Saturday, November 14, 2015
Justice League: The Darkseid War – Green Lantern #1 Review and *SPOILERS*
This Little Light of Mine
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Doc Shaner, Chris Sotomayor, Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 11, 2015
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
If you were offered limitless power over time and space, would you take it? What if it didn’t offer a 401K? You’d still take it? What if your bloodied, broken form had to be forcibly dragged to it, and assuming said power might rend your flesh into so much ribbons and reduce your skeleton to ash? Oh, suddenly you want to think about it, huh? Well that doesn’t fly with Hal “Green Lantern” Jordan, a real fart first and figure out who to blame later kinda guy. Now that Darkseid is dead, his Motherbox is looking for a new boss, and his Parademons are auditioning Lanterns. If that sentence made no sense to you whatsoever, then move along, nothing to see here! If that sentence piqued your interest, then by all means, read on!
As stated in previous installments of my reviews for this series of tie-ins, I have not been reading the regular Justice League title. My review for Justice League: The Darkseid War – Batman #1 has all the deets, but the lowdown is that I have the advantage of reading these comics reasonably fresh. I know the Justice League killed Darkseid and that made a bunch of gods whoosh into some of its members, but I have attempted to view these issues through the lens of a new reader, someone who might be testing the waters of Justice League through this book.
All of Darkseid’s Parademons, now without any executive direction, have descended upon the Green Lantern’s home planet of Oa and merged Darkseid’s Motherbox with the battery from whence the Lanterns’ power ring juice derives. This was apparently established in Justice League #44, a helpful caption tells us, which is interesting because that is so far removed from where the Green Lantern Corps is within the DCU today. As we watch a battered John Stewart being brought before the Motherbox battery thing, he sends a distress signal to the Green Lantern voted Most Likely to Tactlessly Blunder, Hal Jordan, who I guess was in the bathroom or something while the Parademons attacked.
Hal has a flashback to his youth, from before he was an interstellar jerk: he’s at a Catholic church lurking around near the votive candles, and a stranger in a bomber jacket approaches him. Young Hal explains that he wants to light one for his dad, a retired Air Force pilot that died during an air show. This is a little too much. Kids, do not talk to strangers, and especially don’t talk to strangers at your local church, and especially don’t talk to strangers at your local church who are lurking around you while you light a candle for your dead father. We can say times have changed since Hal was a kid, but media has a responsibility to the public and comic books are no exception. There should have at least been a warning or something.
In the present, Hal makes it to Oa and has to fight all of his old Green Lantern pals who have been turned into Parademons, because I guess that’s a thing that can happen now. I recall Darkseid being more of a torturer and enslaver than a recruiter, but whatever. While punching out his Parademonized buddies, Hal’s ring explains that Darkseid’s Motherbox (and if you don’t know what a Motherbox is, please look it up because that’s another essay in itself) is looking for a new host, and the entire Green Lantern Corps has refused even under torture because it says right in the Green Lantern Rule Book that you shouldn’t take candy from strangers. So Hal, in his brilliant way of thinking things through, decides that maybe what he should do is the opposite of what everyone else did and accept his role from Motherbox.
Cut to the flashback, where the stranger in a bomber jacket is telling young Hal that lighting a candle for your dad is easy, see? There ain’t nothing to it, pal, just a flickering flame, pal, just put match to sulphur and stike, pal. The dialogue here is so weird, I don’t know what to make of it. I imagine the mysterious stranger’s voice being something like W.C. Fields or Popeye with the way he keeps cajoling young Hal. He must also sense that this guy is a little sheisty because Hal has a candle tantrum, which actually sounds like a meditative exercise but looks a lot sillier. Then the stranger in a bomber jacket comforts him with some more pithy nonsense. Back on Oa in the present, Hal says yes to the Motherbox and becomes the God of Light, an all-powerful, all-seeing god in a uniform that’s like a cross between the costumes from Tron and what G-Force from the Outsiders wore. Hal immediately uses his powers to restore Oa and the Corps to fightin’ fit, proving that his newfound powers have not dimmed his act first and figure it out later demeanor. While in his godly fugue state, Hal is able to contact Batman in his capacity as the God of Knowledge, and learns something important than we do not. This is interesting because it’s the first time two of the books in this tie-in series have crossed over and acknowledged the existence of other Justice League gods.
Anyway, as you’ve probably figured out by now, Hal uses his supreme power to become the bomber jacket-wearing stranger who harasses younger Hal Jordan at the church that we keep seeing in flashbacks, and now we also see Hal in his garb as the God of Light standing invisibly among all of them which is just creepy as fuck. For some reason, this makes him realize that being a god is lame so he makes the Motherbox destroy itself and returns back to being his old brash, jerky self.
This certainly is the most different of all the Darkseid War tie-ins, being that it acknowledges the other members of the Justice League’s status and actually ends with Green Lantern not accepting godhood. It was a good story overall, a little heavy-handed with the flashbacks (we could have used one less scene, I think) and a lot of the dialogue was stiff, but not ridiculous. I’d say there’s no hope of someone not pretty damn familiar with both Green Lantern and Fourth World mythology understanding this book, but you needn’t be an expert in either (as I am not.) Doc Shaner is a veteran artist and performs more than capably here with clean lines and storytelling throughout, plus a few splash pages to showcase his skills. I dunno, I’d say that this book ends the strongest of all the tie-ins thus far, but the journey there is a little convoluted and parts of it seem unnecessary.
Bits and Pieces:
Hal Jordan gets an offer he can’t refuse and uses it for personal atonement, which is sort of a common theme with all of these Darkseid War tie-ins. Jordan gets to use his stubborn impetuousness for good, to dubious effect, but in the end everything is fairly well reset which is all that matters in this series. The art is really good and the action is clear, even in panels that contain a dozen or more characters moving around. Story’s a little clunky but it ends strong and that’s more that can be said for LOST.