Wednesday Comments – The Trouble With Green Lantern & Green Lantern Corps

I want to enjoy Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. As a longtime fan of both the title and the concept, I’m really trying stick with the titles in the hopes that they get better. But my optimism is waning.

As I said I’m a diehard GL fan. I’ve got issue of Green Lantern from #184 (vol2) to the present, with the exception of vol 3 #9-12 (I didn’t care for Guy Gardner when these issues were released.) But it’s been awhile since I could actually say that I cared about the characters or the stories on the pages of Green Lantern.

I feel like part of the problem is that the current writers for Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, Robert Vendetti and Van Jensen, haven’t really put their stamp on the books. Instead they’re doing a pale imitation of what Geoff Johns did to make the franchise one of DC’s strongest.

Let me explain.

On Green Lantern, Geoff Johns combined the two things he did really well on both The Flash and JSA; character work that acknowledged previous continuity (The Flash) and epic scale threats and action (JSA.)

He started slowly with Green Lantern: Rebirth, which lead to a relaunched Green Lantern title. Then he made Green Lantern a heavy hitter with Sinestro Corps War. Of course the success of Sinestro Corps War lead to bigger events with diminishing returns. And soon Green Lantern became a huge machine that just cranked out events, including Blackest Night, War of the Green Lanterns, War of Light, Rise of the Third Army and Wrath of the First Lantern

And because one big story lead to the next big story, nothing really felt all that big. Because if every story is an epic, than epic loses all sense of scale. What started out as revitalization of the Green Lantern concept ended up with the concept being trapped in an endless cycle of world shattering arcs.

So when Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, Charles Soule and Justin Jordan took over for the Green Lantern family of books, I was optimistic that things would change. New writers means a new take, right?

Unfortunately after three issues, there was an obligatory crossover “Lights Out.” Granted it only lasted a month, but the fact that the run of the new writers almost immediately began with an epic world-shattering event, filled me with dismay.

After Lights Out, Jordan and Soule managed to break Green Lantern: New Guardians and Red Lanterns off on their own journeys, which have been really enjoyable for the most part.

But Venditti and Jensen are stuck in the same cycle that Johns created; there’s a threat to the entire Green Lantern Corps that spans the universe and Hal Jordan has to save the day.

The current crossover between Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps is called “Uprising” and will last for three months. And it’s got all the familiar plot points that you’ve come to expect from Green Lantern epics of the past; there’s an internal threat to the Corps, Hal Jordan recklessly not listening, aliens aiming to snuff out the oppressive Green Lantern Corps.

Yawn.

I really wish Venditti and Jensen would realize there’s more than one Green Lantern story to tell. You can do a Green Lantern story that’s not paint by numbers.
Some ideas;

-Hal Jordan does have a secret identity, he could return to Earth and try to have a life. Anyone else remember Cowgirl?

-Or if you’re committed to having Hal in space, he tries patrolling the other 99% of his sector that isn’t Earth.

-The Green Lantern Corps could be threatened…with being supplanted as a policing organization. Is the universe big enough for the GLC and (Darkstars, L.E.G.I.O.N. or even something new.)

-Hal decides to go off soul searching and bums around the universe for a spell, bumping into various DC space concepts and characters, learning a different lesson from each one.

-Maybe have an arc that’s a personal story about Hal, where the danger and threat isn’t world shattering, but heartbreaking.

Green Lantern could actually be a really fun and interesting book it if ever got out of the loop it’s been stuck in for the past few years. Sinestro Corps War was an awesome Green Lantern story, but the title was just as good when it featured a couple of Hard Traveling Heroes, which seems to be something that Venditti and Jensen seem to have forgotten.

But that’s just something to think about.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday so go out and get yourself some fresh new comic books from your local comic shop.

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