Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wonder Woman - Male Amazon Children


I was pretty shocked when I first heard it -- the revelation in Wonder Woman #7, that the Amazons of the DCU are being re-imagined as neither immortal, or moral - as Wonder Woman discovers that her people have a practice of rape and murder (to procreate), but also giving up any male amazon children into slavery. While this definitely seems in tune with the old-school amazon myths, it does seem to be a shockingly disturbing change to Wonder Woman's origins. William Marston, creator of the Wonder Woman (and the lie detector), never intended for the modern-day reinterpretation of the amazons to be like this.

Kelly Thompson, of Comic Book Resources, wrote about the revelation. (Click here.) She makes some very astute points, about how deeply this hurts the Wonder Woman Mythos.


Wanting to see for myself what this was all about, I bought the issue on Comixology. It was a good issue, but it's repercussions will no doubt either tarnish the Wonder Woman mythos, or invariably force a retcon of events (ALREADY?!). As Kelly Thompson points out, the importance WW has meant to the feminist movement, and how much this alters her mythos, cannot be understated.


Diana, thankfully, reacted like expected -- immediately upon learning this about her people, she went into action to try and free her amazon brothers from slavery. If this new interpretation of the amazons is going to stand - then there has to be a complete repudiation of her people. It's been argued that Diana is either very naive, or very stupid for not having known this about her people. This version of Wonder Woman IS very naive, but being lied to about being the daughter of Zeus (and not made of clay), it's not that much of stretch to believe she's been sheltered by her people.

It suddenly hit me, though, what this change in Wonder Woman's myhos is really about. While I don't know if commentary concerning this topic is worth the controversy, it suddenly reminded me of the horrific practice in China, of favoring having a boy over a girl. An entire generation of chinese girls who have either been aborted or abandoned, in favor of a son. I think that was the point of this change - to show, in a shocking way, the reversal of male favoritism.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Marvel $5 Voucher Deal; and Digital Comics in General


Marvel has a cool limited time offer. If you buy a digital comic, from an Avengers/X-Men list, you'll receive a $5 voucher towards any comic from your local comic book store. The deal is good from the 25th of March, to the last day of the month, March 31. You'll need to sign up an account with Marvel.com. You can do this through their app, or on their main website. You'll apparently be sent a voucher in your email on April 1st. (It's good until 5/1/12)

This link shows info about the event.

I found this link very useful - as it gives directions on how to do this.

Bleedingcool put out this list, of all the eligible comics you can buy, to receive the $5 voucher. (The minimum price you have to spend is $2.)

I've never been big on digital comics -- but this seems like a good place to give it a try. Marvel is hoping you'll buy Avengers vs X-Men #0 this Wednesday, and use the $5 voucher to buy Avengers vs X-Men #1 in April. This isn't required, though.

It not a bank-breaking deal - but you would essentially be spending $2, and getting $5 worth of comics. That's a net value of $3!


I for one downloaded Avengers #1. I've been reading a lot of Jack Kirby comics lately (Kamandi Omnibus coming in the mail soon!), so this issue seemed perfect for me. The older style issues seem to work very well in the digital format - as most panels are the size of an iphone. (That's what I was using to read them.)


I also downloaded a bunch of other Comic Apps. Marvel, DC, Comixology, Vertigo, Dark Horse, Image, and Dynamite. Having heard about the big reveal in Wonder Woman #7, that the amazons discard male children in favor of female children -- I wanted to read the issue, but I couldn't find on sale anymore. So, this seemed like a perfect situation - I downloaded Wonder Woman #7 through Comixology. It was very good; I particularly liked Diana's initial reaction - to try and save her lost amazon brothers. (Being a darker comic, I wasn't sure wether she'd accept this kind of thing from her people.)

All in all, I liked the issues, both Avengers #1, and Wonder Woman #7. Although these issues are not always drawn with an iphone/ipad app in mind - they do a decent job to make it all work seamlessly. The "this is how to read this comic" is incredibly useful for first-timers; giving you the basics of interacting with the app.

Downloading all those other Comic Store Apps, though, proved to be a pretty good deal for me. Although I enjoyed the two issues I bought -- reading comics printed on paper is always going to be my first choice. Getting a ton of Free Digital Comics, though, is pretty sweet! All of the Apps have free issues available to download.

Marvel doesn't have as many free issues, but the ones they do have are pretty good. The Point.1 issues, being good jumping on-points, make perfect sense. I found (Red) Hulk #30.1, Iron Man #500.1, Thor #620.1, Uncanny X-Force #5.1, Secret Avengers #12.1, and Deadpool #33.1 They also have the 9/11 Amazing Spider-Man issue, #36.

Comixology had a few good issues, but you sort of have to look through all of the "Preview" books to do it. I ultimately didn't download free comics from there.

Vertigo has Animal Man #1 (I've never read this series, so this was really good for me.) There are a few other titles, but not many. Y the Last Man #1 is free.

Darkhorse has good bunch of free comics. Some B.P.R.D. mini-series #1, Hellboy #1, some Star Wars issues, Terminator, and Umbrella Academy #1. There a bunch of unknown issues that look good as well.

Dynamite has mostly previews, and small starter issues from their various series, like Kirby: Genesis #0, and Project Superpowers #0.

Image Comics has a ton of good free issues. Walking Dead #1 and #19 (featuring the sword wielding girl from the Walking Dead finale!) There are free #1s for all sorts of other series. Wanted, Rising Stars, Jersey Gods (I've always wanted to try this series), Darkness, Cyberforce, and other independent titles.

DC Comics, though, has the best offerings of free comics. 52 #1, Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1, Infinite Crisis #1, Final Crisis #1, Robin #1, Impulse #1, Planetary #1, Young Justice #1, Green Lantern #1 (previous volume), GL: Corps #1 (previous volume), a bunch of Batman issues, like Shadow of the Bat #1, Legends of the Dark Knight #1, and several Batman Black and White stories. There are also issues based on the various animated series. There are some classic issues as well. Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27. All-Star Comics #8 is sort of misleading, as it doesn't feature the JSA (who are on the cover) but does have the first appearance of Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman gets another shot with Sensational Comics #1 as well.

There are a few issues, though, that you'll want to make sure aren't just 10-age previews. The Orange Lantern Christmas Special particularly fooled me. (Though it's worth it, just for the cookie recipe!) But over all I'm quite impressed with DC's offerings. You might have to scroll through a bunch of Preview and Sneak Peek books - but you'll find a lot of free issues for the taking.

A note of warning, though. The obvious reason for these free issues is to try and hook us, and get us to buy more issues. Just bear that in mind, especially when getting issue #1 of a mini-series, which by it's nature is going to have a "To Be Continued..." Still - this whole set up impresses me. Not enough to go digital only (certainly not!) - but this makes my iphone much more handy if I'm ever stuck somewhere and bored out of my mind. At least then I'll have a few things to read.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comic Review: Justice League #7 *Spoilers*


DC has broken ahead into the lead with the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe -- but they are invariably in for a challenging Summer, as their lead title, Justice League, is going to have to do without the fan favorite art of Jim Lee for a while. Gene Ha comes in to temporarily fill this spot - and while his art style is different from Jim Lee's - the feeling of a bold and decisive art style is still present in this issue.

Just because Jim Lee isn't on this issue, this is still an issue you should still pick up. It gives another good foundation for the world the Justice League now inhabits. There are a few problems I have with the issue - but over all I'd give it a good recommendation.


The issue starts with the League coming in to stop a hoard of gremlin like monsters rampaging in Baltimore Maryland. The League are seen as heroes - with the public having absolute faith in them. I have to say, the time difference from the end of issue #6 (which was 5 years ago), picks up seamlessly with this issue in the modern day. A bit too seamlessly. It's like nothing changed in the interim. No roster changes in the last 5 years? They still seem to be bickering among each other.


And, seriously, Green Lantern is still acting like an over-grown child. This was acceptable 5 years ago, when he was brash and younger, just starting out as Green Lantern. I would have hoped he'd have matured in that space of time. It also flies in contrast to how Geoff Johns writes Hal in the regular Green Lantern title. Hal can be head-strong and brash in that title too - but it's balanced by his seriousness about his job, and responsibility he carries during the series. Some fans have always complained about how Geoff Johns has changed Hal's character too much - making him into an irresponsible jerk. I never paid any mind to those criticisms, because I saw a very well crafted redefinition of his character in the pages of Green Lantern. Johns gave Hal Jordan a personality, where once he had none. So I never bought into those fan complaints. Now I know what they are talking about. Also -- "We Got This." is not an acceptable rallying call.


Anyway - while trying to figure out how stem the tide of this endless hoard of monsters, the group goes over the facts that led to the situation. Cyborg puts up a holographic display, showing how a man transporting an artifact, called the Orb of Ra, was exposed to it by an unknown assailant. This gave him monstrous powers - and they follow the trail to find out where he is - as he's actually only controlling these gremlins from a distance. This scene is nice, showing that there can be cooperation between the group -- with a nice tough of Hal providing umbrellas for everyone from the down pouring rain. Aquaman, though, tells him he doesn't need an umbrella.


The group finds the the person controlling the gremlins and take him down. The final battle isn't shown, as we transition to a press conference being given by Steve Trevor. This issue is really primarily focused on Steve Trevor - as he's acting as the public's liaison to the Justice League. Steve Trevor, a Wonder Woman supporting cast member, is a surprising character to see so closely used in the pages of the Justice League. Trevor's importance, though, is greatly expanded beyond army man and friend to WW. He's the head of the Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans, or A.R.G.U.S. - which backs the League up with the more mundane things. (That name for the group is pretty painful, though - right?) As head of the group Trevor has to work public relations with the press and the government. The Press Conference turns into a love-fest for the Justice League -- with over the top adoration, like that the the Justice League would be better at running the government than the politicians. The League really must have been doing a REALLY good job those past 5 years, to get that kind of vapid news analysis! Congress, though, is a bit more curious. Steve Trevor reports to them - as they wish to know if he's ever been up on their satellite, the Watch Tower. They want to send a representative to check the place out. Steve gives some rather sunny-faced prepared answers like "Well, they haven't asked us." He basically is telling them to simply trust the Justice League. When pressed more on the issue, with the senators saying it's an issue of trust, to know more about the League, Trevor becomes much more angry and threatening. He tells them that the Justice League could never be controlled, and given their powers they might not want them to continue asking questions. Trevor points out that public already wants the League to take over their jobs. The Senators meekly apologize, feebly saying they didn't mean to offend him.

If this sounds like the Authority (a series where Super Heroes basically tried running the world themselves, which naturally disastrous results), then you're not alone. The shift between unabashed comic-book like optimism, versus the darker reality, isn't as enjoyable as you might think. It's interesting -- but it's a theme I don't want to read about all the time in every issue. Public scrutiny was good to see in the first six issues, when the public didn't know anything about super heroes. The reverse of that, with the public's impossibly perfect expectations, is sort of disturbing.

The real personality conflict regarding the Justice League, though, might actually lie with Steve Trevor himself. He is fiercely protective of the team - largely because of his love of Wonder Woman. Etta Candy, another WW supporting character, is introduced as Trevor's aide. This version of Etta Candy is a black skinny woman; as opposed to an obese white woman she use to be depicted as. Etta Candy was a purely comedic side-kick in the early Wonder Woman days - consisting of nothing but fat and foot related jokes. I don't mind her redesign here, per say -- but I feel like they really dropped by the ball by not having her be at least a little bit over weight. It just seems sort of insulting, to suddenly have her skinny as a twig - as if being overweight is unacceptable. The same has happened to Amanda Waller, in the pages of Suicide Squad. She was one of DC's best famously over weight characters, who was so well written and defined in her character and personality, that the fact she was fat simply didn't matter. I just think this sends the wrong message to women - that if they aren't skinny, then they aren't attractive. That's a really rotten message, that I hope DC will fix over time.

The issue ended with Steve talking with Wonder Woman through a web cam. They discuss various things, but largely their relationship seems a bit strained. I have to say - Wonder Woman is actually starting to worry me, in regard to how she affects this title. Over in the pages of Wonder Woman, her mythos are slowly being ripped apart in favor of a decidedly dark interpretation. Recently in the pages of WW they revealed that Diana is actually the daughter of Zeus - rather than being made of clay. Fine, fine - a minor alteration. What isn't minor, though - is the revelation that the Amazons on Paradise Island aren't immortal - but rather seek out men traveling on the sea, to take "you-know-what" from them, and then kill them. That is the hardcore version of the Amazons - and it's pretty aggravating to see coming from DC's premiere female hero. It gets worse, too! What happens if the Amazons have male children? They get sent down to a hellish weapon workshop! How am I suppose to root for Wonder Woman if she accepts this kind of crap from her people? She was raised ignorant about all of this -- but it simply undermines her, in every possible way, if she doesn't repudiate those practices once she knows about them.

The issue ends on a personal note for Steve Trevor, when Etta tells Steve that he should tell WW that he loves her. Trevor somberly replies that he did.

A villain is foreshadowed at the end, yadda, yadda, yadda... To be continued. Green Arrow guest stars next month. The best part of this issue is in the back-up story!

SHAZAM!

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are beginning a back-up story about Captain Marvel. Well, he's no longer called Captain Marvel. Since most people already think his name is Shazam (it's the Wizard's name!), they decided to simply name him Shazam. Although the basic frame-work of a young boy being able to become an adult super hero is still in place, pretty much everything else is different in some way - and that turns out not a bad thing.

We're shown a man who steps into an elevator one day, and mysteriously lightning strikes - and the man is suddenly alone in the elevator once full of people. It suddenly starts falling at an alarming speed. Screaming for dear life, the elevator suddenly stops and the doors open. He finds himself in a throne-room of sorts. Broken chairs line a path towards a scraggily bearded man. He's looking for someone who's worthy, and this person isn't it. Lighting is shot at the man again - and then finds himself in the elevator like nothing had happened.

We pull out to see this man telling his story of his magical abduction. There are countless others with similar tales - walking into a bed room, out of a tent - whatever. All with the same story. Dr. Sivana (an old foe of Captain Marvel, now much more bulked up) is reviewing these witness reports. While talking with a colleague Sivana tells how all his life he's searched for a cure to save his family. Where science has failed him, magic is required. The magical abduction stories all tie into the Legend of Black Adam. Its a tale that describes the Rock of Eternity, where the first sorcerers and sorceresses met to share their secrets. A slave disappeared from his cell much like the abductees, finding himself being chosen as the sorcerer's new champion. Being granted incredible powers, Black Adam saved his homeland of Kahndaq from the Seven Deadly Sins, and then vanished.

The story shifts to an orphanage in Philadelphia. A young Billy Batson, almost exactly like he use to be, is meeting with prospective adoptive parents. They meet a fresh faced honest young man, exemplifying the best traits possible for a kid. The parents decide they want to adopt Billy. They leave, being told they can come and sign the papers tomorrow and take Billy home with them. As they leave, the too-good to be true Billy remarks "What a couple of idiots." The head of the orphanage snaps at Billy, telling him that he better not screw this one up, as she's running out of foster homes. In contrast to the Billy Batson of old, this Billy is rude and frustrating. "Billy Batson is Trouble", a prologue states - further hinting at what is to come. "Now Magic is Returning. And An Ancient, Brutal Evil With It." Ending with a page showing the new hooded style of the brand new SHAZAM!


This 12-page story really was great! This makes getting each Justice League issue a little bit more fun - as we get to see the foundation for this revamped character take hold. Long time fans of Captain Marvel shouldn't dispair, though. Billy might be brat -- but this series already seems to harken to the core tenents of the old Captain Marvel lore. Don't worry - Billy Batson, I'm sure, will eventually grow up! (And not just with the magic word: SHAZAM!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Different Versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


It was recently announced that Michael Bay, helming the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, is going to change their origin from mutant turtles, into aliens. (Read it here) Apparently, according to Bay's logic, they want kids to wonder wether space turtles could really exist. Yep - alien turtles are a more realistic possibility than mutated turtles. I grant you, both are silly -- but the original TMNT origin at least tied in with the urban legend about flushing reptiles down the drain, and possibly surviving and growing in the sewers.


Unsurprisingly, Bay is doing damage control now. (Read it here) He tells people to take a deep breath and chill, saying that none of us have even read the script. (Apparently it's so awesome, we'd all change our minds! Just forget the last Transformers movie.) He also claims one of the Turtle creators is working with the film to enrich the new alien backstory. Peter Laird, who responded in a comment to the news (read here, scroll down to bottom comments section) said "Could be interesting.", but says he isn't involved in the film. (He sold the rights to TMNT to Nickelodeon to take a break from the franchise.) That leaves Kevin Eastman -- who has supposedly said he's seen the script (not that he's working on it).


Either way - it really boils down to Bay living in some kind of warped bubble where he thinks this is an OK move. I know it's all ultimately inconsequential - but I told my sister and mother about this news, and their immediate reaction was of confusion and annoyance. (Followed by laughing about it.) Neither my mother or sister are big fans by any stretch of the imagination - but they both agreed with me that it was just plain wrong.


Mind you, I don't mind alterations in the TMNT formula. The original comic was a hardcore and gritty parody on mainstream comics.


What I grew up with where the original cartoon-ifed Turtles; cheesy, goofy, and funny.


When I was very young my mother had to warn me that the first Turtles movie was darker than the cartoon show, because it took more inspiration from the original comic.


I later greatly enjoyed the more comic accurate cartoon series from the last decade, which had it's fair share of important changes to the original plots - yet never was it insulting or disparaging to long time fans.

We've also seen major alterations to the TMNT formula sink certain series. The live-action TMNT TV show had very different costumes, and added a long lost female Turtle to the group named Venus. My high school english teacher, when he heard about it offhandedly during class, said "They added another turtle? That's stupid."


You can do a lot with the TMNT formula, though. The second animated series made a major transition, sending the Turtles far into the future. It was different, but it was still the Turtles. The next series relied too much on cyber space, and also altered the animation style of the series for the worse. AGAIN - It's questionable, but not a deal breaker.

Even more - there have been countless fun excursions into different genres, different planets, parallel realities, what have you.

Wether they're Conan-like Warriors...

Have Super Powers...

Wield mystical powers...

Post Apocalyptic survivors...

Or Animated in Japan...


A whole animated movie was even based around this, having the original cartoony Turtles meet their then-modern day animated counterparts!

These wildly imaginative re-interpretations usually only went on in one issue or episode. The Turtles being aliens, of course, fits in fine with this; but not the foundation of a rebooted franchise.

The TMNT have become an American icon of independent creators making it big - and in the process their creation became a staple unto itself. The first issue originally was a parody of Daredevil and X-Men comics. It became much more than that, even to casual observers.


To play devil's advocate - is there a reason or basis for the TMNT to be aliens? Actually - yes there is. The ooze, that originally mutated them, turned out to be a by-product of a teleporter, created by stranded aliens, the Utroms, who where attempting to return home. This lead to some brilliantly imaginative stories with the Turtles in space, fighting evil empires, Triceratops aliens and whatnot.


Still, I just don't agree with the decision. It fundamentally changes the Turtles. Even if they are aliens that crash and are stranded on earth, and have to live in sewers and learn ninjutsu to survive; that scenario would rob the turtles of their connection and influence to the actual martial arts. Which, wether he's a human, or a rat who learned from a human, is taught by splinter to the turtles. The connection to martial arts has always been important to the characters.

The TMNT franchise has a rich a colorful history, with a wide variety of different interpretations. Hardcore and gritty, cartoony, animated action, Anime Super Heroes, comic book style humor, or blood and guts -- there have been a lot of different uses for the turtles. Yet this just strikes at the core of the TMNT mythos. It doesn't help matters, either, that this sounds like crass commercialism based on focus testing and Hollywood stupidity.


It's just my opinion. In all honesty - I'm more into the original comics and cartoon series that closely mirrored those comics. The upcoming CGI Nickelodeon TV show looks a little past my interest level, as it looks like its going to be more like the original cartoony animated version. A movie, at least harkening back to the original stories, would at least have garnered my interest. I loved the last CGI Movie, carrying serious emotional weight for all the characters. So, unless Bay is right - and the script really is that good, to make forget my gripes about this - then I probably will just skip the movie. I think they risk a lot of casual fans and the general public doing the same (especially with the high cost of movie tickets); my mother and sister's reaction, I'd think, will be typical of most people.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

52 In Review: Green Lantern So Far...


If it's not broke, don't fix it. That piece of advice was well taken into consideration when DC began their line-wide reboot. If a series was doing well, proving both profitable creatively successful - then only minor tweaks where going to be made. You don't want to ruin a good thing. Batman and Green Lantern are probably the most obvious recipients of this light-touch approach -- the most that was really changed here was Hal's uniform; it has more lines, and looks a little more stream-lined. Besides that - GL's universe didn't change at all.


Welllll....... OK, things did change a little! Funny thing happened - before the reboot, at the end of "War of Green Lanterns" Hal had managed to kill a Guardian (his large blue-headed bosses, the Guardians of the Universe). It was an evil Guardian; I'd think warped beyond recognition - but killing him was something the Green Lantern rings where never suppose to be able to do. Built into it's programming, causing the death of a Guardian is suppose to be impossible. Yet Hal Jordan, always a troublesome human to begin with, managed to kill Krona. This freaked the Guardians out to no end - and instead of congratulating Hal Jordan for once again saving the entire Green Lantern Corps from Krona's mad scheme, they instead strip him off his ring and kicked him back to Earth.


To make the situation even worse - during the incident Sinestro mysteriously was chosen by a Ring, and made into a Green Lantern once again. Hal Jordan gets kicked out, but Sinestro regains the job he brutally betrayed? The Ring won't come off of Sinestro's hand.


That's where issue #1 starts - with Sinestro pretty much acting as the lead role of the title. Unwilling to remove the ring themselves, the Guardians tell Sinestro that they recognize the real reason the Ring chose Sinestro: a chance at redemption. Really? REALLY?! Their Planet-Sized Green Lantern Mogo was the one who regularly guided and downloaded data into the Rings -- and Mogo was tragically killed during Krona's attack. Maybe the ring is malfunctioning?! And why are the emotionless Guardians suddenly going on about redemption, anyway? I thought for a moment they where perhaps turning over a new leaf -- but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

The Guardians pretty much let Sinestro go. Sinestro asks what they expect him to do? They tell him they expect him to defend his sector, like all Green Lanterns. Just forget you're letting, essentially, the Korugarian version of Hitler back into you're ranks!


The Guardians motives are brought even more into question when its revealed that they are essentially lobotomizing their fellow Guardian, Ganthet - draining him of all emotion. Ganthet had been one of the few Guardians to develop emotions, and thus become an advocate for common sense within their group. Apparently his fellow Guardians are tried of his dissenting opinions. And boy, do they have a whopper of a proposal up for discussion! Their first Army, to bring order to the Universe, where the robotic Manhunters. When they malfunctioned, the Guardians instituted the Green Lantern Corps. Now that they mistrust the Corps, and their potential ability to kill them, they are now going to begin forming 'The Third Army."

Still - the Guardians being crazy not withstanding - the idea that Sinestro might gain some measure of redemption is very intriguing. At his core, Sinestro has always been loyal to the Corps. Even when he was expelled and exiled -- even when he formed the Yellow Fear Wielding Sinestro Corps; it was all ultimately to bend to focus of the GL Corps to his idea of justice and order.


Sinestro goes to his home planet of Korugar. He is disgusted to find that his Sinestro Corps have, instead of protecting Korugar like ordered, they have instead enslaved the population. A Sinestro Corps member happens to run near Sinestro - and attacks him. Yet this isn't any ordinary Green Lantern officer this Yellow Lantern is trying to kill -- it's Sinestro himself! He jumps to the conclusion that Sinestro had betrayed them! Before a warning call can be made, Sinestro skillfully leaped behind the Yellow Lantern, creating a garrote wire and chokes the Yellow Lantern to death, whispering into his ear "I betrayed nothing."

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Hal Jordan's life has turned to $&*%. It becomes painfully apparently that Jordan, who lacked social graces to begin with, has too long relied on his Ring for everything. He can't get anywhere without a car (worse yet, Coast City is in California!). He's behind on his rent - in addition to not being able to deal with not being a hero anymore. When he hears a woman screaming across from his apartment window into the next building, he leaps into action (like he always did as GL) to save the day. He crashed through the window - to find himself interrupting the filming of a movie. The woman who was screaming had been acting. Hal ends up in jail and has to be bailed out by his on-again off-again flame Carol Ferris. Carol and Hal seem to be sparking up their romance yet again over dinner later - but Hal instead ends up getting Carol angry. She drove off, leaving him to walk all the way back home, as she was his ride. Jordan simply doesn't know how to function anymore as a regular person -- and he's also left out of the going-ons out there in space.


Jordan gets back to his apartment to find a very unwelcome visitor: Sinestro. Though it pains him deal with his longtime nemesis, Sinestro feels he has no choice but to force Jordan to help him in freeing his home planet of Korugar. Jordan's life is bad right now - but being wing man to Sinestro is a whole other deal. Sinestro, though, isn't taking no for an answer. Plus, the job comes with the added perk of being a Green Lantern once again. Sinestro is able to use his Ring to create a Copy-Ring, and bestow GL powers to Hal once again. The first thing Hal does with these powers? Shoots them right back at Sinestro! This, of course, doesn't work -- Hal's fake Ring is made of Sinestro's Willpower; that same willpower can't be used against him.


Hal continues to buck and struggle against being on Sinestro's leash - but the arrival of a Sinestro Corps member on Earth gives Sinestro a chance to teach Hal to comply. People are put in danger by the Yellow Lantern, and Sinestro refuses to give Hal powers unless he promises to take his orders. Hal reluctantly takes the indignity of the situation and promises, and is able to save the people - and the Sinestro Corps member is dealt with.


Even though he's tied to Sinestro - Hal loves being back in action again. They both travel to Korugar. Sinestro reveals a little known ability of the GL Rings - being able to go dark; changing the ambient light of their uniform and powers to near pitch black. Hal asks why he never knew about this power, which Sinestro explains that the Guardians don't like officers knowing everything the Ring can do. With this stealth mode Hal and Sinestro are able to arrive on Korugar undetected.

The plan is pretty simple. Sinestro and Jordan would wait for sunset - at which point Sinestro would cause a distraction, allowing Hal to fly into the Sinestro Corps central power battery. When Sinestro created his Corps and Lanterns -- he built in a fail safe. If a Green Lantern is detected within the Yellow Power Battery and drains it of power - it would disable the entire Yellow Corps. Jordan asked why the fail safe included was made for a Green Lantern; did Sinestro really expect to one day be a Green Lantern again? Sinestro angrily says that he never wanted this! Ultimately, the GL-Required fail safe sounds like a subconscious desire on Sinestro's part to not let his Corps go too far; and be able to be stopped by a Green Lantern if ever need be.


Waiting for sunset, down on the ground the two are able to see a Yellow Lantern scaring and threatening to kill a little girl. Sinestro tells Hal to not intervene yet -- but then sees a woman leap out of the crowd, attacking the Yellow Lantern to protect the girl. Sinestro recognizes this woman. Disregarding his own plan, Sinestro zooms down to protect this woman. Being left hanging - Hal heads to the Central Power Battery, with Sinestro's GL Lantern - diving in to activate the fail safe. Instead, the Power Battery begins to disassemble Hal's molecules. He struggles to escape - causing a large explosion. The plan has failed, Sinestro is captured - along with a knocked out Hal Jordan.


Hal is placed in a containment cell infused with the Sinestro Corps power and designed to absorb energy. Hal tries to break out, but his Copy-Ring from Sinestro is running out of power. With its last ounce of power Hal can create one more thing. Thinking of what he wants most, the ring projects an image of Carol.

Sinestro, taken in by the members of his own Lantern Corps, is examined and tortured -- attempts are made to take the Ring off of his hand. The Yellow Lanterns don't know wether Sinestro has really betrayed them or not -- but removing Sinestro's hand is a possible next step.


In the meantime, after their examination is over, they toss Sinestro in a cell next to where Jordan is. Unlike Hal, Sinestro isn't alone in his cell. Various citizens of Korugar are in there - as well as Arsona, the woman Sinestro had reacted to before.


It turns out that Arsona was once one of Sinestro's most ardent supporters. She was a police officer, and fought for Sinestro's leadership and takeover of the Korugar government. They all believed in him -- she believed in him; and he had ultimately betrayed them, becoming a tyrant to his planet. (This was the reason he was expelled from the Corps; abusing his Ring to take over and rule the planet.)


Despite the re-emerging emotional wounds, a plan is developed to help them escape. Sinestro pushes his Ring to its absolute limits - expelling dozens of Ring-Copies (like Jordan's), and giving them to the people in his cell.


Their response of wanting to attacking Sinestro in understandable. Yet their Rings won't work. This time it's not just a case of the Ring being made up of his own power -- but that the Korugarian citizens don't know how to activate them. A Green Lantern has to know no fear -- so Sinestro has to provoke Arsona into a emotional reaction, to make her overcome her fears. Hal Jordan, listening in from the other cell, tells Arsona that they can't waste energy attacking Sinestro -- dividing his powers up to so many people means they will only last a few minutes.


Arsona and her people are able to draw on the willpower and overcome their fears. Sinestro's Green Lantern, which had been forgotten about outside the cells, arrived at Sinestro's command to blow the cells wide open. Sinestro leads them out, saying "Remember. No Fear."

While the empowered citizens of Korugar are able to take to the streets and attack their enslavers, Sinestro and Hal head for the Central Power Battery once again. Hal says he's not going in there again -- that the fail safe didn't work. Sinestro tells Jordan that it would work; Jordan had simply done it wrong. Sure enough the fail safe is activated -- and all Sinestro Corps members are forced into comas.


The mission being a success, Hal Jordan is unceremoniously dropped into an ally back on Earth. The Copy of Sinestro's Ring remains with Jordan; but without any power. Hal hurriedly thinks he has to find a way to charge the ring. He says it's all he has; it's all he... wants. Remembering the vision of Carol, being his fleeting last desire, Jordan returns to Carol to make amends. Jordan asks her for another chance. Carol smiles, saying that technically this would be his tenth chance.

The art and writing of these first 5 issues where simply excellent. Doug Mahnke, simply put, is doing the best art of his entire carrier. (He's been on this title for a long while, and has been an amazing artist even before that; so it's saying something that his art has improved and looks this good!) Geoff Johns' love of Sinestro as a character is quite well known - and it seems like he takes every chance he has to put Sinestro back in a Green Lantern uniform. Sinestro has been built up to be fascinating character -- in Sinestro's own mind, he's a hero and always has been. The results of all of Johns stellar characterization of Sinestro is paying off well here. The dynamic of Hal and Sinestro as a forced-together duo is great to see. I'm wagering Sinestro isn't going to remain a Green Lantern forever -- but for the time being both Hal and Sinestro are going through some stellar character-defining moments.

Issue #6 is somewhat of a fill-in issue -- with Mike Choi taking over with art, giving Mahnke a break and allowing him to get a head start drawing the next story arch. Choi is a very good artist - but his depiction of Hal Jordan simply is off kilter; appearing too young. Some fans had far worse things to say about the art in this issue. Over all I thought it was pretty good, with the exception of Hal's young appearance. The focus of this issue, though, was about Sinestro.

Sinestro arrives on the planet Ogoro, in sector 1417. Sinestro has come to visit an old foe - a former super hero and champion of Ogoro named Starstorm. Sinestro had fought Starstorm years ago, and had defeated and humiliated him. He's now a beleaguered old man; his life as Starstorm being far in the past as a painful memory. Sinestro doesn't care about that - he's come to Starstorm for a very specific reason. Utilizing Starstorm's special helmet, which where the source of his powers, he is able manipulate light, among other abilities. The ability Sinestro wants is the helmet's ability to locate any power source. Sinestro wants Starstorm to lead him to a particular person with a yellow ring. Being forced into the role he now reviles so much, Starstorm reluctantly does as asked. They don't have to go far -- the source leads to a building on Orgoro. Yellow chains lash out and ensnare Sinestro and Starstorm.


Lyssa Drak, who wields a Yellow Ring, was once a member of the Sinestro Corps. Drak had betrayed Sinestro, though, giving her allegiance to the Book of the Black - a tome that contains the stories and tales of the Black Lantern Corps. The book has also shown the ability to absorb people into its pages -- their lives and stories becoming a part of the book.


Struggling against Lyssa, Sinestro rips one of the pages out of the book. His mind is flooded with images of the future. Scenes showing the Guardians of the Universe instituting the Third Army - lead by the First Lantern; proclaiming that anyone who stands in their way will die. The Indigo Tribe, along with the Black Hand and an injured Hal Jordan are also seen. Finally a Guardian holding a White Lantern Ring, along with Sinestro bleed out and dead -- with the echoing words of the guardians "We are the Guardians. We will not be stopped."

No longer needing the Helmet, Sinestro pulls it off of Starstorm and throws it at Lyssa. Damaged and made to explode, it knocks Drak through a wall to outside. Sinestro hovers above her, with the book now in his possession, saying that she's lucky he doesn't slit her throat and watch her bleed out. From what he learned from the Book of the Black, Sinestro says he may need her alive.

Back on Earth Hal has continued to rekindle his romance with Carol Ferris - accepting that he doesn't HAVE to be Green Lantern; that he doesn't want to be Green Lantern. Waking up in the morning with Carol, Hal suddenly finds his copy-ring recharged and his uniform appearing on him. Confused Hal looks outside to see Sinestro floating outside their window. Hal yells at him, telling Sinestro to find someone else to be his sidekick - that he's done being Green Lantern. After what Sinestro learned, he tells Jordan no. "Unfortunately, you are far from done."

What might have simply been a fill in issue actually turned out to be an incredibly strong story. Geoff Johns is very skillful at leaving clues and previews of whats to come in his books. The formation of the Third Army obviously is going to be the next big Green Lantern event. I'm actually quite excited -- seeing the Guardian act like detached and unfair jerks is always entertaining - more so when their detached and emotionless decisions become deadly and destructive.


Before that, though, the long awaited revelations about the Indigo Tribe are up next. Ever since appearing as allies during the Blackest Night mini-series, the nomadic purple Lanterns have remained a mystery. So far its been suggested that the Indigo Rings might change a person's personality -- a kind of brainwashing, as evidenced by the now docile Black Hand, a new addition to the Indigo Tribes' ranks.


Indigo-1, the nameless female of the group is the leader. It's worth noting that the Indigo Tribe has it's own language - and it's pretty annoying. "Nok" is their most repeated word. I really hope there's actually a translation to this made up language - because I'd hate to think we're just reading gibberish. I only know that Nok might mean "Compassion be with you."

Issue #7 maybe just be setting up the ground work for this story arch - but it proves to be very entertaining; and even scary.


For starters - Sinestro is now demanding Jordan come with him. Jordan, finally putting his relationship with Carol before his job, refuses. Sinestro uses his ring to capture Carol and puts a gun to her head. "Come with me right now, Jordan... Or I blow a hole through her head."


Jordan is able to get Carol out of the way while punching Sinestro in the face. The two continue to struggle, with Sinestro insisting that Jordan listen to him. Hal's copy-ring still can't harm Sinestro, so Sinestro is able to place a knife to Jordan's throat and make him listen. Sinestro tells how he's recovered the Book of the Black, and seen glimpses of its prophecies. "It's the Guardians. They're going to replace us. They're going to replace the Green Lantern Corps."

After Sinestro has said this, he turns around to find the Indigo Tribe having appeared. The Indigo Tribe has come for Sinestro, and are able to subdue and capture him. Jordan is fought off, but is able to follow the Indigo Tribe into the wake of their teleportation.


While this is going on the Guardians of the Universe are confronting Lyssa Drak. Sinestro had dropped her off to be imprisoned before going to recruit Hal Jordan. Lantern Voz, a big bear-like alien is the warden of the prison cells on Oa. Having seen Sinestro bring in Drak, he says to the Guardians that they must have had a good reason for letting Sinestro keep that Ring. This is more of a question that a statement - as everyone has been confused by the Guardians actions in not taking the GL Ring away from Sinestro. The Guardians tell Voz that they need to interrogate the prisoner. Voz asks "Can you trust Sinestro?" Ganthet calmly tells Voz "Trust us, Lantern Voz. We have the situation under control."

Lyssa Drak angrily asks what the Guardians want. They say they want the Book of the Black. Lyssa tells them that Sinestro took it from her. Realizing that the book is no longer in her possession, one of the Guardians raise their hand to blast and kill Drak in her cell, saying that she already knows too much. Ganthet tells her not to kill her yet - that Lantern Voz would ask too many questions. The other Guardians dispassionately states that they should then kill Lantern Voz. Even more disturbing, Ganthet says that they cannot strike down their Lanterns until they are fully prepared. It seems they need the Book of the Black if they are to find the First Lantern. (Ominously this is the First Lantern seen by Sinestro in the Book of of the Black - the one that will lead the Third Army.) This entire interrogation and exchange only takes two pages; yet it speaks volumes to how truly lost the Guardians are.

After having followed the Indigo Tribe into their teleportation wake, Hal wakes up later to find himself in a jail cell. His copy-ring is out of power again. Someone in the cell next to him begins ranting He sees the Ring on Jodan's hand and knows he's a Green Lantern - and demands that he free him. He's desperate and wild, saying he'll do anything - he'll be his slave - if only he'll get him out of there! The prisoner grabs hold of Jordan's arm and says he'll tear it off if he doesn't free him.

A flash of purple light strikes the prisoner, freeing Jordan. Outside the darkened cell Jordan is confronted by Black Hand. William Hand, a villain obsessed with death, had been the catalyst for the rise of the Black Lanterns - and the Blackest Night (a big event a few years ago). Black Hand had killed himself so he could become the representative entity of the Black Lantern Corps. The dead rose from their graves across the universe. William and the Black Lanterns where stopped - and William Hand's role as the Black Lantern entity was ruined when he was brought back to life (no longer being dead, and thus no longer serving his role to death.) Black Hand disappeared after that - whisked away by the Indigo Tribe and was made one of their members. The Indigo Lanterns represent compassion -- but it seems their compassion is forced, making Black Hand docile and peaceful.


Jordan asks William questions. He speaks the Indigo Tribe's language, saying "Nok Lekka Abin Sur." Jordan asks what Abin Sur has to do with this? Abin Sur was a friend to Sinestro when they both served in the GL Corps - and was the Green Lantern who died on earth, passing his Ring onto Jordan himself. It had been hinted at before that the female leader Indigo-1 had a life changing meeting with Abin Sur. (It was also indicated that she might have been a violent murderer, instead of a compassion-wielding nomadic monk.) Jordan asks what they want with Sinestro - demanding William speak english. Black Hand tells him "We are all saved, Green Lantern. And Sinestro Will be saved too. Sinestro Lora Nok." Hal suspiciously asks what that means. Black Hand continues "It means Sinestro is no longer a worry. Sinestro will be reborn as I have been. Compassion be with you." All of this is explained as the Indigo Lanterns approach a chained Sinestro.


This really is a fascinating and long anticipated story arch. Ever since hints where made about the truth of the Indigo Tribe's idea of "Compassion", I've been eager to learn more. Where once they where allies against the rising dead - they are now a mind-control cult. Sinestro, having committed so much evil during his life, seems to be a prime candidate for their group. I don't think either Hal or Sinestro will go down without a fight, though.


I think the rest of the Indigo Tribe arch is going to be really good. This entire series hasn't missed a single beat in the transition into the New 52 - and in fact seems even more polished and focused than ever before.

If you didn't like the Green Lantern movie - that's ok, because the Green Lantern comic is simply awesome! It's narrative is simply enough, and fills you in along the way for new fans coming onboard - but also excels in delving deeper and deeper into the incredible Green Lantern mythology Geoff Johns has created. As for regular comic fans -- some who I've heard sometimes have a problem with Johns writing; well I say, simply put: get over it. This comic series is awesome - and is a must read! Right now is perfect time to jump on board - as the new #1 has given the series a fresh start, but without undercutting anything that has been built up beforehand.