Geek Reads

Geek Reads

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Green Lantern Corps- New 52

All is new (to some degree) but not well in the GL Universe as this New 52 collection opens with the murder of two Lanterns in their own Sector House in Sector 3599 by seemingly invisible intruders that are immune to the Green Power Ring. With that the mystery is set and we move on to find our heroes, Lantern Gardner and John Stewart having issues with having to find a real day job as a coach and (with some red tape) an architect, respectively. It seems they are coming to accept and realize that they can do more good being a Lantern than having to balance a real and normal life in the process, as according to Gardner, “it’s not all that’s cracked up to be.”

 Returning to Oa, they respond to a crisis on Sector 3599; the water planet Nerro, only to find it drained completely of water with the inhabitants of the planet all piled up with the exception of the bodies of two Green Lanterns skewered for all to see, sending the message to our Corps that this new baddie means business. The planet’s water, as revealed in the succeeding panels, has somehow been transported, or in this case, teleported to an unknown location ruled by a cloaked figure that has “missed the sound of the sea”. He responds to a report of a problem on the planet Xabas. And the problem is really more of Gardner and rest of the Corps trying to prevent the teleporting of another natural resource, this time the trees and forests. They are soon met by a force coming out of the warp hole dressed in black but wielding green energy blades that proves troublesome for our heroes as they are immune to the power of the Lantern ring.

                                                              *spoiler begins....*

Luckily for them, Lantern Porter from Oa with the capability of teleporting fellow Lanterns arrives just in the nick of time and proves to be the much needed reinforcement. But in spite of his best efforts, not all Lanterns were brought safely back to Oa. As it is, Lantern Vandor and Stewart were just some of the GL’s left behind for Lantern Porter was unable to teleport them all back. But in spite of the defeat, Gardner was able to capture one of the new baddies for interrogation and when they couldn’t make any progress, Jonn Jonz aka. Martian Manhunter came in and with his empathic abilities extracted the much needed intel and revealing these new baddies to be called The Keepers. And that they are called such for they are the ones tending to all of the batteries of each and every Green Lantern!

 If you’d recall, the Lanterns safekeep their personal batteries in an undisclosed pocket universe for easy and effortless access. Now it seems these Keepers want more and are after the Central Power Battery in OA. Their existence was only known to the Guardians after the “Smurfs” discovered the existence of the planet called Urak. Its atmospheric core allowed an instantaneous conduit that allowed unlimited retrieval of a battery for every Green Lantern. The inhabitants of the planet were thus provided for in perpetuity, in exchange for “keeping” the batteries safe. But it was only a short time ago that the Guardians, without warning whatsoever, came in and removed each and every battery from the Keeper’s custody and thus severing the connection that has already formed between all the Lantern batteries and the planet as it served as a “crop” and sustained the planet and its people and infused their DNA with an already potent resource of “Will”. Without the Lanterns, the planet began to die.

 This explains why the Keepers pillaged different planets for their different resources in order to stay alive. Meanwhile back on Urak, Lantern Stewart, Vandor and Kirrt are being interrogated, or should I say, tortured by the leader of the Keepers in disclosing to them the Vibrational Matrix signature that will allow them to breach Oa’s orbital force field without alerting the Guardians to their “stargate”. The interrogation which consisted of electrocution on top of three days without food and water proved to be too much even for a stalwart Lantern. And at the last minute when Lantern Kirrt was about to disclose the code and give way, John Stewart does what we say is the unthinkable, which is dispose of a fellow Lantern by twisting his neck and hereby leaving his ring to look for a new recruit. That served as the much needed distraction Stewart needed to break free temporarily from the Keepers and fly out onto the barren field while running on reserved energy.

 And just when it’s back to square one for my favorite Lantern Stewart, Guy Gardner, armed with military weapons, along with the Mean Machine; a group of bad-ass Lanterns camping out below Gardner’s own bar called Warriors underneath Oa, comes to the rescue and engages the Keepers head on. And of course you could count on Gardner to think of a crazy idea and follow thru. He deduced that the only way to fight someone with that much willpower is to not engage it with the same element that fuels it but give it what it lacks, which is the element of FEAR. So he drops a “Fear Bomb” on the Keepers by way of two Sinestro Corps War prisoners kept in one of the science cells. The cells detonate on contact and imbue the Keepers with Fear and had them begging for mercy; which is pretty much the antithesis of how they were moments before.

The situation is soon resolved and decided upon by the Guardians (of course) that the Keepers dig a grave of each and every one of their victims, which according to Gardner is a lifelong sentence. The compilation ends with Lantern John Stewart bringing Lantern Kirrt’s body to his home planet of Lorror on Sector 2451, where not only was Kirrt regarded a hero by his family and also the recipient of a tombstone befitting a Lantern. All in all Peter Tomasi again has done a whirlwind of a good ride with this First volume of the New 52 for Green Lantern Corps that collects Issues 1-7. While I was expecting a cliffhanger of an ending, it was rather an emotional one with John Stewart accepting his guilt at having to kill Kirrt in order to protect the Corps and leaving it out from his report. Lantern Vandorr doesn’t condemn what Stewart had to do but also reminds John that at times the Corps needs someone to act as their conscience and that he is it.

 Stewart for his most part may be racking up his list of high profile body counts by adding Kirrt to this list, as well as the decimation of the Planet Xanshi and most recently of Lantern Mogo, during the War of the Green Lanterns, who if in case you didn’t know was also a planet. But John Stewart, when you think about it, is the best person to handle radical life and death situations like these, for not only has he made difficult decisions and lived through them, his military background also allows him to focus on the task at hand, prevent his emotions from getting the best of him just to get the job done. Now does that make him the perfect emotionless Lantern that some may label him to be?

 On the contrary, he is the Lantern that has a lot of emotion and heart to go around, and is good at having to distill what amount of it needs to be shown, needs to be channelled in order to continue to be good at his job. That’s why it was no surprise that prior to the New 52 and during the Brightest Day crisis, he was offered to become an Alpha Lantern; to which his quick thinking prevailed and allowed him to deny the post and think clearly at the consequences of being one. All in all it was good, for should that have happened, we probably would have one more emotionless sentry going about their duty and only seeing a situation in absolutes; the black or the white. But lucky for us, John still remains human and is willing to navigate the gray areas of being a Lantern. And that I think is a key ingredient why he has survived thus far and why the Universe is all the more better for it.

Can't wait for the next volume that pits our beloved Corps with a nemesis closer to home and more of the ramifications of John Stewart's decision to kill off a fellow Lantern.

Thank you, Peter Tomasi. :) 

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