Drew: We often talk about “close readings” in our discussions, but the most rewarding works of art are interesting from far away, too. When zoomed out, you can appreciate the broader form and plotting, while when zoomed in, you can appreciate the moment-to-moment mechanics that make those larger parts work. Indeed, it’s this scalability that allows stories to remain interesting in spite of our familiarity with Joseph Campbell’s monomyth — at some scales, the non-essential details don’t matter at all, but at other scales, they’re the only thing that matters. Any halfway decent discussion of a work of art needs to focus on multiple scales, but certain works of art strongly suggest one scale over the other. More formulaic stories — an episode of Law & Order, for example — tend to offer more rewards for those looking at the details (and certain boredom for anyone looking at form). I’d argue that the controversy of LOST‘s finale stems largely from confusion over the suggested scale — is this a show about a weird island, or about the people who encounter it? — which may have changed from episode to episode. I’d argue that that ever-shifting scale is part of what made that show so great, but there’s no denying that abruptly changing gears can bring discomfort, even if it reaps the kinds of rewards we see in Green Lantern 29. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Green Lantern 26, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Drew: Any 8th-grade social studies student can tell you that colonialism is a sticky subject. Many decry the loss of indigenous cultures, but how do you weigh that against the boon of western medicine? Are we morally obligated to preserve human culture at the cost of human life, or vice versa? That question only gets stickier when you take those other cultures into account — perhaps they value these things differently than their would-be colonizers. These are questions that have tormented philosophers for centuries — exactly the kind of thing Hal Jordan might blunder into unwittingly. Green Lantern 26 finds Hal struggling to impose his rule on Dekann and while he succeeds, his victory suggests a disturbing new status quo within the Green Lantern universe. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern 24, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Shelby: What does it mean to lose the will to fight? To be willful is generally not a compliment; usually it means someone who does what they want, when they want without any consideration of the consequences, but on it’s own will is drive and motivation. That’s why I’ve always been so pleased with the way Blue Lanterns (Rest in Peace) need a Green Lantern to mount an offense: hope is fine and all, but hope without the will to do something about it is merely inaction. Robert Venditti kicks off the Green Lantern Lights Out event with a bang, both literally and figuratively, as Relic descends upon Oa and we contemplate the consequences of truly losing the will to do anything.
Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Green Lantern 23.1: Relic, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.
Patrick: Hey, everyone: meet Relic. What’s that, you say you’ve already met? Oh, well let me tell you about this universe where emotions were weaponized as beams of solid light… Yeah, now that you mention it, that is sorta like the universe we’re currently in. Okay, okay, what if all these different emotion-based factions were constantly at war, sometimes with each other and sometimes united against a common foe? That’s pretty cool, right? Shit, you’re right, that is also just like the modern Green Lantern universe… what if I told you there’s a conservationist allegory and 20 splash pages drawn by Rags Morales? There’s the meat of this thing! Continue reading
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.
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.]
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing New Guardians 14, originally released November 21st, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage.
Shelby: Of all the emotions in the spectrum, fear is the one least like the rest. The members of all the other Corps earn their rings by feeling; Saint Walker’s unending well of hope earned him the blue ring, Carol Ferris’ persistent love of Hal earned her the violet ring, etc. Even the members of the Indigo tribe, though they originally had their rings forced upon them, have demonstrated that they are who they are because of the compassion they feel for others. The Yellow Corps, however, isn’t made up of extremely frightened people, it is made up of people who cause great fear. It’s a distinction I’ve never really pondered, because it makes sense; who would want to read a story about people who’s only power is being a scaredycat? Tony Bedard has apparently never really pondered it either; unlike every other yellow lantern I’ve ever known, the only way for Kyle to master the power of the Yellow is by being afraid.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Lanterns 0, originally released September 26th, 2012. Red Lanterns 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Shelby: The worst thing about grief is not the pain, not the loss, not the sadness; it’s how easy it is to hold on to. Grief is the gateway drug of emotions; it leads you to harder stuff, like sorry, despair, or rage. Grief is a passive, wallowing place, but rage is an emotion of action. A man who’s rage is so intense it burns away the grief which spawned it (as well as all other emotion) is a man who can accomplish terrible things.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 11, originally released July 25th, 2012.
Patrick: Green Lantern has long been a game of science fiction escalation. You could make the argument that all serial narratives eventually encounter the problem of having to out-do what they’ve previously done, but I think this series – especially under the pen of Geoff Johns – makes a specific point to jack the stakes up to such a fever pitch as to make earlier adventures trivial by comparison. As the guardians stand on the cusp of releasing their Third Army and Black Hand returns to Earth with a hankerin’ for genocide, this series is wound about a tightly as possible.
Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Green Lantern 10, originally released June 13th, 2012.
Patrick: Before the relaunch, Blackest Night and Brightest Day cast a enormous shadows over the entire DC Universe. While much of that shadow receded in September, with most of the lingering vestigages hanging around the Green Lantern books. Understanding the existence of any non-green, non-yellow lantern corps requires knowledge of the Night and Day but writers have been cagey to reveal how much of that old mythology remained canon. With the events of Green Lantern 10, it would appear that we’re heading for a big exploration of those events as the universe makes the same mistakes over and over again.