Tuesday, July 05, 2005

GREEN LANTERN #2

For the record, my eyes crossed the minute Captain Mary Sue started groping Hal.

They stayed crossed once Captain Mary Sue announced with wonder that the green part of Hal's uniform generates heat while the black part performs other functions. (Memo to Geoff Johns: Just because you've been wanting to write Green Lantern since you were thirteen doesn't mean you should stick with the ideas you came up with when you were thirteen.)

They totally glazed over once the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe started channeling the Exposition Fairy to such a degree that even Hal told the damned thing to shut up.

They uncrossed in time to catch the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe reduced to serving as a video-enabled walkie-talkie and then some half-decent Hal backstory. Geoff Johns has been consistently strong in showing the many ways Hal lived with (or didn't) his father's legacy. But that, along with the start of the Manhunter arc lost all momentum and impact after a finale that combined a painful lack of subtlety (the "Better Safe Than Sorry" sign on Jim Jordan's car), Johns's firm belief that nobody can stay mad at Hal for longer than thirty seconds (Wayne Enterprises led the funding for the rebuilding of Coast City?), and one too many panels of Manhunters that was straight out of the various Terminator movies.

(To paraphrase Jeff Lester, because he got to it first, Why can't DC bring back one Manhunter without bringing them all back?)

The Shrew's been in hiding until her eyesight returned.

Contrary to all popular opinion, I really do want to love this series. I like Hal Jordan quite a bit. Not as much as I like Kyle and Alan, but quite a bit.

Where my frustration has come from is simple: bringing back Hal Jordan needed to be spectacular and it hasn't been. It has been eight issues of servicing of a very particular kind of fanboy and it has been pedestrian and it has been unoriginal. It has felt like a vanity project, like Geoff Johns is doing it because he can, not because he had a sales pitch that knocked the DC folks off their chairs for its brilliance. He was so eager to get the assignment, he put no thought into what he would do once he was successful.

I wasn't being (merely) facetious when I joked about the adult Johns using the pubescent Johns's notes to script from -- his "innovations" have been mostly silly and serving to answer questions nobody (who isn't a very particular kind of immature fanboy) asks. Who cares how the GL uniform keeps them warm in space or recycles their bodily waste? Why does the GL ring need to serve as the Oan Oracle, allowing writers to dumb down the users the way Batwriters frequently turn their characters into impetus-free order-takers? These are the kinds of things that go in a GL Encyclopedia or a Secret Files and don't become plot points or (more likely) plot distractions in the story itself.

Johns has been at his best when looking at the old Hal, the pre-Parallax, pre-Emerald Allies version. His take on that Hal has been wonderful. It's everything else that's dragging him down. We are now eight issues into the new era and I'm more and more convinced that what Johns should have done is a New Frontier kind of throwback story, a flashback miniseries circa JLA: Year One so we could see more of that interesting Hal without the disappointing results of trying to wedge that Hal into a world in which he no longer has a place as Green Lantern but has got one anyway.

Johns desperately wanted to write Green Lantern because he thought he could show us all why Hal should be our favorite, too. What he's accomplishing is quite the opposite.

3 Comments:

Blogger James Meeley said...

I agree with you completely on Johns handling of Hal Jordan. He seems to be trying too hard to tell us how cool Hal is supposed to be, and bogging it down with useless information bits, rather then reall SHOW why Hal Jordan is supposedly so cool.

And this stalling of Hal Jordan's growth (or prehaps I should say "regrowth") as a character, is only compounded by the continued growth of Kyle Rayner's in the Rann/Thanagar mini. The way Kyle just steps in and knocks Virl Dox down a few pegs in issue two, shows a great growth of the character from his early days un Ron Marz's keyboard. Sadly, Johns has really not given any kind of development like that for Hal Jordan, and it shows.

I think you pretty much made the case, that there really isn't a place for Hal in the GL legacy TODAY. Things had moved along without him and he isn't as relevent as he once was. And I personally don't see a way to change that (without a Crisis-like reboot of the entire GL mythos).

Very solid review. That's why I'm glad I linked you at my blog ( http://thecomicasylum.blogspot.com ).

Sat Jul 09, 03:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger E said...

Man, the whole talking ring thing really bugged me. I know that this isn't the first we've seen it, but it just seemed so out of place and over the top here.

Granted the ring is run on imagination, and in theory anything imagined can be created, but where is the intellegence behind the voice? Part of Hal's subconcious? Where does the ring get it's information? Does it Google it?

Again, a talking ring is very silver age, and it fits in those type sof stories, but it really took me out of the story here. Just like Hal, I don't thin a talking ring has it's place in today's GL mythos...

Sat Jul 09, 06:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I dislike the slow pace, it seems to be working for complete newbies. I compare it to Geoff's Ignition arc myself. Not as good, but hopefully just as shortlived.

I think the talking ring is cute, personally, like a deadpan L-Ron. If exposition MUST be done. I don't see any point in not using it.

And a uniform with varying temperatures makes nifty sense when you have aliens who don't all use have visible light senses (Rot Lop Fan). Call it fanboyism, or sci-fi detail.

Badficwriter

Tue Jul 19, 06:28:00 AM EDT  

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