Books Of Oa: Green Lantern Wanted Hal Jordan & Green Lantern Corps The Dark Side Of Green

GREEN LANTERN: WANTED HAL JORDAN (DC)
Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Ivan Reis & Daniel Acuna
Collects Green Lantern #14-20
I fully intended to do these Books Of Oa posts on a more regular basis, but got a little caught up with the holidays and all that. So, I’m going to double up for this week and hopefully get back on track. So, let’s jump right into it. Wanted is essentially split into two parts. They break down in a story sense, but also a kind of thematic sense: stuff that’s trying to clear up One Year Later and stuff that builds towards the bigger Green Lantern story. Picking up right after the previous volume Revenge Of The Green Lanterns, we finally find out what happened to Hal and his fellow co-pilots during the year jump which was essentially them crashing their plans and becoming POWs. Then, in the modern time, Cowgirl, one of the pilots, flies off to attack the terrorists who tortured them, but it’s up to Hal as GL to save her and bring her back. This pits him against the new Global Guardians and new Rocket Reds who happen to be mind controlled by one of a group of bounty hunters after him lead by Amon Sur, the son of Abin Sur, the person who held Hal’s ring before him. Amon’s hacked off at Hal and the GLC because he thinks the ring should be his to wield. This is the stuff that matters to the bigger story, not so much the Global Guardians stuff which really felt like it was going to go somewhere when it came out, but that wasn’t the case. I don’t believe they’ve been mentioned ever again, though the Rocket Red have been, especially in the pages of Justice League: Generation Lost. When these issues were coming out, they were very confusing. This time around, they tie in to the larger story, but it definitely feels like a dropped ball or one of the many times when Johns introduced/reintroduced a character/characters but never really explained much about them (see Teen Titans for more examples).

The other part of the story involves the Star Sapphire returning to Earth, first inhabiting Carol Ferris and then Cowgirl because Hal has the hots for her. This is your pretty standard Star Sapphire story until Carol starts talking about Sinestro, a coming war and the creation of a pink ring at the very end, with the Zamarons swearing to collect one of each color lantern (or something). As it turns out, the Zamarons absorb love like the Green Lanterns absorb willpower from the universe or the Sinestro Corps does fear. We see a lot of this in flashbacks along with flashbacks between Hal and Carol so it’s a good history lesson as well. Being a nerd I noticed a few continuity errors while reading, specifically when it came to flashbacks showing the Guardians and Zamarons. For one thing, female Guardians didn’t exist until after Kyle Rayner recreated them when he had the Ion power the first time. There were never male Zamarons. Also, if memory serves, the Guardians didn’t have names until the late 80s/early 90s which wasn’t a good sign for them, but Ganthet is referred to by name at some point.

Johns does a good job of weaving the two stories together, even having John Stewart posing for months as one of the bounty hunters who was after him. If memory serves, John hadn’t really been seen much since Rebirth. A lot of groundwork is laid for Sinestro Corps War (we see Qwardians enslaved on their own planet and Arkillo sending yellow rings out to bring trainees back to him, curiously, he’s wearing a purple and black suit instead of yellow and black) and even Blackest Night here, but all the OYL stuff just feels tacked on and not followed through on. I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern for Johns’ early arcs on this book, they usually involve Hal dealing with his regular life before running off to deal with some cosmic disturbance. That’s what you’d expect from a space cop, but it sometimes feels like we’re left hanging when we’re trying to learn more about Hal or his life. After this, he spends a good deal of time fighting in SCW which I’ll hopefully get to reviewing next week.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: THE DARK SIDE OF GREEN (DC)
Written by Dave Gibbons & Keith Champagne, drawn by Patrick Gleason, Dave Gibbons & Tom Nguyen
Collects Green Lantern Corps #7-13
This collection of GLC issues is an interesting. It includes the story that the collection takes it’s name from which was written by Champgne and drawn by Gleason which introduces an established, but never seen subsection of the Corps dubbed the Corpse. It’s a black ops unit lead by a shapeshifting Durlan by the name of Von Daggle. Guy Gardner and a rookie butterfly-looking GL named R’amey have been sent by the Guardians to give Daggle a message. As it turns out, they’re his new recruits and they’re tasked with getting the rock that gave Captain Comet his powers off the Dominator planet, because one Dominator still pissed about the events depicted in the Invasion series has used it on himself to make him physically and psychically superior. It’s a pretty rad idea with lots of fun little easter eggs for continuity geeks. The bummer of the whole thing is that, even as cool as it is, I believe Geoff Johns has said this is basically a one-off story that will not be referenced again by him. That doesn’t mean that no one else will come along and once again revive the Corpse, but just think of how cool it would be if Daggle popped back up in the next big GL story line?

Once Gibbons is back to writing the book, we’re returned to his cop show-style writing where we get lots and lots of little segments, like Soranik trying to once again help people on her home planet of Korugar, Isamot Kol going to Mogo but leaving after being creeped out by Green Man, Guy Gardner getting accused of murder and the introduction of Bzzt, Mogo’s partner in the Corps who looks like a house fly. It turns out that most of these little stories lead to a larger conspiracy as it turns out that a yellow fungus has been invading Mogo along with many Corpsmen and women who have visited him for psychiatric help. I noticed the yellow things flying around people in the previous trade, but couldn’t remember if it was an overture to the Sinestro Corps, but as it turns out, it is. Mogo takes a pretty big hit at the end of the story, but he’ good for the most part. It’s not the worst thing that will happen to him. All of this leads right into Sinestro Corps War, which kicks off with a one-shot and uses Mogo along with a slew of other Lanterns in an all out war.

Trade Post: The Pile


Hey Gang, seeing as how I’ve got a lot of time on my hands now, I’ve been tearing through some movies and trades. I haven’t done posts yet, but you can be on the lookout for more of those down the road. These trades are actually from last week and the week before. As usual, I’ll run down the pile top to bottom.

CAPTAIN AMERICA BATTLES BARON BLOOD (Marvel Illustrated Books) Written & drawn by Roger Stern and John Byrne
This little number was quite the oddity. I thought it was going to be one of those novels-based-on-comics things. I read a ton of the ones that came out in the 90s back then. I guess I should have noticed the “Illustrated” portion of the title. So, what you’ve got here is a strange book that collects (according to this site) collects Captain America 250, 253 and 254 which covers those issues where Captain America fights Baron Blood and meets the new Union Jack (as well as the newer Baron Blood) along with the issue where Cap says “no” to running for president. The interesting thing, which you can see in the below pic, is that they cut these comics into panels (black and white ones) and pieced them together on pages the size of the average Pocket Book. Weird right? The stories were good, though kind of slow and I would much rather read them in color. Roger Stern is the man, by the way, he’s definitely one of the most unsung writers in the history of comics.

DC UNIVERSE SPECIAL: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 (DC) Written by Len Wein, Gerry Conway & Jack Miller, drawn by Dick Dillin & Joe Certa
Though technically not a trade, there were two reasons I included this issue in this post. One, it collects Justice League of America #111 (“Balance of Power!”), 166-168 (“The League That Defeated Itself”) and Detective Comics #274 (“The Human Flame”). These are all stories that hold some relevance to Final Crisis and Infinite Crisis, though they’re not really hyping the IC connection. You get Human Flame and Libra’s first appearances, which make sense, and then the story in which the bad guys get inside the heroes’ heads and find out all about them, this leads to Zatana doing mind wipes and on and on. So, these are pretty integral issues that a lot of later stories hinge on. That being said, I found them to be boring and mostly skimmed through them. The second reason is that these reprints should have been reprinted again in the Final Crisis Companion, which I will get to shortly. That just makes sense, though, right? Might as well make that companion as much of a companion as possible and the first appearances of the two biggest new characters in the story should have their stories told. But, hey, it’s a rad cover, isn’t it? That Ryan Sook dude knows how to DRAW!

MOME VOL. 14 SPRING 2009 (Fantagraphics) Written and drawn by a ton of talented folks
One of the many perks of working at Wizard for a dyed in the wool superhero fan like myself was getting exposed to some of the more alternative sides of comics. Between going through the library and borrowing books from friends who are way more knowledgeable about these things than I am, I feel like I’ve just barely started to uncover the tip of the indie iceberg. So, as you might imagine, I’ve heard a lot about Mome, the indie comics anthology that Fanta puts out (those guys are amazing), but I’ve never read one until Vol. 14 and I definitely liked it. I will be completely honest, I don’t think I understood a lot of these stories, but I kind of like that. It’s like watching an experimental film, but with cool art. By far my favorite strip was called Kool-Aid Comic by Jon Vermilyea. I like the simplicity of it, the subject and the art. It all comes together in a fun little comic, of which you can peep a page or two of below. Fun stuff and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future Momes.


SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE VOL. 7: THE MIST & THE PHANTOM OF THE FAIR (Vertigo) Written by Matt Wagner & Steven T. Seagle, drawn by Guy Davis
I’ve talked about my love of SMT before, but since then I’ve read the volumes I was missing and have come to like this series even more. For those of you not willing to click the link, SMT follows the Golden Age Sandman as he romps through pre-WWII NYC, fighting bad guys, evading the cops, being a genius, sometimes interacting with other Golden Age heroes (or soon-to-be ones) and sharing his life–both in and out of the gas mask–with his girlfriend Dian Belmont. What I love most about this book, aside from the NYC setting and my love of Golden Age DC characters, is the relationship between Dian and Wesley (Sandman’s real name). I think they’re my favorite couple in all of comics, mostly because they did away with the “keeping the secret identity from the girlfriend” thing. You also get to watch Dian evolve from a spoiled socialite to someone really trying to help the world. But, aside from all that, this volume gives us glimpses of a young, pre-Starman Ted Night and “The Phantom Of The Fair” which is the story that I remember reading about as being one helluva one back in the day from Wizard (they were right). I think you’d be okay if you jumped in here to read this much beloved story, but I highly recommend going back to the beginning. Here’s hoping that Vertigo continues their plans to collect this whole series.

FINAL CRISIS COMPANION (DC) Written by Grant Morrison, Len Wein, Peter Tomasi, Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann, drawn by JG Jones, Tony Shasteen, Doug Mahnke, Ryan Sook & Marco Rudy
So, this is kind of a weird book. The actual Final Crisis collection is amazing. It’s got everything written by Grant Morrison in one place, while this one has the rest of the stuff that isn’t a regular series tie-in and the FC Director’s Cut which is the first issue without color or word balloons followed by the script. Then you’ve got Final Crisis Secret Files, Requiem and Resist. All these issues are cool on there own, but I do wish this volume was a big more robust. In addition to the reprints I mentioned above, I’d also like to see some of the JLoA and Teen Titan tie-ins included, just to have everything in one place. Ah well, it’ll still get a place on my bookshelf.

NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP (DC) Written by Peter Tomasi, drawn by Don Kramer, Rags Morales, Doug Mahnke, Shawn Moll &
Joe Bennett
I dug Tomasi’s previous Nightwing volume, so I’m not surprised that I dug this second volume. The only problem with it is that it got awkwardly swept up in the Batman: RIP story. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Morrison’s Batman run, but the tie-ins lost me for the most part, including Nightwing. So, I hadn’t actually read most of these issues when they came out, but I did like the whole story, most of which involves Nightwing’s weird relationship with Two-Face, which is being carried over into todays Batman stories written by Winick. Interesting for sure.

TRINITY 1 (DC) Written by Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, drawn by Mark Bagley, Scott McDaniel, Tom Derenick & MIke Norton
Trinity got a lot of flack, but I think it’s because it wasn’t what people were thinking it should be. 52 was an amazing look at some smaller characters, giving them new life and making them important again in the DCU, Countdown tried way too hard to be the backbone of the DCU and Trinity turned into this crazy, out-there story featuring all kinds of heroes the casual fan has never heard of. This is just the first series, collecting #1-17 and I will warn you, it’s definitely for big time DC fans and not the feint of heart.

SECRET INVASION: INCREDIBLE HERCULES (Marvel) Written by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente, drawn by Rafa Sandoval
Incredible Herc was one of those books that everyone loves but I missed out on in single issues. By the time I read the first trade, the issues were already into the third or fourth arc, but this, the second (collecting 116-120) collects the Secret Invasion issues. I wasn’t a big fan of SI, especially the ending, but I really liked how Pak and Van Lente flipped the script and looked at the Skrull invasion from a different angle. This time we see it from a religious viewpoint, with Herc and some other gods from regular and Marvel mythologies trying their best to kill the god of the skrulls. It’s a cool story, one filled with plenty of sci-fi goodness, but also some fun nods to mythology of all kinds that make this a really fun and well rounded book.

COUNTDOWN ARENA Written by Keith Champagne, drawn by Scott McDaniel
I’ve loved McDaniel’s art since his Nightwing days. There’s a short arc where NW fights Scarecrow early on that is just amazing and I highly recommend it. So, when I heard the news that DC was going to be putting out a book called Arena, drawn by McDaniel that would pit various versions of heroes against each other to see who would win, I was sold. Turns out this story didn’t have a lot of bearing on the actual Countdown story (as I noted here to some extent), but it remains one of the better looks at the multiverse that’s just been sitting around. I know that there’s been word that they’re waiting for Morrison to get in there and really dig deep on the multiverse at some point, but I’m getting tired of waiting. What’s the point of having it if you’re not going to do anything with it? Also, one quick thing that bothered me about many of the Earths they revealed was that they just took Elseworld books and extrapolated that into an entire universe. There’s an entire universe out there based on the idea that Batman was a vampire. And, hey, I like that original story as much as the next guy, but that doens’t mean it should necesarily get it’s own universe. Does that mean those Elseworlds annuals they put out each have their own universe? The one where Steel was around in the Civil War, Batman was actually Two Face or Superman was straight out the jungle book? It’s just a bummer because it feels like they just copied the original multiverse and added this other ones with haste, which wouldn’t have been a huge deal if they hadn’t limited themselves to just 52. Ah well. This book is definitely only for die-hards. Or maybe just me.

THE NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES VOL. 1 Written by Marv Wolfman, drawn by George Perez
This might be comic book heresy, but I couldn’t even get through this book, which collects DC COmics Presents #26 and New Teen titans 1-8. I think what ruined the book for me is the fact that every Teen Titans writer since has mined this territory so, SO much. The only aspect of this story that was surprising for me was the mystical way in which the team first came together. Beyond that? I’ve seen the Deathstroke stuff and the Trigon stuff before. Several times. Geoff Johns did it and it seems like it’s been done a thousand times since then. And that’s coming from someone who loves Geoff’s Titans. Like, a lot. It’s an amazing book. I just think it’s about time for the Titans to move beyond their 80s roots and maybe make some new villains and get some new characters into the mix. Maybe I’ll put this one back in my “to read” pile and give it another shot somewhere down the line, but I’m not sure yet. For me, it’s just too “been there done that” for me. But man, Perez sure knows how to draw and I stand by my claim that he’s one of the few artists who’s actually gotten better with age. I’ll read any new stuff that guy puts out.