Jessica and Simon Regroup in Green Lanterns 32

by Drew Baumgartner

Green Lanterns 32

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When talking about serialized narratives, we’ll often talk about how certain installments “put the pieces in place” — that is, it was saddled with setting up the next installment (often to its own detriment). But superhero comics represent a peculiar type of serialized narrative, one where “putting the pieces in place” often means putting things back where they belong. However far afield you may take Bruce Wayne, he’s always going to return to Gotham, return to his allies, return to fighting crime as Batman. These kinds of periodic resets are partially a vestige of a time when superhero stories were much more episodic than today but they also offer a straightforward way to keep the characters going into perpetuity. Often, that kind of reset is reserved for the very end of an arc, giving us just enough of the hero’s old status quo to restore some sense of normalcy. Occasionally, though, we’ll get a story like Green Lanterns 32, which takes time to remind us who our heroes are when they’re not busy dealing with a crisis. Continue reading

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Empathy Overpowered by Patriarchal Vengeance in Green Lanterns 31

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz travel ten billion years into the past are integrated into the foundational Green Lantern myth. They are “important” in every conceivable sense of the word. And while they achieve that import through battle and victory and all the usual superhero hullabaloo, it’s Jessica Cruz’ skills coping with overwhelming emotions and mental illness that earn them a place in the Green Lantern history books… or, it would if her empathy weren’t so easily overwritten by a history that refuses to change. Continue reading

Blowing Up the Page in Green Lanterns 30

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Halfway through Green Lantern 30, Simon Baz praises Jessica Cruz’ plan to fight Volthoom. His narration says “A power ring requires incredible concentration. Volthoom has no ideas what he’s doing. Keep him off balance. All hands on deck. Never let up.” Her plan, like so many Green Lantern plans, boils down to “everyone punch him at the same time.” The dramatic subversion is that the plan doesn’t appear to be working. Artist Carlo Barberi elevates the drama by blowing up the format, only reining in it once our heroes are back in control. Continue reading

Overcoming the Refusal of the Call in Green Lanterns 29

by Drew Baumgartner

Green Lanterns 29

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Superheroes are locked in a permanent state of adventure, so their stories never really end. For that reason, it might seem absurd to apply narrative structures like Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” to superhero narratives, as there is little hope of “return,” and notions of “known” and “unknown” start to break down once the hero has been around for a while. But I’ll be damned if the first few beats of any Superhero origin doesn’t more or less follow the first few beats of the Hero’s Journey — especially if the “hero” undergoing the journey happens to be a supporting character. Such is the case in Sam Humphries and Eduardo Pansica’s Green Lanterns 29, which finds all of the original Green Lanterns (OGLs) refusing the call to adventure before ultimately deciding that they have no choice. Continue reading

Jessica Earns the Ring in Green Lanterns 28

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Part Two of Sam Humphries and Eduardo Pansica’s “Out of Time” story arc is a rarity for superhero comic. Save an opening flashback, and a final page stinger, the entire issue is a single scene, taking place in one location over the course of a matter of minutes. That’s the closest thing you’re going to see to “real time” in a comic. There are no cuts around to more exotic settings or events, just the simple insistence on working out nine non-complementary personalities.  Continue reading

Crazy Twists Bring the Fun in Green Lanterns 27

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

I’m a sucker for a big, sci-fi twist. I love the ending of Tim Burton’s misguided 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot with Mark Whalberg’s Leo Davidson crashing back to “Earth” in front of the Lincoln Memorial… which Burton then reveals to actually be Ape-raham Lincoln. It’s a twist that makes exactly zero sense when considered for even a passing moment, but it’s capital “F” Fun and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading

Everybody Wants to Go Home in Green Lanterns 25

by Patrick Ehlers

Green Lanterns 25

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

Green Lanterns 19

Alternating Currents: Green Lanterns 19, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Green Lanterns 19, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

What do you do?

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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

Green Lanterns 14

green-lanterns-14

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

Green Lanterns 10

green-laterns-10

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Green Lanterns 10, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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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