Comic Reviews: Green Lantern and Uncanny X-Men!
The day comic fans have longed feared is finally here: Geoff Johns has left Green Lantern. After delivering one of the greatest runs of all time and making Green Lantern a top tier DC hero, Johns has decided to step down from the title, leaving behind a NINE year run that made many believers in the power of will.
Wrapping up the “Wrath of the First Lantern” storyline that’s been at the forefront of all of the Green Lantern titles, Green Lantern #20 serves as a good finale for story arc, but it works much better as a grander conclusion to the stories Johns has been writing for almost a decade.
Unfortunately I haven’t been reading the other GL titles, so much of the finality of the “Wrath of the First Lantern” story here is lost on me. If you’re like me and only follow Green Lantern, the appearances of the Red Lanterns and GL Corps members John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Raynor will be welcome surprises, but you won’t understand any of the references that the First Lantern makes to them. In fact, much of the First Lantern storyline is over and done with in a quick way. In fact, it’s over so quickly and so easily that I was a little annoyed with it. There are plenty of awesome moments here to be sure, including one spectacular moment with Sinestro, but I felt that the First Lantern was taken out too easily. For such a huge, almost god-like force, he sure was easy to get rid of.
Thankfully the issue’s pacing problems end when the curtain falls on the Lantern. With the big threat out of the way, Johns is finally able to cut loose and tie up threads we’ve been seeing unfold for years. Everyone here has their moment, even Sinestro, who for my money has the greatest and most heart-warming moment of the book (yes, you read that right). Those who believe Johns’ run has been primarily about Sinestro (myself included), will find their proof in this issue, as the noble villain has some truly unexpected moments.
The art duties are handled by Dough Moench, Ethan Van Sciver, and a host of other artists, and all bring their A game to this book. While Johns delivers some powerful character moments, it’s the artist who truly assist him with almost bringing tears to your eyes. There’s even a massive four page layout at the conclusion of the issue that’s just begging to be made into a poster.
Peppered through this issue are full page salutes and goodbyes to Johns from the likes of Richard Donner, Neil Gaiman, and a host of other comic creators and others associated with Green Lantern. When reading these, you’re struck by the impact Geoff Johns has had not only on Green Lantern, but on comics as well. Nine years ago when I found the first issue of Green Lantern at Newbury Comics I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t think I was about to read one of the greatest superhero sagas of all time. Thanks to Johns, I was not only introduced to Hal Jordan and Sinestro, I was given excellent examples of why they have had such an impact on fans for years to come. Thank you, Mr. Johns, for opening my eyes to a brand new universe. You’ll be sorely missed.
Cyclops’ team of mutants are sent to limbo to battle the dread Dormammu in Uncanny X-Men #6. Brian Michael Bendis and artist Frazer Irving place the team in one of the weirdest situations I’ve ever seen them in, and while I enjoy seeing the X-Men in different scenarios, I’m still a little torn on my thoughts on this issue. Much of it is spent having the X-Men yell and threaten Dormammu to release them back to Earth, which of course goes over swimmingly. It of course ends with the characters doing battle with the demon’s forces, but when intercut with Maria Hill recruiting a mutant to spy on Cyclops, the plot of the issue starts to lose you. Just when you get into the groove of one aspect of the story, it changes locations and throws you off guard.
While transplanting the X-Men into a hell-like dimension causes some jarring shifts narratively, it really gives Fraser Irving a chance to shine. Irving’s art, which specializes in the weird, is perfect for the odd angles and dark colors of Limbo. While some of his facial features look a little strange at times (many characters have a perma-grimace on their face), I really enjoyed his Dormammu design. There’s not a whole lot of forward moment plot wise with this issue, but it’s still an enjoyable ride.
Oh, and Dazzler is back.