I am one of the biggest Geoff Johns fans I know. I love what he did with JSA, the Flash and especially Hal Jordan and the GL Corps. He has a great knack for understanding what drives main character(s), villain(s) and supporting character(s) alike. The man has a strong sense of comic continuity that I, as a hardcore comic geek, love to yammer on and on about. He is able to strip out the useless and make sense of the ridiculous. His Green Lantern Vol 5 is shaping up to be the best Hal Jordan/Sinestro story ever told. I am however getting a little nervous as we start in on The Rise of the Third Army. But before I start in on how I’m not quite ready for another Green Lantern ‘Big Event’, I’d like to break down High/Low’s of Geoff Johns GL continuity.
Hal is Back:Writer: Geoff Johns Green Lantern Rebirth # 1-6 (2004)
High: We all know the running joke that Bucky and Jason Todd are the only characters that stay dead. (shit that’s not even true anymore) We knew it would only be a matter of time, before Hal would be making the leap back to the land of the living. I think people were pretty scared at the idea of bringing Hal back from the dead. (I know I was) Hal went out with a bang! Sacrificing his life to restart the sun in the end of The Final Night storyline and he re-emerged after death, as the Spectre. And how could you ignore Parallax & Emerald Twilight? The task of rewriting Hal back into continuity was a daunting one. It could have been a career ender. Luckily for us GL fans, Geoff Johns was up to the task and he nailed it. Not only did wrap up Hal as the Spectre, he didn’t ignore Emerald Twilight or Parallax and he rationalized that asinine yellow impurity. We didn’t know it at the time, but his Green Lantern Rebirth set the stage for him to revolutionize the Green Lantern landscape.
Low: I may actually be one of the few that was enjoying the shit out of Hal Jordan the Spectre. What a better way to immortalize a great character then to evolve him into a new one. I was pretty pissed to see the title go. In the end the comic industry is all about selling comics and Hal Jordan Green Lantern sells a hell of a lot more books than Hal Jordan Spectre. The truth is I’m glad he’s back.
Return of the Corps:Writer: Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns Green Lantern Corps Recharge # 1-5 (2005)
High: Thank god they brought the GL Corps back. I couldn’t be happier. GL Corps is wealth of opportunity for any storyteller. You have a host of existing GL members to pick from including Guy, John, Kyle, Kilawog, Mogo, G’nort… (the list goes on) as well as an open canvas to create your own lanterns, aliens and solar systems. I love this space-cop series and all its potential for fantastic sci-fi storytelling.
Low: Ever since the Sinestro Corps storyline, GL Corps has been a second Green Lantern title for accommodating giant GL events. This is rather frustrating to me. (I will go there in minute) I would really love for this book to have a “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” feel. Give me two or three issue stories max, about random GL members doing the space cop thing. The existing Corps members are all richly developed characters that can be going somewhere on their own, not just stand-in’s to make room for a bigger GL plot line. Since the New 52 re-launch, GL Corps has been pretty good, thus far, sticking to its own story, but I’d still rather have shorter self contained stories. (i.e. GL Corps Vol 1 #1-14) While GL Corps has been sticking to itself lately, that is about to change, yet again, with the Rise of the Third Army.
Big Event Crossovers:Writer: Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, Ron Marz, Alan Burnett, Peter Tomasi Tales of the Sinestro Corps (2007) The Sinestro Corps War (2007) Blackest Night (2009) Brightest Day (2010)
High: Giving Sinestro his own ring carrying fear mongers, hands down, was one of the greatest comic book ideas ever! Sinestro doesn’t hold back. Yellow lanterns annihilate green lanterns left and right. Sinetro’s yellow lanterns whipped the GL Corps so bad that the little blue ones had to write a new rule allowing green lanterns to use lethal force against yellows. The Sinestro Corps War was the payout for sticking with Johns through the GL reboot. Outstanding! The overall story was packaged well. The main story ran through GL (Green Lantern Vol 4 #21-25) and GL Corps (Green Lantern Corps Vol 1 #14-19) with several one-shots published that highlighted the origin of individual yellow lanterns. The whole story can be read in three trades. (Tales of the Sinestro Corps, The Sinestro Corps War Vol 1 & 2) Trailing the Sinestro Corps war and prefacing the Blackest Night storyline, we are introduced to the emotional spectrum of lantern corps, which just opens the door to a gamut of story potential.
Low: If Sinestro Corps War was the good cop, then holy shit, Blackest Night was the bad cop. Including the Prelude to Blackest Night, Blackest Night ran over an entire year in both GL (Green Lantern Vol 4 #39-52) and GL Corps (Green Lantern Corps Vol 1 #33-45), not to mention the meat of the main story is in it’s own 6 issue Blackest Night mini-series. Oh wait, I failed to mention the off-shoot 3 issue mini-series’ Blackest Night: Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Titans, JSA & Batman. It actually gets worse. Every core DC title had a Blackest Night tie-in. (Checklist here) Don’t get me wrong, Blackest Night is a cool story, but by the time I was done reading it, I was ready to throw in the towel on the GL-Verse. That was way too many books, in such a short amount of time, to be dropping so much dough on. And then… what the hell happens next? First issue back from Blackest Night, Brightest Day starts up. ENOUGH! I stopped reading GL books. I had hit my limit of giant universe spanning crossovers.
Current Affairs:Writer: Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi Green Lantern Vol 5 #1-12 Green Lantern Corps Vol 2 #1-12
High: I was blind sided by the New 52 re-launch, at the time I was in the middle of selling a house, taking a new job, moving my family and driving home every other weekend. When the New 52 hit and I saw Sinestro as a Green Lantern I knew had to start picking up GL again. Hal/Sinestro is the best hero/villan team-up that DC has to offer today. I know many of you will talk to me about Batman/Joker and Superman/Lex, and those pairings have given us phenomenal stories over the past, and still do today, and you definitely have a case, but Hal and Sinestro have a couple elements that the others are lacking, and that is empathy & respect. This new volume of GL has Sinestro and Hal as a forced team-up (by Sinestro) pitted against a host of badness. Sinestro is stuck being a GL and his home planet has been overrun with yellow lanterns. He doesn’t trust the Guardians to help him, so he turns to the only one he knows he can trust to get the job done, Hal Jordan. The dialogue from Sinestro, alone, is worth the read.
Low: I’m worried about two things. The first being, the GL-verse has been expanded into an unprecedented 4 ongoing titles (GL, GL Corps, The New Guardians & the Red Lanterns), this is great, there is definitely enough material to go around, but this has already turned into another X-Cutioner’s Song. Rise of the Third Army will be running through all 4 titles and I will be stuck buying issues of two titles I don’t care to read monthly just to get the whole story running through two titles I am reading. (frustrating) The second thing I’m worried about is the Guardians. While I am a little tired of all the morally ambiguous big brother shenanigans, it does serve as excellent plot fodder. I just wish we laid off the throttle before we cash in all the good that it can serve for future GL stories. Right now I don’t see the Guardians surviving Rise of the Third Army. Maybe we will have a Guardian swap with the imprisoned Guardians (Recent Green Lantern Annual) or maybe we have a new senate of guardians with representatives from each of the lantern corps? I honestly don’t want the Guardians of Oa to go.
Until Next Time.. I am a child of continuity. It’s upsetting to me to see an irreversible end to the Guardians of Oa. I see it as, if the Guardians are no more, they are the villains, you shouldn’t reverse that. (doesn’t mean they wouldn’t and it also be good) Now lets step outside of my comic geek nerd-dom and ignore all the continuity of GL that I hold dear. Let’s look at what Geoff Johns has accomplished as say a series of sci-fi novels. From Rebirth, to the GL & Sinestro corps, to the spectrum of different lanterns, Blackest Night, Brightest Day and the evolution of the Guardians from creator of the Corps to the major villains, is bad-ass! It’s nearly a decade of really fantastic storytelling. My random fan-boy diatribe shouldn’t downplay that. Hats off to Mr. Johns.