NYCC 2016: Boom and DC Make Weirdest Crossover Yet

By Dustin Cabeal

If you're new to the site, then no that I'm not a fan of Planet of the Apes and I am a fan of Green Lantern. This crossover doesn't excite me in the least bit and really seems like another desperate attempt from BOOM! to get noticed by Diamond so that they'll make them a premiere publisher. "Look, we put that monkey license with the same franchise DC let IDW shit on! Give us premiere status!" This was how I felt upon reading this news and it's the only good thing to come from POTA. The only good thing.

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Review: Green Lanterns #6

I remember mentioning in past reviews how one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about Rebirth is how it’s allowed me to discover stories and characters that I had little familiarity with prior. Don’t misunderstand: I love Batman and Superman just as much as the next person, but there comes a time when you just have to expand on your superhero horizon a bit, know what I mean? So while I went about bettering my inner nerd a few months back, a surprising thing happened: I found a new favourite book and a new favourite superhero. Allow me to introduce Jessica Cruz: she’s the badass, agoraphobic, pretty-awkward, newly made Green Lantern of sector 2814. With her partner and fellow Lantern, Simon Baz, Jessica must figure out a way to stop Atrocitis, and his rage-infused band of Red Lanterns from planting the Rage Seed on Earth, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Red Dawn. gls_cv6_dsThis was a fantastic arc and a brilliant issue; such a fun, exciting, charming and most importantly different approach to the entire concept of what it means to be a superhero. We’re so used to seeing heroes portrayed as perfect beings for all intent and purpose: completely in control of their powers, emotions and most importantly their mind. In Green Lanterns, however, the reader is treated to the inverse and as a result, we are able to progress and evolve not only with the story but the characters as well. It makes empathizing with Jessica all the easier; we see her ineptitudes and insecurities mirrored in ourselves. She wields the most powerful weapon known to man, yet she couldn’t be further from all-powerful (in truth, she can’t even make a construct). She is the perfect embodiment of “average” or “every day,” plagued by more demons coming from within than from without; just like the rest of us. It’s this distinctly human trait that makes her appeal skyrocket, leading me to believe that one day she will become the most powerful Green Lantern in the entire universe; more powerful even than Hal Jordan.

On the creative side of things, the artwork is absolutely insane. Throughout the first arc, a number of different artists have each had their respective turns, but my clear favourites have to be Will Conrad and Jack Herbert. Their lines are so descriptive, detailed, and above all else imaginative; their pages boast some of the most well-thought layouts that I have ever seen. If you want a good example of what I'm talking about, take a look at the spread on page six: the design of that flashback scene and the emotional energy and range they're able to purvey through only Jessica's eyes is beyond impressive; it's spectacular. I've said before that Green Lantern(s) is one of the most difficult and demanding comics to draw but Herbert and Conrad are true pros and make it look easy; they're flexing a huge creative muscle and it makes reading the story all the more compelling and eye-popping.

I'm so excited about the direction that Green Lanterns is taking; it's been a non-stop, fuel-injected wild ride thus far and it has no signs of slowing or gearing down. It's made me laugh, provided moments of genuine introspection and overall has consistently been a kick-ass, solid book since its inception. I couldn't find a stone to level at any aspect of Green Lanterns, even if I wanted to. So to Sam Humphries and the rest of the creative team, just keep doing what you're doing because right now – Green Lanterns is one seriously good book.

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Writer: Sam Humphries Artists: Will Conrad & Jack Herbert Colours: Blond Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital


Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #4

A Parallax infused Sinestro is now the face that runs the place (congratulations to AJ Styles), and his Corps are running amok instilling fear into a Universe believed to be without Green Lanterns. That is until they ran into a Green Lantern and captured him to bring him to face Sinestro. From this point on, I’m giving SPOILERS, read at your own risk. We good? Ok. Hal Jordan was last seen battling a plethora of Yellow Lanterns in his attempt to stop them from kidnapping children because the Sinestro Corps are also Monsters Inc. Hal is overwhelmed by the Yellow constructs and isn’t able to save them. Meanwhile, Green Lantern leader has sent Guy Gardner on a recon mission while the GLC tries to patch themselves up from hjglc_cv4_dsjumping Universes. Last time Gardner was seen, he was getting his ass handed to him and not going down quietly. When Sinestro is brought a Green Lantern, expecting the greatest of them all, he instead gets a big bow of loud bastard Guy Gardner.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #4 is still hitting very strong points throughout its story. While it makes Hal the protagonist of this story, Robert Venditti is putting everyone in the spotlight and giving them their well-deserved characterization. A small speech from Jon Stewart sets him to be the leader a broken Green Lantern Corps desperately need, and my favorite asshole Lantern Guy Gardner getting his due to be face to face with Hal’s former mentor, and still metaphorically flipping him off. It’s as if Vince McMahon had planned to kidnap The Rock and instead he got Steve Austin ready to drop a Stunner on him. I’ve been watching a lot of wrestling, guys.

Venditti is showing off his chops and the fact that he hasn’t skipped a beat since taking over Green Lantern duties. He shows a clear difference in characters when writing a big team book like GLC and has a tight grip on who is who in this Universe. Only four issues in, he has set a clear goal for each one of the Lanterns formerly belonging to Sector 2814, now what’s left is seeing Venditti dipping his toes back into writing other Lanterns like Kilowog, Arisia, or Salaak, and maybe even a returning Kyle Rayner? Wishful thinking. Either way with a current short supply of Green Lanterns, Venditti has plenty to pull from and keep the focus, and putting Hal on the bench helps him do that.

Ethan Van Sciver is one of those artists who will be known to be ‘the’ Green Lantern artist. Well versed in what they’re capable, tested through a fantastic Geoff Johns run and accustomed to the range in characters and the different types of Lanterns who create various styles of constructs depending on their personalities, Van Sciver alongside Jason Wright on colors continue to deliver gorgeous looking pages that you stop and admire. Showcasing in great half-page panels the entire might of Sinestro’s power now that it contains the Parallax fear entity in him, a costume that shows him to be well above his corps and Warworld with its Fear Engine that is Frank Quietly inspired with Van Sciver’s very own style injected into it. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is a much-needed continuation of what’s been Venditti’s great run, and necessary to a lackluster companion comic.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #4 Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Ethan Van Sciver Colorist: Jason Wright Publisher: DC Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital


Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1

The cosmos are gearing up for the gladiator match of the eon. In the green corner, we have Hal Jordan, now a pure agent of unharnessed Will, out to discover the truth behind the disappearance of the Green Lantern Corps. In the yellow corner, we have Sinestro, leader of the Sinestro Corps/Yellow Lanterns and the supreme face of fear throughout the universe. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily complaining about GL fighting his most awesome villain - I'm just wondering if perhaps it's come too soon? To recap: Hal Jordan has returned from his celestial form of pure Will. He's scouring random sectors of the cosmos for any information he can gather on the whereabouts of the Green Lanterns and the cause for their disappearance. Simultaneously in Sector Zero, former location of the Planet Oa and home to the Guardians of the Universe, a withered Sinestro looks out from his terrace on newly christened War World. He has won the day: the Green Lanterns are lost, the Guardians are no more and the Sinestro Corps has been accepted by the people as a force for good in the universe. The only thing left to do is to snuff out the final glimmering remnant of hope from a now extinct corps: Hal Jordan.

HJFLC_Cv1_dsThis was a very slow-moving issue; in fact, it felt a lot like the premiere Rebirth title, only inverted. Whereas the first one-shot was all about Hal Jordan and his awesome ability to harness and control pure unfiltered Will, here the focus is all on Sinestro and his ability to do the exact same thing, only with Fear. He absorbs the Parallax Entity in nearly the identical way as Hal Jordan, thus illustrating the dichotomous split between the two former allies: one as a force for good, the other for evil (yes, an oversimplification but it works). It leaves an all too familiar taste in the reader's mouth, almost as if this was just a straight continuation from the Rebirth one-shot. It's not bad, just kind of boring.

The art is a completely different topic altogether; it's good, real good. After seeing Ethan Van Sciver's efforts in the initial Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth,  I thought the artistic bar was way out of reach; enter Jordi Tarragona & Rafa Sandoval. Their combined work is breathtaking, inspired even. Green Lantern is a unique character in the DC Universe because his rendering has to be immaculate; the impressionistic approach just doesn't work for him. More so, it takes a very special kind of artist to really bring GL to life. Someone who is the perfect balance of skill, imagination and attention to detail. It's rare to find a single artist who possesses all of these merits in sync; to have two is nothing short of excellence.

It's obvious that Venditti is building towards what will inevitably be an awesome showdown between Hal Jordan and Sinestro. I would have hoped for a little bit more plot progression since the issue so closely mirrors the Rebirth one-shot but that can be forgiven, it is only the first issue after all. A lot of questions were raised without answer: how will a now rejuvenated Sinestro conduct himself and the Yellow Lanterns? Will Hal Jordan be able to control and contain the sheer power of his newly forged ring? And perhaps most importantly, when he struck the hammer to the anvil, did anyone else in the universe hear it?

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: 7/27/16



Review: Green Lanterns #3

Simon Baz is the Green Lantern of Earth Jessica Cruz is the Green Lantern of Earth. They hate each other. Now Atrocitus, Bleez, and Dex-Starr are on Earth to bring forth the coming of the Red Dawn. Simon and Jess have their hands full and are less than prepared for it. Which is also what seemed to happen to the art team in Green Lanterns #3. I pointed out two weeks ago about the lack of defining moments on Green Lanterns #2, well it seems the payoff to sticking with it was to be delivered now that issue #3 has dropped. Plenty of defining moments on this issue I could grab onto and dissect. Atrocitus pointing out how filled with Rage this planet is (hello RNC) and why it would be a perfect host to become the new host of GLS_Cv3_dsthe Red Lantern Corps. Humphries is really building something with Simon and Jessica, giving each one their spotlight every issue within the same story, he’s  reveals what each one of these Lanterns is fighting for and building up to why they deserve to be a Green Lantern by showing just how much they have yet to overcome. Simon still trusting his gun more than his ring, and Jessica unable to even make a construct as they both  go two-on-one with Bleez it really grounds the story on how much the odds are stacked against the rookies and the fact that I’m reading the very beginning of their story here.

A full roster of artist who kept tagging in an out between pages on this book made for confusing panels and possible miscommunication. I wish I could say more to it but before I could get used to one style, the next age would bring another one and so on and so forth until the very end of this comic. At a point I even thought the Snickers ad in the middle of the comic had more pages with the same artist than the comic itself. The miscommunication I believe comes when some of the dialogue does not match the expression of the character, most obviously noted during a moment when Bleez is talking to Simon Baz in a rather distressed tone but the panel depicts her as smiling. Was this a time issue? Was Green Lantern already in danger of being delayed and this was the solution? I will say I enjoyed the last page of this comic and the cliff-hanger it leaves it on as well as classic comic visuals, so good job… whoever was on that rotation.

Green Lanterns #3 is a good read with potential to be a great comic, given a constant art style we could get used to. Instead it delivered adequate art by a team of artists who seemed rushed to finish the job.

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Green Lanterns #3
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artists: Tom Derenick, Robson Rocha, Jack Herbert, Neil Edwards
Pubilisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital


Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1

I've tried to avoid reviewing these DC Rebirth books that I don't have a long history with the title. Batman? I can review that till the Batcows come home (Batman, not Batman. Asa's got dibs on that. Also, it's terrible). But Teen Titans? Flash? Reading those titles I felt like I was definitely missing some important context to what might make those books work. We've got Bastards who specialize in DC, they would probably lend more meaningful expertise to letting you fine folks know how good their latest gamble for money and relevance was paying off. In the same breath, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way to level this self-imposed restriction. Rebirth is very much an event born from publisher need. DC has slipped in every way that counts, unable to counter Marvel's social media friendly, controversy courting, Tumblr spree that has paid off in great short term goals. Rebirth might not fully scrap the 52's continuity, but the Rebirth #1's are designed to be jumping off points for the most recent direction for these hero's stories. That is to say, they are also jumping on points for new readers, to which I say, "Hey! That's me!" I Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 1haven't read Green Lantern since Brightest Day, but I enjoyed the character then and regretted not keeping up with Hal's Pals. This book should be designed with me in mind, right? Aren't I the audience they've been trying to court with Rebirth? Not new-new readers, but comic fans that got tired of reading the same old cape-and-cowl bullshit from them? Behold. My ignorance is my expertise. Indoctrinate me to the new Green Lantern. I await you.

*closes page 19 *

Well that didn't do much for me.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is mostly Hal Jordan narrating a very vague unhelpful pick-me-up on the questionable recent events in the Lantern publishing line. As a 'new' reader, all the book did was make me wonder what the hell has been going on with the editorial on this title since I last read regularly. Sinestro is for some reason an old prune man and flying a Death Star around, taking potshots at the remains of a destroyed Oa like a douchebag. Hal is on a dead world, wondering where his friends are (while his friends seem to be where you'd expect them to be). Hal's been using an Infinity Gauntlet attached to a Super-Soaker backpack in place of his ring. The Guardians are dressed like they're from Hobbiton. Spending a whole issue on recap, but leaving me feel uncapped seems like a waste of time doesn't it? Like the Teen Titans comic, these Rebirth single-issues won't pick between giving readers contextual backstory and playing nostalgia footsie with their most stubbornly unshakable standbys. The book ends on a big triumphant 'return-to-form', but having missed the past handful of years this moment means nothing. At least 'Batman' told a story and established something resembling tone. This is just formless.

The art is hit or miss. When on Warworld with Retirement Home Sinestro, the art looks pretty great, Van Sciver predictably ornate. For a majority of the book however, things look less confident, Hal having a pinched Leifeld expression most of the time and the lines being unhelpfully smothered in some distracting texture overlays on the color layers. It's Van Sciver, so it does it's job, but it doesn't quite sweep me up like the first time I saw his art on The Flash: Rebirth 2009.

So indoctrination attempted. How much more Rebirth can there really be left to change my mind on DC? With the utter devastating of my interest in the seemingly decent Aquaman this last week, I don't have any more reason to hang around, hoping for something to happen. Now that Capullo and Snyder have left Batman, I can once again shutter my interest in everything DC puts on the shelf, until Young Animal gets its crack at me. While some people seem to be cheering their lack of complete disappointment in Rebirth, I sit on the sidelines and wonder what it was all for. I could have cheerfully read Green Lantern on a monthly basis. I could be convinced to read Flash. But while Marvel is going wild building up and burning down titles every six to eight months with experimental kinds of writers and artists, DC somehow rebooted everything to business as usual. Having not read the seemingly convoluted awful last few years of Green Lantern stories, my ignorance should have been a boon to storytellers wanting to take my shekels with a fresh take and nothing to prove. Instead, all they did was remind me that it was probably for the best that I already wasn't a reader.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99
Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital


Review: Green Lanterns #2

Jessica Cruz has finally left her apartment after three years of absolute anxiety spilling into full agoraphobia. Well, now she has to be a Green Lantern without training (or someone who can), her partner Simon Baz is a ring-sling first and ask questions later kind of person, and she has no other choice but to work with him since they share a power battery. Caught up? On top of all of that there is a giant tower of Rage sprawled out of nowhere and it’s calling the most metal Lantern Corps in the galaxy. Atrocitus and his lanterns of Rage are coming.

This issue opens on Ysmault, with an Atrocitus who has promised a new beginning to a following filled with the dejected, forgotten, left behind, and angry. Atrocitus delivers through fire and blood, he will bring the Red Dawn. in the meantime there is a newly inducted Green Lantern trying to save her sister from Rage-filled people at a grocery store. Simon Baz meanwhile is making an GLS_Cv2_dsattempt to figure out what the cause of this situation is.

The writing is very strong here. There are several things happening at once on every page. While Atrocitus speaks, he internalizes his intentions and the doom that’s coming to Earth, Jessica and Simon have two clashing voices and different ways of thinking, both feeling relatable. I sympathized with Jessica's strong desire to save her sister no matter what, and also with Simon's logical way of looking at the situation. It was nice to get a glimpse about the life she lives now outside of Power Ring and learning about her new Oan ring. Big props to Dave Sharpe who manages to maintain a cohesive line of thought from each character throughout the issue. The gripe with this issue is that although strong in storyline, it still feels transitional at its core. Everything that happens is setting up for something that will be paid off on issue #3 or even further down the line. There were no big moments that could make this issue stand up on its own.

Art was strongly okay for the most part. I loved every page spent on Ysmault. The colors spiking in and out of the page. Moments like those, where the rings are being used and Blond is letting their energy spill on every panel are pretty great. There is a moment Jessica Cruz spent with her sister, learning about the ring and its power, the art felt flat and disproportional on the facial expressions, to having some very detailed inking and some other rougher ones, it ends up with inconsistencies that are hard to ignore. The art is going to be something that could make or break this comic for GL fans and readers.

Green Lantern two is twisting that odd space cop pairing and giving so much action in its pages that are definitely worth the price.

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Green Lanterns #2
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Blond
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital