Friday, December 24, 2010

Geoff Johns: A Phantom Menace

Recently, I watched some interesting reviews of the Star Wars prequels. The link is here, and I highly advise checking it out. It's pretty crazy the things that they point out, such as the LACK OF A MAIN CHARACTER and LACK OF PLOT DETAILS and LIGHTSABERS ALL OVER THE ****ING PLACE. This was pretty disturbing to see on its own, but it got me thinking about the Blackest Night event and just Geoff Johns' recent work in general.

The main character of Blackest Night and the Green Lantern series isn't too much of a problem, given as the main series of GL has Hal Jordan, you know, The Green Lantern. John Stewart gets a little playtime too, but generally Hal has main billing. However, after Hal gets spirited away by Indigo-1 we have a split where the Atom and Mera are doing stuff and become protagonists of their own stories. This crossover has like 14 different protagonists derpin around until they all meet up in Coast City, where the white entity is conveniently located.

The whole entity-spectrum thing is pretty bogus too. I mean, it is a good way to make it so that Hal isn't responsible for that whole MURDERING THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS thing, but the constant use of these entities and how Parallax has to weasel his way into everyone. Ganthet gets it, Kyle get it, Hal gets it again, and in a recent issue Barry Allen gets it. Now that everyone has an entity who gives a damn about it. They're like the friggin' Pokemon of the DCU where everyone wants to collect them all so that they can get the legendary white entity.

Now, the entities are just sort of there. The real thing here is the emotional spectrum. This little thing gets thrown in there and raises a few eyebrows. I can get behind a Green Lantern having enough willpower to create constructs and such with their ring. That's pretty cool. The emotional spectrum though makes less and less sense the more I think about it.

Lets break it down real quick. Fear I can accept because they already have parallax and sinestro so whatever lets move on. The Zamaronians and the Star Sapphires also appeared earlier so that also I guess is acceptable. I don't like the fact that they felt it necessary to include the skeletons of Hawkgirl and Hawkman as their power source because that makes absolutely no sense at all. Now, the blue lanterns only get introduced because of the red lanterns, and the orange lantern is just comic relief. The indigo tribe serves solely as a vehicle for the plot. That's it.

Another thing I don't like is how the red and yellow lanterns are all weird looking and scary and stuff. They are all alien and sort of scarifying because Geoff Johns is going with the general idea of what should scare us. All these things have odd numbers of mouths and limbs and stuff or are different colors. I think the use of lolscarymonsters takes away from the actual fear. The reason the Joker is scary is because he is an unpredictable sociopath who kills for fun. He is a unique and horrifying concept because he is a total wild card. But, you see all the crazy crap the red lanterns and Sinestro corps throw out and it barely phases anyone. One psychopath is scary. A whole army of them takes away from the uniqueness of the psychopath and just makes it a bunch of token bad guys for the GLC to kill (they can do that now because it's EXTREME) without any real sort of interesting emotion (even though the whole series is supposed to be about emotion apparently). The Red lanterns also have a cat. Yeah. Just this normal cat who got mad and now has a red ring on his tail. This would be interesting if it wasn't stupid. I know exactly why Geoff added the cat. He went on the internet and saw people making jokes about cats and decided to put one in the Red Lanterns because LOL I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGR. I could care less that there is a mad cat who has the powers of mad. It is minimally important in the grand scheme of things. It's just a cheap joke that subtracts from any sort of drama.

Speaking of cheap jokes, Geoff Johns has a very distinct style where he feels the need to insert lots of them. Whenever we have some sort of dramatic buildup or tension it's instantly kicked in the teeth by Hal cracking a joke about how Larfleeze looks like Gonzo or something. Also, the surplus of cluttered splash pages takes away from the power a splash page can have. It stops being cool really fast.

Another thing with the bigger splash pages is that they often feature like 8000 lanterns all slinging their rings around. I thought being a lantern was like this unique thing but apparently there are literally thousands of them. There are at least 3600 green lanterns alone, and seeing them all on one page makes it seem so incredibly commonplace. It's like the lightsabers in the new star wars. We see them all the time. It's like they're a price for some universal sweepstakes or when somebody buys the deluxe edition of Green Lantern: Rebirth, (or a Blackest Night tie-in at their local comic book store). Yeah, the epic battle scenes are kinda cool, but the more lanterns I see the less I care about them. I already have 4 from earth to care about and I really don't need more.

There are a few more comparisons I can make with the Star Wars prequels. One- the forced relationship with Padme and Anakin alongside Carol and Hal. Anakin and Padme are just two sort of attractive people who up and decide they are in love, or really, Anakin decides they are in love and Padme goes along with it for some reason. Carol and Hal at least have a history, but Hal has been with Cowgirl (who has not shown up in a while, by the way) for a decent amount of time. but then, Hal and Carol sort of kiss in Blackest Night for some reason and we're just supposed to accept it because they are supposed to be together. I mean, they are one of those comic book couples but not in the way Clark and Lois are. They have had more ups and downs than practically anyone. Don't force relationships because that's how it was in the Silver Age.

Speaking of Silver Age, Geoff Johns brings it all back. He brings back all these heroes and just sort of re-establishes a new silver age. I mean, I guess that's cool. It's just that these guys have had their stories told and it'd be nice to get some new ones.

Also, there's this part in the reviews I linked when they talk about how Yoda, the wise and powerful mystic decides to become a flippy swordsman. This is the same as Ganthet, wise guardian of the universe, becomes a regular Green Lantern and ringslings, even though he really doesn't need to. He has been displayed as being able to "crack a planet in half with a though" without a little ring. But then he activates the ring duplication power and adds to the ring overload even more.

There is a lot more I can talk about, and it gets worse with brightest day. I feel like Geoff needs a break or something. I don't see any substance in his work anymore. It just seems like he is an overzealous fanboy who nobody has put a leash on. Let him take a break from making everything SO EPIC and trying to tell the most important story, and just let the man be for a bit, then maybe we'll get something good. Meanwhile, I'm going to read Grant Morrison and wait until this whole thing calms down.

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