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Tucker Goes Deep Inside Hal Jordan’s War

Tucker Stone

Green Lantern 64 (Part One of War of The Green Lanterns)

Hal Jordan? Funny you asked. As a result of of the death of his father, he’s refused to acknowledge fear, forever living a life of risk and insubordination. He lacks professionalism and restraint and has never been able to keep his emotions in check. The Green Lantern Corps–a paramilitary police organization whose shield he operates under–was willing to look the other way, until he started hanging out with aliens who have and use colored rings from other spokes of what’s been called “The Emotional Spectrum”. Forming what’s been called the Rainbow Squadron, this unofficial team of Jordan’s is unacceptable to the Corps, so he must be, and he will be…arrested.

That’s the blurb I wished they’d use for this series. It would look good in a bold white font on an all black background, being read aloud by a Kevin Conroy-type. I didn’t really have to change any of the comic’s actual text either, that’s all from the first few pages of this issue.

The rest of this issue’s pages follow.

GL Cover

The rainbow squadron–or the Kaledeioscopic Klan O’ Kosmic Kops, they don’t seem to have a real name–have just discovered a large black hardcover book, and this book contains the Guardian’s darkest secrets. (The Guardians are the small floating blue people who give out the Green Lantern rings.) This big black book is about the size of a mid-range automobile, and when Hal Jordan decides to close it, he uses his ring to create an old lady wearing the female version of the Col. Sanders tie to close it for him. There is a bit of a hubbub when it is revealed that Atrocitus (he’s the Red Lantern, they’re the ones who vomit blood) already knew the secret that the team came to find, which is about a rogue Guardian named Krona who is responsible for killing everyone in Atrocitus “sector”. (Sectors are like states, but intergalactic. I don’t believe it has ever been explained who came up the borders of the individual sectors, which sounds like an untapped well of historical map-constructing possibility if you ask me, which I am.) Responding to Atrocitus’ betrayal with some of the lack of restraint that’s got him in hot water, Hal Jordan lashes out and smashes our Red Lantern against a wall, which makes cracks in the wall and also squirts the Red Lantern signal out of Atrocitus’s back. Embarrassing? On purpose? It just reminds me of the old Spider-Man light signal that he’d spray out of his belt. I bet they don’t let him use that anymore now that he wears that white suit. It would just be a big flashlight! That’s what cops do, not Spider-Man.

Then, there’s a big surprise that interrupts the fight that was getting ready to go down between Hal (who is a regular human man) and Atrocitus (who is a big tough alien who vomits blood), which is disappointing. The book pops open, and Larfleeze (the Orange Lantern who represents people with large comic book collections) gets tricked into grabbing an actual orange lantern (which is attached to a easy-to-see chain). The chain sucks Larfleeze into the book like a flushed toilet, making way for the reveal of…Lyssa Drak, the Story Vampire! She’s the Keeper of the Book of the Black! See?

Story Vampire

They call that the real deal.

CUTAWAY TO….OA.

Oa is where the floating smurf people live. They are in their hovering room, talking about themselves and how disappointed they are in Hal Jordan, which I’m pretty sure is the only thing I’ve ever seen them do with their time, except for in Blackest Night, when a bunch of them got their hearts ripped out. They seem really put out that their lantern wielders always go bad, but not so much that they’re actually upset about it, because having emotional reactions would be unacceptable.

Although these sorts of comic book cutaways usually resolve itself by throwing out some kind of cliffhanger line before returning to the previous Hal Jordan-centric action, this one doesn’t. Instead, a big light show goes off, turning the hover dome–that’s a dome for hovering–into a massive reverse planeterium, which makes yellow shit squirt out of the noses and ears of the Guardians.
yellow shit

PERSONAL ANECDOTAL ASIDE TANGENTIALLY RELATED TO GREEN LANTERN COMIC:

There’s this actor guy I know, who has a pretty good career now playing terrorists in Stephen Speiberg movies as well as scientists in Keanu Reeves movies, but when I knew him, all he wanted to do was a scene from Narc where he played the Jason Patric part and me and my old roommate played the Busta Rhymes and other rapper part. In the scene, Busta and the other guy are beat-to-shit and tied to chairs, which seemed pretty boring. To have a bit of fun with it, we both bought massive amounts of the really expensive fake blood, the kind that has a mint flavor and nutritional information, and then we just went to fucking town, making our own capsules and packs and pouring the shit in any manner of things. When we did the scene–which just consisted of us crying and screaming expletives while our very own Jason Patric forgot his lines and fake punched us–we had so much blood pouring out of our mouths and scalp that you could hear people retching while they watched. Later on, I found out the secret: people will tolerate hardcore violence, and they’ll tolerate fake blood coming out of just about anything, including your groin (that was all me son), but the sight of it coming out of the ear? It was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that the average audience member is always going to turn their nose–and quite possibly, their lunch–up when that starts to happen.

BACK TO THE COMIC

The lightshow and yellow bodily fluid are all attributable to the return of Krona, the Guardian that the Crayola Unit are looking for…on the other side of the galaxy! (Actually, the comic just says that Hal’s Color Guard is in the Lost Sector, i’m just assuming that means other side of the galaxy because that would be dramatic.) Krona has brought the “entities” with him, they are gigantic alien dragon-looking characters chained to the inside of his ripped up black cape-y outfit, which makes him look like a cross between a Smurf AND Gargamel, with a touch of Doctor Octopus for good measure. The entites each represent one of the different colored rings, and are named as follows:

The Butcher: Entity of Rage
Parallax: Entity of Fear
Ophidian: Entity of Avarice
Proselyte: Entity of Compassion
Adara: Entity of Hope
Ion: Entity of Will
and last, but not least
Predator: Entity of Love

Predator is the entity of love? Is that some kind of meta joke designed to make fun of people that hate relationships? Why can’t “Love” have an entity with a goofy, meaningless name like….well, like all of them, except for Rage, who gets a pass because Rage has “The” in its name, which is pretty awesome. When I get a bulldog–and trust me, I’m getting a bulldog someday–it will be named Dumptruck and The Dance Contest, because I really like the idea of having “and” and “The” in the names of animals.

Anyway, after this big reveal–it’s a two-page splash, this twenty-two page comic’s second–the story makes a quick return to Hal Jordan’s Planeteers. Sinestro is yelling at the librarian vampire (they used to work together) but she is still mad at him for abandoning her to live inside a book. (Which is fair.) According to  her, the book she was living in has more “tales of the unknown” than a different book has about the Green Lanterns. This seems like an obvious thing to say, but it’s ultimately irrelevant, isn’t it? Hal and Company pretty much came here for Krona and Krona related information; the book itself and the blue lady who live inside it aren’t really important to the story in any concise way, she’s just important to these particular pages and the particular beats this issue has to hit. Considering how obvious this is, it’s curious why additional attention is being placed on it. Alternatively, maybe this is where they start setting up the next Green Lantern “Event” that will follow this one, as that seems to be the pattern of these Green Lantern comics–constantly postponing actual conclusions.

Anyway: in keeping with the necessities of the plot which dictate that Hal Jordan start hanging out with people again, the Sexy Bondage Librarian freezes some of our least favorite team members inside the giant book, and the comic returns to Oa.

jawing bout it

Back on Oa, Krona is being a bad guy, meaning he is ripping off somebodies lower jaw, which is an old school technique from the Old Testament. It works like a charm, if your ultimate goal is to really hurt somebodies face, and that seems to be Krona’s ultimate goal. Awaken the Giant Within and all that. After this one page break for jaw-ripping, we’re back to the Lost Sector, where Hal, Sinestro and Hal’s ex-girlfriend are all struggling to escape the giant book, which is eating them. Hal’s ex-girlfriend is wearing that kind of bathing suit that has to be glued or taped onto the female body, which is why you’ll only think they are sexy until the first time you see one of them get taken off, and then you’ll be a bodysuit man for life. For some reason, these three are being quicksanded into the book instead of frozen like the Hope and Compassion people were , which would have been quicker and not allowed Hal and Sinestro the time to kiss their rings together, which is the Green Lantern version of “crossing the streams”, which is a reference to the movie Ghostbusters. Like in Ghostbusters, this instance of doing something you shouldn’t as a last resort–I’m assuming ring kissing is also totally dangerous–totally works, and Hal is set free, although all of his team disappears and their rings clatter to the floor. To show us how big of a deal this is, Doug Mahnke draws the panel of Hal Jordan reaching towards his team’s rings from a viewpoint INSIDE Sinestro’s ring, which, for a comic supposedly about emotionless justice drones, is pretty clearly geared towards making one feel some kind of emotion. And bang, right then, the other Green Lanterns–the ones from the first part of this comic, who were all worked up about Hal’s Team of Useless Multi-Colored Fucking Assholes–have arrived, and they’re ready to do some arresting!

They arrive in a one-page splash, which is great for people who don’t have a lot of time, because it makes this comic take a lot less time to read. After we get this inspired use of the serialized comic book medium out of the way, one of the Green Lanterns who has arrived to arrest Hal Jordan does something totally dickish that endears him to me forever. Here, take a look:

dick move

That part where the long skinny one says “What book?” and then says “It doesn’t matter before Hal can finish answering–that’s such a prick move. In your smug plastic asshole face, Hal Jordan. You just got fucking served, buddy. Oh sure, Hal argues a little bit more, but it’s obviously just time-killing bullshit, because the comic keeps jumping back to Oa and the Krona guy, who is putting the yellow entity of fear (Parallax) inside the gigantic green Coleman lantern all of the smurfs on Vowel Planet pray to. For some reason, this gives all of the non-Hal Jordan Green Lanterns yellow eyes, and then the long-skinny dick one wakes up, freaks out, and starts shooting his own alien version of the Swastika out of his ring. (I thought it might be a specific swastika, but I used google to find this picture of the world’s swastikas, and it seems to be one of his own long n’ skinny alien construction.) Back on Oa, Krona looks to have turned the Guardians into his own version of Hal’s rainbow squadron, which ha ha, I already saw how useless that kind of 90’s Benetton ad works out when you plop them into a face off against a gigantic book of secret stories. Like any good hero at the start of a tale, Hal Jordan runs away, thus starting the War of the Green Lantern Corps off on the classic foot of “For a Guy With No Fear, You Sure Are A Big Fucking Coward“.

I guess I’d rate this Eh or Okay? The part where the guy got his jaw ripped off was pretty surprising.

22 Responses to “ Tucker Goes Deep Inside Hal Jordan’s War ”

  1. This book seems to be telling the same story over and over again, ad naseum, without end, amen. This looks like the same book I picked up two years ago. The Rainbow Brite Lantern Brigade is still hanging out together in the middle of bum fuck outer space trying to figure out what it is exactly they are supposed to be doing. I dunno, maybe they just really, really like each other! The Guardians are still whiny little vindictive bitches who don’t seem to have evolved or have learned very much in the billions of years they have been around. Having their jaws ripped off is long overdue frankly. Hal is still pining for the Star Sapphire chick who apparently doesn’t want to give him the time of day and can’t be bothered or something. The Green Lanterns are still douche cops who are arresting Hal Jordan for the umpteenth time simply because their authoritarian superiors tell them to despite the fact that Hal Jordan has proven to be right every time. Nobody seems to ever learn anything or evolve as characters in this book. Or is it Geoff Johns who hasn’t evolved as a person and a writer? After all, these are his characters.

    I would rate this book AWFUL!

  2. yup, GL by Johns is really a showcase for an EH book.

    God knows I tried, stayed with him till issue #12 or so, but it was just too much EH in the end.

    I have pretty much given up on Johns altogether (since years now) but he had a cool handle on Wally West. (also Collins played a big part I guess)

  3. I decided to read only the headline, mentally deleting “‘s War” and then wrote this column in my head.

  4. Nice review. I would totally thumb through a book called Green Lantern: Crayon Unit.

  5. Predator is the entity of love? Is that some kind of meta joke designed to make fun of people that hate relationships?”

    No. it’s because Geoff Johns is tying two pieces of GL history together: the fact that Carole Ferris was Star Sapphire and the fact that she once re-created herself as a male alter ego called The Predator. Yes, really.

  6. Sounds pretty awful. And I agree with Robert, Johns hasn’t evolved as a writer at all, it’s just “Declarative statement!” “Ponder!” *ACTION!* “DECLARATIVE STATEMENT!”
    John’s version of characterization is for other characters to talk about how awesome/evil/etc another character is.

  7. “The part where the guy got his jaw ripped off was pretty surprising.”

    So this must be your first Geoff Johns book.
    DC treats him and his gore fetish like they used to treat William Marston and his bondage fetish. They let him blow off steam once an issue or so, probably to keep him from taking an Axe to the office.

    I enjoyed GL up until the Sinestro War ended. Then colored core creep set in. If any of that nonsense has any meaning, it’s all locked in Johns mutilation-obsessed head (Where, granted, it should probably stay). Ultimately, they are fighting about nothing, which, incidentally, is the same problem I’ve with the X-Men over the past decade or so.

    One more thing: Aren’t the Guardians right? Things were going just fine with the Manhunters, until Sappy, emo Krona threw a hissy fit, and reprogrammed them for genocide.

  8. Geoff Johns writes about people who are motivated by EMOTIONS, but has clearly never felt anything of the sort.

  9. lovecraft,

    Might I suggest you read Tom Strong #25 from 2004? The guy knows emotion. The JP Leon art doesn’t hurt either but it’s an incredibly well written story. Similarly I liked him on early GL re-boot, Superman and the Legion was a GREAT run imho.

    BUT

    I’ve completely bottomed out on the “neu-Johns.” I can’t work up anything but disinterest for the GL stuff post the first Sinestro arc. I was fine with Will vs Fear but the rainbow of the emotional spectrum and the marketing and the Blackest Night vs the Brightest Day (end Prof. Frink impression) it just kills me with how base it is. It’s convenient that emotions correspond with our visual spectrum. Really, thanks for reducing it.

    But, here it is, GL consistently mashes the sales chart. How do you explain it? It’s over the line in my opinion to say the guy “has clearly never felt anything…” maybe what he feels is self loathing and that manifests in what we see.

    “Oh, this sells…so here’s more of this…I guess.”

    I don’t know, I’m not making excuses because I don’t buy what he’s putting out these days but as someone who enjoyed his work in the past it’s distressing to see this low-point.

  10. Ahhh Johns….. he’s hit that Bendis/Avengers rut.

    I liked his early Flash. Superman/Legion/Braniac was great until DC blew it up and tried to fill in an entire year with it. GL started slow – hit its peak at Sinestro and, while I enjoyed Blackest Night, the set-up was far better than the payoff. The Brightest Day/War of GLs etc just seems to be wheel spinning for sales reasons. I think Geoff is running on fumes.

    I think there’s an interesting parallel between DC/Johns/Blackest and Marvel/Bendis/Invasion….. Two top talents given a long run in a universe culminating in a mid-career event with mixed results, very little payoff and “a new direction” for said universe.

  11. Sigh. I liked it. But then again, I’ve endured Hal Jordan as a truck driver (late 1970s), GL in Action Comics Weekly (1988-1989) and GL as Parallax (1994-2004). So it no longer takes much to make me happy.

  12. Well pooh, I love Green Lanterns…even Hal. Granted, he’s stupid and clumsy, but he’s awfully pretty and he has a really great ass.

    And dang it, I like Geoff Johns too.

  13. “Geoff Johns writes about people who are motivated by EMOTIONS, but has clearly never felt anything of the sort.”

    —i don’t like his current stuff much either, but jeez, what a horrible thing to say, Lovecraft…

  14. You know i’ve really become quite entertained by people who don’t like Geoff yet continue to talk about his books all the time. It’s like the more successfull he became and the bigger he made Hal and the Green Lantern books the more hate and bitterness that has come his way.

    What’s even more impressive is the way these people talk about his books while having no idea what they are actually about as this review clearly shows. It would be like me writing a review of Batman Inc. and instead of talking about the quality of the book’s story. wrote mulitple paragraphs making snark comments about him and his work and how much I think it sucks.

    But I wouldn’t do that because I don’t read or review comics or writers I don’t like. Yet the same can’t be said for all the butthurt fanboys and bitter reviewers still mad at Johns for whatever reason that can’t seem to get over how many people actually enjoy his work.

  15. “It would be like me writing a review of Batman Inc. and instead of talking about the quality of the book’s story. wrote mulitple paragraphs making snark comments about him and his work and how much I think it sucks.”

    Dude, I have no idea what you’re on about — but in the review itself, Tucker talks about nothing BUT the story. He doesn’t mention “the writer” or “Geoff Johns” (unless you count his metatags). Snark? Hells yeah, but the snark comes in the form of trying to present this material as it would appear to a casual, outside reader. If there have been personal attacks on Johns, or critiques based on his career as a writer, they’ve come in the comments only.

    “…I don’t read or review comics or writers I don’t like. Yet the same can’t be said for all the butthurt fanboys and bitter reviewers still mad at Johns for whatever reason that can’t seem to get over how many people actually enjoy his work.”

    Again, I’m baffled… part of the job of a critic is to assess both what s/he likes and DOESN’T like and to discuss what works / what doesn’t work based on analysis.

    Further, what’s basically going on in this thread are people saying “I never like Johns’ work,” or “I liked it up to a point” — and that this review has confirmed for them that he’s continuing to mine the vein that alienated them in the past.

    Even for readers who don’t enjoy Johns’ work, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Johns’ story arcs have repeatedly been central pillars in DC’s sweeping “Universe” storylines; any mainstream superfranchise book may eventually get swept up in the wake of the latest GL event. And since Johns has been named “Chief Creative Officer” of DC, he’s no longer a lone writer working in isolation on a book that a given reader may or may not enjoy. His sensibilities have the potential to alter the entire line and to impact trends in the industry as a whole… and thus, love him or hate him, his work is deserving of commentary that goes above and beyond “liking” whatever he’s doing in the current issue at hand.

  16. Mousa Kraish?

  17. The one and only!

  18. I liked Parts 2 and 3 of War of the Green Lanterns, too. March was a good month.

  19. Put me in the “Had enough Geoff Johns” camp. Loved his work a few years ago, thought the latter part of his Action Comics run, esp the Superman and the LOSH arc, was great. But GL lost me after Blackest Night and I just couldn’t stand to read Flash, as Johns’ masturbatory fascination with the “Rogues” and the “Rogues” and the “Rogues” is just really dumb. Now that Johns is more or less a guy in charge at DC, it seems like he’s solely focused on events with one event stumbling on into the next and so forth and so on forever and ever. Just no longer interested.

  20. J_Smitty_: “It’s convenient that emotions correspond with our visual spectrum. Really, thanks for reducing it.”

    And “our” means Isaac Newton’s, who only came up with it because he liked the number seven. Green Lanterns hate the Japanese.

    Of course, that’s not even getting into the problem of declaring there are only seven emotions that combine to form the width and breadth of human (and goofy alien) experience. It’s like a slightly more complex version of the Love-Fear system Patrick Swayze’s self-help guru and child porn addict invented in Donnie Darko. Except in Donnie Darko the text treated it as a bunch of crap, whereas in Green Lantern it is as literally true as a giant green fist to the face and as unsubtle as a bucket of napalm blood on your new shoes.

    Personally, though, I’m still waiting for The Malaise of the Microwave Lanterns. They harness the power of one’s boredom with endless, poorly conceived Green Lantern events.

  21. Speaking as a fanboy who actually enjoyed Infinite Crisis, yeah, Johns is losing me too, ever since the end of Sinestro Corps War. He’s not telling stories so much as (slowly) moving characters around the playing field.

  22. Sectors are defined by a series of straight lines radiating outward in space from Oa. There are a hundred borders per degree, making for 3600 sectors. /whoswho

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