Random Retrospective #15 – Green Lantern #103

Due to some major time-travelling shenanigans in the run up to issue #100 of GREEN LANTERN, Kyle Rayner had returned to the present from both the future and then the past but had ended up bring back Hal Jordan from a point in his career where he hadn’t long started out. Helping him to adjust, Kyle breaks the news about Coast City (destroyed in the Reign of Superman storyline) and Hal’s own dark past as Parallax in ZERO HOUR and his redemption in FINAL NIGHT.

All of which leads to this issue where Kyle takes Hal up to the JLA Watchtower to meet the team. And in 1998, it’s a big team.

Kyle and Wally chat as Hal meets the rest of the team with Kyle admitting to being nervous about bringing Hal up, but still feeling (mostly) secure that the JLA still need Kyle. And then this happens:

Not only do they offer Hal a place on the team but they literally give him Kyle’s chair – it’s got his symbol on it! Understandably annoyed at feeling like he’s been relegated back to the ranks of rookie, he fights with Wally and heads back to Earth. He helps with a bomb situation in New York only to be criticised by the attending police about the mess he’s made while saving people, and then returns to his apartment where Jen aka Jade is staying with him, and she delivers news that he didn’t get an art job he’d applied for.

Jen’s a good listener and helps him realise that he’s not being replaced by Hal and that there’s probably a reason for it, all of which leads to the culmination of several issues worth of will they / won’t they speculation.

Later that night, Kyle gets a visit from the only one of the JLA not to have been at the Watchtower to meet Hal – Batman. He reveals that it was his idea to offer Hal membership to the JLA in a “keep your enemies closer” move, so that he can be aware of what’s going on. Batman also gives Kyle some much needed reassurance as well.

On the whole, I really liked Ron Marz’s run on GREEN LANTERN as he developed Kyle into his own character, quickly managing to get out from under the shadow of Hal. With this storyline, he was able to pair them up and show them working together, showing Kyle as a worthy successor.

Random Retrospective #9 – Green Lantern #23.1

Here we are, not only in the New 52 but part of the FOREVER EVIL event where the villains in various DC titles had their own spotlight issues, giving their origin or focusing on some aspect of their story because, you know, the bad guys from Earth-3 have taken over the Earth at this point, so why not look at the bad guys?

To be fair, this issue of GREEN LANTERN was actually pretty good. Robert Venditti’s run on the title was solid for the most part, and the introduction of new enemy Relic – literally a hold over from a previous version of the universe – was a worthy foe not only for the Green Lanterns but all the ring wielders. And full marks to penciller Rags Morales for the entire issue being splash pages that look really good.

The story is basically Relic’s origin, how he realised the Lightsmiths of his universe were depleting a limited source of energy and how he tried to convince them to stop for the good of all existence. Of course, they don’t listen to him and, before long, it’s too late. Everything’s done.

He expects to die with the rest of the universe, but instead goes through the Source Wall and sleeps for eons in the new universe until he’s woken by Kyle Rayner, he White Lantern at this point. Sensing the proximity of a lightsmith, he wakes full of righteous anger, determined to stop the Lanterns using this universe’s finite source of power.

As I say, I enjoyed Venditti’s run and the introduction of Relic made a for a good foil for the Lanterns.

Random Retrospective #7 – JLA #73

I know we had an issue of JLA a couple of weeks ago, but as these posts are looking just at my comic collection, there’s a fair bet it’s going to be DC heavy so expect some titles to crop up more than once.

Joe Kelly’s run on JLA was probably, for me at least, dominated by this storyline, The Obsidian Age, where the JLA go to Atlantis in the past and end up being killed, forcing Batman to enact a Plan B which saw Nightwing lead a bunch of mostly second string heroes as a reserve JLA to beat the bad guy and bring the main team back. That reserve JLA included a hero called Faith who, I think, got on to the League for the same reason that Naomi has these days – she was the creation of the writer.

The team travel to Atlantis in the present because some crazy old witch has moved most of the Earth’s water from one side of the planet to the other, destabilising the orbit. The find and confront the witch who really has bonded with her native land:

And despite holding the upper hand for about two seconds, the League are defeated by the witch just before the island is bombed by the air force on the command of Lex Luthor (as he’s President of the US at this point.)

That explosion is a new form of bomb which provides enough energy for the ring-generated energy form holding the spirit of Green Lantern (stay with me, people) to grab the team and protect them. He introduces them to Manitou Raven and says they’ve been waiting for 3,000 years in order to work out a plan to go back in time and save everyone.

I remember thinking at the time that The Obsidian Age probably went on a couple of issues too long – it was a prelude and seven issues – and re-reading this one still has me feeling that; it’s too drawn out when it should have been tighter. Can’t help thinking that it was waiting for a trade collection, to be honest.

That said, I enjoyed Kelly’s run on the whole and I think it gets forgotten a little as it follows Morrison and then Waid on the title, which is a shame.

100 Issues Ago October 2013

While a large part of the DCU was off dealing with the results of FOREVER EVIL as mentioned last month, the Green Lantern family of titles started Lights Out, a multi-part story that told the arrival of Relic and his determination to stop all the Lantern Corps, not just the Green, from draining the well of the emotional spectrum. Here Relic arrives on Oa having already kicked the collective behinds of White Lantern Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris, and the Templar Guardians. Despite the Corps attempts, and Hal Jordan stepping up and actually acting like a leader, it’s not long before the Central Power Battery is drained by Relic and the Corps left powerless.

My recollection of Venditti’s run on GREEN LANTERN is mostly positive, and the Lights Out storyline was one of the stand outs, I think.

Elsewhere in DC, FOREVER EVIL smears itself across multiple titles; Power Girl copes with a loss of powers in WORLDS’ FINEST; Jim Starlin continues ignoring everything that’s ever happened in STORMWATCH and writes his own stories, paying no attention to the DCU; SWAMP THING‘s villain Seeder is revealed to be an old adversary; and it’s the last issue of EARTH-2 written by James Robinson who was (if I recall correctly) rather unceremoniously dropped from the title.

Outside of DC, Dark Horse continues it’s adaptation of George Lucas’ original draft of THE STAR WARS, while Oni Press launches LETTER 44 by Charles Soule which I picked up as I was impressed by his writing in SWAMP THING.