Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Green Lantern: Rise of The Third Army

 I wonder how DC is doing with these mythical "New readers" that the "New 52" was supposed to be attracting. I can't imagine that anyone not steeped in DC Comics lore could make heads or tails of the complicated, crossover-heavy chronology of the GREEN LANTERN books. I've been reading since GL books since the late '80's, and some of the stuff in the latest GL collection, GREEN LANTERN: RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY, had my head spinning.

 First of all, this is a MASSIVE book. It clocks in a a whopping 416 pages, and retails for $29.99, but you can get it a lot cheaper online. So you're getting your money's worth, at least. (It also makes me wonder just how they price this stuff....ALL STAR WESTERN, VOLUME 1 collected a measly six issues, in paperback format, and cost seventeen bucks. This book, a hardcover, collects 18 issues, along with extra material, for thirty. I don't get it.) So there's that.

 GREEN LANTERN: RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY continues Writer Geoff Johns endless quest to make The Guardians the most evil shitbags ever by having them plot to kill off the entire Green Lantern Corps, and replace them with "The Third Army", a kind of grosser Borg that will assimilate everything they touch. The goal is to bring perfect order to the universe by having everyone and everything in it be a mindless Third Army member. Then there will be no crime, fear, confusion, despair, etc., and The Guardians can finally sit back and take a load off.

 Oddly enough, for such a massive collection, The Third Army kind of rises in the background, and doesn't really make a great impact until the very end of the book. This makes it kind of a non-crossover crossover. Issues of GREEN LANTERN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS, GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS, and RED LANTERNS are reprinted , and kind of sit there on their own before connecting in the final chapter. The only book that I read is GREEN LANTERN, and the issues collected here are also collected in GREEN LANTERN, VOLUME 3: THE END, so I could have theoretically skipped this whole affair and just read that book, and I probably would have been just fine. Having said that, I'll admit that I'm glad that I picked this book up, because the other GL books that I don't read all told compelling stories in their own right. Peter J. Tomasi did a great job on the NEW GUARDIANS and GREEN LANTERN CORPS chapters, and I especially enjoyed Peter Milligan's RED LANTERNS portion, which is saying a lot, considering how much Milligan has been falling on the "Miss" side of "Hit-or-miss" for me lately.

 The art is uniformly excellent throughout, and the story, while convoluted, works, so I just went with it.

 Complaints? Of course! This IS "The Crabby Reviewer", after all......

 First off, the book starts off with a new Earthling becoming a Green Lantern. He's a pretty interesting character, so that's nice, but.....How many times must DC go to the "Oh shit, our hero is gone, and someone NEW is taking up the mantle!!! " well? Geoff Johns is close to wrapping up his GL run here...did he really need to take Hal and Sinestro off the board completely and introduce yet another new character? There must already be 500 characters in this book. That's more than enough.

 And....after reading 400 fairly well-executed pages (SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!)
the book ends on a fucking cliff-hanger that leads to YET ANOTHER CROSSOVER!

 WTF, DC?????

 There's nothing close to a resolution here, folks. Just a "Buy more books, fool!" at the end.
I bitch about it, but I want to know what happens next, so, fool that I am, I will buy more books.

 Also, DC continues to publish probably the grossest, most depressing books out there. This one has dismemberment galore, hearts being ripped out, corpses being defiled, eyes getting gouged, people vomiting hot blood onto other people and melting them with it....It's fucking gross. I can deal with it, but don't buy any of this shit for your kids, unless you want them to become serial killers.

 GREEN LANTERN: RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY collects GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1, GREEN LANTERN #13-16, GREEN LANTERN CORPS #13-16, GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #13-16, RED LANTERNS #13-16, and GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL #1, along with all covers and variants, and a sketch gallery by various artists. A fun read for GREEN LANTERN fans, but it may be a little overwhelming for newcomers.

 DC Comics provided a review copy.