Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guy Gardner Becomes Fairly Interesting In Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern!

The Good: Decent artwork, Fairly engaging story, Most of the character work.
The Bad: Slightly simplistic resolutions/villains.
The Basics: When Guy Gardner is compelled to serve the Green Lantern Corps past his one-year commitment, he finds going on vacation is the last thing the universe has in store for him in Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern!

As my regular readers may have observed, despite this being my Daredevil Year, I have found I have much greater access to works involving Green Lantern or the Green Lantern Corps. As the year winds down, I have actually been enjoying my Green Lantern finds more than the few Daredevil works I have found of late. The latest such volume to cross my desk is Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern. I was fairly excited to get this volume in as it is the first six books from Green Lantern Corps, a series I have enjoyed off and on.

While I had not been a fan of Guy Gardner, Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern intrigued me because of the way it focused on the restaffing and growth of the Green Lantern Corps in advance of the Sinestro Corps War. The Green Lanterns have, in their recent history, undergone some serious threats. After being reformed, the Green Lantern Corps has survived the Sinestro Corps War, the Blackest Night and most recently, the War Of Light, in advance of the DC Comics reboot. Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern lays the foundation for much of what comes later and that made it instantly enjoyable to read, despite the Guy-heavy storylines.

One year after Guy Gardner helped to restore Oa, the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps, he finds himself exhausted. He also finds himself running into a very obstinate Salaak, who refuses to let him go on shore leave. It falls to Guy to assist many of the new Green Lanterns. Those Lanterns include Dr. Soranik Natu of Korugar. She and her partner have been searching for a killer, a search that takes them to Betrassus, a planet where the prince is obsessed with the Green Lantern Corps. As Natu and Gardner work to find who the murderer on Betrassus is, Isamot and his Rannian partner struggle to fight off invaders who flee into the forbidden Vega System.

Gardner’s problems only increase when he makes it to shore leave. There, he is hunted by Bolphunga. As new green lantern Princess Iolande begins her training, Guy must flee the unrelenting villain while searching for his stolen ring! The book concludes with a story that introduces Ranx, a sentient city that Guy and a new Green Lantern must thwart while searching for a dangerous thief.

To Be A Lantern is cool in that it introduces several characters – Soranik Natu, Iolande – who have very long character arcs and who are interesting. Soranik is a doctor and because she is from Korugar – home of Sinestro – she is distrusted. In this book, she has to leave behind an important part of her life in order to continue with the Corps and that makes for a good character struggle. Similarly, as the ruling leader of Betrassus, Iolande is used to being treated like a princess. In the Corps, she is treated like everyone else and that makes for an interesting character moment between Kilowog and Salaak.

What was even more interesting to me was how much of a presence Mogo is in To Be A Lantern. Mogo is a sentient planet and a member of the Green Lantern Corps. The sentient planet is tasked, at least after the Sinestro Corps War, with reassigning the rings of fallen Lanterns to new Corps members. In To Be A Lantern, Mogo has almost psychic powers and is basically the psychotherapist for the Corps. It is an interesting role and the relationships various characters have with Mogo make the planet seem very vital. Now I wish I had known the importance of Mogo when I first read the Blackest Night Saga!

The artwork in To Be A Lantern is homogenously good. In fact, writer Dave Gibbons and penciller Patrick Gleason have a bit of fun even with the art. So, for example, after a panel with Mogo – the round planet – the panels transition into a close-up of Soranik’s breast and pan back. While arguably gratuitous, it also smacks of commentary on how women are portrayed in comic books and I choose to interpret it the more highbrow way.

Having read much of what comes after To Be A Lantern, I can authoritatively state that this book is laying the framework of many, many important events and character moments for the Green Lantern Corps. What is so enjoyable about this graphic novel is that it doesn’t feel like it is just an extended set-up story. Instead, this book has a very organic flow and seems like it is its own thing. The fact that this is helping to establish a highly serialized story without making it painfully obvious only means that it is accomplishing its goal well.

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern: Rebirth
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two
Ring Quest
Sins Of The Star Sapphire
Rage Of The Red Lanterns
Agent Orange
Emerald Eclipse
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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