Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Loose Collection Of Stories, Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns Is More Foreshadowing Than Its Own Work.

The Good: Moments of character, Moments of artwork, The last story.
The Bad: Fractured stories, Missing “chapters,” Some of the artwork.
The Basics: Straddling both sides of the missing DC year, Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns is a collection of Green Lantern stories that is hardly cohesive on its own.

As I go back to the beginnings of the current (well, pre-“New 52”) incarnation of the Green Lantern storyline, I am finding that it is generally enhancing my appreciation of all that comes after. In fact, I have come to covet an Arkillo figure because the obscure villain that I just thought looked neat originally has a pretty extensive storyline throughout the “modern” Green Lantern storylines. In fact, I completely geeked out when Arkillo makes his first appearance in Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns.

Arkillo’s first appearance may be one of the few redeeming aspects of the first whole section of Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns. The book, which is a series of loosely-connected vignettes more than a single cohesive story, takes a while to get into a story that most readers will actually care about. Though, to be fair to Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns, this book is chiefly concerned with laying the groundwork for many of the important plots that follow, most notably the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night.

Before going into the usual plot exploration, it is worth noting that Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns seems to straddle the Infinite Crisis (reviewed here!) story. So, while Who Is Wonder Woman? (reviewed here!) clearly restarts the story of Diana after her year’s absence from fighting for justice, Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns contains a gap that alludes to events that may or may not have been covered in the 52 Saga (which I have not read). This is not the only awkward gap in Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns; the “Branded” chapter begins with Hal Jordan turning in his shattered Lantern Battery when the prior chapter had no event that came close to destroying the important artifact! That said, there are much worse, less cohesive graphic novels and some of the stories in here actually do try to allude enough to events to make the book comprehensible.

“A Perfect Life” is a two-part story that finds Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen getting reacquainted. Hal Jordan, who was recently resurrected and returned to his status as a Green Lantern, is still getting used to being on duty and being around his old friends. Oliver – Green Arrow – tries to encourage Hal to take some time to be with his family. His imploring his friend is interrupted by the appearance of Mongul, the son of the Mongul who attacked Earth once before and ordered the destruction of Coast City. Mongul does not come alone. He bears the Black Mercy parasite plants and with them, he ensnares Hal and Oliver.

This story quickly becomes a very unsurprising story and seasoned comic book fans may be disappointed by how obvious the conflict is. Sure, the truth about what is happening is revealed by the end of the first of the two chapters, but when the second chapter opens with the prolonged alternate reality sequence, it is unfortunate. That said, what is impressive is that Geoff Johns uses the very typical narrative technique to force character growth in Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen. Oliver actually becomes remotely interesting through this chapter!

“Branded” finds Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne teaming up. This chapter seems to hinge a lot upon a sense of animosity between Green Lantern and Batman. The pair hunts a tattooed killer and in the process, they learn to respect one another again. The useful portion of this “episode” comes from Hal giving Bruce his power ring to use and the exploration of Bruce Wayne’s reliance upon his own pain is interesting. It becomes entirely unsurprising from this story that Wayne would be tapped for the Sinestro Corps!

“Revenge Of The Green Lanterns” is the post-52 story and it is the only real reason to pick up this book. Whether it is detailed elsewhere or not, this storyline involves Hal Jordan after he has been held as a P.O.W. Returning to Oa to meet with the Guardians, Hal Jordan encounters a Green Lantern he thought was dead. Hal requests permission to go to the very edge of the galaxy and the forbidden sector 3601, but the Guardians deny his request. Hal and Guy Gardner make the trip anyway and what they find there is truly horrifying. In addition to discovering a planet being run by Manhunters, Hal and Guy discover Lost Lanterns, the ones Hal Jordan left for dead when he was infected with Parallax. They are being used as batteries to power a monstrous device built by Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman!

This story puts Laira, Boodikka, Honnu, and Arisia, back into play and makes Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns suddenly worthwhile and relevant. Having seen where these vital Green Lantern characters go, it is worthwhile to see where they began and Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns does a fine job of introducing them to new readers.

Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns features mostly good artwork. The story is well supported by the art and there is a decent sense of movement throughout the book. As is vital in Green Lantern volumes, Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns features a rich use of color and looks very good.

Even so, Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns is likely to appeal more to fans than to new readers. For those who want to start the modern Green Lantern Saga near its beginning, this becomes an essential volume, more for making sense out of what comes after than in any inherent quality in Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns itself.

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge
To Be A Lantern
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps
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
Blackest Night: Tales Of The 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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