Isaac’s Book of the Month
Green Lantern #36
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Ivan Reis
DC Comics, 2008
It’s no real coincidence that that this issue of Green Lantern came out just after Christmas.
The previous issue introduced us to Saint Walker, the first Blue Lantern, with a sudden appearance at the end to whet our appetite for what was to come. This issue gives us plenty of opportunity to be impressed with the power of hope (the Blue Lantern’s source of power), by nullifying the mind-altering effects of the Red Lantern’s flame, and turning back the clock on a star about to go nova — giving it nine billion more years of life and a fresh new appearance.
Even at the issue’s start the symbolism of hope is all-encompassing. In a hellish environment, Sinestro is crucified to the Red Lantern’s symbol, but even when powerless and surrounded by a murderous horde, Sinestro will not cower. Not even to the taunting of Atrocitus: “Look around you and tell me, who is the greatest Lantern now?”
The blatant Christ imagery here, the love of hope throughout — it could almost be too cheesy if it weren’t the New Year and I wasn’t so hungry for this subject matter.
Hal Jordan travels to Odym, which is apparently a planet revolving around “what you call the North star”, and gets to meet up with Ganthet! We’re told that some would consider the Blue light as the most costly, and then Ganthet is inducting a second Blue Lantern into their Corps. This new member, Warth, says, “I understand my ultimate fate if I am to join you, Guardians. And I accept it.” It sounds like one of those deals where if you take the Blue ring you get awesome power but it’ll burn you out or something. That’s just important to mention because it will surely become clearer in the future and we’ll be expected to remember this conversation.
Once Ganthet finally gets to talk to Hal Jordan, it’s a lot of fun with fanboyish nostalgia of how Ganthet guided him after Sinestro’s fall back in the day. We also get the patented Guardians of the Universe unclear portent of things to come — but it’s sort of a good one for once, about how both Sinestro and Hal Jordan are extremely important to how everything’s going to turn out. It kind of gives Hal a Luke Skywalker feel to him, and I always like that.
Meanwhile, Fatality is reborn as a Star Sapphire, so what’s the first thing she says? “Locate John Stewart.” She has a one-track mind, that’s for sure. Oh, that John Stewart. He’d be a lucky guy except that Fatality has historically always wanted to kill him; maybe that’s changed? Probably not.
The final two pages are a form of collision between Hal Jordan and Sinestro, with the left page finishing with the revelation that Ganthet wants Hal to lead the Blue Lantern Corps. Cue the wide-eyed surprise on Hal’s face. The right page, contrasting with the blue tinting of before, is all red fire and blood as Atrocitus reveals how he will be able to torment Sinestro — through his daughter!
See, I’m pretty sure we never knew about this daughter, that it was a secret of Sinestro’s, and that’s why Sinestro is all wide-eyed and frowny.
There’s not a whole lot of action in this issue, but everything — the power displayed, the plans for the future, and the cool new characters — ups the stakes for what’s yet to come.
What better way to ring in the New Year for Green Lantern?
Miles’ Book of the Month
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
Colours by Val Staples
I’ve been giddy with excitement since I heard about this mini-series: my homeboys Brubaker and Phillips taking a brief break from the near-perfect Criminal to do the spiritual successor to Sleeper, one of my favourite comics of all time.
While Sleeper was about whether a good man can do bad things for a good reason and still remain good, Incognito is about a bad man playing at good.
As the issue opens, former super-villain Zack Overkill is now living in a witness protection program as file clerk Zack Andersen. Bored, dissatisfied, and drugged up to keep his powers in check: Zack isn’t loving the live he’s chosen and his new handler isn’t making things any easier.
Turing to his friendly neighbourhood drug dealer, Zack decides that he needs an extra level of medication. However, as he didn’t consult his pharmacist, the drugs work against each other and Zack’s powers return. And Zack decides it’s time to make a couple mistakes.
And I’m hooked.
Brubaker’s writing is as sharp as ever and Phillips brings his A-game. This is some of the best work I’ve seen from Phillips — he’s showing a lot of control. To be honest, I thought the last arch of Criminal looked a little rushed, and now I know why: he was pouring himself into this. Zack is an asshole, but if there’s one thing that Brubaker does well, it’s write assholes. His assholes are second to none.
Go buy this book. It’s $3.50, 48 pages, no ads, and there’s an essay in the back about The Shadow. What the fuck are you waiting for?