After nine years and much commercial and critical success—and some not so success, I’m looking at you “Brightest Day”—Geoff Johns’ career writing “Green Lantern” comes to a close. An icon has passed onto legend—well not really, he still works for DC and is even still writing books. But the main point is that he has passed the torch, the responsibility of the lantern corps falls to another. Robert Venditti is now the vision behind the green. So how does he stack up to the monument that was Geoff Johns imagination?
Truth be told, this seems like a really good thing for the series. Not only is it fresh perspective, but also Geoff’s writing on “Green Lantern” was getting tired. No offense to the guy, he certainly changed the book for the better. But then again, he was also responsible for “Flashpoint” which was more convoluted than a Korean TV manual translated into Zulu. The point is that Robert steps into the book and immediately it’s a decent “Green Lantern” book.
One aspect that makes or breaks a Lantern book is the ring combat. Readers are coming back to this book for the light show, and this book kicks off in earnest—but not because of any lack luster writing, far from it. From the first page the Lanterns are in a stand-off situation with an unseen big baddie. They’re low on power and any move they make will leave them exposed—an exposure that proves lethal to a few unlucky, faceless Lanterns. Do you get the vibe that’s coming off of this? It’s back to being a space cop book. The book has all the same tempos as a cop drama and it is very much an edge of your seat book. Remember, these guys just came off the heels of “The First Lantern” stuff. Their corps has been depleted and they’ve proven that Lanterns are adept at eating laser beams in the face. Or it’s a fan favorite character, in which case this book puts a lot of effort to show those characters not dying.
One of the things that Geoff really got right was that he decided from an early point that the Guardians were not to be trusted. This led to a lot of dynamic tension, constantly questioning their motives and wondering if they are actually good. But Geoff got rid of them. All Robert was left with was the horde of socially inept Guardians they found in the Phantom Zone—that’s not where they’re from, I’m sorry but explaining it feels like explaining the appeal of children’s crayon drawings. These new Guardians certainly aren’t the evil wretches that were already dispatched so Robert decided he didn’t really want them. Sent them to space, bye Guardians. Now Hal Jordan is left to run the corps with Kilowag because every DC fan knows that while Bruce Wayne funded the Justice League, Hal was there to make sure all the proper permits were filed. It may not be an official troupe, but I can recognize every time they use the “grizzled vet is left in charge but is woefully unprepared,” plot device. Still, it’s not bad. If anything it feels even more like a TNT cop drama, only in space with lasers. Now this book isn’t without flaws…
DC has its share of iconic couples. Sometimes they get in arguments and there’s a sexual tension that builds between them until the relationship is rekindled. Every time Hal and Carol Ferris do this I want to eat pumice. This time was especially heinous. Keep in mind, in the last issue the epilogue stated that the two resolved their differences, married, and had children together. I thought the issue was wrapped up. Imagine my surprise when I turn to three pages of Carol telling Hal why they can’t be together.
What is so wrong with two characters falling in love and then having a relationship? “Invincible” does a positively smashing job of portraying the challenges of a relationship. Do these writers think once you get in a relationship you become two boring, contented people? Atom Eve had an abortion and Mark had to be there for her. That is a thing that happens and is compelling. When Carol splits with Hal for the tenth time I say, “Good. You stay alone and never come back. Hal can get back with Cowgirl and I will never have to hear about you again.”
I wish the Carol Ferris relationship wasn’t such a large proportion of this book because honestly it was a decent “Green Lantern” book. If anything, I’d retro-grade this book if they never mentioned Carol again.