Thursday, February 26, 2009

Green Lantern #38 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Review by Chris Clow

If you've been in the shop at all recently, a lot of the event-buzz isn't on the Norman Osborn-led Marvel universe, but about a slowly erupting universal war of light in which the blackness of death threatens to swallow the universe whole. The fear of the Yellow, the love of the Sapphire, the hope of the Blue, the will of the Green, and the latest to receive the spotlight, the rage of the Red, threaten an epic War of Light that promises to make the Sinestro Corps War look like ramen noodles cooking on a stove. We have yet to meet the other Corps that will shine their light across the DC Universe, but we've seen the first ramifications of these soldiers devotion to their Corps clash with the devotion others have for other Corps.

Throughout Geoff Johns' volume of Green Lantern, he has consistently had the Guardians of the Universe refer to Earth not only as the center of the multiverse, but also as the most emotionally rich and diverse planet in existence. By exploring the "emotional spectrum" that gives all these Corps their powers, he drives the point of human potential out of the park by having Hal Jordan experience three vastly different power sources that have a profound effect on him.

In this closing chapter of Rage of the Red Lanterns, we pick up exactly where we left off: Hal Jordan's furious anger at Sinestro for murdering Green-turned-Red Lantern Laira cause the deceased's red ring to travel to Jordan himself, overcoming the will with pure rage. Ready to murder Sinestro for retribution, the Blue Lanterns' power is revealed to be dependent on the presence of the Green. Since Hal's rage is coursing through his red ring, Blue Lantern Saint Walker has no choice but to shove a Blue ring on Jordan's finger and induct him into the Blue Lantern Corps.

The blue ring immediately senses the corruption of the red in Hal's body and purifies his body of the rage. Jordan is able to wield the Green and Blue simultaneously, asking Walker, "What did you do to me?"

Jordan appears to represent exactly what Johns has been saying about humanity: we are capable of feeling all of these emotions, and Jordan in this issue is literally wielding three different rings for a brief amount of time. What does this mean for the impending Blackest Night? Does this symbolize a larger role for Hal when the darkness falls over the light of all the Corps? This issue reinforces the consistent quality of Green Lantern, making it one of the best books we have the honor of placing on our shelves. All this title appears to be doing is making the wait for The Blackest Night that much more painful.

If you're not reading this title, I would seriously encourage any comic fan to jump in head first. From GL: Rebirth (available as a trade paperback) on up through Rage of the Red Lanterns (Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns and GL #36-38 all available in-store), the epic that Johns and his brain-trust are weaving is one of epic proportions that's likely to be remembered in the same vein we remember the O'Neil/Adams Batman run, or the best Lee/Kirby FF stories. This is comic history in the making, and I hope you're a part of it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1-2 by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu

Review by Chris Clow

Three years ago, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk burst onto the scene and people went mad for it. By literally starting with Logan getting ripped in half, the sheer force of and power of the forthcoming fight was partially realized, and aggressively whet the fans' appetites for the throw-down that would inevitably ensue.

Then, the series was plagued by delays and was seemingly dead on arrival. After over two years of literally hearing meaningless excuses that most thought would lead to the inevitable cancellation of the series, this past year in San Diego,
the fans witnessed new life breathed into the rest of the series literally right before their eyes. Damon Lindelof, writer of the troubled series, slapped down the script to the finale issue #6 right in front of Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. #3-5 had already been completed, and artist Leinil Francis Yu was hard at work making sure that issues 3-6 would ship on a rigid monthly schedule.

Marvel recently reprinted the first two issues in preparation for the coming March 4th release of issue 3. Not having been a huge Ultimate universe fan, or much of a Marvel fan for that matter, I picked up the first two issues completely cold and decided to read through what so many people seemed to be eagerly anticipating. The most surprising thing for me, is that I loved it. Instead of being 44-pages of fist flying action, the first two-issues gave a decent back-story to why these characters have to fight in the first place.

Lindelof explores the motivations for why certain people belive that the Hulk should be killed, why Wolverine is the right man for the job, and there's only one real reason (at least so far) that Logan decides to take the duty on. Personally, I'm hoping for more of a reason for Wolverine to accept the job, but the reason he gives right off the bat is at least in-character.

Yu's artwork does a very good job of showing emotion, it always has. My critiques of his work lie more in character designs. Other than the Hulk, the most non-Human character in this story, all the people look relatively similar. Like his wor
k on Secret Invasion, and even going back to my favorite story featuring his art in Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright, Yu's strengths are detail in action (not just fighting but even simple movement) and emotive characters. Hulk's anger is very easily visible throughout the series. Wolverine's shock, not only at the beginning of issue #1 where he sees that he's little more than a torso with arms and a head, but also at the end of issue #2 when he encounters Hulk, is very clear and almost empathetic.

The bottom line is that I recommend this series sin
ce it's a surprisingly good character study, and the forthcoming fight between two of the most brutal characters in Marvel's stable promises to be, in a word, epic.