This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
In the first 20ish issues of Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz where largely earthbound Green Lanterns. Even the appearance of Volthoom — a villain that traverses all space and time — didn’t shift writer Sam Humphries’ focus away from their home planet of Earth. Issue 25 kicks off the second consecutive arc in outer space by constantly reminding the reader how much more the characters would rather be at home. In fact, that desire to be home extends beyond our heroes, right to the villain, the aforementioned First Lantern, Volthoom. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Green Lanterns 19, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
What do you do?
Drew: I know a few people who love answering this question, but the majority of my acquaintances hate it — they resent the implication that they’ll be defined by whatever it is they do to pay their rent. I suspect (or hope, anyway) that those attitudes might change as we settle into more satisfying careers, but for many young people, their job is just a responsibility they take on to facilitate the rest of their lives. The odd thing about responsibility, though, is that it has a way of giving us tunnel vision, focusing all our energy on the responsibility rather than the reason we take it on in the first place. It’s the classic modern tragedy (or O. Henry short story, depending on how extreme the sacrifice), where the salaryman sacrifices the life he wants in order to afford that life. Something similar is at work in Green Lanterns 19, as both our heroes and our villain grapple with the responsibilities that have reshaped their lives. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Green Lanterns 14, originally released January 4, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS!
Michael: Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run has had many lasting impacts on the Green Lantern universe, prominent among them is the concept of the emotional spectrum. In the realm of Lanterns, ROYGBIV = Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love. It’s a simple enough concept that marries each color ringbearer to their respective emotion: Red Lanterns are exploding with hate and Blue Lanterns are perpetual optimists. The most interesting set of lanterns that seems to break this trend is the Indigo Tribe, who become enslaved by compassion and transformed into almost completely different individuals.Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Green Lanterns 10, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael: Writing and critiquing works of fiction can be a tricky thing. Saying things like “I wish it would’ve ended like this” or “they should’ve done things this way” can lead to a whole different discussion than that of the work in front of you. I try not to make those kinds of statements too often when I write, but sometimes the story and the context clues provide what seems like an obvious answer to me that the creators might not have considered. Sometimes I feel like a character on The Sopranos saying “All due respect” before I criticize someone. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Green Lanterns 9, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael: Is today gonna be the second day in a row I write about what makes a good supervillain? I think today’s gonna be the second day in a row I write about what makes a good supervillain. Green Lanterns 9 is true to its name in that it features multiple wielders of Willpower, but mainly it focuses on a man who is posed to be Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz’s new foe. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing DC Universe Rebirth 1, originally released May 25th, 2016.
Spencer: To me, one of the most interesting things about the mythology surrounding DC’s “Rebirth” initiative is that, despite its being touted as DC “canonically admitting that they screwed up the New 52,” DC didn’t take this opportunity to reboot or return to their old continuity. Instead, writer/creative director/all-around DC miracle worker Geoff Johns is using Rebirth to course correct their fledgling universe, making a concerted effort to turn away from the darkness that largely came to define the New 52 and instead embrace the ideas of love, hope, and legacy that DC was once famous for.
It’s an effort that warms my heart. I’ll admit to feeling maybe just the slightest, tiniest bit cynical (the upcoming “war” leaves a back-door open to restore the pre-Flashpoint continuity should Rebirth falter as well), but that barely matters. My favorite character in all of comics is back, and thus, I couldn’t be happier. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Green Lantern 29, originally released March 5th, 2014.
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 →
Drew: Determining a level of focus is perhaps the most important step in evaluating a work of art. These foci are specific to the style at hand — harmonic analysis is likely going to tell you very little about a rap song, just as an examination of brush strokes wouldn’t add much to a discussion of da Vinci. Intriguingly, these styles often begin to resemble each other as you zoom in and out — abstract paintings may share concepts of form, color, or composition with those of the Rennaisance masters, for example — further increasing the importance focus in an analysis. Geoff Johns has always written “big” — he’s been at the helm (or at least sharing the helm) of some of DC’s most important events over the past decade — and his writing has often chafed at the analyses of his critics. Justice League of America 7 actually avoids many of the pitfalls Johns is often cited for (a lot of stuff actually happens here), but it still has me wondering if we’re simply using the wrong tool for the job of evaluating a giant, Geoff Johns-penned event. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Justice League of America 4, originally released May 29th, 2013.
Spencer: I’ll be honest: from the very start, Justice League of America has seemed more concerned with putting pieces in place for the upcoming “Trinity War” than it has with telling a compelling story. Unfortunately, for a story so focused on getting its players from Point A to Point B, the way writer Geoff Johns does so strains credibility. He makes several attempts to keep this issue engaging, but its biggest failing is simply that the heroes come across as really, really dumb.
Patrick: Geoff Johns’ final issue of Green Lantern is framed with a narrative device I was first introduced to in the movie The Princess Bride: the old man reading the story to a young man. The flick is an adaptation of novel, and the novel proports to be a rediscovered classic, heavily annotated by the “editor,” William Goldman (who actually just wrote the whole thing). All three of these example serve to elevate the story itself – you don’t need to look to the real world to find a captive audience, there’s one right there in front of you. This issue takes the entirety of Johns’ run and gives it a reverent audience, promoting the nine years since Green Lantern: Rebirth to mythic stature. I’ve been following the entirety of that run, so I’m part of that audience, and I’m moved and affected in very real ways reading this issue. But the bright lights and decades-old mythology groan under the weight of so much self-congratulation. This is a victory lap – mileage will vary.