Book Review – Green Lantern Earth One vol. 1

  • Title: Green Lantern Earth One vol. 1
  • Author: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
  • Artists: Gabriel Hardman, Jordan Boyd (colors), Simon Bowland (letters)
  • Characters: Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Green Lanterns
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/12/2018

Green Lantern Earth 1 is a stand-alone graphic novel outside the current DC Comics continuity. It’s an Elseworlds novel, what DC calls it’s “what if” stories. In this story, in a dark future where NASA has been taken over by a for-profit corporation, all exploration, and scientific discovery have halted, and space stations have been weaponized and used by corporations to target Earth populations that don’t tow the line – Hal Jordan has left NASA and now works for Ferris Galactic. He’s part of a crew trying to find mineral deposits on an asteroid. While he and his partner, Volkov, are working, they get the word – a rival corporation has found a deposit – which is likely to terminate Ferris Galactic’s contract. Hal, still cautiously optimistic, continues to explore the asteroid he’s on, despite his partner telling him it’s not worth it. Hal and his partner discover a crashed spaceship, with a non-working Manhunter aboard. A few minutes later, they find the desiccated body of Amin Sur.

A message comes through from Ferris Galactic – the contract’s been terminated, they are going back to Earth, and no one will get their bonus. Volkov finds a green lantern and power ring – but it doesn’t exactly go well. First, the alien spaceship explodes from the sheer power of the lantern. This exposes the Manhunter to sunlight – which powers it up. Volkov and Hal make it to their lander, but something is seriously wrong. The lander doesn’t make it back to the Ferris Galactic ship. Volkov is killed in the explosion. The Ring seeks Hal, providing him with a shield so he can survive in space. Hal barely defeats the Manhunter on instinct. He has no idea what’s going on. Meanwhile, Ferris Galactic has decided he’s a liability – the radiation surrounding him is a risk, and he can’t be brought abroad their ship.

Hal wakes up in a hospital on Bolovax Vel, under the care of Kilowog, a Green Lantern and hospital tech. Kilowog starts to fill Hal in on galactic events. Once, the Green Lantern Corps were the police force of the galaxy. But the Guardians feared they were becoming too strong – so they built the Manhunters, which destroyed the Green Lanterns and Oa, the planet at the center of the Galaxy where the Guardians lived. All of this was so long ago, though, that Kilowog is a bit fuzzy on the details. He says the Rings are heirlooms, passed down through families. Some of the rings no longer work, others only work at a fraction of their original power, since the Great Lantern on Oa was destroyed. Kilowog also, when he’s forced to by events, admits his planet is totally isolationist. No one can leave the planet, and no other species is allowed on the planet. He helped Hal because he was a Lantern – even though he knew it was against the law. Of course, he informs Hal of this as the planetary police are closing in.

Hal and Kilowog leave the planet and set out on a quest to find out more about the Green Lanterns, the Guardians, Oa, the Manhunters, and to unite other Lanterns. Everyone tells them slightly different stories – some blaming the Guardians for the rise of the Manhunters. As Hal tries to put it all together and figure out who to believe, he and Kilowog are captured. They end up separated, but as slaves on Oa – slaves to the Manhunters. Hal, though, gets a message from one of the last surviving Guardians. He discovers that the Great Lantern wasn’t destroyed, it’s encased in an energy-damping dome that prevents its energy from reaching the galaxy and the rings.

Hal sends out a recruiting message, asking for help in attacking the dome. Some Lanterns actually think destroying the planet would be worth it – but Hal doesn’t want the slaves harmed. He finds a better way. The army of Lanterns destroys the dome and they are able to power their rings. Arista is nominated as leader of the new rag-tag Corps. Hal goes with Kilowag to his home planet to start him on the path of overthrowing the corrupt military coup government and bring the planet into the fold. Hal – heads back to Earth, and Ferris Galactic, for, essentially, the same reasons.

Green Lantern is usually a bright, hopeful book – full of space adventure, diverse characters, and fun. This book is dark. The first half of the book has very little dialogue, and dark panels set the stage. As the story opens up, we start to see the familiar green Lantern light – but completely out of control and dangerous. Hal isn’t the confident (some would say over-confident) hero Lantern we know so well – he’s a broken man, trying to do his best. Yet Hal still becomes a hero, because he’s the one who will find the Lantern on Oa and he’s the one who unites the few Lanterns and helps them to elect their own leader. Hal, it seems, will bring hope to the universe. So, ultimately, this is a good start to what may be a very different, and hard-hitting, but ultimately hopeful SF series.

Recommended. (Not for younger readers).

Book Review – Star Trek Green Lantern vol. 2: Stranger Worlds

  • Title: Star Trek/Green Lantern vol. 2: Stranger Worlds
  • Author: Mike Johnson
  • Artist: Angel Hernandez, Mark Roberts, Andworld Design
  • Characters: Capt. Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov (ST 2009); Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kilowog, Carol Ferris, Guardians, Saint Walker, Sinestro, Khan, LarFleeze, Atrocitus, Manhunters, Klingons
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Publisher: IDW Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/27/2017

Stranger Worlds picks up where the previous volume, Spectrum War left off, with the Lanterns learning to adapt to life in the Star Trek film reboot universe. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kilowog, and even Guy Gardner have a problem – with no individual lanterns and no Great Power Battery their rings cannot be re-charged, and they are running out of power. Hal and Carol Ferris are now members of Starfleet but not together. Carol, in fact, has joined the engineering department and fallen for Montgomery Scott. However, Carol can still become a Star Sapphire by using her ring, but has the same problem as the other Lanterns – she’s running out of power. John, Kilowog, and Guy are on Earth, but are soon called in to help Star Fleet.

Before long, Sinestro and Atrocitus show up. Atrocitus finds Khan (the Benedict Cumberbatch Khan from the reboot film) by landing on the asteroid where he and his Augments were put in suspended animation. Sinestro discovers the Manhunters and wants them to lead him to Oa so he can find the yellow impurity in the Great Lantern Power Battery and impose an empire of Fear. Khan, on the other hand, takes Atrocitus’ red power ring but can’t seem to use it. When he kills Atrocitus, he is then able to use the Ring of Anger with it’s full power.

The Enterprise crew, discovering the Manhunters, and learning their history from the Lanterns, must decide if they will go to Earth to stop Khan and his genetic augments or go to Oa. Hal Jordan convinces Kirk and Spock that Sinestro is the bigger threat.

The Enterprise and the Lanterns reach Oa. The Guardians exists, and are in very early days for their researches into the color spectrum and harnessing it’s power. Sinestro attempts to take and corrupt the power battery. He fails. The Green Lanterns recite their oath – and the rings are fully charged. They also swear to find the other power batteries. Something which should be much easier, now that they have found the Guardians. The Guardians will start a new Green Lantern Corps.

In the concluding pages of the volume, Hal offers to lead Kirk to an uncharted star system with a big, red, sun.

I enjoyed Stranger Worlds. The Star Trek and Green Lantern universes mesh well together. The art for this volume, especially the full-page spreads, is beautiful. The characterizations are also very well done, especially considering how large the cast is. I hope that IDW continues to publish additional volumes in this series, because I would certainly read them.

The previous volume was concerned with introductions and set-up. This particular volume is concerned with normalizing the situation – getting the Lanterns their power back, fighting the negative rings again (the orange ring of Larfleeze and the Red Ring used by Khan are captured and put in stasis to keep them from being used by anyone). Khan himself is defeated. Sinestro, not so much, but he fails to turn the Green Power Battery into a yellow one. St. Walker is mentioned, and has been captured, and finding him and helping him recover is sure to be grounds for another story. No mention is made of the Enterprise crew members that were chosen by other rings in the previous volume. There are situations in this volume that are a bit confusing here and there, but overall it is a fun tie-in SF story and highly recommended.

Book Review – Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War

  • Title: Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War
  • Author: Mike Johnson
  • Artist: Angel Hernandez, Alejandro Sanchez, Neil Uyetake
  • Characters: Capt. Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov (ST 2009); Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Saint Walker, Green Lanterns, Sinestro, LarFleeze, Atrocitus, Klingons, Romulans, Gorn
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: IDW Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/10/2017

Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War crosses the 2009 Star Trek movie with Green Lantern. In DC Comics’ continuity this takes place immediately after Blackest Night. Ganthet enacts the Last Light – sending himself, six power rings, and all the living Lanterns to another universe. And that universe is the Star Trek (reboot) movie universe. After enacting Last Light, the Enterprise finds Ganthet’s skeleton on an airless rogue planet. The skeleton is surrounded by the six rings. The away team takes the skeleton and rings to the Enterprise, where Dr. McCoy makes the rather obvious statement that, “He’s dead, Jim,” however, McCoy also notes that Ganthet is from an unknown species. Meanwhile, Scotty and his friend investigate the rings – exposing them to tachyon radiation. This activates the power rings – three find new people to wield them on the Enterprise, while the other three speed off into space. Chekov is chosen by the Blue Ring of Hope. Dr. McCoy is chosen by the Indigo Ring of Compassion. Uhura is chosen by the Pink Ring of Love and becomes a new Star Sapphire. Then Hal Jordan arrives.

Jordan begins to explain what is going on to Kirk and company. Meanwhile, the other rings have also found new hosts. The Red Ring of Rage choses a Gorn. The Orange Ring of Greed (Avarice) chooses a Romulan. And the Yellow Ring of Fear chooses a Klingon. We also discover that Sinestro, LarFleeze, and Atrocitus have arrived in the Star Trek universe. They find the new members of their respective corps, but insist on being in charge of the new ring wielders.

Meanwhile, Jordan knows the three negative rings have found new owners, so he theorizes that any living Lanterns would have been thrust into the new universe. Star Sapphire Carol Ferris arrives with Saint Walker, who is injured. Dr. McCoy attempts to treat Saint Walker. Carol confirms that Nekkon has also made it into the new universe. And Jordan explains to Kirk that the Lanterns lost their last battle with Nekkon through attrition. In the end, his universe was destroyed.

The Klingons, led by Sinestro attack a Starbase – as does Atrocitus and the Gorn. The Enterprise tries to protect the Starbase – and rescue the survivors – but even with the help of the Lanterns, including the few surviving Green Lanterns, the Enterprise cannot hold off the energy weapons of the Yellow and Red Lanterns. After rescuing the survivors of the Starbase, and receiving strange signals from Vulcan – Kirk orders a strategic retreat.

Nekkon has raised Vulcan from destruction, and it’s citizens, including Spock’s parents are now zombies. Both the Lanterns, especially Hal, and the Enterprise crew realize there isn’t much to be done, and Hal fears this new universe will be destroyed like his home one. However, Kirk asks how they defeated Nekkon the first time. Hal tells the story of Kyle Raynor, the White Lantern, who could combine the power of all the rings in the Emotional Spectrum to create the Life Entity who can destroy Nekkon. While Hal destroys Spock’s (zombie) parents for him, Spock then uses the Life Entity to destroy Nekkon. Without Nekkon, Vulcan is again destroyed, as the Enterprise crew watches from space, with the Lanterns. Meanwhile, without any protection from space – the Klingon, Romulan, and Gorn die in space without their rings. Hal, Carol, Saint Walker, and the other Lanterns stay in the Star Trek universe, each making their own decisions about how to fit in in their new home.

This is a very enjoyable book. All the characters are in character, and there is a lot of humor. I really liked how it’s pointed out that Hal Jordan and Capt. Kirk are a lot alike. The art is wonderful, with the characters looking very much like the actors from the Star Trek movies and the DC characters looking just as they should. I really liked the full-page covers and the alternate covers in the back of the book. The only negative is at times, this book feels like there are too many characters, so at times it’s a little hard to follow. But the writing and situations feel very much like those in the Star Trek movie universe, and the Green Lantern mythology is very well explained and handled. Highly recommended.

Book Review – Time Masters: Vanishing Point

  • Title: Time Masters: Vanishing Point
  • Author: Dan Jurgens
  • Artists: Norm Rapmund
  • Line: Immediately post-Final Crisis
  • Characters: Rip Hunter, Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Booster Gold
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 7/05/2016

I enjoyed Time Masters Vanishing Point but it was neither really how it’s described on the back nor is it much of a tie-in to Flashpoint (the tie-in is limited to one page). In Time Masters Vanishing Point, Rip Hunter recruits a group of heroes (Superman; Green Lantern – Hal Jordan; and Booster Gold) to find Bruce Wayne who has been thrown back in time by Darkseid’s Omega Beams (see DC’s Final Crisis). Batman wasn’t killed in Final Crisis but sent back in time. For that reason I expected Vanishing Point to explain what was going on in Time and the Batman – to be the other half of that story. It’s not, because Rip Hunter and company get distracted during their travels through time and are unable to accomplish their stated mission to rescue Bruce Wayne. Everyone remembers what they are supposed to be doing – but their time travel is about as unpredictable as the TARDIS and they end-up all over the place rather than finding Bruce. I expected a “chase through time” – what I got was actually an innovative time-travel story with characters occasionally saying, pretty much, “But I have another mission I have to get back to”, so to speak.

This novel also includes a lot of background for Rip Hunter, including being raised by time-travelling parents who constantly move him not just from place to place but from time to time. And we learn a lot more about Booster Gold. Booster, in turns out, has hidden depths – he’s not who you think he is. The novel also features a number of characters with ties to Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, or both, including Michelle Carter (Goldstar), Supernova, and Brainiac 5 (briefly). Time Master villains also show up including: Despero, Degaton, and two of the Linear Men (one of whom is a woman).

However, despite all the various characters who appear briefly, and sometimes disappear just as quickly (eg Reverse Flash) – the novel isn’t confusing. Everyone is introduced by name at first appearance, which helps a lot (if nothing else one can always consult Google or Wikipedia to learn more), and it’s clear who is a hero and who is a villain. Also, the plot, which could easily become confusing with so many characters coming and going is actually pretty clear and easy to understand, even with the time travel and the frequent flashbacks (and occasional flash forwards) that flesh out the characters and explain their motivations.

This novel is very much Rip Hunter’s story – who he was, even as a child; who he is – as an adult and Time Master; and who he will be. It’s also a story about Booster Gold. It doesn’t fill in the other side of Time and the Batman unfortunately – we never really see Batman, despite his rescue being the McGuffin of the story.

There is a brief one-page reference to Flashpoint but that’s all – this story is not part of World of Flashpoint. I did enjoy it immensely and I wonder if there are any other graphic novels featuring these characters. Recommended to DC Comics fans, fans of time travel stories and science fiction, and also to anyone who saw CW’s Legends of Tomorrow and wants to learn more about Rip Hunter and the Time Masters.

Book Review – The World of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern

  • Title: World of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern
  • Author: Adam Schlagman
  • Artists: Pornsak Pichetshote, Marco Castiello, Jeff Lemire
  • Line: Stand Alone Graphic Novel
  • Characters: Green Lantern (Abin Sur), Frankenstein, Oliver Queen, Hal Jordan
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/22/2016

The World of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern is one of a series of graphic novels that flesh-out the characters introduced in Flashpoint the alternative-universe story in which Barry Allen (the Flash) changes time – much to the the detriment of the world – by saving his mother. As with other graphic novels in this series, this one features four stories.

The first story is the story of Abin Sur Green Lantern of Earth – and I loved it. Abin Sur survives crash landing on Earth, so Hal Jordan never gets the Power Ring. Yet the story gives a great back story for Abin Sur, introduces his planet, and has an awful lot about Sinestro too. The Green Lantern Corps is trapped in a war on two fronts against the Black Lanterns on the one side (yes, Blackest Night not only is still happening but it happens simultaneously to Flashpoint) and the Manhunters on the other. As if having two of the worst Lantern enemies tearing the universe apart isn’t enough, Sinestro decides to interrogate Atroicious – which goes about as well as you’d think. The Guardians, being rather concerned with the state of the Universe also only send Abin Sur to Earth for a simple “find-and-retrieve” mission. Abin Sur, who it turns out, is a really nice guy, gets involved in the mess that is Flashpoint Earth. Sinestro tracks him down and well… things happen that I really don’t want to spoil. Needless to say it’s both satisfying and a great story that in a way makes you sad that Abin Sur died in the “real” DC Universe.

“Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown” – This story would make for a great movie on it’s own. During World War II, a scientist discovers a way to turn normal soldiers into the great gothic creatures of Victorian fiction. The main characters would have all died without some form of treatment, including the scientist’s own daughter, who now resembles the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Also in the group are Frank (Frankenstein’s “Monster”), a werewolf, and a vampire. These “creatures” win the war for the Allies, but after the war they are moth-balled in storage. With Flashpoint, the group escape or are released. There’s a considerable amount of flashbacks and flash forwards to explain who the characters are, and where they came from as they search first for Nina’s father and later to find where she and the rest came from. The story has a great feel to it and mixes the modern and the gothic really well.

“Green Arrow Industries” presents us with an Oliver Queen, CEO of defense firm, Green Arrow Industries who’s precisely the opposite of the Oliver Queen we know from the normal DC Universe. This Oliver resembles the pre-Ironman Tony Stark in more than one way. Oliver steals alien technology, meta-human DNA, super abilities, even weapons like Heatwave’s and Citizen Cold’s guns and weaponizes them, then sells them to the highest bidder. His defense plants start in the US, but he’s recently outsourced them over seas to make even more money. This Oliver has eight children (at least) from various wives and girlfriends and knows none of them. It’s even his own daughter who comes after him for not thinking of the consequences of his actions.

“Hal Jordan” tells the story of what would happen to Jordan without the ring. Now a fighter pilot, still in love with Carol, totally unable to be serious enough to tell her so, and basically a guy who acts like Tom Cruise in Top Gun (not a compliment) Hal is a mess. Although Hal is still a hero in that he, and Carol (also a fighter pilot) are fighting hard in the losing war to save Earth from the Amazon-Aquaman war; Hal needed the steadying influence of the Green Lantern Corps and the ability to be part of something greater to lose his innate selfishness. Hal does, though, volunteer to drop the Green Arrow Industries untested bomb on the Amazons. If you’ve read Flashpoint you know how successful that was.

This is a great graphic novel. The art is consistently excellent. The stories are also a fascinating glimpse into what “might hav been” thanks to Flashpoint. For readers of the series it’s a must read.

Green Lantern the Animated Series

  • Series Title: Green Lantern: The Animated Series
  • Season: 1 (Complete Series)
  • Date: 2011 -2013
  • Episodes: 26
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast: Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jason Spisak, Grey Griffin
  • Original Network: Cartoon Network
  • Production Network: Warner Brothers Animation 

In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight…

Green Lantern: The Animated Series is animated using CGI, which frankly took me a while to get used to when I originally saw this show on Cartoon Network in 2011. Even re-watching the show now, it still took me several episodes to get used to the animation style. To me, it was like watching moving action figures – everything, especially the people, was just too smooth. However, that isn’t to say the animation is bad – it’s just different than traditional animation, and for me, it took me a while to get used to it.

However, this series is really good – and I wish it had lasted more than a season. The first half of the series, which is conveniently all on Disc One in the Blu-Ray set, has Hal Jordan and Drill Sergeant Kilowog, borrowing the Guardians of Oa’s new spaceship The Interceptor, and speeding off to Frontier Space to confront the Red Lantern Corps who have been killing Frontier Green Lanterns at will. The Interceptor has an artificial intelligence at its core, which Hal quickly names Aya. Razor, a former Red Lantern, who – appalled at the destruction he’s caused at the behast of the Red Lantern dictator Atrocitus, joins Hal and Kilowog as the Interceptor’s crew. Aya also constructs a robot self, so she can physically move around.

Hal, Kilowog, Razor, and Aya meet the Star Sapphires, the Blue Lantern, St. Walker, Mogo, and have adventures in Frontier Space. However, the majority of the continuing plotline for the first half of the season is the confrontation with the Red Lanterns and Atrocitus.

Disc Two starts with Hal returning to Earth. There, he discovers his girlfriend, Carol Ferris, has moved on, even giving away his job as a test pilot at Ferris Air. During a disaster, Hal meets the new Green Lantern of Earth, Guy Garner. Returning to Oa, Hal is promoted to the Green Lantern Corps Honor Guard. He meets other Corps members including Chip (the Chipmunk Lantern), Tomar-Re, Chaselon, and others. Tomar-Re begins to train Hal in his new duties when a new crisis occurs – the Rise of the Manhunters. Created by the Guardians as their first attempt at an intergalactic police force, the Manhunters originally went rogue and destroyed many worlds in Frontier Space after deciding all creatures with emotions must be killed. It was the Manhunter destruction that caused Atrocitus to form the Red Lanterns to destroy the Green Lanterns and Oa. Hal rescues Aya from a Guardian science cell with help from Chip, and Hal and Kilowog set off to try to stop the Manhunters. They find Razor studying with St. Walker and they are off.

I liked the second half of the season better, though there are a couple of episodes in the first half that are favorites, notably the episode that introduces Mogo and St. Walker. Overall, GL: TAS is an enjoyable, action-filled series. The majority of it takes place in space and introduces a number of people, species, planets, and situations. This show draws from the rich history of the classic Green Lantern Corps of DC Comics. It’s well worth watching. The Blu-ray package, although it lacks special features, is much more convenient than the previous DVD release which broke the series into multiple releases.

Recommended, especially to DC comics fans.