Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Since I will be sharing a Top Ten list of my favorite Hal Jordan stories come June 17th, I figure that this list will focus on other individuals who have been a Green Lantern (or any other color Lantern) over the years.
On June 7th, 2011 the feature-length Direct-To-Video animated film Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be released. In honor of the new DTV feature from Warner Brothers showcasing members of the Green Lantern Corps, I'll be doing a list of my top ten favorite Green Lantern Corps comic book stories!
10 JLI #36
"G'Nort by G'Nortwest"
G'Nort Esplanade G'neesmacher is probably the goofiest of Green Lanterns there is, but also somehow the most lovable. His status as a member of the Green Lantern Corp is usually attributed to nepotism.
Eventually Guy Gardener discovers that the Poglachians were the middle-men in a plot by the Qwardians. Their aim was to discredit the Green Lantern Corp by giving rings to imbeciles and dimwits like G'Nort.
In this issue the Scarlet Skier is released from a L.E.G.I.O.N. holding facility and seeks revenge on G'nort, who put him there in the first place. There is a hilarious parody of the Silver Surfer and Galactus (Devourer of Worlds) with both the Scarlet Skier and Mr. Nebula (Interplanetary Fashion Designer).
Much like all good things from the Bwa-ha-ha Era of Justice League, G'nort hasn't done much lately but be depressing.
But I still love to see the guy who made me laugh in these older issues of the Justice League.
9. Mister Miracle #14 (Mogo)
Okay, let's just get this out of the way. Yes, this story is derivative of Alan Moore's "Mogo Doesn't Socialize." And yes, when I originally bought this, it was mainly because I was hunting down and collecting Lobo appearances. However, that doesn't change the fact that this story was the first time I was ever exposed to the planetary Green Lantern, Mogo.
Mister Miracle and Manga Khan come across a group of Space Dolphins. Soon enough, they discover to their horror that they belong to the bounty hunter, Lobo, or "he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it" as the Khunds would say. A buddy of mine once went out with a girl who thought the world of Lobo. That right there should have been a big tip-off. Oh well.
Anyway, Miracle and Khan think the matter will be simply resolved if they just return Lobo's "babies" to him. Yet the two are in for another shock to the system, as they are informed that the Space Dolphins have already been bartered away to a green hologram.
Miracle agrees to help track down the "babies" alongside Lobo to prevent any further death and destruction. They soon find the Space Dolphins living on a planet with acidic gold meteor showers. Lobo's "babies" are in a symbiotic relationship with the planet later revealed to be Mogo himself. The meteors are filled with Space Dolphin nutrients, so as the "babies" eat up, they are tending to Mogo's weakness to anything yellow that a Green Lantern originally possessed.
Much like Mogo's original story from Green Lantern #188, the punchline of his identity is not revealed until the conclusion of the tale.
8. Green Lantern 80 pg. Giant #3
"A Lantern Against the Dark: A Forgotten Tale of the Green Lantern Corps"
This is one of those clever-clever attempts, by writer Scott Beatty, to explain why the Green Lantern Corps hasn't just wiped the evil blemish of Apokolips from the face of the universe. The answer is quite simple. They can't.
While Orion and Kyle Rayner plan to train on New Genesis, Desaad sabotages their Boom Tube trip and the two end up on Apokolips instead. On Apokolips Rayner meets the Lantern, Raker Qarrigat.
Raker tells Kyle the tale of the the first encounter between the Green Lantern Corps and Darkseid. The Corps actually stages an invasion of Apokolips, but when Darkseid takes advantage of the yellow impurity in the rings, things begin to go in the Lord of Apokolips' favor.
There's just something cool about a war between the Corps and the denizens of Apokolips, and you can't beat Darkseid covered head-to-toe in golden armor either...
7.Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #6
"Say It with Powers"
Green Lantern Corps Quarterly is an anthology book that would feature different stories from the various members of the Green Lantern Corps throughout the cosmos. This particular anthology's framing tale involves the former Lantern Arisia, relating stories of the many female Lantern's from the Corps. When Justice League International members, Power Girl, Doctor Light, and Maya, ask Arisia about female Lanterns, she is more than willing to tell their tales.
There were some fun stories in issue #6, such as Ron Marz's "Meant for Each Other", where Jim Balent's pencils created a sexy new Harlequin for Alan Scott to face.
Also in "What Price Honor?", the female Lantern,Laira, fights a figurative and literal Darth Vader wanna-be with the super-cool styling of Travis Charest.
But the story that stands out the most to me is that of Lantern Boodikka
from Gerard Jones and Scott Kolins. If a Klingon could menstruate, then what you'd have is Boodikka.
Quite the aggressive, amazonian Lantern, Boodikka comes from a warrior race on the planet Bellatrix. We find her in the midst of battle against another female warrior. Soon enough we become privy to the fact that the older female that she fights to the death is her own mother!
While we give flowers out on Earth, on Bellatrix the best gift is apparently a can of whup-ass. But you can't say that Boodikka didn't learn anything from her time with Earthlings. She also brings her Mom a bouquet of flowers. Awww. Right next to the skull of her Grandma. Ain't that the sweetest thing?
6. Kilowog JLI #33
" Nitwits, Knuckleheads and Poozers!"
I've loved Kilowog ever since I first heard him call Hal Jordan a "Poozer" back in Emerald Dawn #4 (which was my first Green Lantern comic book!).
I also really dug his time as the Justice League International's Mr. Fixit, over in the pages of the Giffen-Demattis Justice League/International/America run. This issue introduces the whole concept of Kilowog running around playing the role of the fixer-upper of the various League Embassies all over the world.
The relationship between Guy Gardner and Kilowog is akin to a wacky buddy comedy in twenty-two pages of comic goodness. Also, it's nice to see Adam Hughes actually doing the interiors of this comic for a change. When he's not busy crying over spilled commissions or laughing his way to the bank from all his cover art, there's actually some quality sequential story-telling going on here. The fight between Guy and Kilowog is great and the punchline that they are just good pals who traditionally roughhouse is even better.
5. Mosaic #1-18
So I couldn't pick just one of these comics, so I put the whole run of the series here. Green Lantern Mosaic stars the African-American Green Lantern, John Stewart. Since the Old Timer went crazy and brought the cities of various planets to Oa, John has been appointed the caretaker of the smorgasbord of species and cultures while they are on Oa.
I really love Cully Hamner's artwork, both here and on the Malibu comic Firearm. While he doesn't pencil every issue, he does provide the majority of the interior artwork. He just had a very unique style that spoke to me.
All I can say about the series is that the subject matter it tended to tackle was quite ambitious and very intellectual in nature. For folks who are completely unfamiliar with the title, I would compare this year-and-a-half of comics to the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode, "Far Beyond The Stars". I think these days I would rather escape into fantasy with my comics, but back when this came out in 1992 it spoke to the intellectual in me. I was heavily involved in Forensics during that time and was heavily exposed to reenactments of popular speeches from various Civil Rights leaders. The comic combined my love of the Super-Hero with my fascination with attacking problems from an intellectual standpoint. Normally the two did not often go hand-in-hand.
I did once show this series to a friend as an example of DC Comics that I really enjoyed, but he didn't care for the way racism and emulation of racial traits were handled by such alien creatures as the Trendoids.
Clearly, it's not for everybody and is more of an exercise in pushing the envelope than anything else. There are certainly plenty of things in the book that could ruffle feathers the wrong way as it did with my friend. Some of the places the stories go make me wince, but at the time I was also open-minded enough that they made me think and analyze what was being said in regards to the topics of music, love and race relations.
I think if something like this were produced today, it might end up as a Vertigo book rather than something mainstream DC Comics would produce. Either way, agree or disagree with the philosophies involved, it would allow me to get into the head of the Green Lantern, John Stewart, who will always have a special place in my head and heart.
4. Green Lantern v4 #55
"Tales of the Red Lantern Corps: Dex-Starr"
Dex-starr is the only non-Green Colored Lantern to make it on this list and with good reason. How can you not like an enraged Kitty Cat?
You'd have to be heartless to not feel the emotional pangs that are triggered by the origin tale of Dexter the Cat. The events that triggered his rage which lead to Red Lantern membership are only emphasized by the juxtaposition of the cutesy internet kitty memes.
Geoff Johns and Shawn Davis do a terrific job with only 6 pages to tell the tale. Dexter's owner and only friend in the whole world is murdered and he himself is placed into a burlap sack and is thrown overboard a bridge into the water to drown.
If that happened to me, I'd be all set for some Kitty Vengeance, too!
3.Green Lantern Corp #18
"Hammer to Fall"
This issue is basically a knock-out, drag-out, slug-fest between the Daxamite Green Lantern known as Sodam Yat and that bastion of multiveral terror Superboy-Prime. Yeah, I know the cover says Superman Prime, but this was back when they were having legal shenanigans regarding the use of the Superboy moniker.
But the tale is not all beat 'em up either, and goes into the details of Sodam's back story growing up on the xenophobic planet Daxam.
As the battle progresses, we come to learn of his experiences that led to him becoming a chosen member of the Green Lantern Corp.
To appreciate the magnitude of a battle between a pre-crisis level Kryptonian and a Daxamite with the Ion power, you probably have to be a raving mad fanboy. Luckily for Peter J. Tomasi, there are plenty of us to go around.
2. Adventures of Superman #473
"Rings of Fire"
Hal Jordan gets trapped by some Celestial-lookin' thing and it's up to Superman to rescue him.
Of course Superman ends up tracking down Guy Gardner first and he can't help but to come along for the ride. It's great fun to see Guy Gardner's personality clash with Superman.
I've always thought that Art Thibert's Inks complemented Dan Jurgens' pencils extremely well, so the art on this issue is really exceptional to me. Also, the idea to fortify the power of the Green Lantern rings alongside Superman's own willpower, feels like an elegant solution to the dilemma the three heroes face, without playing up one side more than the other.
1. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3
"In Blackest Night"
This Alan Moore penned story tells the tale of the time Katma Tui is sent to recruit a Green Lantern who has no concept of sight or color. This of course poses a slight problem, as much of the purpose of the traditional Green Lantern oath becomes lost in translation.
But being the clever girl she is, Katma finds a way to overcome the obstacles placed before her and welcome a new member to the Corps. Even if he still doesn't know what the hell a Green Lantern is.