Sunday, December 16, 2012

Green Lantern, Volume 2: Revenge of The Black Hand


 Tossing aside my numerous questions about DC's "New 52" initiative, I do have to admit that I've enjoyed the majority of what I've read so far. (What I've read so far being: Justice League Volumes 1 & 2, Animal Man Volumes 1 & 2, Green Lantern Volumes 1 & 2, and Swamp Thing Volume 1.) Geoff Johns has done an admirable job of expanding the Green Lantern mythology during his long run, and he pushes that expansion even further with GREEN LANTERN, VOLUME 2: REVENGE OF THE BLACK HAND, as we begin to see The Guardians plot the destruction of The Green Lantern Corps, even as they start to build "The Third Army". (I especially enjoy the way that Johns' universe-building extends in both directions, with The Third Army pointing the way toward an uncertain future, and the mysterious "First Lantern" stretching back into pre-Corps days.)

 REVENGE OF THE BLACK HAND picks up where the previous volume, SINESTRO, left off: Hal Jordan has been kicked out of The Green Lantern Corps, and replaced by his greatest enemy, Sinestro. Sinestro has used his ring to create another ring, which he gives to Hal, and the two embark on an Intergalactic version of 48 HOURS. When Volume 2 opens, Hal and Sinestro are taken prisoners by The Indigo Tribe, one of many different groups of ring-wielders whose powers I just can't understand. (As long as Geoff Johns understands them, it's cool, I guess.) The Indigos want to convert Sinestro, Hal disagrees, much fighting ensues, we learn the origin of The Tribe, and Black Hand gets loose and returns to Earth for the traveling roadshow of BLACKEST NIGHT 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. More fighting ensues, but this time it has Zombies.

 For Super-Hero fans, this is fairly above-average stuff. Johns makes the most of his small page count (More on that later...), and actually manages to include a teensy-weensy amount of supporting character stuff, something that is sorely missing from most new comics. (Old Man speech time: "When I was a kid, comics were FILLED with supporting characters! Now it's all just fight, fight, fight! Feh!) I am not a fan of Hal Jordan at all; I thought DC's decision to get rid of the boring, fuddy-duddy duo of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen was a great one, and Kyle Rayner and Wally West were vibrant, dynamic replacements. Then Johns and DiDio decided that, yes, the world was indeed crying out for boring old white dead guys to come back. Feh. But Johns has made Hal tolerable, and his interaction with Sinestro is just priceless. In fact, I wouldn't mind a bit if they just killed Hal off and legitimately committed to having Sinestro be THE Green Lantern. (Never gonna happen, but let a guy dream, right?) The art, by Doug Mahnke and Ethan Van Sciver, is absolutely tremendous.

 Now to my "New 52" issues......The DC Universe was rebooted after Flashpoint. Except for the parts that weren't, I guess. Because "New 52" GREEN LANTERN VOLUME 1 picks up right where the previous ("Old Universe") volume, WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS, left off. So where is the reboot? Did Geoff Johns create a reboot that applied to everyone except him? This is hardly new-reader friendly stuff....New readers will be wondering:
Who is Black Hand?
What was The Blackest Night?
Who are The Guardians, and why are they so fucking crazy?
Why did Hal get booted from The Corps?
Who the hell are these other colorful Corps that keep getting mentioned, and where did THEY come from?
Who is Abin Sur?
I could go on and on......Old-timers, like myself, will have no problems. The oft-fabled "New reader", if they exist, are on their own. And the decreased page count is just insane....20 pages per issue! It seems like the issue has barely started, and it's already over! I'm glad that I stopped collecting monthlies and moved to trades only. There's no way I could justify 20 pages of story and art for four bucks.....insane.

 Overall, GREEN LANTERN, VOLUME 2: REVENGE OF THE BLACK HAND is a solid, entertaining read. The book clocks in at a beefy 192 pages, and contains GREEN LANTERN #'s 7-12 and Annual #1, complete with all variant covers. DC Comics provided a review copy.