Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wrestling With The Consequences Of Calamity, War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath Is Worth Reading!

The Good: Character development, Sense of consequence, Continuity, Some impressive artwork
The Bad: Mixed artwork, Uncomplicated stories.
The Basics: In a book appropriately devoid of Hal Jordan, the remaining Green Lanterns from Earth struggle to rebuild the Corps in War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath.

I am a person who deeply enjoys works that do not simply have an action or an event, but wrestle with the profound consequences of huge actions in whatever universe the story is set. That is why, immediately, it is very easy for me to recommend War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath, despite the fact that it is very much a follow-up book that means a whole lot less on its own as a free-standing graphic novel. In fact, this is much more accurately categorized as what it is, a trade anthology. A collection of eight comic books, War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath is a series of vignettes that are almost entirely about the consequences of the prior volume, War Of The Green Lanterns.

It is worth noting that it is impossible to reasonably discuss War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath without mentioning some of the key climactic events of War Of The Green Lanterns (reviewed here!). While that book was not exactly what I thought it would be (at all!), War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath is exactly what the title promises and deals with the fallout of two of the big three actions at the climax of the War Of The Green Lanterns. This is the last point one might read without having spoilers to that event revealed, so consider yourself warned!

Truly a series of vignettes, War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath focuses mostly on the three remaining Green Lanterns from Earth and the consequences of their actions in resolving the war that pitted the Green Lanterns against the rest of the universe, thanks to the manipulations of the villainous Krona.

In the direct follow-up, the chapters that bear the book’s title, the Corps finds itself in disarray. Most Lanterns are subtly angry at John Stewart and are in morning for the death/destruction of Mogo. As the vast majority of Lanterns granted rings by Mogo during the chaotic surge where Mogo spat out reserve rings so Krona could control an even larger army turn their rings in and return to their worlds to deal with the consequences of the death they caused, Oa is visited by Saint Walker, who comes to offer Ganthet a position with the Blue Lanterns. At the same time, a small squad of Lanterns takes Soranik Natu to the Guardians’ star chamber . . . to give her the opportunity to kill Sinestro!

The first story is refreshing in that it actually deals with the nagging plots left unresolved by War Of The Green Lanterns. Ganthet, in his defiance of the rest of the Guardians, tries to stave off a Red Lantern attack by approaching Atrocitus with Krona’s body, desperate to make good on his word to the Lantern of rage. Between that, the putting to rest of Mogo and the lack of understanding for what John Stewart did, this first story in War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath is rife with emotional turmoil surrounding the characters who are essential to the ongoing Green Lantern Corps stories. While Guy Gardner is largely neglected in these stories, Kyle Rayner has an interesting role and I like that he remains outside the desire for revenge . . . even against Sinestro. The artwork in this section is erratic, with some of it being remarkably simplified. Actually, my main problem comes with the rendition of Sinestro. He appears in this section with the same red skintones as Atrocitus and he lacks any realistic depth or shading to the rendition of him. To be fair, I found I enjoyed the idea that the Guardians were at a loss to explain how the Green Lantern ring chose him and that sets up some future compelling character arcs well.

The second story in the book “Beware My Power” focuses on John Stewart and the new recruit Qurina. Qurina is one of the only new recruits who actually wants to retain her ring and her new position within the Corps. As a police officer from Calados, she sees being a Green Lanterns as a natural step in her career path and one she embraces. She associates herself with John Stewart because she sees herself as an outsider and has no problem with being associated with the Lantern whom everyone else currently despises. She and John Stewart go on a mission to stop a conflict between a conjoined pair of planets. The artwork, like the character arc, is consistent and good, if a shade simple. Qurina’s story is basically one that reasserts that John Stewart must have had a good reason for destroying Mogo and now there is someone else who thinks he must be a good, reasonable, rational guy.

“Love Is A Battlefield” works to resolve the romance between Kyle Rayner and Soranik Natu. Lured into a trap by the Star Sapphire Miri, who has an emotional investment in their relationship, the two fight alongside one another in what Miri hopes will be a strengthening of the bond they share. Writer Tony Bedard smartly includes Tomar-Tu in the story and his function serves the larger purpose of exploring an actual motif. Tomar-Tu sees things far clearer than Rayner or Soranik Natu. Through his rationality, the story resolves itself reasonably and Bedard smartly implies that only those outside a passionate romantic relationship are actually likely to see reality for what it is, relative to those who are lovestruck in a relationship.

This chapter is followed by a series of vignettes that put Alpha Lantern Boodikka and an assortment of Green Lanterns with whom the reader has no emotional connection find their purpose in the Corps again. The artwork is exceptionally erratic in this section and includes a few painted panels, a few simplistically rendered ones and some that look like a high-quality comic strip. While this chapter is good for the sense of the Corps, it has no emotional connection, even for the loyal Green Lantern reader.

The book concludes with three Guy Gardner one-shot stories. Guy Gardner helps a noblewoman escape attacking ships, rounds up a posse of Green Lanterns to stop a beast who has attacked dozens of Lanterns (and is slowly digesting them), and teams up with Batman for a murder investigation aboard the International Space Station. While the dialogue in the third story is the snappiest and the artwork in the second is the best, I found I actually enjoyed the first story the most. The story “Rest And Relaxation” has good sexual tension between the noble and Guy Gardner and returns him to being something of a cad, without reverting him to being the ass he started his tenure in Green Lantern as. Moreover, I found I enjoyed the idea that, in the wake of the War Of The Green Lanterns, there would come privateers who looked to exploit the disorganization of the Corps to try to unlock the secrets of the power rings.

Ultimately, War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath is a decent exploration of how war tears apart a society and the individuals involved. Having read any number of giant DC Universe events that have almost no follow-up, it is refreshing to read War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath where the prior conflict results in some impact upon the organization that was affected by the war.

For other Green Lantern-related books from this era, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Secret Origin
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Wanted: Hal Jordan
Revenge Of The Green Lanterns
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
War Of The Green Lanterns
Sinestro (New 52)


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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