Today, Shelby and Peter are discussing Green Lantern Corps 7, originally released March 21st, 2012.
Shelby: Resolution is important in any good story-telling, but I think it’s especially important in a medium as serial as comic books. The fans have to wait a month between each installment; that’s a month of talking about what happened last month, and what’s going to happen this month. Comic book fans also develop an immense devotion to the characters they read, so much so that it’s a necessity for any huge issues, emotional or otherwise, to be dealt with accordingly. Also, sometimes you just need to take a break from the action in a comic book arc, take the time for that resolution that is so needed. I know all of this, and I agree with it, but I don’t think that means resolution issues need to be quite so boring as Green Lantern Corps 7.
Issue 7 opens with the memorial ceremony in the crypts of Oa for Lanterns Kirrt and Porter. To refresh your memories because both these characters died in the issues they were introduced, Porter was the…well, teleporter who killed himself trying to get all the Lanterns back to Oa, and Kirrt was the guy John killed while they were prisoners of the Keepers. Anyway, Morro makes a crystal copy of each for the crypt, and Guy has a so-predictable-it’s-useless conversation with the Guardians. Surprise, they’re unhappy with his recent actions and he feels himself completely justified in just trying to do his job, etc. John has a conversation with Vandor (the other Lantern who was taken by the Keepers) about how he did the right thing but he doesn’t like it, he’s not the Corps’ conscience, if Vandor was ever in the same situation again he would hope John would take the same action. They all fly off to return the bodies to their home planets, John has a predictable conversation with the family of Kirrt, Kirrt’s mentally handicapped little brother can’t deal and John tells him his brother was a hero, they bury Kirrt, the end.
It’s all just kind of boring, really. I get that we needed to deal with John’s actions at some point, but this issue just seemed so predictable and unoriginal. The dialogue is just piles of cliches. Oh no, John is bummed out. Oh, he can’t figure out why he lied about killing Kirrt. Look now, Guy is being a jackass and the Guardians don’t like it. Aww, John saved the day by maintaining the lie about Kirrt’s death and making his family happy. This is supposed to be heavy, moving stuff, but I find I don’t really give a shit. And I figured out why: it’s because I didn’t know a damn thing about Kirrt until John broke his neck. That is the thing that I know about him: his moment of death. I have loved the Green Lantern Corps for a while, largely for its diverse cast of characters. When I was reading through Blackest Night, it was the GLC stories I wanted to hear the most; the characters were compelling and exciting, I knew them and cared about them. Note the past tense on that last statement.
Art-wise, I’m not really wow’d by anything I see here either. Claude St. Aubin is the artist for this issue, and it seems a little…off. There’s just something about the perspective and proportions that seem not quite right, most notably on John Stewart’s face. Unfortunate, because we spend a lot of time looking at it. This image of Guy talking to the Guardians is really goofy, though; what is his back leg standing on? That’s a god-damned globe!
There was one little moment I liked, though. As John is flying Kirrt back to his home planet, we get all these skinny panels of other aliens watching them fly past, knowing full well what that sight means. Finally, we see just John, with no stars, or planets or anything, just sitting on the coffin as it flies through space with his head down on his knees.
To me, this seems like the only genuine moment in the whole issue. John is completely alone with what he has done, and instead of spouting cliches, he’s just confronted with the enormity of it. This is an actual image of a man dealing with grief and guilt, and also he’s flying through space. That’s what I want from this title! Actual people (ok, and aliens) dealing with actual emotions, but in space while fighting monsters! Is that really so much to ask? Peter, what did you think, were you able to take something more away from this title than I was?
Peter: I actually enjoyed this issue for the most part. John Stewart is known at this point for having a tough time dealing with the deaths of others that he has ’caused’. (Xanshi, I’m looking at you.) While this issue seems a little cliché and unimpressive as a whole, it does lay to rest some of the concerns I have had recently with John’s behavior. When and after John killed Kirrt, I was initially shocked. He did it without a second’s hesitation, and didn’t really seem to be all the remorseful. This didn’t sit well with me overall. John has, in the past, caused the destruction of not one, but two planets, one of whom was Mogo. The first time, Xanshi, John took it really hard, and whenever an author needed to show some emotions for John, they just turned to the big elephant in the room. During the War of the Green Lanterns arc, while using an Indigo power ring, John killed Mogo, due to the fact that Mogo had black energy inside of him, and this was a compassionate/mercy killing. With the death of Kirrt, it was a necessary evil to protect the Green Lantern Corps, not unlike Guy’s choice to explode Fat Man and Little Boy to defeat the Keepers, which Guy defends with his usual charm to the ‘Bluechachos’.
I like that Tomasi took the time to tell this story; it shows what John Stewart is willing to do for the good of others, principle of which is lie. To save the Corps, he killed Kirrt. To save Kirrt, (and himself, technically) he lied to the Corps. To save Kirrt’s family, particularly his mentally challenged brother, he lied to them. I have been really enjoying all of Tomasi’s writing in both this, and Batman and Robin in terms of character development, and this is no exception. This will forever sculpt how John operates in my mind, and hopefully it will give writers more to work with in the future. Even if he doesn’t want to be the Corps conscience, nor an Alpha Lantern if you remember, it is good that he is doing these things inadvertently, as we prepare for the Guardians’ next move as they attempt to ‘replace’ the Corps.
However, while it wasn’t overly original, as you pointed out Shelby, it wasn’t a bad move. During this issue, we not only see John doing the predictable thing, but we also see Guy doing it as well. The only people in this book that I am surprised by are the Guardians. If the Guardians are being little blue shit-smurfs again, why do they let Guy off fairly easily? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Eh, I’m sure they have a justifiable reason in their minds.
Best part of this book though is Morro’s ceremony. It was really cool to see that, and it gave me a chuckle, and tear. NERD ALERT. I think it’s funny that his hammer looks like it may be made out of wood, which he used to smash some green crystal. That makes me think of Alan Scott’s Starheart ring’s wood impurity, even though Alan’s ring is not connected to the Green Lantern Corps Central Battery at all.
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