Friday, April 08, 2005

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #5

My progress through the issues of Rebirth has been predictable. There was Denial, there was Anger, there was Bargaining and there absolutely was Depression. So either Apathy snuck in there somewhere or I've hit Acceptance.

No major gripes with this issue, which is not to say that it was perfect, only that there won't be any incensed rambling about the Giant Yellow Locust of Fear this time. But! I'm still impatient with the way Geoff Johns has decided to make Kyle Rayner acceptable to the Hal fans through Hal and his buddies (like Ollie) giving Kyle their benediction -- you may have saved the world a few times, kid, but it didn't really matter until we said it did. Wedging Kyle and Hal into the same spot is an unenviable task, but Johns seems to have chosen the most backhanded way of going about it. That said, I thought the handshake panel was fantastic even if I wish Johns had been a little more delicate with what followed.

I am withholding judgement on the final page -- Batman's little spitefest -- until the start of the next issue. Because if someone knocks the Bat flat on his keester ("Not while I'm standing..."), then it's all good. But if this becomes a Thing right square in the middle of a galactic crisis, I may have to get cranky. Bruce's distrust of Hal post-Emerald Twilight is not news, 'forgiveness' at Hal's funeral (GL 81) notwithstanding, but there's a time and a place for everything and this is neither. I strongly suspect that this will prove to be an opening for a big, impassioned speech by Hal, which will be dreadfully boring. Johns has no love for the JLA -- what he's doing writing the title come the summer is beyond me -- and he's made them the stick-in-the-mud, reactionary types before (Teen Titans, any appearance of Wonder Woman). We know this resistance to Hal doesn't last long -- he's already in the JLA by Countdown to Infinite Crisis -- so it's best to keep it to a minimum here.

As far as Hal himself, there was quite a bit to like here in terms of making the worst of his past storylines go away, but... as relieved as I was to see him freed of the self-doubt and wibbling that plagued the start of Green Lantern v3 and sparked road trips with Ollie, I sort of felt that it came on too fast. Hal's been free of the Spectre and Parallax, both forces stronger than him, for all of a couple of hours (at most) -- not to mention back from the dead -- and I'd liked to have seen him show some effects of that. He wasn't in suspended animation -- his consciousness has been active the entire time. As great a hero as Hal is, there should have been some confusion, some weakness, some reaction to suddenly being made flesh and blood and finding himself dressed in the uniform he last wore when he slaughtered his former comrades. Instead, Hal was pretty much... Hal As He Should Be. Which is the goal, obviously, but shouldn't happen straight out of the egg.

The fighting with Sinestro -- both Kyle and Hal -- was fun. That Hal should get his tuchus kicked on the back end of last issue's dramatic Gandalf-at-the-Bridge-of-Khazad-Dum moment was appropriate (but does not invalidate the previous paragraph) and if Johns is going to be inconsistent about whether he remembers Kyle and Sinestro have tangled before, well, there's nothing to be done except mutter darkly under our breaths and move on. I did not like the use of the rings as sentient police radios -- it's not a trait they've ever had and what was up with the whole Code 1963 thing? -- and I'm wondering if Johns isn't setting the rings up to be some sort of wifi network to replace the construct images of giant Guardian heads ordering the Lanterns around.

In my newfound peace, I'm going to have to reread the entire series in time with the release of the final issue. I'm sure I'll be kinder and gentler -- okay, not to the Giant Yellow Locust of Fear -- now that it's over.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok a couple of things.

First, your review was pretty dead on. I don't agree with your version of "what has come before" (issues 1-4) but this was a...kinder? review.

Hal is a superhero through and through. In the DCU this has always meant a sort of unspoken "pantheon of the gods" among its more prominent members. As such, I DO think Hal could "spring back from the dead" not only in full dress uniform, not only with the ring flared up and ready to go, not only with guns-a-blazing, but with the same fortitude and ace pilot cool he is know for displaying. I think they did that good. If you're looking for his "weakness" then Johns has an answer for you there too. As Sinestro said, he's kind of slow with the ring. There you go. Some people are JUST like that. Sure Hal has his weaknesses, but they're not the same tired ones every other angst-ridden post-teen 20s goofball has. Hal is the kinda guy that a guy like Superman looks to and exclaims "wow!" No wonder Batman hates him. Batman uses as a weapon, everything Hal's conquerored in life.

Ahhh and Batman. Your assessment of the last page could not have been more apt. Someone (Superman) SHOULD knock Batman flat on his ass while Hal is taking care of business. Let Bruce simmer in his jealousy a bit longer....on the ground. The real heroes have a job to do. I envision the splash page of issue 6 containing a Batman being shot up a green batpole into orbit with Hal exclaiming "Not while you're standing? Ok. How about flying?" (ok ok, I know it's not gonna happen and more than likely we'll get the boring after school special monologue from Hal, but I can always fantasize)

Here's something. How can somone I know to have LOVED The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Sauron be so angry towards what they are terming "The Big Yellow Locust of Fear"?

I'm glad to see you're warming up to GL Rebirth. It really is some of Johns' better work...not boring, not too angst written, good surprises but not for the sake of surprise, excellent dialogue, good characterization, lots of action and character bonding, a nod to history, and even making guys like me accept Kyle as a worthy member of the Corps.

Fri Apr 08, 10:30:00 PM EDT  

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