Geek Reads

Geek Reads

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

War of the Green Lanterns- Aftermath- 1

After having been left high and dry at the end of the GL cataclysmic event of 2010 which was War of the Green Lanterns, our favorite Corps are left to deal with the consequences of their actions & the task of rebuilding Oa from the devestation of war. But as they would learn in the course of the graphic novel that compiles the 2 issues of Aftermath and Green Lantern Corps #61-63 plus Emerald Warriors #11-13, their emotions also need to be taken care of and rebuilt. As this graphic novel collects these 2 main issues and disparate ones that continue the thread of the Aftermath storyline in other issues, this review will tackle the first 2 Aftermath issues and the second review for the ones will follow after.

This “Aftermath”, opens with the "banishment" of Hal Jordan and the outrage of Green Lantern hothead and Honor Guard, Guy Gardner expressing his frustration at the Guardians act of banishing Hal Jordan and the ironic  mourning of the Guardians over the loss of fellow Guardian and bad guy Krono who almost took control of the Corps at the height of the War. Their supposed "mourning" is equaled by their amazement as to how a Lantern was able to inflict that much harm and kill a Guardian in spite of the safety measures they  incorporated into the Ring making sure that it would never be used against them, much less kill a Guardian with it. Fearing Guy may do something “rash” Kilowog clarfies that Hal was most certainly sent back to Earth after being fired from the Corps. Like an emotional epidemic, one Lantern after another expresses their disappointment with the Guardians. Lantern Hannu drives his point clearly enough, “Why does it take a human to always save you from your mistakes.”

But inspite of the post stress trauma, questions like these will still be unanswered as the Guardians express their control of the situation and leave to further question Sinestro about why at the height of the War, a Green Lantern ring has chosen Sinestro to be part of the Green Lantern Corps again when all his Yellow Ring along with the others, have all overridden their connection with their respective owners and flew to Krona’s hand. Perhaps without Mogo to guide the Rings, the selection process has been changed if not muddled.

And muddling with the rest of their emotions is basically what the others find themselves doing, from Ganthet admitting his affections for fellow Guardian Sayd who is now in the planet Okarra after having been promised to Larfreeze in return for help during the Blackest Night crisis, to other Lanterns condemning John Stewart for killing Mogo and as well as a handful of them like Lantern Voz and Hannu all planning to execute Sinestro, to give him the justice he needs and one that has been long denied him, this Aftermath certainly brings the emotional issues to front as everyone in OA deals with their pain in the best way they know how.

Lucky for some, others still have a leveled head on their shoulders as Lantern Rayner senses Lantern Natu’s status of “Intraceability” and finds himself on the opposing side of a group of Lanterns including Soranik Natu who are hell bent to give Sinestro his due reward. Another brawl ensues with Kyle getting the upper hand, only to stop midway then the blasted door behind him finds a Sinestro tied up and not questioned but with the Guardians forcibly removing his ring from his finger. So much for questioning eh?

This break-in pushes the Guardians to the limit and announces that any more outbreaks of anger, defiance and lack of discipline will not be tolerated. They send everyone out back to their respective Sectors, activate once more the placement of the Honor Guard and Alpha Lanterns in Oa in a final attempt to both rein in and exact control.

In all of this Ganthet is visited by Blue Lantern, Saint Walker who heals Ganthet’s hand while Gardner as well as Kilowog and Kyle and crypt keeper Lantern Morro, deal with the decision that the Guardians have allowed Krona to be buried in the Lantern crypt and remembered for the good that he did as he was also instrumental in the founding of the Lanterns. Needless to say this was met with much opposition but as it is, duty and respect to the Guardians wishes prevailed as Lantern Salaak reminded them all that any move from them to counter his orders is tantamount to mutiny.

Lantern Mogo had a meaningful “burial” as his remains, which basically is debris and fragments from an exploded planet, are brought to the Sun and cremated. The result was a fitting tribute as the Sun incorporated the Lantern insignia and burned for as long as it lasted. What didn’t last though was Krona’s stay in the crypt as Ganthet secretly went down into the holding chamber, and sent Krona’s body into the Planet Ysmault, thereby fulfilling a promise made to Red Lantern leader, Atrocitus and preventing him from launching another War of the Light. But alas, Ganthet’s actions were not wholly unnoticed as he nervously defends his actions to the oncoming Guardians who wanted to speak to him. What is it about this time? Well, we can only guess at the ominous gazes that the remaining Lanterns had when they looked at him. For his sake, I hope the writer’s keep Ganthet, as for one, the Blue Lantern Corps flailing as it is, need a leader and that the Guardians needed someone like Ganthet to keep them honest.

So? Honestly, did I like it? Yes, I did as writers Tony Bedard and Peter Tomasi were certainly up to the task of continuing what Geoff Johns did with the War. Having previously wrote Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns, they were more than able to deal with the emotions and ramifications as well the consequences of the war and showing equal attention to key note Lanterns and how they deal with it. What I didn’t like with Issue #1 was the artwork by Miguel Sepulveda and Tyler Kirkham. Call me a stickler for visual continuity, they didn’t do justice to the great artwork that Doug Mahnke always does along with excellent Geoff Johns writing in major crises compilations. But at least it gets better as Issue #1 moves on with true comic book artwork in the latter part and a new team consisting of Ransom Getty and Andy Smith for Issue #2.
So if you want the entire Aftermath coverage and a true Lantern fan, I need not tell you to get this but if only the first 2 issues interest you, that would be okay too as Issue 2’s semi-cliffhanger with Ganthet and the Guardians are not addressed in any way in the other issues included in this graphic novel compilation and we all wonder what bungle of a secret do these Guardians still have in their closet and threaten to disrupt the fine thread of progress that they are attempting to make following 3 major crises one after the other.

Till then I am keeping my fingers crossed and off to patrol different areas of Sector 2814.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Justice League #5- The New 52

            If you’ve been following my previous Justice League New 52 entries, then you know the new Big Bad that has finally come to town, but should you not want to and have yet to read it, then just go to the first entry. But if you don’t mind the spoilage then I thank you for reading on.

So with the arrival of the Big Bad by way of Darkseid in the last issue, our heroes, just by looking at the cover by Jim Lee are all in readiness and awaiting the fray. As you can see it is, it’s a group shot and Vic Stone, aka. Cyborg seems to be on the road to fully embrace his new path as part of the “League”. The league as we know it has yet to be officially formed as our fallen heroes have yet to deal with their initial defeat and are reeling from the arrival of a foe that none of them have ever encountered. I guess, Geoff Johns wanted a big event to be the catalyst that would bring our heroes together. And you don’t get any better than Darkseid.

But the issue opens with almost all our heroes all down for the count save for Flash. In his recovery, he witnesses Darkseids Omega beams (coming from his eyes), take down two government aircrafts. So, it’s not a match.

 By this time, the Man of Steel comes around and is ready for some action but Flash, after seeing what Darkseid did, knew better & scuttles him out just before Darkseid sends out two more beams to take them out. Here the running pair, find 
out for the first time what we already knew (prior to the New 52) which is, that Darkseid's eye beams can follow you around till it makes contact.

Flash & Supes split up in the hopes of evading it, but only Flash got the idea of diverting the beam to a group of Darkseid's creatures before Superman himself got hit by the beams and gets carried out by the winged creatures to the tower that rose up from the sea in Issue 3.

By this time, Hal has taken upon himself to be "the hero" by engaging Darkseid directly, hitting him with a “green mace” and shielding himself with a green shield after Darkseid retaliates. To Lantern’s surprise, and ours, he hardly flinches, as Hal’s constructs have no effect on the huge and menacing interloper. In addition to that, Darkseid probably regarding our Green Lantern as a pesky and troublesome gnat, grabs him and breaks his arm! (okay, Shock #2) In just a few panels and with the damage that he has wrought so far, Darkseid is proving to be much of the daunting villain of this issue as he doesn’t talk much and simply lets his might do all the talking. After dispensing with the “pesky” Lantern, he simply turns around and walks away, pretty much the stance of a confident and all encompassing villain.

 At this point the action tapers down and I find myself surprised (yes, again), as Batman does something that is something considered out of character, and that he reaches out to Hal, telling him that charging this otherworldly foe is not doing the “bright” thing and he wonders out loud what propels Hal to do what he does as he feels that they are similar. In a gasp-worthy moment, Batman tells him who he is, how his parents were murdered as he takes his mask & cape off. But instead of marveling out loud at the revelation, and probably a result of him being too ensconced in his life of a bubble in Coast City, Hal Jordan remarks that he doesn’t know who Bruce Wayne is. Yes, the brag-mouth doesn’t know the “enigma”.

Bruce feels that they are alike & what is going on is bigger than any one of them. He adds that its time for them to be a team and then goes off.

 Lantern then rounds up the rest of the heroes and decide to follow Darkseid into the city while keeping out of sight. Of course, another banter-set, courtesy of Hal & Barry ensues as the remaining heroes decide to distract Darkseid while buying Bruce some time in his reconnaissance mission. The Lantern and Flash exchange clearly follwing Hal's Battle cry of "We Got This" shows us readers the ease and the candor between these two friends, as it has always been them two who have gotten along even prior to the New 52. Batman, or in this case, Bruce Wayne for his part allowed himself to be taken by the winged creatures and finds himself entering another portal and sees another city, one that can be mistaken for a refinery of an oil plant, or a big giant industrial furnace of a city, replete with pipes, smoke, burning pits of fire, but, for a change, more winged creatures.

So care to take a guess where they are exactly? ;)

            Well, like you I am equally guessing and getting antsy for Issue #6.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Justice League #4- The New 52

Throw a King into the mix, via Aquaman certainly uppes the ante in anyone’s books and thus leaves room for a little more focus on the remaining member of the group who has yet to fully embrace his evolution and journey to become a new man. That new man is Victor Stone whom we all know as Cyborg and who at the start of this issue finds him deep in the Red Room at Star Labs undergoing a painful transformation, or more aptly, the grafting and replacing of the metal Prometheum with his damaged tissue from the previous issues.

And just when the metallic winged hounds of Darkseid penetrates Star Labs does he get first hand of his transformation as his hand automatically goes into defense mode and blasts one creature away, blowing it to bits. But by the end of the panel, we see that it is not only the monster that is blown away, but also the traces of a bond between father and son as Dr. Stone can only call out to his transformed cyborg of a son, Vic, as he breaks away in rage, and in disappointment at what his father has done to him and at the monster that he has become.

Back at Metropolis, the newly acquainted heroes are having mixed reactions at having met a new super being in their midst and with the revelation at that, that these creatures set some kind of device and tore open a hole in the water that eventually ushered more creatures out from it. He assumes that the land-based heroes before him have gathered to fight them but does not see a leader in their midst.

This is where the lines get snappish and acerbic once more as each hero quips a line (or two) that reveals further much of their persona; or like Hal Jordan who blurted out that he thought Aquaman, was a sketch on Conan O Brien (insert LOL #1), gives them ample smart-aleck highlights under the klieg lights of a building catastrophe. Batman, for his part, has his line of asserting leadership as he alludes that Aquaman was not looking at him when he was looking for a leader. Aquaman assumes leadership status as he is the rightful heir to the throne of Atlantis.

Of course, this doesn’t bode well with our Lantern, who apart from having issues with taking orders, doesn’t appreciate Batman, another wananabe super-hero giving out orders and bossing people around. With that said, he goads the Sea King to prove his worth to which Aquaman does via his telepathic connection with various aquatic lifeforms. Yes, it does shut Hal up. But I don’t know about you but Hal is getting more cocky by the issue. Heck if he keeps it up, he could give Guy Gardner a serious run for his money.

Vic Stone, aka. Cyborg, unaware of the chaos around Chicago stumbles outside and manages to help a woman who was being attacked by the winged creatures and somehow assimilates information from them and showed him how Darkseid was conquering one world after another by harvesting and processing organic materials and turning them into the creatures that have just attacked Chicago, Metropolis and other cities around the world. Lucky for him, and for us readers, his self defending and pro-active armor traces the signal being emanated by these creatures and transports him via a portal to Metropolis to join our heroes in the fray against them; just in time to warn them of who is behind the attacks and how he goes from world to world and is coming to Earth. And on cue, the Big Bad of the issue makes a grand and disastrous entrance for all the world to see.

     All in all, I am loving the elements of the storyline so far and how each and every piece of the puzzle is being fitted to complete the big picture. But like in the past issues, there were still some room for unwarranted but much welcomed humor to dispel the seriousness of the storyline like Batman laughing after Hal inadvertently admits that what he does is solely to impress people especially, Wonder Woman.  But Hal doesn’t really readily say it just for honesty’s sake, his hand was just absentmindedly touching Wondy’s golden lasso, which makes one tell the truth. (insert LOL #2)

      Now to break off from the funnies, one line that struck me in this issue was what Superman said to Flash as he flew off to divert attacks being made by government choppers on them. Supes said, “You seem to be someone who wants to do the right thing, but the same can’t always be said for everyone in positions of authority.”

         This observation about people in power holds much truth for me as we all know that too much of it corrupts even those with the best intentions. Of course, unless you have the heart of Mother Teresa or you’re a strong willed leader who knows what he wants to accomplish and sticks by the means to doing so, then at least that alone grants the exemption to this notion. But unless people in government, without the need to say about ours, do certainly acknowledge and know their responsibility and accountability are to the people, then, there will always be a cycle of repeat offenders. There will be be some who think that they can go above the law, much less rewrite it. Good thing there are heroes in their world. How about ours? How many heroes have we got?

And how many heroes will be left standing after Darkseid's arrival? Time to check out the next issue.