Cram Session: The Rise of the Third Army

It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.

Retcon Punch got you covered.

You’re planning to read the Wrath of the First Lantern, right? It’s Geoff Johns and company’s last hurrah with those characters, so you BEST to pick it up. But if you want to understand every second of that even — and we know you do — you’ve got to get a grip on what came before. If you missed any part of the Rise of the Third Army (and we pay attention to our analytics – none of you are reading Red Lanterns), we’ve got like 20 issues worth of dense GL plotting to catch you up on.  

Red Lanterns 16

red lanterns 16 3rd

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Red Lanterns 16, originally released January 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Drew: You know that feeling when you finish a good book and you just want it to keep going? The story is done, but you just like the characters and the world they live in so much that you just want to keep spending time with them. I get that A LOT. I tend to be more character-focused when it comes to narratives, so it makes sense that, in my head, every narrative becomes a hangout story — one where the lack of plot makes the only draw the likableness of the characters. Red Lantern 16 has the appropriate lack of plot to make a proper hangout story, but lacks the key component of even a single likable character. The result is a palpable waste of time, as unpleasant as sifting through a bucket full of flaming blood rage-puke. Continue reading

Green Lantern Corps Annual 1

green lantern corps annual 3rd

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Green Lantern Corps Annual 1, originally released January 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Shelby: The Green Lantern Corps is having a very “out of the frying pan, into the fire” kind of day. This issue’s got a lot of moving parts, so I’m just going to dive right in.

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Green Lantern: New Guardians 16

new guardians 16-3rd

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing New Guardians 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Shelby: It’s finally time for Kyle Rainer to learn to master the power of love. He’s saved it for last because it is the most difficult, but why is that? Surely rage or greed or even fear would be much harder to command and control. While the more negative end of the emotional spectrum is difficult to control, it is easy to feel. I know I feel ready to puke red-hot plasma just about every morning on the commuter train to work. The difficulty of love lies in the challenge of letting yourself experience love. It’s an emotion that be very painful to the person feeling it; sometimes it’s just easier to block it out entirely. Kyle learns the hard way: you can’t master an emotion you are afraid to let yourself feel.

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Green Lantern 16

green lantern 16-3rd

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 15, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Patrick: At the beginning of this issue, Simon Baz takes a thorough tongue-lashing from (adorable) veteran Lantern B’dg. The little guy is all about the accusatory questions: “Who are you?” “Where’s your lantern?” and, my personal favorite:

b'dg thinks Baz is a bad green lantern

But Baz isn’t bad; he’s just new to the position. Everything from fighting bad guys to trusting his powers to meeting the Justice League is new to him. And in a medium so caught up in what is old — and especially caught up in the task of making old things new again — it’s interesting to see what such a fresh character is capable of.

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Green Lantern Corps 16

green lantern corps 16-3rd

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Green Lantern Corps 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Patrick: When they’re working properly, the Green Lantern Universe of comics is a breathless machine that pumps out fun, exciting narratives. But that’s it: the only speed these series know is HIGH. But when these stories abandon all pretense of depth or intelligence, they simply have to be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point? Oh, let me go back, that’s how I want to start this review: “What’s the point?”

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Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual 1

new guardians annual

Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual 1, originally released January 9th, 2013. 

Mikyzptlk: Okay, I need to get this off my chest. This issue bugged me. Now, that isn’t to say that I hated it but it really managed to piss me off at the end. Before I get into anything else though, I just want to say that I absolutely loved the characterization that I got out of this issue. Star Sapphire Carol Ferris, Saint Walker and Arkillo were an absolute joy to read and I look forward to the developments seen in this issue carrying on throughout the rest of the series. That said, let’s move on to my overall point. Much like a good joke, a good narrative fiction will have a series of setups and payoffs. A writer will introduce a concept early on in a story to then use and explore it later on hopefully making their efforts as a writer worth your efforts as a reader. In that vein, if I had to describe this issue as a “Knock-knock” joke, it would go something like this: “Knock Knock.” “Who’s there?” “I don’t know, ask some other guy.” Not too funny right? In fact, some might find it a bit frustrating and “some” might just be me.

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Red Lanterns 15

Alternating Currents: Red Lanterns 15, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Red Lanterns 15, originally released January 2nd, 2013. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Drew: Last month, Shelby and Mikyzptlk raged about how Red Lanterns 14 seemed to misunderstand the very concept of rage. While I’d love to suggest that that response was fully intended as a clever “you are there!” meta-text, that stuff is really only satisfying when the text itself actually works. When done well, the various corps should act as a shorthand for emotion, giving you a quick and dirty sense of the character’s motivations. Unfortunately for Peter Milligan, rage isn’t a particularly relatable emotion — in fact, its irrational nature makes it totally un-relatable. I don’t envy the task of pulling something compelling out of the Red Lantern corps, so I can almost excuse the fact that he wants to make his characters driven by something other than rage — except that it ultimately serves to make the characters less compelling by removing literally the only thing I know about them. This leaves Red Lanterns 15 populated by characters with no apparent motivation in situations I neither fully understand nor care about.

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Green Lantern 15

green lantern 15 3rd

Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 15, originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Mikyzptlk: When it comes to big events like Rise of the Third Army, pace is a very important thing. If an author moves too quickly, they may run the risk of undermining the scale or importance of the story. If they move too slowly, they may start to bore or even frustrate the audience. We are now 4 issues into the event (not counting the tie-ins) and series writer, Geoff Johns, has slowed things down a bit too much for me to really enjoy this issue as much as I wanted to. Continue reading

Green Lantern: New Guardians 15

new guardians 15 3rd

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing New Guardians 15, originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage. 

Patrick: Everyone experiences loss at one point or another. And your response to that loss is usually sadness. “Sadness” isn’t part of the Green Lantern emotional spectrum — not active enough to dramatize. We’ve seen this weird little problem before (take last week’s Green Lantern Corps for example), but it always ends up feeling like the character appeals back to whatever emotion suits them. John regrets blowing up a planet, he’s going to will the thing back together; Atrocitus misses his family, he’s going to rage all over the bad guys. But as the All Color Lantern, Kyle Rayner can show what the proper response to loss is: all those awful emotions at once. Too bad there’s so much loss to be had. [Especially if you’re a Green Lantern fan, you should know: there be SPOILERS after the jump.]

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