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Review: Green Lantern #33 (Venditti and Tan)

Movie companies own both of the Big 2 comic companies. Need proof? Submitted for your approval, as Rod Serling used to say: Green Lantern #33.

Chapter 5 of the “Uprising” event is an action-packed slobberknocker the likes of which summer theatre audiences crave. No Bendis talking heads here (well, not many). Instead, we are treated to real movement of plot through the great artistry of Mr. Billy Tan as the Corps arrives and forms “The Wall.” (Hey, teacher …)

When writer Robert Venditti told me in his first interview with Cosmic Book News that he realized he would be playing with Geoff Johns’ toys, but he would not be playing the same games, he really knew what he was saying. This scribe took a mammoth (feature film at the time) bull by the horns and has made his own vision of this franchise. Admirable.

While this “Uprising” event for me has been on-again, off-again, this issue of Green Lantern shows the best of what there is as the Lanterns gather together in a last stand of sorts.

And oh those Venditti one-liners!

Tan is a master of this sort of battle, and has really honed his craft in this book. When he was with Uncanny X-Men a few years ago, you could see the promise in his pencils but like Brad Walker this artist has really grown as far as these space battle scenes at DC. Beautiful!

If you are tired of your comics reading like your grandma’s soap operas (hour long soap operas), pick up Green Lantern #33. It is very reader friendly.

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Review: Green Lantern #32 (Venditti)

It’s the halfway point of the Uprising event and, shock of shocks, we are actually starting to see some long needed maturity on the part of New 52 Hal Jordan as the skirmish continues.

In Green Lantern #32, writer Robert Venditti really gives us some great scenes with an evolving Hal, especially the interrogation of the Prixiam of the Clann. When Green Lantern discovers the secret behind the master plan of the Durlans and the cosmic chess game that is being played, you can feel his multiple range of emotions. Good thing he is still not the White Lantern, lol.

(For the unitiated, since many (like myself) are not following the whole of the event, the long-standing master plan of the Durlans calls for a split with their allies of fortune, the Clann and Khund, once these forces begin to question the strategy of the foes. The results are spectacular and add to the drama of the event.)

Venditti has really put his stamp on this book and on this franchise, with wide-scope and effective plotting and deep characterization. This perceptible evolution of Hall is a most welcome addition to that.

Billy Tan, of course, continues to knock it out of the ballpark with his artwork here. Kudos for his consistent excellence at showing crowded panels that do not seem crowded.

All in all, Green Lantern and its franchise seem in safe hands these days.

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Review: Green Lantern #29 (Venditti and Tan)

Enough already!

No one loves complex space opera more than I, but in Green Lantern #29 writer Robert Venditti gives us everything except the cosmic kitchen sink. Literally.

Hal Jordan has lost face, in a way, and is trying to be the leader of the Green Lantern Corps that he always said the Guardians or Sinestro or someone should have been. What did he reap? Distrust among the entire universe for the cop corps, so much so that (knowing the Relik storyline) many members of the GLC are wary about using the light because they now know it is a finite thing, something that may not be replaceable after the (believed) death of the White Lantern.

Add to that the pressures of ongoing violence the GLC is policing, the recent destruction of Oa, the takeover and status quo change of the Red Lanterns, and an impending war and you have got quite a bit for one magazine. And that does not even touch upon the most poignant situation in the book: the loss of hope for the surviving Blue Lantern, my beloved Saint Walker (now just “Walker,” which I hate).

Is this blue fella gonna snap out of his funk in order to help the Greens in the war, or will he sulk his way across the entire issue and into the next Green Lantern Corps issue?

Venditti is playing with his chess pieces, and not a bit of it smells of set-up, a sin Geoff Johns was often guilty of. But at the same time … too much too soon! Slow down, we will buy the extra issue.

Multiple artists again. Good thing the incredible Billy Tan has put such a visual mark on the Venditti Green Lantern that Martin Coccolo follows suit. Again, the most beautiful book on the stands this week.

And Simon Baz makes his return, and actually has a function outside his being, well, “diverse.” This should develop into quite the subplot.

Such a wonderful issue deserves a better ending. I will let you be the judge.

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Review: Green Lantern #28 (Venditti)/Red Lanterns #28 Flip Book

Two comics for the price of one!

It’s time for the vaunted Green Lantern #28/Red Lanterns #28 flip issue, and I am glad to report – both as a commercial device and as a storytelling mechanism – the flip book is a complete success. And what we should be looking for in comics: fun!

In Green Lantern #28, the mystery of Supergirl as a Red Lantern begins. The fact that we do not discover the answers here in these two issues but in the upcoming Supergirl #28 does nothing to spoil the fun of a Kryptonian with a red rage ring, nor does it harm writer/franchise planner Robert Venditti’s beautiful action yarn here.

Let’s face it, not many folk are hip to the Green Lantern Corps these days across the space sectors, including many of the Lanterns themselves. Robbed of the guilt-free feeling of using the light to enforce crime across the galaxies, some Lanterns cannot justify killing the universe’s future for a little justice, and this is exactly the wonderful status quo that Venditti has brought to the franchise across the board.

From deep space to Mogo environs, there is plenty of action here for the great art of Billy Tan. You have never seen Kara Zor-El so savage, nor Hal Jordan quite as confused. I really do not feel that sorry for Hal, he has reaped what he has sewn, but Tan makes him sulk like the little boy who just got caught playing a prank on the teacher. Ya gotta love them facial expressions!

FLIP!

Here is more of the new status quo as the Red Lanterns take over responsibility for Sector 2814, which includes our own Earth! Imagine Guy Gardner leading the Reds in our protection, and you can see why the objections of some (no spoilers here, just review) do not ring exactly as hollow as Hal would have us believe.

Kara’s mystery continues here, with some pleasant surprises and some fine action although no real answers (again, in Supergirl).

Red Lanterns#28 continues writer Charles Soule’s wonderful transformation of this group from dire villains and then anti-heroes into a Corps that I can not only understand and back, but perhaps actually cheer for eventually. All it took was a complete overhaul and the addition of Guy and a conscious crew, if you will.

I am still not a fan of Alessandro Vitti’s art here; just seems out of place and not on spot with Soule’s script. I am trying. And for Pete’s sake, colorist Gabe Eltaeb, I know the chief hue is red here but between the Lanterns and Supergirl’s eye beams, I feel like I have redeye and I have not even been on a plane! A little down toning, please.

All in all, a successful experiment which I would welcome again. Chief beneft? I saved three bucks!

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Review: Green Lantern #26 (Venditti and Tan)

The star of Green Lantern #26 is not Hal Jordan but Billy Tan. His art is off the charts this month, and he really backs up a rather luke-warm tale by Robert Venditti with a rollickingly rough ride through space.

Tan has the ability to crowd a panel with aliens and yet make it not look crowded, each character looking like a self-contained and unique being and not an army of computer duplicates. I mean, look at Iath and Gorin-Sunn, for Oa’s sake! Detail!

Among these rich and visually delightful panel arrangements of Tan is Venditti’s continuing saga of light use by the GLC and others. Hal ironically is both the strongest voice on preserving light and the foremost user of same. As he preaches preservation, he goes on a tangent with its use in those great action scenes.

Kinda reminds me of the Green Movement back in the 1970s, with the crying Native American. What if he were crying while watching littering on the highway but also throwing away Styrofoam cups and Kleenex as he weeped? That is today’s Hal, leader of the GLC.

Most of my interest these days is in these dedicated Lanterns who believe they can police their sectors without the light. Some have innate powers, granted, but others are just humanoids chosen by the ring because they do not know fear. That is who I would like to focus on more a tad.

Overall, I enjoyed the issue. Some of Hal’s humor falls flat, but at least he is trying, and that is his greatest strength. And he is once again the star of his own book, and you cannot knock that.

A fun cosmic read!

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Review: Green Lantern #25 (Venditti and Tan)

A new leader, a new headquarters, a new status quo. Seems there are lots of new things in the Lantern-verse post-Geoff Johns.

Now, following the cosmic “Lights Out” storyline, that new leader – Hal Jordan by name, and about time, IMHO – has made a controversial decision and not all Lanterns are in tune with the Earthman’s way of thinking.

You might call it the “Gospel According to Relic”; that is, the universe is summarily being damaged by the very usage of the Lantern rings. And if, in fact, the rings are a drain on the energy that fuels the universe, then when and why are all ring slingers – and the Green Lantern Corps, a unit of galactic cops, specifically – justified in using them?

Some Green Lanterns, still dedicated to their oaths, believe they can police their sectors without use of the rings. Hal is not of that mindset, and it is the new leader’s efforts to grapple with this questions that brings about a rift in the Corps at a time when what it needs most is solidarity.

Writer and franchise architect Robert Venditti does not beat around the bush as Green Lantern #25 begins this debate on its very first page and the ramifications of the discussion held on new HQ Mogo will most likely be seen in every book, but especially Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns (which is becoming a startlingly new type of book).

Venditti has a way of weaving this initial post-“Lights Out” story that it is a unified whole, even with jumps of locale. You can tell the scribe knows he is setting up the future of the franchise as they strive to achieve a unity as well as individual identities – not an easy task.

Billy Tan and Rob Hunter deliver wonderful art with this basic set-up issue, one that is badly needed following the event and Annual. Tan has a great knack for crowding panels with alien beings sharp with detail and making them not seem crowded. Alex Sinclair and Tonia Avina follow through with the job of continuing to make GL one of the best looking books on the stands this week. Kudos.

The future looks dark but rife with possibilities for Green Lantern. As a reader, I could not be happier.

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Review: Green Lantern #21 (Venditti)

So a new era has begun for the Green Lantern franchise, and here is one man’s opinion on Green Lantern #21: I love it!

This is not your typical clean-up and set-up issue because things are happening hot and heavy on Oa: now, soon and in the future!

First surprise (at least to Hal Jordan): The new Guardians Templar are leaving Oa to learn a few things (having been in a box a billion years and all) and are leaving Jordan in charge. (After all the drama in New Guardians, good to see Kyle hysterical trying to back Jordan’s rebuttal to the newbies’ offer up!)

Looks like love has lost out again with Hal and Carol on Earth, only this time it is her concern for the love that powers her own ring rather than her boyfriend’s wanderlust. Interesting.

And if the glimpse of the future is to be believed, looks like Relik may be a Galactus-in-the-making. Talk about powerful? The whole Central Power Battery for the Greens has gone dead!

But back in the “now,” recruits arrive (many unwilling since, apparently, the Cops of the Cosmos are not as popular as they used to be) just in time for an invasion by … Agent Orange AKA Larfleeze! Apparently he wants everything on Oa.

And what is happening down in the Sciencells? Could it be a little hanky panky?

Yep, things are happening hot and heavy on Oa. And this is not a review of the whole line this month, but only GL #21!

Writer Robert Venditti has done a brilliant job of hooking in the cosmic readers with Relik and the promise of things to come while those loyal to the Lantern mythos see it recharged and reinvigorated here.

And the art of Billy Tan and Richard Friend is sharp and carries the script wonderfully. Colors by Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina continue to make GL one of the best-looking books on the shelves.

This is not Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern. But it builds on his world nicely and realistically, not the abrupt cut some other books have taken when new creators come a’callin’.  I look forward to the changes, the expansion of the mythos, and cosmic adventures galore!

(Oh, and by the way, if you caught CBN’s exclusive interview with Van Jensen and Green Lantern Corps, you will understand his “fitting” joke about Kilowog if you read GL #21. Funny.)

The light is green. Let’s go!

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Check Out Billy Tan’s New Green Lantern Villain: Relic

DC Comics debuted a new Green Lantern villain that was created by artist Bily Tan with Relic.

There’s a new intergalactic villain in town: Relic. As a new era begins for Green Lantern, a new evil rises to face him. Check out the design by new GREEN LANTERN artist Billy Tan.

It’s quite possible that Relic could have something to do with the rumored upcoming “Villain’s Month” in September that will see a whole new batch of #1 issues featuring the villains of the New 52.

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Exclusive Interview: New Green Lantern Scribe Robert Venditti Discusses New Direction For Hal Jordan & Co.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:6029:]]The entire line of Green Lantern comics will be undergoing creator changes in June, but by far the most high profile change is occurring in the franchise title itself.

After years of adding to and re-establishing the Green Lantern mythos, writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is leaving the series. Stepping into those big shoes is Robert Venditti who, with artist Billy Tan, will be bringing the new adventures of Hal Jordan and friends to life.

Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer talked exclusively with Venditti about Green Lantern the character, Green Lantern the book, and in what direction Hal Jordan will be headed after the end of the ongoing “Wrath of the First Lantern” event, if indeed he survives it.

Cosmic Book News: Congratulations on the new assignment, Robert. Tell us how it came about.

Robert VendittiWhen Geoff Johns made the decision to bring his run to a close, group editor Matt Idelson asked me if I’d be interested in pitching for it. I was of course very interested, but also a bit intimidated. Geoff is one of the most significant comics writers of the last decade, and when you read Green Lantern, it’s easy to see why. The level of character and imagination he brought to the series is staggering.

I put together a pitch with ideas I thought might be good directions for the series to go in, and within that pitch were several plots and subplots we’ll be using in our first few arcs. The entire process was pretty intense, with me ultimately flying to New York and making my final pitch at the DC offices. And here we are. 

CBN: Geoff Johns is leaving Green Lantern after a long period. How do you step into such big shoes?

Robert Venditti: I try not to dwell on that. If I did, I’d probably psych myself out. I’m just going to tell the best stories I can, the way I know how to tell them. That’s all any writer can do, really.  

CBN: As you previously said, Geoff added many things to the GL mythos. Any ideas in mind that you would love to see become canon?

Robert Venditti: Yeah, our first arc will add something that I hope will be fairly significant to the Green Lantern mythology. We aren’t going off on some wild tangent, though. We’re very much building on what Geoff has done during his run. There are so many great toys there, how could we not want to play with them?

CBN: We have been dealing with ring bearers and color spectrums for awhile. Any plans to venture into DCU space and involve alien races in a Green Lantern adventure where the only ring is his own?

Robert Venditti: Sure, but not right away. As I said, we’re coming out of the gate with a new addition to the mythology, and if we execute the story the way we want to, for all intents and purposes it’ll connect every Lantern of every color that has ever appeared in any comic book. So, you know, baby steps.

CBN: With both Sinestro and Baz usurping the book, from what I have read Hal Jordan will be your main focus. Why?

Robert Venditti: Hal is one of the most unique and enjoyable characters in all of comics, and from the moment DC reached out to me about pitching for the series, he was always my focus. It also helps that he’s the most logical choice, given the events that will transpire by the end of Geoff’s run.

CBN: Any particular cosmic entity or entities you would like to pit Hal against?

Robert Venditti: To start, we’ll be introducing a couple of completely new villains, one of the cosmic variety, and the other less so. There are going to be a ton of new characters in the early arcs, actually. 

CBN: Will the Green Lantern books stay unto themselves for awhile or will there be some linewide “event” threaded through them again soon?

Robert Venditti: The goal is to have Green Lantern fulfill both roles—the book will stand on its own as an individual story, but it’ll also tie in with the rest of the titles in the family. Since the first arc will be dealing with the mythology and history of the characters, there are threads that run through everything. And Josh Fialkov and Justin Jordan will be bringing great things to their respective series, so you can’t go wrong by reading everything.  

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:6030:]]CBN: What does Billy Tan bring to the table? Are you a fan of his work?

Robert Venditti: I am a fan. Billy is almost finished with our first issue, and it looks astounding. There’s a double-page spread he sent in the other day, and I couldn’t believe the level of detail. The drama and ferocity of the scene just leaps off the page. I’m no artist, but I can imagine drawing a book like Green Lantern—all the alien races and cosmic settings—is no easy task. Billy stepped into the batter’s box and started hitting it out of the park from page one.

 CBN: Any other projects coming up you’d care to discuss?

Robert Venditti: I’m still writing Demon Knights, as well as X-O Manowar for Valiant. And I’m working with artist Nate Powell on an adaptation of Rick Riordan’s novel The Lost Hero, the first installment in his Heroes of Olympus series. My next two adaptations in Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, both with artist Attila Futaki, will be out in July and October of this year. On the creator-owned front, I’m just about finished with what will hopefully be the longest project I’ve ever undertaken, at least in terms of sheer writing. So there are quite a few things I’m excited to get on the shelves.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank the very busy Robert Venditti for taking the time to talk with us. CBN would also like to thank Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski of DC PR for helping make this issue possible.

“Green Lantern” #21 by Robert Venditti and Billy Tan hits shelves in June!

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Review: Uncanny X-Force #19.1

Enter Now: The Age of Apocalypse! Nuff’ said!

Remender’s Uncanny X-Force #19.1 is the set up issue for Age of Apocalypse, which debuts on March 7th. And like most “set up” issues, Remender lays the landscape wide open for us as to what we will expect from the regular series. If this new series is half as good as what Remender gives us — I’m sold!

Following the A.O.A. versions of Jean Grey and Sabretooth back to the Age of Apocalypse after their mission with X-Force, Remender shows us just what has been going on while they were on leave. Apocalypse (Wolverine version, in case you were wondering) has taken his fight against all humanity up to the next level. All humans, and their mutant sympathizers, are to be exterminated on sight, but there is one group that has a plan that might just be able to turn the tide of genocide. A group of humans that have perfected their fighting abilities since early childhood, in order to survive long enough to fight back. Those that have made it this far, and have stood up in the face of terror, have been dubbed — The Exterminated!

Remender has out done himself again! Mixing familiar characters with new ones, and letting the newer ones have a resounding voice throughout is something quite unique. Especially when the new characters are so well crafted that they could have carried the book by themselves! The entire past and present of the character Prophet was told in a mere four pages, and yet it was so good that I am completely vested in this character already! There is a depth that Remender gives to his characters that makes them so much more than the sum of their parts. He truly gives them a “voice” that once you’ve heard, it becomes a siren song that you need to hear over and over again.

There is so much going on in this book, that you never notice there are no Uncanny X-Force members even in it! Remender has invested so much time between the readers and the A.O.A. characters in the last few months, that it doesn’t feel out of place at all. Plus, the things that go on within the story are so shocking, you could really care less what is going on with the core team! No spoilers here! But I will say, that it’s a good thing they introduced so many new characters. It’s kind of tough to write a book with no one in it! Go Black Legion! That’s not really a spoiler — is it? Oh, Man!

Go get this book and get in on the ground floor of the new series, Age of Apocalypse! The only way the month of March could get any better, was if Remender was writing the series himself!

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Review: X-Men: Regenesis #1 (One-Shot)

Two friends and teammates, men who have been through everything together over countless years, have decided to go their separate ways. And in doing so, they have not only dissolved their friendship, but they have also torn the entire mutant race asunder. Who will stay a fighter and who will become a student? This book …

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