Archive for November 13th, 2009

13
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern Corps #42

Green Lantern Corps #42Here it is, folks. The big magilla of the week. While some of the assorted Blackest Night tie-ins in the regular series have been kind of tangental, the stuff in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps has never been anything less than must-read stuff. This issue, a member of the Indigo Tribe join Kyle, Guy, Kilowog, Arisia, Soranik, and the rest of the Corps as they try to defend Oa from an onslaught of… well… every Green Lantern who has ever died. And that’s a lot.

As they fight, holding the line best they can, the Corps begins to get overwhelmed. You see, over in Blackest Night #4, the Black Lanterns finished charging their power battery, and allowed the Death God Nekron to rise. This issue catches up to that moment and we see what their new goal is, now that they don’t need to absorb hearts to fill ‘er up anymore. And it’s bad, friends. Guy and Kyle try a desperate gambit, letting a captured Red Lantern loose in the midst of the Blacks, but one of the Alpha Lanterns takes his job a little too literally. Finally, one of the Lanterns makes a play to save all of Oa, but at a tremendous cost.

This issue is gonna have people talking. Some people are going to be outraged, because when something like this happens, people are always outraged. And I’m going to get into that more after the upcoming spoiler warning. But for now, I’ll just say this: I’m not outraged. Because I think what happened here was handled very well by an excellent writer in Peter J. Tomasi, and because — the nature of this story being what it is — I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this plotline yet.

Rating: 9/10

SPOILER WARNING

Okay, if you’re still reading now, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself. In this issue, the event that’s gonna piss people off is that Kyle Rayner sacrifices his life to save the main power battery on Oa from the onslaught of the Black Lanterns. Whenever a superhero dies, people get pissed off. Sometimes I think they’re justified. But in this case, I think the story works.

My criteria for accepting a hero’s death is this: Does it serve something other than shock value, and does the death suit the character? Ted Kord’s death, for example, served an undeniable story purpose, and he went out fighting to the end. It fit. By contrast, the deaths of the New Warriors back in Civil War served the story, but was a disgrace to the characters, having them die because they behaved like childish amateurs, something they had long since outgrown. Kyle makes a conscious decision to sacrifice himself, says goodbye to Soranik and Guy Gardner, and goes out fighting like a Green Lantern. It’s a worthy death.

It serves a story purpose. The rest of the surviving Lanterns have an even more personal stake than before, especially if you’ve seen the cover for the next issue, where we see Guy Gardner’s response to this event.

And what’s more, I don’t believe Kyle’s story is over. This is a story all about death and what comes after it in the DC Universe. A lot of characters have died (in fact, I’m tempted to re-read all the issues so far just to catalog them all) simply too many to believe they’re all going to stay dead. What’s more, my persistent “White Lantern” theory seems to flow into this. Each Corps needs a Guardian, or at least a point man. If a White Corps is established, with the souls of the dead standing against their bodies, I could see Kyle leading the charge.

I could be wrong. But I think I’ve got a good track record with this series so far.

13
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: R.E.B.E.L.S. #10

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10Lest we forget that there are superpowered beings in the DC Universe that don’t live on Earth or Oa, Tony Bedard and Andy Clark bring us R.E.B.E.L.S. #10. While most of the Blackest Night tie-ins have begun with a dead friend, love, or enemy of the titular hero rising from the grave, this issue actually starts with someone who is alive, who we watch get murdered, and who rises to become a Black Lantern to plague Vril Dox.

Dox and his new robotic R.E.B.E.L.S. are taken off-guard by the assault of their assigned Black Lantern, and get into even more trouble when they encounter a back of Sinestro Corps members fleeing another Black Lantern. The collision of the two makes for a lot of trouble for the team, but gives Dox something he’s been curious about for some time.

Not being a regular reader of this series, I feel like a lot of the nuances were lost on me. Dox isn’t really a very compelling protagonist, and the subplot about his son takes an interesting turn this issue, but doesn’t do enough to hold my attention. I’m also kind of perplexed about the identity of one of the Black Lanterns. The character pursuing the Sinestros has no logical tie to them. If the idea of the Black Lanterns is to send them after someone with whom they shared an emotional link, this person doesn’t really make any sense.

The final page promises an interesting part two, at least, especially if what happens in the end of this issue should turn out to be a permanent change to the character in question, but I kind of doubt that will happen. And it was nice to see some of the other DC Space Heroes (such as Adam Strange and Captain Comet) brought into the fray. But those elements aren’t quite enough. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of Tony Bedard‘s work, but this issue sort of left me flat.

Rating: 6/10

13
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Booster Gold #26

Booster Gold #26I don’t mention it often enough, but Booster Gold is consistently one of the best comics DC is publishing. Dan Jurgens, the character’s creator, has done wonderful work since Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz left this title behind, and I had no doubt that the Blackest Night crossover would satisfy as well. While it wasn’t my favorite issue, or my favorite BN tie-in, it got the job done.

Skeets, Booster’s little robot buddy, gets worried when Booster goes off the radar, so he seeks out the help of Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle. Jaime and Booster having recently shared an enemy, Skeets is hoping the teen hero will have some info. Jaime can’t find Booster, but joins the hunt.

As this is going on, a Black Lantern ring falls upon the grave of Ted Kord, the previous Blue Beetle, and the best friend Michael Carter ever had. Ted’s death back in Countdown to Infinite Crisis was one of the harshest gut-punches fans of DC Comics have felt in years, and while I’ve certainly come to appreciate Jaime, I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t miss the old Blue and Gold dynamic almost as much as Booster himself. When Ted’s corpse rises and goes after the time-traveling Booster’s ancestor, the timeline of the greatest hero you’ve never heard of is threatened outright.

Like I said, this was a good issue, but not a favorite. It plays out a lot of the ongoing storylines in this title, which is fine, but I felt there was a bit too much buildup before we got to the Black Lantern storyline. Booster’s time-travel detour is one that makes sense for him to take, but it’s a bit coincidental that he just happened to be there (or… then, I guess) today, when Ted is busy rising. If the intention was to remind us all of just how much Ted Kord meant to Booster, we didn’t need the reminder.

It’s cool to see Daniel again, though, and I do like when we see Booster and Jaime together. There’s good stuff here, and I think that in the second part of this story, with the setup stuff out of the way, it’ll be a better issue.

Rating: 7/10




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