Friday, 16 September 2011

Review - Green Lantern #1


Picking right up from where War of the Green Lanterns left off, Green Lantern #1 deals with uncertainty. As a result the book occasionally feels less grand than we have come to expect, but that doesn't mean that the book suffers for it. There isn't a lot of action, but the excellent character work means that you probably won't notice too much.

We follow Hal Jordan as he struggles to pick up his life on Earth after being cast out of the Green Lantern Corps. We learn that he hasn't been home for three months and as such has lost his job at the air force and is facing eviction from his apartment. Hal is struggling. So much of his identity has been 'Green lantern' that he doesn't know how to exist as just 'Hal Jordan' and this comes across brilliantly. Carol Ferris comes to his rescue and he even manages to bumble that up.

Sinestro reluctantly accepts the Green Lantern ring and travels to his native Korugar to find that his Sinestro Corps have enslaved the planet. It is made very clear that they have no loyality to him now that he wears a green ring rather than yellow. We see something from Sinestro that we don't see very often; a resignation that he will need help to oust them and liberate his planet.

Without spoiling anything, there is something up between Ganthet and the other Guardians of the Universe. This has been coming for a while (since Ganthet left them to found the Blue Lanterns and tension grew when he forged his own Green Lantern ring and became a Green Lantern). This doesn't take up a lot of page space, but the repercussions could be huge.

I had a tough time when deciding what score to give Green Lantern #1. I was very close to giving it 8/10, but felt that I needed to remove a star to reflect that the book isn't that easy for new readers to pick up. As a long time Green Lantern reader I understand who these characters are and their relationships, so when their dynamics are changed I can understand why and see that it is  a natural progression. However, I feel that someone completely new to the franchise would have had too much to digest without enough explanation. The score that I ultimately gave GL is still a good one (remember I take 5 as average, not 7 like some reviewers) and I do recommend it. However, new readers may want to do some background reading first.

My rating:
A solid start to Green lantern v5. Spot on characterisation, new dynamics and loads of potential being set up. Johns' handle on the Green Lantern universe is nothing sort of astounding; add this to your pull list.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Catwoman #4 cover

Who's getting a visit from Selina Kyle?*

*Rhetorical. It's fairly obvious.

Star Wars: A quick look at the Expanded Universe

This month my Starburst column has taken a bit of a departure from my usual format and has looked at a phenomenon that just bloody well damned refuses to live by the cross-medium rules.

Star Wars has been pretty much everything. Movie, TV, comic, video game, Monopoly, LEGO, toothbrush. You name it, Star Wars has been it.

The mind boggling thing is that it has nearly always been successful.

So this is where my departure comes in; this month I won't be telling you how it was a film first, so the film must be better. This month I'll be telling you why Star Wars is so successful across many media.


Star Wars itself went through many changes and difficulties on it's journey to the silver screen. Greenlit as part of a two-picture deal (the first being American Graffiti) in 1971, what would become Star Wars was dropped in early pre-production. The treatment went through several drafts, each adding in aspects such as the 'force' and 'death star' as Lucas took influence from Kurosawa, Buddist shaolin monks, spaghetti westerns and Flash Gordon-style Pulp science fiction movie reels. The title going into principle photography reflected these disparate influences; Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star War. Through the production of the early movies one person guided George Lucas to many of the saga's defining moments; his wife Marcia. Most notably she helped George come to the decision to kill Ben Kenobi.

Whilst it appears, when one looks back at the ever-changing back story and troubled pre-production, that Star Wars was cobbled together as a series of compromises, it is actually these rewrites, compromises and on-set changes that make Star Wars work so well. The on set change of one line at the end of Empire Strikes Back made the film crackle that bit more. Instead of responding "I love you too", Han Solo's "I know." as he is lowered to his doom creates a much more powerful scene.

From the mysterious shaolin concept of chi, Lucas extrapolated a warrior religion that would become known as the Jedi. From spaghetti westerns we would get the heroic mercenary pair, Han Solo and Chewbacca, followed by Boba Fett and his ilk. The movie serials of Flash Gordon brought the epic space opera scale. War movies inspired the dog-fight Death Star run. Kurosawa brought the master-apprentice relationship, as well as many of the classic 'Star Wars' shots and transitions. Rather than make Star Wars feel disjointed, these influences act as an adhesive, gluing them into the sum of their parts; something distinctly 'Star Wars'. There is something for everyone in these movies, they appeal to children and adults alike. Some like the cocky and dangerous word of Han Solo, some like the mysticism of the Jedi Knights, some enjoy the classic battle between rebel and tyrant.

Read the rest of this article at Starburst Magazine.

Tony Bedard talks Green Lantern New Guardians

I had the opportunity to interview Green Lantern writer Tony Bedard for Starburst magazine. Here is an excerpt, but you can read the whole thing at Starburst.

STARBURST: Can you explain the New 52 Green Lantern status quo for fans that saw the movie, but haven't read any comics yet?

TONY: The movie established a lot of the basics: that ancient blue aliens called the Guardians of the Universe empowered the Green Lantern Corps to act as an interstellar army of peacekeepers. Hal Jordan became the first Green Lantern from Earth, eventually outshining even the great Green Lantern Sinestro, who goes on to become Hal's greatest foe. In September, the New 52 comics will be a great jumping-on point for anyone who hasn't been reading DC Comics, and each issue will re-establish everything you need to know to enjoy that particular series. But in GREEN LANTERN the big twist is that Hal Jordan has been kicked out of the Corps and Sinestro has taken his place! Over in GREEN LANTERN CORPS we'll follow two more of Earth's Green Lanterns, Guy Gardner and John Stewart, as they take on an all-new menace that is immune to green power rings. And in the all-new GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS series that I will be writing, we follow Earth's newest Lantern, Kyle Rayner, and he must pull together a new team with representatives from all the different Corps. Somehow, Kyle has to get Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, Indigo Lanterns, etc to work together -- something that the Guardians of the Universe see as a threat to their authority. So while Kyle will be wearing the badge and ring of a Green Lantern, he is very much off the reservation, so to speak. Not only will we discover new things about all the other Corps, but we'll see that the only thing the Guardians of the Universe fear...are New Guardians.

STARBURST: Are there any essential storylines that new readers should pick up or will the past be recapped as the new stories go on?

TONY: One of the guiding principles in the "New 52" relaunch of the DC Universe is that every one of these new books will be completely accessible to new readers. It's the best intro to this pantheon of characters since they first appeared so many years ago. Pick up any book from Superman #1 to GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1 to BLUE BEETLE #1 and you're going to have everything you need. We have the greatest heroes, the most memorable villains, and a whole universe full of cool concepts and places. Of course, once you check out some of these new books, you may want to go read some of their previous adventures, but in September all DC Comics will be "come as you are, no experience necessary." It's the ground floor, and you're invited.

STARBURST: You've written both Green Lantern Corps and now New Guardians starring Kyle Rayner. What is it about Kyle that is appealing to you as a writer and a fan?

TONY: Kyle is the most accessible, most normal, most empathetic Lantern in the Corps. He's not some fearless hero or badass warrior when he gets his ring, he's just a normal twenty-something struggling to make ends meet, and even though he proves himself worthy of the honor, he's still just a regular dude. Being a commercial artist and cartoonist, he finds that his visual sense and boundless imagination make him a natural at ring-slinging and coming up with cool energy-constructs. He's also sensitive, as artists often are, but this emotional core will prove crucial as he seeks to master the whole emotional spectrum, from Red Rage to Violet Love. Kyle also has an origin unlike any other Green Lantern, which you'll see in GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1. He is unique in the Corps, and he's the only Lantern in any Corps with a prayer of pulling together a team like the New Guardians.

Cover reveal: Batgirl rejoins the Birds of Prey in issue #4

I think that this is likely a colouring error rather than a new costume.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

IGN share Batman: Arkham City interviews with Dax Ginn

Batman Arkham City Trailers

Please note:
All Batman: Arkham City trailers can be found on the Arkham City page (link oin the left hand menu) and The Dark Knight Rises teaser can be found at the bottom of the site...oh go on then, you can watch it here as well:

Dectective Comics #4 cover

Who is the puppet master?

Star Wars the Clone Wars Season 4 trailer

My only problem with the Clone Wars is that I seem to enjoy these trailers much more than I do the actual shows.


Oh, well. Hopefully Boba Fett will do something cool with those Mandalorian looking dudes.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Action Comics #4 cover

CBR have revealed the cover to Action #4.

Teen Titans trailer

Cover for Justice League #4

Poor Hal Jordan! He has had his ring stolen by Batman and been 'one-punched' by Superman. Now it looks like he will be trounced by Aquaman as well.
Is this why he started the series so cocky? So he could be taken down a few pegs?