Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top 20 of 2007: #15 Green Lantern

What a year for Geoff Johns's Green Lantern!

In 2007, this comic became something superior. Beginning with the conclusion of the "Wanted: Hal Jordan" storyline and culminating in the apocalyptic "Sinestro Corps War," Johns expanded the depth and breadth of the Green Lantern universe and told a great story even while juggling a seemingly-overwhelming cast of characters.

One of the things Johns does best (and by the way, he was joined by some fantastic artists on the title this year, especially the stellar Ivan Reis, who seems to have distilled his John Byrne and Neal Adams influences into some kind of perfect superhero blend) is story structure. I should amend that: story structure over the long term. He has been building to the Sinestro Corps War since he relaunched Hal Jordan's career in Green Lantern: Rebirth over three years ago. Yet he doesn't tell decompressed stories. As a reader, I didn't know he was building to the Sinestro Corps War, although, in retrospect it's obvious. But Johns masterfully built each story arc on top of the next one, escalating the threats, dealing with Hal Jordan's character, and building a universe.

On top of that, Green Lantern #25 promises even greater escalation through 2009! It takes quite a writer to conclude the Sinestro Corps War as a kind of prelude for something much, much larger (the war of many colors!) and still satisfy the reader in the short term. Johns pulls it off. With style.

Read it.

13 comments:

Marc Caputo said...

FIFTEEN???!!!???

FIFTEEN???!!!???

FIFTEEN???!!!???

(I've got it slightly higher, as I'm sure you can tell.)

Chad Nevett said...

I've tried this book three times (the first two issues, an issue earlier this year and then issue 25) and... well, I can sort of see why others like it, but it does nothing for me.

Marc Caputo said...

Honestly, Chad, this book hits all the marks for me as to what a superhero book should be. I've heard tell of folks who say "Well, if you don't like this, then you don't like superhero books." I'm more the guy who says, "You don't like this? Dude, show me what YOU think is a great superhero book." Odds are, I'm not reading it.

But I sincerely want to try it.

Timothy Callahan said...

Marc: Yes, it's #15. And you are going to punch me in the face when you see #13. But that's okay, because I will block it WITH MY MIND.

Chad: I don't think it's a book you can dip into. You have to immerse yourself in Green Lantern-ness. Let it flow through you. Or, like you have, just admit that Top Gun spacecops fighting in a Rainbow War just isn't for everybody. (Or, you have no soul.)

Timothy Callahan said...

Marc: Also, Green Lantern would have been higher if the middle of the Sinestro Corps didn't seem stretched out a bit too much to ride the wave of "hey, this dang thing's real popular, let's exploit it some more." However, I haven't gone back and read just the Green Lantern issues to see if that's the case in the main book, so Johns's comic may be unfairly judged by what was going on with all the spin-offs.

However, I do like this comic so much that I actually bought the Secret Files issue with all of the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps listed and I actually read every single one of their histories. I am a total Green Lantern nerd.

Marc Caputo said...

Dude, who didn't buy that?

Besides us GL nerds, that is.

I'm with you on the dragginess in the center, but whenever things are delayed/late, I always try to read it at least once after it's all done. Usually that makes it all better.

As to #13, it just better not be Ultimates 3, # 1. Cause you couldn't block that with the Worldmind (fledgling Nova fan - you KNOW I love me some DnA!!)

Timothy Callahan said...

No way, Ultimates 3 is freakin' at the Top Spot on my list. Actually, it's not. I hate it. I may give up on the entire Ultimate universe because of it.

Chad Nevett said...

Marc: I'm not sure there is a book that I'm reading that I would call "the great superhero book." My top ten is made up of a lot of superhero books, but none that I would classify like that, I don't think. Maybe Gødland, but probably not.

Timothy: I have admitted many, many times that I'm dead inside. I do feel slightly guilty for not liking Geoff Johns' writing, though. I interviewed him for my university paper a couple of years back and ended up having a two-hour conversation with him--and we seemed to be of the same mind on a lot of things concerning comics. But, I've yet to read anything of his that I've enjoyed. Kind of bugs me.

Andy G said...

I think Geoff Johns real skill is in selling the story. He's also well served by Schiver in the first issue and Reis/Schiver in the last part, who provide the clear dynamic splash pages that this kind of LOUD STORY TELLING requires. Johns writes in Dolby Surround Sound, which is not to everyone's taste but when he can provide pages like the Anti Monitor reveal in part one or the Blackest Night trailer it's hard not to be charmed. It did flab in the middle, the extra issues were just that (particularly the Parallax one, which was like editing an episode of Little House on the Prairie into the middle of Star Wars), but few mainstream continuity laden titles zing like Green Lantern has under Johns guidance.

And when them over t'other side are showing how a long running iconic character's back story can be crippled by a succession of badly conceived marriages births and deals with the devil!!!?, hats off to a man that not only revived a character long thought irretrievably mangled but made the Cyborg Superman/Coast City/Parallax vital parts of his mythos. Marvel and DC at their finest convey the sense that a grand narrative is at work, an organic corporate creation of four color gods that were here before we were born and will exist long after our deaths, but few modern tales do more than hint at the magic of that ideal. Geoff Johns' Green Lantern reaches those heights and unlike All Star Superman does so in continuity.

But #15 for the flab in the middle.

Marc Caputo said...

I read Godland from 1-18 and initially thought the whole Jack Kirby pastiche (or is that hommage?) overwhelmed the story until I pondered and realized the story wasn't strong enough to support the Kirby thing. Casey had some good ideas and interesting characters, but I prefer his Mr. Majestic (1-9)series by a long shot. And it's interesting that you mentioned Canete in a post on Casey' Iron Man/ Mandarin mini. "Math" is such a great way to describe his art on issues 7-9 of the Majestic run.

Marc Caputo said...

Oh and I put the first of the 20 up on my blog (with pictures, too!)

Chad Nevett said...

If you check out the "Blogathon 2007" link in the posts of note section, that's where I began my look at Joe Casey's stuff with Mr. Majestic (and his run on Uncanny X-Men and final year on Adventures of Superman). It's where I first came up with the Eric Cante draws like math idea.

Marc Caputo said...

Chad: Nice job. I'd seen some of your Casey writings, but didn't check further back for Majestic. Also, thanks for the inclusion on the blog-roll. Will do the same.