A Dummy’s Guide to DC Comics’ “New 52” Green Lantern Titles
Let’s jump right in. To say that Green Lantern and its mythology are my favorite part of the DC Universe would be a detestable understatement: Hal Jordan and the Corps have been, and continue to be, inhabiting my favorite stories ever told by DC Comics. When I started this “Dummy’s Guide” series back with Batman a few short weeks ago, it was with the understanding that after I completed that, I wanted to do a “Dummy’s Guide” on the Green Lantern titles. Luckily, my little editorial/guide caught on and readers asked for a Superman guide, which I was only too happy to provide. But now, I’m excited to present my opinions on the titles my favorite superhero and his galactic emerald police force are currently calling home.
A DUMMY’S GUIDE TO DC COMICS’ “NEW 52” GREEN LANTERN TITLES
As always, let’s start with the worst and get to the best…thankfully, most of these titles aren’t bad at all. With one crimson exception, that is.
1. RED LANTERNS
It should really come as no surprise that the worst of the “New 52” GL titles is the ridiculously rage-filled Red Lanterns, currently written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda. While the Red Lanterns work well in the context of the other Lanterns (Green, Blue, Orange, Purple, and Indigo), on their own, they’re very bland. One can only take characters fueled by rage for so long before it just becomes, well, boring. That’s not saying that Milligan, that venerable veteran of Vertigo titles like Shade, The Changing Man and Hellblazer, isn’t trying. His writing on Red Lanterns sees him genuinely trying to pump these somewhat one-dimensional characters full of life beyond the fact that they’re incredibly angry, with a couple characters struggling with being full of rage but wanting to let go. The newest Red Lantern Rankorr is a somewhat interesting enigma – a rage-filled lantern who longs to be near others and not on his own, especially when he wakes up alone lightyears from any other galaxy in this month’s issue #11. Sadly, it’s not enough to make me interested in reading the blood-soaked escapades of these crimson curmudgeons month after month. Final Verdict: Skip it, save your money and your time – the only exception being that the Red Lanterns are your favorite Corp, in which case (mostly to avoid your obvious rage problems) go for it. If you’re a fan of Milligan, stick to reading his older Hellblazer or Shade, The Changing Man series, or check out the “New 52” Stormwatch series he’s just taken over.
2. GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS
One of the highlights of my comic-reading year has been the moment I sat down with Green Lantern: New Guardians #11 and read through it. I had just picked up the newest issue, along with the newest Red Lanterns issue in order to prepare for this Dummy’s Guide. I’d been devoutly following Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps since they started in September, but I was relatively new to these two other series. To be honest, I was blown away by Green Lantern: New Guardians – I had not expected this spin-off series to be so maddeningly well-written, intense, and down-right fun. To be even more honest, New Guardians was every bit as good as Peter J. Tomasi’s incredible Green Lantern Corps and Geoff Johns’ mythic Green Lantern. After hearing some not-so-great things about Tony Bedard’s other “New 52” titles, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that this spin-off GL series was not only good, but great. Centering on the attempts of Kyle Rayner – the Green Lantern who was the Corps and the series torchbearer after Hal Jordan was possessed by Parallax – to bring together a new band of universal “guardians”, each a member of a different Lantern Corps, New Guardians has great fun showing us these separate and distinct entities trying to get along and work together for the common good. And it also reinforces Kyle’s rightful place as the torchbearer of the Green Lanterns: without him, both these New Guardians, the Lantern Corps, heck, the universe would be thrown headlong into darkness. This series offers a compelling and all-around fun look into the heart of a noble emerald warrior and his desire to have his literally colorful band of misfits change the world. The writing is crisp and streamlined in the best of ways, and the art by Tyler Kirkham is top notch. Final Verdict: Get it. If you’ve been longing for a super fun “superteam” book, and you’re any kind of Green Lantern fan, this is definitely worth your time and money. One of the most fun comics I’ve read in a long time.
3. GREEN LANTERN CORPS
If you read my Dummy’s Guide to DC’s “New 52” Batman titles, than you already know how I feel about Peter J. Tomasi. He’s one of the biggest and the brightest in DC’s hall of writers. It’s fitting that my first exposure to Tomasi’s incredibly tight, epic writing was in the pages of Green Lantern Corps as that series – as well as the other GL book – geared up for Blackest Night. I haven’t stopped reading Tomasi since. He has an incredible ability to make his characters tangible and above all, memorable. His stories are epic and intense, and oh-so-much-fun to read. I didn’t care about John Stewart or Guy Gardner, or even to some extent Kyle Rayner until Tomasi made them living, breathing people for me. Up until I read my first issue of Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps, I really only cared about Hal Jordan, thanks to the other incredible talent of Geoff Johns – even his Corps wasn’t that interesting to me. Tomasi made the other “bit” players in the Green Lantern epic mean something to me, he gave them a worth, a reason for being. Most of all, Tomasi gave me a reason for reading about them. Together, Johns and Tomasi populated a universe in DC Comics that rivaled that of Star Wars and Star Trek, and they both did it in a way that made it all frighteningly, nay, gloriously real. Final Verdict: If you’re not already reading Green Lantern Corps, that means you’re probably spending your money and time on something else that’s not nearly as worth your time and money as Green Lantern Corps is. This series is a MUST READ.
4. GREEN LANTERN
I apologize in advance for the firestorm of opinion my next comment will most likely bring, in this age of Internet trolling and intolerance of personal opinions: Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern is the greatest comic book and comic book series ever written. I firmly believe that and stand by that opinion 100%. I’ve always loved Superman and Batman since a young age, thanks in part to the gigantic box my dad gave me full of early 70’s DC Comics. But Geoff Johns gave me a superhero I could truly call my own – a superhero and a comic series that I discovered on my own, by simply walking into my local bookstore. I had just finished reading through Alan Moore’s Watchman and Marv Wolfman’s Crisis on Infinite Earths in a graphic novel binge, and I wanted something else on that level of writing and creativity. I had also become somewhat interested in the Green Lantern character after reading Crisis as well as having found out that the classic TV show Greatest American Hero was somewhat a re-packaging of the Green Lantern story. So I picked up Green Lantern: In Brightest Day, which was a collected of classic Green Lantern stories picked and edited by some guy named Geoff Johns. I eagerly ate up this space opera mythology behind Green Lantern, but it was still somewhat lacking, in that bubblegum way that most of the classic comics from the 60’s and 70’s did. At the back of the book, Johns explained that these stories served as the inspiration for his re-vamping of the GL mythology, which he started in his new Green Lantern: Rebirth event that was available as a paperback collection. Upon finishing In Brightest Day, I picked up Rebirth, devoured it, and henceforth decided that Green Lantern was my favorite superhero of all time, and that Geoff Johns was my favorite comic book writer of all time. Next came Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, War of the Green Lanterns, and the “New 52,” and with each new series and addition to his now extensive GL universe and mythology, Johns cemented his and Hal Jordan and the Corps’ place in my heart. Final Verdict: It’s one of the greatest comic series ever written, if not the best. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s more than MUST READ – it’s MUST, WITHOUT A DOUBT, PICK THIS UP!
As always, I greatly enjoy sharing my thoughts and opinions on these great things we call comic books and superheroes. Above all, I hope that in the midst of all this opinion, you dear readers may find a helpful guide as you navigate your local comic shops digging for gold. And with that, let the trolling commence!