The New DC Explosion – Oa look, more of the same

So it looks as if not much is changing in the Green Lantern section of the DCnU (should I be encouraging this nickname?). Four titles, two of them pretty much what we have at the moment. Let’s take a quick look,

Green Lantern #1 ‘The series begins anew,’ says DC’s PR. Well, yes, no jury would convict on the basis of that statement – the Green Lantern comic is going back to single figures. But it’s still written by Geoff Johns, with Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy on the artwork, so can we expect change? Oh, hang on, here’s more of the blurb: ‘Change is coming. But set aside your fear. It’ll be worth the wait’. I expect that simply means another long, convoluted storyline expanding the Green Lantern mythos. Johns himself has said: “It’s building off the Green Lantern stories I’ve done since Rebirth, taking it in a very new direction that we’ve never seen in Green Lantern before. Green Lantern #1 picks up a few months later in a very different space than we are now. When you see the cover you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.” OK, I’ll pick up the new first issue, but I don’t really foresee a ‘bold new direction’. I’m not expecting anything fresh in terms of approach or theme – Johns and co have found a lot of success with their take on GL, so why change? I’ve heard a growing number of readers expressing dissatisfaction and/or boredom with the post-Blackest Night GL books of late, but enough people seem happy that Johns is unlikely to tinker with a winning formula.

Green Lantern Corps #1 This one’s by Peter J Tomasi with art from Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna. Tomasi’s also been around the GL franchise for years, and this is another existing book going back to number #1 – one he’s written previously. It still stars Guy Gardner and John Stewart and ‘an elite Green Lantern strike force’ … the only surprise will be any surprises at all.

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1 Sadly, this isn’t the return of Eighties heroes Extrano, Gloss and chums, who emerged from the less-than-stellar Millennium crossover. Admittedly, the New Guardians weren’t popular, but as Earth folk with diverse backgrounds, powers and personalities, rather than another bunch of alien ringslingers, they had potential. What this is, is a spin-off title featuring representatives of the various ring power bases: indigo, yellow, blue and what have you – the Crayola Corps. Quoth DC: ‘The power of Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love combine to be the most powerful (and colourful) team in the corps under the leadership of Kyle Rayner. Beware their power . . . and their volatility!’ Well, the only thing in there that interests me is the presence of the likeable, underused Kyle, but it’s not enough to make up for the rainbow rings and their unbearable bearers. I just don’t enjoy the extension of the willpower concept to other emotions (love, hope etc) and ’emotions’ (will). Yet another GL regular, Tony Bedard, is writing, so current fans won’t be disappointed, especially as he’s joined by Green Lantern Corps colleagues Tyler Kirkham and Batt.

Red Lanterns #1 Grrr. Gore. Blood. Retching. Tedium. I cannot stand Atrocitus, his Harley Quinn-alike sidekick and all that powered-by-rage stuff. The only glimmer of hope for this book is writer Peter Milligan, who rarely fails to be interesting on superhero series. The popular Ed Benes is pencilling, with Rob Hunter inking, so it should cetainly look good. But I’ll give the angry mob a miss.

I realise that this is the Green Lantern concept’s moment in the sun, and DC wishes to maximise the opportunity for profit, but all four books look to be directly tied into the storylines of the last few years. Likely they’ll stick with the GL house style so far as art goes, too.

To me, this remix is a missed opportunity – there are so many parts of the GL universe, aspects of the concept, that could be tapped. How about senior GL Alan Scott being teamed with a rookie at the request of Guy Gardner? Maybe a John Stewart book based on Earth? A Tales of the Green Lantern Corps featuring solo stories?

Why not something new for longtime fans such as myself who don’t enjoy the current approach but would love to follow a Green Lantern comic? Something with a different flavour. What DC is doing with this latest round of realaunches and launches is bringing the day closer when the Green Lantern bubble bursts. It won’t be as soon as 24 hours, but it’s coming.

5 thoughts on “The New DC Explosion – Oa look, more of the same

  1. To me, this remix is a missed opportunity – there are so many parts of the GL universe, aspects of the concept, that could be tapped. How about senior GL Alan Scott being teamed with a rookie at the request of Guy Gardner? Maybe a John Stewart book based on Earth? A Tales of the Green Lantern Corps featuring solo stories?

    I agree with that, four books with virtually nothing that gives distinctiveness to any. I'd love an anthology like GL Quarterly as it not only fits in with the tradition (Tales of the Green Lantern Corps) but gives a lot of current creators a dip into short story territory and offers up & coming ones a chance to let rip.
    Those GL Quarterly books are still a pretty amazing example of this genre and show its strengths with applying differing genres and takes to the Green Lantern Concept.

    As to Green Lantern I'm fine with it basically, I like the mythology Johns has given it as it is original and well plotted. He's taken a book that often struggled to find an identity and made it one of the most distinctive on the market. I won't say a bad word about it I consider it that good a book overall though I think it goes without saying that the mythology is running the risk of becooming too complex and incestuous and that we could do with seeing Hal Jordan have a few adventures outside of it…

    I also think it slightly hypocritical to keep the books as they were when apparently a scythe is being taken to the rest of the DCU, if third and fourth generation characters like Conner Kent, Cassie Sansdmark, Donna Troy and Damien Wayne are being culled (and to be fair it is still very unclear they are) how do you square Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle making the cut?
    Myself I'd have taken the opportunity to remove them from the board, get the focus back to being squarely on Hal as being 'the chosen one' and make the concept leaner and healthier as a result.


  2. While I'm happy enough with the GL books that have been announced – as you say it seems a “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” approach has been taken with them – I won't be picking up Red Lanterns. They're very much a one trick pony and I'm not a fan of Milligan's writing.

    I'd love to see GL Quarterly return as an anthology book, having a look at some of the lesser know GLs but it seems like that's not to be.

    Green Lantern, particularly helmed by Johns, was never going to suffer unduly because it's a big name for them right now. I'm more interested in finding out what happens to the mid-list titles like Power Girl, Zatanna and Secret Six.


  3. Oh, man, could I not care less about Green Lanterns anymore. On the plus side, I can't buy everything, and it's good to see a segment of DC's output that I can safely ignore.


  4. I'm really torn on the Rainbow Lantern title. I love Kyle Rayner and want to see him featured, but why in that title? And will Bedard be writing his own stories or constantly writing tie-ins?


  5. Dave, I think I'd be more disposed to enjoy Hal's book were it the only one of its kind, but I really miss Earthbound stories. The Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton one with Hal lost in the snow is probably my favourite ever GL tale.

    And all the fourth gen characeters are staying, we now know, though some odd-seeming tweaks are being imposed.

    I'm with you, Gary, I need to know the titles you mention are OK.

    Rob, I'm with you.

    Timbotron, the latter, I expect.


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