesied threat apparently taken care of, it seemed like all that was left to do was round up these emotional entities that had escaped. However, in an interesting twist, Sinestro, our main antagonist for much of Johns’ run became a green lantern again, and Hal, our vanilla-as-all-hell-but-apparently-still-the-best-green-lantern was dismissed from the Corps. What ensues is an interesting tale that adds a new layer to the relationship between Sinestro and Hal as they work together to stop a renegade Guardian, the resurrected Black Hand, and ultimately the Original Lantern.

There’s a lot to love here. From the return of my favorite Orange Lantern of Avarice: Larfleeze, who steals every scene he’s in, to the revelations concerning the Guardians, and finally the introduction of (yet another) new Green Lantern human, Simon Baz, character development gets kicked into high gear on a scale not seen in the first 2 omnibuses.

And that brings me to my main realization.

I think where this book shines is in highlighting the complex relationship between two men at odds who still want what’s best for the Universe. They have wildly differing ideas of how to go about accomplishing this, and there’s no doubting Sinestro’s significantly more of an ass, but the lines of good and evil become blurred, especially when dealing with the likes of the Red Lanterns and a PARTICULARLY interesting revelation about the Indigo Tribe.

Throughout the book, you really get the sense that while the past GL omnibuses were setting up an extraordinary event with fantastic characters, this 3rd omnibus is giving us a much more personal look at these characters as they take on the final threats prophesied in the Book of Oa. As always, Johns writes a fantastic Sinestro – one who is nuanced, easy to hate, yet also easy to understand the motivations of. The extra layer of having Sinestro be a Green Lantern again – shackled in some respects to Hal Jordan adds more to his character as well. His constant highs and lows of successes and failures, more of the latter, add more drama to the events that unfold. Hal, who I largely found to be an absolute wall of drying paint in previous issues, also comes into his own here, and the extra attention to their relationships – as well as relationships in general, is a nice change of pace.

Now don’t take this the wrong way, there are plenty of epic moments in the book, (although not as many as in omnibus 2), the final issue alone clocks in at 60+ pages of pure epic/emotional goodness, I had moments of extended frisson for a solid 20 pages as I closed out the back cover of “The End”! But there is a lot in here that deals with personal relationships and interactions, with the complicated concepts of morality on an intergalactic scale, with responsibility, with emotion and its role and relationship with logic and reason.

The most poignant aspects of the closing pages are not the ones that deal with the defeat of evil, but rather the glimpses of redemption, of requited love, of a never-ending friendship, and of bitter-sweet reunions that are a much-welcomed far-cry from Johns’ usual bombastic, action-oriented storytelling.

I will say this, it’s hard to even fathom continuing ANY Green Lantern after the conclusion, because almost every plot thread and relationship is tied up with a nice little bow in the most satisfying and consistent way as far as I’m concerned.

Luckily, the following issues sucked, so you really don’t have to.

I’ll definitely return to review the first 2 omnibuses at a later date, but for now, the closing to this epic masterpiece gets…

Green Lantern Splash Page

4.5/5 Green Lantern Rings

The funny thing is, until specifically this omnibus tremendously fleshed him out, I thought Hal Jordan was the blandest superhero ever. This was the summation of my opinion of him; I wrote this before really getting into Omnibus 3: “He’s like the default setting to a create-a-character in every video game; he’s like white person averaged out to the lowest common denominator. His defining trait is that he can overcome great fear – like every other fucking hero in any fictional universe ever. He’s also got brown eyes, brown hair, and a boys’ regular haircut. If Superman is jacked, Batman hulky, the Flash cut and wiry, Hal Jordan is whatever generic distillation of “muscular” you need to be to manifest green light objects that do all the work for you. His personality is “cool guy with no real flaws”. Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, hell even John Stewart each have more personality in their pinkies than Hal has in his whole body. He’s the male equivalent of that Bella chick from Twilight – My only real complaint about the way Johns writes Hal, especially considering he used to be hilarious and more dynamic in earlier comic runs.”

No comments:

Post a Comment