Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bearing The Brunt Of My Gripe With Flashpoint, The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern Still Manages To Be Decent!

The Good: Engaging stories, Some impressive artwork
The Bad: Makes absolutely no sense for the story of the larger “Flashpoint” Universe.
The Basics: I actually enjoyed most of The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern, but it is an utter nonsensical story in the larger Flashpoint.

To be completely fair to The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern, whatever volume of The World Of Flashpoint I picked up first was going to bear the brunt of a rant from me. As it so happens, The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is the first Flashpoint book I got in and thus, the rant that had to come for this crossover (outside the one I present over the ridiculous advertising campaign that preceded Flashpoint) ends up here.

The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is utter bullshit.

There, I said it because someone should. The entire premise of Flashpoint is that Barry Allen makes a choice that saves one life in the past. That single change radically alters the fabric of reality and has such profound effects as to make the DC Universe virtually unrecognizable. I can dig that. It’s a basic time-travel story that illustrates the consequences of time travel. That’s fine. The fundamental problem is that the editors at DC Comics decided to make it a huge universe-spanning event and to do that, they had to create several stories that make utterly no sense in relation to the initiating incident of Flashpoint. The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is a collection of four stories, at least three of which are utter b.s. in the context of Flashpoint. Here is why: the stories of Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and Frankenstein have nothing to do with the Flash or the change he made.

The Green Lantern story in The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is predicated on a very simple premise: Abin Sur does not die in the crash that puts him on Earth. The only possible way this makes any sense as a story is if the Flash, the person he saved or anyone ancilliary to them, had anything at all to do with the crash of Abin Sur, the death of Abin Sur or an attempt to save his life. They do not. In other words, the Flash made a ripple in the pond of the DC Universe; Abin Sur’s story happens so far away that there should have been no effect whatsoever. The change the Flash made to the timeline had nothing to do with anything off Earth, so the backstory that precedes Abin Sur reaching Earth wounded, would not have sparked the rise of Nekron and the Black Lanterns in the time before the temporal alteration. In simpler terms (especially for those who do not know the entire backstory of the Green Lantern Corps), the only changes to the DC Universe that should have occurred in Flashpoint would come from the moment Barry Allen makes the change in the timeline and AFTER. It makes no sense that the timeline of the DC Universe would have events altered prior to the actual temporal event. The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern deals mostly with events that precede the actual change in the timeline and the fleshing out of the alternate present that is Flashpoint.

The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern includes four stories in the Flashpoint Universe: Green Lantern (Abin Sur), Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos, Oliver Queen, and Hal Jordan. And the frustrating aspect of reading most of these stories, even the ones that are good, is that they make no sense in-context. Barry Allen did nothing that would have changed how the Green Lantern Corps and the history of the universe was operating off Earth to make most of these stories make any sense at all.

In the first three chapters that focus on Abin Sur and Sinestro, the Green Lantern Corps is slowly losing ground to the Black Lanterns under Nekron’s leadership. As Abin Sur is tasked with saving the White Entity by recovering it from the war-torn Earth, Sinestro makes the journey to Ysmault where he learns of the prophecy of the Flashpoint from the imprisoned Atrocitus. Heading to Earth on his own, Sinestro gets into a conflict with Abin Sur to unleash the power of the white light. As Abin Sur joins Cyborg in working to save Europe, Sinestro fights him for the power of the White Entity of life.

The Green Lantern section of The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is presented with amazing, painting-like artwork. The character designs are identical to the characters from the film Green Lantern (reviewed here!). That is actually pretty cool and the artwork looks incredible (though for some reason, while even the Guardians are altered in this artwork to match the film’s interpretation of the characters, Hal Jordan is not rendered to look like Ryan Reynolds!). Despite the lack of sensibility, it is an enjoyable story.

The hardest sell for me coming into The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern was going to be the chapters of Frankenstein And The Creatures Of The Unknown. This story turned out to be a pleasant and delightful interlude, despite its lack of connection to anything at all pertaining to the larger Flashpoint mythos. It was only as I progressed through the story that I realized that these were the same Creature Commandos that made a very brief appearance in Justice League: Generation Lost, Volume 2 (reviewed here!), which I loved!

In World War II, the Frankenstein monster is employed to fight in difficult battles. Teamed with an amphibious daughter of a military scientist, a vampire and a werewolf, Frankenstein and his team make it to Adolph Hitler’s bunker where they put the dictator down. They are rewarded for their patriotism and service by being put into suspended animation. Released unwittingly by the Flash in 2011, the team is hunted by Shrieve, the granddaughter of one of the officers they worked with in World War II. Blaming the Creature Commandos for her family’s death, Shrieve proves to be a worthwhile adversary working for General Lane until an unexpected ally of Frankenstein pops back up.

The artwork in this story is good, but what sets it apart is that it tells a decent, self-contained story with characters that are interesting and instantly intriguing. Because I had absolutely no expectations for who or what the characters were supposed to be, the story of the Frankenstein monster and his allies as paranormal warriors (though it did tread pretty close to what little I know of HellBoy) was surprisingly engaging and well-presented.

“Green Arrow Industries” is given a one-shot in The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern and that was always going to be a tough sell for me. I have not been wowed by any Green Arrow books that I have read. So, it is not particularly surprising that the story did not overly impress me. However, many of my issues with it come from its abrupt turn. Oliver Queen it talking to Roy Harper on one page and on the next, Roy’s neck is slit and the story becomes Oliver chasing an invader around his private island. That just seemed sloppy and (fitting in with my larger concern about the book) how the Flash helped make Oliver Queen from a weapon’s manufacturer into the bow-wielding hero one recognizes (and thus was altered in this incarnation) is never adequately explored here.

As it is, Oliver Queen has several generals visiting his private R&D island where Queen Industries is deeply involved in weapon’s manufacture. Queen has designed new missiles, the Green Arrows, using technology from super villains. The facility is attacked and a single assailant manages to escape. Oliver chases her, eventually learning her identity and why she begrudges him.

There is a reason the Oliver Queen story is a one-shot; it’s not particularly compelling and it has nothing to do with the war between the Amazons and Atlanteans that makes up most of Flashpoint.

Hal Jordan’s story in The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern has Jordan as a test pilot, not a Green Lantern. After he saves Abin Sur’s life from the crash, Abin Sur lends him alien tech which Ferris Air integrates with U.S. military technology. Following Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris guarding the coast and protecting Coast City from an Amazon attack and their hydra, the new Ferris Air plane is ready. Hal Jordan is charged with dropping the Green Arrow missile on Themyscira and that mission cost more than anyone would have imagined.

Like the Green Lantern story in The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern, the artwork in the Hal Jordan section is similar to the character designs in Green Lantern. This story fits in fine with the overall war story in Flashpoint and it retells the Hal Jordan/Carol Ferris story in this new universe and it is consistent and interesting, if not entirely vital or new.

Ultimately, though, The World Of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is very much a tangent story to Flashpoint and it is good on its own, though the abrupt transitions and odd ways the stories fit together make for a less satisfying book on its own. Still, this is a DC Universe book worth picking up!

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern/Green Arrow – Volume 1
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight - A New Dawn
Green Lantern: Legacy - The Last Will And Testament Of Hal Jordan
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, be sure to check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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