JUST JOSHING: Green Lantern 80th Anniversary
This week’s review is a special one for me. I’ve been a fan of Green Lantern since I was a kid. My parents had separated and my dad gave me something to focus on. Silver Age Green Lantern and Green Lantern number one by Gerald Jones and MD Bright are the books that started my love of comics. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and a little later, Kyle Rayner all shaped my ability to overcome fear as a young kid. So I thought in light of the fact that I scored my first Audio Services gig, I’d review what I got as a bonus for me.
Written and Illustrated by: Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Reading this makes me think that DC is sitting on a pile of money with this kind of anthology books. Once upon a time, Green Lantern had a quarterly anthology series called Green Lantern Corps Quarterly which featured different tales featuring different lanterns, some familiar and some never heard of before. I feel something like this would do well in this current environment as a regular quarterly deal.
That said the book is a celebration of Green Lantern in all its incarnations. All the fond stuff you remember is here. Some stories are hilarious and celebratory like Hal’s last testament by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Heart of the Corps by Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin is a fun story if you’re a Kilowog fan. And there’s a nice bit of nostalgia for fans like me in Legacy – Kyle’s story by Ron Marz and Daryl Banks. I grew up reading Kyle in particular and it was nice to go back to that kind of book. Ron and Daryl are a solid team and their story brought me back to simpler times.
There are fitting tributes to great creators like Dennis O’Neal and Dwayne McDuffie in two stories. “Time Alone” by Dennis O’Neal and Mike Grell is a throwback to simpler time and honors, in my opinion, one of the greatest writers in comics whoever did it. It talks about the value of silence and good books. I really enjoyed the analysis of superheroes solving problems with their fists and I enjoyed a silver age style tale.
The other tribute, “Reverse the Polarity” is written by Charlotte (Fullerton) MacDuffie and illustrated by ChrisCross. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who added a great dimension to John Stewart, who in my opinion, is simmering with incredible potential as a lead character and one of the best corps characters ever conceived. Dwayne was an incredibly gifted storyteller and he is missed. Reading this reminded me of just how good he was.
But the four best stories were “Dark Things Cannot Stand the Light” by James Tynion IV and Gary Frank. This was a fun pulpy tale about how you cannot escape yourself, and it was a nice solid character piece on Alan Scott. It was a great way to open up the anthology.
I have a soft spot for “Four” by Robert Venditti and Rafa Sandavol. It might be the best Guy Gardner short I’ve ever read. Robert’s run on the title is underrated. Robert is a solid world builder and he made Green Lantern his own and still honored what Geoff Johns had did before. You got the sense the characters in the story were old friends and brothers. And the ending was sad, touching and really showed that Rob got Guy Gardner. I won’t spoil this one. It might be the best story in here.
“The Voice” by Mariko Tamaki and Mirko Andolfo is a nice character piece. All the new lantern characters post new 52 are incredibly nuanced and well thought out of. Jessica is the embodiment of overcoming fear. Her anxiety is always a challenge and this story was totally about her character growth. How do you change the voice of fear? Her answer makes me smile.
Simon’s Story closes the anthology in “HomeGrown Hero” written by Sina Grace and illustrated by Ramon Villalobos features the other half of the Green Lanterns dynamic duo. Simon Baz is another great take on Green Lantern. Here, Simon and his family go to an art show and something bad happens. Baz plays the hero and from there, we see fear overcome by keeping on living and doing in spite of the harassment and terror of what might be out there. A great message I feel at this time on a multitude of levels and a great close.
There’s more. There are databases and pin-ups. This book is a celebration and a fitting one. I got my piece of nostalgia and I got some good stories. What’s not to like?
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My latest podcast is live. My current guest is Trista Robinson. Since I was last year the podcast has broken 400 episodes. I’m really proud of that feat and want to thank my readers at first comics for contributing to my success. Thank you very much. If you want to listen to my current episode you can do so here: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jpantalleresco/episodes/2020-08-24T14_23_17-07_00
Alright. I won’t be gone quite so long. Next week I review Far Sector, the best Green Lantern book out right now. Until then, keep surfing the chaos.