Digesting the New 52: The Rest of the League

22 10 2011

Green Lantern #1

Thanks in part to the recent film starring Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern is one of DC’s hottest properties. The Green Lantern titles have been among the most popular and well-received DC titles over the past five years or so, and many of the interpretations seen in the movie are taken directly from the recent comics. As a result of the current popularity and mainstream recognition of Green Lantern, the titles are essentially exempt from the reboot.

In the “New 52,” Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are joined by two new titles, Red Lanterns and New Guardians. These books both expand upon the idea that there are now Lantern Corps for all of the colors on the “emotional spectrum,” green representing willpower, yellow representing fear, red being rage, and so on. To be perfectly honest, the whole “rainbow lanterns” idea never clicked with me as a permanent addition to the mythos, so two new monthly titles focusing on those aspects didn’t appeal to me at all. So, I didn’t buy them.

Green Lantern finds the most recognizable Lantern, Hal Jordan, out of a job… In more ways than one. He’s no longer a Green Lantern, is unemployed, is behind on his bills, and is struggling to find a place in the world. Meanwhile, his greatest enemy Sinestro has been reinstated in the Green Lantern Corps, effectively taking his old job. As much as Hal is struggling to find a life after super-heroics, Sinestro is trying to find his legs as a hero. I’ve always found Hal Jordan to be kind of boring, but the story is clever and interesting, and the art is great. I may just stick around to see where this goes.

Green Lantern Corps #1

Green Lantern Corps focuses on two other Lanterns from Earth, John Stewart and Guy Gardner. Like Hal, both are having issues with finding purpose and gainful employment. Neither has ever had a “secret identity,” so employers see them as an insurance risk or a magnet for unwanted publicity. Both John and Guy are realizing that, like it or not, being a Lantern will forever prevent them from having a “real life.” I didn’t find the quality of Corps to be quite on par with Green Lantern, but I’m frankly a lot more interested in the adventures of Guy, John, and the rest of the Corps than I am in Hal Jordan.

Thirty-plus years ago, during DC’s first major reboot (Crisis on Infinite Earths), the Flash died to save the universe. Following Crisis, his sidekick Kid Flash assumed the mantle, serving heroically as the Flash until just a few years ago. Now, original Flash Barry Allen is back and is largely responsible for Flashpoint, the latest “crisis” that resulted in the current reboot.

Flash #1

So, Barry Allen is back in the saddle, and is just as boring as ever. It’s beyond sad that the most meaningful, heroic act that he ever did was wiped from continuity, because dying to save the universe was the only thing he ever did that was interesting or endearing. In the new continuity, his relationship with Iris West has been erased, and with it one of comics’ great love stories. We’re back to basics with boring Barry, and while the artwork is gorgeous, I don’t think I could stay awake through another issue of Flash.

Aquaman #1

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Aquaman. Widely considered to be a joke of a character with only the power to talk to fish, writer Geoff Johns takes the criticism head on and goes overboard in showing what a bad-ass Aquaman is. Always a man of two worlds, born of a human father and a mother from Atlantis, he’s never really fit in either world. This series picks up with Aquaman and wife Mera trying to make a new start for themselves, while a previously unknown threat lurks below. With beautiful artwork and great writing, I’ll be sticking around to see where this goes!

Next time: Heroes of the B-List

 

– dEV

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