War in the Corps: How Green Lantern is Shining Above All Other Comics

The two big comic book companies, DC and Marvel seem to be caught up in big company-wide crossovers and the incomprehensible build ups to these crossovers. With this atmosphere the notion of focusing on a single series can be almost forgotten. Geoff Johns has fought back against the tide of mega-events by creating what is one of the best sci-fi blockbusters out there in Green Lantern. If you’re not familiar with the Green Lantern name its a bit complicated to explain but I’ll give it a try and hope I don’t twist your brain too hard.

The Green Lantern you’re probably most familiar with is Hal Jordan, a hot shot test pilot who came upon an alien crash site. sinestro corps warThe alien wore a strange green uniform and gave Jordan a ring that allowed his thoughts to become manifest. Hal operated on Earth for awhile, unaware of the origins of the ring but eventually met its makers, The Guardians of the Universe. It turned out there was an entire intergalactic corps of aliens wielding rings. As the years went on Hal would take a leave of absence and was replaced by various characters. In the mid-90s, DC wanted to shake things up with the GL title and had Hal go mad after his hometown was destroyed by aliens and turn on the Green Lantern Corps. He killed most of them and the Guardians had to ressurect Hal’s nemesis Sinestro to stop him. A new character, Kyle Rayner, became the sole Green Lantern for the next decade or so until the Power That Be decided to finagle a way for Hal to make his return. They opted out of killing Kyle off and had him become one with the Lantern’s power source, an entity called Ion who is represented by green light. There was a counterpart to this, Parallax, represented by yellow.

Its these two, Ion and Parallax, that play a key role in the current storyline in Green sinestro corpsLantern and its sister title, Green Lantern Corps (focusing on the alien Lanterns). Sinestro has been in hiding for a year and during this time he has forged some sort of connection to Parallax and adopted a philosophical counterpoint to the Green Lantern’s chief belief in Will, Fear. He’s created Fear Cocoon where potential members of the Sinestro Corps enter and become absorbed by their own terrors. The macabre members of the Sinestro Corps use rings of yellow energy and are made up of a sniping snail, a cannibalistic woman, a living disease, and other extremely bizarre and dark creatures. They were hinted at in back-up stories in the Green Lantern title for a few months and then fully unleashed in Sinestro Corps Special #1 that came out this spring. An attack was made on the Green Lanterns’ home planet, Oa, and many of them were massacred by Sinestro’s warriors.

Writer Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver created one of the most exciting comics I’ve read in a long time. GL CorpsEven if you weren’t too familiar with the characters you could plug into this story and be extremely entertained. Johns has a gift at incorporating big chunks of DC’s mythos without alienating new readers. He weaves in with a freshness that causes the stories both hearken back to the lightheartedness of the Silver Age comics while progressing the characters beyond their iconic status quo. Things happen in a Johns comic instead of the way most iconic titles work, which is the publisher wants the characters to be eternally identifiable by non-comic book readers. The Sinestro Corps storyline feels like what a sequel Green Lantern movie might be like (Hey Hollywood, get cracking on the first one already). You have a force that is an equal, if not superior to the heroes and its is assured that a lot of blood with be shed before the story comes to an end.

Van Sciver was only the artist on the Special, while Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason handle thoseKyle alone chores on the following chapters in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, respectively. I personally felt that Van Sciver should have drawn the whole thing if it was possible. He has a great ability to make Sinestro and his cohorts truly terrifying while getting across the heroic nature of the Green Lanterns. The entire story borrows elements from the Jedi/Sith concept in the Star Wars films but shows us what could have been if an awesome war had been waged on the screen between these factions. It’s big, it’s explosive yet Johns doesn’t forget the importance of his characters. Kyle Rayner is definitely in for some major changes as a result of this conflict and Johns has said this is the second part in a Green Lantern Trilogy that will change the title in a major way. I’m definitely enjoying every piece of the story, some more than others, and am excited to see where Johns is taking these characters.

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~ by Seth on August 22, 2007.

2 Responses to “War in the Corps: How Green Lantern is Shining Above All Other Comics”

  1. Comics

    Marvel Comics and DC Comics profiled, reviewed and illustrated along with additional […]

  2. I agree that the newest incarnation of GL via the Sinistro Corpas War has been a major boon for DC. They’ve been able to take an epic struggle between good and evil and place it on the stage in a similar fashion to LOTR. Where the genius of the writing comes into play is that like LOTR they focus on a few key characters that we can relate to and make us sympathize with.

    My only question is how will they continue to keep momentum going once the novelty has worn off?

    Great Post,

    Brett

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