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Old 12-28-2015, 06:24 PM   #1
Lundonj
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Default Read all of volume five again...

--Some spoilers for the series over the last four years of the new run.--


The holidays opened up some serious free time, so I re-read volume five in its entirety, and I have to admit I enjoyed it more the second time through than the first. I had been dismissive of the Venditti part of the run. Then I started to see what he was building during the Renegade arc, and it looks have a chance to finish strong and be his be a substantive contribution to the overall GL legacy.

So, I thought I would go back and see if there was anything I missed.

I started with the end of the Johns' era, the first 20 issues. The opening Sinestro story was really well done. I initially hated the string Sin had Hal on, but it worked. Reminded Hal of who he really was -- not a guy ready to settle down on earth, but someone who still loved being a GL. The Indigo tribe twist was fun to me, to learn their secret as a pile of bad guys under the influence of compassion.

That said, I had enough time exploring the emotional spectrum at that point. Of course, Hal had to go away as the lead character for 6-7 months to introduce Simon Baz as a new GL. I wasn't reading the boards here then to see what the reaction was. First time through, I didn't see him as unique enough to need another earth lantern, but the way of the world the last year or so, and yeah, although controversial, I think humanizing a culture (through fiction or non-fiction) is an important addition. Slinging the side arm - which I realize is another way to visually and literally make him different -- but still silly for a GL. It makes it less interesting to me if a character is armed when the power ring runs dry.

The last Johns arc - started a bit slow, but finished in the way it had to, finally dispatching the consistently inconsistent characters of the GL Universe, the Guardians. Hal gets to break out of the world of dead (finally) and a decent hand off to the new series writer. The extra sized #20 is still my favorite issue of the current volume.

Venditti opened with an idea I still don't like -- some kind of weird analogy to me of our real world energy issues - we discover power rings are bad for the Universe. We get a group of pro-environment GLs who refuse to use their rings.

Hal being Hal, he considers the work of bringing justice to the Universe is more important than any sort of energy crisis. Regardless of personal politics, I thought Venditti's Hal was especially wooden and more thick skulled than usual, and not in a good way. Everyone should have some concern when energy is a finite resource.

Relic is a nice add to the GL stable of bad guys, although he is a bit close to the Krona prototype, long lived and curious, but not quite as powerful. Certainly a big enough threat to keep it interesting.

Ultimately, I think this is the arc that made me critical of the new direction, that and the whole Carol-Kyle debacle. Of course, the rift between Carol and Hal had been going since the New 52 kicked off, and yes, Carol is a smart, strong character who would be wise enough to eventually walk away from the non-relationship. But making Kyle the new guy? As lame as lame could be. And it is lame. Nothing against Kyle either, he seems like he deserves someone outside of the spectrum to hang around with. Cheap pull to kick up some faux anxiety between the two and that was even downplayed to dull. Life long love walks away? Kind of a big deal. Live long love goes to arms of a friend? Huge deal. Barely discussed in the books. So, that was big ugh number two.

The energy crisis and Carol aside, the rebuild of Hal has been interesting. Leader of the Corps, who ultimately gets called out by Sinestro for being too wooden, and not his normal, spur of the moment, do whatever it takes Hal. That was pretty cool. Sinestro was saying exactly what I was thinking - points to Venditti. He set it up nicely.

The Renegade arc makes complete sense, and it may yet be another bad call by Hal. Which is kind of fun. Another strength to this run is the Hal/Kilowog relationship throughout. And 'Wog thought it a bad idea and supported his friend anyway.

With Hal's luck, the GLC he is trying to restore by becoming an outlaw that can take any blame away from them -- they vanish. So, he did it all for nothing thus far. Except, he apparently will need this gauntlet to fight ghost of Christmas past - his old Parallax self. I think I had been in discussions with folks here before, years ago of the time traveling element of the original Parallax. He is always available.

One more chance to explore the original fall -regardless of what we thought of of the 3-issue transition that introduced Kyle, I think it has some potential to get back inside the head of Parallax and compare notes with the modern Hal. Hopefully, this does not have to be an issue #50 tradition until the end of time, but it could be the highlight of the Venditti run.

-Don
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Old 12-29-2015, 03:04 PM   #2
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Default Really enjoy the summary

It was a really nice write up, I missed thoughtful critiques of the GL books I love. It is what brought me to this site in the first place, it is kind of sad that it is now more of a ghost town, but I am hopeful that DC has something in the works to rekindle the interest in GL in particular and DC in general. Back to your review, what did you think of the New Gods storyline, it was the only major arc not mentioned in your review? As a long time cosmic story fan, I would have thought a GL/New Gods war would have been epic, and while it wasn't that it wasn't (to me at least) that bad. I am really intrigued by the looming Parallax storyline and hope in protends something big for the DC universe. I long for the days when this site is full of new threads, fresh takes and excitement about the GL franchise.
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:57 AM   #3
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Thanks. I do realize long winded write-ups are an endangered species, but the comic book is still one of my favorite art forms.

And, I don't think it all DC's fault message boards are ghost towns, all of the Marvel boards are far more quiet than they used to be as well, and smaller titles don't even have traffic anymore. I think social media killed a lot of message boards. We can all catch most news, feeds, new cover art, solicits -- without having to be on a message board. But I miss the interaction.

I generally know my own opinion, I like to hear what others think too. Actually, the mods here have done amazing work to keep this place rolling. It really is one of the more 'active' boards around, and a ton of people still zip by here to read what is going on.

That said, DC and the industry could take better care of their books and generate a chance for more people to return here. But a few things are going well, and luckily GL has become interesting again.

I didn't initially intend to leave out the Godhead arc, I just felt like I was running long and skipped to the end. I liked it, and like you I expected more from it. Orion in particular has been written a lot of ways, and at first felt a little cold, but he really was more like Kirby's take on the character.

A great line though, when Hal reminds Highfather that he was becoming what he hated - Darkseid. For better or worse, Hal does have experience in that department. Interesting that Hal went with Sinestro's advice and followed his instinct to reach out to Black Hand. Decent curveball in the arc, but another solution left to the emotional spectrum - there have to be some other ways to add depth to the GL mythos at this point.

Maybe that is where Parallax comes in?

-Don
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:04 PM   #4
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Well, I welcome and enjoy such discussions, so thanks. I try to make at least a small comment on every new GL issue, but sometimes I don't feel like I have anything very relevant to say. West has taken up the Sinestro reviews, which he does a pretty in-depth job of.

As to the current status of GL, I like Hal's return to Earth and the reboot of Sonar (so far), but I'm most looking forward to Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:25 PM   #5
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I agree with a lot of your points, I for the most part have enjoyed Volume 5 but there were a couple down spots in my opinion. The Johns part was pretty solid but not as fun as Volume 4 and Venditti seems to be getting better as he moves along. GL Annual 4 took a step back for me but he stepped it back up afterwards.

I don't think Venditti is necessarily a "bad" writer but he seemed to struggle to make people actually like Hal. The heavy-fisted Hal is a bad leader lasted too long for me. It wasn't until post-Godhead where I started to come around to his writing and I think he could benefit from a reread from me as well.

Lights Out perhaps happened too early in Venditti's run but I guess he needed to blaze his own path. Had we seen more before the radical changes and "wooden" Hal I think he may have earned a little more leeway.

Volume 5 was actually my first subscription (I was a trade reader and back issue hunter). I always wondered if his writing style didn't mesh well with the single issues but some of his later ones I enjoyed quite a bit.
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffalorock View Post
Volume 5 was actually my first subscription (I was a trade reader and back issue hunter). I always wondered if his writing style didn't mesh well with the single issues but some of his later ones I enjoyed quite a bit.
I think a lot of writers suffer from modern decompressed storytelling, in that they see their bigger six-issue picture and lose some of us along the way in the single issue slices of the puzzle.

That's why it was funny to me that suddenly Sinestro was voicing my opinion about Hal losing his way - "Research, planning and maps?"

And then proceeded to explain all the bits we didn't like about characterization via bad guy monologue. Nice touch, and likely planned ahead and not specifically to make me feel better about Hal forgetting his core traits.

This is why I loved the stand alone Darkseid War Green Lantern stand alone issue. A writer who still knows how to crush a complete adventure inside of 22-pages, and knowing the character like the back of his hand.


-Don
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Cop View Post
Well, I welcome and enjoy such discussions, so thanks. I try to make at least a small comment on every new GL issue, but sometimes I don't feel like I have anything very relevant to say. West has taken up the Sinestro reviews, which he does a pretty in-depth job of.

As to the current status of GL, I like Hal's return to Earth and the reboot of Sonar (so far), but I'm most looking forward to Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion.
I had holiday time to go over the whole run, so it was lucky. And really fun. I haven't read a big block o' GL like that in a long, long time.

West does do a good job on Sinestro books, so good, I picked up the last few issues of the series.

And I have hope GLC: Edge is going to be better than Lost Army...


-Don
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffalorock View Post
I don't think Venditti is necessarily a "bad" writer but he seemed to struggle to make people actually like Hal. The heavy-fisted Hal is a bad leader lasted too long for me. It wasn't until post-Godhead where I started to come around to his writing and I think he could benefit from a reread from me as well.

Lights Out perhaps happened too early in Venditti's run but I guess he needed to blaze his own path. Had we seen more before the radical changes and "wooden" Hal I think he may have earned a little more leeway.
I get the feeling that Relic is Venditti's "Beta Ray Bill". I always got the feeling that the story Simonson really wanted to tell was his Surter Saga but he needed something initially to grab attention while he got the pieces in place to tell the epic he wanted to tell. Relic seems to be a major piece in whatever Venditti is trying to say, so he needed to introduce him as soon as possible to have him established for whatever he chooses to use him for. Besides the overused Black Hand, Relic has made more appearances than any non 'regular' on any of the associated titles during the Vol 5 era.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lundonj View Post
Thanks. I do realize long winded write-ups are an endangered species, but the comic book is still one of my favorite art forms.
I don't think what you did was longwinded at all, in fact I thought it was pretty freaking awesome, and an example of what makes message boards great. You went into detail, and you added your own, well written take. It's terrific, certainly more boards could use more of this...a LOT more of this.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by KilowogsDisciple View Post
I don't think what you did was longwinded at all, in fact I thought it was pretty freaking awesome, and an example of what makes message boards great. You went into detail, and you added your own, well written take. It's terrific, certainly more boards could use more of this...a LOT more of this.
Thanks!

Who should I make this check out to?

;-)

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun re-reading the run, it changed my mind - somewhat. And, the series has a chance to end really well, or at least interesting.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lundonj View Post
Thanks!

Who should I make this check out to?

;-)

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun re-reading the run, it changed my mind - somewhat. And, the series has a chance to end really well, or at least interesting.
lol! Nah, I just hope you keep writing!
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:26 PM   #12
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Thank you for the write up; much appreciated! I'm catching up with Venditti's run right now. I've been off the book for a few months, it's been a low performer and I have a huge pull list. I decided to get back in for Rebirth. I didn't have plans to leave the title forever just bidding time until it returned to form.
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:30 PM   #13
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Thank you for the write up; much appreciated! I'm catching up with Venditti's run right now. I've been off the book for a few months, it's been a low performer and I have a huge pull list. I decided to get back in for Rebirth. I didn't have plans to leave the title forever just bidding time until it returned to form.
Wow, you've stayed interested in the Vendetti run THIS long? You're a better man than I.

Vendetti sucks, worse writer for Lantern since before Kyle's run. I'd be amazed to hear anyone catching up with that crap. No offense meant but (one more time) wow, you're jumping on at one of the low points of the entire title.
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